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Dear friends and family,
It has been a very eventful year for the 14th Avenue Olsons and a reminder that our lives and future are in God’s hands. How wonderful to know that the Creator cared enough to become our Savior and did it in the most unlikely way by becoming a helpless infant on that first Christmas.
In January, Karin’s father, Lloyd Falck, shortly after celebrating his 80th birthday, began to rapidly fail with Alzheimers and died in February. No one was expecting this shock. Then Karin’s Mom, Edythe had a series of health problems and operations but is rebounding and carrying on with her usual enthusiasm although she dearly misses her husband of almost 58 years. Ross’ Mom and Dad, Stan and Myrtle Olson, had a bad fall while shopping and in the evaluation it was found that Mom had recently experienced two small strokes. Now the apartment layout has been modified to accommodate a wheeled walker, she wears an alert necklace and phones are placed at every spot they are likely to hang out. Just recently, Dad was diagnosed with colon cancer but had successful surgery and is recovering.
Because Ross had been laid off by his second job of the year at the end of October, he has been free to help out the older generation as well as Karin (able to order off the Senior Menu but loathe to accept the classification) who had bladder surgery in early November. Ross is, at least for the moment, retired, but so deep into projects and volunteer activities that Karin cannot tell the difference.
After 23 & ½ years with HealthPartners, a downsizing was announced and Ross was told that his services were no longer required. Even though three of the people who sat on the “rightsizing” committee had previously threatened to fire him for his stand on moral issues, they insisted that this action had nothing to do with that or his age (just having turned 62.) Regardless, there was a very generous severance package and a much larger than expected retirement fund – all because he had recently worked so much extra urgent care.
God provided a position at a small pediatric clinic a few blocks away that took HealthPartners insurance, and several hundred patients followed. But after the 6 month trial period, the contract was not renewed. Although a laundry list of reasons was given, the key was a difference in approach to adolescent sexuality. Ross strongly recommends sexual abstinence until marriage and faithfulness in marriage as the healthiest lifestyle. They felt that such an approach would drive the teens away so that they would not come back for their birth control or sexually transmitted disease treatment. When Ross reminded them that the parents invariable appreciated his message, he was told, “Well then you are on the parents’ side.”
In October, Karin and Ross took a trip to the Billy Graham Training Center in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina (after having planned it for three years) to attend the World Medical Mission conference. Clearly we will want to be involved in short term medical missions and are now more free to do so. There is no clinic job in sight on this side of the ocean, despite many checks inquiries, although there may be some temporary or urgent care work. On any forms that ask, the check mark now goes next to “RETIRED.” After 38 years as an MD, Ross misses his patients and feels like he has let them down, but regardless of the motivations of the human actors in this drama, God has a plan for the good of all, just as He did with Joseph in Egypt.
Karin continues to serve as a discussion leader for BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and also teaches the Kindergarten Sunday School class at First Free Church. She is a “Mentor Mom” for the MOPS group (Mothers Of Preschoolers) and Ross has taken on teaching the older home schooled kids who come along. Every Tuesday, grandson Aizec (age 4 – just ask him) has some grandpa and grandma time and then stays overnight to go to BSF the next day. Karin enjoys hospitality and has developed friendships with women at an arthritis swim class.
We continue to host Chinese students and post-doctoral scholars, housing and helping get them settled when they first come and inviting them to family activities as well as the monthly China Outreach Ministries meetings. We said goodbye to Hai and Jing who moved to Denver and GuoFeng and Minya who relocated to Omaha. We continue correspondence with many of those friends and went to New Jersey to see Hong and Sunny with their new baby girl, Grace, in April. On that trip we also visited Amish Country plus all the sights worth seeing in Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey and KaWan’s good friend, Carol.
Ross continues to write (mostly unpublished) letters to the editor and commentary pieces, which at least get posted on his web site www.rossolson.org. He also serves on the board of TCCSA (Twin Cities Creation Science Association) and runs their website www.tccsa.tc and that of their home school science subsidiary, Adventure Safaris, www.adventuresafaris.org with a total daily visitor count on the three sites of over 400. He teaches Junior Church and takes up to 30 kids twice a year on hikes along the river (no falls down cliffs this year) and once a year to the Science Museum (to search out evolutionary propaganda.) He brings some older kids to the monthly meetings of TCCSA and does a lot of activities with the grandchildren, Christopher (9), Patrick (6), Aizec (4) and as she gets old enough to tag along, Laura (2). He also teaches occasional adult classes at First Free and carries on correspondence with many visitors to the websites, which includes both the hostile and the friendly.
Because Ross was on severance pay from HealthPartners and also working, we had money to do a few items on Karin’s wish list and we converted our fireplace to gas, removed the carpet and refinished the floors and got a queen sized bed for the guest room. Guests are always welcome at our B & B & L & D (Bed & Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner). Call for reservations anytime — operators are standing by.
The kids are doing well and all nearby. Now we understand what a sacrifice our own parents made when we left for 8 years in Hong Kong – it was not us they missed so much but the grandkids. (Grandchildren are God’s reward for not killing your children.) Jeff continues as a programmer at Thomson West, the legal publishing company. His wife Rachel is busy helping run the MOPS group and Laura seems to have fulfilled the predictions made to both of them that, “Some day you will have a kid like you.” Visit their website at www.olsonzoo.com. Susan and Eric Anderson work several jobs and continue as Independent Business Agents with Quixtar. They are selling their hobby farm and moving back closer to the city. If you are interested in any of the many fine products they represent, e-mail them at email@example.com. Tami and Jason are busy with their three boys and are expecting a girl in January. Jason is still doing commercial roofing with Dahlson and trying to keep his truck running. Tami does professional photography (See http://photobucket.com/albums/v117/mommo/ ). KaWan is an administrative assistant at First Free and does muralling. She paints scenes on children’s bedrooms and is doing a “Creekside Friends” theme in the children’s areas of church. If you want scenes on your walls or ceilings, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is very excited about teaching high school art, having started as a volunteer at her old school, South High, and being greatly encouraged by her mentor to become a paid substitute and work on her teaching certificate. She is also teaching the Junior High kids at church and is a virtual Pied Piper.
How many things will have changed before the next letter is written? Will there even be a next letter? Or will the Babe in the Manger return this coming year as the Prince of Peace and Righteous Judge, to bring to a conclusion a world that is on the brink of destruction? We know Him and trust Him with our future. Are you ready?
Merry Christmas Ross & Karin
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Ross & Karin Olson, 5512 14th Ave. So, Minneapolis MN 55417, 612-824-7691, email@example.com
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