When God calls, be sure a thrilling venture of faith lies ahead. While Dick and Jeanne Olson were still in college, God called them to missionary radio. After completing a bachelor’s degree at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minn., the Lord allowed Dick to attend a technical institute for additional training in radio communication. Jeanne continued her studies at Moody Bible Institute during this time after completing nursing training. They were appointed for missionary service with TWR in June 1960.
After raising support, their first term of service began in May 1961, and they spent two years in France. During this period, Dick handled program production in several languages, and Jeanne answered English mail.
In 1963, the Olsons transferred to the Caribbean island of Bonaire. The next three years involved establishing the new facility, constructing the transmitter and power buildings and installing the transmitters.
When they left Bonaire for their first furlough, the Olsons were reassigned to Beirut, Lebanon, in 1966. While there, Dick helped construct a new studio and office facility. Program production increased in Arabic and Armenian, and the first gospel programs were recorded in the Turkish language.
After four years in Lebanon and a brief furlough, they were assigned to Monte Carlo for 10 months in preparation for their move to Africa. Arriving in South Africa in July 1971, Dick became the field director and was involved in intense negotiations with the Swaziland government to obtain broadcasting rights.
In 1973, the Olsons moved to Swaziland, where Dick remained the field director. After 14 faithful years of service in Africa, the couple transferred to the Netherlands in 1985. Dick helped with the development of TWR’s European Office, while Jeanne developed a slide/photo library and archive.
When a need arose in Monte Carlo in 1988, Dick and Jeannie moved back there and served for 10 years. After returning to the States in 1998, Dick was offered a position in the Broadcasting Relations Department at TWR’s office in Cary, NC. He acted as liaison with more than 40 of TWR’s broadcasters, until he retired in September 2002. Dick then volunteered to tackle the monumental task of organizing and cataloguing all of the photographs and documents that comprise TWR’s vast historical record. Today, he is TWR’s official archivist, and his duties involve processing and transferring slides, old pictures and documents to digital to be stored and made available for easy reference.
“There are so many wonderful memories of things God has accomplished over the years,” says Dick. “It’s been so rewarding to see the number of stations, transmitters and languages increase over time, and we want to be careful to give God all the praise and glory for allowing us to be a small part of it.”
Jeanne currently works three days per week in the Donor Services Department as a direct giving coordinator. She processes contributions, handles data entry and communicates with donors.
“TWR would not be what it is today without the wholehearted dedication and longtime contribution of Dick and Jeanne Olson,” says TWR President Lauren Libby. “TWR staff members stand on the foundation that they helped build for this ministry, and we are tremendously grateful for the hearts of this mission-focused couple.”
Please join us in thanking the Lord for the Olsons 50 years of faithful service.