Rev. Eric and Elaine Olson
Partnership Coordinator, South Asia
The son of a Baptist pastor, Eric grew up in a Christian home in the rural Midwest, living in North Dakota, Nebraska and Indiana. As a preacher’s kid, he was privileged to grow up reading books on the floor of his dad’s Pastor’s Study, hosting missionaries in the parsonage, visiting nursing homes and serving neighbors in need. After walking away from Christ for several years in late high school and early college, God used a godly young co-ed from Indiana University, named Elaine, to woo him back to Christ in 1988. A year later, in 1989, Eric and Elaine were married, and together they have sought to follow Jesus’ command in Matthew 25 to love the least of these, be they the homeless or the unborn.
After spending 4 years working in the pro-life ministry with Operation Rescue, God’s call for Eric to pursue seminary, came while he was still in a jail cell in West Palm Beach, FL. Accepted by Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, he graduated 3½ years later and was ordained in the Central Florida Presbytery of the PCA. For over 20 years, Eric has served the congregation of Grace Central Church (PCA), in Omaha, Nebraska, before resigning in August of 2020. Among many highlights during his tenure as pastor have been leading summer missionary trips to a variety of places: Belize, Central America; Romania; Mexico; and India. When in India, Eric had the opportunity to teach an Old Testament course to 30 national pastors in Chennai. This was an experience he would never forget. Soon after being called out of local church ministry, God has once again opened the door to teach national pastors in India with Equipping Leaders International (ELI).
Eric and Elaine continue to reside in Omaha, Nebraska. They enjoy dancing, board games, reading, running marathons, Calvin and Hobbes and family vacations. They are the proud parents of 8 children, who reside in Omaha, Bellevue, Boston and Denver. They also boast of 6 wonderful grandchildren!
While God has blessed me with a seminary education, 95% of the pastors in the Global South have no formal, theological education. A consequence of this lack of training is that it makes the congregations these pastors serve more vulnerable to threats of legalism, prosperity gospel and syncretism (a hybrid blending of many religions). As a faculty instructor with ELI, Eric will be able to bring seminary to hundreds of pastors who have not had the benefit of attending seminary. 3 or 4 times a year Eric will travel to India to teach seminary courses, recruiting another pastor, elder or teacher to travel and teach with him. Eric and Elaine have heard God’s clear call to serve Him through this teaching ministry, and we are now seeking to assemble a team of supporters who will help bring this call to fruition.