At the age of nineteen, Olson believed that the Lord called him to travel to Venezuela and northern Columbia to introduce Jesus Christ to the Motilone Indians. On this trip, they found him, shot him with an arrow, and took him captive. With his wound becoming more and more infected, Olson realized he needed to escape and receive medical attention. This he did and then returned to the tribe. After his capture he contracted hepatitis and was removed from the jungle by a helicopter pilot who had seen his distress signal. Once again he went to the Motilone Indians. They allowed him to live because they assumed he was godlike after seeing him enter the helicopter, something they'd never seen happen before.
Over time the Indians accepted him into their tribe. Though he could never be one of them entirely, he never forced them to change their culture or Americanize it. Olson brought the tribe enough changes that they could better support themselves and live healthier lives. Their quality of life improved from health care centers, schools, market places, and agricultural co-ops. Many Motilone Indians left the jungle and obtained higher education in the cities. They then returned to their tribes to help others.
At one point during his stay with the Indians, he was taken hostage by a group of guerillas who wanted to control the Motilone territory. When Olson refused to negotiate Indian land with the guerillas, they stood him in front of a firing squad to get him to change his mind. As Olson maintained his principles, the men shot blanks to scare him and then let him return to the Indians. Several of the men Olson had contact with in this band turned to the Lord and became believers in Christ during his time in their camp.
Olson penned two books, Bruchko and The Motilone Miracle. Though he seldom leaves the jungle, in 2008 he participated as a keynote speaker at the Missions Fest in Vancouver, Canada. His journey to get there took him seven days of hiking, three days of rafting, hours of riding in a banana truck, one day of a bus ride, and five flights to get to Canada. After a short stay, he returned home to his jungle family.
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