Olsen's last trip was inspired by his desire to do missionary work. He feels he has completed his work with Brothers' Helpers, saying that the work can easily be done by the group's roughly 100 volunteers when he leaves.
"I feel that it's gonna go whether I'm here or not," said Olsen of Brothers' Helpers, which he founded in 2003. "I've wanted to go to Africa for years, actually."
When trying to join a religious community several years ago, Olsen was told he was too old to go on missionary trips. So he began Brothers' Helpers. When the opportunity came to travel to Africa last year, he jumped at the opportunity, traveling with former St. Bede parishioner Rebecca Kerr.
"Things here can run smoothly without him," Kerr said. "It has gotten to the point where Brothers' Helpers will keep going."
Before visiting Ghana the first time, Olsen did not know what to expect. He knew that the diocese's 267 Catholic schools needed money, but any money he could raise would be akin to a grain of sand on the beach, he said, as the impact would be negligible. Of those students who attend primary school in Ghana, about 25% to 30% go on to attend high school. Most of the region's high schools are boarding schools and in better condition, Olsen said.
"I think what he'll accomplish is uniting our work, our efforts with theirs and be a link of goodwill and communication with Ghana," said Brothers' Helpers volunteer Liz Henry. "We also want to be able to help Ghana. Hopefully he'll be able to form a group of people from the community to help one another as he's doing here at the church."