Bishop Roy Olsen
It was in November of 1959, at Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan - near Carnegie Hall, that the course of my life completely changed direction with an offer to accompany a friend to a film. I recall I was dressed in my “cool” outfit - black leather jacket, jeans and garrison belt and my long red hair with a “DA.”
The movie was a grade B Christian love story I didn’t like very much. At the conclusion, an invitation was given for those who wanted to accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior to raise their hand. I raised nothing! Then the speaker prompted the audience to ask any person that might have been “un-saved” to go to the altar with them. A skinny Bible school student seated behind us must’ve determined by my appearance that I was not “saved.” He asked me if I wanted to go down to the altar with him. To this day I have no idea why I answered “YES!” The Bible school student took me - the tough guy in leather, by the hand. In my mind, I could see my friends watching me as I made my way to the front where the altar workers explained about salvation. As they spoke, all I could recall thinking was, “What am I doing up here at this altar?”
We were then asked to go into a side room where I was assigned a Christian counselor. I clearly remember he asked me to look in a Bible with him as he turned to the Gospel of John, chapter 5, and verse 24. I was in college at this time and I liked “linear thinking.” This man explained this verse to me like a mathematical equation 1+1=2. He that heareth My word (#1) and (+) believeth on Him that sent Me (#2) hath (=) everlasting life. In that moment I knew that I now qualified! I knew that I knew that I was accepted and that I met the conditions to have everlasting life. I really was saved and no longer feared hell! At that moment I also knew I wanted to dedicate my life to God and do something with the ministry – but how? Unsure as to how to move forward, I stayed on course completing my education in Physics and Mathematics. Answers would come; so until such a time, I continued vigilantly studying scripture and in prayer.
In the last months before graduation, I sensed a need to decide in which direction I would go - secular work or the ministry? My mind was made up – I sensed a strong call to serve God in a full-time capacity of ministry.
Upon completion of my studies, I departed with a missionary friend to serve with him in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. This officially began my service to God.
In 1964 I was invited to live in the ministerial training home called “the Faith Home” in Queens, New York. It was there, that Hans Waldvogel, the leader of the Ridgewood Pentecostal Fellowship, laid hands on me in prayer. Something strong was imparted to me in the spirit; I had an encounter with God that changed me forever.
Over a number of years, I encountered several folks who spoke words of a prophetic nature to me. There was a common theme to these messages; each person said that I would become like a father to many young people.
During an impromptu trip with a friend, I attended the Brownsville, Florida “revival”. My encounter with The Holy Spirit literally knocked me to the floor; again, something was imparted to me.
After returning home, my world was turned upside down; I experienced a personal trauma that I had difficulty recovering from. In 2001 I decided to leave Calvary Assembly of God, the church I had founded and pastored since 1982. In relocating to Chesapeake, Virginia I began attending Kingdom Life Ministries. The church did International Missions and I joined them on a trip to Peru. They assigned me to a “spiritual assessment” team, which determined where people were in relation to Jesus Christ and introduce them to Him. In only one week our team prayed with approximately 400 people to receive Christ. At this point, I was willing to spend the remainder of my life in Peru, but The Lord had other plans.
One week after the 9/11, 2001 tragedy in New York, a team of missionaries left for Romania, to construct a church building for a poor Gypsy village. Since I had taken a pause, personally, from any public ministry, I was available and willing to join them
Then in 2002 and 2003 we returned to Romania to continue construction projects and preaching in local churches. After preaching a message in a Baptist Church in the city of Lugoj, one of their pastors approached me. Enthusiastically, he asked if I would return and work with that church group under his leadership.
In 2003 I accepted, and worked there for 3 1/2 months. During that time they sent me throughout the country to both Baptist and Pentecostal churches. After this period ended, I returned to The United States only to be called to return in 2004 for 6 months. During this time, I understood that my next chapter in life would be in Romania, and it was. I was sent throughout the nation of Romania to preach.
At some point The Lord indicated to me that I was to show Him and God's people that I was serious about a commitment to Romania by purchasing land and/or property there before returning to the USA. After weeks of searching, I came upon a property in a village 30 minutes from my host church in Lugoj. It was close enough where I could still be available to fulfill assignments the pastor had for me.
In August of 2004, I closed on this property, which has now become the base of operations for Apa Vie Ministries. This property had been vacant for 15 years, having gone through severe fires. The owners had abandoned the property causing it to fall into disrepair, both from the fires and from lack of care. A major renovation ensued which cost more than the purchase price! Now, we have a comfortable home, in which to live that has fulfilled all our needs and is more than we could have desired. There are a number of guest rooms and additional large open rooms, including a space to host meetings and conferences.
I continued preaching throughout the nation of Romania several times a week. Fervently, I asked God for more specific direction; He guided me towards using our facility as a respite; a place for healing and recovery for God’s people.
Apa Vie is to be a training ground, a place to refocus, prepare and strengthen the leaders and young people that sense a call to ministry.
Since we now have ownership of significant property and ministerial relationships, we are able to construct facilities and invite groups to attend conferences without any cost to the attendees. We began in 2005 with 9 in attendance and now have had over 70 attending most conferences. We are in a construction phase for our facilities to accommodate well over 100 persons.
Bottom line: I am now involved in a ministry to Romania I never dreamed possible!