Gary founded Prepare Ministries in 2001 with a vision to mentor college students toward discovering a deep relationship with Jesus Christ. Before that, he graduated from the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities and later attended Dallas Theological Seminary. Gary served as a pastor in Northfield, Minnesota, for 22 years before pursuing campus ministry. He retired from his pastoral position in 2000 when he felt God's call to mentor college students full time. Gary's ministry started when students at the University of Minnesota at Mankato asked him to speak at their campus. He soon had a small team of volunteer leaders, and together they started Prepare Ministries with a vision to reach many more campuses. Gary and his wife Stella met in Miami while serving with Campus Crusade for Christ. They were married in 1971 and now have four grown children and eleven beautiful grandchildren. Gary loves playing with his grandchildren, inventing games and being a kid himself. He enjoys fly fishing and has many pseudonyms, including "Bumpa," "the Jolly Green Giant," and the "King Kong of Ping Pong." He is also a good eater. Stella is a good baker. That's why Gary says, "we're such a great team!" She was recognized as one of 100 finalists in the Pillsbury national bakeoff for three consecutive contests. Stella is also an active part-time staff and supporter for Prepare. She loves God and is devoted to prayer.
David and Catherine met in 1992 while serving with Youth with a Mission in Mexico and have been ministering full-time to college students since 1999. They both have a passion to see young people become authentic followers of Jesus Christ and to put their faith into action. David leads campus ministry at St. Olaf College (Thursday Night Bible Study), and the Prepare Chapter at Gustavus Adolphus College. For over 20 years David has thoroughly enjoyed partnering with pastors in Central America. He has led hundreds of students to share the Gospel, build churches and support local congregations and pastors.
Catherine, with much enthusiasm, speaks life and encouragement into college women. She is always ready with a hug, scripture and a prayer. She also volunteers at a home for women overcoming addictions. David and Catherine have six children. The depend heavily on God to do all that is set before them. God has been faithful to help them over their 20 years of marriage and in parenting their children. They are grateful to God for the blessing of serving Him full-time! The Olsons believe that there is no other life more fulfilling than a life that is completely surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
From 1979-2011 Laurie was a caregiver for Flo Kahn, a quadriplegic. In 1996 they purchased a log home (Heart Peace) in Northfield. Flo taught Laurie how to cook, host and serve to the multitudes sharing life and friendship over a meal. Although Flo now has her home in heaven, Laurie is drawing from the rich heritage left to her of gathering, feeding and hosting people in her home. The Heart Peace log home is being readily used for staff and student retreats, prayer meetings, study groups, hosting out of town guest and speakers, and even mentoring out of the kitchen. With a mother’s heart, Laurie has a passion to love and serve in such a way that Jesus’ light is seen in her. Titus 2 says the older women should teach younger women how to love their husbands, children and keep a home. Laurie passionately talks about who Jesus is and is an encourager to build faith and trust in the promises of Jesus. Her stories of overcoming abandonment, rejection, distrust, fear, abuse and joylessness qualifies and empowers her to set other people free from the very things of which she was once a victim. Joining Prepare Ministries as a Part-Time Staff Intern is a formal overflowing of what she has already been doing in gratefulness and honor of all that Flo and God have prepared for her.
Donna got married to Waihon on July 27, 2013 after they met through Prepare Ministries in 2011. Waihon was born and raised in Malaysia and has three wonderful children Ellie, Joseph & Daniel. Donna joined the Prepare team in the middle of 2011 as a part-time staff. Having served in South Texas, Mexico, and Ireland, Donna is an experienced missionary. As a long-time friend of Gary’s, she describes her time with him in college as very transformational, saying, “As a 1996 graduate of St. Olaf College, I was deeply impacted by Pastor Gary’s Wednesday night student bible study during my years there. This was a time when my hunger for Jesus, and my close fellowship with other students who were passionate about Him, led me to encounter God in a whole new way." Donna devotes a lot of time to Prepare and loves to minister to and disciple international and local students with the hope to partner with churches here to reach the nations that God has brought to the U of M. while teaching piano lessons part time. Donna is also a very gifted musician, she has a heart to glorify God in worship.
Margo has been a prophetic intercessor, since Prepare's inception. She faithfully traveled with Gary in the initial years. Since then she has been confined through illness, but continues to pray weekly for Prepare at her nursing home.