First of all, we want to thank you for stopping by, and a special thanks to
those of you who pray for us or help support our ministry with New Tribes
2008 has been a busy year for us. Here are some of our 2008
January - We began the year with a new addition to our family,
a pet turtle named Squirt (or at least, that's what we called him). A red-eared slider aquatic
turtle, Squirt lives in our 20 gallon aquarium; initially, we had some fish
in there with him, but over time he must have forgotten that "fish are friends,
January/February - I had been tentatively planning to travel to Mozambique,
Africa in January to install our NTM Accounting & Administrative (NTMAA) system
there and provide training for their bookkeeper.
As I started to prepare, though, I determined that the travel costs to
Mozambique would be high (both in terms of time and money) compared to the size of
the task (our Mozambique field has a single bookkeeper with a single computer),
so with the use of some discount phone cards and our internet remote control
program, I was able to spend a number of days working remotely with our
bookkeeper there, helping to install our system and providing him with the
needed training for our NTMAA system.
February - I was finally able to merge our HTR (Hold the Ropes) system, a
read-only subset of NTM Personnel Records system, into our NTMAA system and
release a long awaited new version of our HTR System, version 6.03. (Our
previous version 5.10 of the HTR system had been released in October 2004).
March - In preparation for my upcoming trip to Indonesia, I made a number of
enhancements to our NTMA Aircraft Billing subsystem, so that the system could
help our NTM Indonesia pilots even further, calculating flight charges for both
primary customers (who has chartered the flight) or additional customers
(who pay according to passengers and cargo).
April - My mom & stepdad, having recently purchased a newer Honda Odyssey, sold their 2000 Honda Odyssey van to us for a great price. We then sold our 1994
Chevy Astro van, so now we are a Honda family, using our 1992 Honda Civic for most local travel (it gets great gas mileage and we can still squeeze all five of
us into it) and our 2000 Honda Odyssey for longer trips, when we need to use both vehicles, or when the Civic is under the weather.
At NTM, I was able to spend some time enhancing the encryption routines
that we use for encrypting credit card numbers (for donations and bookstore
sales). I also was able to update our NTM Personnel Records system to use some
of the enhanced synchronization routines that I had included in the HTR system.
May/June - I traveled with co-worker, Nathan Whatley, to our NTM Indonesia
headquarters in Pontianak, Indonesia to help them transition to our NTMAA
system. In addition to providing training to their finance office and regional
bookkeepers with training, we also spent time training their personnel
administrators in the use of our NTM Personnel Records system and our NTM
Indonesia pilots on our aircraft billing module.
While I was in Indonesia, Paula and the kids were able to drive to Greenville,
SC, to visit some friends and to spend some time with my dad & stepmom along
July - We found a good deal on eBay, so we were able to take a week long
family vacation at the Royal Floridian resort in Ormond Beach during July 4
September - We found another great deal on eBay - an auction for a gift
certificate for a week long stay in a two bedroom unit at the Daytona Resort &
Club for $100. We were able to use the gift certificate Labor Day week,
spending some family time together just a couple weeks before my trip to
While we were on vacation, we received an email from my co-worker, Nathan, who was taking care of our acquatic turtle. He indicated that everything was
fine, except that the turtle requested that the TV be moved closer to the tank and apparently asked for a remote that would work underwater. Otherwise, the
turtle, which apparently indicated that its name was Shelley (we had been calling him Squirt) was doing well, but was pretty close mouthed.
In September, our kids also signed up for SAINTS, a Christian homeschool athletic program
in Florida. They are part of a group of kids who get together every Tuesday
morning to have fun learning different sports.
September/October - I spent 3.5 weeks (my longest trip yet away from my
family) helping our missionaries in Guinea, West Africa with our NTMAA system.
In addition to providing training for the main bookkeepers and outstations
bookkeepers, I also helped install our purchasing/inventory/sales system for
their supply buyer for use at their store on the missionary base.
Spending time at NTM's field headquarters in Hamdallaye, Guinea was quite an
experience, as they have no electricity or running water. In fact, they use
solar panels and generators to charge 12V batteries, which then power 12V
lights and 12V refrigerators; they use DC to AC inverters to power laptop
computers. They pump water out of a well and then gravity feed the water to
the various homes, where it must again be pumped to to reservoirs on roofs;
to make it safe for drinking, it must also be filtered.
While there, I was also invited by one of the missionary families to spend a
weekend with them at their tribal station. That was a special experience also,
as I was able to meet a number of tribal folks, join the tribal believers for
their Sunday morning service, and be reminded again that this is what our
objective in New Tribes Mission is, to reach these tribal folks with the good
news of Christ.
October - As much of an interesting experience as Guinea was, I was glad to
return home in mid-October. Thanks to my mom & stepdad, who shared some of
their timeshare points with us, we were able to spend some family time together
at Daytona Beach.
November - Even though my co-workers were covering for me, after having
been out of the office for five weeks, there was quite a bit waiting for me,
including a number of high priority problems. I've spent most of November
trying to catch up, providing support to our fellow missionaries around the
world who rely on our NTMAA system.
We enjoyed a special opportunity when some friends of ours (who work at Walt
Disney World) shared some of their guest passes with us, so we were able to spend a fun day at Walt Disney World.
December - December is looking to be a busy month also. I have two
overseas trips tentatively planned for next year (Colombia in February and
Paraguay in April). We are planning to add some multi-lingual capabilities to
our NTMAA system, as some of our NTM Colombia missionaries (who will be using
our system for their bookkeeping) are Spanish speakers.
During December, we also planning to spend part of the month preparing our 2008
Annual Report. (See below if you would like a copy).
Before you leave, would you please take a minute
to drop us an email using our quick form below (or you can email us at
It would be a blessing to us to know that you received our Christmas
postcard ok and that you took the time to visit our website. We would also
appreciate hearing what's been happening with you. If you have any special
prayer requests, please include them, so that we can pray for you as well.
We are preparing a 2008 Annual Report with updates on our family, our
ministry, and our finances, as well as praise and prayer requests for 2009. If
you would like us to mail you a copy of our 2008 Annual Report, our new 2009
prayer card, or one of our 2009 magnetic calendars (for your refrigerator),
please let us know.
Since our newsletter service (which served us well for sixteen
years) ceased operation in 2007, we have started sending monthly email
updates instead. If you would like to be added to our Oliver Family
Update monthly email list, please let us know.
Thanks again for stopping by! If you are ever planning to visit the
Sanford/Orlando area, please let us know, as we would love to see you.