John & Paula Oliver
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Oliver Family Updates - 2016
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    Last Updated on August 25, 2017
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    December 2016

    Early last month, I was able to spend a weekend in Newberry, SC - a surprise visit for my dad's 86th birthday. My sister, Kelley, who lives in Mt. Dora, FL, flew up with me, while my brother, Mark, drove down from Cary, NC - so it was a special time with all three of us kids sharing this special time with our Dad.

    Shortly after my return, Paula started her 12 weeks of chemo. She's hanging in there, but it's kind of hard. We appreciate your prayers, as she deals with the various side effects (increased neuropathy, low white blood count, mouth/scalp sores, body aches, poor sleep). She also had an allergic reaction to the chemo drug, so they have now switched her to a different drug, one with fewer allergic reactions (but still with the same side effects).

    Joy and Hannah have finished their semester classes and are enjoying Christmas break. We were able to take a short family vacation (with a couple of the girls' friends joining us as well) down in Orlando, so that was nice. Joy is busy now working most every day at the jewelry store, as this is their busy season and it gives her opportunity to earn some extra money.

    At NTM, plans are to move to the new headquarters building in mid-January. They moved a few of us early, though, so my office is now on the 3rd floor of the Sanford Tower (at 312 W 1st Street), about 3/4 mile west of our previous headquarters (at 1000 E 1st Street).

    We invite you to watch a short (one minute long) Christmas video that our NTM media team put together for us. We wish you a joyous Christmas and an excellent New Year!

    November 2016

    Here's some of our latest news & updates from the Oliver family:
    • Paula is still recovering and healing from her mastectomy. Chemo is expected to start in early November. For more details and more frequent updates, please visit our Pilgrim's Pathway blog (where Paula shares her heart and some humor as well).
    • My family finally convinced me to see a dermatologist re: a sore that's been slowly growing for years. Sure enough - it was basal cell carcinoma, so last month I had that removed as well.
    • At NTM, I've been able to add some recent enhancements to help our NTMAA users - including an option to now use a USB flash drive for monthly archives (instead of burning a CD/DVD).
    • At home, Paula is enjoying her various plants, flowers, bird (and sometimes squirrel) feeders. Inside, our D/W was not cleaning well, but I learned (via YouTube!) how to take it apart and clean out the gook/glass/garbage. It's cleaning much better now!
    • Meanwhile, our girls are keeping busy with their classes - online and at Seminole State College. Hannah just took the ACT test, as she looks to finish this last year of high school.

    October 2016

    We have much to be thankful for - starting with salvation, forgiveness, eternal life - provided as a free gift through the death (on our behalf) and resurrection of our Savior, the Lord Jesus.

    I had a safe and successful trip to Tanzania, helping our NTM Southeast Africa bookkeepers with their NTMAA system. We accomplished our goals and everything went well with the flights, luggage, immigration, customs, etc. - so that was much appreciated.

    Paula had her (right) mastectomy on Sept. 27, so the two cancerous nodules are now gone from her body. The surgery went well and no cancer was found in the two sentinel lymph nodes that were checked!

    As a result, no further lymph nodes had to be removed, and Paula should not need radiation this go around (only chemo). Paula's at home now, glad to be done with this surgery - recovering, healing, trying to take it easy. Chemo is expected to start in about a month.

    Our son, Nicholas (who lives and works in Orlando) was able to stop by on Saturday, his 23rd birthday; it was nice to spend time with him.

    We're thankful for the prayers, emails, cards, calls, and other expressions of support and encouragement! It's also nice having Joy and Hannah here at home, as they're a help and blessing to us!

    September 2016

    We received some difficult news last week. Most of you know that Paula was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2010.  She had a mastectomy, chemo, radiation, and a year of IV Herceptin therapy, and has been cancer free for the past 5+ years.

    Recently, however, Paula’s annual mammogram showed a cluster of three small nodules in her remaining breast.  Last week, Paula's breast surgeon biopsied the nodules. The results came back the next day: invasive ductal carcinoma. Further testing showed that it's the same type of cancer that Paula had previously (what they call triple-positive, which means the cancer has receptors for estrogen, progesterone, and HER2).

    Hannah had her wisdom teeth extracted and is recovering nicely. Paula had her meniscus knee surgery also, had some therapy sessions, and is making good progress on her recovery as well.

    Meanwhile, school (SSC) has started back up for our girls. I’m scheduled to fly to Tanzania next week (Sept. 8-19), so we’d also appreciate prayer for my trip (safety, good health, and to be a blessing) and, of course, for Paula and the girls while I’m away.

    Sometimes things don't go the way we hope, but God is in control and our future is bright!  We appreciate your prayers for wisdom and guidance going forward. Paula is scheduled to have a PET scan (to checks for any other cancer elsewhere in her body), then start treatment (a lumpectomy or mastectomy, followed by chemo, and then a year of IV Herceptin therapy) shortly after my return from Africa.

    August 2016

    Paula's knee has been bothering her recently, at times quite significantly. Various scans confirmed that it's not bone cancer, but rather a torn medial meniscus, so she's scheduled for knee surgery August 5. My dad, who's been visiting with us here these past two months, returns home to South Carolina on August 4.

    Hannah also has some busy days ahead - helping as a CIT (Counselor in Training) at Camp Kesem in Gainesville (8/7-12), then having her wisdom teeth extracted (8/15, Paula's birthday). She's also recently started tutoring a local 5th grade math student.

    Then, August 22, classes start back up at Seminole State College for both Joy (her first year as a full-time college student, studying Nursing) and Hannah (dual-enrolled as a high school senior).

    Paula recently found a nice used fire pit on CraigsList. We were able to enjoy it the other night, as we had a group of friends, a Victory support group that Paula's part of, over for a fun evening.

    At NTM, I'm planning to fly to Tanzania in September to provide some NTMAA training for our fellow missionaries who serve in Southeast Africa. I've purchased my tickets and applied for my visa; now I'm researching their existing accounting procedures.

    July 2016

    In early June, we drove up to Lynchburg, VA for our nephew's wedding. My dad, who lives in South Carolina, rode back with us. We're glad to have him spend some time down here with us.

    Summer is birthday season for our family! Our daughter, Joy, turned 19 on June 28, we celebrated my birthday on July 4, and Paula's birthday (August 15) will be coming up next month.

    Joy starts college this fall - working toward a BSN nursing degree through Univ. of Central Florida (UCF) and Seminole State College (SSC), where she and Hannah have been dual-enrolled.

    Meanwhile, Joy's continuing to work at the jewelry store here in Sanford, saving some additional funds for college. Hannah's also hoping to earn some money by tutoring some local math students.

    While I was overseas, our lovable dog, Marley, discovered that it's not so hard to go through screen doors - even when they're shut! So a recent home project has been replacing four torn screens.

    At NTM, I've been catching up on accumulated email, and helping with various projects and enhancements. I've also been invited to travel to Tanzania later this year (September) to provide some NTMAA training for our missionary bookkeepers in Southeast Africa, so I'm starting to get ready for that trip.

    June 2016

    Joy and I had a fantastic trip to the Philippines! Thanks so much for your prayers! Our main objective was to install our NTM Accounting & Administrative (NTMAA) system for our fellow missionaries there. We provided NTMAA training for the main bookkeepers, Erik & Christina, as well as for several regional bookkeepers who flew in for two days of NTMAA training. We accomplished our objective and they are up and running now with our NTMAA system.

    For Joy, who's been wanting to go on a mission trip for years, this trip doubled as her "senior trip" and was her first time outside the U.S. While I helped with the accounting system, Joy was able to work on various other projects, including helping format Firm Foundation books 1 & 2 in the Tagalog language. It was very special to have Joy accompany me and I really appreciated the three weeks of special father-daughter time with her.

    The NTM guest house in Manila (where we stayed) is quite large (30 rooms) and includes a dining area where we ate most of our meals. To help the guest facility hostess, we were able to setup and configure our "store" module (typically used at NTM bookstores, etc.) to sell the various guest services (room charges, meals, air con usage, vehicle usage, laundry, etc.).

    On weekends we were able to get out and experience some of the Philippines. One Saturday, we learned about the history of the Philippines at the Ayala museum. Another weekend, we made a day trip to the Villa Escudero Waterfalls restaurant where we ate, literally, in a river! Our most special weekend, though, was when we flew on an NTM Aviation helicopter into an Isnag tribal village - to spend a weekend with our missionaries there.

    It was a great trip - meeting and helping fellow missionaries, experiencing the Philippines, worshiping with Filipino believers, and being reminded of why we're part of the NTM team.

    We're back home now and trying to get our sleep cycles back on Florida time! This weekend, we're headed up to Lynchburg, Virginia, for our nephew's wedding. My Dad is planning to meet us there and then come stay with us for a couple months. We're also looking forward to hosting an open house Sunday, June 12, to celebrate Joy's high school graduation!

    May 2016

    On May 3, Lord willing, Joy and I plan to fly halfway around the world - to the Philippines - to help to install our NTMAA accounting system for our fellow missionaries there. There's a lot to accomplish during our three weeks there (helping them transition to the new accounting system, training the bookkeepers, entering transactions), and we're also planning a weekend visit to a tribal location in the Northern Luzon province - a neat opportunity for both Joy and I, and a good reminder of why we serve as part of the NTM team.

    We'd appreciate your prayers for safety, good health, guidance in all we have to do, and that we'll be a blessing. We'd appreciate prayers also for Hannah and Paula, who'll be holding down the fort here in Sanford (it seems that every time I'm away on a trip, things start to break) and for our NTM Philippines bookkeepers (as there's a lot for them to learn in a short time).

    Meanwhile, we've had two exciting milestones this past month! Our Hannah turned 17 on April 18, and our Joy is now a high school graduate! We just had some graduation announcements printed (Joy designed them herself), as we're planning an open house to celebrate our graduate on June 12.

    April 2016

    Exciting news! Our NTM Philippines field recently contacted us and requested that I come over and install our NTM Accounting & Administrative (NTMAA) system for them!

    As I shared this with our family, our oldest daughter, Joy (who will be graduating from high school next month, and has been trying to decide where to go on her "senior trip"), asked if she could possibly come with me and help in some way. She's been wanting to go on a missions trip for years!

    Our plan is thus to fly from Orlando to Manila on Tuesday, May 3 - leaving our home around 5:30 AM and eventually arriving at the guest house in Manila around 10 PM Wednesday! Our return flight is scheduled for May 24.

    While I'm helping the bookkeepers get setup with NTMAA, Joy is hoping to help some of the missionary ladies with babysitting, tutoring their kids, or whatever else she can do to be a blessing. It should be a special trip for both of us - a neat opportunity to help our fellow missionaries while experiencing another culture.

    We appreciate your prayers for the month ahead - as Joy and Hannah finish this semester's classes, and as I continue work on the programs to import NTM Philippines accounting data into our NTMAA system.

    March 2016

    At NTM, we're been meeting (via Skype) with our software development consultant (a Canadian company named Qwantech), discussing design features for the future web-based version of our accounting & personnel system. We also continue to support and enhance our existing NTMAA system. This past month, we were able to help one of our overseas fields fix some system integrity issues, and, by God's grace, resolve a puzzling 1095 problem.

    At home, our main February project was adding more cellulose insulation to our attic. We also replaced four of our outside security lights (one more to go), and enhanced some of our planter areas (with concrete edgers, more pine bark, and lots of weeding).

    Good news - Joy and Hannah took the SAT test again and significantly improved their scores! Joy has been accepted to three colleges, but is still waiting to hear from her top choice, College of the Ozarks (aka, Hard Work U, where students work for the school instead of paying tuition). We appreciate your prayers - for God's leading and provision for Joy and for Hannah.

    February 2016

    January was a busy month for our programming team here at NTM. We helped with the annual W2 forms, the new Obamacare mandated IRS 1095 forms, as well as the year-end donation statements - all of which are now sent by mail and/or email. We then finished the month in a week of meetings with our Qwantech consultant (who we've hired to help us migrate our NTMAA system to a web-based application) and various folks that use our NTM personnel system.

    Our girls have started back with their SSC dual-enrollment classes (Biology & Chemistry for Joy; Biology, Trig, & Ethics for Hannah). Hannah also had her braces removed last month - yeah!

    At home, our pool pump quit working, but with guidance from a fellow missionary, we were able to replace a bad capacitor. Later in the month, we learned how to replace a toilet wax seal to eliminate a leak under the toilet base. I also had fun installing a solar powered security light on a ten foot post in our backyard.

    Paula is very happy to be five years past her cancer diagnosis, but now we have two other NTM missionary ladies here who were recently diagnosed with breast cancer, so we would appreciate your prayers (for guidance, encouragement, and healing) as they go through their difficult cancer treatments.

    January 2016

    December 30 was our 26th wedding anniversary and Paula's 5th cancer-versary, five years since Paula's doctor found a cancerous lump in her breast; we're thankful that Paula is continuing to do well!

    My dad flew down from South Carolina and spent a month with us, from Thanksgiving through Christmas. We had a special Christmas together - the first time that my dad, mom (who lives in Eustis, FL), brother (in North Carolina), sister (in Mt. Dora, FL) and I have all been together in over 25 years!

    At NTM, we're busy getting ready to send W2s and 1095s (the new IRS form mandated by ObamaCare - that's taken a good part of the year to understand and program) for missionaries and other employees, as well as annual contribution statements for donors.

    Nicholas is continuing to work full-time at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, renting a nearby condo with a couple other roommates.

    Joy and Hannah are still in high school, but are also taking SSC classes as dual-enrollment students (receiving high school and college credit for the classes). We'd appreciate your prayers for them as they seek the Lord's guidance and provision regarding colleges, scholarships, and future career direction.

    Here are some of our praise and prayer requests for 2016:

    PRAISE & PRAYER REQUESTS

    • Thank God for His great salvation and the work He is doing around the world, reaching the lost with the Gospel of Christ. Pray that He would continue to raise up folks to partner with us in this important task - through going, giving, and praying.
    • Pray for us in our relationships: with God, with each other, with our children, with others - that we would be the man & woman, husband & wife, Dad & Mom that God wants us to be.
    • Pray for Hannah, as she's still dealing with frequent double-vision.
    • Rejoice with us that Paula, with God's help, through careful diet and exercise, has lost 85 lbs. and is back to her goal weight. Pray that she will find a good balance as she continues to exercise and also seeks to add a broader variety of foods back into her diet.
    • Pray for our children - for Nicholas as he's out on his own, and for Joy and Hannah as they seek the Lord's guidance and provision regarding colleges, scholarships, and future career direction.
    • Pray that God would give us humble hearts and make us a real blessing with family, friends, neighbors, believers, and unbelievers.

    Thanks for your love, prayers, and encouragement!