John & Paula Oliver
|News & Prayer Requests|
Copyright © 2020, J & P Oliver
Last Updated on June 1, 2020
To help keep folks updated with news and prayer requests for our family and ministry, we try to write up a short news and/or prayer update each month; below are our latest Oliver Family Updates:
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June 2020We have an important ministry change to share with you. We also want to take this opportunity to thank you very much for your part in our lives and ministries over these past years!
Paula and I have been with New Tribes Mission (now, Ethnos360) for 32 years now - three years of Bible & missionary training, and now 29 years serving at our U.S. headquarters in Sanford, Florida.
I was born and raised in Florida, graduated from Georgia Tech in 1983 with an electrical engineering degree, then worked for IBM Boca Raton as a computer engineer for several years, before stepping out by faith to serve with New Tribes Mission. Paula grew up in Connecticut, studied to become a Registered Nurse, then later moved to Arizona where she worked at Tucson Medical Center and University of AZ Health Science Center before enrolling at New Tribes Bible Institute, where we met in 1988. We became good friends and then were married in December of the following year.
As we were nearing completion of our NTM missionary training in 1991, not yet having a specific ministry or country in mind, we were contacted by NTM headquarters (as they had seen my computer background) and asked if we would consider serving there, helping to develop a custom accounting system for New Tribes Mission and its global partners.
So that has been our main project these past many years, and I have really enjoyed being able to use the talents and abilities that God has given me - to help further the Gospel to the unreached. We designed and programmed a New Tribes Mission Accounting & Administrative (NTMAA) system, customized to meet the specific needs of NTM. Developed originally for our U.S. headquarters in Sanford, we then enhanced it for our stateside branches (Bible Institutes, Missionary Training Center, Aviation center), and later added multi-currency and outstation support so that it could also be used at our Ethnos Canada headquarters and by our field bookkeepers serving in various overseas locations.
I've been privileged, over the years, to travel to our stateside branches as well as many of our overseas locations - to research their existing accounting systems and processes, provide training to their bookkeepers, and help them transition to our NTMAA system. On several overseas trips, I've also had opportunity to visit remote tribal locations - an appreciated reminder that in our ministry, and through your prayers and support, we are all helping to reach those folks for Christ.
Over the years, as we've continued to support and enhance our NTMAA system, it had been my hope that Ethnos360 would perhaps continue using it for many more years, or at least as long as Microsoft Windows continued to support 32 bit applications. However, with newer technologies available and the future of Windows support not entirely clear, a decision was made a couple years ago - to migrate our stateside NTMAA systems to a combination of cloud-based software programs.
So, over the past couple years, in addition to supporting NTMAA, I've also helped in a consultative role with these projects, and more specifically, served as technical lead in the migration of our NTMAA payroll & benefits subsystems (which calculates total donations & personal gifts received, federal & state income taxes, parsonage allowances, 403B retirement & HSA contributions, medical, life, and evacuation insurance) into our new payroll service, Paylocity.
At this juncture, however, with NTMAA now being phased out here in the U.S. and at Ethnos Canada - and with other global partners also looking to transition over the coming years - there is little need for continued NTMAA development. So, with our NTMAA ministry essentially completed, it seems an appropriate time for us to move on to the next chapter in our lives as well - so we are planning to retire from our Ethnos360 ministry at the end of June.
We look forward to having more time available for other activities and priorities, as well as freedom to do more travelling - but also are trusting that God will continue to use us in new and other ways, especially in person-to-person relationships and ministries - with friends, relatives, neighbors, cancer patients, etc. We appreciate your prayers for God's leading and guidance re: ministry opportunities in this next phase of our lives.
Again, thanks so much for being part of our team - for your prayers, support, and encouragement over the years! We're still part of the team with you, the Lord's team - in a different role now, but with the same goal - to bring Him glory and to reach folks with the good news of Christ!
May 2020April was another crazy month, as we sheltered in place, worked from home, wore masks in public, and watched our government spend money like they could just print it on paper! We keep wondering if this was a test - to see how cooperative the sheeple will be in the future - for ID2020 and then eventually, the mark of the beast.
Last month, we celebrated Hannah's 21st birthday and also my mom's 88th birthday (via zoom). Hannah is keeping busy with her online class at Daytona State and tutoring online, Joy is working full time at a local AdventHealth hospital, and Nicholas is waiting for Disney to re-open, so he can start working again.
At Ethnos360, I've been continuing to help with our new Paylocity payroll system, and also preparing an NTMAA version 7.03 update, primarily for our overseas bookkeepers. The plans are to shut down our NTMAA system stateside at the end of June, moving the mission's accounting to Microsoft Finance & Operations and donations processing to BlackBaud Raiser's Edge.
April 2020March was perhaps the most unusual month we've ever been through. It started out pretty normally, but then progressively transitioned to what seems like a prelude to the end times - with restrictions on restaurants, travel, and social distancing, and shortages of sanitizer, TP, disinfecting wipes, and even some food items. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
With the college campuses essentially closed down, we helped our daughter, Hannah, move back home from Daytona Beach, where she had been renting a room from a Christian family. She's continuing her Daytona State College studies remotely, while also continuing to work for them as a math tutor, now also online.
At Ethnos360, most of our home office staff, including myself, are working remotely. Our team just successfully transitioned our personnel records system to Dynamics HR - a major accomplishment. I'm continuing to support our NTMAA system, while also helping some with our new Paylocity payroll system.
March 2020We're excited that our daughter,Joy, having completed her two nursing degrees (ASN & BSN), has recently started training in her new nursing job at a local Advent Health hospital, where she'll be working on a transplant unit!
Last weekend, Paula and I were able to participate in a Marriage Encounter weekend in Tampa. It was a special opportunity for us to take some time to improve our communication, share and discuss our thoughts and feelings on various topics, and take a fresh start on toward turning our good marriage into a great marriage!
Meanwhile, I had my tooth #30 extracted last month. It was quite traumatic, as the roots had to be dug and pried out, but the healing process is underway. Unfortunately, though, ever since then, an adjacent tooth (#29) has been in a state of aggravated discomfort. It may end up needing a root canal, but for now, I'm giving it a little more time to see if it returns to normal. Your prayers for God's care, guidance, and healing are appreciated!
February 2020Allegiant flies from Sanford to San Juan, so while Joy was still enjoying a break before starting her RN job later this month, we spent a long weekend in Puerto Rico last month. We stayed in an AirBnB (a first for us), traveled around via Uber, bus, and train, practiced our Spanish, and enjoyed a walking tour of Old San Juan.
Thanks for praying for the pain/irritation in my right ear; it's not completely back to normal, but it's much better! I still don't know if it was caused by TMJ, a viral infection, or may even relate to a tooth (#30) that was going to need a crown (and possible root canal), but I've now been given the sad news that it needs to be extracted. :-(
At Ethnos360, we spent much of January transitioning our missionary benefits (medical, life, AD&D, evacuation insurance) to Paylocity. It did not go smoothly or easily, but Paylocity is now tracking those benefits for our members. Meanwhile, we plan to continue making payroll changes in preparation for our new accounting system.
January 2020Happy New Year! Paula and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on December 30th! We took our bicyles on the SunRail train down to Winter Park, then rode a mile to the Winter Park Village, where Paula enjoyed a manicure/pedicure, then we had a nice meal together at the Cheesecake Factory.
At Ethnos360, we successfully ran our third external payroll on Dec. 27, as we continue our transition to Paylocity. For January, our challenges are to compile appropriate data for our 2019 ACA 1095 forms and to transition our various missionary benefits (medical, life, AD&D, and evacuation insurance) to Paylocity.
We've been enjoying having Hannah home with us here over her winter break. However, for the past couple weeks, I've been dealing with some ongoing ear pain/irritation in or around my right ear. It does not appear to be an ear infection, but I'm finding it distracting and wearing, so I would appreciate your prayers for guidance and healing.
For our News & Prayer Requests for previous years (2007 and later) :
Oliver Family Updates - 2019
From 2007-2009, we also summarized our monthly updates into a year-end Oliver Family news summary:
To review News & Prayer Requests from 2000-2009,
For a number of years (prior to sending our monthly Oliver Family Update emails), we periodically sent an Oliver Family Newsletter (by snail mail) to keep folks updated on our family & ministry news, praises, and prayer requests, so here are links to those:
(These newsletters are in PDF format and can be viewed using the free Adobe® Reader®. If you don't yet have the Adobe Reader installed, you can download it for free).
Newsletter 44 - Aug 2007