Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September 2014



We have lots to report, so keep reading for all our Fiji happenings!  Before you do, will you take a moment to stop and pray for us? We are requesting your urgent prayers for God's special provision for some funding this month to help us get everything set up properly for the organization.  We met with our lawyer today and he recommends that we urgently pay off our dorm mortgage ($13,000 USD) in order to utilize our recently acquired non-profit status in Fiji and set up the organization appropriately (we need to have the non-profit take over ownership of the farm, instead of it being mortgaged to the bank).  We started off the farm with our personal savings and built the guest house with a personal bank loan, but now it's time to set it up properly. We are accepting donations to help us do this. Would you please pray about this need for us?  If God lays it on your heart to give, please click the button below.  And don't forget to read on to find out about . . . bee boxes, dried fruit, starving horses, Indonesia, single moms and more. 
Click here to help us pay off the dorm!

CAPERNWRAY TEAM

Earlier this month we welcomed our final missions team of the year, from Capernwray Bible school.  The director also came out and had a look at what we have to offer. It was great to have the chance to meet him and discuss future teams and options.  The team brought all the supplies in order to build bee boxes for the farm, and constructed the boxes as their ministry project (along with the other regular ministry activities our teams do).  We hope to be able to add honey production to the list of things we're demonstrating at the farm. The boxes look great, now we just need some bees!  Vinaka vaka levu to Jack and the team for all your amazing work!

VOLUNTEERS & VISITORS

We had to say goodbye to Ruth and Missy, our mission nanny volunteers, earlier this month.  Before they left Ruth's family was able to visit from New Zealand. They had a great experience in Fiji and we're missing them a lot as they continue their overseas adventures with a trip to Europe.  This week we welcomed Lauren (in the mango tree with the girls in the photo above).  She's the new occupant of the tree house and we so happy to have her here to help with the girls' home-school and other life and ministry needs.  Laura's mother Janet ("Grammy") is here for 3 weeks and we've enjoyed having her around so much.  

MMM 

Ray was recently invited to be a trustee for the board of MMM, an international mission organization established to help Christian ministries with their building and maintenance needs.  They flew him over for their conference, which was a huge blessing!  He really enjoyed meeting the global participants from as far away as Africa and being a part of it all.  He was also able to get some much-needed medical work done (removal of a spot of skin cancer, follow-up blood work after dengue fever, etc.).  He also visited Capernwray Bible school and got some bee training for implementing the honey project back at the farm.

FRIDAY THE HORSE

The horse you see above is Friday the horse, who was found outside town and rescued by Animals Fiji, a non-profit in Fiji.  They contacted us about putting this extremely malnourished horse at the farm.  We invited Friday to the farm, and give him a lot of TLC and proper feed, trying to nurse him back to health. Unfortunately one Sunday morning we found him with a broken rope, stuck in the muddy river bank.  It was a battle to get him out.  Pastor Eliki even canceled church so all the men could go help that morning--a great application of the spirit vs. the letter of the law (which just happened to be the text that day)!  They were able to get the horse out, but unfortunately Friday passed away the next day.  We are comforted knowing that at least Friday received good care in the latter part of his life and died having a loving home.  The neighbors may think we're crazy to "waste" time and money on a horse like this but we hope that it's one of the things that make them take note of the love and care in our hearts for all of God's creation.

OASIS FARM

It's mango season!  You can see Uncle Rusi pictured above left, his head peeking out of the mango tree as he harvests some mangoes.  We will soon be overflowing with mangoes.  (Elani is pictured above, half-way up the tree searching for the perfect mango!)  We also have started to sell eggs, as 30 of the 50 chickens have begun laying.  Stephen is seen here recording our egg sales.  On the right, you can see some ladies who participated in a recent workshop that taught them how to prepare fruit to be dried (dehydrated).  This week we will begin to employ some of the single mothers from Loloma Home to come and prepare fruit for drying once a week.  We are starting small, but hope that we are able to employ more and more women in a dried-fruit business.
This little cutie turns five this weekend!

FAMILY CORNER

We've had a wonderful visit with Grammy!  Isla turns five this weekend, so we're looking forward to her mermaid party on Saturday.  The girls had a two -week break and are now back to work with home-school.  As they are on the Fiji school year, they did school over June/July, so their longer ("summer") break will be over Dec/Jan.  This year we plan to travel to Indonesia (we just bought our tickets).  We will attend two trainings/conferences through Pioneers, one in early December and one in late January (in Bali).  We'll also be in Papua for one month staying with good friends (the Wileys, who were like Ray's second family when he lived there growing up).  It will be special for the girls to get to know them as well as see the high school Ray's parents were involved with starting there, and see where Daddy grew up.  
PRAYER & PRAISE
 
  • Pray for God to provide the funding we need to pay off the dorm, and get our non-profit kicked off in Fiji.
  • Pray for God to bring new team members to us, and for those who are in the process of considering joining us here.
  • Praise for the Capernwray Bible School team and all their hard work
  • Pray for rain!!!  We're still experiencing drought conditions (5 months!).
  • Praise for a good trip to the MMM conference for Ray
  • Pray for God's provision and guidance as we plan our Indonesia trip for Dec/Jan.
  • Praise for our Island Encounters team and prayer for new members (some possibilities on the horizon).
  • God to continue to provide for our personal support as we are still lacking (see below) as well as the ongoing needs of Oasis Farm.
If you or someone you know would like to donate some time or skill to helping us run Island Encounters, we would be so grateful. Reply to this email if you can.  Also, we are still praying for more team members to join us and help carry this vision forward.  The Bjorks finish their commitment in January 2015, so we are feeling the urgent need to find some help!  Please do pray for us in this need as well as the other financial needs presented in this email.  We are asking God to help us to trust in Him and His provision in a time when it's easy to worry.  Thanks so much for your prayers!

Because of Him,

Ray, Laura, Eden, Elani & Isla Grace
 

Check out our Links:

Island Encounters Website
Island Encounters Facebook Page
Fiji Family Adventures Blog
Picasa Web Albums (Our Photo Gallery)
Give through Pioneers
Laura's Island Encounters Photography Website
Laura's Island Encounters Photography Facebook page


**NOTE:  Make sure to like our Facebook page in order to get more regular photos and updates of what is going on with Island Encounters and Oasis Farm!

 
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PERSONAL SUPPORT NEEDS:

Our family is in need of an additional $800 per month.
We are in need of both one-time gifts for current ministry needs,
as well as monthly support pledges.

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT OUR FAMILY (tax deductible)

RAY & LAURA PITTMAN, ACCT #111546

Or print a response slip and mail to:
Pioneers, 10123 William Carey Dr., Orlando, FL  32832

************************************************************************************************************************

HELP FUND THE MINISTRY!

 
We are in need of funds to pay off the Oasis Farm dorm & land, and to enable further development so that we can continue and expand this ministry in Fiji.  We are looking for people excited to invest in God's kingdom and partner with us in this work.

CLICK HERE TO GIVE TO THE MINISTRY (tax deductible)
 
ISLAND ENCOUNTERS, ACCT # 150658

OR GIVE TO THE OASIS FARM PROJECT OF YOUR CHOICE  
Biggest Needs:  Dorm, Pay off the Land, Tractor, Renovate the Farm House


Thank you so much!

August 2014



Since we last posted we said goodbye to the Pioneers Edge team and have had a few weeks to get caught up on other things before welcoming our next team (Capernwray Bible School arriving tomorrow). We have welcomed a new team member, hosted a school camp, and have worked on some improvements at Oasis Farm.  Read on for more!

DENGUE FEVER

As you recall, Ray and I both had dengue fever earlier this year.  While the outbreak was horrible while it lasted, it was supposed to be over earlier this year.  However, somehow, somewhere, two of the students on the Edge team contracted it.  Thanks for praying for them (we mentioned them in our last update).  One of them (Ali, above) ended up in the hospital and had to have a blood transfusion in order to recover enough to make it home, but she is doing much better and was able to travel with the group.  This was the first student we've had charge of in eleven years who has had to be hospitalized.  We are very thankful she made a good recovery and pray that no one else gets dengue!

ISLAND ENCOUNTERS TEAM

We are delighted to welcome Stephen Gaul to our Island Encounters team.  Stephen is the new caretaker at Oasis Farm, and will help with leading teams when they stay at the farm.  He is also leading worship at our church.  He can be found singing praise songs while he works at the farm, cutting grass or feeding the animals.  Whatever we have asked him to do, he's done with a great attitude.  We're so thankful that God brought us someone to serve and lead with a heart for ministry.  Welcome, Stephen!  We also thank you for your prayers for Uncle Rusi and Aunt Sala, who are doing well and continuing on after the loss of their son.  

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

Laura teaches high school Biology part-time at International School Nadi each week.  The school asked if Island Encounters would be willing to host a 3-day camp for the 7th graders this year at Oasis Farm.  We enjoyed showing them a bit of farm work, introducing them to the kids at Loloma Home and letting them get dirty at the Sabeto Mud Pools nearby.  It was a whole different experience to have a bunch of pre-teens running around at the farm!  It was a good experience for them and we hope our team's interaction with them has been a light in their lives.

OASIS FARM

Last month we mentioned that all the Oasis Farm papayas are being sold to FRIEND Fiji, an organization that works to empower the poor in Fiji by rural community development.  We recently visited their site and took the photos above.  The fruit drier is something we hope to build at the farm in order to employ some women to peel and chop the papaya, then they can dry it and sell it dehydrated to FRIEND. Also pictured are some of the products currently being made with our papayas (pawpaw).  Pretty great.

The entire Nadi area has been in a drought lately, we are praying for rain for our farm and for all the farmers in the area struggling to hand-irrigate their crops. We've been having difficulty finding the best way to do this.  This next team will be bringing supplies for us to put bee boxes at the farm.  We're looking forward to demonstrating to the community how to produce and sell honey.
These three bring us so much joy.

FAMILY CORNER

We are looking forward to welcoming "Grammy," (Laura's mother) for a visit in Sept/Oct.  The girls are counting down the days.  Eden and Elani continue on with home-school and Isla in Pre-K at Nadi Christian down the street from our home.  We have Michelle and Ruth with us from New Zealand staying in the treehouse.  They are serving as volunteers to help with the girls and their homeschool.  Ray is keeping busy with projects at the farm and helping and teaching over at the vocational school/Bible School.  Laura's photography business has been picking up and keeping her busy along with teaching, accounting, logistics and office work for Island Encounters.

Ray has been invited to serve as a trustee to help represent Fiji for a ministry called MMM.  MMM New Zealand is an international mission organization established to help Christian ministries with their building and maintenance needs.  He has been asked to attend their conference, so they'll be flying him over to NZ for a week next month.  Praise God for a great connection and we pray that Ray can be a help and a blessing to this wonderful ministry.


We are hoping to travel to Indonesia at the end of this year.  There is a Pioneers leadership conference in January in Bali.  We hope to go to Papua (where Ray grew up) to visit with good friends in December before the conference.  Please pray for God's provision for this upcoming trip as we plan and prepare.
PRAYER & PRAISE
  • Praise for the Capernwray Bible School team arriving tomorrow and the ways God is at work in and through them.
  • Pray for rain!!!
  • Pray for the Oasis Farm tractor, we bought it quite old and used.  It is broken and we have yet to find anyone who knows how to fix it.  
  • Pray for Ray's back, he's been in a lot of pain for almost a month now.  
  • Pray for Ray's New Zealand trip (MMM conference).
  • Pray for God's provision and guidance as we plan our Indonesia trip for Dec/Jan.
  • Pray for Stephen as he adjusts to his new roles on the farm and with teams.
  • Praise for our Island Encounters team and prayer for new members.
  • Praise for Friend Fiji and our papaya partnership.
  • God to continue to provide for our personal support as we are still lacking (see below) as well as the ongoing needs of Oasis Farm.
Thanks so much for your love and support!  We appreciate you so much.

Because of Him,

Ray, Laura, Eden, Elani & Isla Grace
 


Check out our Links:

Island Encounters Website
Island Encounters Facebook Page
Fiji Family Adventures Blog
Picasa Web Albums (Our Photo Gallery)
Give through Pioneers
Laura's Island Encounters Photography Website
Laura's Island Encounters Photography Facebook page


**NOTE:  Make sure to like our Facebook page in order to get more regular photos and updates of what is going on with Island Encounters and Oasis Farm!

 
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