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Family will spell missionaries who work with single mothers, orphans and those in poverty

When 15-year old C.S. Lewis Academy student Mikaela Borg expressed that she wanted to be homeschooled for her junior year in order to focus on practicing her violin, it elicited a lighthearted response from her father, Jeff.

“Maybe we could sell our house and buy a boat and just sail around the world and end up in Fiji or something,” Jeff Borg replied.

Thanks to a series of serendipitous events, that what-if conversation proved to be somewhat prophetic, as the family is set to embark on a three and a half month mission trip to Fiji at the end of September. SUBMITTED PHOTO - Musical talent runs deep - The Borg family is raising funds to pay for its trip to Fiji, which included a  dinner fundraiser Monday at Newberg Christian Church, at which Jeff, Janet and Mikaela performed as a musical trio.

“I was planning on being homeschooled this year anyway, so I was thinking that wouldn’t it be nice to move somewhere with nice weather and just get away from everything,” Mikaela Borg said. “As a separate thought, I also wanted to go on a mission trip soon, but I didn’t know those would mesh together, that it would be for that long and that far away.”

The connection that made the trip a real possibility came when Janet spoke to a friend, who mentioned they knew of a mission family in Fiji that was looking to take a break in order to return to the United States for medical reasons and to garner further support for their work.

The Borgs looked into and were drawn to Ray and Laura Pittman’s mission work (www. island ecounters, which includes ministering to single mothers, tutoring orphans and demonstrating farming techniques so that those in poverty may grow their own food.

Going on a mission trip was also on the family’s to-do list, so spelling the Pittmans for a few months appealed to the Borgs, especially after volunteering for Love INC as hosts at the Newberg Homeless Shelter for the last couple of years.

“That’s expanded our horizons,” Janet Borg said. “Just getting to know those ladies has been so much fun. We’ve talked about how that has been part of the process of God preparing us for this.”

At first it was Janet who scoffed at the not-so-serious idea of going to Fiji, but Jeff, who had been laid off in 2012 before finding work doing rental property maintenance about a year later, was not only worried about keeping his position, but also continuing to pay the mortgage.

One morning, when Jeff normally prays, Jeff found himself on his front porch attempting to simply “be silent before God.”

Open to whatever God wanted to tell him, Jeff clearly heard the words “pursue Fiji.”

“I thought it was weird or maybe I was imagining that,” Jeff said. “But I decided I was going to believe God is really telling me that. From then on I was serious. If we raise all the funds or not, we’re going to pursue Fiji. It didn’t matter. That’s what we were going to do.”

Jeff, however, was able to get unpaid leave from his job and since then many other necessary pieces have fallen into place.

The Borgs are currently raising funds to pay for the $12,000 trip, which included a dinner fundraiser Monday at Newberg Christian Church, at which Jeff, Janet and Mikaela performed as a musical trio.

The family had raised approximately $4,000 before the event and collected ? more Monday.

Also helping the family is Newberg Foursquare Church, which has set up a mechanism through which donations can be made for the project. Tax-free donations can be made by visiting, clicking the “Give” tab and selecting “Fiji Missions.”

Because they are doing missionary work on a tropical island best known for its resorts and sandy beaches, fundraising has been challenging at times.

Ray Pittman, however, likes to describe his mission’s work as “the other side of the post card.”

“I know that we’ve been told people don’t have enough food to feed their families and often the children will go without lunch to school,” Janet Borg said. “They don’t have access to clean water a lot, so there are a lot of needs in the areas these missionaries work.”

With a departure date of Sept. 28, the family says it still oscillates between excitement about the trip and wonder at how it has manifested itself.

“It has to be God because we couldn’t have put it together how it’s happened,” Janet Borg said. “We couldn’t have even dreamed it up, really.”

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