Hunter Gatherers

ICC is over. I think to summarized what we learned there I could simply recommend a book: "Cross Cultural Servanthood". Truly learning to be servants in any context is hard enough, but learning to be servants in a different culture will be a challenge. God will help us to do it, with His grace it'll get done!

To celebrate the end of this leg of training, we went geocaching. This is our family hobby, or at least one of them. The other is making fun home movies. My daughter is holding up a stone with the coordinates for the next part of the find. We spent the Saturday hiking through Cane Creek and exploring the trails and the sites. It is a very pretty park although it seemed we were the only ones there because it was 44 degrees outside.

It is Thurs now, and Chad has been in I.T. training all week. There are two more weeks of it to go, and then we head back home to CA. Yesterday Chad got to play with Satellite telephony and email. He (I) really enjoyed playing with new (to me) technology. Although pricey, I can see how the satellite technology is useful in retrieving important email and such for translators in the jungle.

In some places email is done with a thumb drive and a helicopter. Other places with a satellite phone. The technical support team here really puts a lot of effort into finding ways that the translators can get their work done while finding new and creative ways to reduce the cost to everyone involved.

Technology is amazing. The people God puts in place to come up with ways to help the translation of God's Word is also amazing. There is a software they use here called UUplus which was designed by a christian man with the intent of increasing communication and lowering the cost of satellite fees for missionaries. It works too. A typical satellite call (using a sat phone as a modem) to do 1 email took 2:04 minutes. But using the same phone and the UUplus software, it took 30 seconds. When you're paying per minute for satellite usage, that's a dramatic cost savings over time. Also, to reduce the price of sat phones, they buy older models, used on EBAY to keep the cost down. So you may not be using the latest and the greatest, but you're still doing EMAIL in the middle of the jungle with NO electrical outlet in your hut! Isn't that amazing!


A good testimony

Yesterday in class we heard a testimony from Nard Pugyao. It was a very inspiring and moving testimony. Back in the 1950's one of _our_translators had gone to the phillipines to share the Gospel and translate the Bible starting with the book of Mark.

It was something along the lines of a very long flight, a canoe trip up the river, and an 8 hour hike to get to Nard's village. He was a young boy at the time. His village was tired of serving the spirit world. They would have to consult certain birds to walk safely. The witch doctor would consult evil spirits who proved time and time again to be angry and unpredictable. Nard's daughter was killed at the request of a spirit.

The people were ready for a new God, a more powerful God, and so they listened to the missionary. He told them about God and they loved it. But then, Nard got to the point of Mark where God sent His only son to die and he got mad and threw the book. What a powerless person God must be if He could not protect His only son.

He struggled with that and then God gave him a realization that Christ died for Nard, for him. He picked the book back up and then read that Christ rose from the dead. No one his Nard's imagination had ever done that! What power! What LOVE!

Nard devoted his life to Christ. His dad told him one day he was 7 years old and that he should go to first grade. There was a school a few miles away. He said "dad you don't know when I was born." and his dad said, "reach over your head and touch your ear....see you're 7." So Nard went, but he hated school and he cut school for months. And then, the translator had delivered to school some primers for learning to read, in the language of Nard's people, and he loved the books, and he loved learning to read.

Nard is a helicopter pilot for _us_ now. He had gone back to his tribe several times to assist in the translation work there. He has a strong memory of the scripture, you should see his copy of Mark, worn and torn, and held together by staples, but it's his treasure.

The part of the story he shared at the end, was that the week that the translator who originally came to his village was scheduled to fly out of San Francisco, CA. Was the week that the news hit the presses about Jim Elliot and his friend being massacred.

The translator could have changed his mind, and not gone. There are a lot of what if's in life. What if he didn't go? Nard wouldn't be standing there yesterday telling us of his story.

God has planned good works for us to do. God has put things in place. God has crafted us to be who we are. His provision for us is amazing when you look back and see how it all comes together. And knowing that we have the awesome opportunity to affect people for God's kingdom is overwhelmingly inspiring. After hearing Nard's testimony so many of us were charged up and ready to go yet again. God continually brings us the energy required for this job. Continually fills us up with inspiration. And this ICC training has equipped us in many ways to be prepared for what lies ahead, spiritually and mentally.

Thank you for sending us to training! It ends today, and then in the next 3 weeks Chad (me) will be in I.T. training.


The Battle

God has blessed our family immeasurably.
Recently we've had some friends stand up and say "we're going to sponsor your newsletter". Which means we can now mail out newsletters at no cost to ourselves other than time! God is great!

You should be seeing the new one very soon. It'll also be online at

God has blessed us so much, but at the same time, He is preparing us to do battle with the enemy.

Ephesians mentions that God has appointed us to do the good works which He has planned for us to do. And we are going about that task. Who knows what works those will be day to day, but we go with a heart of submission to minister to everyone we can, and are in turn ministered to by the Spirit.

There are certain topics in Christian culture which are hard to broach. One of them is spiritual warfare.

The key ingredient in spiritual warfare is knowing your identity in Christ. (Eph 1:1-14). There really isn't a formula or a technique, because it isn't our power that defeats the enemy but it is God's truth. It isn't a power encounter it is a truth encounter.

In knowing this, we have been teaching our kids who they are in Christ and as a comfort to us, they really already know much of the promises they have in God. They know God loves them, made them, and protects them. For this we are thankful.

The other night, around 2am, our cell phone rang. As is our practice I answer the phones after hours, but my wife had woken up first and answered, confusedly and then hung up. The phone rang again and then I answered.

It was obviously a wrong number, and the caller was inebriated, and was saying lewd things. I hung up and turned off the cell phone.

If we do not have eyes to see, and recognize that there are spiritual aspects to life, then we could simply see this as a minor annoyance. Another possibility is that it was the enemy trying to fatigue us. If we fail to recognize that, in the morning we could be grumpy, bicker with each other, etc, which would completely distract us from glorifying God which is our chief aim.

There is a great sermon on this issue from Andy Stanley from called "exposing the matrix". It is a series of well done dramas and sermons that expose the plans of the enemy. (unfortunately I can't find the link to it jsut yet, I think they took it down)

So I found myself at 2am, simply praying and praising God so that my thoughts would not stray into the arena of anything other than focusing on God, because that, is the goal of the enemy.

This is why you, as prayer partners become so important to us. That you would pray for our protection, for our strength. That we would not fail in this mission together, that as those going we would not fall victim to the many snares and would instead glorify God in whatever means He has planned for us.

We covet your prayers. Sincerely, we thank you for praying for us.

Please pray that the enemy would not hinder our visas. That the paperwork would flow and our visas would arrive in good time so that we would not have to reschedule flights.

thank you.


family fun day

Since we've all been so well behaved in class lately, today we decided to have a family fun day. Everything is at least a 30 minute drive from here, and we found a place called Zuma that had batting cages, go karts, mini golf, bumper boats, slides, pizza and games.

We decided to attend on a budget. We explained to the kids "we have to make choices, and can't do everything. So this is what we can do.. and you can choose."

And so we ended up putting the kids on 1 round of mini karts.
They'd never been on them before and they LOVED them. It was one of those things that was as much fun for us as parents to watch as it was for them to drive the karts.

Our daughter drove very carefully, not wanting to bump into anything. Whereas our son drive full throttle and lapped her several times. They had smiles on so wide it was making us laugh and smile simply watching them.

We took pictures.

It might be worth saying that mini golf was a blast too, as we all got holes in one at least once, which is a family first.

We have a family tradition called a family 5. It starts when one member of the family declares "family five!" and gives a high five to someone else, who then passes it on. A few years ago at the first family five, one of the kids mentioned "but there is only four of us, so the last one to get the five should give it up to God!" So we do. It has become our little cheesy family tradition to celebrate when we've all accomplished something together as well as remembering to thank God for it.

Today the kids called a family five after completing the golf course.

One of the things we've been learning during our spiritual warfare course is that the enemy may attack your children if and so you need to pray for them and equip them with who they are in Christ.

Their schooling has provided a perfect opportunity for us to do that as they have a tradition of a book called "The important thing about ______ is ________." At the end of my son's recent book his own entry reads: "The important thing about Calvin is God made me."

Truly finding our identity in Christ, and believing that God made us as we is something that every struggles with even through adulthood. The longer car rides have afforded our family some great conversations the last few weeks.



feb 2 was our 11th wedding anniversary.
My wife and I have a little tradition, she plans the odd years, I plan the evens, unless it's a big year then I usually plan it.

So this year she planned our anniversary, which is no small feat when you're in a place you don't know a LOT of people, and you need to be resourceful.

She arranged baby sitting, and found a place nearby that did a little dinner theatre. It was nice to get away and spend some time laughing together. We really do laugh a lot when we're together.

The next day, the 3rd, we have some neighbors who have really quite the saga regarding their house. They've had nothing but hard times regarding the preparation of this home, battling a caved roof, legal issues, mold, etc. Many of us pitched in on Saturday to help with what we could. It was really neat to see 15 guys and gals pulling together to bring this house into repair. Of course no one saturday can do all the work, but the couple seemed very thankful at what got done.

God has us doing ministry in every aspect of our lives, and our eyes try to be open to each one.

Friday afternoon we were taking a four wheel driving course. Part of the preparation to go to the field is to train missionaries how to drive off road. It's a neat story how that class came to be, but anyway, my wife did well, and that made me very proud.

We are definitely learning a lot here. We are studying some very deep issues of spiritual vitality, interpersonal skills, and spiritual warfare.

Thank you for your prayers.