God works in royal ways. I believe He desires glory and therefore does things in ways that shout "I did this." He isn't satisfied being confused with coincidence or luck, He wants us to know He has done a good work. And when we foster our relationship with Him in such a way that we have eyes to see it, it is a wonderful thing, and a wonderful relationship builder.

A week ago I read "God's Smuggler" this book had countless examples of God asking a man to do something, the man turning to Him and saying "okay" and then stepping out wondering how God would provide.

For some time now my wife and I have had a prayer request which we will keep confidential. Months ago I released the burden on my heart to God in prayer and decided to let Him handle it. After all He can do a better job.

You'd be surprised how bold you can be in prayer. Sometimes part of believes that God would not answer such a bold prayer. That it would seem impossible what we want done. And yet, God seems to like these prayers the most. We have seen many examples of God saying "watch what I'm gonna do!"

It is incredibly reassuring to know that God does these things despite and without us. Because there is no temptation for pride, and upon seeing the work done, all inspiration for humility.

A week ago God moved in my heart to step out in faith again. Generosity is a new area of my heart that God is infiltrating. I considered myself a generous man until I ran smack into the type of generosity God intended for me.

In my quiet time, God put it on my heart to "go out on a limb, trust me" with something I felt too huge. The temptation to avoid doing this thing.

So I wrestled in my head. "Is this a figment of my imagination?" After praying against the enemy from clouding my judgment, I realized that such generosity does not come from me it was from God." I went to my wife and said,
"Honey, we gotta do this thing." (which I am keeping confidential)
she shrugged and said, "okay."

We went ahead and did the thing God asked us to, trusting He knew why and knowing we may never make sense of our actions.

1 week later a new situation came up. There is a vehicle on center for sale. I did my due research and found out the condition of the vehicle, and wasn't sure if I truly wanted a vehicle because I do want to get accustomed to walking. I did not feel confident in the vehicle for sale.

As I was discussing vehicles with a neighbor, he said "you see that Trooper that jsut drove by, the owners are leaving soon, they might sell."

So I walked to the owner's house and discussed his vehicle with him.

He said, "I was about to list it, but if you want it, make me an offer. Go home and pray about it and tell me in a few days." He gave me a range which was beyond our budget for a car.

So we again went to God in prayer "God give us confidence about a vehicle, and if you want us to offer more than we have budgeted, please provide more money in the next couple of days."

GOD works in ROYAL ways.

Less than 24 hours later, we got an answer.

We got an answer that not only gave us more money for the car, thus providing an exact amount we should offer, BUT also the answer included an answer to that prayer so many months ago, as well as answering the recent stepping out in faith we did on God's prompting.

In 1 moment, God answered 3 prayers. One less than a day old. One a week old, and one months old.

God does things in ROYAL ways.

I am not surprised, but I am always amazed. God touched my heart deeply this morning and showed us we are in His care. And that, is a great place to be!

We are not worthy of the constant encouragement God is to us. This personal relationship, as our Father He tells us we are worthy to be His children. He is lavishing on us encouragement right now, and our hearts are bursting from it.

With that we walked into the Tok Pisin service for church this morning. And while we barely understood the worship songs, our hearts sang out. We may not know the idioms and the context but we know what it means when people unite to sing:

Jisas em i Bigpela
Jisas numbawan.


Making a friend

today, I had around an hour conversation with a Papua New Guinean man. He learned english in the states, and everyone I've spoken to about him say he's a good man and his family is a good family. He is trustworthy and he works on center.

We talked about his family, his history, how he met Christ, we talked about his children and about different things. It was great!

I was able to ask him some of the cultural questions we have and he offered good advice as well as some key phrases to say. He was able to warn me of certain things, and I thank God that He sent this man into our lives.

We are pretty excited that we have had such an early chance to create a relationship across cultures that has the promise of being a good sound friendship over time.

It was interesting because as usual I may have been over thinking the situation.
I have been told that papua new guineans will tell you things through stories.

Well the situation is he is sitting on our veranda, my wife had served fresh baked cookies, and I had poured us some cool water to relax and talk after he had spent hours mowing our yard (yes it's that big).

I have been told two things;
1 - if you serve snacks to nationals, if they like it, they will eat a lot. I have always found that endearing.
2 - Americans prefer food sweeter than other nationalities.

So it was interesting to watch him eat the first cookie very slowly, but then, proceed to eat nearly half a dozen.

Now he's talking a lot and I'm not wanting to interrupt. So I didn't leave to get more water, but I'm thinking "after that many cookies this guy HAS to be thirsty"

Soon he's telling me a story and the phrase "cool water" keeps coming up in the story. I'm thinking in my head "well it may mean nothing, but I'm going to serve him more water." I offered more and he thanked me.

A while later, I hadn't paid him yet, and I realized I was exerting control over this conversation because he may not be willing to ask me for payment. Soon a story comes up about how he was paid at this job, and how this other job paid him, and how he saved his money as a young child. The idea of money kept coming up, so, I went inside and got the money, and offered it to him, and he accepted.

We talked for another half hour, but he was free to go whenever he chose. Soon he said he had to go home and work in the garden.

It was an incredibly encouraging time. And I thank God for this budding relationship!

Suspending Judgment

We're taught to not get upset by things at what they might seem like at first, and to pause, and research what is really going on.

Today for the third time, a man came to our door offering us a gift of strawberries and looking for work.

"yu nogat wok?"

This man had been employed by the owners of our house and let go because while he was supposed to be working, he was off doing other things, and the owner caught him. So now that we're in town he is trying to get rehired, thinking we don't know his history.

So we keep telling him we don't have work for him, and he keeps returning.

Today, my wife told him that she didn't have work and that he should leave, her husband wasn't home. She said this because she didn't know how in pidgin to say I was unavailable. 25 minutes after she left, I looked out the window to see him wandering the yard with a bucket. I said hello to him, and instantly thought he might be stealing fruit.

Now I remember a story in our training about a whiteskin thinking a local was stealing fruit and so I paused, and didn't let myself get upset.

I later went to a friend and asked about it, and it turns out, he was not taking fruit but more likely trying to get a view of what work needed to be done so he could return and offer to do it.

This is part of our adaptation to this place. We need to know how to wisely handle relationships so that we are not painted as gullible. If we get marked as gullible, we will have many problems.

Thus far God has provided us good council in the folks that we've met here and have seemingly given us the wise thing to do only hours before we actually need it.

God is providing for us so that we can minister to the folks around us and begin making healthy relationships, while at the same time, avoiding the pitfalls that come with the territory.

I would be akin to us warning people coming to America about door to door magazine salesman I suppose. It is relatively harmless, but there is a wise thing to do and a not-as-wise thing to do.


Lae in a Day

March 28
Lae in a day. Our friends decided they would treat us to a trademark "Lae in a day" trip. This trip is about supplies. (But also, it was about showing us around.) Finding things you either can't find on center or can find much more affordably. The store on center is amply stocked for necessity and some niceties but it goes in cycles and things that might be there one day, may not be available the next. They receive containers of supplies that come mostly from Lae on trucks.

The road to Lae (sounds like a Bob and Bing movie) took 3 hours one way. This is less because of distance and more the condition of the road. There are at times potholes scattered across the entire width of the near-two lane road. Maneuvering around the potholes involves weaving all over the road and sometimes off.

Not only are the potholes a hazard that you best see coming so you can hit the brakes, but they are a cause of a whole different type of driving in this country. If you are behind a vehicle, you can't see the upcoming potholes. T hey may brake suddenly. If you try to pass said vehicle, at the same time they try to swerve to avoid a pothole, that's a bad situation. So you liberally use the horn to let them know you intend to pass.

Using the horn is not rude in this country.

Intersection stops. They don't have them really. They have roundabouts, which are a fun little way of managing an intersection because you don't have to stop, you simply have to yield and merge.

What other hazards are there? People, dogs, pigs, oncoming traffic, bridges, mudslides and more. Don't forget, as they always said about Ginger Rogers, she had to do everything Fred did, but backwards, and in heals. All of this driving is on the other side of the road, and the driver is on the other side of the car. (although someone once told me it's because they always like the driver to be in the center of the road)

So you can imagine, that Lae in a day involved 3 hours TO Lae, shopping all day, then 3 hours back. The driver, needs his wits about him at all times, and his reflexes. It's a long day for the driver, it's a long day for everyone.

Wisely, we start each trip by putting the vehicle, our safety and the trip in God's hands in prayer. I would like to spend a moment on the issue of prayer. Until the last few years, I did not consider prayer a survival skill. I considered prayer as a means to get to know God, to express to God, but I was completely aware that God is sovereign and anything could happen. Recent years have taught me that, yes that is true, but prayer should also be very much your first instinct in any situation. Personally, I think God enjoys blessing His people by answering their prayers.

So you may think "okay they prayed, but still they could break down." Yes we could. And folks have. That doesn't mean God doesn't answer prayer. But what it does do is provide a new way that God can show you His provision. One such example is that a friend told us a story that he broke down a while back, and two complete strangers, nationals, came up along side him and said "we'll stay here to protect you until you are done with your repairs". And they did, sacrificing their entire day's plans to stay with him. This is unheard of. This is God's provision.

It is perhaps what is most addictive to me about serving God. Complete reliance on Him and watching Him arrive and supply. It never gets old. I see miracles daily. I see God's hand move! I see people touched by Him and lives changed. I see His love for us.

As we embark we remember, each interface we have with the people in this country is the making a reputation, for both our organization and for God. So we remain polite, no matter how tired we are, we speak in love, no matter how long the lines are taking. It isn't hard to remember you're a witness when because of your skin, you stand out. In many ways here, you stand out, and it is a good discipline to remember that you are an example of Christ to those around you. And really, we aren't here to go shopping, we are here to serve and share Christ. I was encouraged to see people take this seriously today as each interface they had with people was shedding light, speaking truth, being encouraging, and being polite to people.

Some highlights are the road conditions seem to be improving over time. Two years ago much of the road wasn't paved as it is now. Also, a highlight is "Big Rooster" which is much like a KFC, and is something you can pickup on the way home for a treat.

You'd be surprised what you can get in country. I saw an xbox 360. It was selling for near a thousand dollars, but it was there.

The countryside is beautiful! Have you ever seen cockatoos flying in the wild? We have.

I apparently am my own form of entertainment for the nationals. Inside stores, people were hiding behind displays and staring at me, turning away when I made eye contact. One cashier lady huddled with three other cashiers and were apparently watching me and giggling. I turned over as I stretched and caught their eye, they started laughing out loud so much that they turned and covered their faces with a clipboard. They didn't want me to see them laughing at me.

I haven't seen that kind of reaction since high school. Wait, who am I kidding, I never saw that in high school.

I am large and I am white. It's like MTV to the nationals I guess. I wonder what would happen if I brought my banjo and started playing in the middle of town.

The trip was enjoyable. Our big purchase of the day was some mosquito repelling devices to hopefully reduce the amounts of bites the kids get. I had them count their bites today. 19 each. I rounded out to around 12.

God blessed us today with the energy and the safety it took to pull the trip off.

Our kids, were taken care of by some neighbors and had an excellent day. They made friends, beaded necklaces, and painted toenails, etc. It was a great answer to prayer because we wanted them to start making closer friends and it sounds like they did.

Besides the people watching, the comfort of knowing that there are items available to us, the good fellowship and the experience of being monitored.... this day was exciting to me because I got to use some Tok Pisin.

I've studied the vowel sounds of Tok Pisin so I able to read signs and practice pronouncing them in my head.
-isi- isn't "issy" it's "EE SEE"

Our guides would talk pidgin to people and then I would try to repeat what they said later.

For example.
We were looking for some erasers that go on top of pencils for a friend.
My host was talking to the person trying to explain and then later when I was in a store I tried the same tack.
I don't know pidgin, but I could remember much of what he said, and so while I'm sure I sounded like a child's language level, I said,

"Mi laik kissim eraser go long top long pencil"

which is a hodge podge but pidgin doesn't have a lot of words for things... but the clerk understood me. THAT was fulfilling.

Then later, I said

"Mi hamamas long mitim youpela" -I think this means "I'm happy to meet you all."

So, for me, I got to utter a few phrases that I have no idea if they are right, but I was constructing enough of it that people understood me. So there is much less the sense of panic when trying to communicate.

I'm rather sure that people will be talking about the very large white man who spoke like a little baby for a few days yet.


Conversions and Conversations

We're learning to adapt to daily life here. There are a lot of conversions to do in the head. Pounds to kilos, dollars to kina, 110v to 220v, english to pidgin or even english to english.

It is an interesting exercise in humility when you're talking to people who live here and you can't speak their language, and you so badly want to communicate.

There are nationals all around. They live near us, they walk with us, they work with us. As you would expect the nationals on center are mostly believers because they've been around missionaries.

Today I met a few more that will be co-workers with me. One man said "I know about solar energy, so if you have questions you need answers to, I can help you."

I said, "yes I have a solar need. I need more sun to heat my water."

Everyone laughed instantly. I'm glad my sense of humor translates. He responded "that problem, I'll leave up to God."

The next thing I knew, we were talking about God and about how they are learning in their spiritual training class that there are ten things about themselves they can not change.

Not two minutes into talking to these men, we were having a spiritual conversation! How exciting that is for me.

We have been taught that many nations have spiritual matters on the mind and love to discuss these things, that opportunities to bring up Christ are endless. To experience it was so encouraging because it means that Christ translates, and we can talk about Him on deep levels across language and cultural borders.

God will minister to us through these relationships I know. It is an interesting and humbling position to be in knowing we are guests, we've come to help, but we are guests-in-learning.

That is our attitude. We are here to learn, and to serve, and to rely on God to show us how and provide the path.

HERE is a list of food my daughter has put together that she has found in PNG:

"a list of foods in paupa new guinea" (not edited)
1. Papia
2. Pineapple
3. Oranges
4. bananas
5. carrots
6. cucumber
7. noodles
8. sweet patatoes
9. bisckits
10. crocidle
11. mints/ground beef [mince=ground beef]
12. twistes/cheese chicken, pizza, barbucae
13. cabage
14. onions
15. eggs
16. cheese
17. bread
18. cinomon roll
19. nuts
20. m&m's
21. gopstopers/everlasting
22. giant snicker bar 1 more left
23. ice cream
24. ice cream cones
25. breakfast cereals
26. yogurt
27. fanta soda
This is the list of food items my daughter wrote down as we visited the store.

So far the dishes we've eaten here are:
spaghetti w/meat sauce
cranberry chicken w/rice and sweet potato a grautin
fried bologne and cheese sandwiches
and a few others...

but tonight... tonight is PIZZA NIGHT!
the high schoolers were doing a fund raiser and we bought some pizza for k10. (10 kina)

My son is VERY excited. We'll put them in the oven in a bit. and while technically it's monday for us here, back in CA it's Sunday so we still got our traditional pizza night in. (-;

One of the things we did to get the kids excited about trying new foods was we picked up some local snacks and daily at 3pm they vote on which one they will try and if everyone likes it, we pin the wrapper to the corkboard.

It's been fun to see who likes what and how they respond. So far, the two family favorites are:
2 minute noodles (like Top Ramen only better)
Cheese twisties
Kumul coconut biscuit
pineapple from the garden

Take Care and God bless!



march 23, 2007
today I had a few chores. First I had to locate the key to the storage area under the house, then I found the key, and inside was a ladder and a bush knife.

I cleaned the trap on the tank screen, it was full of pine needles.
I then went around cutting down bananas.
The first bunch I thought grabbed with one arm to hold and swung with the other arm to cut. I was expecting a few hacks at it since the stalk was 3 inches in diameter, but one swing brought it down unexpectedly into my other arm and it was heavy, and I lowered it very quickly to the ground.

So the second bunch I decide to let drop. BAD idea. It dropped in 2 swings, and when it hit the ground, bananas broke off. Now I have to figure out what to do with broken bananas, put them on the compost heap I suppose.

So we have now 3 big branches of green bananas ripening under our porch.

Kendal has been trying to learn laundry. She washed the clothes, put them out to dry, but then we had to leave so she brought them in, but then they started to mildew, smell funny, so she washed them again.
We're trying to figure out how to let the clothes dry while we're not home without them being stolen.

then Oru dropped by. The houseowners old yardman. They advised us he was a good guy but to hire him for one-off type of projects. He had a basket of strawberries in his hands, a gift. So there I was trying to tell him we weren't ready to hire yet, that I would let him know, and that we already had a lot of strawberries because my wife went to the market.

But I couldn't speak much pidgin at all, and he spoke no English. It was frustratingly comic that I couldn't put many words together. I was able to understand him, which was good, but I couldn't communicate what I was thinking. So he told me he would go find another white man to translate. Five minutes later the phone rings and one of the folks I haven't met yet told called and told me what was going on. I told him what I was trying to tell Oru and he translated.

I don't know exactly what he said, and I'm hoping he put it in the best possible polite terms. Oru was a great guy, he kept smiling and embracing me to tell me it was okay that we couldn't communicate.

oh man we dont' know anything.
"What is he saying? Why is he working here? I don't want him to be working. Why is he still here? Did I say something to make him think he can stay?"

"How do we do laundry when it's raining?"

"What is this passion fruit all about? Woah that's different."

"Are the bugs fleas or chiggers or mosquitos? We don't know."

This morning has been a tiring experience of discovering how little we know. For a guy who likes to have the information before making decisions, it doesn't feel good to be stuck wondering where to get information. Thank you God for moments like this that make us realize You are who we rely on to provide. God please provide people to help us answer these questions, and thank You because we know You already have.

A fun kid story.

Today I heard my son run in and say "[daughter] has a rhinocerous beetle on her dress! It makes a weird noise like ...hhhhh hhhhhhh"

We told him to knock it off with a stick, but after many attempts it wasn't working. So I went to see what was going on. My daughter was upset but not terribly so. She was standing still, and holding the hem of her dress out so that the beetle wouldn't touch her skin.

"daddy get it off! get it off!" this is about a freaked as she gets, which is very calm. The rhino beetle is harmless, but it likes to hiss like a cat. The thing is, if you don't shake them off quick, they latch on strong.

After some doing I got it off and showed it to her. "no daddy no."
So I said, "hey kiddo, look at it, it's like that big blue beetle from Bug's Life that carried everyone around."

she replied very quickly, "no it's not, it's not blue and it's CA-REEEPY!"
and my son responded, "yeah, and this one hisses, the other one talked!"

We've Arrived

We have arrived in PNG.
Before I get to tell you all kinds of stories, first let me say, PRAISE GOD!
He has been so good to us.

Next let me say, for those of you who don't like to read a lot of wording, we have pictures! And.. movies.

goto this link and to see the pictures in a slideshow you can click to the left on "view slideshow"
(change the size to 640x480 and click on "show more info")

I took the time to add captions so that you'd know what you were looking at.

Story time (hopefully not all posts will be this long, as I have a LOT to catch up on) (please forgive the errors, I wrote all this when jet lagged to capture the moment but it still needs some editing which I have forsaken in the interest of getting this online sooner than later for those who are anxious)

Ukarumpa aircraft information (many have asked)

the hangar has 6 planes, 2 helicopters
King Air - uses jet fuel, is a twin turbo prop (which means it has two jet engines with propellers in front of them)
it is their biggest and fastest plane.

Islander - uses jet fuel, is also a twin turbo prop, doesn't go as fast as the king air.

4 Cesna 206's - piston engine, uses AVgas, single prop plane. (smaller)

2 Bel helicopters - turbine engine (one is a jet ranger, the other a long ranger)

--March 19/20
Today we met Sherwood Lingenfelter. He was sitting in the lobby when I walked in. How surreal is that? Joel's dad jsut sitting in the lobby of the MAPANG house in png. He was an instructor on Multi-cultural teams in ICC and we read much of his work on the subject of intercultural integration. He also is speaking on center for center meeting. It blows my mind, all the little confirmations the God has given us. Here we have gone to Biola, where Sherwood was provost, never met him. Read his essays in training for weeks, watched him on video, and gotten to know his son over the years. I talk to his son practically daily, and yet have never met him. And finally, here, where you'd lead expect to find anyone you knew, we run into Sherwood sitting in our lobby.

--March 20

we loaded up the van and were taken to the MAF air hangar. We waited there in a cooled office for about an hour or more. The heat and humidity of Port Moresby was very tropical. They weighed all our luggage. We have these really nice duffel bags from an army surplus store called German Quartermaster bags. We had a conundrum on what to use for bags, and we wound up with duffles that my wife found. WHAT a blessing from God! The bags are very nice, very strong, very squishable. If it were not for these bags, we would not have gotten ALL 8 of them on the plane. They weighed our luggage and us. I realized that I weigh the same as my wife and children put together. One of me equals three of them!

Anyway, we were instructed to pack only 1 bag for priority overnight should the rest be put on layaway for another flight. But, God prevailed and because they were duffels, all 8 made it. We rode in a large king air, I was seated first behind the pilot because that has the most leg room. WHAT a fun plane ride that was! We got to fly high up in the clouds, see the pilots fly and talk with Sherwood for the entire flight.

What a fun time that plane ride was! It was gorgeous coming down into the center from that perspective!
When we landed, we were enlightened by what Geoff and Sue were preparing for us to "recognize" them with. They were waving a huge California flag (the republic). It was very funny, to arrive and see the flag and them, we all had a good laugh. Turns out the pilot was from San Jose before he came out here.

Are you counting the blessings:
1 - God's providence with the luggage, and how it would not have fit had we kept our original rigid square containers
2 - God's provision in making the flight simple, the kids handle it well, and all our luggage arrive (we checked it through to Port Moresby from San Francisco, so we didn't have to wheel it around
3 - God's provision in sailing us through customs. We were not stopped at all! We walked right through.
4 - God's blessing that we got to meet and talk to Sherwood Lingenfelter and to know him a little.
5 - God's blessing that the pilot was from San Jose
6 - God's humor with the California flag, and getting a good laugh when we arrived
7 - God's timing, in that the Russells were there to greet us at the airport and to feed us, and to show us into our new home. How awesome is that?

It was great to spend the night with our friends the Russells. They are our hospitality family, and we have 2 weeks to work into the scheme of things here before we get to work. I'm told I'll be busy. My first visit here was with them, and seeing them was so great! They have a great agenda planned for us, so we'll be able to get to know some people, get the lay of the land a little.

I can't express how wonderful it is to be finally in our new home, to have been greeted by our friends, and to have had a taco dinner with them. They even provided us with groceries for the morning. I'll have to remember that if we're ever a hospitality family.

Our new home is wonderful. It's gorgeous. It has a dishwasher. There are those who are jealous that we start out with a dishwasher! The view is gorgeous here! We'll be putting some pictures up.

It's a 3 bedroom house 1 bathroom (with a nice sunken in bathtub). The kids rooms are great! They love them. The master bedroom is nice, and will eventually fit our bed. And.... praise God,

It is absolutely gorgeous here. The smells, the sites, the sounds, it is a tropical paradise. The house, is very nice, we will explore it more, post pictures and make videos so that you all know how it feels to be here.

The kids loved the tree at the Russell's home. They instantly ran to it because they heard so much about it, and played on it until dinner time, and then after until it was time to leave. They loved it! They have had absolutely no adjustment time here, no complaints, they hit the ground running and laughing and playing. They threw off their shoes and were so much in love with this place, they want to explore.

As do we.

Fears put to rest:
up here at 5000' the mosquitoes are not malaria carriers. Getting it up here is very rare.
no snakes, it gets too cold up here for them
no poisonous spiders, same thing,
there are lizards and geckos, but we like them because they eat insects.
there are centipedes which will give you a bad rash, but can be avoided very easily.

So there, many worries already put to rest.

One thing that will take some getting used to are the bug bites. We are all getting quite a few each night. It is most likely fleas and we will try and protect ourselves the best we can. Getting used to the bites is part of life here. We haven't had any asthma or allergy attacks yet, but the dry season is coming up.

March 21
The kids sat out on the porch today and said "appi noon" to everyone. Then I told them "culturally, kids, the girls shouldn't start conversations, it makes people feel awkward." of course that doesn't really apply to kids, but I was interested in how my daughter would take it.

So Sydney began singing "all the children sing..." then point to Calvin who'd say "appi noon, appi noon appi noon."

Then later today, Sydney insisted on walking barefoot with her bilum on her head, in the rain. My wife kept saying "are you sure you want to go barefoot?" After a while my daughter said "SSSHHHH.. mom, quit asking me that, they might hear you and think I'm not from here! I want them to think I'm from here."

She didn't have the heart to tell her that her skin color set her apart.

March 22

today the word got around, and the signs on our heads that read "new money!" seemed to bring the nationals seeking work to our front door.
First was Jouo who offered to give us milk to continue the milk delivery service here. Thankfully we had friends tell us how to politely handle these situations.
I respectfully said "we're still thinking about whether or not we want milk delivered, I will send you a message if we decide."
He told me to speak with a neighbor who knew how to reach him.

Now to me, that feels like a very impolite way to say no. To me, he's hanging around wondering if he has work. But to HIM it is a very polite way to say no. In fact saying NO is shaming him. Instead I give him the option of not being confronted with a no. Admittedly I did slip in a "no thank you" which I shouldn't have done, but I was warring with my desire to be honest and forthright.

Apparently I handled it properly, and then the haus meri came by from the previous owners and wanted to let us know she was available and we mentioned we were still thinking about whether or not we wanted to hire a haus meri and who it would be.
She politely gave us her availability and left after waving to me.

The worst thing we can do apparently, is accept gifts or say yes at the door immediately. For the next week or so we expect a lot of "askims" and job requests. An askim is when someone will ask you for a loan. It is proper for the LOAN giver to ask for repayment when they need it, however they know Americans never need it, so they have learned to use "askims" as freebies. It's an unethical perversion of their cultural habit of loan giving, and many frown on it. We in fact realize that should we feel inclined to help, (and honestly the temptation is usually the opposite, it's a desire to always say yes and always help) then we investigate and get back to them. Saying yes to people without knowing the facts, can possibly lead to a situation where a national develops the bad habit of begging. Our aim is to give the nationals nearby employment not free rides. Our aim is to create relationships that are based in Christ's love, not in our financial strength

The kids are doing great, we're practically over the jet lag. We are still very much in the beginning phases of culture shock, that being the "honeymoon phase".

We are excited to be meeting people and finding out how God is using their skills to further the translation work here as well. We have met only a few of the many people here but have been blessed to be invited into their homes.

Please enjoy the pictures and videos.


Leavin' On a Jet Plane

Tomorrow we leave.
This will be the last blog post for a while until we arrive and get settled enough to get internet connection, and have accrued enough to share in our next post.

Tonight and tomorrow will be a time of saying final goodbyes. In a lot of ways this last week and 2 months have been "removing the bandaid slowly" by prolonging the goodbyes.

With each tear that drops from saying goodbye, I think of Psalm 126

A pilgrim's Psalm.

1 When the LORD brought back the captives to [a] Zion,
we were like men who dreamed. [b]

2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."

3 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.

4 Restore our fortunes, [c] O LORD,
like streams in the Negev.

5 Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.

6 He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.

It will be a tearful goodbye. We do not allow the enemy to tempt us with the sorrow of separation. We will not allow the enemy to fill our hearts with bitterness at the loss. But we will turn each tear into worship to God. Sacrificing nearness to friends and family knowing with complete confidence that God has called us to do this thing.

We pray for healing for you and for us.

We pray God would turn each tear wept into a seed that is sown, to be harvested in joy!

There is the temptation to think "leaving family has to be wrong, God put family in place, leaving it seems very very wrong." but we have not misheard God's calling. We have not misunderstood.

Don't be tempted to believe we are mislead. We are following God's direction moreso than ever before in our lives.

There has been numerous confirmations and signs. If you have not seen them, and believed, you won't be convinced by me, but we have seen them, and we do believe.

The speed of our process, the partnership that has come to us, the answers to prayers, the maturation of our children, the character God has given us, the passion on our hearts, the small day to day things we never see, the lavish blessings that have been piled onto us, the relationships and people that have come along side of us, these are all confirmations. The list is huge. God is calling

And then we are reminded by Scripture:

Gen 12:
1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.

God has the precedent of having called folks away from family. We become fully dependent on Him.

pray please:
-the flight goes well, this will be my second time negotiating international flight and customs, but my first time doing it without an experienced leader

-we maintain energy and the kids behave well, travel well

-things go smoothly and we arrive at our destination

-family members can work through the pain healthily and not internalize.

-homesickness is kept at a minimum

Thank you so much for your prayers! We love to receive them!

-we leave SFO saturday march 17, at 7pm PST
-we arrive in LAX and transfer over to the International Gate, departing at 11:55pm PST
-we arrive 14 hours later in Brisbane, AUS
-we get on a plane to Port Moresby, PNG (3 hours I think)
-we spend the night in guest housing.
-1-2pm the next day we get on a small King Air from the Center and fly an hour into the center.
-we unload our luggage unto a truck, and drive ten minutes to our new home in PNG.

time right now:
West Coast Time: friday 4pm (GMT-8)
East Coast time: friday 7pm (GMT-5)
PNG time: Saturday 9am (GMT+10)

time difference: PNG is 18 hours ahead



We are in California for a few more days. Our Visas have arrived, our plane tickets are in hand. We are visiting family and friends, and doing last minute details. We are SO excited to get on the plane in 4 days. Emotions are high, but tempered by the fact that we are more confident than anything we've ever been confident in, that God is directing our paths!

He hasn't stopped flooding us with blessings, so many blessings that we can hardly keep track. They are pouring in, as if to say "you are going doing the right thing, don't fret, don't complain, don't doubt."

I have been reading about Moses and the Israelites for some reason they have been resonating with me and this morning I realized why.

I feel like both Moses (to my wife's Aaron or Miriam, your pick) and an Israelite follower. We are in a wilderness, homeless for the moment, awaiting arrival in our promised land. Leaving the comforts of home, and we are leading this family following God's guidance.

At times I'm jealous because Moses spoke to God face to face, and received daily updates it seemed like, and yet, it feels like we are too. Not face to face, (even if I could grow a beard I'm not sure I'd want it to turn white), but still He guides us.

We want so badly to glorify Him in everything, to be servants, but yet we're reminded of how the Israelites repeatedly complained, and lost faith. And how Moses himself who spoke to God, went astray when he struck the rock twice.

Reading up on the Bible, and some side commentaries, you have different opinions as to why Moses did it, but the Bible says, it was because he did not trust God enough. He did not honor God.

Honestly, if we could be half as faithful as Moses was we'd feel as if we were doing great! But at the same time, we use his story as a cautionary tale.

No matter how close you are to God, we're still human.

Praise God for grace! Praise God for his perfection!

Please pray for us as we depart in a few days, please pray:
-that we would trust and obey and glorify God
-we would maintain the hearts of learners and servants
-the emotional strain of leaving would not overwhelm family and friends (and us)
-God would be glorified as all of us try to turn our tears into worship by acknowledging that He has called us, we know God is good.
-the flight goes well, and smooth, and we have room to sleep on the plane.

Visas are in
we have a nice place to stay this week with family
we have beautiful weather here, and had a smooth flight here
we've seen so many friends and family and have only been here 35 hours or so
we've gotten many details handled that needed handled
we were commissioned by our home church, what a huge blessing!


Stealing a story

Until we have our own stories to share about God's work in PNG I think I'll post a few that really reach me.

One of our neighbors living here in Waxhaw, North Carolina, have lived in PNG for 3 years, and are going back there, so they will be neighbors there too! Something they did was they held sunday school for the national children each week as a way to minister to the national community.

One young boy really melded well into their family and became like a brother to their young son. He responded quickly to the Gospel and became a Christian through the experience, learning more and more about Christ each day.

The family had him in their home and really welcomed him open armed as their own son. One day they received a notice that his father was going to visit. What they didn't know because the son used a different last name, was that his father was a well known criminal, as were his uncles.

Through one little act of having this boy in their home and sharing Christ with him, they had unknowingly been placed in a position of involvement in this family of crime. Their response was crucial. Instead of withdrawing they trusted that God was in control.

The son ministered to the father. The father was thankful that someone would love his son enough to do what they had done. That they were the only people who cared enough about his son, given his reputation, and he was very touched by that.

Soon the father came to learn of the Gospel and accepted Christ, as did the brothers.

An entire family turned to Christ through one small act of service and love.

This is but one way in which God has used the support staff He's picked out for PNG. This family is a pilot family, and the husband is often flying government officials from place to place.

You never know what God has in mind, but we know that as support staff to the translation work, that there are many ways we can minister to the community around us!


My mom taught me at a young age something I'll never forget but I've since put it into my own words, "if God is after you to learn something, you best learn it quick and cause yourself less trouble."

One lesson God has been driving home to me specifically in the last 2 weeks has been service. You would think that being a missionary, that the idea of service comes with the territory. I have found it interesting how you can easily segment off what areas of life you are willing to be servants in and which you may find yourself not servants in.

For example, helping people with computers. This is an area I've always tried to be a servant. I've tried to serve my wife, and my children. Friends even. But strangers? I was surprised at the fact that I do not have an instinct of service to strangers.

Perhaps the thing I admire most about Cameron Townsend in the reading of one of his biographies, is that he had an instinct to serve people.

We're reading a few books on this topic, and I have since decided this is the area where God is working in my heart to create a discipline to react with an attitude of service in ALL aspects of my life.

I've tried to instill this in my kids, and in many ways they understand it, and in many ways they are still selfish like kids are. In fact one of the significant factors of maturity that I notice, is servanthood. Selfishness is perhaps the loudest indicator of one's maturity, and I have asked God to shine a light on my own selfishness wherever it may crop up.

One such place has been these visas. I have been asking people to help so much with these visas, and we have been calling the embassy for so long, but not once did I ever ask "how can I serve THESE people?" instead I was expecting them to serve me. Provide ME with MY visas. After all I had filled out all the paperwork in advanced, did all the things they required of me, jumped through multiple hoops repeatedly, why could they not supply my visas in time?

And then we realized the visas would not come no matter how much we pushed. That God had to do it. So we turned to Him in prayer.

And we prayed for a long time. And God began working in my heart about service.

Two days ago, I woke up, did my devotions, and a thought came to me "find someone to serve today."
At 10am, I called the embassy to ask about the visas, but as the phone rang I thought "perhaps I can serve this person today?"
and so instead of asking about the visas first this is how the conversation went:

"Hello, this is Chad Owens, I've called many times before. But before I ask you the question I'm sure you're anticipating, could I ask you... how can I help make your job easier today?"

the person on the other end of the phone paused, and was silent.....

so I offered up "I know that a lot of people are anticipating our visas and may be calling you a lot."

she responded "well, it would help a lot if you could appoint one person to call a day."

"I will do that, I will be the one to call, and I'll instruct everyone else not to call. Thank you."

"your visa letters aren't in today Mr. Owens."
"thank you very much. I look forward to calling you tomorrow. I expect they'll be in by then."

And that was our conversation. Approaching people with an attitude of service not only changes the entire tone of the relationship, but it is disarming, it avoids conflicts, it does so many wonderful things, that you'd almost expect Christ knew what He was talking about! (-;

He did, He knew what a wonderful interpersonal skill an attitude of servanthood would have, and how people would respond to that positively, and how it reflects on the body.

I had assumed the embassy was a business with many people, but I soon realized it was the same person answering the phone every day. Had I started off with an attitude of service months ago, perhaps an opportunity to share Christ with this woman would have arisen over the phone.

I do not believe in coincidence. So what does it tell you when 24 hours after I applied what God was putting on my heart in a new way, that our visa letters came in.

The next day when I called, the letters had arrived, I didn't even have to ask the question she was so enthusiastic to tell me.

Not only that, the visas are now safe at home. We have them.

God is teaching us. As missionaries and people we are not perfect. We are having our faith perfected by God. Isn't it wonderful that He cares enough about us personally to disciple us through His Word and through others?!!

Who am I to know the mind of the Lord? I don't claim that the visas were held up because I needed to learn a lesson. That would be making this faith about me... it isn't about me, or us... it is about being blessed to be a blessing, about reflecting God and His glory.

Our prayer is that God would be glorified, that people who do not believe WOULD believe, and that our relationship with Christ would be such that we do not let our nature get in the way of what God would do through us.


God did it

We expect our visas in 2 days time now!!!

The doubt is gone, the part that has been on hold for nearly 6 months has been passed through, with a week to spare.

God has answered the prayers of His people! God is so faithful.

This is where I sing His praises and dance up and down, except Moses and his sister Miriam did it a lot better than we could:

Exodus 15
The Song of Moses and Miriam

2 The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father's God, and I will exalt him.

3 The LORD is a warrior;
the LORD is his name.

6 "Your right hand, O LORD,
was majestic in power.
Your right hand, O LORD,
shattered the enemy.

9 "The enemy boasted,
'I will pursue, I will overtake them.
I will divide the spoils;
I will gorge myself on them.
I will draw my sword
and my hand will destroy them.'

10 But you blew with your breath,
and the sea covered them.
They sank like lead
in the mighty waters.

11 "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ?
Who is like you—
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders?

12 You stretched out your right hand
and the earth swallowed them.

13 "In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling.

17 You will bring them in and plant them
on the mountain of your inheritance—
the place, O LORD, you made for your dwelling,
the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established.

18 The LORD will reign
for ever and ever."

On a different note, as if that wasn't enough to give us unending excitement and exhiliration, our cargo is passing through Panama Canal right now.

I assumed that there had to be some site out there that would track ships at sea and that if I could get the call sign of our ship carrying our belongings to PNG that I could get geographic coordinates of the ship on a daily basis. This would go above and beyond the shipment tracking information that I was supplied with. SO, finding the ship's name I came across a site that gave the coords, and then plugged those into google earth, and the ship came up in Panama Canal. GOOGLE is fun.

This means, that our cargo will arrive in the beginning of April or end of March! That is amazing and here is why.

Originally we were told that our cargo would take up to 6 months door to door, but that information is less than 4 months, which is near perfect timing for us to get there, get established, move into the rental home they have assigned us, and unpack our 6 boxes, and make a few new friends!

Over a year ago when we first set out to follow God's guidance, we put everything to Him in prayer. All our obstacles, all our concerns. We have developed a habit of presenting YOU our prayer partners with those concerns as well.

GOD has been faithful in every single one. I shall list a few to boast in the Lord:

-we prayed for faster internet service - Supplied 3 months ago
-we prayed for the training schedule to change so we could arrive in PNG in time - God supplied a new schedule for us indicating the precise time He'd like us to leave for PNG
-we prayed for an understanding situation at my work - God provided a new manager who understands the concept of missions work and has been very helpful
-we prayed that somehow our stuff would arrive sooner than 6 months - shipping estimate is 3.5 months
-we prayed for our visas to arrive on time - God has sent them TODAY!

the list is very long, and each time we've gone to Him it has been a situation where it required God to do it. Not to help us do it, but for GOD to do it because it required moving obstacles that we could not move.

God is great, His answer to your prayers and our prayers have been astounding!

We will let you know when those visas are in our hands, in 2 days!


visa status

The situation:
We sent in our visa applications months ago for the family along with our passports which they affix the visas to. The process is the entity where we will be GOING writes a letter to the government in PNG and they then write a letter to the embassy in the United States. Originally the letter from the entity didn't mention we had kids (somehow they were unaware), so the PNG gov't sent our approval the the United States and we received 2 visas and 2 passports. To fix the mistake, we had to reapply for our kids visas. A situation which hasn't happened apparently, and people have been scrambling graciously to help us out. Currently we're still waiting on the PNG gov't. to send approval to the United States. Once this happens we're told a rush on it would get it done in two weeks. Tomorrow is the two week point from when we leave. We are now considering formulating a plan B.

The history:
We know last minute visa stories are very common and so we submitted ours well in advanced, scanned every signed paper we submitted and put it on multiple hard drives in case we should be asked again to submit, which we were. We have prayed over the visas and the submission prior to submitting. We have recruited many people to pray through the process, and we have pretty much done every bit of urging we can do. When we originally booked our flights we considered travel insurance, but the price nearly doubled our tickets, so we figured a cancellation fee would be more acceptable should something come up. We also prayed carefully over the date on which we'd depart because of many variables, God answered some huge prayers and moved obstacles and indicated this was the right date to us.

So now we sit, two weeks away with no visas for our children. It is a daily struggle to avoid worry and stress.

Here is the struggle.
It seems that God definitely made this date, March 17, the one we were to target. We prayed over it and large doors had to be opened for this date to work, so we prayed and the doors opened. As is our practice we step through the doors when we see them open and we bought the tickets.

The tickets cost around $5,000 for all of us, one way.
We're unsure of the cancellation policy/rescheduling but we are investigating that now.

How much do we have faith that March 17th is the day and that God will supply the visas in time, and how much do we acknowledge the God is sovereign and whatever He is doing He's doing for His glory?


We have faith that God has guided us properly. We have faith that God is sovereign. Our chief aim is that God is glorified in whatever we're doing. If we're waiting at the bus stop, God be glorified. If we're riding on the bus, God be glorified.

This is no mistake. There is a possibility that the enemy is holding the paperwork up, and so we pray against that. But if his purpose was to get us to blame God or doubt God, he made a huge strategical error.

We trust God completely that He is doing His will here. And we look with anticipation to what glory He might be getting through it.

So, if you will, join us in prayer, pray:
-that the enemy would not have power in this situation
-that God would be glorified in our response when people ask about our Visas
-that God would be glorified should a plan B be put in place, that we recognize every opportunity to glorify Him that comes our way.

We're excited about it, and we use that to choke down the stress and the worry. If we stay in California for few more weeks, sure the kids will be out of school for a long time, but on the flip side, we may run into people that God wants us to meet and share with. Or He simply may be glorified in the fact that we are taking captive the thoughts that lead to doubt, and acknowledging that God is in control.

He is!

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," Jer. 29:11-14a

We know that God can deliver those visas today and it would be a miracle. We know that they might not come for a very long time. God has proven to be faithful to us in so many ways, this is simply another opportunity for us to put aside worry, put aside our desire and passion to arrive in PNG according to our schedule, and wait on God.

The biggest part of the challenge is that we are so enthusiastic about getting to PNG. All the preparation, all the work, all the training, all the prayer, all the study, coming to fruition when we arrive, and yet, as we see, coming to fruition wherever we are, whatever we're doing.