Day 21

Tonight we spent dinner at the house of some nationals we call our "wasfemili"

These visits are intended to help us with our conversational tok pisin as well as get used to forming relationships with nationals. Many people were nervous about the meeting because of all the cultural things you need to remember. Don't step over food, don't ask to see their entire house, don't ask "why". And so on.

We were apprehensive about tonight because our first experience was disappointing. So we had people pray, and tonight was actually enjoyable.

We had memorized some tok pisin dialogues about work and how to make a house which I employed because I could see they were nervous that I might fall through their floor or break their stairs. So I complimented them on the strongpela haus and asked them about how they made it.

Sydney and Calvin are amazing. As we were walking down the road to the house, people were shouting to them "hello sydney!" "oh hi tisa moha!" they'd reply. The kids carried the entire conversation on the road while I hefted the pots of food. I was amazed and thankful because with them around, there is no awkward silence.

The kids played and talked, Sydney read Bible stories, I spoke to the papa about his job. He is a community helper for the police. Basically he's a peacemaker, he helps resolve disputes. He was very friendly. As topics of conversation began to dwindle I noticed a Blues rugby poster on their wall. Suddenly we spent the next thirty minutes discussing rugby and it was a very pleasant evening.

Thanks to God for answered prayer. I was dreading this evening because of our previous experience, but I think being at their home, they were not as nervous and were more hospitable.

The way the meal breaks down is:
-we bring food, as a thank you to them for hosting.
-we serve ourselves, they serve themselves, we bring our own plates and forks
-they have a dish or two to put together with the meal
-we all eat, and then, as quick as the meal is done, they serve the tea we brought.
-we leave all leftovers with them as a thank you.

In return, we've learned more about them, their homes, how they live and how to speak in tok pisin a little bit better. I learned quite a bit and thanks to answered prayer, enjoyed the evening I was dreading.

It is a remarkable thing to see your kids outshine you and even more remarkable that they do so to God's glory. I couldn't be more proud of them than I was tonight.


POC Day 21

blog aug 29

POC day 21

Yesterday we built drum ovens. One of the ways that translators can bake over an open fire is by cooking inside an old 5 gallon tin drum. Using sheet metal, a kerosene drum, a hammer and rivets you can make a nice little oven that'll cook 2 loafs of bread over an open fire. Making this is fairly inexpensive and it makes a good gift to leave with our wasfemili (the family taking care of us in the village) when we leave.

It was an interesting exercise, having flammable materials, sharp metal, long wire, hammers, cutters and all manner of tools in the workshop with about 20 people all working at the same time. In America this situation would be a tough one from an insurance perspective since most people were in sandals and had no protective gloves or goggles or anything. I was amazed no one got hurt as many of the people had never used a drill before in their lives.

There are a significant portion of single women in this group. We have about 24 students, all different nationalities, all different skill sets, here to accomplish their part in Bible Translation. The POC training process is to help familiarize us with the country's culture and language. Yesterday we were taught how this is really a male centered society and how life for women here is very tough. So these single women are learning that they have a very tough life ahead of them here and yet they are excited and energetic about the task ahead of them.

It turns out my stomach bug was Giardia (sp?) So I've begun taking pills to resolve that and I believe I'm starting to feel better. I caught Kendal's head cold so at the moment, we have a son recovering from a 2 day stomach flu, a wife with a head cold, a husband with Giardia and a head cold, and a daughter as happy as the day she was born. If you can pray for our health we would appreciate it. We are giving ourselves the freedom to not feel too guilty when we miss out on some activities because we need to rest. For the most part though, we're pushing through.

It is hard to explain this experience. God is working in our lives, preparing everyone here. We are growing close to each other, which is a vital part of forming the teamwork skills required in a multi-cultural environment. Trying to understand a different culture and a different person is sometimes an intimidating task. The challenge is to not let our misunderstandings frustrate us as we try to work towards Bible translation, and so far, we're getting along quite well.

There have been two significant advances in that department. A game night in which we all relaxed and enjoyed each other, and today, our half day of prayer. We prayed for many things, folks and partners back home (you), each other, the leadership here, the work, the people. We grew together as we prayed.

One of the things that came out of it was that we were informed that one of the translators who had gone through training with another one of the students here, died last night. He was a 31 year old from Costa Rica who had his airplane tickets in hand for August 31 to go to Malaysia to be a Bible translator. I have not met him but a student here knew him from a previous class he had taken. Someone from this very course, one year ago, has now gone on to the Lord. His training completed, his tickets in hand, and yet the work was never begun. God apparently saw his work as complete and took him home. And so today there were many tears for a man we had never met but shared a common goal with.

And so I'm thankful to be here. We're so thankful to be in our place of assignment and have already put a few months into the work. Giving thanks in all things is really a discipline. There are a lot of people who left their home only 3 weeks ago and are suffering homesickness. One friend was told today her grandmother will pass away soon and she realizes she will not see her again in this life. And yet, today, a day with such discouraging news, was turned into a day full of praise and thanksgiving to God. I think there are two secrets to a successful life as a missionary as I'm looking around at these fabulous people God has allowed me to share this experience with.

1 - Attitude. I am learning to discipline my attitude to the mind of Christ and it truly is a daily miracle.

2 - Turning hardship into worship. No one denies there is hardship, but none of these people have let it defeat them.

If you would pray for us, in whatever way you feel led having read this, we would be appreciative.

Overall our attitudes are very healthy here, we are enjoying this experience and we can see it's value. I will have a very wide smile when I can say I have completed this course because I will know that I did so only on God's strength and not my own.


Day.... whatever this is (-;

calvin ate "pit pit" yesterday.
The kids here have a chart of new foods, for every new food they try 6 times they get a sticker. The stickers all work up to a piece of chocolate so there is a rewards plan for the kids to try new food.

So last night Calvin says
"Can I please have 1 piece of chicken and 1piece of pitpit"
so I served him. He slowly ate his pit pit (a png vegetable, and if you know my son and vegetables, then you know what a trial this was for him)
then after the pit pit he ate the chicken. All very slowly.

So approximately fifteen minutes after originally asking for the chicken he says to me very seriously, "I ate the chicken so that the pitpit wouldn't bounce back up."

I had to laugh. He wanted his chocolate so badly that he had put in place a plan at mealtime to counteract his own body's reaction to vegetables.

I looked over today and my daughter had gone around the playground and gathered up 6 national girls, and got them all, one by one, to sit on a tire swing together, until she was the last one and then she pushed it... 7 girls riding on a big tire swing in a circle.... all organized by my daughter, with a language barrier. It was a GREAT moment to observe... I can see her skills starting to blossom at this age.

Wherever we go, there is a group of PNG kids waving and saying "hi Sydney" she is making a lot of friends.

Today at lunch my daughter and I had our first full length conversation in Tok Pisin. She thinks it's fun to talk in tok pisin because she doesn't think I know what she's saying, but today, she found out I did. And when she jokingly told me to Pasim Maus, (close your mouth) we had a serious moment of explaining how it isn't okay to be disrespectful in any language.

Still, I walked away realizing that that was a momentous occasion because we both fully understood our lunch conversation and there was no English spoken. It was a completely spontaneous thing and it showed me how much they've been learning in school.

The teacher dropped by and said our kids were doing very well now. I think the first two weeks was a period of adjustment.

Time is crawling by here.

Tonight we have our first major transition at POC. It is when we first meet our Wasfamily and have a meal with them. The night will be mostly conversation in tok pisin and it'll be our first chance to exercise our conversational abilities without a translator. We'll see how it goes. A lot of people are nervous about it, but we really aren't because we've already made several png friends and we know they are great people.

One comment about the culture. This culture does not harbor resentment, racism, or many of our American prejudices. For example, during WWII the Japanese came and did unspeakable acts to the people here, and yet, Japanese are loved today by PNG. In PNG, you're white, or fat, or ugly, or short, or tall, it's all the same, they have no judgment on that, they do not think poorly of you because of these things. They truly are a very hospitable people.

We can learn a lot from this part of their behavior. They of course have another side, not to paint it all roses, but I did think it amazing how they do not harbor resentment or racism.


Day20 POC

Today a lot of things happened.
First, we were being given fire demonstrations on how to cook outdoors and how the nationals manage their fire and their wood consumption,
and my wife asked to borrow the bush knife (machete)

I offered her the gloves but didn't insist, and before I knew it, she had cut her right index finger above the knuckle. The cut wasn't deep, and while we thought it might need stitches it in fact doesn't.

She was very brave and we spent some time praying and laughing in the nurse's station about it.

Then it was time for our hike, she was told not to go, so she didn't.
I was told not to go because I still have a stomach virus and for the 5th day now, I haven't eaten much and my body was weak.

But I insisted I go. It was the hardest hike yet, as they each get harder than the last, but I wanted to go to prove the Scripture, when I am weak, God will be strong, and so I went.

As a joke I attached a role of toilet paper to my staff so that others would have a laugh. Turns out, many people confessed to me about being sick too and showed me the T.P. in their own pockets. I wasn't alone, and many people didn't feel well on the hike.

I've never pushed my body that hard in my life. Which isn't saying much, but it even surpassed that time my uncle took me hiking at Yosemite and I thought I would die the entire way and didn't mind saying so.

The entire hike I kept putting one foot in front of the other, and while it took me an hour longer than expected, I finished it because God supplied my weakened body with His strength and a good attitude.

The kids loved the hike which was good.

oh we overheard Calvin saying:
"Sydney, go to the dining hall, where there is a fish tank, near the fish tank, there you will find my water bottle. Please bring it to me."

What kid talks like that? We had a good laugh.
The kids are picking up pidgin so well.. Sydney joked today with me at dinner (which was 5 minutes after we got back from the hike)

"yu i stink tumas, yu kisim sowa"

(a pinglish way of saying, you smell bad, take a shower)

Looking up that hill I still can't believe I walked all that way, it was a very long distance, but we were hiking some steep terrain on roots and slippery ground most of the way, which is what took most of the work.

Well I don't have long online.
Please pray for Kendal's finger to heal, the kid's are doing much better than a few days ago, and pray that this stomach bug would go away. I am not eating much or well, and it takes more work to do anything. It's been on 5 days now and I'm hoping it to be gone by tomorrow.

Still, we're loving POC when we thought we'd hate it and that's because God is supplying us with great attitudes. (okay my wife knew she'd love it!)

Things I expected to hate, I love. I am fully embracing the discipline of my body and mind as I struggle to bring everything in line with Christ. I am being very humbled by the experience but at the same time, I'm loving every minute of it.

Day 14 POC

The daily schedule:

pacific orientation course

at 7am we have breakfast in the dining hall. Each day is typically the same,
home-made granola, home-made yogurt, bananas, milk, toast

at 8am the kids go to school, at school they learn their normal subjects plus tok-pisin and they have occasional hikes to meet the locals

at 8am we go to school.
from 8-10 is usually tok pisin lecture or learning with a national teacher
from 10-10:30 is tea time when we talk in tok pisin with our teacher
from 10:30-12:00 is more lecture time usually, anthropology of the country, or some other such culture related information, this time can be a very information rich time.

they mix up the day with a lot of out of the class stuff as well.
For example, we built a Haus Kuk (like a little hut for eating in) and we go on hikes and swimming and other such items to help us gain appreciation for how the nationals live as well as for how the Translators live.

12:00-2:00 is lunchtime and quiet time, the kids rejoin us during these hours. It's the hottest time of the day and it is when we stay inside and nap or read after doing our chores in the dining hall from eating lunch.

2:00-4:00 is usually exercise time, we go on a hike, or swim, or do some outdoor activity. It depends on the day and the task at hand. The hikes are tough hikes but beautiful. The swims, are long swims, with my personal goal being reached at a half a mile, I am trying to extend that to perhaps a full mile but I'm unsure if I'll reach that goal.

4:00-5:45 - free time, usually a game of soccer or volleyball strikes up, which I've been engaging in, simply to be doing something. It isn't as if our rooms are a nice place to hang out, there is no furniture and it's hot, so being outside and social is preferable.

5:45 - dinner
depending on your night, dinner can go as late at 7pm if you're on cleanup

6:30-10pm is internet time, during this time a lot of people have questions for me, so I try to make myself available by playing games in the dining hall where people can reach me. I'm not on staff but I can help, so I do.

I typically hit the hay around 9pm, wake up at 6am.

And that is my typical day.

Now... that you have the schedule... this is PNG and nothing goes according to schedule, and everything is flexible, and.... while they gave us a schedule I haven't looked at it because I like the surprise and variety that each day brings.
I rarely know what is going to happen in the morning when I wake up, and I like it that way.

My wife however, knows the schedule and she prepares for it. She is studying very well, and I'm very proud of her. She is doing so well at this course. I knew I'd be the weak link, but honestly, I think we're doing swimmingly.

Syd and Calvin are doing well. Sydney is making a lot of friends, national friends. The other day they were on a walk and some national boys ran up to Kendal and gave her a bag of fruit and said "a gift to Sydney".

Calvin hasn't been very grumpy as of late, so I think he's adjusting better now. He was very helpful in building the Haus Kuk and kept eyeing the machete waiting for his turn. Of course he never got one. We did have a discussion on knife safety, but it is obvious by the way he swings sticks that he isn't yet ready for the responsibility of anything sharp.



POC is camping. There are two Finnish families here and they are a delight to be around, they have good attitudes, they make funny jokes and they are all around good people. One thing though, is they are not used to the humidity nor are they used to the bugs.

They do not camp for recreation in their country so this is their first camping experience. Imagine if your first camping experience, someone told you "the frogs are poisonous, there are scorpions and snakes... enjoy your stay"

You'd be on the first train home.

Today we hiked. Mondays we hike, Tuesdays we swim. The meals are such that you get energy in the morning to learn, energy in the afternoon to exercise, and sustenance in the evening to prepare you for the next day.

There are many things here that can challenge and exhaust every different type of person. The program in my opinion is designed to challenge and even intimidate everyone in some aspect.
There is language learning, teamwork building, meal preparing, chores and duties, the living environment, the weather, the physical requirements, the slow internet, being away from home (a lot of these people, this is their first exposure to this country and they are battling home sickness at the same time. I firmly believe God was lightening our burden by allowing us to come earlier)

So... what is the hardest part for me?
I am excelling in my understanding of the language and my ability to speak it is coming along. Mostly because this is academic. I'm loving the historical, geographical and political information in the reading and the teaching.

For me the biggest challenge, and before coming the part I knew I would fail at, is the hikes.

It is hard for me to fail. I do not like to fail. So before arriving I was very nervous that I might be unable to complete the hikes in good health. The swimming I wasn't worried about. I have an advantage in water because I weigh less.

Today I completed my second hike.

In the last week I've played a ton of volleyball, and I mean ALL OUT diving into the ground volleyball. I've surprised myself with my aptitude for it. I've played a lot of soccer. And although I've sustained minor cuts and scrapes, I've enjoyed it.

In the hot sun, in strong humidity. Sweating is a 24x7 thing here so we drink a lot of water.

Part of it is that I don't like to sit around and do nothing because the furniture in the rooms is so uncomfortable that I think, I'd rather be uncomfortable breathing hard and sweating playing a sport than sitting around reading.

But at the same time, I know that if I push myself, being ignorant of personal upkeep, that I could harm myself, so I don't push it too hard. I take my time and go at my own pace.

Here's the part where God and I have been growing closer.
I went to God when I got here and said "God, I believe your Word, and I do not want to complain that I am here, but I have to be here. God I believe that if I turn my eyes onto you, you will be sufficient for me."

So I began to simply concentrate on making God my provision. And something amazing is happening. God and I are communing. I read my Bible in the morning. 2 Cor 4. He talks about our bodies being temporary. About sleeplessness and worry. He talks in Chapter 12 about how He is made strong in our weakness.

So if I truly believe His Word, then I will apply it now during this time of my life where I do not feel I can complete the tasks before me.

And I have completed my hikes, and God has given me energy like I've never known before in my life. He has given be ability like I have never had. My mind is clear, my body is being disciplined. It is hard work and while I'm working hard I'm praising God because my attitude is good, and His burden is not heavy.

I can not explain it very well, but somehow, God has transformed this task I felt impossible and was grumbling about before I came, into an experience I am joyful of. In place of pain I feel energy, in place of anger I feel joy, in place of self-pity I rejoice in God's provision for me and my family.

I can summarize it to say that I'm learning to rely less on myself and my abilities and recognize God's ability in my life and His strength.


Update Day 7

well we've been here a full week now
the first hike was very doable.

I'm surprised at myself at how much volleyball and soccer I have played during the social activity times. One PNG man can jump as high as I can reach when I jump even though he's almost two feet shorter than me.

Tok Pisin is coming along quite well,
and Calvin has had 2 good days in a row.

That night we were struggling with his behavior, we prayed together as a couple and sought God's wisdom and tried the discipline of listening.

So we listened, and sure enough I had the thought "just pray" so we prayed for Calvin and that the enemy would leave him alone and that he would be joyful and carefree.

The next morning it was like he was a different kid.

Please continue to pray for our family and for the people here in training.

Our primary goals for POC ARE:
-to learn tok pisin
-to fall in love with the PNG people

we already love the country, we love the place we live, but we need to have a deep understanding of their culture so that we can truly love them in a way that Christ would. We need to gain an appreciation of their way of living.

We're hopeful that some time in their village will afford us that knowledge.


Day 3

Today we had class, and we had class. Today we had our first Tok Pisin class and it is evident that our group will learn quickly because a few of us have had more experience in it.

That wasn't the challenge.

After class there was some soccer. POC is at the top of a hill, and so when the ball goes over the hill, it goes and goes and goes.

I thought it would be fun to play soccer with my son, so we joined up. At one point, the ball went through a small hole in the hedge keeping the ball from going over the hill, it began to go.

It had rained all day... so the grass and mud were very slippery.

For some reason, in my head, I said "if I go down the hill faster than the ball, I can catch it" So... with everyone watching, I ran after the ball, and slipped through the same hole it went through in the hedge, over the hill and down.... down....down....down... slipping barefoot down the hill through the mud.

It was a blast!

reminded me of being a kid.

The ball however went down much faster than myself and I decided quickly to stop myself by reaching out and grabbing a tree. This particular tree's bark is mostly thorns. My left hand got about ten thorn pricks into it, but it wasn't bad and they came out quickly.

After I got up the hill, I looked at the hole. It was roughly the size of a basketball.

Everyone was chattering about how they saw me going after the ball then slipping through a tiny hole... and where DID I GO? They all wondered if I meant to do what I did.. which I did and thought it cool.

Yeah.. cool. I'm cool. Me... hahahahaha.

Anyway.. then, someone said "next goal wins the game" and the ball happened to be near me after a while near the goal (two coconuts) and I did a sliding kick, half on purpose half involuntarily and scored the winning goal.

My son was rather excited about that. He was telling me that he knew if I got the ball I'd score the winning goal. His confidence in my athletic ability far surpasses my own.

I really stink at most things athletic and yet I was glad to do something like that with and in front of my son because growing up, seeing my dad's athleticism was always impressive and always lent evidence to my belief he was king of the world.

So, if a dad can seem bigger in his own son's eyes for a brief moment, then so be it. It's worth thorns in the hand and a sore knee in the morning (-;

But today's challenge was different. A challenge that we're unsure whether or not is from the enemy or not.

Please pray. Our son isn't handling this transition to POC too well. He's taken a pause from the general lovable easy going Calvin and become a whiner, and a complainer, and a fit thrower. He's argumentative and the other boy his friend here doesn't speak English.

His attitude is draining us as parents and distracting us from the learning we need to do. I missed half of class today trying to get him to nap. He simply isn't happy.

He hasn't been the happy Calvin for a while now. As parents we're tired out by it. Anything will set him off, he'll scream over pineapple at lunch. It makes us tired and sad.

Please pray that we will have wisdom to give him what he needs to become the old Calvin again. The patience and the energy. Our family is our priority, I didn't mean to sound like it was not. It is that his constant.... crankiness is wearing us down a bit.

Please pray for him and for us. There are a lot of challenges here and we don't really have time to stop and allow the enemy a single foothold.

thank you.



Today we began our Tok Pisin classes as well as our swimming challenge.
One of the challenges is that whatever your level of swimming is, that you do better by the end of the course. Part of this course is to physically condition our bodies for the walking and altitude at Ukarumpa.

Only we've already been there and gotten used to the altitude and the roads.
The oxymoron is that is isn't a weight loss camp because the kitchen puts out some pretty good meals.

Anyway, the put a rope out in the warm tropical waters of Madang after giving us an hour lecture on how to not get stung by something poisonous and general medical information. In general, don't bug it, and it shouldn't bug you and you most likely won't see a whole lot of waterlife while you're splashing about in the water.

So the rope is up on buoys, 8 laps is a mile, the water is 25 feet deep. The kids are over with their class playing safely in the water, and I am convinced by looking at this rope that I can't do a single lap. I'll be able to get half way before tiring out.

My wife says to me "how can I encourage you to do well?" because the fear of knowing that we can physically survive here is gone, we know we can. So the motivation to physically push ourselves has to come from somewhere inside.

My personal goal, isn't to do the mile, because as I said, I was certain I would not be able to even finish a lap. My wife, did 5 laps in an hour, and I did 3. At the end of three I thought I would "sprint" you know... run the race and sprint at the end. I did swim as fast as I could push my body and when it was over, had a very tough time catching my breath.

But I had completed 3 laps. I was very surprised. Before coming to Ukarumpa I would not have had the lung capacity to swim 1/8 of a mile, much less 3/8 of a mile the first time out.

After six weeks time I expect I should be able to swim a half a mile or more. I expect my wife to be able to swim a whole mile.

The challenge isn't so much I didn't have the energy. It was that I didn't have the time. They gave us an hour, and I stopped swimming on their suggestion to get water and jumped back in.

I am amazed that I have the energy I have right now. I was expecting to be exhausted. To go swimming you take a 30 minute jungle road ride on the back of a big truck. For the kids that was draining in and of itself, but they'll do anything for the chance to go swimming.

Overall, today has been the best day of POC thus far. I surprised myself with the distance I swam, I was impressed with my wife's distance, and overall we feel uplifted and encouraged.

We've made friends with two finish families as well as some American families.

The challenges of POC are as I see them:
-physical - swimming and hiking - the most ominous

-social - living closely with people of different cultures with no chance for privacy, socially we both adapt well, although I do tend to like a few hours of privacy each day.

-language - learning Tok Pisin, we are already ahead of the game here

Calvin's mosquito bites have healed nicely, and the kids are running around adventuring and having fun each day. They end the night being tired and don't go to bed well yet as they share a room. Knowing them, they usually go to bed so well.

Your prayers are appreciated.
Was someone praying for me today? I appreciate it if you were out there praying for extra energy and encouragement.


Arriving at POC

Our first day of POC was a relaxing day as not everyone enrolled has arrived yet. We took the opportunity to snap a few pictures.

Our son was eaten by mosquitos in our own home, the evening before we left to come here, so while he looks like POC isn't agreeing with him, it is. He was eaten alive back at home.

Calvin is loving the ping pong table we have here. Sydney, well, we haven't seen her much as she's running around exploring and making friends. She acts as if she was born here. We see her at meals and when she wants to show a new friend her room. (Which we also have pictures of)

The internet speed here is rather slow, so I thought I might put the time into uploading the pixas now and hope that holds you out over the 6 weeks we'll be here, and then I'll post more pixas later.

I tried to include the scenery as well as the kids since the grandfolks say we need more pictures of the kids. Sad to say, most of these have Calvin's face swollen up.

The campground is on top of a mountain ridge, so we overlook the ocean on two sides and directly overlook a dense jungle. We are down only about 1000 feet above sea level here (I'm guessing) so the air is warmer but easier to breath. This place feels a lot more like being in a jungle than our home in Ukarumpa does.

We're very thankful for being in Ukarumpa before coming here. Things here are more primitive. We saw 4 cane toads last night on the walk to the bathroom (big huge toads). I think our thoughts today, had this been our first exposure to the country would be: "Is this our life now? What have we done!?" But we know there is a more cozy place when we're done here.

On the flip side, this place is gorgeous. The ride up, was a wonderful 4.5 hour drive, beautiful. People warned us about the road coming up the hill, but it was very reminiscent of the roads from my childhood. My wife was extremely confident that I'd be able to drive it, and while I was told 4 wheel drive was necessary, it wasn't.

What seems like a scary crazy road for most folks, seemed actually nicer than some stuff I'd driven as a teenager.

As you can tell by the pictures, it is very scenic here. We're getting a really nice ocean breeze up here, so things aren't as hot as they could be, it is in fact, quite comfortable. A little warm, a little sunny, but comfortable enough to sleep through the night.

The beds, oye, this will be our biggest struggle. Two inches of weak foam on top of plywood. Every side of me hurt this morning, but oddly I feel rested at the same time.

Well that's enough information for now. We're here, we're safe, it isn't as bad as we had anticipated as far as the living conditions, and we can definitely get along well here.

There are families from many nations here, and people with many skills. I was elected last night to help people get their email up and running, and laptops were coming out of the woodwork. I'll do the same tonight, jsut to make sure everyone can write back to their loved ones.

We feel sympathy for the folks who flew in last night. We can see the tired look on their faces and know the feeling, but thankfully for us it was a long time ago.

If you've ever had the feeling of.... coming into your own... of finding something that you're good at, that's what yesterday felt like. Before starting the journey our translator friend Mr. Enoch prayed in Tok Pisin for our safety, as I began to drive I felt all the thoughts going through my head:

"avoid pigs, avoid potholes, don't hit anything, drive slow enough to see, remember to slow at bridges, they have the right of way, beware of blind corners... "

and so on... but as I settled into it, I realized that God had given both my wife and myself certain experiences to prepare us for life, and that each of us had experiences that prepared us for being here. For me, it was where I grew up, how I learned to drive. For Kendal it seems to be her natural ability to get situated quickly in a new place. She has this place figured out and is telling me where things go and what I need to do by what time.

So far.... SO FAR..... this has been a zero stress adventure. Most people were saying the getting here is the hardest part. We packed in plenty of time, that things were not stressful. We gave ourselves plenty of time to drive, to settle in. So things have been completely unstressful for us thus far.

Continue to pray for health and safety. If you can throw in a "reduce the swelling" prayer for Calvin I'm sure he'll appreciate it. He didn't really enjoy the ride over, BUT, he didn't sick up. That's a first.

Thanks God for getting us here, thanks for preparing us, thanks for providing Enoch our tour guide, and thanks for the people here preparing to educate us.

SCRATCH the pictures, takes too long to upload, waited two days for the few minutes I have now


Packing for POC

What is P.O.C.? Pacific Orientation Course. It used to be called "Jungle Camp". Some people love it, some hate it, but if you're here for longer than a year, or anywhere in the Pacific area... you go through it.

What happens there?
well I'm not sure until I'm there, but hiking, swimming, learning, camping, village living, bug fighting, malaria dodging, ant killing. The typical PNG stuff.

We're packing to go, and today I thought would be a nice quiet work day.. but one of the translators wanted to bring in his translation assistants to learn some computers, specifically our HF email solution.

More pictures

I think the most interesting part about this pic is that it sort of shows you my size in relation to most people here.

The grey haired gentleman is Peter. He is Dutch (a dutch colony in Indonesia) and has been here working on a translation for many years. He is going semi-retired. For some time he has been training the other two men (left=Tobias, right = Fidelis) to do the translation work and then send their progress to him for review.

A lot of the translation projects focus around training one or two individuals who understand the language, so that they can be your liason to the culture and language. Sometimes they work so well that the translator in the final years of his project, can move out of the village and take on more of the finalizing tasks of the translation. This is a relationship that works to the benefit of both parties as it educates and provides a job for the nationals as well as helping speed the progress of the translation work.

There is a down side to it, in that the translator often plays host to men from a different culture and sometimes doing this takes more work than not, training takes time and money, but once they work together for some time, they get a good system down and the traveling can be reduced. The aim is for translator assistants to be dedicated to the task and committed for many years to working on it.

Names are interesting here, a PNG national can have 3 or more names and the one they give you is usually their "work" or their "for the whiteskins" name. They rarely give out their actual birth name. So it isn't surprising when a man tells me his name is "Fidelis". Because i know the odds are, he wasn't born with that name, he jsut chose it, and sometimes it can tell you a bit about the person as to what name they chose.

The discovery of this was an interesting process. Our Haus Meri was talking to me (mind you it's in Tok Pisin so I'm only 80% sure I'm understanding her):

-"You know Noah"
me - "I do?"
-"Noah, he says you are his boss."
me - "I'm nobody's boss."
-"He says you are a good guy, he works with you in CTS"
me "I know everyone at work, no one named noah."
-"are you sure? He says he knows you, he is my cousin."
me "can you describe him?"
-...describes something that would match any human being in existence.... generic
me "oh you mean Bosaka."

So later that day, I found Bosaka whom I known for sometime and said "Hi Noah" He stopped "where did you hear that name?" He asked as he smiled. Then he told me about his names... he can tell who knows him and how they know him by what name they call him.

Which suddenly explained why when I shouted his name across the road the other day when he was with friends, that he didn't smile his normal smile and wave back.

We leave for POC on monday and I do not know how often I will be able to blog or email.

Please pray for health and safety. For endurance.
There are a lot of things out there that want to make us sick, please pray against it.