it came out of the sky

today was a normal saturday. Saturday is our productive day, sometimes it's spent in extra service to people around us, some days it's spent tinkering around home doing odd jobs. Sunday is family day.

Today was a normal day like any other. I was tinkering in the living room when suddenly the clear sunny sky turned grey and the heavens opened up.

Water poured from the sky and Kendal said, "you know what this is?"
I pulled my head from under the corner I was in tinkering, "what?"
"this is a perfect opportunity to test my new rain boots" - a present from home.

A tick went by and then I had a thought... RAIN TAG!!!

We ran outside, shedding our socks and shoes, except Kendal who put on her boots. The kids were outside already playing with friends, I found Calvin stripped with clothes under the overhang running around without his shirt.

Suddenly, something we had never done, but everyone understood "Rain TAG" began.

We ran all over the yard, me, Kendal, Calvin, Sydney, the neighbor kids, and other gathered friends. We had about 9 people, of which 5 were running around, the rest were watching the "Crazy Whiteskins" running around under the protection of the roof.

Soon the grass was all underwater, the water tanks were flooding into waterfalls, I had a drink. We splashed, kicked the

ball around, and then as we finished, almost like from Rockwell painting, Kendal pulled fresh baked chocolate chip cookies from the oven, and we each huddled under the porch roof eating them and smiling.

It was a purely spontaneous wonderful moment. AND.. bonus, I had needed a shower anyway. Ironically as we came in to dry, the song on the radio was "It Came Out of the Sky".

It has been a tough and busy week at work. There have been conflicts and biblical resolutions (this is a hard discipline to foster, but I'm glad we all made wise choices this week). It has been a time of hard work, and accomplishment. It was one of those weeks where you really earned your paycheck if you know what I mean.

I tend to be tenacious when I come across a problem that needs solving. If it last multiple days, then for multiple days

I'm focussed on solving that issue. Sleep doesn't come easy until it's been solved. Friday I solved an issue for the entire center that has been bugging me for about 6 days. I was very relieved as I solved it at 5pm on Friday.

Earlier today I had looked around and realized that this is truly what contentment felt like. I live in peace knowing that my life is spent in service, that there are those who agree and support us as a team, and that during the tough times God is there with us. We have the assurance of a support family back home, we have the comfort of a God who loves us personally.

This isn't a bad life at all.

Calvin's face is healing very well, he's somewhat sad because people have stopped asking him what happened to his head.
The big challenge for me this month is that it's going to be a very busy month starting on April 1, and we will be short staffed for 1 week of that.

Kendal will be a kindergarten teacher next year as the primary school really needs teachers there and the ESL teacher is returning. She's fine with that as she knew she was a stand-in, and she's excited about teaching kindergarten.

You know Kendal so it doesn't bear me mentioning but she's a pretty nifty lady, and she really puts a lot of priority on early school teachers preparing students so that later in school they are well prepared to do well.


Easter 2008

Happy Easter!

This is our second Easter here now, but we celebrated with another first. We all woke up at 5am and went up the hill to a

sunrise service. Although the fog kept us from seeing the sun, it was nice to awake early as Mary did 2000 years ago. We

sang songs, prayed for each other, the community and the country, and remembered Christ's sacrifice. HE IS RISEN!

One of the traditions here is to transform the symbol of death and pain (the cross) into a symbol of life, by putting

flowers on it. Around here there are no florists so the flowers you see come from our own personal gardens. In fact

keeping up nice flower gardens is very useful as it is used for arrangements and boutineers etc during times of celebration.

If you notice, I got tired of standing in line so I went around back and reached up top and placed a red carnation at the

very top as only I was able to reach that place.

We then went to some acquaintances house and ate Easter ham. We dyed eggs yesterday with our Finnish neighbors and we hid

them inside the house as it was pouring rain outside.

Then we ate some homemade pie Kendal made. Very good work on the part of my wife, and finally we celebrated by having

Calvin's stitches removed and spending time together in the evening.

Yesterday we spent time making an Easter craft. I thought the kids would enjoy a more interactive time talking about the

Easter story, as well as spending time in "daddy's shop". I had some spare Kwila (hard wood) and I cut a few notches and we

made crosses while talking as a family about Christ and the symbolism. It is remarkable how much they understand and know

already. The depth of their understanding isn't your typicaly sunday school answers.

I asked "Why is Easter Sunday so important?"
"Because Jesus came back to life."
"why is that important?"
"because if he didn't, then we couldn't be saved."

on Good Friday a thought someone shared struck me.... for the disciples 3 years of living with Jesus came to an end at His

death. For those experiencing separation, this is the extreme. Imagine spending time with Jesus for 3 years, and then Him

being gone.... that resonated with me. That type of separation. I can see why people describe Hell as separation from God,

and I wonder sometimes if that is why leaving friends and family is so hard... separation is seemingly the opposite of what

God created us for.

Jesus is alive, He is risen.
We will be joined with Him some day!

From all of us here, Happy Easter!!

pictures here


1 / 29

Yesterday was our 1 year anniversary of arriving in PNG.
Thank you to all who are involved in this ministry, for all who have been praying for us, for all who have been financially supporting us. It's been an exciting year!

Today is my 29th birthday. Well, my "spiritual birthday" as we call it around my house. At age 5, 29 years ago, I made a decision to turn my life over to Jesus. Since at that time we're 'born again', it's our birthday in a way.

Happy Easter to everyone! This weekend we celebrate by attending/serving in a Good Friday and Easter Sunday service. We'll decorate eggs with the kids, and hopefully have the Finnish kids next door over to celebrate a fun tradition.

Each year at easter we take our family photo so we'll post soon.

This is our second Easter here in PNG.


tonight Calvin and I were doing dishes and he read the dish soap label aloud

"dad, if it's tough on grease but soft on hands, I bet it's pretty tough on greasy hands."

I had to laugh.



At the top of a rocky hill, Calvin decided he wanted to go down the
hill. He didn't use brakes, and I heard he was pedalling. He lost
control, and fell.
He had his helmet on, and Kendal was there with him, amazed that he
tried it, and wondering why he did, she thought for sure he would get
off and walk it but he took off before she could stop him.

He got a little road rash, on his chin, elbow, knee, back, etc... the
worst of it was his forehead hit a rock and he wound up getting 8
stitches (3 deep tissue, 5 in the skin).

Kendal picked him up and made him walk home while she pushed his bike.

He was crying etc... but then took him to the clinic.

Dr. Jeff at the clinic stitched up Calvin who was extremely brave on the
"surgery" table, I sat there and watched the little guy as he would
squeeze my hand.
About 5 stitches into it he asked "when are you going to put that needle
in me?" to which the doctor replied, "it's been in you 5 times!"
He was relatively brave the entire time, so that was good.

IT was his first time riding his bike to school. Later he asked "hey
dad, how does sydney go down that hill so slow?" "she uses her brakes
son." "oh." he says.

After he was checked out and stitched up, the doctor prayed over him.
That was a new experience for us and really a blessing.

On the table to get his mind off things we asked him
"Calvin, you know how the Bible says to give thanks in all things? I
know this is a bad time for you but can you think of some things to give
thanks for?"
"I'm thankful that my head didn't split open" he said,
"and I'm thankful my bike isn't ruined" he said.
"and for the medicine that makes you not feel the needle" the doctor said.
"and that didn't break any bones" I said.

It was need to have that conversation with a doctor and a nurse present.

And we're very very thankful for the staff here at the clinic, if it
were not for them, we would have had to travel a very long way to get
him stitched up in a not-as-sterile environment.

We were very blessed by the medical staff here and the supplies available here. It can be tempting at times to not be thankful for the limitations. For example a broken bone means you may have to fly to Australia. But we are very thankful for everyone involved and that includes the people back at their home places who have sent them here.

The chain works. People send us here, you send and keep us here, we keep kids taught, servers running, network operating. Translators us the network to relay information back and forth across the world to help with their translation. If I had to fly to Australia, it would be harder for them to accomplish that task should problems arise. So the doctors and nurses here and their support team who keeps them here, allowed me to stay, which allows me to work, which allows translators to work, which allows translation to get done which allows someone very soon, to have a Bible in their language. We're on the eve of 2 or 3 dedications here!

The other way it could have gone, would have been much worse, not to mention the stress on everyone around had we needed to leave for a hospital.

Thanks to God for working in SO many lives to allow the people and supplies to be here to accomplish His work!



Today I was going around the center, and I saw a group of people who instantly stood out in my mind as "they're new!" I couldn't figure out why I thought that. There is plenty evidence to support the idea that they simply are people I haven't met yet returned from furlough.

And then it dawned on me.

Their clothes were still white and bright. Their shoes were shiny.

If you looked closely, the elastic in their socks still had some stretch.

I thoroughly enjoy that I can not worry about having short hair, fashionable clothing, or even clean pants.

Can you keep a secret?
I have a still-in-the-bag set of socks and underwear that I've been saving for that time when I would really like to wear something new.

It's my emergency underwear.

The thought of that makes me laugh to myself.
Imaginary scenarios come to mind...

"man it's been an "open the new socks" kind of day."
"quick, where did I hide my emergency George Forman's!!! A man's life depends on it!"

Still, there is something about a nice new clean pair of socks. I was wearing a pair that was new only 3 months ago, now stained beige from the mud I got stuck in and in an awful state.

I noticed someone look over at my socks while I crossed my legs and the odds are they were thinking:

"wow, those socks are pretty new!"



birds chirping, dogs barking... yawn.. wake up... hearing my wife hiccuping.

I get up, sneak into the kitchen and startle my wife. She does NOT appreciate my efforts. NEVER go with your first impulse when you wake up on Monday morning (-;

We laughed about it, about 30 minutes later.

The kids head off to school, I head off to work, my wife instructs the yard Meri and works around the house (monday is her day at home).

At work I find three couples who are in dire need of their email being changed. People fly in and out all the time.

Discussed reconfiguring the network, wrote a script to help me do so, then checked my email. More work needing done. Was able to fix the new XP desktop for the telephone manager. Back to my desk.

Talk with someone about server configs... lunch time.

WOW this monday is going really well, work is getting done, problems aren't coming left and right like last Monday.

Lunch was nice, went home, ate home-made pizza with my wife, came back to work.

Passed the autoshop, they're closed for stock take, waved hello on the way to several friends.

Back at work.
I turn on a song while I work...
"I am thankful that I'm incapable, of doing any good on my own."

And it hits me, it's a good day, sunny, productive, everything is in harmony... and I'm feeling pretty good about life. And none of it is from my own capabilities. Reminding myself that any good that came of today is from God through me.

Through me.

It's a good day.



tonight, I worked a little late helping the telephone manager bring his computer online.
I got home and another person called me apologizing for calling at home, and had email issues. He had jsut gotten back from Australia on medical leave, his wife has been diagnosed with cancer.

I typically draw the line at after hours work, but in this instance, I gave him all the help I could, not because of my job, but because we are brothers in Christ and he was in need at the moment.

For those who have ever worked in professional ministry, it can be hard to know the lines between your job, your ministry, and your private time. Drawing boundaries is important, knowing when to make exceptions is important too. Being good neighbors, for example when our neighbor had to fly to Australia with his son to have his broken arm mended, his wife was at home without her husband.

She was nervous, and scared, and we had her over for dinner, I kept an eye on her and her house for her... to add that extra bit of ... someone is caring.

We are unable to express the gratitude we have for living here because the opportunities to serve God by loving other people are plentiful! You don't have to try hard to find a way to serve in worship. I think the bigger challenge is to maintain a glad heart when you do serve.

You can pray for that, that we would continue to serve with glad hearts, and that others around us who are tired of the struggles, could find some peace.

I'm told that when the one year mark hits, people start to hate life here. It is some sort of mental barrier that has to be broken through. I'm told by many people
"the culture shock hits a new stage, and after a year, you hate it here, after a year and a half, you love it more than ever." Some people don't make it that long.

We haven't hit the "we hate it here" stage, but if we do, we're prepared because we know it's a part of the adjusting.

In fact we still very much love it here.

Tonight, we gathered in our bedroom, the four of us, with the lights out, watching a lightning storm in the distance.

Professionally I knew that lightning is bad for computer equipment, but we were taking a moment to enjoy the lightning and God's creation.

When my daughter said, completely randomly
"you know what it's called when you have a mustache and a beard?... a mushbeard."

we all started laughing.

It was a great way to end the week. A week of ups and downs.
Ups - work is going well, new services are helping translators.
Downs - we would still like to make more friendships here, we have some friends who are getting discouraged and that weighs heavily on our hearts.

To spend the moments before bedtime, watching God's handiwork, and laughing with our kids was a special moment.


where we live

someone has taken the time to post many youtube videos of Ukarumpa.
this is a nice scenic example of where we live.


I saw a Giant!

Today, a co-worker pulled me aside, and speaking in a mixture of English and Tok Pisin he told me this:

The other day I was in my village and I heard a man telling a story in Tok Ples:
"I was sitting outside CTS (my work) and I saw a GIANT MAN. HE WAS TALL AND BIG! When he walked he had to duck under the doorway. He was so tall he had to duck under the roof when he walked outside!"

I heard this man telling this story and I said, "oh yes, I know him, his name is Chad."


Jesus Genie

Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with my kids..
I was sitting down and I said, "boy I wish I had a nice glass of lemonaide"
and Sydney said,
"if you have a wish, ask Jesus for it."
which gave me pause. My daughter has taken on two aspects of her conversational style that are similar to my own.

1) I can never tell when she's joking
2) she'll talk in circles jsut so she can't be proven wrong.

So I say, "What, is Jesus a genie? does he grant 3 wishes?"
Sydney - "He could if you wanted."
Me - "Syd, Jesus is not there to grant your wishes, He is our King, He is our Lord. If anything we are here to grant His wishes."
Syd - "Jesus isn't a king silly, He's God."
Calvin - "uh huh, he's King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
Me - "Glory, Alelujah!"
Sydney agreed because she recognized the truth since it came from a song.

I was fearful my daughter had a completely askew look at Christ and God but then realized quickly she was being facetious for fun.

She got me going though.

Culture moments

Cultural moments. These are the little things that sneak up on you and remind you "oh yeah, I'm in a different place."

Cultural moment #12 - Hearing an odd like screeching/talking and realizing your neighbors "Coki" (white parrot) is flying around the neighborhood yelling "Coki kaikai" (parrot food).

Cultural moment #16 - Pleasantly surprised when you find $5.00 in the pocket of a pair of pants you haven't worn in a while, and then realizing you can't spend it without converting it.