Today we made massive changes to billing. I edited multiple perl scripts, and access databases. Also we cut over a new email solution here to make things easier. It was a big day for change.

Change is something that folks do not like much, unless they are clear on the benefits. These benefits were clear and people were more than happy to make the changes, but with changes comes complication.

It hurts my heart when a translator is having email issues. It really does, I'm here to alleviate that, although since I'm the one invoking the changes, very rarely I can be looked at as "the big mean guy who is making us change things."

I've come to learn this past year, that helping people does not always mean they will be happy you helped them. Case in point, give a child a booster shot and they will not smile and thank you. They will cry for a very long while. (-;

But that's not what I wanted to blog about today.

Each year, as is the custom here, the parents of the juniors and senior high schoolers invite their children to their banquet. Each year they do it in a special/secret way.

This year they started a fire. A fire in the field, threw the alarm, and the kids all evacuated to the field, saw the fire. Then the dads came in on the fire truck, siren blaring and instead of putting out the fire, sprayed the water into the air, misting the crowd to get their attention. It was a fun hullabaloo.

I really enjoy how the parents and the community are engaged with the youth.


More on the village

"In peace I will both lay down and sleep for you alone, O Lord, make me
to dwell in safety."

A week and a half ago, I had told you how a clan had joined
with another and [more] people against S and his clan. They
intended to wipe them out and take their land.

Two of the translators are here and they report that S's
hamlet is completely destroyed. The clan, a village surrounded S's clan and burned down all their
houses and destroyed the gardens. S prevailed on his men to shoot
only warning shots, but in the end there was one man who was
killed. S's people were all miraculously delivered. In the middle
of the night, as they were surrounded and fearing for their lives,
S prayed. "Lord your purpose is still pending, please serve us that
we may be able to escape" When he finished praying, he saw a gap in the
enemies' lines surrounding them, and he led his people through that gap
and to safety. The enemies pursued them, but were unable to harm them.

Now, S's clan is staying on land belonging to the neighboring

S is still determined to continue in the way of peace, and to
continue with the translation work.

We are as a community conducting efforts to help S's people start over.


Ephesians 6

Two days ago I shared some conversations I had with my kids.
I dunno about you, but occasionally I have a moment where I have a scary thought and then I remember quickly to give it to God in prayer.

Well, this story might be interesting because today I got a special blessing and answer to prayer. I was asking God for assurances that our children were growing closer in Him.

Today for some unknown reasons, Sydney got it in her head to start reading her Bible.
She was almost late to school for it.
Then today after school she ran back into her room.

She handed me a paper, on which she had written front to back all of Ephesians 6.

She made it a point to show me, not mommy, me.

She came and said "daddy, I wrote out the Bible here. And I'd like to point out something to you.... this part 'Fathers don't make your children angry.'

I smiled and said "what do you think that means?"
she paused.... and then I said , "it means that while children have a job, they're to obey and be good, parents also have a job, and they're not supposed to frustrate their children in wrong ways. Sometimes daddy's and mommy's can do wrong things too and the Bible tells us not to."

then she says,
"well it is interesting that the very FIRST verse is 'Children obey your parents as believers in the Lord."

She was happy with that and waltzed away as is her fashion.

That was a very meaningful moment, and I'm thankful to God for answered prayer.


One of the traditions around here is the "fellowship family".

When a new person(s) arrive here, they don't know how to find their way around. So a family gets assigned to them to help them adjust.

We were were spoiled, we had an excellent fellowship family who not only showed us around and got us setup, prepared our house before we came here but also showed us around some of the towns and stores.

Today was our turn to pay it forward. A new couple arrived that we knew briefly a few years ago. We have spent the last week preparing their home, cleaning it, putting flowers and welcome sign in place, turning the gas on, the electric, etc.

Today we picked them up from aviation, and gave them the tour, and got them set up. They are so excited to be here, the last 2 years of their lives have been moving around and not having a place of their own.

We were glad to talk to them, share some ice cold lemonaide, move their luggage, and help them get settled.

It is jsut being neighborly, there are so many opportunities to be neighborly here, we love it.

The Net Gag

Last week I scheduled with one department to upgrade their network from a 100mb fibre link to a 1000mb fibre link.

I asked them to alert the department as to the time we had agreed on.
I was sick today, but because of the scheduled upgrade, I decided to go in for the upgrade.

I went in, and began the upgrade, and the head of the department came up to me and said,
"Chad, our network is down, it's a good thing you're here."
I didn't recognize he was joking until another came and said,
"chad, good to see you, the network jsut went down... can you fix it."
I'm starting to catch on
then another
"Oh hi, Chad, hey, since you're here, the network jsut went down, can you look at it."

I was playing along the whole time, not sure if they were joking or not. But then later they told me "yes we knew." They decided to have a little fun with me.

The department was LCORE. This is the language center of the universe here. It is where all the braniac translator geeks hang out.

I appreciated the fun, but sometimes, translator humor is a tad too subtle for me (-;

God's Word, and babies.

wierd conversation.

Today I had a few moments to myself to think. And what I thought was "aaahhh I'm getting older, the kids are getting older. Time is passing too quickly!"

So I thought "what are my major goals in life?"

And one answer was "I really want my kids to have a close relationship with Christ."

So at dinner today we talked about truth and lies, about reading the Word, and I taught them an important skill. I asked them if Potiphar was married.

I do not know why that question came up, buy my daughter ran to the concordance and knew it was the book to use, I was impressed.

Then I showed them how to use it. I also asked them to tell me Jesus' middle name. First one to answer gets a treat.

Well, they found the verse and answer and I gave them both a candy.

It was a fun exercise, for them, and I felt "good I did something today to help along the goal."

But then it dawned on me that the rest of that verse was "Potiphar's wife said to Joseph, make love to me..."

I closed the Bible quickly but then felt convicted... So here is the conversation we have over pixie sticks.

dad - "has anyone ever talked to you about babies?" (I asked hoping the answer to be no)
both - "nope"
calvin - "well grandma did."
now dad pauses...
dad - oh.? What did she say?
calvin - making a face, 'she said they have delicate heads and stuff.'
dad - oh... good.. yes they do don't they.
both - yup
dad - has anyone ever talked to you about where babies come from?
both - nope
dad - do you know where babies come from?
both - nope
sydney - wait.. yes (dad gulps).. "they come from the mommy's stomach"
dad - yup.. that's right, well gnight.
sydney - "only... my baby won't come from mommy's stomach right?"

at this point I can see Kendal's shoulders moving in silent laughter as her back is to us.

dad - "no, your baby will probably come from your stomach"
sydney -"right, unless I decide to adopt. and then it'll come from some other mommy's stomach"

And they were completely satisfied with this conversation. I'm constantly astonished at the lack of curiosity and ease of acceptance of concepts my children exhibit at times when I expect them to be confused and ask a lot of questions. It's usually when I don't expect it that they ask me a question from far out of left field.

Today I asked them "how do you know if someone is lying to you."
and my son after thinking said "because you know the truth"
and I said, "how do you know the truth"

which is what sequed into reading the Word.... and the rest of the evening's conversation.


Speeding up the School

Today we spliced some fibre cable, and I, for the very first time, was able to connect and patch fibre with my co-workers.

I dunno why, but somehow cutting and crimping glass cable gives me a thrill.

On top of that, we were able to dramatically increase the speed of the primary school's network. No more waiting for minutes to load pages and send mail, now they will wait for seconds!

Any day where you get to drill holes in walls, bolt stuff in, use a metal grinder, and patch networking is a good day.


Learning New Things

one of the questions put to me by myself and others before I left was
"how are you going to stay technically up to date?"

Honestly I've never worried about that, I've always seen whatever I'm doing as what God is having me do right now, and He has a reason so it'll all work out. I've seen plenty of evidence that the things I have learned have been put to me by God to do something else with later.

Well besides the fact that there are a lot of very intelligent people here whom I can learn much from, I can also learn new technologies or "new to me" from those who are here.

In many areas of tech there is the old guru. The guy who understands an older technology that the company relies on, but no one new has bothered to learn. There are a lot of people around here I can learn from in THAT regard.

But today, I learned for the first time how to "splice" fibre cable.

We didn't use a fusing technique, instead we uses a light conducting gel with connector. Still it was very interesting to learn and do.

I learned this from a man who has been here for ten years. So I guess the real question is.. how did HE stay up to date? (-;


Running Sound

This Sunday was the most technically demanding time I've ever run sound for church. I had 3 vocalists, 6 instruments, a cd track, a wireless mic, a lectern mic and a computer sound input.

I'm not extremely experienced in sound, and yet I find myself juggling the knobs and faders, and feigning confidence.

I am the net, trying to keep everyone sounding good, mixed and equalized, and if nothing else, heard by the congregation without sending high pitched feedback into their ears.

My daughter was sitting to my left (we divided the kids so that mom didn't have to sit with 2 alone), and to my right was a high school boy running video.

In retrospect, I'd rather be running video, but God does a miracle in my heart each week and makes me a willing and joyful servant.

So in the midst of all this chaos, the video isn't showing and the high school boy turns to me and says "it isn't playing what do I do?"

I have no idea.
I'm a computer and a video guy, but my mind was SO into the sound at the moment that I completely blanked and looked at him, then at the equipment I've never touched before and shrugged.

It all went perfectly well, you don't stick around here if you can't overlook a few hitches in life from time to time.

At the end Sydney was very interested
"daddy I saw you turning a lot of knobs, is that what makes the video go?"
"no those are what makes the sound come through"
"what does this do?"

She was taking a genuine interest in what I was doing and we only ended the conversation because we had to leave. I was slightly surprised at her interest, she normally isn't that interested in what I do or how. I think we'll have to see if she wants to sit by me next week.

Directing Email

Saturday I got a call from the head honcho, the director.
He was leaving for Thailand and had a number of problems with his email.

Normally we aren't asked to work Saturdays, but my option was to work at 6am monday before he got on his flight, so I opted for the Saturday night.

After about 3 hours of work, absent mindedly missing dinner, and one network emergency, we got it up and running so he will be able to stay in communication while in Thailand.

While I felt foolish that it took a whole 3 hours, I realized that of all the people he called, the director did call me.

There are some days when you think "God what am I doing here, am I really being that effective?"

and then days like this come along when He says, "yes, yes you are, jsut keep plugging along, you'll make mistakes, but it's good you are there."

It is very affirming when He does this and I give Him all the credit for knowing the right times to give me a challenge.

Victory for I.T.

Today I got a desperate call. One of the surveyors had been editing a file and accidentally deleted pages of information. Days of work was lost. It was language data. Comparison data.

From what I understand, surveyors go out, find information, gather it, database it, and decisions are based on that data.

Well this particular person had lost days of data, and was looking at a very bad Monday.

I got the call, and within minutes the file was back in place.

We had been working on a new backup solution here that would allow us to restore data more quickly and back it up more reliably.

I was surprised because this was our first restore outside of testing, and it popped up VERY quickly.

I was glad to make the call "your files are back, please try it out."

Boy was she elated!! Her Monday went from possibly being very bad to being a decent Monday.

This is a very practical example of how our presence here has helped with Bible Translation. Had we not been able to restore those files, it would have set her work back a few days, and the work of those waiting on her data. It could have potentially pushed back some due dates on different projects.

I'm very pleased that the new solution worked well. And I'm thankful to God that it all came together when it did.


Calling on God

Some of us heard a dramatic story of a man here I'll call "S". He came to know the Lord in a very dramatic way through one of the programs we offer here to teach Papua New Guinean translators how to translate. He used to be the fight leader of his people group and led them very successfully in fights against old enemies. But now this man preaches the Gospel, forgiveness and peace.

He is now trying to lead his people down a different road. The Word of God changes lives but it can be hard.

A few weeks ago S and his family were held up and almost killed but they escaped. The friends of S sought revenge and went and found one of the enemies responsible. They were going to kill said enemy when S told them to release him. Peace was found and things were calm.

Another time S was wronged by another group and again his men sought revenge. S instead tried to make peace again.

Currently these enemies have surrounded S's entire people and seek to destroy the entire clan and take their land.

This is a man who has been changed by a relationship with Christ, and he is standing up for God trying to change his people from fighters to peace makers. There is opposition and right now, his people are truly threatened.

This is one of those conflicts you see in movies. The underdog, trying to stand up for what is right.

Only he's not an underdog, he has God. God is not a genie who will answer wishes, this is something I keep telling my kids.

In my mind, this is one of those chances for God to be glorified to two people groups! He can show up, save S, and his people and rapidly change lives.

But I'm human, I don't know God's mind. And so I pray.

Please join me. Please pray that God would protect S and his land and that none of it would be taken. That He would protect every man, woman and child.

This seems to be a theme as of late around here. Please pray that God move mightily and that He is glorified.

thank you.


Cargo Cult

during WWII the Australians arrived here and would occasionally radio for more supplies. Soon supplies (aka cargo) would be dropped to them, and the folks living here saw that.

This is only one of the many ways that the Cargo Cult was born.

The link above is a nice concise definition of a Cargo Cult. But basically it is the idea that Stuff comes from God, who is yet another god to be appeased through saying the right things.

The white skins know the right things to say, and the missionary white skins will tell us the right things to say to get the stuff. The right things might even be in this Bible.

Well all that to say, that occasionally a translator will find himself in a position where the people they have been serving start demanding Stuff from them.

It is a hard thing to take. The idea that someone values your stuff more than you and is very open about saying so. It is one of the many challenges that a translator faces.

Imagine not only translating the Word of God to people who need it, but teaching them to read it, AND.. teaching them that it isn't about STUFF, it's about a relationship with Christ.

I have heard stories of people being upset when they can't find the magic words, and I have been asked in the past "what is the way to make it rich?" by a man on a PMV before. (public motor vehicle.. aka public transit).

It is an interesting development that derives from their culture meeting with our culture, and it is a development that the Word of God can address.


Beef Crackers

When I first arrived here I was told that one of the foods that typifies the region is the "Beef Cracker". So I tried one.

Disgusting. That was in 2004, and again when we arrived here last year.

Still every so often I'd try one... and.... blech!

I was regaled with stories of youth who loved them, and folks who when on furlough ordered them by the case because they missed the food.

Still, I couldn't stand these things, but what is worse, I couldn't really imagine ever having a fondness for this food.

I thought, "well maybe something has to change to my fundamental chemical makeup before I can like these."

I figured if I ever did like them, that would be evidence that the water here has mutated me.

This month, I began to have an urge for something salty and crackery.. and I didn't know why.

So I tried the cracker again. Yuck. But... not as bad.

It's been 30 days now, and I've eaten a package of these crackers once a day for snack at 3pm each day. I really like these crackers.

I have no idea what's changed, if I've in fact mutated... but these crackers are really tasty to me now.

hmmn.. I wonder if I'll enjoy brussel sprouts now.



There was a reconciliation ceremony after the peace agreement in which the men piled their bows and arrows in a heap and the pastors set them afire.

The men and women gathered in a big circle, mostly keeping their heads down, I'm unsure why but it might be a shame thing, they look as if they are praying in the photos.

Hugs are given, and promises to cease fighting are made.

It is an interesting ordeal, and to my knowledge it occurred before anyone died. There were injuries, destroyed property, and other unpleasantness. Still, no one died.



praise to God

Sources are reporting this afternoon that a peace agreement has been reached in Ukarumpa village. It was reported that afterwards, bows and arrows from both sides were piled up and set on fire.

It is looking like the fighting is over.

Thank you for praying.

What Chad Does

I don't normally talk about what I do. Usually it's because people who'd understand don't need the explanation, and people who wouldn't won't find it interesting.

So this is my attempt at explaining what I do in a non-geek manner.

8am I arrive at work, I look at several things to make sure everything is working.
The translators here along with the school, the literacy team, the programmers who write the software for the translators, school and literacy team, the accounting department, and the director's office all keep their information in one place.

I'm in charge of that one place. I'm part of a team in charge.

That information, is anything from the Bible translation to someone's list of email addresses.

I make sure this data doesn't get lost, and that people can get to it over the network when they need to.

Then we offer services that people need to get their jobs done, and to communicate with others across the globe.

Email is a huge part of my job, I keep it running, I keep the spam out of it, I keep it moving.

Then there is the network, I keep that up, I keep that running, I keep it secure.

Each member of the team has their specialized area, but we all need to know each other's parts too so we can cover when they are gone.

Then there is the personal touch. The smaller issues that affect one person at a time that we're responsible for.

Fixing laptops, making programs work, all the stuff that annoys you at home, we're the ones you can take your computer to and get it fixed.

There are certain services that are essential to living and working.
and in the past decade,

People working in these departments are a bit more higher profile, as your name gets attached when these things go wrong. If you're doing your job well, no one knows your name because it's always working.

I've worked a lot of jobs, big companies, small startups, but I've never worked in a place like this.
We offer home internet to people
We offer corporate services to people
We have modems and dsl users
We have people whose work machines are their home machines.

It is a very unique blend of home networking and corporate networking and it all twists together into different issues that I had not anticipated but enjoy troubleshooting.

For example.
For all of you at work with a computer you don't own, someone is responsible for that computer. They install anti-virus on it perhaps. They run software to monitor it and keep it healthy. These are your system administrators. (me)

Now, at home there is no one who will do this. No one will fix it when it breaks, and if you get a virus, it's your issue to resolve.

But here, people at home and people at work depend on us to fix issues. So when we say "you need to install this anti-virus on your system" some people get upset.

'It is my home computer, how can you force me to do this?' But the truth is, they use it on our corporate network so we need to keep things secure.

That is one of the many issues we face.
We have "customers" all over the place and I've never heard of another place that has to deal with these unique-ities.

And the driving force behind all of it is to accomplish Bible Translation. So if something seems completely unusual and impossible, but would dramatically help the cause, we find a way to do it, even if it means making our jobs that much tougher, because that's what we came to do.

Part problem solver
Part miracle maker
Part complaining post
Part service provider

That's what I do, and that's what a lot of people do here daily, regardless of what department they work for. I jsut happen to do my job with computers.


Friends in need.

The outlying villages around us are currently having land dispute issues. Attempts to resolve peacefully have been unsuccessful and this weekend fighting broke out.

We are not in danger, this is between the landowners of the villages, it is a Papua New Guinean conflict, and it is a thing that often happens.

It hasn't happened locally for over ten years here, but tension has been high before.

We have friends in one of the villages who are updating us with their stories of the violence that is happening and we feel bad for them and are praying for their safety.

The other day I sat awake in bed, unable to sleep, and I had the desire to pray for one specific man, so I began to pray for his safety. I really didn't know why but at times I get these urges and I follow them.

A few days later he told me a story to make your hair curl. He was attacked by men with knives, and he escaped with only a bruise. He told me 'I should be dead, I praise God that I am alive'.

Prayer works.

Please pray for the outlying villages that they can resolve this peacefully and not have any loss of life. Fighting can occur but once a life is lost things escalate very quickly.

We are concerned for our friends, the reality is that the people we love and work with are threatened, and I may come to work one day to the shock of realizing a friend is injured or killed.

I really shouldn't be saying all of this, as it doesn't paint the culture in the brightest of lights, but truly it is a remarkable thing to see people standing up for God and coming under opposition for it. Please pray that this one village be protected by God's might.



Today is my wife's birthday.
Last night the kids and I were making her a birthday cake. The history of my birthday cake making is disastrous. One year it was lime green, another it was lopsided, another I got sick and she had to make her own. This year, it came out almost perfect except I burned the edges a tad. Hid it with frosting, no one will ever know (-;

The kids decided to make her a pinata. They stuffed a paper bag (which they decorated) with mini candy canes and laffy taffy, sent from back home. The pinata was dangled from a string and during pouring rain we took bats at it.

WOW, it was surprisingly strong, and then, as we're hitting it I ask
"kids, what's in this?"
"mini candy canes and stuff"

so we were essentially making candy cane dust with our repeated whacks.

Finally Kendal went to town on it like Jack Nicholson on a windshield, and it fell apart.

Sure enough, little packets of pink dust fell from it and we laughed pretty hard.

During lunch I decided to get the kids to try and appreciate "mommy a bit".

"Close your eyes, spend 2 minutes thinking about what your life would be like without mommy."

-syd - "okay it.."
me- "ssh.. keep it to yourself (I didn't want to hear what they might say) and use it to appreciate mommy."

a few minutes later
calvin - "daddy can we share jsut 1?"
me - "okay, we're all listening."

calvin - "well all our food would be burnt."
sydney - "we would have to spend all our time with jsut you daddy."
at this kendal begins to laugh, and I can take the jibes... but for added measure sydney adds, mumbling under her breath and shaking he head, "that would be a miserable life."

Kendal lost it, nearly spit her drink through her nose.
Now I can take a jibe now and then, but that was jsut over the top. (-;

Tonight I cook her dinner, and we have some friends over for dessert.

Later in the month I hope to take her for a night into Goroka, a town about 2 hours away she hasn't visited yet. It is hard to get excited about it, but you take what you can get, and it's a time when she won't have to cook and will have some "jsut us" time. We're coupling the trip with picking up some friends on from their furlough.

All in all, birthdays are pretty mellow, and you take your fun where you can.



I have always known that I have a lot to learn about conservation. I knew this because I watched my grandmother, a WWII bride, and how she conserved things.

Living here has been a new experience in not being wasteful.
Conserving water, shorter showers, less wasted water while brushing teeth. Different families take different measures. Using dish water to water plants, fill toilets etc.

It's interesting that in a place where it rains so much you conserve water, but the reason you do is because you can only store so much of it at any one time.

But the one that our Haus Meri taught us was washing zip lock bags. Sure we re-use them but I hadn't realized we could wash them too.

One wonderful thing about PNG culture is that they are not very wasteful of items. They will go through your rubbish and pull out items that are useful to them. It is humbling when you have someone say "don't throw that away, I can make a bilum out of that."

I have found that living here we are much less wasteful, in that we do not produce as much garbage. There aren't many pre-packaged meals or foods here so that is a lot less boxes and bags in the trash. We re-use all plastic containers... for ice tea, kerosene, whatever it is.

Whatever is paper is burned, so there is only the wet garbage left. We compost for the garden, so that leaves only certain items. I'd say what we put out each week is about 1/4 or less of what we put out in the States each week.

It's interesting the tricks you learn by living amongst seasoned pro's at conservation!