Sound advice

one of my ministries here is running sunday morning sound every other month.
each Saturday we spend 2 hours rehearsing, but it seems each Sunday there is a new hurdle to overcome.

Equipment fails on us randomly. Most of our sound equipment is in need of replacement but there is no budget for it. It gets heavily used by the English service and the Tok Pisin service, as well as all events, and town meetings.

A few people have the skill to repair, and some of it has been repaired many times.

This morning, a mysterious hum overpowered the speaker at the podium. I was turning knobs, pushing buttons trying to isolate the source of the sound.

One man whom I hadn't yet met, came to give me advice, which I listened to but it wasn't entirely accurate. The amount of adrenaline that hits when you realize there is a sound problem and you desire to resolve it before the sermon begins, is large.

I couldn't find it.

So I stopped,
"God, help me find this problem, please send me some help"

I opened my eyes, and there was a friend, "hey, you need some help?" He felt like he should do something. He recommended replacing a mic cable. Which of course was the right solution.

I had it narrowed down to either the mic or the cable but was unable to leave the sound desk while the lady up front was praying, to swap the cable.

My friend, Tim, was able to, had the sense to come and offer help, and then he did, and the hum went away and there was no longer a distraction to people hearing the message.

I was amazed at the immediate answer to prayer. I opened my eyes and there he was.

God is great.

Running sound for me is a lesson in humility. I enjoy a certain amount of technical expertise in computers and rarely is there a problem I can't solve.

Sound, is replete with problems, and rarely am I able to solve them on my own, and... it is a very public thing. If there is a hum, everyone is looking to me to resolve it.

I was reminded this morning to rely on God in EVERYTHING.

If you happen to be reading this and have access to old but functional sound equipment that you're able to donate, by all means, please email me.

Two weeks ago, we lost two mic stands. An over zealous sound helper tightened a stand too tight, and snapped the bolt, another one is too loose, and slowly drooped during the praise band's song.

you can find my email address at

thank you
and praise God, HE does answer prayer.


Bits of Saturday


Redefining Fresh:

most of the food we get here at the store says "best if used by" a date that ocurred months ago. Typically, if it's only a few months old, it's called "FRESH"


today I spent an hour cleaning out my closet and removing the three pair of leather shoes I brought. They were covered with a thick layer of mildew. Even though it doesn't seem that humid here, it is still the tropics.

Calvin laugh, he's so literal:

I woke up this morning and walked into the kitchen and ask my wife how she felt as the previous evening she had a headache:

Kendal:"my head no longer hurts."
Chad: "how about the rest of you (jokingly)"
Kendal: "fine"
Calvin: "Well my head is fine, but my foot hurts a little."
Chad: "Sorry to hear it buddy, but I wasn't asking you."
Calvin: "uh huh you did."
Chad: "No I was talking to mommy."
Calvin: "yes, you were and then you said "how about the rest of us"

He got me there.

Sydney laugh:

Calvin went down the road to play, riding his bike. HE was to call and let us know when he was coming home so that one of us could meet him on the road. IT's the first time he's rode the bike since his stitches.

phone rings:
kendal: "I'm going to go down the road to meet CAlvin.. unless Sydney wants to go."
Syd: "go where?"
Kendal: "to meet Calvin"
Syd: "I already met him."

that got me, I laughed pretty hard after that.

Today was half filled with chores, small things, practicing worship for church tomorrow, putting together a bookshelf for Calvin, cleaning closet etc.

Then I took Syd down to the river for an hour, jsut to have some Daddy Daughter time. We made a makeshift sand castle, played in the water, etc.

Throughout the day I'm checking in at work to make sure things are good, and thus far they are. I am enjoying the hassle free weekend, last weekend was pretty busy.



This weekend had a few more firsts for me.
I nearly had a sandwich with capsicum.
What is that? It's the British/Australian name for Bell Peppers.
That's a good one to know since bell peppers don't agree with me.

I'm constantly learning new words and phrases. Or learning new meanings for old words and phrases. Sometimes someone will blush when I say an innocent word in my American English. Other times, someone will say something that strikes me as rude. Sometimes it's a new application of a less used word.

But most of the time, I'm hearing words I don't understand but inside the context they make sense.

It makes conversation interesting, I enjoy the vocabulary expanding interaction.

The other first was that for the first time since I arrived, the power situation was such that we shut down all non-essential servers for the duration of the weekend, so that the technicians wouldn't have to live in the network room.

I liked that. We shut down the servers, so that we could have a weekend. WOW, how anti-silicon valley is that culture? I love it!

After spending much of Saturday battling the power failures, we said, "shut it all down!" and we did.

And we rested on Sunday and did not work. Today, Monday we came in, and turned it all back on, after they had repaired the generator...we hope.

I come from a line of work that says ... "always be up, always be online, 'five nines uptime!!!' (that means 99.999% uptime which means you can't have servers down for long).

I come from a world of pagers and cell phones, of all nighters and priority ones.
I come from a world of catastrophic failures and emergency phone calls.
In 1998 I slept with my pager on my chest in vibrate mode, so as not to wake up my wife when it went off.
In 2006, I made over 10% of my salary in after hour emergencies, that were billed to customers.
In 2007, there was talk of me not working during the day, and simply being on call for emergencies.

But, in 2008, I came to work for God. And He said, "remember the Sabbath and keep it holy." And He rested.

And so we rest. Even as I type this I feel my blood pressure lower than it's ever been. It's been a hard weekend, lots of work... but....

If you look for them, there are blessings. All around me things are difficult and down right hard for folks, but if you see them, there are reasons to be pretty excited about the blessings God gives.

I'm not saying life here is easier, but the stresses come in different forms then they used to, and for that, I'm thankful. I worked 24x7 for 5 years. I turned the car around while we were heading to family vacation, I've missed birthday parties, I left get togethers, and I woke up countless midnights to work. I do not miss that.

We have emergencies here, but I really appreciate the mentality that says, "we can get along without when we need to." And people do.

I believe it is because we have faith in God who provides.

I'm once again thankful for all of you who sustain us here.
For your gifts, for your prayers, for your emails and thoughts.



Today, Friday, was a normal day. Do a few network patches at the school, double check backups, tweak a few servers.

But then at 3pm, the power went out.

Our server room is powered by a room full of batteries connected to an inverter. We used to use Deep Charge but they were hard to come by.

when the power goes out, the servers run on battery power. BUT, the air conditioning doesn't run.

Very quickly our little room of servers begins to heat up, and when that happens the hardware begins to fail.

Typically turning on the generated is automatic after 5 minutes.

So the power goes out..
we wait 5 minutes... no generator
we wait 10..
we keep our eye on the thermometer readout...
it's growing.
We call the electricians "hey what's going on, we're going to have to start shutting down."

today the answer came (welcome to life here) "We can't get a hold of [the guy who knows how to start the generator]"

My guess was he was watching his kids compete at the annual sport's day...
So I ask a co-worker with a radio, "can you call him on the radio?"

"he doesn't have it on him."

So.. a guy nearby him with a radio hears the call, taps his shoulder.. OKAY now he heads to the generator room.

Uh oh.. problem in the fuel line... he begins to work.
The call comes back "20 minutes to an hour before it's up"

So.. we... the network guys, at 3:15pm begin shutting down servers, which at this point, are basically heaters with strong fans.

Services go down, but people don't mind because they're houses are out of power too.

We finally get down to the bare minimum... open all the windows and doors, and the servers stabilize and begin to drop in temperature.

For those that are aware of the "watchdog reset"... ours kick off around 31 degrees celcius. The inside of the servers got to 29 degrees celcius.

That's 2 degrees... PHEW.. we made it.

If we let them get too hot... parts melt and break and it costs us money.

So it's not frantic but it is a little bit of... hustle.. bringing things down so they don't break.

Well it's all back up now. This happens a few times a year, and when it does... the computer/network geek appreciates three things in a major way:

-Air conditioning - and those who can maintain it
-Electricity - and those who can maintain it
-CB/HF radio - and those who can operate them

Keeping this room running safely was truly a team effort, and if there is one great thing to say about this place, it's that people pull together during a crisis, be it ever so minor.


Coffee Festival

Kendal and I drove to Goroka a few weeks ago to pick up some friends from the airport. In the interest of killing time and seeing some local culture, we attended the Coffee Festival.

Unfortunately we didn't spend a lot of time there. The crowds were huge! We parked, but were wary of leaving the car, because it doesn't take long for someone to open it and take the belongings inside.

So we went for a quick 5 minute visit. We snapped this photo with permission above of some of the ladies in the area, resting between their dances and performances, which we didn't get to see in person, because a few moments later...

I heard "pait pait" which means "fight fight", and turned to see maybe 200-300 people running right towards us. I was completely unsure if they were running TOWARDS the fight or away, but I had prepared for this eventuality.

Fights in town can break out quickly, and can turn into riots. The best thing to do is to get in doors quickly. Stores will let white skins in during fights to protect us as visitors to their country. I have never been in one, but typically the interest is not in harming us as we are guests and typically treated nicely.

But here we were, in the middle of a field, near a thatch wall. Not seeing an exit, I very quickly surrounded Kendal with my body, back to the crowd, and moved us up against a nearby wall where the odds of any fallout were diminished.

Well the crowd very quickly dispersed, nothing happened at all. It was odd to see that many people herding right at us, and then stopping, and laughing. AT first I thought it was a massive practical joke, but that wasn't a realistic thought. The laughter made me uncomfortable. I thought it was a "hey let's play a prank on the white skins!!" but later found that laughter is a nervous reaction to embarrassment. They were most likely embarrassed of running and panicking.

We quickly left the field, having our fill of the environment for the day. We didn't feel it prudent to stay in the wake of that, not knowing the situation.

This highlights an interesting part of living here.

Even if you are 100% fluent in the language, (which I am not) you are never fully aware of all the forces at play in any given situation. Trying to stay up on the political, social, and religious news of the day is busy work. You can never be sure when you walk into a town, if you're walking into the middle of a tense situation.

It's best to always be alert, and always trust in God for your protection, we pray a LOT when we go into towns.

A thought struck me, I wonder if that was what it was like to visit a town in the old west... riding into town... not knowing what has recently transpired.




obtain your ip address automatically? Nope.

For weeks, I've been instructed to draw personal boundaries better. Don't let people call me on the weekend about work. So this Sunday, was family day, we even had a visitor, I had turned on the oven for our traditional pizza that my wife made.

The phone rings "the entire network is down in finance department."
I looked at my equipment everything was giving me the okay sign
"can you be more specific?"
they were unable to, and I realized this would be a few hours, so I said, "well it is Sunday, so I'll look into it first thing Monday morning."

I was proud of myself for drawing the limits. The last 3 weekends I've had to run up to the network room for some emergency, and this time, I was proud I drew the limit.

Only, Monday I came in and in fact the network WAS down!
It wasn't the network so much as DHCP, which means, no one was able to get an ip address.

Departments began phoning in like mad "I can't get to anything on the network."

Other people in the dept, came in early trying to troubleshoot. The problem was resolved 5 minutes after I arrived.

I don't say this to brag, because I honestly feel all the skill I have is because God has given it to me, and I'm the first to recognize where I am weakest.

I thank God that somehow, one of my talents seems to be quickly finding the root of a problem and solving it, under pressure.

I honestly do not know how it happens, a thought pops into my head, then another, and I always pause to pray for guidance during moments like this.

The clinic was unable to sell it's drugs, the finance unable to transact, the director's unable to check email... everything was coming to a halt, electronically. The phone was ringing like mad.

I thought it ironic that THIS weekend was the time I chose to be more assertive in my personal space.

This place has challenged me in new ways. Many ways. So I tend to celebrate when I achieve successes. You really should take the time to celebrate successes, in the form of worship and thanks to God.

THANKS GOD, we solved that ONE!!!!

Trials develop character, and successes revitalize.


Harry Harry

act now, while supplies last. We went into a store that I hadn't been until since 2004, and right there, in the middle was the same sewing machine I had seen 4 years ago, it hadn't sold yet, and it hadn't come down in price. It seems that often the "last" of something is not marked down to sell, also, I've seen that they do not price to sell items, if it doesn't sell, they don't seem to mind too much.

Mud Men

while we were on our 24 hour holiday, we sat and had dinner. Soon the "mud men" came creeping into the restaurant slowly and earily, almost like moving statues. It was interesting to watch but I didn't know why they were there.

Until at the end, a man came in selling little mud men figurines. I'm sure there is more of a cultural story here, but I haven't desired to delve into it yet.


Time for New Glasses

last night Sydney woke up around 11:30pm.
"daddy, my pillow keeps making a clicking noise and I can't sleep"
"Sydney, your pillow is clicking?"

she is prone to waking up, sleep talking, and then going back to bed.

"Well, can you figure out what the problem is? Go back to bed sweetie."

She leaves, I figure that's the end, but then a few minutes later I see two eyes poking around the doorway.

So I get up, shuffle in there
"don't turn on the light daddy it'll hurt my eyes."

I pick up the pillow to listen to it, hear no clicking but she says,
"daddy there is something under it"

I look down in the dark and see 8 legs. The biggest spider I've ever seen, right under her pillow!! A big hair tarantula, which is odd because we don't see tarantulas up here.

I turn on the light, ready to catch the spider...
wait.. it's no spider, it's her toy plastic jumbo jacks. 8 legs, nope, 2 plastic jack pieces.. funny how they click when they touch.

My daughter looks at me and says "oh."

yeah.. OH.. daddy needs night vision or new glasses.


Changes...for the better

Inherently there is resistance to change. Changing things requires work.

Recently, our department has become somewhat unpopular to some because we've asked people to make changes to their email settings. Nobody likes it when email doesn't work. Things should simply work.

Months ago, I had a vision. I had a plan and I sold people on it. The plan was for email to simply work. Wherever you go, it worked. It worked securely, it worked quickly and it didn't require any changes or forms.

People here are on the go, they go on trips, they go to villages, they go around the country and out of the country and until today, when they would go, it would be a small mountain of paper work accompanied by the hassle of changing email settings, and possibly losing email.

Today, after months of work, puzzle solving, trying to figure out how to get around different requirements, I was able to announce that as a team, we have made email... WORK from Anywhere.

The announcement has been out for ten minutes, and already the praises are flooding in. People going to Australia to have babies are happy, people going to the village are happy, people going on medivac's who don't have time to fill out the forms are happy.

It's a happy day. And I'm glad we were able to make lives easier, even if it meant, for the last month, people have been upset about the changes... now that they see why I think they will glad they did.

today we did a short computer orientation for the new arrivals here. This is something that wasn't previously done, but was an idea me and another guy had to reduce the amount of confusion that people have when they come here, and thus reduce the amount of unnecessary work our dept. sees.

It felt good to see the fruit of some of the labor. The last few months have been tough because a lot of things have been not working right, breaking, etc. Hey, that's why I'm here!

Still, it's really nice to have a success that everyone can enjoy from time to time.

The short version: - After a lot of work, trials and failures, I was able to make things better.