Land of the Unexpected

Today I expected to work from 8am to 5pm like usual. Last night the kids reminded me it was sports day, and could I come see them compete? Then at 9:30pm I got a call, "can you help move cargo across the river?"
So a friend lent me their truck. I arrived at 8am and was asked to come back in an hour.

A big truck was making its way from LAE (a port) with cargo sent via sea, to Ukarumpa, but couldn't make it over the broken down (and being repaired) bridge. So the call went out for guys to drive and load cargo and bring it back.

Since the bridge was out, the trip required crossing a river. FUN!

Then I got back from that, had a quick bite for lunch, realized it was raining and I had missed most of sport's day, and now I see at 4pm I need to show up for worship service practice.

Because we have no volunteers to run church, some people are volunteering last minute but unable to do the normal Saturday practice. (I run sound).
SO... 4pm today.

Ironically my manager leaves for a week today, and I was in the office all of 3 hours by the time it was all over.

Oh and now we have dinner at a friend's house planned, and tomorrow I have volunteer fire training. In the middle I need to construct a PVC puppet show stand, and finally I should be able to rest up in time to play my banjo for the preschoolers next week.

ALL of this I had not planned as of 8pm last night. It never gets too dull around here! The cool thing is, that all of this is helping someone else, and all of THAT is helping Bible Translation.

I REALLY enjoy how things change-up around here. Always some way to help. Once you get used to things changing frequently, it's a decent way to live.


Sydney's Essay

My daughter wanted me to post this, it is copied directly from her paper:

Our [organization] Involvment

Me and my family have been helping [org]. Do you want to know why? Sure, ok I'll tell you. Their is over a million people who can't read the bible. they want to but they don't have one. Imagine over a million people don't have a bible so they borrow English Bibles, but they don't understand, wouldn't that be silly? So, my parents help. My mom teaches preschool. Why preschool? because My mom Likes to.

How does it help? it helps so that when the kids grow up they can help too! My dad works at Computer tecnical servecise How does that help? it help so that translators can use their computer to help with diffrent Languages.

My brother and Me help by going to school. How does that help? so that the workers at School get money and don't loose their job, and so that my parents can work, and so that when we grow up (if we want) we can help [org] too!

So, that's my involvement in [organization].

Kuman NT Dedication

Click on the link to see the latest video. This is the one I've been promising. We drove 6 hours to Kundiawe to see the 3rd largest language group in this country receive God's Word.

The impact is a major one for a culture, some cultures recognize it at the beginning and throw big cultural shows, others have no idea how greatly their lives will be affected by God's truth.

I liken this dedication to that feeling you had in high school when you knew graduating was a big thing, but you really weren't quite sure how big the world was yet, how much life ahead of you there really was.

These people in this video know it's big, they jsut aren't sure how big and they seem almost cautious. It is interesting to watch. Enjoy.


Through Her Eyes

Sydney's 4th grade class was asked to present at chapel this morning. Each morning a different grade organizes a 30 minute chapel. The theme this time was "how our family helps Bible Translation".

Sydney wrote a paper in class about our family and how her mom and dad help in translation, but then was asked to write a sentence to read in front of chapel.

Her teacher asked me to borrow a video I had done of the dedication we went to (as a hobby), and so Syd said to me;

"Dad you didn't tell me you made a video for my chapel."
"Miss Kirkham said she was going to show a video you made. Dad, you should have told me."
"oh, well you've seen the video."
"you should have told me dad."
"I'm sorry Syd. I should have."

Apparently she held this chapel thing quite dear, I had no idea. Kendal told me "In Chapel she's talking about you. Not us, jsut you."
"why me?"
"I dunno."

Sometimes you jsut don't know what is going on in the kid's mind until it comes out in a surprise.

So one of the fabulous parts about living here is a 2 minute walk and I'm at her chapel, interrupting the work day for a whole 34 minutes is perfectly acceptable for reasons involving children.

This is what she said at the microphone, in her own words, I had no idea what she was going to say, she wrote it out and later handed it to me, so it's verbatim:

"My dad works at computer tecnical Servisces, so that translators can use their computers for studying about different Languages."

Of course it isn't 100% accurate but it reflects me in her view which is always a precious thing to see. I think she got it from when I was telling her that one way (amongst many) that computers are used here is that the translators can search other language projects and look for similar languages to help them construct an alphabet.

1 and a half years

Yesterday our P.O.C. group threw a "We've been here a year!" potluck. Although we have been here almost a year an a half, we were still invited.

After the eating and socializing, the organizer asked everyone to share:
10 things you miss
10 things you are thankful for.

Kendal suggested also "10 things you thought you'd miss but don't".

For example "I thought I'd miss Starbucks, but I don't." was hers.

I was surprised by this because I hadn't read the email that told us to prepare, so I had to think quickly on the spot about these things.

Always at the top of my mind of things I miss, is family and friends. Things like "hot dogs, movie theatres, pavement" these don't come to mind very quickly because they are trivial but always whenever someone starts thinking about things they miss, the family and friends comes to mind.

Seeing ya'll babies born. Seeing your children grown. Nieces and nephews. Deep conversations and fun times with you all. Hugs.

Stuff like that.
There's a place in me that gets sad when I look at photos, and I let myself go there rarely but I do go there to remember.

So that is what we did this weekend.

One thing I shared with the group was how thankful we are to be here. Our needs are met, and many of our wants. And then I encouraged them with some good encouragement we received.

At the 1 year stage, around that time, there is a "wall". An emotional barrier of some kind that you hit that says "I don't like it here any more, I want to go home." I was warned about the wall by several people. It is as if the honeymoon suddenly ends, and you come to grips with the reality of living in a different culture. You get tired of the adjustment, and you feel like giving up.

I didn't expect we'd hit that wall because we were loving this place so much.
Everything about this place made us very happy.

And then, without warning, about 5 months ago, we hit the wall.
I remember conversations that are best kept private between my wife and I where we were both utterly discouraged.
Lack of close friends, frustration with the culture here, a desire to contribute more, do more, missing family and friends, confusion about our kids' future. All these things.

It was all roses until that time.
But the thing was, we knew what it was. So we didn't even once talk about giving up or heading home. We talked about how much of it was valid and how much was an enemy attack. We prayed, we felt bad, and we jsut waited.

At the end of it, if I can call it a trial by fire, we simply seemed to understand more maturely. More deeply, the work that we have here.

I liken it to a ride at Disneyland.
As a kid, the ride is magic, you don't know how it works and it's fun.
As an adult you understand the mechanics, you don't see the magic, but you appreciate the work put into the ride and enjoy it.

Each way you enjoy it differently. One way you enjoy it, with your eyes open.
That's where we are now.

We are enjoying living here and serving here with our eyes much more open now.
Many people do not get through that wall, and they do go home.

We encountered that while trying to raise support to come here. There was trepidation that we might give up, the statistics show that it happens a large percentage of the time, and a growing percentage with each new generation.

But we haven't yet, I believe we've pushed through that wall, with prayer, drawing close to God, and with the support of friends and family like you.

So now, 5 months later, I look back and am thankful we went through that. I'm thankful we can warn these friends of ours of what is coming, and hopefully prepare them like we were prepared.

God is amazing us daily still! We see his hand at work. I'll blog a story soon about some encouraging aspect of life here.

Until then.. this again was too wordy.. but was a long time in the writing.
God bless and thank you!


uplifting story

You know we're here supporting Bible translation, and you know we do that through our jobs as well as our side ministries and personal relationships.

One of our friends, a translator, told us this story.
But first some background.

Translators here go about their work in a few different ways. One of the ways is that they build a team of nationals who understand the language and are willing to work on Bible translation. These people are essential to the ex-pat understanding the language and the side-result is the relationships that form. Sometimes it takes a very long time to build such a team, and sometimes these teams can fall apart.

But our friend has a good team.
One man through this process has had his life changed by Christ.

Here's the story.
In a culture where wife-beating is acceptable on man's wife was giving birth and he did a remarkable thing. He stayed outside the house all weekend singing praises to God and praying for his wife and new baby boy. He was tender with her, devoted to her, encouraged her. That is a very very rare thing to see in this country and is evidence of Christ changing lives.

Slightly embarrassed at his own tenderness he told none of his friends about the birth or his actions, but raced to my friend and secretly told him. You can spend your life working to share Christ with a nation, a culture, a people, a person, and not get this kind of reaction even once in your life.

He said, "I've never felt close to God like that, God truly does answer prayer, I prayed that my wife would be okay, and that she would give me a son, and she did!"

What a great encouragement! What a remarkable testimony!
Kendal and I get excited to see the translators excited! There truly is a lot of passion that goes into this work.