Theology for kids

a week or so ago my daughter asked "daddy why did God create accidents?" last night she asked "daddy why did God create punishment? He created everything right?" and right after my son asked "daddy, where did the first germ come from."

His idea was that when Eve bit the 'apple' that the rest of the fruit gathered germs, and that was the very first germ.

He had it all figured out in his head, because germs can cause death and sickness and before the sin, there mustn't have been germs, so after the sin, when the 'apple' was bit, there were germs left on it.

His reasoning was impressive, and I didn't have a quick answer, so we left it there.

But then it dawns on me, that these questions have a bit of a negative tinge to them.
So I say "kids we've been talking a lot about some of the sad things we know about God, let's talk about some of the glad things."

So I read to them in Revelation about the thrones, gold crowns, sea of glass, rainbows, jasper, emeralds... to excite their imagination.

And soon they were expounding on what they think heaven is like... so I say... with all excitement...

"and the great thing about all of that is.. .what? ... who gets to see it?"

expecting them to reply in unison "we do, believers in Christ do!"
but no..
instead they paused... thinking... and then a moment later my son says.

"dead people. dead people get to see it."

I had to laugh.
am I raising pessimists???


Cultural Humor

We have a photo board here, and I'm one of the resident jokesters.
On this photo board today I found a picture from 5 months ago, and a picture from today at 12:50.
The old photo was the river low, with a PMV crossing (a pickup truck with a ton of people riding in the back of, the PNG equivalent of a public motor vehicle). The new photo had the water that had risen about 3 feet or so.

So I mocked up a really bad photoshop photo of the pmv in the water up to their necks as a joke, put it on the photo board.

The subject was
"don't try to cross the river today"
so I replied,
"why, I saw a pmv do it moments ago" and put the picture up, as a joke and even put it was a joke.

So the ex-pats laughed.
THEN I get this email,
apparently the national employees here laughed hysterically at this photo thinking it real, and not knowing about photoshop. They laughed because PMV drivers have a reputation for being crazy and this photo proved it.

The ex-pat managing hardware wrote me "it took a bit of explaining for them to realize it was a joke photograph... good one."

I didn't mean to cause confusion, but I don't think I did. I wrote "do not try this" in big letters so they would know it a joke.

Still that's the first joke I've ever made that crossed boundaries... usually I can get the nationals OR the expats laughing, but rarely both at the same time.


Today, ten minutes before closing, there comes a very polite little knock on the door. A Korean gentleman had been wandering around seeking help and one of the ladies directed him to me.

I had no idea what he wanted, his English was poor and my Korean doesn't exist.
After a few seconds I said,
"Yu save tok pisin?" (do you know tok pisin)
he did, so we spoke in tok pisin.

5 minutes later he was happy and gone.
He apparently was trying to sign up for network services home DSL, and didn't know how to say it in English, what he kept saying in English was "I want an email alias".
which wasn't true.

In tok Pisin
"me laikim yupela givim me sompela ..uhm... DSL i go long haus bilong mi "(I would like you to give me dsl to my house).

Using a third language to bridge the gap to computer related issues... who knew! oh yeah.. God knew.

pretty nifty.


a Little thing I like to call "stock take"

This pic is of where I live, back in 1968, it has changed a lot since then.

The departments here close for stock take every 6 months.
So, the situation is, for the next week (or so), you can't purchase computer parts, groceries, electrical supplies, hardware, or any other work that you need to get done. Imagine if Mayberry closed for a few days.

Normally that's fine, and it is fine, except that because of the rain we also can't escape off centre if we wanted to simply be... AWAY.

If any of you have experienced the living-up-on-the-hill don't-have-electricity, huddle in the rain storms... it's fun as a kid.

As a kid I was thinking about the thunder and lightning. As an adult, I'm thinking about how to keep the kids entertained over the weekend and not go stir crazy (-;

Still shooting marbles in the dark with my dad is a grand ol' memory.
Although, the power hasn't gone out, and if it did, we have generators, so... it might be a nice weekend of curling up by the fire, listening to the rain, watching the lightning and reading books.

Ever get in that mood... the ... rainy day mood. Well, this place has the rain... a LOT of rain... I've lived here 1.5 years now and I'm still amazed at how hard it rains.

God has created some marvelous things.

The Rain She Comes

well it looks like the hard-to-define "dry season" has ended here. For 3 days it has poured BUCKETS of rain, taking a break for an hour here or there for intense sunshine.

The river is rising, and the bridge seen above is not yet repaired. We've been bypassing the bridge with a ford, but the river is far too high now to pass. We were hoping the bridge would be repaired by now.

It looks repaired, but is still impassable. We hope the rain dies down again so work can progress. Until then, we're confined here and supplies will be very difficult to bring in to us. Without being able to cross, we have to carry supplies across. You'll notice trucks on both ends of the bridge here.

But the water fills our tanks, and we are thankful for that!


Eating Grasshopper

Yesterday I came home after helping a neighbor raise his antenna tower to find my son and daughter huddled on the lawn over a plastic cup.

It was Sunday.

"Dad, we caught a grasshopper and he's perfect for eatin!" -says my son.
both he and my daughter were excited about this.

The back story was that they came running into the house to get a cup from Kendal who said "go outside until your dad gets home because I'm not cooking up any grasshoppers!"

So they did. I saw the grasshopper and said "son, your catch, your kill" and handed him a knife.

I honestly thought at this point he'd chicken out. But no he says

"first you cut off the head, then pull off the legs, then the wings then you skin it and fry it up"

So I let him do that very thing, and he did too.
So I, thinking he'd still chicken out, followed suit, we went inside, skinned it, and then I fried it in a pan.

Cut it into 3 pieces and him, Syd and myself all ate grasshopper.
I'm not sure we did it right, but we did it Calvin's way.

You know people have told me they taste like peanuts... but to me honestly it tasted like grass.

I am not sure we prepared the meal the right way.

So now, if folks ask me what the most exotic thing I've eaten while over here is...
I'm not sure what it'd be, but grasshopper definitely ranks near the top.


Choir and Crash

My daughter has joined the P.C. singers and had her first choir concert the other night. It was very enjoyable watching her sing her heart out and, even though a proud dad, I went assuming things would sound slightly off key. They were really good! The song choice was fun, the kids had a lot of fun performing as did we watching. There was a lot of humor in the songs, and I appreciate the music teacher that came to teach the kids how to have fun while learning how to sing in choir.

Also the 9th grade health teacher sent me an email with 13 others asking us to mock up a car crash so that her first aid students could practice. So we all hammed it up, fake blood, stuff like that. It was a lot of fun. I thought that I might be over the stop as I put together a home-made device to make it look as if I had impaled my arm on a tree branch, but when I showed up, others had chicken bones sticking out of their knees, head injuries, etc. It was really quite grim, but excellent practice for the youth.

I do enjoy when a community can be creative together.


Heavy Load

a PNG Meri (woman) carrying firewood on her head. This is a large load but not an uncommon site.


I am here to fix computers. But that's not all I do. Recently I was given a project that few wanted, to show if I was capable of handling a large scale project. We need to move our programmers into a new building. Or rather a very old building.

Which means there needs to be construction, electrical, networking, air con, and telephone work done.

So managing the entire move is my side project for the past few, and next couple of months.

Construction begins Monday.
It is interesting because I'm learning a lot about how to interact with the different departments here and how the mechanics work.

But this morning I woke up thanking God because I realized, that with EVERY single job I've had since graduating college, I've been involved in a move or expansion. Typically I'm only handling the network side of the move, but there have been times when I was in charge of almost an entire move.

I was thinking "wow it seems like I've done this a lot" and sure enough, every job I've had, I did it.

I'm thankful to God because even this tiny forgotten part of my experience is being put to good use here.


Bit of Sadness

This week was a bad week for pets in our household.
On thursday my son's guinea pig died, but it wasn't too traumatic for him.
Today, (Sunday) someone broke the lock on rabbit cage and stole my daughter's bunny I think while we were at church.

My daughter said to me through tears, "Daddy why did the raskols steal him on Sunday?"

I said, "honey, sometimes the bad things or the bad people come and they want us to forget who God is, they want us to stop loving God by making us angry or sad. But we don't let them win, we love Him even more, because He loves us so much."

The kids are doing okay, never to miss an opportunity they are trying to parlay this loss into a new puppy. (-;

You get these moments in life, when you are living, and they come unexpectedly. We didn't have the heart to tell her that the rabbit was someone's dinner now. And I hope I said the right thing when she asked about Sunday.

Syd is fearful of earthquakes too, and we had a small one this week, she needed a little bit of comforting and then went back to sleep.

Sunday was a very interesting day as I looked back on it. In my mind raced a lot of Scripture about hope, joy, suffering, love, and I had a lot of thoughts regarding our situation and lives.

And this is what I came up with.
First, I am so very thankful to God for a very clear calling. Not everyone has that, not every 'missionary' has that. But this calling is so clear to us, that when the bad things happen, we aren't rocked onto our heals. We don't pray "God am I doing the right thing?" Our call, God's leading, gives us strength. We are convinced repeatedly that this is the right place for us.

Second, today we laughed, and we cried. We had a great family Sunday, we played charades and catch and soccer, and tears were shed over the loss of a bunny. That's living right there. A day where you are drawn closer together, laughing, crying, asking tough life questions, and glorifying God. ALL that and it was our day off !!! Imagine what God is doing on the weekdays!!!

So we're thankful for the unexpected, sometimes sad, weekend.
We're thankful for the words of encouragement and the prayers we receive.

I think our biggest requests right now, are for the people living here to have a sense of security, and unity. I personally sense we are on the verge of something and the enemy knows it and has turned up the heat a bit. We need to pray and not tire.


This week

This week has been pretty quiet. A small little knock on our office door and I opened it to find a petite translator lady from Taiwan. She had limited English and I understood that her email in the village wasn't working. So we sat down and got it working. Later she said in her English

"you'll be here long term?"
I replied, "I'm here for a while, yes."
she clapped her hands.

that was a nice little encouragement, as she went out the door, the issue resolved.

Yesterday I was on the phone to a place called Wewak, which is very north. They had a computer crash and were unable to get email. After an hour of troubleshooting the problem was resolved and they were able to continue working. The gentleman I was working with was in his 60's and wrote a simple little note of thanks over email.

That was encouraging too.

It is nice to be able to from time to time, realize that fixing these things for people has significant value.