Lost in Translation

Some things simply do not translate.
Today I stepped outside my office, it being Christmas eve, I was leaving early.
A friend of mine, (born in PNG) was placing a box marked "FRAGILE" in his truck.

I quoted one of my favorite Christmas movies and said without thinking,

"Frah jee lay ... ooh that must be Italian!"

he paused and looked at me with a look that said "this is your mother tongue, and you can't even read that?" and replied verbally, "Fragile... it's Fragile"

I lacked the desire to explain my joke, I regretted having quoted the film to a man who had obviously never seen it... and nodded a polite "yes, thank you."

Hehe... still couldn't resist the perfect opportunity.

Merry Christmas.


PNG missionary history through the eyes of the Mape

The Mape New Testament was recently dedicated in a ceremony. During which, the Mape people played out an "early missionary experience". Can you guess in this photo who the missionary is?

Things are MUCH better now (-;


My Day

So here's what I did today, having NO idea I might do these things when I left the house:

-an idea I had saved 15-20 hours of work, did it in 1 hour (duplicated a firewall rule set by converting a text configuration into html using a ns2html script provided online.)

-saved a translator couple $939.99 by troubleshooting an HF-radio modem and upgrading it's firmware, thus they didn't need to buy a new one for their village visit in January.

-converted a dvd produced by our video department into .m4v so that a translator can sync it to his ipod. (teaches on the Old Testament - Christ's sacrifice in Kamano-Kafe language)

This is the interesting one.
He's heading into the village with a battery pack, a low power projector, speakers, and an ipod. He wishes to prove this will work, so he needed to get a dvd (non copyrighted) onto his ipod. I simply taught him how to use handbrake, very simple to me, but to him, saved him hours of head scratching and now he should be able to travel into the jungle with minimal equipment in his backpack... which is good since he has Cerebral Palsy.

I tell you, being here, sometimes the things I think are so simple and come naturally, save other people a LOT of work and time, and are very appreciated.

Vice Versa as well there are others here that help me in this way.

I am constantly amazed at how God has prepared our skills for being here. I thank Him for any good ideas I get. And I wonder at the practical application of some of these gadgets that are out there.
Honestly, this weekend was full of stuff breaking at home for me. It is really nice to get a few wins under the belt after one of those "Home Improvement" weekends when you get a few projects that don't go exactly right.


Killin Modems

For those who enjoy the more geeky side of my job:

Today the temperature in our server room began to climb, our air conditioner is dying and although we've had one on order for 6 months, it hasn't come yet. Well because of this situation we decided to start powering off non-essential servers. For the past 2 years we've been migrating dialup users to dsl users. So the quick decision was made to power off our Dialup users to save the heat, and convert the 24 modems to 8 since we seem to still have modem users.

Mind you this is completely impromptu, no planning at all.
problem 1 - the modem card inside the old Dell desktop running w2k3 server is disabled because it is incompatible with the external modem/serial bank.

problem 2 - after enabling all the OLD modems we go to patch the phone lines and find that the cable terminated are the wrong type of cable.... we need an Rj4 cable on one end and an rj11 on the other. Where are they? So I began to bring up the server hardware while the others scoured boxes for these OLD cables. Woops.

problem 3 - after they all searched for a few hours, I lucked out and found them within 15 minutes of looking, we patched them... all should work right? ... nay... no dial tone on the patch panel... SO we call the telephony guy over;

"sorry about this but we schedule a server maintenance that was supposed to be very very simple and in fact is turning very bad on us very quickly, could you drop everything and come help us?.. please?" he did, nice bloke that he is, and soon we discover that no dial tone means that the pairs weren't patched properly.

Mind you this entire project is reverting back to what we used 8 years ago, because since then they upgraded the modem capabilities.

We're now 10 minutes over our 2 hour window, and are manually repatching 8 telephone lines. Which means we're still not sure that our dialup server is functional.

THIS is exactly the kind of thing you want to do on a Friday. It's sort of the old nightmare project, the only thing is, there is very little stress because most of our customers are on DSL now.

Q: How many technicians does it take to revert a dial up server from 24 modems to 8 modems, thus reclaiming 6 rack units of space and about 1 degree of cooler room temp?

A: 4. One to start the project, one to run around asking questions and grab tools while the other guy scratches his head and says "remind me why we started this project again", one to know exactly how it all fit together 8 years ago, and one to patch the telephony jacks.

All that to say, it is working now. I blog this so that you know not all our projects go super smooth and professionally, but hey, we got it done. (-;

Dog Sitting

don't worry, I'm not actually sitting on dogs.
This won't become a blog about cute little dog antics.

I enjoy dogs, but would not call myself a dog lover. So when a friend of ours (a translator couple) asked if we could watch their dog for a month, I said yes.

This dog is pretty smart, a 1 yr old German Shepherd mix. Well behaved, fun loving, good guard dog.

I made a dog run for her, and put her collar on a caribiner connected to the leash. This morning she figured out how to bite it, to clip it open and get loose.

I was pretty impressed.

Neighbors mated their dog with another neighbor and last night they had puppies, so we're hoping to soon have a new puppy, and we'll teach it to be a good guard dog for the house and a good friend for the kids.

The kids are getting over their fear of dogs (some stray dogs attacked Calvin a year ago, didn't harm him but scared him), through the dogsitting, although the dog is still too powerful and can knock them over easily.

I'm putting time into research on how to train dogs, etc... so that this experience will turn out very positive for us.


Sunday Scare

This morning I woke up, readied for church, and checked my email. Our #1 main server was down. This server is a dell 1950 with 2 dual core processors, running a virtual machine, our intranet, and our ftp server.

It has a powervault md on it, hosting 11 TB of data. That's 11 terabytes!

So to wake up to the thought of this server being down, meant a LOT of data loss.

Scenarios of disaster run through my head as I begin the trek to work. I start praying. "God please help me, I'm a month out of the seat, a little rusty, please guide me and heal this machine."

I went into work, and the disk controller was complaining of losing it's configuration.
GREAT... but .. um.. which controller is it? There are two, and if it's the big one, we've lost all data, if it's the small one, the server and all virtual machines, won't boot.

A year and a half ago, we implemented a service called OCS, which inventories all our systems on the network. We very rarely need to refer to it, but this morning I did.

The database showed me quickly that the complaining controller was our "C" drive not our "D" drive and I was relieved.

Now... comes the scary process of pushing the right buttons.

When you're skirting the line of total data loss you hate to have warnings like "all disks are missing press C.. if you press C this action can not be reversed... are you SURE?"

and then "erasing configuration... this action will remove all data."

ugh... several scary steps later, I see the familiar "Windows 2003 server" splash screen and I stand up, triumphantly pumping both fists into the air..

"THANK YOU GOD!" I holler right as my co-worker walks in...

WOW... that was adrenaline. I went from being certain we had lost 11 terabytes of data to having not lost a single drop, and it only took 1.5 hours. Wow.

On top of that, I was able to discover root cause which is hard to do in these situations, and hopefully we can order spare parts to avoid such a scary scenario again.

Thank you GOD for answered prayer!!!


Under Water

(kids at the Sydney Aquarium on the way back from the U.S.)

Water Tank Miracle
2 months ago our water tank began to rust out, water pouring from little holes. We blogged about it. We got an Instant Message from one lovely couple saying they were going to give us a one time gift. However the amount wasn't mentioned for various reasons.

Well the water tank began to pour and I couldn't wait, so we prayed and a number popped into my head, and I began to search out the best deal I could for that amount, hoping it might match the donation. After several choices and variables (between types of tanks, shipping, assembly, installation... do I do it myself, how much do I do? etc.) We came up with what we figured was the most sensible solution.

A tank that held a little more than the old tank, but was made more sturdy and would last longer. To offset the cost from a cheaper tank I would install it myself.

Well the tank was ordered, and shipped and the bill came. After a few weeks we saw what the amount of the donation was... wouldn't you believe it... the numbers matched exactly. I mean to the penny.

Purchase price, + discount + shipping + fittings for plumbing = exact amount of donation.

So we returned from the U.S. with a new tank ready for pickup. All I had to do was figure out how to assemble and plumb it myself. Well, 4 days later, and several back breaking hours of shoveling in the heavy rain, and we today turned the valve on our new water tank!!!!! AND IT WORKS!!!

Thank you to friends like you who sustain us and encourage us, and bless us!

God constantly is using you to show us miracles time after time!


Funny Quote

Tonight was the primary school Christmas concert.
The primary school beginner band played for an hour and the pc singers (sydney is one but missed this concert's practice last month) sang for about 30 minutes.

Calvin had to go to the bathroom, so Kendal escorted him. It was one of those "I'm bored I want to go do something, moments."

While walking back he said "mom, I'm bored."
she replied "well we're here as a family I'm sorry you're bored, but you need to use your manners."

so he replied, and this cracked Kendal up to the point of coughing....

"Let me give it to you straight mom, I'm sweatin' like a donkey in a haystack."

we couldn't decide which part of that quote was funnier, the first bit or the second bit.

Almost all of us, enjoyed the concert.


Tree Hunting

Last year we started a tradition, we hid our little 4 foot christmas tree in the yard, and drove around sipping cocoa listening to christmas music in 70 degree weather.
This year we carried on the tradition. Only I hid the tree and sign in a different yard.

I really get into this, the more you make believe the more fun it is for the kids, and your wife!

"Let's go hunting kids, but I always get lost driving up in this hill roads, so you'll have to look for the tree farm, maybe even shout directions."

Bing Crosby croons in the background thanks to an mp3 player, and we're eating candy canes, it was too hot for cocoa.

Finally after about 20 minutes of driving, the kids see a "tree farm" sign, we pull in, they hunt the tree down, and we put it in the car. (next year I'm considering strapping it to the roof... but I might get odd looks"

They enjoyed the make believe. I keep telling them "remember to water the tree" or "turn out the lights we don't want it to dry up." It's a cute little tree, and a fun new family tradition.

No more Santa

Last year we mentioned thinking it would be the last Christmas with the kids believing in Santa. This year we had an interesting conversation as my son lost his tooth in the hotel room on the way back from the States to PNG.

son - "well i guess tonight we find out if the tooth fairy comes to hotel rooms"
me - "do you honestly believe in the tooth fairy?"
son - "no, I haven't for a while but I kept pretending so I could get some money."
daughter - "but we believe in Santa"
son - "well I don't."
daughter - "well I don't think Santa comes to Americans but Raquel (finnish friend) saw Santa, and saw an elf coming into our house last christmas.
me - "you tell Raquel, the next time she sees an elf coming into our house, to call security. (jokingly)
daughter - "well, I'm confused because I know Santa isn't real but Raquel has seen him, so I think he's really real for Finland..... or it could be someone dressing up I guess like they do for Americans."

So we put it out on the line there, and the kids were fine with it. They understood, and weren't scarred or damaged about any lies. It seems they had taken Raquel's word over mine for quite some time now. (-;

Our explanation "Santa is a myth that children tell their kids to make things more magical, like the tooth fairy. If you didn't have any reason to look forward to loosing a tooth, then it wouldn't be very fun to lose one would it? And since it is part of the magic, we don't want to ruin the magic for other people by telling them about Santa and ruining it for them.... although apparently that wasn't a concern of Raquel's."


Good Stuff at Return

Wow, God is good.
My #1 concern this last month was how I was going to handle doing sound ministry (on the side) by myself without letting it take over everything I was doing.

I returned to:
-news of more people joining the team, aka less work for me
-news of a returnee taking over the leadership while the old leader goes on furlough
-news that the workload for sound technicians is reducing by 1 sunday service a month
-3 packages of donated sound equipment!
-a check to cover the cost of the new amplifier we needed in order to have the people in the back with small children hear (we were losing their attendance)

God is awesome!

Also today I went into work, and things have progressed well with my projects, but I was grabbed and asked "can you do a presentation in 30 minutes to the new recruits for orientation?"

Sure, why not, I'm still jet lagged and unsure if I can remember names and passwords, but sure.

And it went well. We informed them for an hour and I was able to answer all the questions, so.. really I hit the ground running today.

Kendal woke up at 4am, and headed for school, she's needed because the helper teacher got very sick.

Now months ago, I told my wife trying to hussle and change plans to be here on a Monday instead of a Tuesday seemed silly to me.

But she was resolved to be here for Monday.
Turns out, it's a God thing we were here because the teacher got very sick over the weekend.

So not even 24 hours off the plane and we're once again confirmed that we're meant to be here, and we are used, were missed, and we're needed!

Thanks God for the encouragement, and to all of you for making it happen!


Triumphant return

We are now safe and sound with luggage in tact, back in our house in Papua New Guinea.

It was a relatively problem-less trip, that took us weds, thurs, friday, and Saturday.

Several things went well for us during travel so your prayers were answered and appreciated.

We received some good news upon returning... one of our friends is pregnant!

Also, some sound equipment donated has arrived, AND the best bit, is that the old sound manager returns next month so I won't have to do sound for conference, this is a large load off our backs as in March both Kendal and I have multiple roles of responsibility and I simply didn't know how I was going to be both the sound manager and the technical project coordinator for this massive once-every-two-years conference that we hold.

But... God knew of the issue and is providing relief... so I'm very thankful for that.

We left, needing a rest, needing good news of more resources and we returned to that, yes some sadder news, friends with health issues and such, but mostly good stuff.

very happy to be done traveling for a while too.

For the record, in a 2 hour period we were:
on a plane
on a bus
in a car
on a train
on a boat
under water.

We had a few hours to visit in Sydney (pics later) and we hopped off the plane, didn't even check into a hotel, got on a bus shuttle, to a taxi shuttle, to a train to a ferry, then we visited the Sydney Aquarium, which took us under water to a shark tank.

That's an amazing boast by anyone's standards.

Praise God we're safe, all our worries are relieved, and now we are excited about starting up our work again this week!
Jet lag? only a tiny bit.



Leaving home, is like punching family right square in the gut, and then punching ourselves in the gut. Emotionally, it's painful to tear away and say goodbye. My mind goes to things like.... I won't be around to protect, to see kids grow, to hug. I'm so glad for my family and how my sisters have kept their kids in touch with us so they didn't forget who we were, which is what we were expecting.

It doesn't seem right to punch the folks in the gut, like that. It seems like a wrong thing to do. It feels, wrong.

But doing what we're doing feels right, it is right.
So there are two things I do when I have to say goodbye.
First: - I recognize that it stinks, and I say to God "God this hurts and it stinks, but I am offering it up to you as an offering, it is a sacrifice, and I am thankful that I have something to precious as a close knit family to offer to you in praise."

Second: I remember what God said to me about it:
Mark 10:
27Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."

28Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!"

29"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last first."

Today my 7 year old son said something I thought was wise:
"Dad, leaving is like when you first wake up in the morning, you're grumpy and you don't want to wake up, but you have to because it's good for you and you have to eat breakfast and do your work."

It's not a part we enjoy, saying goodbye, in fact, it is the absolute hardest part of this journey. It is something that every fibre in my body tells me is wrong. I feel as if I am abandoning family and friends, I have always wanted to be the rock to be there for them, when things go bad. We feel as if we're missing out on the most important part of family life. But now we have been uprooted, and are not as available for them, and so, for me I have to depend on God that He will provide for them, for you, and we pray for you because doing so reminds us that all that hurt we feel in leaving, is something we have to give over to God... and He lets us feel that, and we adjust our attitude to make it a praise to Him. Sometimes when it's harder it means even more.