Photo Frenzy

A friend of ours came up with this idea to make light sabres out of pool noodles and duct tape. After reading his blog about it, I went to our local store. They NEVER have pool noodles but for some strange reason they did, first time ever. And so I picked up 2 and made LIGHT and DARK force sabres with duct tape and electrician's tape. Then we turned up the Star Wars music and had daddy time, and a big pillow-fight like war. It's been over a week now and the kids haven't put the noodles down, and are always challenging me to a fight. These toys cost pennies to make, and are really very popular. I'm still amazed our store had fun noodles.

christmas pose. The string is because I tried to make a 'force grab' of my own sabre when it dropped. It turned out to be silly.

for my birthday in November, my wife made a normal sized apple pie, but when I took a picture of it, the pie looked HUGE because of the angle I used. So we're telling people this is the world's largest apple pie. Most folks enjoy seeing our kitchen, which was newly remodeled by the previous owners right before we bought the house. Kendal spends a LOT of time in this kitchen so I'm glad it's a nice place to be. The ceiling comes to about 6'6" so I can actually hit my head on it in parts. It's a low ceiling (-;.

Quite the pose. I dunno Christmas and Star Wars... do they go together?
I used to make a lot of sound effects during our sabre fights, but we found that if the foam rubs against other foam, it sort of already makes the sabre clashing sound.


more power to ya

Today the family took a trip into town to see if we couldn't find a special item to bless our haus meri with.

We're the only remaining family that employs this wonderful woman. She helps keep our house orderly so we can do the jobs we came to do. Since it takes all day in the sun to dry clothes, it's nice to have someone devoted to doing your laundry, and mopping the floors. Over the years we've developed a great relationship with this woman, and so for Christmas, the only time of the year we can 'amamas' (bless, give a gift to) someone without them incurring 'dinau' (debt) to us, we decided to find something her whole family could use.

We settled on blankets and towels, and school bags for her children.

In the process we saw this electrical pole. I only have a few ideas how it got to be that shape.



today as I was busily troubleshooting a backup issue, there came a knock on the door. I wanted to ignore it but didn't. It was the wife of the pacific area director. They were visiting. She had told me without knowing I was the author that:

"I have this bible dedication video and I can't seem to show it on my toshiba laptop."

I was surprised that the pacific area director had a copy of the video. I had originally burned the dvd so it would play NTSC, PAL, on any dvd player or provide data files for MAC or PC... so this was my first complaint about inability to show.

I compressed the data file with MPEG4 (h.264) and it dawned on me, she either needed ffdshow codecs or vlc player installed.

She asked "am I truly the first complaint about this?"
I replied "well I didn't know the video had made it outside our country, and most folks here are adept at using VLC and multiple format dvd players, so ... yes... you actually are."

"well look at that, Ukarumpa ahead of the rest of the world." she replied jokingly.

I chuckled. Of course we're not ahead of the world, it's a common format... but it did feel good for a moment to think that at least were weren't BEHIND the rest of the world.

She then explained to me her intentions to copy the video and disperse it, which I'm fully in favor of. Still I don't think she knew I was the creator of the video.

It's odd to me, that this little video I did for fun and for ministering to people HERE, to remind them why we do what we do.... has reached so far already.

Side RANT:
the compression formats that work best for me (smaller so I pay less to transfer) (divx, h.264) simply don't work on windows machines with XP by default... so when I send videos home folks can't play.

INSTALL VLC (videolan) player, or install DIVX and ffdshow codecs... and this problem goes away.



You might not have thought about it but:
how do we get our hair cut in a land of no barbers or hairstylists?
how do we handle the 'christmas tree' in a land with no tree lots?

Hair - different people who have some modicum of hair styling skills will make themselves available at certain times to cut hair. Some for free some for a small fee. Our daughter decided she wanted short hair and so we found a friend who would cut it. I personally get my hair cut from a friend who does it for free. Others simply shave their heads with their own clippers. You get used to not seeing very fancy hair styles, which is usually rather okay with the guys but the women do seem to look forward to a nice haircut when they go on furlough.

Before and After

Christmas Tree:

It is our yearly tradition (our third now)to go tree hunting. We brought with us a $15.00 artificial tree (tiny) from Costco. Each year I paint a "TREES" sign, plant the sign somewhere on our centre, and hide the tree. Then we pile in a vehicle, listen to christmas music, sip cocoa, and the kids direct my driving "turn left dad.. no turn right" until they find the elusive "trees" sign. Then we stop, get out and go searching for OUR tree. This year I hid it harder than ever, but from the time I hid to the time we found it, a torrential downpour soaked the tree (complete with lights already on it) So we all got wet finding it this year. It was a LOT of fun. My original idea was to get everyone who had fake trees together, and put them in a field and make a huge fake tree lot. And everyone comes and 'cuts down' their own tree. Complete with free firewood, mistletoe, families arguing over which tree to find, and all these services. When we first got here, everyone ignored my idea. Now that we've been here 3 years people know us more and my sense of humor and have decided they really like our tradition and want to be a part of it. NEXT year we'll be in the States for Christmas, so we'll have to do it 2 Christmasses from now.

We make our own fun here.


A Video to Share
(be kind this is my website, try to download it only once)

This is a 1 hour documentary airing on BBC and I think Discovery called “By Any Means”

This episode is very much a typical PNG experience. Several of the things Charlie experiences, we've experienced or know folks who have. To his credit, he's not a dummy, and picks up on things quickly. I'm hesitant to share it for fear you might get the wrong idea, but they do such a good job accurately presenting the country, that it's worthy of showing.

Warning: partial nudity and some swearing.

2:56 Lae is about 2.5 hour drive from where I live. Charlie goes right passed where we live and even picks up two high schoolers from here for his trip.

3:31 Goroka is 2 hours the other way from me.

4:36 one of the best stretches of road anywhere in the country

5:51 the peanuts are good, but all they are is garden fresh and boiled.

6:14 people only throw stones if you do something to anger them, which truck drivers often do.

11:25 This man gives an insight to the culture you don't normally hear from men regarding men vs women roles.

20:10 Tourist attraction... hehe not a lot of tourism here, but when these guys come at you (mudmen) they come pointing spears and arrows, and it's a bit awkward if you're trying to eat lunch.

14:25 we've been to a few mumus.

17:40 Daniel is a cool guy. A friend of a friend. The expat blonde kids here are friends. Luke and Brett.

18:24 I don't know where they got all this nice CLEAN new equipment, you almost NEVER see a bike that that in the highlands.

19:35 The crowd around the bikes, is common. Often times they try to high five you or throw flowers..which don't feel great passing at 60kmph.

20:00 This road is typical, however the route they're taking to Madang is not the route we typically take. We take a much more safe road when we go.

25:50 Typical of highlands culture. These men didn't do any work on the road but they own the road and want payment. I was actually surprised that they were able to negotiate not paying anything. Bribes DO cause problems for locals.

29:13 Remember all that news about our bridge out. I'm glad they included this, because the other bridge they crossed was too nice. This is more the typical bridge here in country.

33:00 We're down on the coast now. PMV's are popular everywhere, but the culture on the coast is a bit more friendly in most places. Most PMV's put english names on but they almost never make much sense. My favorite so far is "I'll be back".

34:00 This man shows us how the men view the women. The woman is telling you one of the many differences between the highlanders (where we live) and the coastal culture.

43:35 This stuff is HARD to digest. It's very thick and heavy, and sits in your stomach for a while. Much of their food is this way, but it helps you to understand the difference between food for survival and food for enjoyment.

56:48 You NEVER know when going to a village or on a trip if you're going to have to wait, if the road is washed out, if the bridge is out. Often times you have to wait or make a decision to turn back.

57:40 Don't let this concern you. Compensation is a VERY large part of the culture. This man is saying "i want you to pay me because I built a bridge over my land 30 years ago. The government needs to make a new bridge, and pay me for the right to build on my property." This is why the road infrastructure here is so sketchy, this concept of compensation. The heat building up, we ex-pats know these signs and often get out of there in case anything ocurrs. Often times though it is simply men yelling and talking and turns into nothing. Don't let this concern you.

Thanks for watching it. Charlie's experience might be very similiar to yours if you came to visit!


The Red Carpet

This was an important weekend.
1 - We dedicated our new plane the Kodiak! It was a big official ceremony that took place in the nation's capital and a small group of people (not including myself) went.


2 - A couple who have been translating for 52 years returned from their village for the last time today. A small ceremony was pulled together (the couple dislikes a lot of attention constantly declaring to give the glory to God).

Someone lent a red piece of runner that we used as a red carpet, and had the helicopter land, prayers were said, a hymn sung, and verses read.

52 years of ministry, and it isn't ending, simply the village living portion of their ministry is over. They're still going to be working on dictionary and language items.

We gathered to honor them. We give them honor but God the glory.

1 Timothy 5:17 (New International Version)

17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

We are rather new to this part of our lives and our ministry, having been here for coming close to 3 years now. This couple has been living in the village since long before we were born.

A funny joke he told,
"When I first left for the village in 1956, half of the center was there to see me off. The other guy went to the wrong town. Now it seems as we leave the village, half of the center is here to welcome us back. Thank you."

Back in 1956, there were but a handful of people here, and now, in 2009 there are over 500.


Why I'm Here

or maybe better titled "Why Trees are Here"

This is a pretty neat story, I'll try to make it concise.
Yesterday was a quiet day, so quiet that I decided to leave an hour early so I could go home to prepare for the evening dress rehearsal of the community play my daughter and I are in.

At 3pm I had a visitor touring our facility and he talked about a spiritual attack where lighting struck his network and took it out for 6 weeks during a translation project.

At 4pm the phone rang, a server in our aviation department was offline and they needed my help. I suddenly realized I was at risk of missing my dress rehearsal.

As I was on the phone, it began to rain heavily and within 15 minutes, practically no warning, a loud CRACK made me jump out of my chair. The lights dimmed, the phone hissed. Lightning had struck something nearby.

We have lightning storms often, but in my 2.8 years here I haven't see it touch down. This time, it struck a tall tree down the road.

So as I went to tell my aviation friend I had to go, instead the solution to the issue jumped out at me... we solved it.

Before heading to my rehearsal I decided to look at my network.

Sure enough a switch was killed by the lightning strike (or residual EMP). Guess which department? The only one currently actually printing a Bible. Coincidence?

I don't believe in coincidence.

I rush down in the pouring rain to look at the switch
(remembering for the rehearsal we were instructed to keep our hair dry).

I ran into a low door jamb and hit the top of my head... and fell over. I didn't black out, but I thought I might.

Soon I was up and working on the network issue. The switch was gone, and I had to drum up a replacement. This could wait till morning since it was quitting time for everyone anyway.

I went out in the rain and couldn't start my bike.... so I was fuming now. I mean... stressed and upset and.... when you have a very full plate, to have it doubled is a lot to bear.

So I stopped and prayed and calmed myself. GOD, this is your equipment, everything, I pray against the enemy, heal it, calm me, help me not to home and be gruff.

Suddenly my bike started up, and I went home.

God reminded me He was there... and caring for us.

But wait it gets better.

The night before I woke up in the middle of the night and said "hey, the set we adjusted is heavier now, I better warn folks."

So sure enough, I warned everyone "the set is now top heavy, it may fall."

And it did, but no one was hurt because no one was behind it. I felt bad for predicting the problem but having no feasible solution.

That's a side note.. but another reminder.. God is watching over us.

So this morning, I'm running around fixing things. People are telling me stories of having felt the static. Children were near the very tree that was struck and felt a tingle in their feet, that's it.

NONE of our server equipment was killed but the 1 switch. (a very old one).
AND... one entire department went down, and the fix was a simple surge protector and a dsl filter. TOTAL cost for them, around $3.00!!!

The harshest strike I've ever been witness too, and tons of stories of "well my surge protector died, but that's it." come rolling in.

GOD, thank you for that visitor that reminded me to pray, and thanks for answering the prayers and sparing the more expensive equipment.

I woke up thinking "today could be really really bad news, lots of expensive damage might be." but instead.... I'm hearing "well a $2.00 piece failed to spare a $150.00 peice"

GOD is the GOD of technology too.



well, I've been busy, working on my own in here for a few weeks now.
Also next week my daughter and I begin performances for the community theatre production of 'Fiddler on the Roof'.

We've been rehearsing with about 30 others for 7 weeks now to give this gift to the community and have fun together doing it.

Today I helped put out a grass fire that was threatening our water supply pump building.

I helped a single lady fix her alarm.

I helped a visiting couple get internet

as if that wasn't enough
I also got this encouraging email

I just wanted to drop a quick note to say thank you so much for the video of the dedication that you put together. We've been back in the US for six weeks and have shown it over 20 times.
Every time we've shown the video someone in the audience has cried! Every, single time. It is a huge blessing to us and to everyone who has seen it. Thanks for your creative contribution to our 'victory lap'.

[translator friends of mine]



I know it's hard for you to understand, but today I am celebrating the EDGE network capabilities.

Our cell service went down for a few hours last night and when it came back on the EDGE network was online and GPRS was not.

THIS is great news since we're playing with many different devices for cell networks, EDGE is significantly faster than GPRS. (about 2-3x faster here)

The sad news is I may not be able to go to the village soon to present this, because of vehicular issues.

The good news is that I'll be able to present this nifty new device to fellow computer geeks here who may find it useful, if nothing else, will be able to support it.

It does feel odd celebrating something that is "new again". It was new to me, back in what.. 1999? But it's new again!


Pick me Up

We've probably mentioned the miracle of owning a car here. Short version, someone was selling a decent 1991 Isuzu Trooper Diesel, and asked more than we had budgeted (2 years ago) and so he said, go pray. We prayed and the next day someone sent us an email with money without being asked.

Things like this happen all the time in the service of God.

Today I was a little tired. Not sad, not down, tired. Because over the weekend a few things broke. The biggest was our car. The clutch went out. We have a trip to the village scheduled for this weekend. The blessing we can be to others is two fold.

1 - Single ladies find it hard to travel about the country, so we would be able to give a ride to someone to visit the village for a day trip

2 - if I were to get there with my equipment, I could measure their gprs signal strength and tell the translator family that lives there, if they could get email in their village and how to do it

But then Saturday our clutch went out. Sure I could drive everywhere in first gear only, but I could get to the village that way. So we had to cancel the trip, knowing full well that it takes weeks to get car parts here.

Silly me, I know how to do small maintenance on a vehicle, I decided to check the fluids, and the clutch cable. Oddly the clutch fluid was very low.

I called the auto-shop knowing they might have to take apart my transmission to look at the linkage, and they said "we're very busy, maybe tomorrow" then called me back and said "we have a guy who can look at it quickly today, but he won't tear it apart because we can't have another car torn apart in the shop, no room."

So I dropped it by the auto-shop today (thank God for their services). And in 2 hours it was fixed. The Clutch cyllinder (they call it a fluid cup) was cracked and leaking... they didn't have an IN stock part, but they had a similar one that they fashioned to work until the after-market parts can come. The BEST possible scenario was that they got it in TODAY and fixed it TODAY but that is very difficult to do here, so I'm excited.

And Bingo, before lunch we weren't heading to the village, and after lunch we were.

Stuff like that energizes me. Little things, notes from home, someone sending us a dvd, a note, things that aren't HUGE but they are reminders to us that God is looking out for us.

I was so very tired only a few moments ago, and now I feel as if new life has been breathed into me for the day!!



This is a usb GPRS/EDGE modem for the local cell phone carrier here. It turns cell phone signal into internet connection at the rate of about 33 cents p/mb which is not a bad price.

Having this in my hand is awesome because it means I get to play with making it a solution for translators in the village to get email FASTER and more affordably.

If you go to the village, you need a radio and a radio modem.

To use it, imagine it about 1/4 the speed of the OLD dial up modems.
Now imagine the modem costs $1000.00 (and the radio costs a lot as well)
NOW imagine that due to weather it disconnects frequently.
NOW IMagine that you can only dial up during night time hours.
NOW IMAGine you have to pay $80.00 p/year for this service.

Sounds frustrating? It is, BUT most people are VERY glad to have it and very thankful for the service we provide.

But it's a new age, and some of these villages are able to pick up cell signals.
And maybe also able to view websites because the speed is faster!
And being able to do this 24x7 whenever their schedule suits them!

It's a huge win and I'm so very excited to begin being able to offer this to people now that I have one in my hands and am playing with it... and using it.

The trick now is to get it to work on Windows 7.


Flying Fox

When we visit Madang, these are always a fun thing to see. This young man has taken down this bat with his slingshot (it'll be a meal later).

The animal in this picture is a:

1. Spectacled Flying-fox
2. Pteroptus Conspicullatus
3. Spectacled Fruit Bat
4. Flying Fox
5. Bilak Bogis
6. flying mammal
7. All of the above
8. None of the above

answer 7 all of the above.

For those that may be worrying about one of these flying around our children, don't be. They are located on the coast and not up here in the hills. We rarely find ourselves down on the coast.


Another Job

Teaching preschool and running the network here are the jobs we have. But there are many jobs here, all working together to accomplish the goal of translating the Word.

This blog is one of our POC buddies (we went through training together) and she is a translator.

The couple she's mentioning getting commissioned is in our bible study group. We all link together in multiple ways, as we form a team.

The survey team adventures out, on hikes and helicopter rides and finds people groups that need the Word. It's one of the most adventurous jobs here.
The translators go there and learn the language and begin the translation.
The computer folks like me, stay here and make sure everyone can communicate.

I suppose if you wanted to romanticize it all, if this were an action tv show... I'd be the nerd in the van listening in and making sure the operatives in the field have all the necessary information.

Anyway, this blog entry sort of shows a bit of how we fit together.



1 more week until I'm running solo in the network room. I might get a little crazy in the head during that time. You can pray that for the next 6 months, my time as solo chief network operations manager that things go well, and that I not get too stir crazy having no one else around.

I've been playing with cell phone technology here as it is giving some remote parts of the country alternatives to dial up internet and giving them gprs internet, which is more than double their current speeds.

My wife and kids are doing well, school is in full swing with the kids back in school, and Kendal teaching. We have begun furlough plans.

This picture above is one of the foggy mornings where we live. Pretty scenery!


The Video

Here is a video for you of the Gapapaiwa Dedication. You won't see me in the video as I was behind the camera most of the time. The quality is poor because I have to pay for every mb I upload so I didn't upload the high quality video.

Still when we come home on furlough in June, you'll be able to see it on dvd if you'd like.

I'm thankful for video because this dedication defied words. Watching this, maybe you'll understand more what your efforts mean. You are of the "there are people" mentioned by the translator in this video.



got a nice note today. A new arrival shot a video and sent it home. He shot it with his built in laptop webcam and it came to 4gb. That would cost him $800 to upload. So I said quickly "if you save it in a compressed format by clicking here and here it'll reduce the size of the file" and it did, to 25mb. His church received it, was pleased with the quality of the video, and the man's bill came to about $5.00

It was a simple thing really but this man had zero experience with computers or video and since I have experience with both, I was able to help him.

I like to keep the encouraging notes around.

I was able to download it and play it. The quality is good ... a lot better than I was expecting from a webcam! I hope the church can use it.
Many thanks to Chad for his help in getting the file shrunk and ftp'ed. Just goes to show how important it is to have computer support people on the field!

Another encouraging note we got the other day, that pretty much sums up why we are here:

"thank you for getting skype up and working. Being able to see and speak to our grandchildren really energizes us and enables us to stay here longer and do our work."

That's what we're all about.


I'm published

A few weeks ago, the director of communication here asked me to write up a little bit about a dedication. They asked me for 1 page, I gave them 3 and told them to edit it as they saw fit. Speed was the key, and so instead of deliberating over it I let it pour from the heart and did zero editing.

They did the editing for me and posted it.

you can read the article here:

(seems to come up better in a non-firefox browser)


Banner Day

Friday our centre received a new airplane. The Kodiak. Aviation staff are really excited about this plane for many reasons. Not the least of which is how it should be able to do everything our current planes do, but with more cargo capacity. Plus, it's always nice to receive something new. Very often what we receive to work with is a hand me down, or a donation. These are always appreciated greatly, as often times what is old to you, is new to us. But this plane is brand new... built specifically for us!

On Friday many of us went out to receive it and dedicate it to God.

Also today, some of our friends who have been gone 10 months on furlough return! This is a boon professionally as well as personally as the husband is our only radio technician on centre, which means my department can still continue to repair radios. Something we use a LOT of. Every person here contributes so much that when they leave, either their job can't be done because they were so specialized, or others pick up the slack. So people returning is always a blessing, and it lifts our spirits up again to see friends.

We have been here long enough now, that we have seen people leave on two year furloughs and return. We've seen people leave, have babies and return. We've seen babies have their third birthday. It's remarkable that we've been here 2.5 years already.



I may have mentioned my son and friends going under the house a while back. The majority of our house is about 2 feet off the ground, supported by many posts. Many of the houses here are supported this way, it allows for a cooler house during the hot times, a dryer house during the wet times... and is a culturally appropriate way to make a house.

Ours was originally built by a family who dedicated the first Bible here in 1973, the year we were born.

God gave us the money for it miraculously and we're happy to have a home.

The other day though we were talking about bugs eating wood, and Calvin said "oh that explains the posts under the house."

and I said "what?"

he continued to tell me that while he was under there he saw many supporting posts that looked all eaten up.

Sure enough upon inspection I found one or two. So I called construction over.

They investigated, went under and came out saying "We're surprised your house is still standing."

Who doesn't love to hear that?

and then "have you noticed the floor sagging?"

no it's not sagging.

Short story long...
today they are under the house cutting treated posts and putting down cement. The problem was that back in 1970 when the house was built, concrete wasn't used and the posts were plain, untreated logs.

Thankfully however, the entire repair will run us less than $500 USD, thanks to the power of the US dollar right now and the cheap cost of manual labor in this country.

I'm really thankful Calvin went under the house that day!!!


a view from the coast

taken in 2007 from one of the translator couples that we support.

I don't live on the coast. It takes me several hours of flying to get to a place like this... but when I visit... ooooooh it's pretty.

This is evidence that sometimes, when God calls people to missions, it's not always to a dreadfully horrid place. Sometimes, He calls us to serve in some very pretty places.

One quote from another translator couple (friends) of ours.... "We retired from being architects at a young age and said 'God we'll go wherever you want' and He sent us to paradise, so we said 'wow, are you sure God? Okay we won't argue.'

Of course, living here has it's other challenges. In fact so many challenges that daily I go outside and look around and breath in the air and say

"yes, thanks God, for reminding me."

I think it would be near impossible to serve in a place I didn't find beautiful, because you see such ugliness, that my eyes need the medicine that is the beauty of this terrain.


For a long while our neighborhood was pretty empty. Most of the folks around us were gone. But for a few weeks now it's been back in full swing again.

The other day I set up 3 benches made out of a tree that fell in our yard over a year ago. I put together a little fire pit. Lit some citronella to keep out the mosquitos and then we had a nice little smores roasting, banjo playing fire.

We called the neighbors over who were at that moment, trying to make their own fire pit... and they dropped in. They have a young boy in my wife's preschool class.

He's an only child and loves Calvin, so he drops in all the time. Often times without telling his parents he's at our house. Today he said "Mister Chad, my pedal fell off". Well I took the pedal and welded it back into place on his bicycle.

And while doing that it dawned on me... that we have neighbors again. We really like the drop in, say howdy... type of environment. For so many months it has been only us down our lonely road... and now... it's full of people again.

And that thought really lifted my heart a bit.
Thanks for that little blessing today God.

Also we were having network problems and I've been hitting a wall trying to troubleshoot them when suddenly this morning a flood of new ideas came to me, and I think, ... pray for me....

I think the problems have been resolved!

So, the past couple of days have been mellow but nice. That kind of nice that has meaning and feels good.


Sports Day.
This is a day once a year when the school (primary) is divided into two teams. Red vs. Yellow. the kids compete in track and field, obstacle courses, crazy inventive games, and generally compete against each other in a healthy environment that encourages team and individual achievement.

Our kids each game home with 3 ribbons of differing places. Most kids go home with at least one, as there are many team events.

The finale, is the tug of war. And although both my kids were on the red team, and behind the yellow, in the end, they won the tug of war, but lost the day.

Still they really enjoyed the day at school without book learning. Of course they enjoy the book learning too.

Pictured above is my daughter after her team won the base run (baseball diamond relay race with batons) and my son in the middle of the rope climb on the obstacle course.


Village House

a friend of mine is in the village right now building his house. he's a translator.

A translation project has a lot of work to be done outside of simply the intellectual work of translating the Bible. Setting up a new project requires you build relationships with the people you will be living with. It also requires eventually having a place to stay.

Some locations that are reachable by truck, can build kit houses. But if you live in a helicopter allocation where trucks can't reach, then it becomes VERY expensive to fly in all your own lumber. SO, you cut the lumber from trees. To do that you need to get someone to sell you their trees, or to lend you some help.

My friend has cut down the trees with a team, then milled them and made them into boards. Then he took a rest. For these three weeks he's out there building his house with the help of support workers like me. Construction skills, carpenter skills, building skills, even cooking skills, are all required to help bring together a house in the village.

Here are some of the pictures of the project, in its first week of three still

That final shot is the water tank being lifted in.


Fish Stories

Fishin' in PNG

I live in the Eastern Highlands so I almost never get a chance to fish in saltwater. I do live right next to a river but I don't fish there because a) the water is full of bacteria and b) the nationals depend on fish for meals. So I won't make a sport out of what is their necessity.

We were out on a boat however, traveling to a Bible dedication and we dropped a line in the water. The boat only went 7knots so it was a fast troll but not too fast. A little bit of frayed yellow rope on the hook.... and eventually we heard the telltale ZIP of the line. We hooked a 2 foot long barracuda and the captain's son reeled him in (10 yr old boy). I had never caught a barracuda before, nor had I ever seen one face to face. It had teeth! Nice.

Look at those choppas!

Often times along the coast (when we visit) we will see young boys out in canoes. They tie a bit of line and a hook onto a water bottle or something round they can reel the line back up on.

sometimes they use a bamboo pole.

Sometimes rope is a lure, sometimes a piece of banana peel.

Sometimes they aren't out on canoes but instead they're walking barefoot across coral. CORAL.. their feet are so tough they can do this.

They truly are skilled fishermen, without all the niceties that we hobbyists have. A tackle box? Why do you need more than 1 lure?

I spent some time chatting with one of the local kids as he was fishing and it simply seemed the thing to do. School was out, and he had nothing to do, so might as well do nothing with a line in the river. See if he could catch anything.

It is good to see folks out fishing. You know if there are a few boys in the water, that it's a safe place to swim, and you know if they jump and run, so should you. They see the fish and know which ones are dangerous much faster than we would. One time Sydney was out playing with some boys who jumped up on the coral and ran a few steps.

Sydney unable to jump to the coral stayed in the water, and I shouted "come out now!!!" Apparently the boys had seen a puffer fish... I asked them why they jumped up and they said (translated):

"A fish that gets bigger, very bad."

I'm assuming they meant the puffer or the blowfish.

Either way, it was a nice warning system to get my daughter out of the water.


Cell Phone Story

a year ago cell phone service was made possible in this country.
this is my version of the story... so it is not totally accurate to every detail.

The main entity in this country that controls telecommunications we will call [BIGBROTHER].
They were originally run by the government, which is known to be prone to, shall we say favoritism? (if you notice I'm careful about what I say on my blog)

So, for years [BIGBROTHER] would not license any form of communication outside their control. It made more financial sense to maintain the monopoly.
No satellite internet unless through them
no telephone long distance or local unless through them
no cell phone service.

Then there was a reorganization of entities, and a governing body opened the country up to competition. Seeing the value that it would bring.
There was about a year of influx, competing internet and cell service came in.

Quickly realizing their mistake, the entity shut off the valve. Stopped giving licenses to competition and tried to revoke the licenses of the existing competition they let through.

As a result civil suits began. Civil suits orchestrated by the competition who could not sue legally because of the terms of their license agreements.
So they got their bigger customers together to sue for them.

All the while, [BIGBROTHER] has had organizational difficulties and lost the suit.

(meanwhile all the tech geeks are praying like mad we don't lose our internet connection here)

So now it's legal for cell phone service competition to exist.

Enter cell phone competition we'll call [BetterCell]. Not only do they put a lot of towers up, but they do it along the roads where [BIGBROTHER]'s towers often neglected coverage for the main roads here. And they offer more affordable rates, free phones. They do a good job of deploying here.

Suddenly [BetterCell] gets more market share.

To put up a tower, you have to build a small fortress to keep raskols from stealing copper and aluminum. So cinder block walls, chain link fencing, razor wire, and power generators all go into these [BetterCell] towers.

Well recently, one was built near us. And boom, we have cell phone signal! And hey, it has GPRS on it (not 3g, not for a long while). And HEY you don't need to subscribe to this GPRS because the country is still a village based country. BILLS and CREDIT CARDS or any form of credit still isn't really viable here. So pre-paid calling cards enter the cell phone world. "Top up cards". And you can use the GPRS system if you know the APN, which is published on the web site.

So I get my cell phone online... and then the signal goes away.

The village family line that owns the property the tower is on, is not happy with the agreement with [BetterCell] and wants more money.
So they threaten to tear down the tower unless they get more money.
Negotiations ensue. The signal comes up. The signal goes down.
Finally we're told, that the signal is coming up for good.

Until the next compensation cycle.

A compensation cycle, as we call it, is the time from when the fathers own the land and get their "money" to the time those fathers pass the land on to their sons and the sons go back and say "okay now pay us." Typically it's about ten years time.

The mentality seems "backwards" to western thinking in some ways.

For example, if the Australian government comes to you and says "your road is dirt and full of potholes, we want to pave it for you."
then you would say, "hey wow, great! that would make my life so much better!"
but here they say "how much are you going to pay me for this privilege?"

THOSE are the roads that are still unpaved.

the thinking that goes against what is wise for your people, for your family in the long run is sometimes called "bikhet" (big head).

So, right now today, I am truly apreciating the miracle that is cell phone technology. I can now get information at 28Kbit p/ sec on my phone... which means to me, besides jsut the cool geek factor of having a working iPhone in a third world country.... that I can now get information and communication from anywhere.

It means safety on the roads (in a country where if you leave your vehicle it could get stripped).
It means staying in touch with family.
It means lowering the cost and increasing the speed of getting email into villages.
It means I'm more available in emergencies (server room or family).
It means simply one more way for us to get done the work we've come to do.

an HF radio modem costs $1000.00
compare that to a smart phone at most $400.00 and it's a no brainer.
an hf radio modem transfers email so slowly, we measure it in Characters per second, not Kb. A smart phone with GPRS will transfer at 28Kbit/sec.

So, the only trick is cell signal isn't as far reaching as HF radio. If you want to pray for more coverage, I'm sure the village workers and translators would appreciate it.

The picture above is during the construction of the tower. Note the barbed wire, and the crowd of onlookers. The Cinder block walls, and the white generator on the left.


Great Monday

Wow, what a GREAT monday this has been and it's only 5pm!

First, over the weekend we transferred backup servers and ran a full backup. This almost NEVER goes right the first time, and it did. I came in to work to see the project was a huge success!!! A week's worth of work, and it worked. WOW.

My children were especially pleasant to me this morning as I left for work.

Then I get an email with some great news in it.

Have a lovely conversation and lunch with my wife.

And in the afternoon someone dropped off a six pack of Dr. Pepper as a thank you for all the hard work we had been doing.

This is the 12 oz cans of Dr. Pepper. Imported from the U.S.

Soda here is a special treat. The cans are 330ml which is about a sip and a half LESS than the 12 oz cans we're used to.

Not to mention you can only get COKE products in country. (well Pepsi is starting to make an entrance).

SO Dr. Pepper is usually not in overwhelming supply. In fact there is only one place I can think of in country to get it. Our store here.

And someone delivered 6 beautifully cold cans of it today to me and my dept. as a thank you. I savored it.

I am keeping one can for later, the rest I shared (-;

Wow, this Monday is going really well.

We got invited to dinner tonight AND on next Friday.

IS someone out there praying for us to have a great day!!!?!?!

Keep it up, thanks!


The Coin

my son returns from the market the other day, excited.

"Dad, I found this really weird coin." He purchased it with some money he had earned.

It was a Reagan tribute coin.

He also found a two headed quarter, but didn't get it.
It is interesting what coins you can find here, often times you'll see a fake U.S. coins.



This is an expansion to our newsletter on the topic of finances.

This is a topic I keep highly confidential and so you will not hear me speaking much on this matter prior to furlough.

First we want to give thanks to our very loyal and committed partners, you. In the time that we have been here, our monthly income has fluctuated, but only very rarely gone below what was committed to us nearly three years ago. Thank you!

Missionaries when they enter the field, expect to lose a certain amount of support each year. And here we are living through a very rough patch of economic woe in the U.S. and our support on this end has remained faithful.

Explaining the process:
Before we got to the field, we sat down repeatedly with finance counselors at they said "you need to get committed $XXX p/month to live in PNG with a family of four. Once you have that level of funds coming in, you can go to the field." Praise God you all met that challenge and we entered the field at 103% of the funding we needed pledged.

After 1 year we did lose a few supporters. But our only response was prayer. In that same first year God was very faithful to us financially, doing incredible things, and we gained more partners. It covered the lack and we remained at 100%.

We received one time gifts, and people gave above what they had committed at times, and each month, our checks kept coming in at 100%. We were amazed at what God was doing through you.

We had heard horror stories of people getting to the field and finding their funding estimates were FAR too low and so they hit the field in debt.

DEBT plays mean tricks on the mind. Missionaries begin to question their calling.

But you, our partners, the ones involved in what God is doing here financially, continued to be faithful. When the economic hard times hit, some of you even raised your support.

This fluctuation going up and down, however we constantly remained at that number $3700 p/month. If one month went below, the next month went above.

Then, a few weeks ago we did our annual survey with finance. Things have changed in this country. The U.S. dollar isn't as strong as it was when we arrived. The organization changed it's insurance rates to match the demand of the economic decline, giving over all is down.

After crunching all the numbers, skimping where we could, it turns out we needed to raise another $492 p/month to stay at the same level here. And if we were wise we would raise another $600 because the trend will increase during our next 3 year term.

Our reaction again was to go to God in prayer. Before we came here we had, what many call "a nest egg". It was almost exactly the amount of money it would cost us to leave the country. We have forever been holding that "egg" in hideaway.

During our time of prayer God said gently "you're using that egg as an escape plan... you're not relying totally on me."

And He was right. The truth of that permeated my soul, and so instead of bringing up the topic of finance to you all, we began to use our egg. Our "egg" will get us all the way to July of this year, if we cut corners and eat more rice, that sort of thing.

I think, that was the last obstacle for us feeling totally like missionaries. No more of that savings we had made from working in the public sector existed. We are completely and totally reliant on God through you, with no escape plan.

It sort of a scary thought. Depleting ones savings. But at the same time, because of your faithfulness we are still very confident God has called us here and why.

In fact I would say that now after 2.5 years, we're more resolved in what we're here to do than when we first stepped off the plane. God has confirmed it time and time again.

We have seen others waiver and leave. We have seen others question God's purpose for their live and change horses midstream. We have seen it, but we have not felt it ourselves.

We are completely and one hundred percent convinced that God brought us here. We are convinced we are needed, and deeply needed. In fact the burden of necessity is so great that we do sometimes get unbalanced and do too much.

Yes there are the homesick times. Yes there are the times we say "God let us spend time with our family, please."

And I think personally, if your giving and prayers and emails weren't so reliable, weren't so faithful, that there would be times when we would get run down.

You need to understand deeply, how important your support to us is. It is much more than the money we use to eat. It is the emotional and spiritual backbone of our work here. We serve each day knowing we have the confidence of people who are sacrificially giving back at home. Of people who are joined with us in spirit towards our goal of reaching unreached people for Christ.

We aren't a family of four here, we're a pointed sword. The four of us are the tip, but the strength of the thrust is coming from the forged backbone, the spine, the strength of a body of believers behind us giving us the encouragement and the funds, and the prayer, and the support we need.

You are our cheerleaders, and God has used you and will use you again during times when things get hard, to remind us that He has brought this thing to bear. He has brought us together for a cause. He has recruited you to join us and make these things happen.

Imagine if you were at your job, and doing some difficult task, and during a moment of weakness you said "I'm not enough to do it alone." and then suddenly twenty of your closest friends pop in and start chanting "you can do it!" Imagine the boost of energy you would get from that.

THIS is one of the many things you all do for us.

SO, if you are upset that we have not mentioned our need thus far, it is because we have become convinced that we can survive until July. Admittedly it also may have been due to some pride on my part that I believe God has been working out of me, slowly. For this I ask your forgiveness if it has led to you feeling as if you were robbed of a chance to help us. I partially feel as if you're this well that I do not want to go to, too often because I know how generous you all are and we do not wish to abuse that.

In July we will begin to visit you all and to give you reports and our thanks, to spend time with you.

In July we will also begin going to new churches, making new relationships and finding new partners. Our aim won't be to ask the current partners to give more, but to find more partners to join in this ministry.

So if you are wondering what you can do, and you do not feel that you can give financially, here are some things we will need come our furlough time:

-a place to stay
-a car to drive around the country in
-places we can speak at... (do you know a church, a small group, a sunday school, a prayer group, a bible study, who may be open to hearing our story?)
-continued financial support - it will cost more to live in the bay area for 6 months than it will be to live here for a year.

To give you an idea. In the bay area before we came here, we were living on double what, we are now living on.

Furlough, aka 'home assignment' will be a busy time for us, as we attempt to visit you who have been faithful to God and to us. As we attempt to speak and raise more support. As we attempt to rest and meet medical requirements, as we attempt to visit family. As we attempt to do all this on a slim budget.

We are so thankful that you have contacted us regarding our newsletter and financial situation. We are thankful that you care. We are blessed by your generosity. And hopeful that this posting reaches you in the right spirit in which it was intended... as a thank you.


The Weekend

It seemed like a pretty relaxed weekend.
I spent a lot of time editing video so that I could make a dvd for folks to show their home churches about this dedication we attended.

Then Kendal and I spoke in Pidgin church service (lotu) giving a 10 minute report on the dedication. She did most of the speaking and I showed the video. I was rather impressed by my wife today. She shared her heart in Tok Pisin which is hard to do (well for me anyway). I usually use the language to convey information and facts as it's a work language for me. But she said in Tok Pisin,

"as support workers, we live here and don't go to the village, and we can forget the importance of our work. But going to this translation helped remind us of how God's Word can change people, and how many more people there are in the world that still don't have His Word... and need it."

I think she got some folks choked up. (-;

Spent time with the kids, Sydney and Kendal had Syd's birthday celebration. A Girls sleep over!!!

Calvin and I tinkered in the workshop and made an invention (marble run) out of the junk he found under the house one day.

"Dad, I collected a bunch of garbage, let's make an invention out of it." what dad can say no to THAT challenge! I made a video of it I hope to share one day, maybe on you tube.

Of course we had our traditional Sunday home made pizza. Sunday is our family day.

a quote from my son.

"I drew this picture... DUDE!"...."wait, do you know what dude is?"
reply from dad:
"Dude, I was saying DUDE since I was your age... DUDE."

he looked very puzzled and then smiled.
It's been a while since I heard that word, admittedly.


Long Winded write up

I was recently asked by the communications director here to write up a long (2-3 page) description of the dedication we attended. Kendal and I have also been asked to present 10 minutes of it to the tok pisin church this weekend (give a 10 minute description in a foreign language (-; ).

Also I am working on a video for the translators to show their home church (and for us to show you) about it. It's odd since really us getting to go was a God thing. It seems odd that we'd do so much communicating about it, but people seem to keep asking us. Part of the ministry we have to people here, supporting them, is to tell them in detail about what happened so they can get excited to.

There is simply a good shot in the arm that takes place when you realize God is working and people are excited.

here is the write up I did. Some phrases may not be clear because the intended audience is folks who live here and understand the context of the phrases.

enjoy (for you information gluttons, this is a long read)
Gapapaiwa New Testament Dedication

When you are planning a trip like we took to Menapi, Papua New Guinea it is very easy to count the cost. You calculate the cost of plane fare, boat fare, pmv fare, helicopter fare, the cost on your body in travelling and going through the many legs of the journey, and the cost in being away from your job in Ukarumpa. So before my family embarked on this journey I was seeing the expense associated with it and I was hoping somehow there would be value in that expense.

Across the country the Gapapaiwa people were also undergoing their own expense. They were preparing for us to arrive. They built seven new houses, two new communal sleep bunk houses, a haus kuk, a shower room and a very nice new liklik haus (possibly the nicest any of us have ever seen, complete with a western style seat and sandy floor). They were writing praise songs and welcoming songs. They had re-written the songs of their ancestors to contain lyrics of praise and worship to God. They were rehearsing dances and organizing processions. They were preparing speeches and meeting in committees. And perhaps the most impressive of all to me personally, they were fasting and praying. Praying that God would be glorified rather than themselves. That God would receive praise rather than showing off to their guests.

A testimony to our various travel ministries, as I arrived to the village by boat (the Kwadima II) my wife and children arrived at the exact same time via helicopter. We all arrived to a procession of dancers in feathered bilas, with shells and spears making symbolically threatening gestures towards us. Unsure of how to react, at one instance I made a comical look of fear, widening my eyes and leaning back. The group of children watching nearby laughed hilariously. The warrior dancer, had successfully scared the huge white man.

If you’ve been to a village, you’re used to feeling as if everyone is watching you for entertainment. But this village felt different. There was a definite feeling of hospitality, of welcome, of not being the show, but being the guests and more than that, of being brothers and sisters.

We were guided in a procession of dancers banging their kundu drums in unison, you could hear the shells and beads moving with their steps. Eventually we arrived at a choir of children, women and men singing to us the songs they had been preparing. One in English really touched me, “Welcome brothers and sisters, we know this is a special visit. Thank you for coming from your places to the Gapapaiwa Bible Dedication.” The thought that we were brothers and sisters with these people we hadn’t yet met was a very emotional one to realize.

As they sang to us, I videotaped this very obvious divide, we the guests stood feet away from the choir as they sang. But then, the gap closed, and they all stood in line to shake each and every one of our hands. It was 24 hours before the dedication and I had already seen and heard the value of this trip. These people were excited to see us, excited to receive the Word, and very hospitable.

Menapi is a beautiful place. A coastal village with white coral sand beaches. Culturally they value cleanliness and it is perhaps the cleanest, prettiest village I have ever seen. The combination of the new buildings, the clean sandy areas, and the people’s hospitality made for an extremely pleasant village stay.

The next morning began the day of the dedication. A ceremony re-enacting the original arrival of missionaries one hundred and eighteen years ago began the festivities. The translator couple arrived with the bibles on a large outrigger canoe complete with canvas sail. As they reached the shore, a group of warriors symbolizing the original cannibals blew the conch shell and arrived ready to fight. Spears were thrust, arrows pointed, slings snapped, it was a menacing site. The translators shouted something in tok ples, I missed the meaning of it but the gist was that they were come to share the Word with the people. Not long after two women dressed in grass skirts came to the canoe and held up another grass skirt, symbolizing peace and that the missionaries were safe.

This began the parade to the dedication grounds. With the dancers in bilas in front, men behind them shouldering the Bibles on bamboo poles, and behind them the order was very specific. The order of the procession seemed to have some sort of cultural esteem as they were specific to tell us who went when. After the Bibles went the translators then their supporters (home church and SIL members) then the translation team, and the Anglican priests dressed in white, and the following warriors. The cannibal warriors were clowning it up at the back making people laugh the entire way. When I say “the people” I mean the hordes of onlookers. There had to be thousands of people there, as I looked around it was a massive amount of people. I do tend to exaggerate, but there were easily at least one thousand people there who were simply looking on.

The night before we had dinner with a family who told us their story of coming to Christ and how it is important for this work (the translation) to be passed down to their children and their children after that. So when we came to this moment in the procession I was deeply touched. We came to a log bridge, on the other side of which was a large group of children dressed in white. They shouted something back to the procession before we could pass. The sentiment was this “we recognize this Bible is also for us, it is our time now, we accept this gift of the Word and will treasure it.” Then we crossed.

The drums were pounding the voices singing, tambourines chiming, and then we arrived in the field with the stage and the Bibles came to rest in the front, a place of honor. Songs were sung by the visiting whiteskins, speeches, sermons, testimonies all in preparation to explain the gravitas of the work that had gone into this translation and to honor those involved. But always, always to glorify God in everything done. God was indeed glorified this day. The enemy tried to intervene with illness, technical failure, even a death in the crowd that was kept silent until later. But God was glorified in a big way.

The translator couple were very touched and I won’t go into detail about their emotional reactions, but you could tell they were very happy and overwhelmed by their people.

Later that day the food was ceremoniously dispensed, pigs were speared and prepared. Everyone partook of the pork because it was the official acceptance of the hospitality given so freely.

The mood of everyone there was similar. We were all so incredibly impressed that these people valued God, valued the Word, and valued our visit. There were a few small “God moments” like the trained chef showing up out of nowhere offering help in meal preparations, or the recovery of some lost photos from a digital card. One instance reminded a visiting friend of Paul in the temple debating as the people gathered to hear a very long testimony and then challenged it, quoting Scripture.

It was truly a people engaged with the Word of God. It is hard to communicate exactly how welcoming and loving the community felt. Perhaps I should say that out of one thousand Bibles printed, with 250 pre-sold, the day of the dedication, 800 Bibles were sold. It was a resounding success, and a remarkable testament to the work God is doing through all of us, brothers and sisters.


DNS Perfect Storm

It's been a tough weekend for me work-wise.
I am a very visible person in our community when it comes to technical issues. If something fails, usually my name comes up. As a result I have learned to take some of the heat when things fail that are beyond my control.

Like today. Monday. Or rather the entire weekend.

Geeks will understand this, the rest of you may not.
We were in the middle of a dns zone transfer moving from one service to the next, when our registrar for this entire country went down. Within 24 hours all dns cache was gone and no one in the world knows about our domain now.

Email is failing miserably to us right now... and not queuing up anywhere because there is no existance of our backup MX records.

Suddenly and overnight, we ceased to exist in the DNS world.

It gets worse.
I can't reach our registrar. All their phone lines are busy.
I get a notice from someone, that a main telephone switch is down.
Wait.. it gets worse...

In the midst of hoping somehow the registrar knows what is going on I get another notice...

There is a huge DOS attack on the countries major ISP which is causing most of the international traffic to die.

So even if DNS were repaired and working, the rest of the world wouldn't be able to get the info.


Sometimes and suddenly you're reminded you live in a third world country.

For those trying to email us and getting "denied" please be patient... and pray for technical healing for this issue.

The end result is that many people here are seeing email not working and wondering why. Only a few small are fully able to understand the depth of the outage and how absolutely helpless we are to fix it right now.

The humility God is teaching me is that while I was once in complete control of my own DNS, I had built large DNS server structures with failovers and backups... here I sit at the mercy of a technology I once had total control over. (well if anyone can have total control over this beast). It is ironic. I'm dying to fix it myself I simply don't have the access to the right servers at our ISP.

Thanks for listening, but also thanks for praying.
It's another reminder to me of why I'm needed here. It's good to be needed, although I'd prefer it if things never broke so that the work here could go on uninterrupted.

It is hard to be patient and wait for a solution when you know several hundred people are depending on you to fix it.

"Hey there's Chad, what's he doing eating lunch? My email is still broken!"

Though for all of this imagined hostility (my brain works overtime, and I take my responsibility very seriously), this community has actually been very gracious and forgiving and understanding. Sometimes we even get cookies. The other day someone baked us a cake as a thank you. I have been time and time again surprised and blessed by how this community reacts when things break for a while and then are repaired.

One story, a mom was sitting with her daughter complaining about email not working the other day and the daughter said "hey mom, Chad worked until 4am last night repairing the email, on a Saturday, so cut him some slack." WOW!!!! I was pretty impressed to hear that.

Living here is an interesting experiment in loyalties. People feel the pressure of email not working, and yet know me and are sympathetic that I'm working hard. I recently had my vehicle in for repairs and they took a very long time, but my good friend was working on it. I was torn between the American desire to bark at management because things were going so slow, and realizing that management was a good friend who I knew to be overworked. So what do you do? You share the pain and try to recognize that everyone is doing the best they can. We don't have the luxury of being disconnected with the people we depend on and therefore shouldn't indulge in pressuring people to serve us more quickly.

Note to all of you IT professionals. This place is a wonderful place to work. What it lacks in the "latest and greatest" in technological toys, it makes up for in having true satisfaction that your job has value, and that people appreciate you.



This is Steven, and his dad, and David our radio tech. Today I had the pleasure of setting them up with village email (or HF-email). This is a system I've described before about how a laptop using software designed by a believer, to use an hf-radio connection and modem to transmit email VERY VERY SLOWLY in places where internet connectivity doesn't exist.

Steven recently was in a near fatal car accident and broke his neck. You can see here, that the neck brace is gone. Steven works with an organization run by nationals whose goal it is to translate the Bible.

For those of you interested in missiology or missions theory, I'm sure you have heard the idea of "get in, train, and get out". The idea that an anglo presence in a country changes it more culturally than it does for Christ and that we shouldn't stay resident for too long. This is a concept I have struggled with a lot here as we do see people starting to adopt some Western culture.

We're not here to spread our culture of the West, only our culture of Christ.

Well, Steven's organization is a huge example of why we can't simply leave. They are national driven, but they rely heavily on our technical expertise to help them accomplish their goals. We partner with them, and help them, and yet they run the show for their mission.

It is a pleasure to help someone like Steven who has a true heart for Christ.

For those who subscribe to the "get in and get out" theory of missions, this country proposes and interesting problem in that the very culture is an obstacle to letting any one people group get trained and able to reach the rest of the country. It is a huge task, but because they are so divided by language and culture, no one man or one group can reach them ALL.

Many of us would love to pass on training and skills, to cultivate a mother tongue leader, but it simply is not something that would work here. I can't simply show Steven how to run the radio and email, I have to show a thousand Stevens.

Still, it is a pleasure to show one at a time, day by day. Knowing that what amounts to only a few hours of my efforts, could amount to an entire people group getting communication via email and voice.

Vikings have arrived

Myself and my friend are both large men. He's maybe an inch shorter than me. Together we were rowed from the big boat on a small dingy to the shore. We stepped off, our booted feet making large imprints in the sand. The local nationals stared in wide eye disbelief. They rarely see white men, much less, giant white men. I think the disbelief was also that the dinghy didn't sink.

These men, dressed in their dancer garb (bilas), traditionally dance from dinner time to sunrise every Friday. Pounding their drums and shuffling their feet across the coral covered coast, they seem larger than life. Two of them paused to ask for water. You rarely ever hear a PNGian ask for water, so you know they were thirsty. While the water was fetched I posed for this photo, it was minutes before we left the dedication on the boat. It wasn't until today that I saw this photo, and realized, that these men, even with the feathers on top of their heads adding a foot to their height, were still not as large as they appeared.

I am still surprised to see how large I am compared to them, as they, with their spears and drums and feathers, seemed to be... larger than life to me.


Anecdotes from our trip

we were all sleeping in these communal huts, about 40 of us shoulder to shoulder sleeping.

Calvin jumped up and spoke in his sleep "don't give me a pop quiz!" waking a few of us up.

Sydney said "mommy snores, daddy breathes loud, calvin talks in his sleep and mister koons snores like a bear."

one night I got confused as to the time, Sydney woke me up and said "daddy I can't sleep" I looked around assumed it was 5am and said "go sit by the fire until the sun comes up." It was actually midnight, and eventually Kendal went to find her and get her at the fire and said "what are you doing up so late, get to bed." "daddy told me I could get up." she had been sleeping about 3 hours. Wow, how confusing it is when the moon is full and you are sleeping.


Calvin and I were out looking at fireflies at night, and he caught one. HE was so proud showing it to everyone, until a village man said "please let it go, if you get his fire in your eye, your eye will go bad and you will not be healed easily". WE think it was an old wives tale, but we honored his request and let it go. Calvin was very proud he had caught one.


Getting off and on the boat myself and another like-sized man filled the little dingy to the point that everyone watched to see if we would make it to shore safely or sink. As we stepped our huge booted feet onto the coral sanded shore of the village it was as if the vikings had landed and everyone looked at us with wonder and amazement. I learned one word in their language "Gosawara" it means "get out of my way!!" and I learned it because the kids would come up to me and touch me and try to get on video that I was shooting and I needed them to move so I wouldn't accidentally step on them while video taping (since I wasn't looking down). It felt rude at first, but it was a very effective word. Made me feel like Fezzik in "The Princess Bride" (EVERYBODY MOVE!!!!!).

One of the songs that touched me had the lyrics
"and we know, yes we know this is a special visit, to Gapapaiwa, that you come so far from your places to visit us, we thank you brothers and sisters for coming to this bible dedication"

hearing their voices lifted, the words hit us. These people were honoring us for our part in helping to make the translation happen, and simultaneously praising God that we were able to come visit them.

God has intended a life for us more abundant than we could craft for ourselves, and days like this, it floods into your heart and overcomes it... and you realize, we can't handle even a small portion of the blessings that God wants to pour out on us.

Combatting Tech

During this Bible Dedication the translators chose a person to photograph and a person to videotape. I was the video man, but there were others with cameras. One of the pilots who also dabbles in video brought a tripod and an umbrella. The night before the dedication a crying photographer came to me. All her photos up to now had disappeared. Her compact flash card had corrupted and her Mac couldn't see the files.

I told her "let's pray, and I'll see what I can do."
That night, I came down with a fever. The hot weather, bright sun and fever led me to think I could not shoot the footage I had come to shoot.

I tried my hardest, but near the beginning of the dedication I started to feel very sick and could not stay awake. Looking now at the footage I shot about 40 minutes with my lens cap on and putting the camera in the bag. I was somewhat delirious.

Some thought it was the flu, others malaria... whatever it was I'm healed now.

But the enemy tried hard, even the footage I did get, my camera had some odd white balance issue and kept switching into "night shot" mode. IT was very odd.

PRAISE GOD though, the other videographer got some VERY good shots and remained healthy so I will be able to combine our footage.

I asked him "can I use your shots, I sort of missed a lot of the dedication as I was asleep" (I fell asleep on the grass under the sun and many folks thought I had passed out, but I hadn't).

He said yes. Well I really wanted the footage in 4:3 aspect ratio because and in the DV format because that was what MINE was shot in.. I asked him.. "well you might not be able to use it, it's in 4:3 and on DV"

AMEN!!! PRAISE GOD for that.. yes I know HD is the way to go. And maybe on furlough I can scrape together enough to get a good camera. This one has been used to death.

There were other things going on too. The enemy loves to cause distraction and chaos to distract from the celebration of God and His accomplishments, but we didn't let it happen, we simply prayed and God worked it out.

Yesterday, in the comfort of our computer lab, we were able to recover the lost photographs!!!

God is good. He is stronger than the enemy, and His glory will not be diminished.

Menapi Photos

This is the plane the kids and wife took to get to the helicopter pad

this is the village from the sky that my wife took in the helicopter.

Bird's eye view of the area. The boat I came in on is in the water here.
Helicopter view of the village

The Bibles and the missionaries approach on the canoe.

The Bibles are carried in during the processsion, the two in front are the translation couple who spent 23 years on this project. They were emotionally overwhelmed by the excitement of the celebration.

More Conch

The warriors who dressed up as the cannibals. Notice the conch shell in his hand. He blew it to call the other warriors to the shore. Imagine hearing that as you approach an island known for cannibals. DINNER BELL.

Another dancer, the decor he is wearing we call "Bilas"

Calvin posing with one of the warrior dancers.

People excited about the New Testament in their hand.


One of the night dancers, in his hand he has a Kundu drum which together with 40 others sounds impressive. Their tradition is to dance all night long to the songs of their ancestors which since have lost all meaning over time.

Calvin making friends in the village.

This canon marks the furthest EAST the Japanese were able to advance during the 1945 Battle of Milne Bay. Held off by the Aussies and the U.S. , this memorial park was once an airstrip.

We took a few days to relax from the village trip and site see. We found war relics and some tropical animals nearby.

This hornbill nearly ran us down in Alotau, swooping over my left shoulder.

Giant snails found in Alotau, the Japanese brought these over during WWII for eating.