Another Answered Prayer

A big challenge we've had recently is getting our kids' passports renewed.

Our kids passports expire in July of this year, and to renew them in country you need to have an official of the U.S. Consolate site the kids. This would be an expense of around $500.00 or more for us to travel to the Consolate by plane.

Well the good news WAS that a representative was going to travel to us to do the sighting, but then at the last minute they canceled. Which means we were faced with taking time off work, getting the papers, the money, oh the money!!! To renew alone costs about $100 per child, not to mention the hotel stay, and the air fare, and taxi rides and all that in town.

So our approach was "I dunno how I'm gonna do this, so.. let's ask God for help." And then wait and hope for the best.

Today my wife found me in a meeting and said "we have a small window of opportunity, can you get the paperwork ready in 20 minutes?"

Well of course we could because we already had the new passport photos printed and the application 90% filled out, because we were expecting to have to do this.

Apparently the diplomat I mentioned having lunch with earlier, was able to site our kids (as well as about 20 other families) today during dinner time. I was joking earlier today with my wife about asking him, but someone else must have because they pulled it all together last minute.

So, a few hours later, a few points in risen blood pressure for many families here, one speaker phone call to the consolate to say our oaths, and voila...

So Praise God!! Our kids passport apps have been submitted now.

You never know

"Chad do you think you'd get bored being a missionary?"

I was asked that more than once before starting this.
I marvel at how "un-boring" life is at times.

Today I had lunch with a Diplomat.
He was the US Embassy Diplomat for Security Affairs or something like that.
We talked about the trends in this country, about Muslim influence, about all manner of things security based and I found him articulate and intelligent.

And as I was walking back to work I thought "wow, I had lunch with a Diplomat."

The other day I was playing banjo down by the river, giving our puppy a bath and I thought:
"How many people in the world can say they have played banjo, near a river, in a jungle inside the South Pacific?"

I really don't know how long this ride God has us on will last, but there are these moments that are so rare that you think "I am living a life more abundantly."

I reflexively praise God in those moments.


Book Week

At our kids school, they have several non-U.S. traditions. They don't celebrate halloween, or president's day because the kids that attend are from 17 different countries. But they have other special days, one of which is Book Week.

During Book Week the teachers emphasize reading through several fun events. The classes compete in different challenges, the biggest of which is to see which class can read the most pages in a week. Typically my kids say "whatever class has Jo in it will win" one kid is to books what piranha are to meat.

Most of the kids here read a lot because frankly there isn't too much else to do at home.

Yesterday kicked off Book Week with a bang. The principal paid for a helicopter from our Aviation department to come and land, dropping off "Sparky" the clown (one of our neighbors when dressed as Sparky, becomes an entirely different person and the kids love it.

Sparky talked about reading, the Bible, and getting "taken away" by books. In the end, the helicopter lifted off, and took away their principal and vice principle (and one very excited Finish onlooker who got a free ride).

At dinner it was all the kids could talk about... how exciting it all was, how funny the clown was, and the message stuck with them.

It's great when something unique like this happens, because it reminds you that for all that our kids will not experience that other U.S. kids will, they will experience as many things that the U.S. kids will not.

I enjoy taking time to appreciate these little blessings from God that I see as encouragements that our kids will turn out to be adults who follow God.



We are a training facility. We have more Papua New Guineans working at the computer department than ex-pats. As such, the ex-pats usually have the training background and we try to share it. We are all united with the common goal of reaching people for Christ, and so for us to share training with co-workers is a natural thing as well as a way to help their futures here.

We have been conducting training recently, writing the curriculum and then training. Today we introduce a few people to tcp/ip. I'm interested in seeing how that goes.

My experience is that the nationals here are for the most part very bright, and once they hear something, they retain it very quickly. Especially anything relationship oriented. So if we can communicate networking in a "relationship" context I'm hopeful they will learn it quickly.

I'm still amazed at how many people know my name after only hearing it once many months ago.

Wokim Wok

Someone said this the other day, "wokim wok" in tok pisin it means "work the work".

This month is flying by, each day is a challenge trying to stay on top of things.
I'm managing a building overhaul (still, they decided to double the project). We have a server that habitually goes down and we've been troubleshooting it.

We are responsible for Conference, (a huge every other year, 2 week long meeting), and so there are a lot of technical considerations there (which I am also managing).

Excitement, after 4 years of using a 1200 lumens projector for our meeting house, we have purchased a very affordable 4000 lumen projector with LAN capabilities. (toshiba tw420).

I was in charge of finding and researching projectors for a replacement. Was given a budget and found a GREAT projector for under half the budget. Everyone was SOOO pleased that we weren't sure if it was too good to be true.

But the package came this week, we opened it, and WOW.
Not only can you project over the network, but you can actually see images and color backgrounds now in the meeting house!!!

People going to functions, (church, prayer meetings, tok pisin services etc) aren't going to know why but they will enjoy the projections much more now.

The lan sharing is ahead of competitors but still is very first generation and needs some tweaking (you can't halt someone from sharing over the lan once they begin, so they can monopolize the projector).

Anyway, it was a big "phew!" moment for me as it was the first time I've been in charge of ordering equipment here. I used to do it a lot in the U.S. but here you have the added obstacle of not being able to actually SEE the unit until it's been paid for and shipped. So if you make a mistake, it's up to 3 months to find out.

thanks to God for the guidance on that one!

Valentine's Day

Well I took photos and I was waiting until I got them off my camera to post, but things have been busy and I haven't prioritized it. So here is my non-image post.

My valentine for my wife was three fold:
-I found some tile in storage and mortar and grout, and tiled up a hole that has been bothering her for some time (total cost = $0.00)

-I had my daughter sneak off to market early on Friday to buy flowers (total cost = .33 cents)

-I took my wife "out" to eat at a fundraiser for the high school, we double dated with a couple who recently had a baby and it was their first night "away" from home. It was fun, (total cost = $12.00)

We got our puppy!
And even though I was voting for "blunderbuss" the name "budge" sort of stuck.

I'm pretty happy with this puppy. I've been doing serious research on dog training and choosing, and so far it's paying off.

In 3 days he knows his name, he's been crate trained (potty trained, doesn't whine at night, knows who his master is, etc), and he's GREAT with the kids.

I'm very happy with the personality of this dog, and how quick he takes to the training. I have no experience training a dog, but all the reading I'm doing is paying off because he really is well behaved.

he is an outside dog and I will begin training him to be a guard dog in a few weeks, for now I'm going over the basics... who the master is, where he can relieve himself, not to bark at the wrong time, to bark at the right time, etc.

Google is man's best friend here, maybe I should have named him google. I went from knowing nothing to being able to crate train this dog in 3 days!!

I enjoy dogs, however I only enjoy well trained, well behaved dogs. Around here, a quick way to upset neighbors is to have an all day barker, a digger, or an escaper. So far, budge isn't any of those things.

Having a dog around brings a sense of security to the family, and really he has brought excitement to our household, and fun too.


Special Daddy Moment

You might file this one under "too much information."

2 years ago we experienced a 6.0 earthquake here which really frightened my daughter. She got under the table, and was crying. After that there were several "I can't sleep" nights where any floor movement woke her up.

So finally one night I said "I will be here to protect you."

Well, an earthquake hit around 3am one night soon after and I went from a dead sleep to running to her room when she woke up she saw me standing there. I was glad my brain was able to remember to go to her room like that, so I kept my promise.

Typically during a night quake (we have one or two a month, very small, almost unnoticeable except I'm good at noticing them), I wake up, and wait to see if my daughter did. My son and wife sleep through them typically.

Anyway, last night around 1:15am, a 5.5 came and I shook awake, and went from a dead sleep to a sprint in less than a second.

I got to my daughter's room moments after hearing her scream "DADDDDDDDYYYY!!!"

I hugged her and kissed her and told her it was alright, daddy was there.
she replied "yes, you came, but sometimes you don't come."
I said, "you're safe, go back to sleep."
and she went to sleep.

If I hadn't have been there she would have lost about an hour of sleep.

This may seem odd, but one thing I have learned more here than anywhere else, is that when I get an adrenaline dump like that it goes to my stomach and about 15 minutes after I calm down, my stomach really hurts for a bit.

Those who have been in a field may sympathize, there are times when you JOLT awake and react quickly. Mostly it's quakes here or an odd noise that jolts you awake.

So I lost around an hour of sleep last night thanks to the quake.... but it was worth it... I was there with my little girl able to make her feel safe.


Prais i Go Antap Tumas

"Price He goes On Top Too Much" - The price is too high.

We are getting a puppy soon as I've mentioned. He will grow into, among other things, a guard dog. So we need to have a fence installed. The most affordable way to install a fence is to use firewood logs, coat the bottom foot in used engine oil (to avoid rotting) and then put them in the ground and run wire between them. It isn't a picket fence, but it's also not entirely ugly.

If I were to do the work myself, the fence would not come out very good, and since labor is very inexpensive here, I looked up a man with a good reputation and hired him to do the work.

Hiring a Papua New Guinean is always a tricky ordeal because in their culture the boss man, has certain responsibilities. If his children get hurt during the course of the work, regardless of where they get hurt, or why, he will come to me for help. I am his caretaker, I look after him. This is true to a certain extent.

So employing is a responsibility, but then there is the "what price is fair?" and "am I getting suckered?" question that makes you wonder.

I explained the fence to him, bought all the materials and asked him to quote me a price. He quoted me a REALLY REALLY high price.

I was surprised, in my head I had a number I wasn't willing to go passed, and this price was double that.

Knowing that in this culture you do NOT haggle. They say a price, you can ask for a number two price, and that's it. AT least not over FOOD. You can slightly haggle over other things.

So I asked him to come down a bit, and he did no problem, still way more than I thought was fair.

I went to a trusted friend and asked "what is fair" and he gave me a price that was more what I was thinking. So today I had to speak with this man and offered him the lower price and he took it without grumbling or even frowning.

And it struck me as odd, that this man started at 800 Kina and wound up with 300kina and is perfectly happy.

So it was then that I learned a valuable cultural lesson.
Someone told me today.

"Papua New Guineans are not good at estimating work cost. You need to tell them what you will pay them and let them accept or refuse."

So he wasn't trying to gauge me, everyone who recommended him said it didn't sound like him. He was simply not capable of doing the math in his head that would figure out what the labor cost him.

Also because of this inability to estimate well, it is often wise to draw up a contract because jobs can drag on and on and on if you are paying by the hour, not because they are trying to bilk you, like we might view it, but because in their culture, pace is slower, and there is no motivation to finish a job until there is another job lined up.

So I got a contract for 300kina.

And in the process I learned a lot and will be getting a fence.

Feeling and Piling

Today during Tok Pisin devotions I took the opportunity to read, because I can read tok pisin fast, although my weakest place is praying, because I don't practice praying in tok pisin, typically you like to pray in your heart language.

A major difference between English and Tok Pisin is that the "i" is pronounced "EEE"

so when I was reading the story of Josep(h) I got to the word "pilim" which I mistakenly pronounced "pile em" instead of 'peal eem'.

"pile em" means - to make a pile of something and would be spelled "pailim"
"peal eem" means - to feel.

so Joseph cried and hugged Benjamin, in tok pisin is more like "Joseph felt tears and hugged Benjamin" what I apparently said more more like "Joseph piled water and hugged Benjamin"

I read tok pisin rather quickly, and when it comes to Tok Pisin, so long as I am not originating the thoughts, I can hear, read and understand quickly. So as soon as I said this I knew... some folks around me politely and quietly corrected me in murmurs. Out of all of Genesis 45 (in tok pisin it is called Stat (as in Start) 45), I made one pronunciation error, but it was a funny one.

At the end of the reading, I actually got a compliment. I wasn't expecting that.
The reason I chose to read this time was because I saw the chapter was long, Joseph is one of my favorite people in the Bible, and because I know that even though I'm not fluent in Tok Pisin, I can read faster, and I selfishly didn't want to be there for an hour, because we do devotions before work can begin.

It draws for me the ironic difference. They are native speakers, and yet I can read their language better than many of them can. It is because their language is a spoken one and the illiteracy rate is high and the education level is low. It is almost like a switch when we read the Scripture.

A friend of mine can read the Word very slowly and choppily sounding like a fourth grader from the U.S. when reading, but when he puts down the book and speaks on what he read, then the switch flips and he talks fluidly and rapidly. It is the opposite for me. I read fluidly and rapidly and speak more slowly.


Rare find

There are many rare birds in this country, but this, truly is a rare find.

a friend sent this to me in an email and I got such a kick out of it. At the same time my niece emailed to ask what do some animals look like here, and I thought seeing this photo might surprise her a bit.

It would be a very loyal and talkative pet.


Some Photos


This is our new puppy. Did you know female dogs could have multiple sires? Well this puppy is the giant of the litter of 4. His brothers and sisters are black and look more like german shepherds. He is 1/2 German Shepherd, and a mix of retriever of some kind. We're hoping he'll be a good guard dog and good family dog. We pick him up on valentine's day. He's gonna be a BIG dog. Name possibilities are: (guess who chose which ones)
Bruno, Shredder, Princess, Woz (for wasman which means guardian, and of course.. the Woz)

This is a rhinoceros beetle, found very commonly here. They like damp areas and are very fun to play with as they HISS as loudly as a cat if bothered. They cling tenaciously to almost anything.

This is a mobile bakery. You don't see this very often, "fast" food here is called a "kai bar" and it sells rolls and snacks and meat pies and such. You take your chances. This one however, is a mobile unit obviously run by some motivated entrepenours.

HEY!!! There's a baby in that bilum! Yes, kids are carried around in many ways, not the most uncommon of which is inside a sack called a "bilum" attached to a head.


When life gets a bit busier my blogging slows a tad. Although busy life here isn't what busy life used to be back in the U.S. still you adjust to your definition of normalcy. Well this past 2 weeks have been very busy for us at work. I briefly touched on it, we made a network change and at the same time of that change, a LOT of things broke at the same time.

So we've been working nights, and weekends and such like that trying to stabilize, and we have.

I had the pleasure of spending 8 hours troubleshooting one translator's laptop and getting to know him a bit in the process. I should have followed my instinct and solved the problem in 5 minutes but I wanted to be VERY thorough before I did. It turns out my initial instinct solved the problem (note to self.. always always always uninstall ZoneAlarm).

Last night was our 13th wedding anniversary. For a gift I hand made a rosewood picture frame and put a photo of the place I proposed and gave it to my wife. It was my first (wood) router project I'd ever done, and I'm not completely satisfied with how it turned out. Thirteen is lace, and so I bordered the picture with lace. (thanks to a friend in the states who provide me the picture about a year ago).

I'd been holding onto the photo for a long time, waiting to use it at the right moment.

My wife gave me a very thoughtful gift, a few bags of sunflower seeds. I think it was the first time the store had them and she thought of me when she saw them. (aaawwwwww!).

She made a very tasty dinner and we ate it by candlelight after the kids went to bed. We decided to have a quiet dinner inside, and not try to do anything fancy. We don't have a great track record for anniversaries the last few years, so we laughed about locking the doors and not going outside.

For our 10th, we were in training in Florida, and we found about an hour to ourselves to enjoy some quiet time near the pool, alone, until an older couple joined us for an odd conversation

For our 11th we were in Waxhaw, NC, and we tried to go out to a dinner show which was so awful we left half way through.

For our 12th we were in Papua New Guinea, and we tried to go into town and get a meal, but we had to share it with an injured tree kangaroo, geckos and flies. It was surreal.

So for our 13th, we decided to play it safe and stay indoors, and it was very enjoyable and quiet... completely unmemorable. And when you've had VERY memorable anniversaries for 3 years in a row, unmemorable is a good thing.

We read through some questions we try to discuss annually. Goals, parenting ideals, spiritual aims, etc. One question was "what can you do as a couple to improve the world?" And we decided,... we were finally doing it.

The picture above is of a Matsumaru man at a New Testament dedication we had recently.