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.

The Bible Dedication

This post will be the story, the next will be the photos.
My assignment on this trip was to be the videographer so you can be sure there will be 4 minute video of the entire event.

We decided to make the trip with one other family. We drove 2 hours to the airport, got on a plane, waited 2 hours in the airport got on another plane (a Dash 8 both of them) and then arrived in Alotau.

In Alotau we stayed in a centre owned by our organization. Imagine Hawaii or Florida climates. We spent the night and I did computer work for the centre the next day while the kids played with friends and my wife helped prepare food for the village.

The next day, 4:30am, me and my friend Andrew hopped on a PMV. (Imagine a large public flatbed truck with benches on it) we jammed about 30 people in this truck and then began driving across a road we hoped was open. It was, but we came up with a flat. 30 minutes later the flat wasn't repaired and since it was a duely truck, we went on hoping not to get two flats.

The road was opened, it wasn't washed out, so we kept going and eventually made it to the north coast of the cape. From there we got on a dingy loaded all the cargo and all the people and got on a boat (pictured later). 7 hours on the high seas, VERY calm (like glass), and we arrived in Menapi.

As we dropped anchor I saw my wife and kids land. They opted for the plane and the helicopter route. Much quicker but a bit more pricey. Still we all landed on the beach at the same time.

The sand was white coral, and gorgeous. The village was ecstatic to see us. I've never felt like so much of a celebrity in my life. Dancers dressed in bilas (decoration) greeted us and escorted us to a choir of singers.

Boys and girls, old women and young, all sang to us songs that praised God in their language, and threw in one in English too. We were later told they re-wrote the songs of their ancestors with lyrics to praise God. They had been praying and fasting in preparation for our arrival.

This village is a true example of Christ changing an entire people group. Part of the dedication was the translator couple talking about the difficulties the culture presented in accepting the principles they were going through when translating the Word and how at one point they were considering abandoning the project. But they didn't, they stayed with it, and about two years ago a large breakthrough happened and lives started changing.

We had dinner that first night and met a man named William who served us dinner on his only plates, and told us his story. When I asked him about when He became a Christian he said "one and a half years ago, I realized I was polluting the Lord's temple and changed and gave my life to Him." Changing the lyrics of the songs was part of the entire people group's desire to glorify God. They were praying during the fasting time that they would not do this ceremony in such a way that would be to impress us (their guests) or make themselves look important, but instead to glorify and thank God.

That is the kind of excitement that breathes new energy into our hearts as we go about doing this work.

The people built 7 new houses, 2 new guest sleeping houses for us to bunk in, a wash house (showering with coconut shells) and a cook house. So when we arrived, we all said it was the cleanest, nicest, newest looking village we had ever seen. And that is all because of the efforts they put into hosting us.

The next day was the dedication. It began with a ceremony renacting the first missionaries arriving 118 years ago. They arrived to cannibal warriors threatening them on the coast, but in this new rendition, the bible arrived on a canoe with the translators (who symbolized the original missionaries). Then two women went out in the water to get them carrying a grass skirt up high, symbolizing peace. Then once on land, the bibles and the missionaries, followed by their supporters (friends from their home church and other supporting missionaries (us), followed by the Anglican priests from the village, followed by dancers and warriors.

The warriors really hammed it up, threatening us with spears and sling shots, making grunting noises etc. They pounded 50 kundu drums in unison. I tell you, if I was those first missionaries 118 years ago... it would have been a VERY scary site. The drums and the decoration and the cannibal warriors... all of it together would have made every inch of me want to turn around and go home.

The ceremony then became a parade, escorting the Bibles down the coast to a bridge. At the bridge there was a horde of children chanting things similiar to "we accept this gift of the Word of God and recognize it is for our generation and we accept this responsibility". Things like that. The point was, that there was a strong emphasis on this being for their children and their children's children. A gift of truth that should be passed down for generations. A new tradition.

That choked me up a bit. Although I was experiencing what was arguably a flu. Some thought it Malaria but it was a quick 24 hour flu... so I was already choked up (-;.

Then the Bibles and the procession came to rest in a field with a stage constructed. Speeches, songs, sermons, testimonies and the like followed. It was definitely an official ceremony and it ended with the Bibles being dispersed.

To give you an idea of how excited these people were. They had 1000 Bibles to disperse (sell at a small token price to make sure people would value them) and 800 of them went in the first few hours. Typically if you pre-order 1000 you have them around for a long while, but these people were swallowing up the Word of God. It was an overwhelming statistic to us that these people were excited.

Rest time.

Later that day the pigs came out, and they were speared, roasted, then slow cooked all night. The kids gathered around as the pig hair was burned off a big bonfire was created. This was Calvin's favorite part (until the butchering started, then he left).

Sydney enjoyed the dancing.

We all had a feast, roast pork, the next morning. The day was peppered with rest, dramas, dancing, drums, etc.

The sun set beautifully the full moon rose and we heard the drums from the jungle somewhere. The got closer and closer until about 40 dancing men and women arrived. They danced and invited some of us to dance and would have danced all night long but we eventually stopped around midnight.

That night I got on a boat and fell asleep, and woke up back to our original departure point. We took a PMV back to Alotau and while it was a bumpy ride, we made it.

All safe and sound.

We saw things, experienced things, met people and shared with a completely new culture a time of celebrating Christ and His Word.

It was remarkable.

The lyrics that choked me up most of all, the ones that gave credence to what you and I are doing. Why we are here... was hearing a choir of children and adults together sing...

"Thank you for coming to Gapapaiwa Bible dedication, brothers and sisters, thank you for serving God, praise God for His Word."

still choked up, and the flu has passed.

God is great.


We're fine

We're home, we're safe, we're fine.
For those reading news about a plane that went down, it was a different airline than what we took, and it was in a different area. We are safe and sound.

Thank you for your concerns, following shortly we'll post pictures of the dedication and the story of the trip. It was awesome!