You'd think after nearly 6 months of being here in the U.S. that we wouldn't have any more cultural 'surprises'. Today I found another one. I was going to visit my Uncle and he said 'well I checked the weather and it will rain hard tonight, so maybe we should reschedule'.

It dawned on me. I had not been checking the weather here as a way to determine my next day's actions. It's California so you don't need to TOO much. But then it hit me why.

In PNG the weather forecast is always the same. Sunny with a chance of rain. The rain comes almost every day, and there is no way to predict when. It takes only moments to go from very sunny and warm to a torrential downpour.

Because of this often you get caught in the rain without an umbrella and wearing shorts and sandals with a t-shirt.

Sometimes you get a warning, the clouds come in and it sprinkles. To give you an idea of how fast it turns into HEAVY rain:

One day I was outside working, and I felt a sprinkle. I thought to myself 'this means I have anywhere from 15 seconds to a minute before this rain turns serious if it's going to'. So I literally began running for rain cover.

No sooner had I made it under and overhang than WOOSH a flood of rain fell and fell hard. I couldn't believe how fast it had happened.

In PNG you have the occasional days of 'tut tut it looks like rain, I think I'll get my umbrella and hat'... but more than often it's 'tut tut.... I'm soaking wet now'.

So to come to California, land of sunshine, it dawns on me that some people still do depend on weather forecasts to plan their days. Even if I had wanted to in PNG, the weather reports are never accurate... and more often than not they all read the same thing across the country.

One other thing about the weather.
Here the rain is cold and often joined by wind. Going out into the rain is miserable, and brushing against a bush or something that drops water onto you, makes you shudder.

In PNG, if you didn't go out in the rain, you'd rarely go outside. But the water isn't nearly as cold as here, and there is not often accompanying wind.

Simply straight, hard, warmer, rain. You don't mind getting soaked as much because it's not an issue of also being cold. I've said this before when asked about humidity.

Living in PNG, you learn to deal with moisture in every sense of the word. You learn to let your clothing dry while you wear it, to go days on end without ceasing to sweat, to put all leather objects in well ventilated areas to avoid mildew. You simply learn to deal with moisture. But the accompanying heat makes it much more bearable than the accompanying cold that comes with moisture in the U.S.


One Hundred

What is God doing in America?
Well, the Owens family is heading to PNG for our second term on Jan 10.
We have reached 100% of our financial partnership, and are so very thankful that you all have joined us in our next term. Stay tuned to this blog for exciting things to come!

Celebrate with us as we recognize we are at 100% financial support and cleared to return to PNG, the plane tickets are purchased, and the bags are getting packed.

Praise to God we can go into the Christmas week knowing those issues are behind us, but to be truthful we never worried, because we had a peace and a confidence that God still had a call on us to return. We even were patiently expecting it to be January.

It is remarkable to us the encouragement that we have received and we are excited that not only did our 100% pledged support has arrived, but that we also have a new church family joining us! We're especially excited and blessed by that.

(news as of Dec 17) 10 Bible Dedications in 2010 !!!!

Takuu Dedication - On 24 December the Takuu people of the island out beyond Bougainville will be celebrating the dedication of their New Testament that Abraham Vaeleni and Sue [..edit..] and others translated. Please keep these events in prayer, that the power of God’s word in these languages will penetrate their hearts as they read their scriptures. The other interesting piece of information is that the Kwadima II (the SIL boat based in East Papua) is heading up to Buka so as to be able to take the visitors from Buka to the Mortlock Atoll for the dedication. This will have made 9 NT dedications and 1 revision dedication in 2010. Isn’t God good?????!!



the weekend thus far

It's been a surreal weekend.

Woke up Saturday morning, breakfast food was covered in ants, and a huge skunk sprayed our house. In the midst of packing we were cleaning the house for company and cleaning the AIR of skunk. Company wasn't able to make it, so we had bbq'd steak and potatoes just the four of us. It started weird but ended good.

Sunday, we gear up to go to church, I dressed a bit shabby in jeans knowing I was going to help a friend move today.

Found that the rain had sunk the drive in down and our car was completely stuck. After about 40 minutes of trying to get unstuck, called AAA.

I also wrote our pastor and said 'sorry we didn't make it'
he replied 'I was going to introduce you this morning as missionaries'

I thought 'does he know how close we were to going to church covered in mud? I actually thought 'I'm not changing, we can be a bit late no one will notice mud covered jeans.'

PHEW.. dodged that bullet.. 'Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Chad and Kendal, Chad's the one covered in mud as um... a symbol of life in PNG yeah, that's the ticket.'

Three things we're thankful to God for:

1 - the car we bought had a tow hitch, almost totally useless except we got towed out SUPER fast

2 - for giving me the foresite to purchase a AAA membership even though until today we hadn't needed it...

3 - for the fact that with all this weirdness, we weren't bothered in the slightest. Not with company canceling, the skunk or with being towed. I dunno why, but for some reason all this weird stuff that might upset and stress people out,... didn't even phase us.

It's been a great and restful weekend, in an odd missionary kind of way.

Last night for dinner, we put on a virtual fireplace on the computer, looped it, and played some christmas music.. so it was fun.


thinking with my ears

One of the things I've been spending a lot of time thinking about lately is mission strategy as it regards to technology. Frankly, if the Lord is going to tarry until everyone gets a chance to hear, I'm very invested in getting people to hear the Gospel message.

So they why do I work for a Bible translation agency? Because until we have the language, we can't do anything with video or audio. During the process of translating the Bible, we develop the dictionaries and all the written aspects, but we also develop videos and recordings to share with people and partner with other agencies who do it well. We provide the engine that feeds the language understanding into all these other wonderful ways to prove to people the YES GOD KNOWS YOUR LANGUAGE TOO!

The Luasanne congress has occured 3 times in history. The best minds of missions strategy come together. This year in Africa. In my reading through the conference notes, I came across this nugget:

REACHING ORAL LEARNERS a. What is the need? The subject of Orality, or reaching oral learners, is one of the break-­‐through ideas in mission strategy that is just starting to gain momentum. Two-­‐thirds of the people throughout the world are oral learners. That is, they prefer to learn through proverbs, music, poetry and especially stories

Page 9 of 20 As mission leaders, we must rethink how we are delivering our evangelism, discipleship and church planting strategies. We need to follow the pattern of Jesus from Mark 4:33-­‐ 34, which records that ␣he did not say anything to them without using a parable [or a story]␣␣
There are 41,000 denominations throughout the world and 4,700 mission agencies.19 We need to begin training them in how to teach the scriptures using stories from the Bible. When people are trained effectively, they will see every person involved in a Bible study able to repeat the story without error to their family and friends. One of the best ways to build pastors effectively for the millions of house churches will be to teach them how to tell stories from the Scripture. The staggering thing about Orality is that even in media-­‐sophisticated countries, the majority of people want to get their information through oral means: films, radio, television, and the I Fifty-­‐eight percent of high school graduates in the United States say they will never read a book voluntarily after they graduate. Forty-­‐two percent of university graduates say the same thing.20
1) We all need to learn how to share the Gospel through stories.


I'm excited about this because this strategy taps into two of my interests:
-video/audio production

I should share with you the story of my friend Chris, who thinking it may not amount to much, recorded the New Testament in his village's language onto some mp3 players called Megavoice. What happened is that over the coming months the village passed around the mp3 players for story time and gathered around and listed to the Gospel in their own language.

Three little mp3 players, reached a large group of people with the Word of God.
It required:
-the Word be translated
-the Word be spoken and recorded
-the Word be played back

imagine the amount of work gone into producing a device like the Megavoice that could be used in this way? Imagine all the people working to translate the Bible, to record it?

You need skilled people is so many dozens of areas to accomplish it.

GOD will accomplish His work. WE are honored to be along for the ride.

I am very excited about His asking me to use my skills in this area.

I am excited about the missions world understanding audio/video as a strategy and deploying it.

I am very excited about the leaps in technology allowing us to do it more effectively and affordably.

I'm SUPER excited to be bringing back a demonstrated kit I've built of different technologies to show people in PNG about how we can make it ultra portable!



Someone asked us the other day, 'have you been successful in culturing new relationships this visit home?'

What a great question that is.

Our financial support comes mostly from individuals. Individuals who partner with us primarily because we are friends.

Why do you partner with us financially?

We would LOVE to know the answer to that question, seriously. It would help us to know why people in the future may desire to partner.

For some we think it's friendship, for others a common interest or goal. One side effect is a deepened relationship and shared purpose.

Because of that, it is important to us at ALL times, not just when visiting back in the U.S. to have those relationships continue and to grow.

MANY missionaries in the field fail to maintain contact with friends and partners. We hope we do not. If anything we've felt like we've over communicated at times saying things that possibly we shouldn't say. (-;

But our face to face, in person time has been extremely limited. The result is that when we do get face to face time, it's impact is enhanced. It is really good to see people face to face and spend time.

BUT, how do we make new relationships? If our financial partnership needs to grow, then we need to meet new people, find new churches.... how do we do that?

To tell the truth, we had no idea.
We simply asked God, 'please guide us'.

As a result God brought people into our lives and all we had to do was be open to sharing and making new friends. We're thankful for the new friendships we've built and the new relationships we've built.

We've tried to balance our time well between all our responsibilities without losing our family identity or getting the 'must do's ' done. We view our relationships with you all as a responsibility.

So please, email us and answer the question 'why do you support us?' and we will take those answers to heart.


Tonsorial Artist

So today I decided I needed a haircut, but I'm nowhere near my regular barber, and so I go out seeking a new one. I found this little sign above and walked in.

Instantly my senses told me to flee.

But my desire for adventure told me to stay!

The room was as small as a large bathroom. All the furniture and decor was water stained wood, and the smell of cigarette smoke filled my nostrils quickly. Sitting one of the two chairs was an old, balding man by the name of Dennis.

His eyes were large, droopy and red, and I could tell by the smell of alcohol on his breath that he was not completely sober at 11 in the morning. His suspenders barely moved as he turned to look at me. He didn't say anything.

No 'Welcome', no 'Hello'.

So I stood there.
Looking around. Finally I said, "I'm here for a haircut."
Dennis blinks at me, as if to say 'well of course you are, idiot.'

I asked 'how much do you charge?'
"18" was his only response.

Again I thought 'LEAVE NOW' It was too pricey, and this man did not look fit to cut my hair. But part of me said 'this looks to be a very interesting story developing'.

I stayed.

Dennis moved very slowly, got up and walked to the old, but not charmingly antique, more like 1960's torn-up-mistreated-orange-pleather, barber's chair.

He again didn't say anything.
So I stood there.

He said 'well, What are you going to do?'

I replied, "I'm going to stand here until you ask me to sit down in that chair."

"That's sort of like going to a restaurant and asking to eat isn't it?"
I came back quickly, "No it's sort of like going to a restaurant and waiting to be seated."

"Well,..." his eyes indicated I should sit.

I sat, while stating "I don't know about you, but I don't sit in another man's chair unless I'm invited to."

Dennis seemed to respect that. He spun me around and I was facing myself in a large mirror with an engraved nameplate to the right that read:

"Dennis - Tonsorial Artist"

The room was so small, that a claustrophobic man would have gone running. The dust on the old newspaper clippings was thick, and I could barely make out some news about a fire decades ago.

"Well, what can I do for you today?" he said very slowly... I began to think Dennis might be a turtle.

I gave him detailed instructions about my hair and after a long pause he replied,
"So a lot off the sides and a little off the top? Got it"

His hands moved around slowly and I thought 'this is going to be a while'.

Up on a shelf were several carved masks. I couldn't spot where they were from but my guess was south pacific, so I said,

"Do you travel a lot Dennis?"

At this point I should say that between each sentence or response, Dennis was a firm believer in pause. He would wait a good 15 to 30 seconds before beginning a new thought. So what at first seemed like an awkward silence, became more of a contest of wills, I would try NOT to speak, and give him time to respond. I would also NOT react to the things he said so as to let him continue without undue pause. So imagine this conversation taking place in your head. Then replay it in slow motion... that's about the speed we were going.

"I've been around" he replied.

"I see these masks up there on the wall, where are they from?"

"oh here and there."

long pause.

"I would travel for the rest of my life if I could. Have you been anywhere?"

We spoke about Papua New guinea and how I was there for 3 years.

"You mean like in a religious way?" I instantly knew Dennis and I weren't cut from the same cloth here, but I felt an odd connection to him. So I simply told him the easiest version of the truth, which is that I was there helping linguistic work and translation. Every time someone asks me a question about what I do, I battle my desire to either keep it to myself, or to tell them too much. Often times I figure people don't truly care TOO much and so I have developed a quick version that I tell when I think people are simply trying to make small talk. I feel society in general is too disconnected, and so I force myself to be open with people so that we can forge some sort of connection in the limited time we have together. Still, with Dennis I used the short version because I was becoming concerned with how long this haircut might take.

Soon Dennis began to unfold for me stories of his travels to the Philippines.
As he neared me I smelled his breath and was trying to guess which liquid lunch he had had today.

He began to regale me with stories about how a pint of Gin was only 50 cents.

AH GIN! okay,...

Or how he bought a snifter of Whiskey and a steak for a buck fifty.

okay Whiskey? both?

I expected soon Dennis might tell me stories of prostitution and other such dealings... he had that 'vibe' about him and the story was starting to feel like a movie cliche, but before I could head it off.. sure enough he said..

"and the women there.... every ten feet a new woman..."

which is when I cut in, and mentioned my wife and kids.

Dennis caught the hint and dropped it.

He spoke to me of how affordably one can live in Thailand.
I mentioned that air fare to PNG was $10,000. He was shocked.

He then began to tell me how to go as a courier. And told me a slightly dodgy story about how you can go at a discount if you area courier. I inferred he meant something a little more shady but he actually threw a DOT COM reference at me.

I liked Dennis for some reason. This room was an odd place, full of mystery and aromatic puzzles.

So after Dennis finished telling me about these places he had been and the things he had drunk, there was a longer than normal pause.

And I said 'So Tonsorial Artist eh?.. are you going to make me look that word up?'

'Ah.. no.. anyone can be a hairstylist, but you're in a Tonsorial salon right now, it's from the Latin meaning 'Barber' '

And that's when it hit me, why I liked Dennis so much. Why I was willing to put my hair in the trust of a rather odd man in a rather odd place.

He had an unusual way of saying things.

That's it.

He pauses, his slowness in speaking (no doubt brought on by his inebriated state), and his choice of words, all intrigued me enough to sit in that chair and spend time with him.

I doubted I would go back, it was time to go. I stood, took one last look around and as I left I said:

'Dennis, here's a 20, thanks for the stories and the tonsorial care."

It was a perfectly odd 40 minutes. Very rarely can anyone say that they had a perfectly odd yet enjoyable experience. I wouldn't call it an adventure but it sure turned out to be one interesting haircut. The best part is, while my hair isn't exactly how I like it, it actually is a pretty good cut.

December Dedications


On 11/12 December the Malei (Hote) people of Morobe province will be celebrating the dedication of their New Testament that John and Amy Lindstrom, Elisa and many others translated.

On 24 December the Takuu people of the island out beyond Bougainville will be celebrating the dedication of their New Testament that Abraham Vaeleni and Sue Anderson and others translated.

Please keep these events in prayer, that the power of God’s word in these languages will penetrate their hearts as they read their scriptures.

We just got this bit of email news and thought we would share it! What a great December this will be with 2 dedications! A dedication is the celebration and prayer time that celebrates the completion of a New Testament and the delivering of it over to the people whose language it is in. In December 2 new people groups will have the Bible in THEIR heart language for the very first time.

Answering the question 'How can God love me? He doesn't even speak my language?"
YES..He does.