tonight at midnight we're rolling out a huge change to our network which should enable much more simplicity and functionality. It requires a large change of thinking for the people who live here and we have labored over how to best communicate that.

We have begun a series of open houses, in which we give the same presentation repeatedly at the top of the hour.

It's something new, and it has in fact been really well received.

The sacrifice is that in order to be available, we have to do this after hours.

So most of the computer staff here have been donating their nights this week to train the community on this 'new' way of doing internet access.

Pray that it goes well. It is one of the most ambitious projects to date, that we have tried, and we want the first impressions of it to be good, as it hopefully will be very reliable going forward and be a massive improvement for the community.


Translation Update

Seija M[...edit/...], together with her 6 translators, finished the gospel of
Luke today. They still need to work on checking it, but the milestone of
getting the first bigger book in pretty good condition was reached.


Why is Internet so Expensive in PNG

I get this question a lot.
'why is internet connection so expensive in PNG'

The good news is that it's all getting better. The bad news is that it should already have been better.

Here is a really good summary article containing far much more than you ever wanted to know about it... but the summary is... this is GOOD for us!

Internet Growth in PNG Going From Stagnant to Very Exciting
Article by: Charlie Gilichibi, Team Leader IT & Special Projects Coordinator
Bandwidth Capacity Major Stages of Internet Gateway Development in PNG
16 Megabits per second APNG-1 (October 1967) on copper wire intended for telephone communications
560 Megabits per second APNG-2: (October 2006) on optic fibre for telephone and internet communication
10,500 Megabits per second APNG-2 + PIPE (September 2009) and National Broadband Network (work in progress to be completed in 2015) on optic fibre and power lines
Internet Price Comparisions
Internet Service Provider Prepaid Cost / MB Postpaid Cost / MB Cost of Setup or Dongle Purchase Coverage Centers
Daltron 40 toea 56 to 20 toea K400
Data Nets 40 toea 40 to 25 toea 30 centers
Datec 60 to 66 toea 60 to 20 toea
Digicel GSM 33 toea peak hours
25 toea off peak 22 toea peak hours
16 toea off peak hours K99 Port Moresby, Lae, Hagen and Kokopo
Global Internet 61 to 23 toea 61 to 23 toea
Hitron 20 toea K750 – K5920
Telinet CDMA 29 toea 40 to 16 toea

Why is internet expensive in PNG?

It is easy to point fingers at ISPs and blame them for un-affordability of the internet. Then again those pointing the fingers from the business and social space and the civil society at large can’t be blamed for their ignorance on why internet prices are so high compared to the rest of the world.

The basic economic principle of demand and supply is the immediate phenomenon that drives up cost of living including the cost of internet services. In the grand scheme of things and at its most fundamental, it is the lack of visionary leadership at the national and sub-national levels, so not to single out anyone as the problem is an inherited one as well as on-going the reasons are best left to your imagination.

When the internet took its first baby steps in the 1980s and the world was watching and nurturing it, when it developed to be a teenager in the 1990s and went rebellious with the parent world always counselling and guiding it and doing everything right in terms of national policy development and investment in a child in the PNG context that would later provide a welfare net for the parents in old age, leadership in PNG was too bothered in power plays then worried about what would become of the future.

Going back to demand and supply as the invisible hand that sets market prices, Sundar Ramamurthy CEO of Data Nets during an Emerging Technologies Seminar on Tuesday 10th of April 2011 said whilst the current capacity shared amongst the ISPs in PNG for internet services is 265 Megabits per second (Mbps), the overall demand is at 285 Mbps far outstripping supply.

PNG Internet Bandwidth Analysis

Current capacity between PNG and the rest of the world shared by ISPs is 265Mbps
Current total demand in Papua New Guinea is 285Mbps
Internet gateway undersupply by 20Mbps

PIPE Capacity into Madang is estimated to deliver extra capacity of 10,000Mbps
PNG’s Total Capacity once PIPE cable (via Madang) comes online is 10,500 Mbps

Source: Sundar Ramamurthy, Emerging Technologies Seminar 10.05.2011, Crowne Plaza

PNG’s National Broadband Network (NBN)

Once the National Broadband Network, currently work in progress is completed and links the PIPE optic fibre cable in Madang (from Guam) to the rest of PNG we can expect the power of the internet to be let loose running wild in the country just like how the nation experienced the explosion of mobile phone sector around 2006 and 2007.

Whilst the government will reserve some chunk of the 10,000 Mbps capacity for other projects of national significance even half of this capacity when divided and rented to each ISP would leave each of them with at least a whopping 265Mbps equivalent to the total capacity currently shared by all the ISPs. Benefits from this development would include:
• streaming of audio and video data (multimedia) that is of telephone quality at around 8Mbps
• CD quality audio compressed in MP3 format at 192 Kbps
• HDTV at 27Mbps – for instance distribution of EMTV via the internet
• Rest of the benefits aside, internet affordability for the masses. ISPs would initially throw in all differentiation gimmicks by packaging internet plans and selling them to existing customers. When they realise they are too big for the markets in the urban centers or when they have developed the winning business strategies to go hunting in the country side they will but eventually take the plunge. As Sundar Ramamurthy said, Papua New Guineans are our own worst enemies. We discount the majority as illiterate and ignore their will for the want of progress and when mobile competition arrived with handsets flooding even to those areas considered as the most disadvantaged by lack of access to reasonable education, the country was awestruck by the rapid proliferation of mobile devices even those with the best educated pessimism that the high illiteracy rate is an obstacle.


Until recently (in early 2000s), connectivity to the rest of the world was via the 897Km long Australia-PNG (APNG) cable, a copper coaxial analogue telephone cable laid between Cairns and Port Moresby in 1967, and by Intelsat Earth stations at Port Moresby and Lae.

Telikom retired the legacy APNG (APNG-1) coaxial copper cable of 16 Mbit/s in 2006 replacing it with the 1800Km APNG-2 optic fibre cable that used to link Sydney to Guam redeploying it between Sydney and Port Moresby at an estimated cost of US$11 million. This was a wise decision by Telikom because a new 2nd generation optic fibre cable would cost an estimated US$60 million. Why the advanced countries were selling off these cables was because they have surplus 2nd generation optic fibre cable capacity to cater for their growing market demands for internet and voice communications.
The APNG2 cable has a capacity of 560 Megabits/second (Mbps). While 560 Mbps this is a lot of internet capacity compared to the 16Megabits/second prior to 2006 it still wasn’t enough as only roughly 270Mbps is shared amongst the ISPs for internet purposes whilst the rest is used by Telikom for voice communication purposes as that required a lot of capacity for the voice clarity required in telephone conversations. Not withstanding, while the rest of the world moved on to higher capacity cabling between 1980 and 1995 noting the demand placed on these cables, no longer for growth of voice demand alone but the rapid proliferation of the internet stripping constrained capacity from these telephone cables. This resulted in the 16Mbps capacity of APNG-1 between Cairns and Port Moresby originally intended for telephone communications stripping telephone communications capacity to be shared with internet communications in the 1990s.

This explains why when the internet first hit PNG in dribs and drabs in the early 1990s, cost was way out of reach even for small to medium enterprises and the word “internet” and its wonder world of benefits was only a word shared by the technology savy in the offices, streets and homes around the country.

The APNG-2 optic fibre cable has a serviceable life of 15 years since its commissioning in October 2006 and will be retired in or around 2021. That’s only 10 years away so where to from here?

It’s in the PIPE-line from Madang

The PIPE optic fibre cable gateway in Madang was commissioned for service in September of 2009 and like the split segment of this cable that was re-aligned linking Sydney to Port Moresby it also has a serviceable lifespan of 15 years.

It was reported in The National and Post Courier of 20.05.2011 that the Governor for Southern Highlands, Anderson Agiru and Peter Graham the Country Manager for ExxonMobil signed off on the construction of the 750km segment of the National Broadband Network Project that will link Port Moresby to Tari and Mendi at a cost of US$70 (K169.5) million. It was also reported that it will take 4 years to link up rest of Papua New Guinea from the date of project implementation sign off (19.05.2011) to the PIPE gateway in Madang. This means critical mass utilisation of the PIPE’s 10,000 Mbps will start around 2015. In that time PNG taxpayers will have accrued a loss in value utilisation of US$24 million (6 years of idle time divided by 15 year lifespan times US$60 million investment in PIPE) let alone the opportunity cost in the 6 years the PIPE Gateway from Madang will have been lying idle since it was commissioned in 2009.

The murky-side of communications development in PNG aside, we can expect and anticipate greater reduction of internet costs where it will eventually become more afforadable for the masses. This will be a result of fierce competition in the ISP sector and pleasing to note this competition process has already started. ISPs are now consolidating and preparing their battle plans for when the National Broadband Network will be unleashed. A good ISP will triumph by adapting to the times and taking advantage of opportunities as they come. A great ISP anticipates openings others don't see and creates possibilities that were not there before for their immediate survival, long-term growth.

Where to from here for Papua New Guinea after the serviceable life of the 1st generation optic fibre cables connecting us to the rest of the world reach end of life?

The answer is no one knows as there is no specific national policy or plan(s) for life after APNG-2 and PIPE optic fibre gateways connecting PNG to the rest of the world.

Generating confidence through the media and other means for the National Broadband Network may be crucial to creating demand and supply in anticipation of broadband services in PNG but so is candor.

Pacific Connectivity - HighLevel Consultation-18May07
Chapter 2 – Technical Viability

Re-use and Re-routing of Retiring Cables (check the website where this article was downloaded)
Jamie Merrett, Remy Laude

PIPE Pacific Cable

Madang Landing Station

PTC09 Submarine Cable

Telikom starts fibre optic plans

APNG2 – Cable System

Environment Warrior of Madang and Information Access a David & Goliath Story

Fibre Optic Network Test Run Lae to Madang on PNG Powers Infrastructure

Telikom PNG's View of PPC-1: Madang-Guam (10Gbps)

Digicel launches mobile 3G Broadband
Monday 9th May 2011

US Government Oks PIPEs Submarine Cable to Land in Guam


Confessions of a single dad part II finale

well I got word today that my wife and son will be returning tomorrow!!! So we'll all be in the same country again! So this is the last installment of confessions....

Day 6 Sunday - Syd has a fever and chills so going to church is right out. Making this the 6th consecutive day of very little social interaction. I realize my wife is the tie that binds here. On the flip side, we're not producing a lot of laundry. Hmmn... coincidence? Trying to keep my daughter's spirits up, we still have our traditional family movie night, only with leftover pasta as our dinner instead of pizza. She's not that hungry anyway so it's fine. We both were kinda down because we'd been inside all day so we went for a trip around the center and said 'see you later' to some friends. I try to be extra goofy for her to cheer her up, and it's not hard to cheer her, she's a pretty optimistic kid.

Day 7 Monday - a lot of work to do, and Syd is feeling better so she's off to school. I come home dead tired and a friend delivers a home made dinner to us. WHAT a cool place this is to live! When the chips are down, the community pulls together. Syd and I have a quiet meal because the food was so good, and as she says 'this is funny we're quiet except to say 'mmm this is good'. ' Ever since a toddler she's always known how to cheer me up... a well timed hug, a good joke. Together we're doing okay without mom and calvin around. But the place is a bit empty without them.

Day 8 Tuesday - another long day of work, some GREAT things have happened. I have now gotten to the point where I can handle what comes at me, and fill in the gaps, but realize that not only is my wife an incredible woman and help to this family, but that single parents are probably always tired. It takes a lot of energy to be do all the things needing done, and still be emotionally available for your children. My daughter wanted to play with me every moment she could, which was exhausting but in the long run good for our relationship. I get the great news that my wife and son are returning tomorrow!!!! I'm excited for that.

Two weeks ago I prayed that God would give me the time to spend some alone time with my daughter to help build the relationship. Well we've had that.

1 week ago you all prayed that my son would get to the hospital safely. He did.
5 days ago you all prayed that he'd be disharged from the hospital, and he was.
Last night you all prayed that they'd come home tomorrow, and they are.
Tonight please pray for their safe travels.

Praise God and thank you.


Confessions of a Single Dad part 1

Day 1 - Weds. People offered to invited us to dinner, but work is really busy and I have to figure out how to work late hours and still provide the emotional support for my daughter if we're going to make this June deadline. On top of that I've donated mornings to this training course. It's funny how this month was supposed to be about this new project roll out and TTC training, and now it's about surviving a medivac. Life changes quickly.

Last night Sydney and I made tacos. It was an easy meal, if you don't have to make sour cream. It was simple and nice, and we had left overs for dinner the next night. Tons of leftovers in the fridge. Sydney has music practice so that takes me to 4pm, work ends at 5pm and a friend volunteers to watch her until I get off work.

Day 2 - Thurs - yesterday wasn't so hard! I think I can handle this, especially since we've been invited to dinner tonight. "Hey Daddy, did you know that tomorrow there is no school all day!!! We can play!" I'm thinking.... how am I going to get someone to watch her, because I have to go to work. I'm sure they'd understand if I didn't, but the pressure is on, and I need to make progress. Still, my little girl might be needing extra hugs during this time of family separation. Ouch my back still hurts.

Well I found someone to watch her, but then she came down with a fever and she's cold and headachy. Must be this virus. So I cancel the afternoon plans...

I come home later and find my home alarm is sounding and my dog has jumped the fence. That is odd.

The day feels overall, sort of OFF... like nothing goes to plan. But, I didn't need to make dinner and the rest of the night goes well.

Day 3 - Friday - Sydney packs her own lunch, makes her own breakfast and heads off to school with her backpack and trumpet. Her fever is gone, and today looks to be productive. Dinner tonight is already covered, but I have to find time to go to the store, because we committed to seeing some friends off with a meal, and I will prepare some pasta tomorrow. 1pm the phone rings, Sydney's lunch was 'rotten' and she wanted me to bring her a new lunch... okay so now I pack a new lunch, and find time to get to the store. At the store, I can't find a can of mushrooms. I don't know if they're not there or if I can't find them. I ask a friend, they're not where they usually are. I find that our house is well stocked enough that I really don't need much of anything to host this meal. That's good!

Day 4 - Saturday - I wake up deciding today will be a sydney and dad day, we'll go to the river, make bread rolls, make dessert, cook dinner, play games. So I start by cooking up the leftover potatoes for country fries, and make an omelette with tomatoes, olives and avocado.. all produce I didn't want to go bad. And after cooking all this up Sydney looks at me and says 'Dad i think I'm going to throw up...' she hadn't even tasted it yet!!! She says 'but I'm happy you made breakfast.' Her fever is back. I tell her had I known she was feeling that sick, I would have made us some simple toast. So half my elaborate breakfast goes to waste.

Now she's on the couch resting, and I'm punching buttons figuring out how to work various kitchen appliances and meeting with relative success. I do not know how my wife stays in the kitchen all day on saturdays making cookies and whatnot, but I find it makes my back hurt.

My wife is an amazing woman, and very helpful to the community. I feel tad guilty that the community is lavishing love and care on us in her absence, almost like I'm collecting on her good will. But as of now, we have meals arranged for us for almost every day next week.

Which is awesome, but it means that the only time in the kitchen for me and sydney to share, is today and tomorrow. So we'll make the best of it.


the word has already gone out about my son's medivac. A virus brought on an exacerbation of his asthma which required we fly him to a hospital. So my wife and son flew to a different country leaving me and my daughter in PNG.

PRAISE GOD, Calvin is out of the hospital now, exactly as we prayed he would be. Thanks to those who prayed!!! Praise to GOD!! We knew God would do something incredible for Calvin and getting him out of that hospital when so many were praying, helped show our son the power of prayer.

Now that things have calmed for a bit, Kendal and Calvin have another week or so in Australia to do follow up checks, etc.

I thought some of you might get a chuckle out of a few blogs on what it's like for me to be a single dad of 1 parent in PNG, given that I now have to tackle a lot of things my wife does... and if I cut down what she does to the absolute bare minimum, I might have a chance.... and so... I bring to you

'confessions of a single dad'. until the family is reunited.



I'm sitting here in TTC1 class, observing and helping as computer needs arise.
TTC1 teaches basic English concepts and basic Bible translation and some other things I'm sure I don't understand.

As I look around I see the age of people. Some look over 60, few look under 30 years old.

Which makes me realize the task of bringing the Word of God to this country is enormous.

If it takes 20 years plus, to do a translation, I'm seeing many of these people here learning skills that will take them another 6 years to master. They will be translating while they learn.... but we're talking many many years before seeing fruits.

I admire teachers, knowing they are investing in the future... a computer guy like me demands instant results, if you told me to fix a computer and I wouldn't know if it worked for 20 years... well.... I might not respond well.

But in the midst of feeling this huge and heavy burden for all the work to be done... and the duration that it'll take...

I hear at the table next to me in Tok Ples, then English then Tok Pisin 'What's Grace... ' and they are opening books and talking and working out the concept of grace and pantomiming what they compare it to in their culture....

and I think again, yeah lots of work to do, but it's God's work, and He has a good plan.

Dinner Guests Pics

Dinner Guests

Ituma Tobeen I have no idea how to spell it, but it means 'Good Night' in Nankina.

A while ago some friends of ours asked about the Nankina language project and how it was coming, and my wife remembered that. A few days ago some Papua New Guineans from that area were visiting a some friends that we were visiting and we found out who they were, so we invited them for dinner. Turns out, they leave on a plane tomorrow, so our meeting was timely.

From left to right meet:
Wienare - the Nankina language project leader
Tomas - a friend from the Ngaing language
Hubert - a mentor from Ngaing language who helps with Nankina.
Barbara - an Australian translator who is the ex-pat mentor for Ngaing and a friend to the Nankina group

Not knowing the history myself it turns out this was a very interesting night.

Several years ago, the Spaldings, a couple from my wife's home church worked on a translation for the Nankina people. After they left, the project went untended for a while, until Wienare got the fire to pick it back up.

Wienare is one of those guys who is really on fire for the work God has for his people.
We asked him about his people group.

3000 people - that's a large language group
His home village - Guarawon has 1200 people in it.
He has started literacy training, Bible translation, schooling, their village even has a medical centre.

The short version of his story is that he worked with the Spaldings, and attended TTC. the SAME training course I'm volunteering at right now. He learned English and how to translate and took that fire and went back to his village.

And from there, they've progressed to finishing Mark and have much of Genesis done, as well as literacy training curriculum and worship songs in their tok ples.

Ahvy - that means 'thank you very much' in their language.

One story they told was how in their village there was a cruel murdering man, who came to hear the Word of God in his own language. He had read in Tok Pisin, and heard in English the same things, but it didn't register. After he heard for the first time in his language, the fire of God went into his stomach, and he changed, and is now following God and leading the community.

It is one of many miracles God's Word has performed when people hear it in their own language.

Wienare has a lot of work ahead of him. This is a sort of stray language group that doesn't have an ex-pat translator assigned, but God put the fire and the ability in a national man, and the task is huge for him, and his wife and 5 children.... but he is excited and able.

I asked him what the needs were, and how we can pray.
He paused because the list of needs was very long, and gave us the short version

-the house they have is finally a semi-permanent house, but there is not enough room for translators to work inside and there is need for more room for literacy workshops.

-they have need of a water system, right now they go out to a rain barrel to get water

-they have need of another solar panel

-they need more workers, for the literacy work to take hold.

On top of all that, I learned many new things about Barbara as well. It took her ten years to get to Papua New Guinea. 10!!

So many people get discouraged after 2 or 3. But she kept going on... and we're thankful because she is a powerhouse of translation work. Not only does she lead her Ngaing work, but is sort of a helper for the Nankinas as well. And advocate.

The themes of the evening were:
-excitement for the miraculous work God is doing... even without an ex-pat affiliated.
-endurance and determination because the work is long

For us as support workers, it was great to get to spend time with these people, eat a good meal (that my wife prepared), and hear about what they are doing, it helps us connect what we do, to what they do.

I was glad to be able to lend a few words on technical aspects to them as well.

I can tell, only a week into it, that this month is going to be one to remember. God is showing us some neat stuff as far as directly working with translation.

Did you know that the homework assignment for TTC2 course is to translate huge parts of Genesis, and that students can't return for the third course until they've completed it!

This course is one of the kinds that gets things done.. actual translation is happening into tok ples!

God ... He will do this work without us, we are privileged to be along for the ride.

Pray for Wienare and the Nankina and their needs.


Defining Urgent

Today two people came to ask me to get their email working.
I'm volunteering this month down at the training course where about 70 Papua New Guineans are learning anything from English to how to translate original Hebrew Scripture.

One person was an ex-pat who said 'I need my email working down here'. And she meant today, quickly, now please!! She was polite, but the urgency was there, knowing full well it works at home, but being as how this training facility is new, and it takes months to order network equipmenet like cables, and media converters and surge surpressors, we're only now bringing up the wireless for this building that 2 days ago didn't have power. Anyway, for them it was urgent.

Then I had a Papua New Guinean man ask me 'Chad can you make my email work?"
and I said 'yes, when did you last check it?'... assuming I'd hear 'yesterday at noon'.

He said 'hmmn.... well.. I haven't checked it last month.'

I didn't laugh, but inside it reminded me of the cultural definition of URGENT.

Tonight we have invited two new acquaintances to dinner, they are working in the Nankani language and we have friends back home who are interested in an update from them. We invited them for dinner at 6pm.

We are curious as to a few things:
1 - when will they arrive
2 - how many will there be
3 - do they anticipate talking all night or will they leave early?

With people of your same culture you often know what to expect. In the U.S. if you say 'we eat at 6' you expect people to show up 15 minutes prior or so... then pick up on social cues to go home .. ie.. a yawn.. etc.

With PNG you never know. You have no idea what's going to happen at any given exchange. It makes it exciting, but you have to be willing to put aside convention and invest in the relationship... so if you get wrapped up in 'I have to do this.. and this.. and this... " agenda thinking, you'll end up having a horrible experience.

As such my wife is preparing a meal that can stay warm for a while if they come late, and making more than enough should they bring friends.

It will be a good night I'm sure.


Mothers day

for some mother's day is about appreciating your mom, treating her with kindness.

for others, it's about getting extra opportunities to exercise motherly grace.

Today one of my children, whom shall remain nameless broke the microwave plate.

These things cost $40 bucks to replace, and will take about a month to arrive.

The microwave, even in PNG is an essential bit of life for us because the kids aren't allowed to use the gas stove on their own to heat their own lunches, and it's also much quicker.

Repair DAD to the rescue.
Superglue didn't hold it, but... I did bring 2 rolls of the 'good stuff' duct tape. You can not get good tape in country, it doesn't hold. MAsking tape, duct tape, both are rubbish here. Maybe scotch tape is okay.

SO, for those who would like to know...

cooking duct tape in a microwave appears to have no negative... no negative no negative.. no negative... side effects whatsoever.


seriously though, it didn't burn, nor give off any smellable gas, nor even heat up that much.

So I suppose, a duct tape microwave plate will keep us in reheated happiness until I can get one re-ordered from the states or find one in a leftover microwave around here.

Happy Mother's Day....

this year for Father's Day I'm hoping my kids break something I can fix with a swiss army knife and a paper clip. (-;


Power Choice

this morning for the training course, I was migrating their file server, something I announced in advanced and planned for 9am.

I was in the middle of the project, ant at 8:59am someone ran in and said 'we're teaching a course and the projection won't work, can you come help?'

I had to choose between the urgent and the priority.... and decided to go help with the projection.

Well it didn't take long before I realized the projector was plugged into a UPS, and the battery was dead.
because the switch enabling the outlet from the power was off (in PNG/AUS all outlets are called powerpoints and each outlet has a switch to turn on the power right above the outlet itself).

So I flicked the switch, easy fix... what? still no power.

So I went from outlet to outlet, room to room, trying to be invisible since class was still going on and whenever I moved the pngians seemed to track me with their eyes.

I finally found one powerpoint (outlet) with power, and the ups began to charge and they were up in under 3 minutes total.

Then I went back to continue the server migration.

on the way I ran into the building manager and said 'there is no power in there' he replied, 'I know we have an electrician trying to figure out why right now, but he doesn't know'.


sorry had to swipe a horse fly out of my hair, it decided to dive bomb me and got stuck.

where was I?

oh the point about power.
No matter how much technology we employ we're still limited by the power.
power here is completely unreliable.
The only reliable power you get is if you run an inverter system of your own and regulate the voltage.

Things that simply plug into outlet, die quickly.
kitchen appliances, get burned out
electronics get surged and fried
monitors catch on fire.

the voltage and the frequency alter minute by minute and so UPS (battery back up) is a think of life here... surge supressors often give their lives up during lightning storms to save more expensive equipment.

If I had to guess I would say there are maybe 1000 surge surpressors on center,
3 dozen lightning arrestors
600 UPS's
300 power regulators
25 inverter systems (AC to DC power with battery backup)

and 2 gigantic generators to power it all when the power goes out.

we are always battling electricity.


Out of my Element,... and loving it.

Yesterday I began my new assignment for this month. I have been loaned to a training course for teaching Papua New Guineans how to translate the Bible. It is a yearly course, and last year there were multiple network errors that caused the instructors many headaches. Typically they have someone with computer skills but this year's course they were short handed so we (my dept) volunteered me for 4 weeks.

There is a growing emphasis on training here. Yesterday I heard a 2 minute speech on how if this course fails, we might as well all go home because there will be no Bible translating going on in the country. I thought that a bit overly dramatic but was encouraged by the passion people have for this course.

Still, I'm not sitting at my normal desk, working on normal projects, and I am excited about this opportunity to work more directly with the process, however it's like your first day at a new job.

I'm still getting my bearings. Trying to figure out how this all works together, what their normal habits are.

I've been for a long time saying we should donate our people to each department for a week so we get an idea of how people actually use their network and computers. So this is my chance!

Today I decided to sit down with some people I didn't know at tea time and tried to talk. I was surprised at how timid I was. I'm not a timid guy, but it dawned on me... right after this moment:

Stephen, a PNG friend said, 'we are so happy you are here, very encouraging. I'm reading a book about Mother Theresa and she said that 'the smallest things done with the biggest love, make the biggest impact.' He then went on to explain to me how everyone teaching at TTC is very encouraged because it shows that they are being taken seriously.

It hit me that my presence here means more than fixing computers, it means that our department supports and is putting people behind the training effort, which is a big stamp of approval for the trainers.

It was after this moment, that I realized why I was timid.

In my office I'm seen as an expert, a good guy to come to. But here I'm amidst some of the top minds in translation and training in the country as well as side by side with the actual men and women working on bringing the Bible to their people.

THIS is where it gets real. This is where I'm amid some very intelligent and passionate people. This is a very direct application of my skills makes a big difference. And so I realize my respect for these people, and I do not fully understand their processes and do not wish to expose my ignorance without also exposing my desire to help them.

So, this month should be interesting, and stretching. I'm looking forward to getting to know the software they use a bit more and how they use their systems a bit more.

Mostly I'm excited at what God has in store for this month, because at the beginning of day 2 I can already see this is going to be a very interesting month. I've heard stories of being getting excited by training and getting addicted to it and leaving their posts for a job in training. I don't see myself going there, but I definitely understand the appeal of passing skills on in a way that teaches men to fish rather than giving them fish.


Facing Failure

I might as well blog about this too.
The tone of this entry is not complaining... in fact a great many things are going good for us here.

We just celebrated our son's 10th birthday,
Easter was the other day,
we're very busy at work,
we received a recent care package...
life is good.

Which is why I can talk about failure without complaining or being overly negative.

Failure is something most of the volunteers (missionaries) here experience regularly.

One failure might be that while you're trying to gain acceptance in a village to begin translation work, someone in a drunken fit burns down your village home forcing you to evacuate.

That takes a huge emotional toll on a family, it's a huge setback in the progress of a translation, and in the end a lot of issues have to be dealt with before things can get back on track.

Another failure could be scheduling and planning a training class only to have little to no one arrive because of various problems (hevi's) in their villages.

This is the land of the unexpected... and everyone has to deal with failure in their own way... and recognize that often it has nothing to do with our efforts.

I would be interested in hearing how you have dealt with the disappointment of seeing your labor fall apart in front of you.

Recently I had been working on a new technology that promised to solve many networking issues here, I got very excited about it and worked very long hours on it for a period of a month.

And then, the day we put it into production, something came up very quickly that proved we'd be completely unable to use it and thus, the problem is not solved.

Today of course I felt a little bit like the wind was taken out of my sails. I was so hopeful that this would solve huge issues for everyone.

But it won't.

You know that verse that says 'count it as joy, when you face trials of many kinds?'
I do not believe we are expected to be joyful immediately.
The Bible says to mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep.

There is a time to share in suffering and failure.

First I'm very thankful that my personal inability to succeed in this is nothing in comparison to having my village house burned down.

But we do face disappointment.
And the way we have learned as a family to 'count it as joy' is simply to realize that in suffering and disappointment we aren't alone, and if we bear it well (as Job did), that it can in fact be a form of worship.

Humbling ourselves means that when our pride is wounded from failure, we turn to God to seek comfort and recognize it can only be done WITH HIM.

On the flip side, it's technology so I'm very certain we'll eventually find a solution, (we're tenacious that way)... but we go forward praying for God's help in this.

And we pray for encouragement for others who have faced even worse discouragement.

God is good.

Today someone told me something I found very encouraging...
they said,
'well, last year at this translation course, things were hectic, there was lot of network failures and printing problems, but now things seem to just work.'

that told me that our team of computer techs did it's job in the last year... we made things better for the translation folks...

and that feels good.

We strive to continue to make things better for the translation efforts and am confident that with your prayers we'll find a solution to this big problem we've been trying to solve.