Getting into my final plane for a while. A week in tropical Buka setting up Vsat Internet didn't go according to plan. More on that later. Here's the completed dish with belas (decoration) after the ribbon cutting ceremony in which three ribbons were cut asan official thank you to the three groups involved in getting it working. Richard and I cut the middle ribbon.


Good laugh

Needed something sweet so grabbed some cookies and was well into them before reading the label. Had a good laugh. Pretty much sums up most food experiences in this country.



(found this at Honiara, Solomon Islands at Henderson Field....a key victory by the U.S. over the Japanese in the south pacific)

I am now a manager of a section in my department. We are in charge of repairing and maintaining all the laptops/desktops and servers, the telephones, and the software of in this country. Since I'm the manager, I thought that I finally should share my passion for this work. I thought I'd share it with you too.

When a Bible translator puts their laptop in your hands to repair, when they entrust their internet communication to you, when they trust their hard work in the form of data to your backup system.... they are putting in your hands their ministry tools.

We are responsible for many of the tools that people use to get the Word of God into the hearts and minds of people in this country.

Because of this we should give them the utmost professionalism. We need to deserve their trust. We need to have excellence in how we deal with these tools, so that we can glorify God with our skills.

And that's what we do.

When you come to our department, you are not getting third world technical support. You get first class, professional help. That is what our aim is, that is what we have achieved and endeavor to continue achieving.

Sometimes we get very fortunate and get to do something glamorous like flying to the Solomon Islands or to a regional centre like Buka (leaving for there in 1 hour) and get to do something that is good and hard work. We get to take awesome pictures that help our people back home realize we're not always at a desk.

We get to install satellite dishes, run cabling, climb ladders, dig trenches, run conduit, patch cables, crimp connectors, raise antennas, work with nationals, etc.

But that isn't every day. 9/10 days we'll be at our desks, accepting broken hardware, and repairing it.

We do this so that these tools can go on serving God's purpose. So that His Word can get into the language of the people in this country and their lives would be changed by it.

We work on tools. We do so to glorify God with the skills we were given.
But as we work on tools, we work WITH people.

We get to treat them with love, and care. Let them know they are valued help in this common goal of seeing lives changed by God's Word.

We work with the people who trust us with their tools.
We work with the people who enable us to be here.
We work with each other as we need help fixing these tools.

We work with people whom Christ loves, and whom we will treat with love.

And this is how we justify why we get to do this work.

It is exciting and fun and rewarding to be serving God.

Let us not get discouraged by losing sight of why we're here in this country.
We are here because we are fortunate enough to be sent here by all the people whom God has worked in to get us here.

EACH person who supports us to be here has a story of why they support us, how they met us, why they sacrifice to send us here.

We are indeed blessed to be doing this work. What better job to have with your skills, than to be serving in the King's court?

Some people want to do something more exciting. There are a lot of exciting jobs out there. Sitting at a tech bench and fixing computers may sound like the most boring job to some people.

But I get excited.

My life has been a non-stop series of surprises and excitement since signing my life over to Christ.

I look down at this modem I'm repairing, and I imagine it is making it's way into a village. And it's being connected to a solar panel/inverter system that a co-worker setup. And it's getting power, and turned on.

And then it starts sending and receiving data, and that data is the latest revision of Mark in the Kuman language. And it travels through the radio waves, across hf-radio, over an antenna that another team member installed, and into our servers here.

Onto our file server, and our tape backup, and it will never be lost. And then, eventually that data gets printed out and put into the hands of someone who previously thought God didn't speak in their language.

And they are changed.

And that excites me. The same way it should excite the guy who makes the bolts and screws to hold together the antenna tower. OR the electrician who powers the whole thing. Or the radio technician who makes sure we are experiencing low interference.

There are things we know, feats we are capable of, that we can employ to serve God and enable the feats that OTHERS are capable of to see fruition.

So this job excites me, and I'm honored to be doing it.



Cross Cultural Interview

Today I gave my first job interview to a Papua New Guinean. I've done international job interviews before (where I am the interviewer). However I've never done them in this country. It was definitely a cultural experience.

Having conducted several job interviews in my career, I have found doing so cross-culturally is difficult. In an interview you want to gauge the applicant's personality fit, enthusiasm, and technical ability.

Personality fit you can do pretty quickly, cross-culturally.
Enthusiasm is hard, because different cultures have different ways of expressing this.
Technical ability is rather easy, so long as you're using the right terms. BUT to get to the point where you're 'getting down to business' you first have to lay the ground work relationally to get to where the applicant is comfortable enough to share with you and not feel bad when they don't know the answers.

That all is pretty much the same world-wide. What isn't the same is what responses comprise a successful interview.

The one phrase that came up repeatedly in this interview was 'I am a slow learner.'

What does that say to you? In our culture, it is a bad thing to be a slower learner. But it was said so many times, as if it was the winning characteristic of the applicant, I tried to figure out what was meant.

'slow learner'
If I put the emphasis on the 'learner' then this comment suddenly means that the applicant is trying to tell me that they have the ability to learn. That they are diligent in learning, and they take their time to learn it well. THAT is what I think was meant by 'slow learner'.

Anyway, the point is, as part of my new job I have to figure out how to wisely navigate the already tricky waters of hiring skilled personnel for a job. Hiring the wrong person could mean a ton of headaches that would distract me from doing other parts of the job.

You can pray for a skilled heldpdesk technician, who will fit in well, require minimal training, and be a good performer for a long time. This would drastically lighten the load on a some already overworked people.



We are in a flurry of activity here at work. Having just returned from setting up a network in the Solomon Islands and Vsat in Aitape. We are now prepping for two more trips. Vsat and wireless and file storage for Buka and Wewak. We're using every last inch of space as we prep the equipment and configure the network and run test. The goal is to make the solutions as foolproof as possible so they don't break after we return to our home base.



Vsat saves lives

from a friend's blog, regarding the VSAT internet our team put in last month:

The VSAT has already helped save the lives of a mother and her twin babies! After coming back from the village, we learned from Emil via SKYPE that an Arop woman couldn’t deliver her second baby. Ben called the hospital in Aitape, a 2.5 hour drive away from the village and connected Emil to them using Skype so that they could talk to each other. The hospital personnel sent a car out to get her right away. A week later, I was able to reach the hospital by phone and found out that although the mother and babies survived, the mother needed blood. Once again, we got on SKYPE and asked Emil to send a family member to the hospital to donate blood for her. We praise God for the life of this mother and her babies. We are grateful for the VSAT which allowed us to help them get to the hospital!



My time has come to a close.  Not only did God smooth the way for us to complete everything we HAD to do, we got to finish a lot of the WANTED to do's as well here in the Solomon Islands.  Being that nearly everyone here is translator staff, I was really privileged to support Bible translation so directly.
off the top of my head:
We have accomplished a LOT here:
-file sharing
-secure wireless
-wireless and physical network coverage
-billing/metering solution
-better throughput
-networked printing
-physical cabling to specific locations
-computer training
-language data backup/archiving
-offline windows updates
-anti-virus strategy planned
-hf-email more reliable
-remote access
-overall faster network performance
-usage reporting
Then there are the smaller one off issues as people found me and asked me questions.
I.T. guys, you'd be hard pressed to find a spot of the world more grateful for your help, and more hospitable to boot.  I had dinner in every one of their homes, some more than once!  Great group of people.
At the end I had to fight back tears for the 'thank you' dessert they threw me and the prayers they prayed over me.  They called me a blessing.  Having those people, call me a blessing.... that's one of those.... 'woah, me? wow!' moments.  I can't express to them how awesome an opportunity to serve them this was for me.  To serve God with my skills.
Let's be totally honest, I'm not the world's smartest guy, nor the best I.T. guy around.  I'm just a bloke who said 'yes, I'll go.'  And God has filled in all the gaps since.  So all the glory goes to Him.  He kept me from crashing and burning this week, He gave me what skill I have, He solved problems quicker and smoothed the path for me.  I GET to do this?  Are you serious?  Go exotic places!?  Serve people who call ME a blessing? 
THEY are the blessing.  They brought me here, paid my plane ticket, fed me, and made me useful.  Then they appreciated my work, and heaped thanks on me, and gave me a special 'dessert' send-off where they prayed over me.  I covet their prayers.
Anyway, it has been a very incredible week.  I miss my family and it's time to go home, but thanks God for letting me do this, and for making me useful to these people and this project.
HERE are some of the languages that I was able to directly impact this week:
















Cheke Holo





























Ontong Java