the hand of God

from time to time you get to see what God is doing.

Today I got a skype call from a guy in Illinois who was investigating
the possibility of coming to PNG as an IT manager. His resume wound up
through a circuitous route to me.

We skyped for 40 minutes.

I told him about being a manager here, what our IT department is like,
the challenges of the job and how we really truly do need experienced
managers here.

I wasn't really feeding him a line, but trying to give him data (maybe
too much) to make a decision off of. I remember when we came here and I
really wanted good data.... so I 'spilled the beans'... didn't hold
anything back.. was perfectly open and honest.

At the end of the call he said 'my heart is pumping a million miles a
minute, I'm so excited having spoken with you." you could hear in his
voice God was calling him here...

Which is a HUGE answer to my prayer, as we desperately need people like
this. Being involved in this was a surprise to me, because I thought I
was talking the guy out of it, by telling the truth... but he was eating
it up.

Then at the end of the conversation he asked if I knew his cousin. I
did, she was the mother of my son's best friend here.
What he said next was a total God thing.

"oh!! well, my cousin said if I wanted to know about IT there I should
call the dad of her son's best friend and she was going to put me in
touch with him... but I guess that's you!"

we had met and talked in an almost random way, but we were meant to
the words I thought were just off the top of my head, were the words God
used to excite him to come here....

God used me today in a way I wasn't expecting to impact someone's life...
and all I can say is..

I'm encouraged and energized by having just had this conversation.


Buka Vsat Saga

several weeks ago I flew out with a co-worker/friend to Buka to install internet via VSAT. It didn't work. We tried everything. We left.

Weeks later a friend of ours was in the area and took measurements to see if there was any interference. Nothing.

Back to the drawing board.

We decided the smaller dish wasn't good enough and shipped a 3meter dish, it arrived last monday. But I was short handed and had no technicians to go out to install it, and I couldn't leave because I am the only one in the network room right now.

I emailed a partnering organization asked them if they had any techs in the area. They had one on a plane and would ask him to fly out to the area.

He arrived yesterday, installed the new dish, and tonight they have NET LOCK!

They are online!!!!


But... their signal to noise ratio is not good enough and so until they get a higher Watt BUC a cloudy day or a rain might knock them offline.... which removes the entire idea of 'always on'.

So now I have to come up with several thousand dollars to buy a larger BUC (they have 5 Watt, and need a 10 Watt).

Still though... after months of trying, today I finally have confirmation that they are online!

Thanks to all who prayed, and kept praying for this!


Special treat

The power was out this morning, we were tired, and decided either not to cook breakfast or to make a fast one. My wonderful wife pulls out a box of pancake mix!!! Wow.. only $6 at the store. What a treat! And there's blueberries! So I whip up a quick breakfast using the mix instead of by scratch (which is good because we've been short on eggs lately).

So if you wanted to know what excites us... that's one of the things.

Garden yielded a huge pile of carrots too... so we've been eating carrot sticks for every meal (-;


my day

how can I describe my day.

It started with discouragement, because our vehicle is most likely going
to be out of service until I can tow it to some place to fix the fuel
injector. Thinking we really need to consider buying a new vehicle, but
don't have the funds.

Then it moved to encouragement as we got an awesome care package from
friends that really lifted everyone's spirits.

Then it moved to matters of grave importance as I sat in on my first
ever director's meeting as I'm filling in for one of the directors.
This is a serious job and a serious meeting and we discuss serious
things about the organization and how we are to accomplish Bible
translation here. Decisions in these meetings affect hundreds of people
and thousands of dollars. The gravity of the meeting was not lost on me.

Then it moved to personal relationships, as I took a walk to a different
department, I multi-tasked and asked a PNG friend to walk with me. He's
a non-christian man who I've been getting to know, and I'm hopeful that
the relationship will grow because I really like this guy, and have a
heart for his family.

Then it moved to awesomeness as I got an email saying that there is a
qualified person out there who wants to come to PNG specifically to do
management for the computer department!!! What a huge blessing that
would be (even though it takes more than 2 years to get here because of
partnership development)! Imagine, someone who actually WANTS to be
managing and has experience at it?!?!

heavy, concern for future
excited about future.

wow, what a day it's been. That's just 9 hours of it!



low tech jury rig #238

In the past 2 large earthquakes I've been present to hold the servers up. they moved enough this last time to pull power cables out of the wall.

So I rigged up a 2x4 (aka 20mm x 50mm) piece of timber, and bolted it to the wall and to my server racks, so that I don't have to keep them from shaking by bracing them with my shoulders during a large quake.

There was a moment when I looked up at the large Air Con unit above my head and wondered if it would pop off and fall on me while I was holding up the servers.

And for a moment I thought 'this will be hard to explain.... Here Lies Chad, killed by an Air Conditioner while trying to keep server racks from falling over. Cool.'


6.7 magnitude, we're sitting right at the epicenter.

8:18am this morning had a bit of an earthquake. As is my fashion I ran
to the server room to keep the racks from tipping over. I'll be bracing
them in place this week, but we've never had this many larger quakes
back to back before (2 large ones this year so far, 2012)

anyway, the quake was enough to pull a few of the server power cords out
of the wall. At home a crock pot fell on the ground but didn't break.
My wife's knick knack collection of wishing wells.... IN TACT because
her husband built her an earthquake resistant shelf and poster puttied
them all in place months ago!

it was a fun ride.



This is what my outlook calendar looks like for work (not personal) for the next three months

I'll be doing the jobs (wearing the hats) of 6 different roles.

I could use some prayer cover as I'm tired just looking at this. (:


Proactive Uptime

Here's a fun story:
"the other day I saw a switch go offline (a big red blip on my monitor),
so I went down there, realized that a rat had pooped all over the
wiring, and chewed through some of it. I replaced the main cable and
they came back online. As I was going to leave, someone said 'Hey, what
is CTS doing here?' I replied 'I became aware that your department was
offline and I came down to fix it.' They replied 'wow, I didn't know we
were offline!" To which I said 'yes, for about 15 minutes now.' they
paused.... 'Wow, that is proactive! In the old days we used to have to
call you up and tell you about the problem, and then maybe wait a few
days for you find a replacement part.'

That felt good to hear.
One of the earliest things I did was install a NOC suite of software here.
A friend donated an outdated version of Solarwinds Orion (7)
I wrote a letter to PRTG and got them to donate 100 licenses.
I'm running ipSentry for my Windows services because they donated a full
license as well.

So... if a machine, or a router or a switch goes offline, or a service
crashes... I get an alert via email.

And away we go, repairing it, like little invisible mice.... who can
repair stuff.


before and after

The cleaner one is one I'm proud of but would still professionally
consider it 'messy'.
It is one of the youngest cabinets I inherited.
I was able to clean up most of the wiring, today I installed wireless
access for the schools who are now the proud owner of 2 used original
kindles in the library.
However I had to create a multi-ssid setup traversing 2 vlans, because
the kindle's do not support WPA2-enterprise.. so I create WPA2-personal
for the kindles only.

The cleaner cabinet is the high school cabinet.
Notice it's a plywood box, OUTSIDE.
it has a switch, a ups, a WAP (with poe injector), two fibre boxes and a
punch down block.
This is a typical configuration for our departments here.

The second picture is a bit messier. It's one I have yet to clean up.
IT sits in our typesetting department (formatting of the Bibles before

The Before is 'it was a mess before I came... and I haven't cleaned it
up yet' and the After is 'this is what it looks like AFTER I clean it up'.

The cosmetic work of cleaning these cabinets up is a nice 'on my todo
list' item... but it seems I rarely have the time and the scheduled
downtime to get to it.
But since I'm hoping within the next 2 years to move everyone to
Gigabit, I hope to have it all cleaned up by then.

I don't want to bore anyone but what giving wireless to the high school
means is that they can now go 'online' with their grade reporting and
tracking. It'll help our teachers spend less time doing reports and
student progress, give parents INSTANT information as to how their kids
are doing in school (no more waiting for hand written report cards) and
generally decrease the amount of work our volunteer teachers have to
do. We hope.... that's the plan.

5 years ago the school would have never attempted this because the
internet connection was not fast enough, and far too expensive. Now,
they are going 'online' for some of their key roles... meaning they need
less in-house computer support. Which is good, because my department is
overrun with work.

It is also good that the kids have access to online research materials.

So that's what I did today, Friday. I helped bring a school into the
21st century. Not bad for a 1/2 day's work.
The rest of the day was spent documenting everything, as I firmly
believe in good documentation... and adding the new devices to my NOC as
I firmly believe in nothing happening on my network without me knowing
about it.



Current prices for Electricity are 50 US cents per Kilowatt Hour.
This last month we cut back our electricity bill by $50. p/month by
simply turning things off that didn't need to be on, and turning off all
the transformers (we convert 220 power to 110, and the waste turns to
heat, which is simply wasted electricity).

So our current electrical bill is now $250 p/month US.

This is partially due to the really bad electricity here (goes off an on
over 6 times a day usually), the cost of fuel (we run diesel generators
to power the place) and the bad conversion ration of USD to PNG Kina.

So as you can imagine, being a techno-geek of sorts, I've been
researching alternative methods.

If we moved our house over to a 12 volt DC system (for example and
Outback inverter system), and we could find room to store about 20 car
batteries... we'd need a way to charge them.

-Solar - We already have 2 solar panels on our roof to heat the water.
We could buy and install more and hope they don't get stolen or broken.
But they are very expensive.
-Water - we live next to a raging river, but if we installed a portable
hydroelectric turbine, it would be vandalized an stolen within 5 months
because rivers are public places and people walk across it all of the
time. Odds are they'll fall on the submerged unit and damage it, or
find it and destroy it out of boredom.
-Wind - it's not very windy here, so I'd have to build a tower to go WAY
up into the sky.

So as you can see, I've thought about a few different solutions.
If anyone out there has an affordable, tamper-proof idea as to how to
save money on power... I'm all ears.


IT and why

here's a letter that was sent to encourage our IT staff and I pass it on here.

The printed book of Luke                                                 Kenny

Kenny recording the orders for more, after they all sold out.

Kenny presenting the people who pre-ordered the book of Luke with their copy

I work in a multi-language translation project in Papua New Guinea that has 22 national translators from 11 different languages.  We have just finished publishing and distributing the Gospel of Luke as well as audio recordings of the Luke Christmas story, and it has already begun to make an impact among the people.  Listen to what Kenny Aiprum from the Sissano language related about the impact of the Gospel in his villages:

When the Book of Luke and the audio recording of the Christmas Story were taken out to the three Sissano villages, the response was so enthusiastic in the first village that Kenny barely managed to keep few copies aside to distribute at the other two villages. The pastor was planning to read the Christmas Story from the book of Luke in their own Sissano language during their morning worship service on Christmas day. But after the Christmas services those who attended the service came back and told Kenny with much joy that they got to hear the story of Jesus' birth read in their own language. They said that when they heard, it really pierced their hearts and stimulated their thinking because they were hearing these words in their own language. For too many years they had not heard this story told in their own Sissano language.

That Christmas the story of Christ’s birth was also read in another church in the area.  After the service, some women from a mothers group walked to Kenny's place to tell him what they had experienced.  They said, "This story that you translated, the Christmas Story, one of our church leaders read it and those words shot strait into our stomachs and really excited our stomachs." Kenny reported this with a big smile on his face and laughter in his voice as he recalled how happy they were to hear the Christmas Story for the first time in their own language.

This experience at Christmas motivated those who had heard the Sissano Scriptures to want more of God's Word translated and to have more of their worship expressed in their local language. Some gave Kenny their song books to have their worship songs translated, something that we have desired to do for some time now. But it took hearing the Scriptures read in their own Sissano language for the people to show interest.

Kenny says that the passages from Luke started something in their stomachs and many people have come to talk with him. The audio recording of the Christmas story was bought up so quickly, that they sold out before the coastal village had a chance to get any.  So one copy was sent to them and the village gathered to listen to it together as a community. One old man who sat and listened to the audio recording was particularly moved. It really excited him to hear the Sissano scriptures read on CD.   His grandchildren traveled back and reported to Kenny that his joy shone on his face for everyone to see.

Additionally, many people in the community, especially mothers groups and prayer groups, who heard the Sissano Scriptures read for the first time have come to see Kenny, to ask him to help them write up prayers that they would like to say in their Sissano language.  Kenny says, "I have been thinking about this thing that happened, [he chuckles]… just that little word that was read is continuing to shoot them/pierce them and excite them and they keep coming to me, talking to me about the Christmas Story when Jesus was born." The impact that this first portion has had on the community has made Kenny really happy, and he says that interest that people have shown in learning how to read has strengthened him again to continue translating God's Word for his own Sissano people.

But none of this would have been possible without the help and support of our computer/IT people. With the advancement of technology and current availability of electronic resources, most all of our Bible translation is now done on the computer utilizing translation software and electronic exiggetical resources.  Each of the 22 national translators in our project uses a netbook computer to research, draft, edit, and print their translation.  When you are working with that many computers you are bound to have problems come up quite often, especially when you are in the tropics with 80% to 100% humidity.  Without our IT support, in just a few months we would have so many under-functioning computers that the pace of our translation work would slow to a mere crawl if not come to a complete halt.   

That’s not even mentioning what our computer support staff has done to get us up and running with internet access in the village so the founder of the translation project and fellow translation advisor can continue to mentor, through e-mail and Skype, seven of the translators, while he is in the states tending to the needs of his aging in-laws.  Without this access, these seven translators would basically be on their own.

Our IT guys have done so much to make the book of Luke accessible in the heart languages of the people in our translation project, however our translation mentors are still constantly being pulled away from their Bible translation work to deal with the computer and IT issues that our computer department is simple just too understaffed to deal with.  The need is great!  Having enough IT workers with the ability to access current and up to date technical information is vital to the translation, to the advancement of God’s word in heart language of the people, and to the people of Papua New Guinea.




recently I helped go pick up one of our survey teams (3 young men and 1 young lady) and this one of the resulting stories:

Yesterday the survey team (two Johns, myself, and Janell) returned from a 12-day survey of three languages in the Watut River valley in Morobe Province. The hikes and work in the villages were both challenging and surreal, but I won't go into detail about them. We faced the usual mosquitoes and loud chickens, but also experienced an unusual whitewater rafting trip in
a 40-foot dugout canoe. Instead of describing the trip as a whole, I'd like to share a brief moment I had with a man from Uruf village where I was reminded again of why we do what we do.

We quickly completed all our work after we arrived in Uruf. That night we slept in a room in someone's bush house and since we had minimal travel to the next village, we woke up slowly. While we were in the room packing up all our stuff, an old man came to the window. I leaned my head out to see what he wanted and he whispered to me, "I have a coconut for the lady if she wants to come with me to get it." Essentially this man was asking me to get Janell and let her go alone with him into the jungle.

Immediately the sirens went off in my head. This would feel wrong at home, but here it is much worse. Men and women do not make these sorts of ventures alone unless they are married. It's highly unusual for someone to be so forward about something like this. I tried to deflect it by saying he should just bring the coconut to us and give it to her with all three guys on the team present. He was insistent on going with her, so I told him she was too busy and offered to go with him to get the coconut for her.

He was obviously disappointed at having me instead of Janell as we walked together to the other end of the village, but there was no other acceptable solution. When we got to his house and sat on his porch, our legs swinging in the breeze, I tried to make some small talk. Mid-sentence he interrupts me by placing his hand on my thigh (a sign of friendship), leans in close and asks me very quietly, "Are you Simon?"

Now the warning bells are really going off in my head. I say, "No, my name is Brian." He leans back and we sit in silence for a second. I have two options: forget about it because we'll be leaving shortly and I'll never see him again, thereby avoiding a conversation that could take me to some very weird places that may leave this man even more confused than he already is; or, pray hard and push the subject. So I prayed in that moment, not sure what to even ask for other than direction.

As the silence deepened and the sun rose higher, bringing the first of many beads of sweat to my forehead, I asked, "Who's Simon?"

"He is the son of the man whose house you are sleeping in."
"Did he die?"
He whispers, "Yes."

This is a common lie that swept PNG when the first whiteskins came over 100 years ago; that white people are the ghosts of deceased Papua New Guineans come back to bring with them a better life. I tried to explain that I am just a man and that all white people are humans like him.

His quiet and saddened response was, "So, the lady is not my Tia?" The light bulb went off in my head. He wanted Janell to come because he thought she was his daughter, not because he wanted to make inappropriate advances. What followed showed me that this man, a church leader, loved his daughter (who had died in childbirth three years prior) very much and that he was desperately grasping at any hope to see her again. He told me that she was a Christian and that he too is a Christian. So I talked to him about the hope of heaven and the joy that Tia is currently experiencing in a place so much better than this life. I encouraged him to put his faith in Christ and not the false hopes offered by a world devoid of trust in Christ.

I finished by praying aloud for him asking God to give him strength to deal with his grief and faith to believe that God is looking after Tia and will soon reunite them. When I finished he prayed for me, thanking God for the team coming and the truth God brought to him. He closed by asking God to look out for his daughter and to help him let her go.

Please join me in praying for Simon (his name is also Simon), who is a deeply grieving father. He is struggling with reconciling the reality of pain in this world with the reality of an all-powerful, loving God looking after us. Something I have yet to understand myself. Pray that soon he will be able to read the Bible in his own language to be better equipped to fight the father of lies and come to a better understanding of who God is.



it's working!

from our Director:

Last Friday I received an invitation to a Monday Dedication at Aiyura
National High School. On Monday morning, I found out I was THE speaker!
(Never a dull moment!) However, this event was the Aiyura Valley Pastors
Fraternal and ANHS Principal re-dedicating ANHS to God at the beginning
of the year, with plans to do so every year! A number of the pastors,
ANHS board members and the principal prayed. What really positively
surprised me was that when I spoke and gave a Bible verse reference
there was a visible rustle of many people grabbing their Bibles to
follow along! I would estimate at least 1/3 of the students were doing
so! These are future leaders of the nation, so join in prayer for them
as students, and for ANHS. We do want to see PNGns knowing and living
God's Word, leading to changed lives and transformed communities.....and
the nation as well!