This is the new training centre, where we train Papua New Guineans to do translate the Bible as well as many other things.  My team and I installed a fiber-optic backbone and wireless guest networking so that the netbooks and laptops used for the training could go online, while at the same time being secure and separate from our business network. (keeps our data safe from viruses, while still allowing visiting students to get online)  Just one of the thing we’ve accomplished since being here.


Banana Boats

This is a banana boat.
It’s a small fibre glass passenger boat, with about a 60hp outboard motor on it.  They are used to go between islands.  This particular picture is in Buka, where I have been to help with VSAT and ridden on one of these.  I’ve ridden more than a few of these in my time here, it’s as common a mode of travel as a bus in the U.S. might be.
But when you’re on water, there is danger.  Part of my job for the next few weeks is keeper of the water safety equipment.  You’d be really interested in some of these gadgets.  We have GPS’s we have emergency beacons, we have strobe lights, shark bags (these are bags meant to seal in your odors so sharks don’t sense you from afar and come hunting), all kinds of nifty gadgets for safety, packaged in nice bright orange.
I got an email that I’ll paraphrase for the sake of brevity.  My friend Peter and his wife decided to go out to a remote island to encourage local leaders to get involved in Bible translation.  The trip normally requires an overnight on an island, then a 3.5 hour boat ride to the island.  But, on this particular trip, they got lost at sea, and the boat safety equipment came in rather handy.
[quote] After a simple meal of bananas and fish roasted in the coals of a small camp fire we tried to sleep. Fortunately it was a clear night with no rain. Small crabs played with our feet and we dozed off from time to time. At 3:30 am we were alerted by the skipper that it was time to pack up and go. By 4:30 am the five boats were slowly pulling out into Queen Carolla Harbour and the convoy was assembled. We passed Kesa Point by the light of the moon, stars and a few small flashlights. As we met the open ocean I quickly realised it was very important to hold on tightly. One had to pay particular attention to the waves and seeing them in the dark was difficult.
The sea was rough with the wind coming directly from Nissan. The skipper used his skill and experience to dodge and weave a bit for the best ride and highest speed possible given the conditions. Fairly often though he got going a bit too fast and we were airborne at the top of a wave only to come crashing down into the teeth of the next one. One such wave came over the bow washing us good but fortunately nothing was carried overboard. Sometime in the first few hours we lost contact with the convoy and proceeded on as a two boat group.
[Peter pulled out the GPS, found the proper direction, informed the captain, who ran out of fuel, thus using the emergency 25 liters of fuel…]
We arrived on Nissan Island after being on the open ocean for over seven hours instead of the 3.5 hours it should have taken to make the crossing. We came ashore sun burned and sea-sick but overjoyed to be on dry land again. We found out later that the all the boats in our original convoy made it in safely that day – three boats several hours before us and then our two boat group by noon.[/quote]
Adventure always comes unexpectedly.



so I'm sitting reclined, while a dentist is drilling at one of my teeth,
listening to opera and I have this thought
"I am in the middle of PNG!"

God is an awesome God. He's so awesome that he puts it on the heart of
a dentist (a good one) from Korea to uproot his family and move to PNG
to do dentistry. And I get good dental care at a low low price, and my
kids do too, for as long as he's here.

You know that whole bit about considering the lilies of the field....
God provides. Dentistry is a luxury out here, I'm so thankful to have a
dentist here! If you're out there wondering 'wow they have to do
without so much' it's true, we do, but we get by and it's all because
God provides what we need when we need it.


In June we’ll be hosting a training session here to teach what we call MTT (mother tongue translators) how to use the paratext software to do translation and formatting.  The terminology over the years has changed.  It used to be that the ex-pat who had the linguistic training came and discipled people from a village as he learned their language.  The ex-pat was called the ‘translator’ and the nationals the ‘helpers’.  Now the ex-pat is called ‘translator assistant’ and the nationals are called ‘mother tongue translators’.  As a result I never know exactly who is being spoken about when we say ‘translators’ because there are so many people over the years involved in the job.  The personal confusion for me is a result of terms changing over the years to try and reflect the nature of the work, and yet some people use the older terms and some the newer.  But under it all is a focus on the work of translating the Bible more than what we call the work.  It’s people sitting in hot rooms, in tropical environments, together, pouring over God’s Word and how to translate it into the local languages.  It’s computers working in hostile climates. 
Pray for the training workshop starting June 6th. A little learning goes a long way.  We need to equip nationals to do as much of the work as they can.


I can't be a missionary

I've heard this story a lot. People who arrive here new start their
story out with 'I figured I'm an ________(fill in skill/job)____ no one
needs me as a missionary. But then I heard about PNG."

I gaurantee you, there is a 99% chance your skills would have a place
here serving Bible Translation.

We need managers.
Right now we need a short term technical writer/trainer who can come
into departments and right out policies and procedures from our 'oral'
tradition, and put them down on paper or in a Wiki.

Yeah, I know.. teachers, doctors, carpenters. The top 3. Pilots...

I thought years ago, 'they wouldn't even have a computer in the middle
of the jungle.' But then I saw a rack of Cisco switches in the highlands.

Butcher? We need you.
Travel Agent? We need you.
Software Developer? We need you.
Linguist? We need you.
Museum Curator? Well need is a strong word.... but we can use you!




Today I whipped up a little graphic, with the help of others, to show
exactly what has been the difference in communication here in the last
year plus.

in 2007, dial up was the only way in many locations to get to the
internet or email. Email is vastly more important when telephone
systems aren't reliable, and it helps to feel less isolated. This map
can show you why folks may feel isolated.

In 2010 we had GSM modem, so faster, but expensive per/mb.

So we began to get VSAT's to each of the regions.

here's a picture of the progress.


Sat night

It is the night before mothers day and I'm helping run a youth event. Activities revolve around making muffins and cards and gifts for our mothers.

What I see though are a lot of kids without their mothers around this mothers day. Some are away on medical leave. Others on business outside the country. Some are in the village.

And it hits me. Family transition is a constant reality for kids in this lifestyle. Everyone who comes here needs to bring a little extra love to share with the youth.


rubber melts

In the first picture, you'll see what happens to rubber and foam based products here. I do not know why it happens. Rubber bands, if left out of the box, will either melt, or become brittle. Perhaps it is the sun, but they aren't in direct sunlight. The earphones pictured here were brand new when I arrived. But only a month later, they looked like they were ten years old. The rubber based coating around the ears now flakes off and leaves black speckles all over. The pair my son is wearing here, I have 'repaired' . We use this headset to skype with family occasionally, and the rubber had all flaked off. After trying hard plastic against the ears, I decided to "fix" them. The white material is that stuff you use to line cupboards, I found some in the house when we moved in, and thought 'wow, that is soft and foamy too, why doesn't THAT disintegrate? ' Well, I wrapped the earphones with it, and taped it in place over a year ago, and it's been working fine. But it gives the visual effect of almost a lacey type doily. Ear doilies!!!

Anyway... point is... jury rig #115


the future of telephony

I am the only CCNA level trained network technician here in Ukarumpa.
(I'm not a CCNA, as I haven't passed the test yet, but I have the
capacity to pass the test).

Yesterday we had to make a decision to install a new telephone switch
and I think we decided to save money and go with a voip system called
Asterisk. If you've heard of it, you know what it is.

I pause for a moment to reflect on my time with Latitude Communications
(bought by Cisco), and then my time at Cisco. There God chose to teach
me about telecommunications, voip and networking. Why?

Could it be for such a time as this?

Currently I'm a network engineer, a windows server engineer, a linux
server engineer. I'm the acting Director of Regional Centres, and the
manager of the ITS department. That's 5 hats. 5 hats which are less
important than father and husband. Not to mention my part time hats
(like volunteer fire fighter, satellite troubleshooter, and helpdesk

In the near future, we will be migrating our POTS telephony system into
a voip system, which means... that another critical communications
system will be my responsibility. It means the network, which before we
came here, was historically unreliable, will be a single point of
failure for almost all of our communication here.

Which means... if a phone goes down, someone will come knocking on my
door to wake me up.
It means if the network goes down, I don't get a phone call like I used to.
It means... that the stress of my job just doubled if not tripled,
during emergency events.

I will need prayer. I don't do the job alone, I have a team of people
helping me. But we desperately need network engineers here.
I do not know how long my mental strength can hold out being the primary
person responsible for all forms of communication. I just do not know
that 1 man can shoulder that burden for an entire small town such as this.

we'll see.... I suppose, what God intends to do.

encouragement in time

I don't know about you, but the way my walk with the Lord has been has
followed a pattern. I understand a conviction on my heart to act and do
something that would not otherwise come from my normal selfish self. I
then pray and ask God for help. And do the thing. Often I face
discouragement, and then, after trusting and waiting, encouragement
comes. Usually in the nick of time.

For the past 2 weeks things have been looking a little grim.
My wife was unable to breath well,
Medical bills are going up,
Vehicle failures are tallying up,
Work seemed like I was stuck in a neverending line of things breaking
and not working.

And so we turned to God in prayer and asked you to pray.

In the last 24 hours:
-Someone wrote us to say 'how can we help?' - this is a huge encouragement
-I was able to sell a piece of electronics I've had for a year, which
covered the cost of a new car battery.
-We got a surprise financial gift that helped cover the cost of the new
crankshaft pully.
-This morning Madang and Buka both came online with internet service
(again after a lightning strike) (projects long in the making)

God really sends encouragement in the nick of time doesn't He?
yesterday was a day of pulling my hair out, having FAR too much work to
do, unable to keep up with the demand.
Couple that with the news that my position here is going to become about
ten times more critically important than it was a day ago...

and the stress was building up quickly.
But today, God encouraged us with little things, and it is a reminder
that He's with us... not giving us more than we can bear.

Good day for connectivity

It's 10am. That's tea time here.
at 7am I got the news that our Wireless Internet connection in Madang
came online!
Since that time I've been negotiating 2 telephones and speaking VSAT
geekery to get the new BUC in Buka online.

It is online now!

So... before the tea time whistle blew, we had 2 remote locations on
reliable internet connection.

This is a good day.