The Bridge in Pictures

The pictures don't do it justice.  When a vehicle gets on the bridge, the bridge teeters.  One end of it is held up by a rock.  The works dept. is putting a temporary fix on it by extending it into the dirt.  Vehicles aren't supposed to pass, so they put armed police on either end... however they don't seem to stop the vehicles that pass (the pics show a truck passing and an armed policeman standing there letting them do so.)

Our annual youth retreat involves driving 2 hours away over the bridge, but they can't. so... they load up the kids, drive to the bridge, walk over the bridge with their stuff and then get into new vehicles and continue on.  This requires twice the amount of drivers, and was going to require 2 trips, but some courageous driving by one of the Auto Shop staff, got the cargo over the bridge before the works dept. piled mounds of dirt on either end to keep that from happening.

notice the gap? that's where the rock is.

the extension "fix" truck ignoring the sign, policeman looking other way

I think that's all I need to say really.



The bridge is officially closed now, and we can't afford to build a ford across the river, because the property owners want a LOT of money.  The government works department has started some repair on the bridge, which means it's closed.  We do not know how long they will take to repair the bridge, nor if the repairs will be permanent or a stop-gap measure until later.  What we do know is that when trucks go across it, it moves and teeters, and we know that each progressing rain makes it worse as the river edges erode.
But, seeing a tractor has to be a good sign... right?

except now we can't go anywhere until it's fixed (-;


Bridge Repair

our team has gone out a few times to repair the bridge (this is a joke picture)... and now we are investigating making a ford across the river.  In order to do that we have to secure land rights which often costs a lot of money.  We are being asked to pay money to allow trucks to drive across the land on either side of the river, to bring supplies....  my wife says 'driving across a river always makes me nervous'.  And reasonably so, sometimes we're driving in well over three to four feet of water.... and can only cross in certain vehicles, and only cross in a certain place, and only cross when the river isn't going too fast... but crossing rivers is a way of life here, although it makes going into town a lot more adventurous.

bye bye groceries

This is the burnt remains of the place we get most of our in country food stuffs.  Pray for a new way to get supplies.  As a result of this and the bridge failing, we've had to resort to implementing a store card policy so that we reduce the amount of sales of food stuffs to the neighboring villages, in order to reduce the speed at which our supplies are diminished.

internet is up

7 days.
We were offline for 7 days.

Not much else to say about that... except.... I'm going to go take a
nap, and say hi to my family.



The worst Internet Outage Ever.... is OVER.. we're back online!

Sunday night as we went to bed, my wife and I said 'this is going to be
a busy week'. It was one of those weeks when you pray no one gets sick
or injured because you can't flex enough to cover it.We had extra work
responsibilities, I had a scheduled network maintenance which would take
a half a day, departments were closing (which makes my life a bit harder
sometimes), it was the last week of school term, and thus concerts to
attend on weds and friday. My daughter's schedule is hectic, I'm
performing in a farewell concert this weekend, and generally life was so
booked up, that we could not possibly fit any more in.
We had to fit more in.
On Monday I packed up a lot of equipment and shipped it to a site I was
scheduled to do a remote VSAT installation. I got a call saying our
nephew was gravely ill (he no longer is) and the entire family was sent
into a tailspin with this horrible news. Tuesday we found out it was
bogus, and that was GREAT news. Phew, close call there, we nearly had
to start the equations of figuring out another trip home?!?!
Then weds the internet stopped working. I'm alone in the network room,
we're short staffed, and I can't figure out why, so I call the ISP.
Long story short, life got a whole lot busier as I started pulling a 20
hour day.
It turns out the equipment on our end failed, and we had no spares. It
took us an entire day to troubleshoot because we had no internet
connection, no way to talk to the outside world but by cell phone.
In the U.S. the worst outage I can recall was 8 hours long. We were
able to get hardware replacements VERY quickly. Here, the best time
looked like 3 days away. The internet has been so stable and reliable
for the past several years. In fact during my entire time here, it's
never been this bad. We're on day 3 as I right this.
Last night, there was the possibility of getting a replacement on a
plane, but the guys with the spares, missed the plane by 2 minutes. They
saw it taking off as they pulled into the airport. Around 8:30 I gave up
trying plans B and C. Long day started at 4:30am.
I was able to choke down a three minute lunch, attend most of my
daughter's band concert, and say hi to my son.
This morning, I got a call 'we're able to divert a plane to Madang'.
Okay, THAT is cool. The internet being down is a crisis but not a fatal
one. On my say, a Kodiak plane and it's pilot were diverted from their
schedule of 30 minutes away, to land at a different airport, and pick up
spare parts. Suddenly there is a hope that the spare parts will arrive
here in 2 hours from now!
This outage has been the worst in my career. It is something I have
tried to avoid and plan against, but we couldn't justify having $15,000
worth of spare equipment lying around. Until recently that wasn't an
issue in that we had VSAT installations sitting around waiting to be
shipped, and so would have had spares anyway. But on Monday I shipped
all of that to the final installation.
So my tools, cables, testers, all of it, gone, during what has become
the worst internet outage of my career, and of recent Ukarumpa history.
(I heard a tale that before when they were using leased lines they would
lose regularly for 3-4 days at a time and send email via a hard drive on
a plane to a place that had internet).
As any network admin knows, when your network is down, the up side is
that you can get a lot of maintenance done, which I did, taking the time
to clean up our horrible network cable mess.

Also thank you to a friend who donated my original iPhone to me years
back, I was able to do most of the network troubleshooting with an
iPhone because our cellular network was the only thing working at the
time. I've written Apple with a testimonial in hopes they might want to
send me an iPhone 4s for free (-;

Tough week

The internet has been down for 7 days. During those 7 days I worked
from 6am to past 12 midnight nearly every day with very very short meal
breaks. I learned a lot about VSAT but the bottom line is, it's a very
touchy technology.
During those 7 days:
-The bridge went out, and the main grocery supply in town burned down
which means
-Fuel and cooking gas are rationed (can't get supplies)
-Food is rationed (can't get supplies)
It seems like hard times right now here for us, it's been a really tough
week. I had to cancel the trip I was expecting to go to Port Moresby
and help setup a new VSAT but I can't go now because the internet is
still down.

Each of these bullet items is a very long story, but I'm too tired to
write much more than that at this time.

Pray for energy, please, and for things to start getting fixed and
working again. I would appreciate it greatly.

We know God is good, even when we hit tough times. Which is why I'm
asking you to turn to Him in prayer for us.




Sending this from my cell phone. This week the bridge is mostly closed to traffic because it is too dangerous to pass. We are working on fords to cross

Also Internet has been off for 4 days this far, I've been super busy trying to solve that

Last night we got word that our main in country grocery supplier burned to the ground (Rabtrad).

So now we're scrambling not only to find a way to communicate and to find a way to travel but also to get a new food source.

Feeling a tad isolated. Folks say this is more like it was 7 years ago

Then today we got news via telephone about the attacks on Americans in the middle east.

Pray for us please it feels like we're under attack from all sides

Pray our Internet comes up today.

Thank you



Interesting Day

Today was the tok ples conference that I attended only because one of
the presentation was doing audio recordings.
When I woke up this morning I prayed 'God, I give this day to you, if
you can spare it, today I'd really like a nod that my interest in doing
audio and video recordings is the right direction to be heading.'

The room was packed with pastors from PNG. The focus of the conference
is that it is very important to get the Word of God into their
languages. They may be able to read foreign language, but the Word stays
in the head and doesn't get to the heart, so it doesn't have as much of
a change.

There were two huge lines, one of people trying out the Audi Bibles
which are low power, mp3 players. (to put it simply) There is a solar
panel on the back, they take a microSD card, and when you put the Bible
on them, people can listen to them.

It can be used for learning the language, learning the Bible, teaching
reading, and dozens of uses. Also on display was a hand crank SABER for
recording,playback to larger rooms. Also on display was a Pico projector.

Mentioned was the Luke video, Jesus, Genesis, Mark, Hope, and many more
videos. The presenter explained how the workers are very few and how he
would love to train as many PNGians as possible to do recordings. There
are far too many languages that need recordings done, and far too few
people who know how to do it. With these affordable tools, it could
very well be done in the village by interested PNG people.

During the training session the linux netbook he was using wouldn't
boot, so I sat there and not being an expert in Fedora or how to get it
to work with dual monitors (on a project) I fiddled around with it for
about three minutes and boom it was working. The instructor replied,
"Boy I'm glad you were here."
I took his camera and shot some stills of him teaching, the room was packed.

A LOT of PNGians were interested in what he had to say.
At the end one man asked for him to give a handout next time of the
training, which the teacher replied, 'I'd love to but I have no time.'
I dashed back to my office, and spent all of 15 minutes typing up a
single page in Tok Pisin with screen shots, how to use the software and
the bullet points of his teaching.

I was VERY encouraged by the huge amount of PNGians that want recordings
of the Bible in their language, excited to find out the local radio
channel wants anything we can give them, verses, psalms, chapters,
books, whatever, in audio.

And then to be told 'I'm glad you were here.' .... well being able to
use my talents in this way was a huge answer to prayer for me, because I
asked for God to give me a nod today, and I got it.

It was important because our family got a bit of bad news last night
that is affecting us deeply. It's not my news to share so I won't but
you can be praying for one of our nephews who is ill.

Audi bible interest


I guess the rat in our wall wasn't groovin on our tunes. After investigating why our tunes stopped working we found this cable chewed up as well as the power cable.



I asked my kids if they knew what 9/11 was, and my son said 'yes, it's when the japanese flew kamakaze planes into the pentagon building.'

A friend of mine said the other day 'tranquility base, the eagle has landed'
and a girl replied 'ooh ooh, Princes Diaries 2 right!?'

there are times I weep for the future.


Making Jesus

Here I'm working with several others on training as well as the Agarabi language recording to dub the Jesus Film.   We're in a remote location, powered by a generator.  Fun stuff.  The Jesus film is an incredibly powerful movie.  I was told that when shown, during the scene where the Romans were nailing Jesus to the cross, one man from the village stormed up to the screen and started poking the Roman shouting in his language 'you can't do that to HIM!!! HE is innocent!! HE didn't do anything wrong!! STOP IT!!'

When shown this video has enormous impact, it's a pleasure to be involved in the dubbing of it into a language it's never been recorded in before.