the Problem from a Newbie

So I'm still a newbie, looking at this thing with newbie eyes, and I'm
sure I don't have a full handle on all the nuance of the thing.. but
here goes.

SOLUTION first: - more people. We need more people with a desire to
serve with audio editing, digital sound, distribution and management.
Audio editors, recordists, video editors, dubbers, technicians, office
managers, project coordinators and funders.

PROBLEM: For the longest time our organization has had 1 single goal...
MAKE BIBLES. A few people in the digital media department a decade ago,
said 'but the people can't read.' Some went to solve this by teaching
literacy. But others went to solve this by making the Bible a spoken
tradition. Which meant recording.

The people in the power of decision didn't catch on quickly to the idea
of audio recordings. So in order to sell the idea, the technicians
decided to make the entire process served up on a silver platter.

-You need to manage the project as it takes months, and carefully track
all the little details.
-You need to apply for copyright
-Apply for funding - and get funding
-Plan the travel, book the flights
-Gather the equipment, test it
-Deploy to the village
-Do the recording
-Do the Post Production
-Create the final media
-Distribute the media

How many geeky techs have you met? If you look at that drastically
oversimplified list, I can tell you, techs are good at maybe 4 of those
things. But, in order to get the idea to take off, they were doing all
of them.

Fast Forward to 10 years later.
The techs are exhausted because they're doing things they're not good
at, and the NEED for audio has finally caught on. So the demand is
going through the roof.

BUT because the techs have handled every bit of the details, PLUS the
fact that they're already near burnout.... guess what... the work load
is piling on FAR too quickly.

Now I get why I was treated like the local hero when I arrived. FINALLY
some hope. Only the truth of the matter is, that the team didn't really
multiply so much as replenish itself. WE NEED MORE PEOPLE.

The situation we have now, is that there is such a demand for my time,
that I could spend several months away from home and in the village
doing recording. Or I could spend several months locked in my office
doing post production and editing.

But I can't do both, and on top of that, who is going to do all the
paper work to enable me to keep being geeky tech?

Some things are going to have to change in order to meet the demand....
otherwise what will soon happen, is that all the work the technicians
put into getting this ministry underway, will die.

The people will start to say 'well YEAH I need this, but that department
takes a year to respond.' (yes we have a year's backlog of work to be

So I'm blogging this.

In case there is anyone out there saying 'well I want to be a....
volunteer.... overseas, but all I can do is edit audio. Or all I can do
is manage an office well.'


if you don't want to come, please pray that God move someone's heart to
In fact, if you don't want to come, could you begin praying that God
raise up someone to go in your stead?

The sexiness of this ministry is starting to wear off, and project
funding is starting to drop out. In order to make this ministry work,
(and it is VERY effective to have audio Scripture in a culture where
spoken word is truth, and stories are how the history is passed on)....
we need to do good work, quickly.

Otherwise, the opportunity will have passed us up. God is the one at
work here, and I'm seeing miraculous things happen... I saw one entire
village experience a complete revival at the idea of recording Luke!

So I figure God will send us what He needs.... I'm just the messenger (-;


Getting Audio Out

This is a Megavoice player. It's VERY popular (this and the AudiBible which is better) in the villages because you press PLAY and you hear people speaking in your language and reading the Bible.

To get the sound onto the device is a LOT of work. Translate the Bible,  fly to the village, hike, setup in a room, read the Bible, edit out noises and re-takes. Mix it all down, and push it out.  Minus the actual translation, it takes weeks and thousands of dollars.  Once you have a finished .wav file, you have to go through all kinds of programming hoops to get the sound onto the device.  THEN you have to distribute it.  Programming the first one takes days, the subsequent take about 5 minutes.  I'll be doing 30 of these next week. 

Why not use mp3 players?  These devices are specially designed to perform well in village environments.  They take multiple voltages to charge, charge via solar or outlet, are strong enough for a tank to run over, and won't to ANYTHING else, which means they won't get re-purposed and play mp3 songs unless WE want them to.  An mp3 player is far too fragile and far too versatile to effective get the Bible into people's ears.

This is only a small portion of what I'm doing in the digital media department now.  Stay tuned for more.


Halloween Bible Fun Fact

In the original Analytical Greek NT,
2 Corinthians has 13 chapters, and 13 verses in the 13th chapter.
AND.. that 13th verse mentions the Holy Ghost..

oooooh.. spooky... (-;

(I only mention this because I notice it's halloween and I'm here
converting books of the NT into audio .wav files for playback in the
village on the AudiBible)....

this is about as festive as I get on halloween, a holiday I'm all to
glad no one remembers around here.



Today I escorted my daughter into town so her puppet ministry team could present to more kids in one place than I've ever seen in my life


another great day

Wow, I dunno if it's fair to have 2 really good days in a row like this.

My dept's NAS device arrived in the mail today, and I got it
configured. Hello 5TB of media storage!
I was able to solve a problem we were having with ios6 and it's wifi,
that's been plaguing the community for a month.
I got a nice email complimenting my work in audio-recording.
I got in touch with my old audio instructor Brad Brock (you can imdb
him, he's an accomplished guy).

It was one of those days when things just work..... and all of that on 5
hours sleep!

I'm loving this level of productivity!


The truth about intestines

This weekend my son and I had a bit of a digestive issue.
The truth about living in a tropical environment is that there are all
number of bacterias that you're exposed to and no matter how long you've
been able to work up your resistance, every now and then a few get through.

Digestive issues are no stranger to this lifestyle. Before coming here
I would NEVER talk to anyone in detail about their bathroom habits...
and now, everyone understands what you mean when you say,

"I have gastro issues."

It means, you can't safely leave any place that doesn't have a toilet
within 50 feet. (50 feet is the average distance you can sprint before
it's too late. (-; ).

So while this may gross some of you out, it's a part of life. While we
show pictures of where we are and what we do, and you think 'wow, that's
green and lush.' We're thinking 'yeah, I bet there are no decent
toilets for miles!'.

The toilet situation in this country is like spinning the wheel of

click click click.... Congratulations you won a sea toilet! You and a
guest will be dangling over a cliff hundreds of feet in the air, with
nothing but rotting boards to hold your weight. But wait! There's
more! If you're afraid of heights, and happen to look down, you can
expect dizziness, and a paralyzing fear that will force your gastro
issue to surface even quicker!

click click click..... YAY, you've won an actual flushing toilet....
however this toilet has no walls and no privacy, but you will be planted
firmly on the ground

click click click.... oh, Not good, this is a liklik haus. The ceiling
is 5 foot tall, so you'll have to do contortionist tricks to get in, but
once in, you'll enjoy the visual privacy of grass walls with NONE of the
audial privacy! Congratulations!

and it goes on and on and on.
You may think that in a world where you could have a sudden, prolongued
and intense need for a toilet, that it'd be a place with toilet
technology that exceeds the Japanese.... but you'd be wrong.

I'm going to take a moment now and say a silent prayer for all the
volunteers across the world who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. ....
Maybe I should write a prayer.

I don't think this will make it on the wall of every house like
'footprints' but It'll be hung in my bathroom that's for sure:

Lord you know the pressures within
I pray you provide a proper disposal bin
It may have been something I ate, or something I drank,
I drank it Lord to avoid bringing you shame.
What good would it do to say I am one of yours and then reject the gifts
of food offered me?
I desire not to bring shame upon my hosts, nor you, nor myself and so I ask
Please let me find a suitable toilet.

Lord you have sent me sea toilets, and outhouses.
I have suspended myself precariously over rotted boards and low ceilings.
I have trusted you to spare me from gravity and disgrace.
I have been engulfed by odors reminiscent of an unholy place.
Lord, I trust these times have built my character, and I thank you that
I still live.
Though I am temporarily blinded by my desire to die, and the hatred that
my intestines have for me.
Please bring me to a place where I can find peace and relief.

God, there are people watching me, there are people listening.
I fear I will bring dishonor to you because the noise I am about to
make, is in no way joyful.
I would prefer to be far away from the eyes and ears of other men.
But time is not on my side in this matter.
Lord help me to expel what must be expelled, so that I may return to the
work given me.
And when I return Lord, let there not be laughter nor snickering.
And when I return Lord let there not be a need to leave again quickly.

Lord you know my needs, my future needs and my urgent needs.
And my really really urgent needs.
Lord I am a sinful man, and forgot to pack the paper I need.
I trust that you will provide for me a proper place, a safe place, a
nearby place.
I trust that my footing will be sure, for a muddy path that creates
slippage will most definitely be my ruin.
I read that footprints poem once and thought it was nice.
Can you please carry me now? I don't think I can walk.



Just the Right Bible

a friend of mine made this video, he and his family are here now doing
what they were meant to do.


Jesus Film

What is the Jesus Film?
It is an old but good film depicting the life of Jesus.  Dubbing it requires months of work.  First you assemble a team of actors. (Men and women who can speak the heart language of the intended audience)  Then you fit the script to match the time for decent lip sync.  Then you go to the village and setup a clean sound environment and begin the recording (usually a few weeks of work).  Then you edit it all, clean up the sound, sync it a bit and master a DVD.  Then you send the DVD to the copyrighters for permission to use, when they approve, you can distribute and show the DVD.

Who does that work? 
Me and the translator's team.  There are a few of us here who can do the work, and it takes a LOT of planning to make it successful.  You wouldn't believe all the 'behind the scenes' stuff that goes on.

In the end, you show it, and you have something like this.
Where over 600 people sat outside to watch Jesus speak in their language.  It is an emotional, and life changing event.

In January I have the opportunity to travel to a remote village for 3 weeks to do a dubbing of the LUKE video (which is like the Jesus Film only longer, with multiple 'episodes').  It will be my first village dubbing, and it will mean being away from my family for 3 weeks.  But when you weigh that against seeing people changed.... it's a no brainer.

I'm told that in this next village I'm heading to, the idea of being part of the film has boosted literacy such that now 17 men who couldn't read before, can now read well enough to read the script to do the dubbing.  now THAT is motivation!


Excited n Tired

Today I did my first editing of a recording of Luke chapter 20. It was
in the Barupu language. To do this, you take the recording, then put it
in your editor, and read along the script, and take out noise, spaces,
and multiple takes.

It seems easy enough in theory, but in practice, I'm listening to, and
reading a totally foreign language. It is tiring. It took me 1 hour to
do 1 chapter.

Okay, so, Luke has 24 chapters.
Each chapter has to be RECORDED, which is at LEAST an hour per chapter.
EDITED, and formatted, etc.

that's already 2 hours per chapter, that's 48 hours for 1 language of
Luke. And I'm working with others to do 4 - 6 languages.

I'm starting to understand why this takes so much time (-;

Still, it's pretty exciting.


Beef Free not Free Beef

Current price of ground beef ... translated price - $10.50 per pound

Current price of unleaded gasoline ... translated price - $9.52 per gallon

So we're currently not eating beef, or making any long trips.


Water Level Indicator

This weekend we cleaned our tank, but I also invented and installed a water meter. I had this idea cooking around in my head. We have 3 water tanks to our house, so we've never run out of water, but it hasn't rained in weeks and I took a risk cleaning a tank, because it meant losing some water. Since I'm on the volunteer fire team, I was able to use some of our water equipment to pump and store our good water into one of our three tanks. This tank is our main tank. (Technically we have 4 if you count the gravity feed hot water tank on the roof). Sparing you the details, they're all rain water tanks, and they are positioned in multiple areas to store rain water. They equalize to each other's levels. The tank we cleaned takes the brunt of the dirt from the roof (put there by passing vehicles on the dirt road stirring up dust).

Then the water distributes evenly to the other tanks. Our best tank is our new (3 years old) tuffa tank because it's not metal and doesn't have rust.

BUT, we have no way of knowing our water level, nor how much we use in a day or a week, unless we go out and tap the metal tank to see/hear/feel where the water is. Now we do.

-fishing line
-coffee mug
-empty plastic coke bottle
-metal weights (like washers or something)
-hose clamp
-old piece of pvc pipe

I'm rather proud of this invention, I came up with it when looking at the 'pay' water meters which gave you a REVERSE level. The indicator on the side of the tank would RISE when your water lowered.

Drill a small hole in the top of the tank, put your old pvc pipe in there,if your hole isn't tight enough use the hose clamp to keep it from slipping in, Tie the fishing line to the empty coke bottle, this is your float. Drop it in the water. Run the other end through the handle of your old coffee mug. This is your pulley, drop the mug slowly into the water. It shouldn't move much once it settles. Run the other end up through the tubing and over the side. Eyeball your water level, and tie pull the tension in the fishing line taut. Then tie the fishing line to the weights right at the water level.

The weights will rise with your water level and sink with your water level. So far, so good, the mug hasn't moved, the line hasn't twisted. And now we know that after 2 days of no rain, our tank levels collectively go down about 3 inches.

The best part about this indicator is we can view it from our kitchen window.

I'm a simple man, being able to device simple things that are helpful and work, make me happy.

Rats die

lately we've had a bit of a rat infestation. We hear them running around in the attic, probably hunting for geckos. We like geckos, they eat mosquitos. We don't like rats. So, we waged war on the rats. Putting up the first trap baited with sweetpotato (aka kaukau) and peanut butter it wasn't ten minutes before I heard the trap close shut.

We've disposed of 4 rats in a 20 hour period so far! You may say 'disgusting' but actually we're all in 'hunter' mode and it feels like a pretty good haul. We all slept well last night, not hearing the scuffling sounds of critters up over our heads.

Yeah okay maybe the fact that hunting rats excites me is further evidence that I'm meant to be here and do this job. (-;


Bridge open

our bridge is open, it's been extended about 15 feet, but this is a temporary fix.
Still we can get fuel now, and go into town for food! (if we had a car).
Please continue to pray that the bridge gets permanently repaired soon.

Fire loses

Got back to the office after lunch today and the fire phone was ringing. Deployed the gang zipped over to the fire on my atv. along the way one concerned citizen was indicating i should slow down. They later realized that when i drive fast it IS an emergency. We let the small brush fire burn down. Wet the area. Refilled the truck and now I am back at the office. A bit dirtier. Exciting lunch break



My son had fun and his reasoning was 'how many kids get to say they were inside their water tank?!'

Super clean

All we need now is rain!

Before. Ready for mud

Mud on tank

Someone poisioned the water hole!!!
Quote from toy story

Our drinking water has been muddy this week forcing us to use a bucket filter. So we decided it was time to clean the tank. My son was very keen to go in. We found a lit of silt on the bottom. I reckon it hasnt been cleaned in a decade.


fetchin' the yunguns

Today's adventure was that I was asked to be a part of the convoy of vehicles meeting at the bridge (which is out) to pick up the returning youth from their off site, week long retreat.  I was assigned a Land Cruiser and told to pick up the sound equipment, so that it would be more secure enclosed.  It was all very well organized by my friend Geoff.  I was give a slip of paper, told what order to drive in, etc.

I was prepared for trouble and praying against it.  The bridge is out, so it is effectively a dead end loading zone.  We were told on Sunday it was quiet, but we hit during rush hour (tons of pedestrians). I was following my buddy driving a 6 wheel ex-army truck for cargo, and man was I impressed when he threaded the needle reversing up to the bridge.
THERE WERE A TON OF PEOPLE all around.  So I was trying to filter out OUR gang, equipment, keep the car secure, etc.  It wasn't very hard, the high schoolers did most of the loading and unloading.  On the other side of the bridge our vehicles were locked up and an undisclosed location.

So we transferred students and cargo alike, and though the seats were tight, having a bunch of high school boys wanting to ride on the army truck freed up several of them.    I mean who wouldn't want to ride 10 feet off the ground?   

How did you spend your lunch hour?