On January 17th I get on a plane and fly to what has been reported as
the loveliest part of PNG.
Kokopo/Rabaul area. Live volcano.
Malaria country.
Sand fleas.
WWII wreckage.
Yamamoto's Bunker

I'm going to record a Luke video in the Uru language for the Baining
people. I'll be in the village 2-3 weeks. That is a record for me, my
longest stretch thus far, is 7 days.

There will be hiking, there will be flying, there will be rain, and mud
and there will hopefully be at the end, a DVD to show Jesus speaking in
their own language.

I'm excited about it with the kind of excitement that makes any
adventure REAL.
I'm nervous that the equipment might fail.
I'm nervous I might not be up to the task.
I'm hopeful that I am up to the task.
I'm thinking I'm going to love it.
I'm thinking it might be the biggest adventure of my life to date.
I'm hoping it has a tremendous impact for the kingdom of God.

So far I'm hearing that there is much excitement about this project.
I'm hearing that it has inspired an entire group of people to learn to read.

I'll be posting pics.
I imagine I won't be wearing Indiana Jone's leather as it'll be hot, but
I might get to climb a volcano!

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm very much looking
forward to it.

- That I don't get sick before, or during the trip... it's Malaria country
- That the equipment doesn't fail.
- That the process goes very smoothly.
- That we have enough time to get it all done, without burning out.

Thank you



Someone years ago planted an honest to goodness lemon tree in our yard years before we got here.
It's a small skinny tree, but I've never see a yield like this from trees ten times as big.

It's almost a shrubbery, it's so thin, but these grapefruit size lemons grow, more than 20 feet in the air.
This time of year, it's yielding, but it's constant spring here, so it yields frequently.
The problem is they are so high up in the air. 
So I bought a little 2 dollar basket, and put it at the end of a 10 foot dowel.  2 weekends ago I picked a few dozen lemons that were ripe. I didn't even scratch the surface.

This tree is so skinny, my kids can't climb it because it would snap.

Last saturday I took a dozen lemons from it.

Still hadn't scratched the surface, because I couldn't get UP there to pick them.

So I asked around.  And learned 2 things
1 - Lemons are super rare here, most people use MULI's which look like small oranges
2 - the way to get it to grow lower, was to trim the top, but then seal it with something so it doesn't rot.

So today, me and the kids did Surgery. 
We cut off only 2 branches from up high, so that the smaller off shoots would yield lower next year.
And then we picked all the lemons, ripe ones, and nearly ripe ones, from the fallen branches.

As I did so, I sealed up the cuts, and noticed in one spot the skinny tree had strained in the weight of the huge lemons, and the wind, that it fractured, and had a bad case of rot inside.  So we did surgery, and possibly saved the lemon tree's life. Now that I know how rare it is, I'll definitely be keeping good care of it.

There has to be about 15 dozen lemons.  I'm about to pull out the juicer and start freezing concentrate for lemonaide.

When people come to our house, they get lemonaide.  NOT muli juice, which is good but different.
And when they do, they get a little taste of America, a little taste of home.  And you see their faces,
they take a sip, say 'AH!' and then say ,hey! that's LEMONAIDE!

That's what me and the kids did today, at least for part of it.

I'm not much of a gardener, but learning as I go is part of the job requirements here (-;

The list of things I've had to teach myself (translation = I'm no expert at them but functional enough to be handy)

-Wood worker
-Gardener (okay tree surgeon?  Lemon squeezer?.... no wait I know how to prune bougainvillas too, so I'll let it stand)

What will I learn tomorrow !? (-;


My daughter came to me a while ago, and having been forced to take woodshop in school, she found she was liking it.
She decided to ask me if we could make her brother a Christmas present.

Sssh it's a secret.

Now as a dad with a newly teenage daughter, I was of course looking for a common activity we could do together, spend time, maybe share some anecdotal guidance.

So for an hour every saturday for a while now (since October), we've been crafting a frame.

She wanted it to be a good manly frame... so her plan was to make a wood frame, not overly sanded... sort of rough, and then to take a small chain that she had scavenged which turned out to be a timing chain off a dirt bike ... and outline the frame with it.  At one point she was bartering with our friend to get a better chain, and ended up trading up.

She didn't even want all the grease off the chain, it had to be manly.

As the weeks progressed she started saying things like 'oh I know what that is, a bandsaw'

and... when I'd ask for a clamp she'd say 'spring clamp or C clamp?'

We'd chit chat about stuff and generally have a good time... good stuff, stuff I've been waiting for years to get to.

I've thoroughly enjoyed my time alone with the kids this week while Kendal has been gone.  We've had some really good one on one times.

We sanded, we cut, routed, measured, glued, grinded, bent, mitered, drilled, stained, and wrapped.

Here's the finished project. But don't tell Calvin


My Bday Song

My daughter wrote and sang this to me today...
The cynic in me said 'oh yay, another showboating moment' You know, like when your kids say 'we have a puppet show' for you, or 'we want to dance for you'.... you sort of think 'well, okay, sure, the next 15 minutes I'll partake in being your audience.'

But then she started singing, and my daughter has a good, pure talent.

And I got unexpectedly choked up... which I hid well. Of course the 'friendly giant' line cleared that up with laughter.

Here are the lyrics:

Dad's B-day Song
Happy birthday my dear dad,
I really want, I wish I had
Something Very nice to say to you
So here is all that I can conclude

you're safe, strong, with you I belong,
Happy birthday for this year! Happy Dandy, you're my daddy!

You're a friendly giant that I always will adore.

You're nice, amusing, and I'd be losing, if you were not here.

Happy Happy Birthday, Daddy dear.

My kids

My kids are so cool. They made the best blueberry pancakes theyve ever made me for breakfast. Syd wrote and sang a song that made me laugh and nearly cry. And they decorated without waking me up.

How do I feel?

Today is (American) Thanksgiving day here. Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I assume you have it as a holiday. We do not.

It is also my birthday. I was born in 1973. Man had been to the moon repeatedly by the time I was born.

People ask me how it feels to turn 39.

This is my answer:

I feel good. I feel as if I am in my prime. The confidence that I have is more calm assurance than the previous bravado I had as a younger man. I am aware of what I can do, and see improvement in the areas that I have lack. I am happy with how I have spent my life, I am happy in my family, I am happy with where I live and what I do and with the friends and family that I have in my life. I am for many parts, content, and yet young enough still to have ambition and goals. There are people who are aged enough to call me young man still, and I may yet live to be double my current age. It is still and adventure. When I was younger I did not think I would live to be this old, because this age seemed 'OLD' to a child. Yet I do not feel old, only older. My body is still responding to the demands I put on it, however it is beginning to show signs that I should take it a tad easier from now on.

I can't eat what I used to eat.
It takes longer to kick a cold, or heal a bruise.
But my mind is more keen than it has been. I know more, I've lived more. I feel as if I am in balance, where my mind and soul are increasing in wisdom and my body is decreasing.
I feel as though I'm at crossroads where my mind and body begin to go in opposite directions, but I'm thankful that it is going to happen slowly.

My life has made a change in purpose. It is far less about me now, and more about my children, and my family, and what I can still accomplish for my King while still alive.
I look forward to my midlife crisis, which I expect is 6-7 years away. I wonder what shape it will take, if it will happen, and what on earth kind of sports car I can find here in PNG. (-;

I'm thankful, for the years I've had, the years I've yet to have. I look forward to what is yet to be achieved, experienced, and struggled through. I feel as if I have spent my life well, and whatever follows from this point, is gravy.

And I say this all now, because next year, when I turn 40, I might not be in such a good mood.

If you ask 100 fifth graders 'at what age is a man 'over the hill'?' 88% of them would say '40'.

So, I'm enjoying my last year, on the hill. I've no illusions I was under it, I've been on it for a few years now.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Million Dollar Idea

a joke of mine is to say 'that's a million dollar idea' every now and then, regardless of whether or not one truly is.
But most of the time, they are... good ideas. And I believe I have about one a week.

If I could supplement my income by selling my ideas, I would. But the phone hasn't rung with that particular offer yet.

Today's million dollar idea is ... rising kitchen counters.

My wife being gone means I'm doing more cooking and dishes than normal. I find that my back begins to hurt and it makes me grumpy.
And the reason is, because the counter is precisely 4 inches lower than it should be for me.

My office desk is 4 inches too low, ...everything is meant for people of average height and so I'm constantly bending over and using lower back muscles... when washing dishes or chopping vegetables, etc.

So.. why not make a set of kitchen cabinets that can rise and lower 4 inches? ..or even more?

How many kitchens have you been in that have a step stool near the sink? The smaller kids need to use it to help with dishes, or get a drink.

Simply keep your cabinet doors 4 inches from the bottom, and then put a recess in your floor (easy to do in my house, since we're 12" off the ground)...
and construct your wall tile in such a way that a small gap is permissable, and when you have guests, raise the cabinets to hide the roller marks.

use flexible pvc on the sink, and it's a done deal.

boom, there's a million dollar idea. flip a switch, up they go, down they go... easy.

Tall people and short people the world around will find them useful.


Crushed can

this morning I decided to wake the kids up with a science experiment.
I took a bowl and filled it with ice water,
then took an empty tin can, filled it with steam from kettle,
and put it into the ice water, it instantly imploded.

They both shouted 'COOL!!!'

and then we talked about why it happens.

They both told me explosions where when the pressure inside of something, is too strong for the outside pressure, implosion is the opposite.
When you fill a can with steam, you're replacing the room temp air with hot air which takes more space, and when it hits the cold water, it instantly condenses which turns it into water, which makes the inside pressure much less than the outside pressure and the can implodes.

IT's an easy experiment you can do at home, especially if you have an espresso machine or something that serves up steam in a tube that goes inside the can.

To K92

To celebrate our car being back, and to give us something fun to do while Kendal is abroad, I decided to take the kids 20 minutes down the road to Kainantu (k92) which has a gas station, a small grocery store, and a farm supply store.  They hardly EVER get out (and yes Calvin still gets car-sick).

We headed out this morning at 8am and saw several single ladies in line waiting for a PMV (public truck).  I offered them a ride into town and we all jammed in.  They later said 'that was the smoothest ride into K92 we ever had!'.  It was nice to be able to help someone again in that way.

The purpose of the trip was to let the kids have their fill of the 'outside world' so I wasn't really in any hurry or had anything to buy, so I was perusing and walking around and feigning interest in anything the kids got excited enough to show me.

This one made my son laugh.  Rut Bir.  He asked me to take a photo of it.

We ended up buying a few small things like marbles.  Sydney wanted a Meri Blaus which is a shirt indigenous to here.  
Calvin didn't want much of anything, but he did want a lighter, total cost 25 cents.  I splurged and bought it for him.  When he got it home, I had to teach him how to light it, and when we did, the flame shot up about 6 inches!  


The kids both said 'wow, this was a pretty fun first day without mom!"

I'm glad they had fun.


What God is doing with Audio and Video

I like to share these stories when they come to me:

November 2011 was the first recording for the Cotabato Manobo of five Genesis stories and Jonah. 
           These were dramatized Scripture recordings with sound effects, and included their music. Here is a 
           report from the Filipina missionary serving with Translators Association of the Philippines: 

                     We were excited to bring along with us the test CDs to play for people to listen with 
                     the purpose of promoting the translated Scriptures.  We noticed how excited 
                     Manobos were to listen to the stories and hear their own musical instrument played 
                     with the story.  The CDs were tested in different villages and varied occasions like 
                     thanksgiving celebrations, Bible study, prayer meetings and even at homes in the 
                     evening.  People liked it and wanted to listen to more stories.  This resulted in people 
                     buying Manobo New Testaments.  So we are planning to record more Bible stories 
                     during our next meeting in Davao in February (2012).  

When the CDs were played, the people would leave everything to listen.  Especially appealing were 
          their own ethnic musical instruments played prior to each story.  People didn’t need an invitation to 
          listen; they would just play the CD, and young and old would rush to the place the sound was coming 
          from and an audience was instantly formed. 

          Generally, people do not enjoy reading.  Audio dramatized Scripture recordings are extremely helpful 
          in getting Scripture to people.  Seeing the importance of presenting material in an oral form, we 
          encouraged them to make two or three questions for deeper understanding, choose a Bible verse, and 
          add a 30‐second explanation of the story or explanation of the answers to the questions.  At the third 
          recording session in July this year, the group reported that people find the questions for discussion 
          instructive and requested that questions be included for the next recordings.  Thirty Audibibles went 
          out after the recording in February. The Audibibles themselves are missionaries. After listening to OT 
          stories on the Audibible, two villages reported that now they need to build churches.  In another 
          village, a spiritually weak church listened to the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount 
          Carmel. The people came to the conclusion that they must destroy their charms, and worship only 
          God. Now their church is growing spiritually and also growing in attendance! These audio dramatized 
          Scripture recordings, with their music and added sound effects, are the biggest hit on their charts!  

          We look forward to one more OT recordings with this group, and then going on to the book of Acts. 
          Also, we are hopeful of doing Acts recordings with partners for other languages in an area where 
          another religion predominates. May God's Word live vibrantly through these efforts. 


Waxing Poetic

Don't worry I'm not going to write a poem.

I'm sitting here, looking out my window while the rain is pouring down
so loudly I can't hear the person next to me.

As I watch the hard rain hit the metal roof of my neighbor's house I see
a mist that arises from the conflict.
Without the sun, the mist creates a halo affect around the house, the
harder it rains, the thicker the halo.
With the sun a small rainbow is formed.

And I think to myself, that this symbolic conflict, is an essential one.
The rain, strives to hit the earth and is stopped by the metal roof, and
channeled into gutters and stored in water tanks, and used to drink and
feed, and wash, and clean.

As it does so, it makes a flurry of noise, and spits up a mist, but the
metal roof doesn't seem to mind.

If you're lucky from time to time it can actually be the source of some
beautiful imagery.

The water flows down the road, into the river, which soon will have
children playing in it, people washing their clothes in it, and drinking
from it.

It is a good conflict, a necessary one, and like many other conflicts,
it can get horribly messy as with a hurricane, and damage people around it.

Or it can resolve well, and turn out to be a good thing for all involved.

Every rainfall has that potential.
Every conflict has that potential.

I pray God give me the grace to make the conflicts I have in my life
turn out to be positive experiences.

Suzy's back

Suzy is the name of our Isuzu.
After 1 year of being repaired on, it's parked in our driveway now.

It was a crazy episode of trying to find a place to stay and a way to get down to town to pick up the truck. We found a ride down, and then found a place to stay through another church ministry. A couple who left their place open to friends, and a friend recommended me. So there we were in town. We took a bit of a gamble because I had a very small window of time to get my truck but had no idea if it would be ready or not.

If it wasn't ready, we wouldn't have a way home... and no place to sleep as we only had 1 night booked.

Day 1 - it wasn't ready, we slept in the 1 place I could find... but had to move out that morning
Day 2 - I decided to sit in the lobby of the mechanic shop and wait. After about 2 hours of waiting the mechanic said 'it's ready'. And it was.

We drove out of there, and my cell phone began ringing.
My wife wanted to know if I had the truck.
My companion's wife wanted to tell him his kids were very sick and to come home if he could.
The network room called to say email was failing.
Friends called to say their vehicle broke down on the way to town and could we help?
Other acquaintances called to say their water pump was failing and could we help them get home... he had his wife and kids with him.
Other acquaintances called to say they needed room in a car to put some cargo.
Another call said ANOTHER break down on the road.
And finally, the rescue vehicle sent to help people, ALSO broke down.
Another call told us there was fighting back near home, and fighting in town and to avoid certain places.

Having very little time to prioritize and make decisions, we did the best we could, and were able to help some of the above list but not all.
In the end, everyone got to their destination safely, and we returned with our truck.

THAT was a successful trip.

You learn to redefine success when you're faced with too many risk variables that could cause failure. For me, success was getting home safe, on time, and with the truck I went to get!

Thanks to God, we did a lot of praying on this trip.

The total cost of repair was $2500. But as one friend said 'that's the pain of ownership, the pain of not owning is stress whenever you want to go somewhere and can't.'

For us, driving into 'town' is always a risk, you face the 5 P's

Pigs on the road
Pikinini's (kids darting in front of you)
Potholes (so big and hard to see, that you could easily render your vehicle immobile)
Pirates (bandits along the road)
PMV's (crazy drivers on the road swerving into your lane on blind turns to avoid one of the other P's or just because...stands for Public Motorized Vehicles but this category includes Large trucks too)

Driving the 3.5-4 hour journey (the time changes as the road gets worse) is always a tense thing that requires total attention and cat-like reflexes. So it's not the same as saying you'll drive somewhere in the U.S. In fact, driving in the U.S. is one of my favorite things to do now, I used to dislike it, but long wide straight highways are very nice.

I can gaurantee you, anyone coming to visit us, a very early part of your culture shock will be your first car ride here (-;


Today I finished

Today I finished the final chapter of Luke for the Sissano language. It
is post produced and ready to be put onto players.

That means, that I have now done chapters in these languages:

I have listened to Luke in several languages, and haven't understood a
single one of them (-;


Truck Saga continued

Okay so some of you have been following the truck saga... it broke, fixed it, it broke, towed it, dropped it off, had a gun pointed at me, blah blah blah... it sat for a year while we ordered parts.
Monday I got a call 'it's running, come get it'
Tuesday - nope not running now
Weds - yes it's running again your fuel was bad, the radiator rusted out, we repaired the radiator (without my consent so read that as 'bill increasing').
Thurs - wait, it won't run, we're missing the fan unit.. where is it?

Okay I had booked a car to go down there, found no place to stay, scampered around calling in favors found a place to stay, and then... now it's not running again because someone misplaced a fan unit and it's been a whole year.. GOOD LUCK FINDING IT.

so now... I have to wait 2 more months to pick it up, at LEAST because of my schedule, I can't get to LAE until Feb.

This is entirely nuts and I would be very less stressed if I told the guy 'keep it as payment for your struggles, I'm done with it.'

AS it stands, I'm going to have to pay $500 to GET to the place where I can pay $3000 for a truck under repair for 1 year... and HOPE I can drive it home.
But I'm a missionary so I won't lose my cool over it.




this is two megavoice players and their programming units
See next post on this



Every year the missionary boys and girls at the high school decide to pull a 'senior' prank.  Most often that prank involves wrapping the main intersection up with video tape.  It's called taping and it's pretty lame and messy.

I have written to the teens before and challenged them to be more witty. I've told them a GOOD prank is one where no one is a victim, no horrible mess is made (that isn't cleaned up) and that everyone can laugh at.

They haven't caught on.

So today, I decided to actually DO a prank.  Let's see how long it takes the community to catch on.

it's 10am now.

These signs are at the intersection that the kids typically TAPE.... all I did was print out a simple word in yellow and black and change the signs.  I figure people who actually SEE it, might chuckle. 



See, NOT a ton of work, not a ton of mess, witty, fun... and enjoyed by all.  Put up with poster putty so easily cleaned up.

I hope they'll learn from this. There are so many more awesome opportunities than TAPING.



So this month we voted via FAX.
I didn't have time to wait on our internet to set up EFAX or something,
so I used the land line.
It cost us 102.65 Kina ($50 USD approx) to get our votes counted. Normal
telephony dialing internationally costs about $2.50 p/minute

Currently we're at $25 per vote.
So if you read this, and then vote because of it, it drops the overall
price down.

Just letting you know, we may not live in-country, but we care enough to
vote from abroad, because what happens affects us all. I don't like
getting political on my blog because that isn't its purpose, but I'm a
very politically minded person, and so spending some money this way was
important to us.

You can guess why when I see folks not voting, who only have to drive 5
minutes and it's free for them, plus they get a cool sticker we don't
get, and get to live the experience.... well I get a little impatient.
When I see people dying in other countries for the right to vote, and
yet I hear more than 60% of my generation isn't voting?.... I get a
little sad.

How much would you pay for the right to have your voice heard? How much
trouble would you go through?