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12/29/2014

Owens Update December 2014

Dear Ministry partners;

Greetings from the Owens family.  We hope that you all had a good Christmas and are looking forward to the start of a new year!

We enjoyed celebrating Christmas this year with our family, a blessing we don't take for granted.  We were fortunate to have Kendal's mom come stay with us, so we got to have Christmas with her as well as all of Chad's family.  The holiday was bittersweet as we missed Kendal's dad being a part of it, but we did enjoy seeing many extended family.  We know that the first holidays after losing a loved one are tough, but we praise the Lord that Christ's birth (and subsequent death) brought redemption and renewal.  I Peter 5:10 tells us "After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect,confirm, strengthen and establish you."   Because of that baby born in a humble manger, we have the promise of eternal life.  We rejoice that Kendal's dad shared that promise too. 

As we look forward to welcoming 2015, we look expectantly to what the Lord will do and how He will use us.  Our plan is to return to PNG in late June/early July.  We look forward to continuing our work both here in the US and in Papua New Guinea.  For the first half of 2015 our work will include sharing with others about Bible translation in Papua New Guinea.  The needs there are still great with over 200 languages in PNG still needing a Bible translation project.  Recently, we had a chance to share at an Awana group.  We asked the kids "what do you want to be when you grow up?" As they shared their answers, we shared how someone with those skills could be used to support Bible translation. It was a fun way to illustrate that whatever skills God has given you, everyone can have a role in the work of Bible translation.



Finance update: In order to return to PNG mid year, we have a significant amount of monthly support and one-time financial needs that must be met before we can return to PNG. Please pray  for us as we seek to grow our team of partners. If you have a church, Bible study group, or just a group of friends who'd like to hear about how God is moving in PNG, please let us know.  We love to talk about what we do! Increase Needed: $2680 p/month. 

Job update: Once we return to PNG in July (Lord willing) Kendal plans to return to the school serving as part of the admin team and working as the school registrar. 

We ask for your prayer and thoughts as until last week, Chad was planning on returning to be working in Audio/Video Bible creation, when he got a surprise invitation to a leadership role.  Two days ago, Chad was asked to take on a position of leadership.  We are currently praying about it, and wanting to know how you, our support base would feel about Chad moving from audio/video into leadership.  Good leadership is important in furthering Bible Translation in PNG, but it means he will be changing from what he is currently doing in Audio/Video.  Also on our minds is that fact that recently 2 new staff have joined the Audio/Video team, so staffing there is not as dire as the need in the leadership.  It is a weighty decision that needs to be made, and if you have thoughts or concerns, please email them to us as we prayerfully consider this decision.

We look forward to returning to PNG and are praying that our financial support gets to where it needs to be so we can return in July!

Kid update:Sydney and Calvin are enjoying their time here in the US, especially spending time with family, but are also looking forward to returning to PNG. Having spent more than half their lives there now, PNG has become home to them.

Happy New Year: New Years is typically a time to reflect on the past year and look expectantly toward the upcoming year.  Recently, a friend challenged me (Kendal) to choose "one word" for the 2015.  Rather than making resolutions (that often get broken), I've decided to embrace this idea of choosing one word to focus on for the year 2015. The word I've chosen for the new year is RENEWED. (Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 5:10, 2 Corinthians 4:16).

Would you join me in praying that 2015 will bring:

RENEWED strength to face each day

RENEWED passion to follow the Lord day by day

RENEWED strength to continue the work God has called us to

RENEWED vision for our work in Papua New Guinea

RENEWED support to allow us to accomplish the work


We pray that you also will be RENEWED in the coming year as you seek to follow the Lord's leading in your life!


Prayer needs:

-Our monthly financial support commitment needs to increase in order to return.

-Chad needs help deciding on a job change in PNG.

-Please pray for Kendal's emotional healing.

-That God would send some good new friends to our kids, both in the U.S. and in PNG.


HOW to give:

if you're curious on how to give there are 2 steps:

1 - email us and inform us of your commitment.  This is how we track how close we are to our goal.  Monthly, quarterly, annually, one time gift? We need to know

2 - donate through the Wycliffe website following the 'how to' directions below.  All donations given with a credit card, have an immediate 3% fee taken from our end to cover the cost of a credit card.  Debit cards incur no such fee, neither do checks.


HOW TO:

open a web browser and go to : https://www.wycliffe.org/partner

down where it says 'search for a missionary' type in "Chad and Kendal Owens"

when you see our picture you can put an amount in and click "Give" at the top


(start a campaign is something very different, you can ignore that)


Thank you, for all that you mean to us and all that you do!

-Chad, Kendal, Calvin and Sydney

p.s. Chad has written a book about the first 5 years of our lives in PNG, and he's attempting to get it published.  If you want to read about it, go here:  http://ow.ly/G8mwj

12/24/2014

Two Turtledoves


If you read Christ's Nativity story this season, you may choose Luke 2:1-20.  If so, you miss the following verses: (22 - 24)


22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." 


It struck me 'what is the significance of 2 Turtledoves?'  Obviously I know the song 12 Days of Christmas, and so this phrase jumps out at us.

It rings back to Hebrew tradition (on which I am no expert) in which a sacrifice must be made much like we may do a modern day baby dedication.  Turtledoves are interesting for 2 reasons.  They were easier to come by than pigeons, because they were plentiful.  Which makes them a humble sacrifice, even the poor could find and sacrifice turtledoves.

But also, 

From its habit of pairing for life, and its fidelity to its mate, the turtle-dove was a symbol of purity and an appropriate offering. 

Because of their behavior, and the PAIR being sacrificed, they represent a covenant, a 2 person promise relationship between the child and God.  One of purity and fidelity.  Christ's parents were committing him to God, in a humble way, and in a way that was a binding promise.

Having researched that recently, the song will never mean the same to me when I sing 'two turtledoves'…..

I've been a Christian for 36 years.  And yet the Word of God constantly is holding new treasures for me to discover!  I am thinking this Christmas about the people in PNG who can read the Nativity Story for the first time in their heart language… ever.  I've read it every Christmas for my entire life, but this year, will be their first year!

That is amazing to me, and I'm thankful to God for the gift of all of you, who encourage us and help us in the mission of getting God's Word to the folks in PNG.

Merry Christmas to you!

-Chad (and family)



12/19/2014

Christmas Gift Exchange Game

Tired of the same old Christmas exchange games, and desiring to make Christmas exchange gifts FUN again, my wife and I invented this new game.

Feel free to try it out if you're hosting a party.  Go and pick up some gifts from the dollar store, one for each guest coming.
If it's a large party, this may not work well, as it's always hard to explain RULES to games in a large party environment.

The more people play along, and chime in, the more fun the game will be.  As with most games, the more people bring to the game, the more fun it is.

Game idea:

 

Christmas gift exchange trivia bonanza

 

On the table there are X number of unwrapped decorative boxes with various gifts inside, topped with removable lids.

(X is the number of players in the game)

 

The game begins with the youngest member present being asked a Christmas trivia question. (find some on the internet)

 

Game play:

If the question is answered correctly the player may choose one of 5 options:

1 take a box from the center table, open it and look inside NOT revealing the contents to anyone else.
or
2 take a box from someone else in possession of one (then look inside, not revealing its contents to anyone else)
or
3 Trade their box with one on the table or in someone else's possession. (then look inside, etc)
or
4 Give a box they currently have to someone without a gift. (thus leaving them without a gift, in the true spirit of Christmas)
Or
5 Keep your gift and do nothing.

 

 (if it is the first time you've answered correctly, then option 1 or 2 is your only choice)

 

If the question is answered incorrectly, the player does nothing.  (If an answer is close to the correct answer, but slightly 'iffy' the crowd can weigh in for final judgement.)

 

Play continues in a round, asking each player in turn.  

 

Upon answering their third trivia question correctly, a player has a new option available to them:

 

6 - freeze your gift and cease to answer questions.  The gift is then frozen and no longer eligible for stealing, and the player no longer has a turn.  They are skipped over until the game ends.

 

If the player chooses not to use option 6, then their play continues on, and they can continue answering questions and swapping gifts until they either use option 6, or the game ends.

 

The Game ends when everyone has answered 3 trivia questions correctly (for smaller groups, 4 questions correctly).  

(the game ends this way, because if you're having a lot of fun, and wish to drag the game out, you can of course purposely answer the question incorrectly.  However this will soon be pointless if everyone else has opted to freeze their gift…. and suddenly you become the weirdo who can't accept the fact that the game is over, and will be subject to public scorn.)








12/18/2014

TLDR

TL;DR means "Too Long, Didn't Read"
It is a phrase popping up in online forums that mean 'get to the point, spend less words!'

Which lead me to realize yet another difference in living overseas.  I work in an environment where a large percentage of the community does not speak English as their primary language.  Also, in that same community there is a percentage of people who are not, how shall I say... tech-savvy?  They self profess 'I'm not a computer person.'

There is a vernacular that exists inside of the 'online' community.  Speech shortcuts, colloquialisms, acronyms, that speed up communication.
Accompanying that, everyone has their own personal screens (iphones, ipads, etc) and so are more prone to get bored with what you're saying.

The end result is, you have about 15 seconds to grab the attention of someone in the U.S. or online community these days.

I however, have been honing my online communication to be much more verbose, because of the community I live in.  It is very easy to be misunderstood online, especially given the environment I live in, so I have taken steps to try to avoid miscommunication because of brevity.

Which ironically is exactly what the people I'm spending time amongst now, value.

All that means... my emails, my blogs, my EVERYTHING is possibly too long for most of the people in the U.S. 

I'm taking a few steps, to correct that, like reading articles linked below, and attempting to NOT bury the headline.  (oh look I spoke in a colloquialism! I try not do to that for my non American friends... 'terms of speech' aka colloquailisms or vernacular, often confuses people from other countries, and so I've been trying to stop using them, though they are VERY handy when in your home country!)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2014/03/11/are-your-emails-too-long-hint-probably/

Speaking with me, or my family, requires much more patience from people here in the U.S. because of these new speech patterns we've learned.
Ironically, you would find it very hard to communicate with a Papua New Guinean.  Repetition is a key part of their speech patterns, whereas here, repetition would be boring or distracting.

As a result, I've gotten this sense of 'if I'm speaking to one of my family or friends here in the U.S., I have to speak quickly or I will lose them.'  as compared to PNG, where I have to speak clearly, and repetitively or I will lose them.

Two very different styles of speaking!
I'm finding it just one among many other things to adjust to. 

(side note: The secret to comedy is timing.  I've found it an interesting side study to count syllables in jokes, and measure laughter.  Stand ups do this all the time, saying a joke several different ways to hone it into its funniest version over time.  Some words are funnier, some syllable counts are better.  There is an art to it.  I have found, that leaving words OUT of a joke, here in the U.S. often leads to more laughter.  It's hard to explain but:

"Why did the chicken cross the road?"  doesn't get near as many laughs as
"Chicken meet road"

I'm sure there's more to it... and I have a whole other theory about that, maybe a different blog post on my theory of humor references and movie quotes.





12/17/2014

My Book


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1072468511/dont-call-me-a-missionary

I wrote a book.

In the last 2 years, people have asked me a question and said 'What do you think about THIS?'  And I have replied "well let me tell you, I could write a book on that topic!". Knowing that I had written a book about it already, but never really sure if I wanted all the problems that may come with having written published book that may be considered a bit 'edgy'.

So it sat.... and sat.... I toyed with it, edited it a bit, but really, what are the odds that publishing this book might bring more grief than good? 

I decided to let the internet community decide if my book should ever see the light of day.

Why would it be 'edgy'?  For one reason, though I appreciate organizations and what they do, I don't feel beholdin' to them to toe any company lines.  I prefer to speak the truth as I see it.  It may be unpopular to say some of the things I've said, in the way I've said them.  I'm not always the most diplomatic, nor do I ever try to put positive spin on things.  I do not purposely speak ill of anyone or anything, and I purposely leave out proper names in the writing of this book because I do not wish to cause trouble, but at the same time, I won't pull the punches on any truth that needs to be said.

It isn't always nice to show things in a certain light.  My chapter on missionaries smelling funny might offend some other missionaries and I might as a result get emails about it.  But hopefully they will keep in mind, that I too am considered a 'missionary' and I too, smell funny from time to time.

Another reason it may be considered 'edgy' is because I tell stories and say things that most of us don't exactly tell everyone.  It is very hard to understand the stories outside of the context of being a missionary and so, people often don't tell non-missionaries some of these stories.

I'm guessing I'm not being wise by writing this, but thankfully, my editors toned me down a little bit, so maybe it isn't edgy at all?

I would like to rant for a second here:
WARNING: This book isn't for missionaries.

I've seen some missionaries write books, and then not long after I see other missionaries saying 'Can I get a free copy of that book from somewhere?  Can I borrow someone's copy of that book that was written about us?'  

I know missionaries are super-frugal, but purchasing a book, supports the people who wrote it.  The people who wrote it, are friends or share some commonality with you, which is why you want to read the book... so then why are you trying to get to read it for free?  Buy a copy, shoot, buy 2 and gift one to someone who needs to read it.

This book isn't written for missionaries.  In fact, you'd probably find it offensive or worse, inaccurate.  Don't read it, and don't ask for a free copy. If you chip in to publish this book, or buy a copy, I figure you paid for your right to complain.  But if you got the copy for free, please keep all complaints to yourself, because you know, I didn't write the book for you.

I a lousy salesman.  I am telling certain people not to read my book.


12/16/2014

Two Worlds of Christmas



Being home in the U.S. for Christmas means we get to spend it with friends and family that we don't often get to see.  This is the highlight of any home assignment/furlough for us.
But it is definitely 'different'.

We have stepped outside of our U.S. traditions, and our U.S. lifestyle and have become accustomed to a new life style, that we have crafted because we do not have family around us overseas.  Our first Christmas overseas had the potential to be sad.  But it wasn't!  Several things conspired (as we sat by the fire) to make it unique and wonderful.  Over the years, that new lifestyle has become comfortable to us.

Which, has the unfortunate side effect of making our old lifestyle, uncomfortable for us.  Specifically when it comes to Christmas.

Overseas, we don't have t.v. advertisements, nor signs that say '10 days of shopping left until Christmas'.
We don't have the hustle nor the bustle.

We miss the Christmas traditions which we can't do in the U.S. (or find it very difficult to do), and so it leaves us feeling a little, out of place.  But, that feeling is comforted easily by the fact that we're spending Christmas with family in their way of doing things, and it too is unique and enjoyable and good. 

It's hard to explain the sentiment of 'different but good'.  Difference makes us uncomfortable, but goodness makes us happy.  It's an awkward type of good, where we don't know exactly what is expected of us or exactly how to behave, but we're happy just being there. 

I write this because part of this blog is explaining the lifestyle of a missionary.

Christmas is good, but different.  Not entirely new, many things are old and familiar, but still different, and yet, many things are new.  Kids are older, grandparents are no longer with us, people are married, new children were brought into the world.  So there is newness to it as well.

If I had to pin down the single difference, it would be that in the U.S. it feels as if people are less accessible.  For whatever reason, maybe they're too busy, or they have too many distractions, but it is a rarity that you sit down with someone, and just talk, for however long you have to talk, about important and serious things.  To pray for one another, to uplift one another.  It just, doesn't happen very often at all.  We've been in the U.S. for nearly 6 months now, and there are still a great many people we haven't been able to see because schedules conflict.  Either we're on the road speaking at places, or they're busy with their lives.  It is very hard to re-insert yourself into lives you've willingly stepped out of.  It's our own doing we know.

We miss visiting.  I mean real let-the-dishes-sit-for-a-while-whilst-we-chat, visiting.

In Ukarumpa this happens regularly.  Never so much as around Christmas.
Christmas eve, we get together with friends, and go to church.
Christmas day, we have a few friends over and they stay, through brunch and dinner.  They stay until the sun goes down and we just visit.  I mean we play games, throw the football, sit and talk, laugh, eat, kids playing, it's an all day thing... and you never really want it to end.  I often plan events for the kids for when they seem to get bored, magic tricks, games, etc.  We're talking marathon visits here, not just a few hours.

Then, the next day, boxing day, we do it all again with different friends.
Christmas for us, is an entire week of non-stop visiting with people.

There is an edge to being overseas that makes people more prone to opening up quickly to people they trust.  Perhaps it's the fact that people come and go quickly, but you can't really afford a 'warming up period.'  You can't waste time talking about weather and traffic (two topics which are extremely dull in a tropical environment where there is no traffic and the weather never changed.), you have no where to go but right to meaty issues that matter.

I'm not complaining about Christmas in the U.S. at all.  Please do not see this as a judgement or a complaint.  Had we never left for overseas, I'm certain we'd never even notice a difference at all.  I'm trying to share insight with you about our view on Christmas.

In the U.S. we have more awesomeness to behold.  Cool lights, nice treats, yummy drinks, christmas music on the radio,  good family and friends, and more gifts to give and receive, it's awesome.  We have become accustomed to chatting with people for hours, but in the U.S. that doesn't happen as often, life is just in the way.  Fair trade?  You decide.  For us, it is very hard to like one way more than the other.  Ask our kids.  If they could have our family, over in PNG, life would be perfect for them. (-;  The best of both worlds, combined!

Overseas, we have a more subdued, quiet Christmas.  For some that may seem really boring, we find it delightful.

This Christmas, I would challenge you to have a really good conversation with someone about important things that matter to you, make a deeper connection with someone.  I think that will enhance your Christmas time. 

Christ came to earth and became human, and part of being human is connecting through relationships.  He grew up and told us to love one another.  Love is truly the only thing that reaches through all the garbage of life and makes change happen.  It is more than how you feel towards someone, but also how you act.  It is listening to each others' burdens, encouraging one another and praying for one another.  It's sharing enough life experience together that you have a lot of inside jokes, and fond memories.

This Christmas, just love on somebody, the way Christ would.  It'll wash away all the silliness we put ourselves through at Christmas and really get down to the importance of it.  What better time to show someone love than on Christmas?









12/15/2014

Winner

http://www.lightsofthevalley.com/Properties/Detail.asp?i=1035

For many years now, I've been a fan of some of the higher end Christmas light displays and the hardware/software that goes with it.  I always thought it would be a lot of fun, figuring out the puzzle of how to program my own songs to light the zones exactly how I wanted.

I've come back to the U.S. to find that now, most people can do this if they have the budget.  No longer is lighting, electrical or computer software experience a must.  It honestly makes me feel a little outdated… sort of like, when you've spent a year learning object oriented programming and then find out that they're teaching it in 2nd grade now with a drag n drop app.

But, this place, this lighting place rekindled the amazement I felt as a kid seeing lights.  Technically head and shoulders above anything I've ever seen.  We could have sat there all night and watched this.

Kudos to you guys!  How long until everyone has one of these?  

We had a blast.





Christmas Lights


One thing we don't see a lot of living overseas, is Christmas lights.  Specifically, people adorning their homes with external lights, that you can drive around and go see.  Electricity in PNG is pricey and so we tend not to put up a lot of lights.  Our family has a great many Christmas traditions and one of them is to go around our little center looking at lights.  Kendal makes up some hot cocoa, I load the mp3 with Christmas songs (no radio stations to listen to), rig up the car with speakers, and we begin to drive.

Last year we were responsible for the first ever Ukarumpa traffic jam, because we announced to the neighborhood that we would be out looking and to please turn on your lights.  And several others decided to follow suit, and thus, everyone was out looking at lights.  IT WAS SO AWESOME!

This year, we're in the U.S. on furlough.  And it'll be our last Christmas in the U.S. until my daughter graduates High School.  Which may in fact mean, this is our last chance in the U.S. to look at Christmas lights.  So, being the dad that I am… I'm pulling out all the stops!!

Taking full advantage of the fact that we live in one of the best neighborhoods for lights, AND taking advantage of 3 other tools:
1. http://www.lightsofthevalley.com   - will tell you the best places to see lights in your neighborhood
2. http://www.christmaslightfinder.com  - will do the same thing
3. http://gebweb.net/optimap/  - will use google maps, allow you to put in several locations and then calculate the best round trip route for you!

So.. using these three tools I've come up with the absolute BEST 36 minute round trip tree lighting route, full of the best places in the area to see!  This is going to be the BEST EVER.

I'll post our results and reactions soon.

I can already tell you this, I remember when syncing your lights to an FM broadcast was special and rare and you drove a long way to see it.   Now it seems like a lot of people are doing it.  I recall wanting to develop my own software to do it, and now I see you can buy kits.   It makes me feel like the world is passing me up just a little bit…. things that once were cutting edge are now, normal.  It's interesting how being away 4 years can have that affect.  Still, we enjoy the opportunities the U.S. has to offer while we can!

12/13/2014

Gift Giving


I'm not the best giver of gifts.  Primarily because I don't really follow the traditional rules of gift giving.  I know some people who have almost a spiritual gift of giving gifts.  The right gift, the right time, can speak volumes to show someone you love them, and are thinking of them.  (I tend to use words more than gifts to communicate that to people.)

I try. But I fall short, I think primarily because my goal in giving gifts is to create memories.

There are a few people out there who if ever asked "What is the most memorable gift you ever received?" would give the answer of one of my gifts.  But that isn't always a good thing.  Sometimes my gifts are memorable because they are odd.

For me, a gift is about creating a memory.  I think hard on a gift, and then think about how to deliver it, wrap it, etc.

I almost never wrap a gift in the traditional-perfectly-wrapped-gift method.    Because that won't be memorable.  Instead, I might tear the paper up, or wad it, or use scraps, or somehow make it wonky so when you look at it your brain is already working "okay this is different, this is odd."

There was a year when my sister had a reputation for returning certain articles of clothing, so, I bought her several gift certificates, which she would enjoy, but to make it memorable, I taped each one to a different canned meat, and wrapped that.  So the bigger the value of the cert, the bigger the meat.  There was a canned ham, spam, and some canned fish.

Yeah I know, it's weird.  
One year I made a gift memorable without meaning to, in giving my nephews Pig  Teeth necklaces from PNG, I almost traumatized them.  Whoops!

Why do I approach gift giving this way?  Yes I like to give people things that they'll enjoy…. but the novelty of new things fades quickly.   A memory lasts much longer.

As we celebrate Christmas, we are rekindling a memory of something important that happened so long ago.  Christ was born!  That should amaze you still!  You should be able to fondly look back at that gift, and at the time you accepted that gift, with the same wonderment of Christmas morning to a child.

We give gifts because it makes Christmas magical, but even without a single gift, it already is magical, and memorable, because Christ did it best.  He gave us a gift we were not expecting, in a way we were not expecting it, wrapped in a non-traditional bundle, born in a non-traditional place!    

Tradition is good, when it points to the right place.  My tradition as odd as it may be, has always been meant to disrespect the 'stuff' a little bit, but respect the 'idea' behind the stuff.  Reminding us of what Christ did, how He wrapped himself up in flesh, became man, and in a embarrassingly humble way, he entered this world.  


Christmas is a good time to express gratitude and kind wishes towards the people you care about.  And we do care about all of you!  You may not get a card this year because we can't seem to get our acts together and get a photo taken, and we're allowing ourselves the freedom to not stress out over sending out cards.  We are thankful for the ones we get, and hold no judgement for the ones missing.  I would much rather people spend their time less stressed.  Don't stress about giving me a gift, don't stress about sending me a card.  I value your sanity much more than any trinket.  If you came up to me and said 'Chad, this year, instead of giving you a card or a gift, I just sat for five minutes and praised God for His awesome gift of Christ in my life"…. that would be the best gift of all!

Merry Christmas!







11/21/2014

Two phrases

Today someone who doesn't know I've been overseas for 7 years asked me what I wanted to do for lunch, and I said 'Laik bilong yu'
Which means "whatever you would like"

I didn't even realize I wasn't speaking English until he stared at me blankly. Before he could ask "what did you just say?", I looked at him and said "Maski".

(which means 'forget I mentioned it' among other things).

Then I stopped myself and said 'sorry, whatever you would like for lunch is fine with me.'

To which he replied "I don't know, this Mosskey stuff sounds pretty good, what's in it !?"

I chuckled to myself because I've integrated these PNG tok pisin words into my daily use so much, that I have to remember my audience when using them. To me they are a part of daily use and I forget what I'm doing.

11/11/2014

Yay Fun!


We did it! We set a new record.  In 4 days we had 9 speaking engagements.  Chances to interact with friends from down in Southern California.  (Big thanks to our Bethany friends and family for all their hospitality).

Before we left my daughter (unbeknownst to us) asked her youth group to pray for her because she was certain this trip was going to be 'boring'.  (popular word for her).  However, tonight she told me this story:

(my paraphrase:)

"Dad, you know a lot of the times when you and mom talk to people and stuff, we aren't there, but tonight when you spoke at the youth group, and you told that story of how God showed you how important it was for you to go to PNG, it was the first time I had ever heard that story.  Dad, that was a REALLY COOL STORY!  It was like one of the most funnest parts of the weekend for me."

I was excited and surprised that my daughter hadn't heard that part of our story before.  She of course has heard many of our stories, but that particular one, excited her, and was new.

We asked if we were too uncool for the youth group and she replied "it's hard to be uncool when you have really cool stories."

This weekend was great, not overly tiring, we spoke to Awana, youth, prayer teams, entire congregations, small groups and more.  We saw several friends we hadn't seen in a long time, and got to visit with a lot of dear friends.  All in all, I say it was a pretty pretty pretty… good weekend.


11/05/2014

Need New Truck

Featured in this video is our old family car. The corolla named Betty.  We owned her while waiting for our Isuzu 'Suzie' to be repaired, and then sold Betty to another family who loves her.

Why do we name our cars?  When a car gets you out of enough scrapes, and you've poured enough blood, sweat and tears into it, you tend to get emotionally attached.


Our beloved Suzie the Isuzu is dying!!!
Having left it behind in PNG in the care of some friends, they report to us it is puffing out loads of blue smoke. I'm told it needs thousands of dollars of repair for different failures. Despite the fact that we've been maintaining it and putting nearly $1000 into it each year, it is starting to die.   There comes a tipping point in every car's life when it simply isn't worth the money you're putting into it. 

So, we are faced with choices:
  • 1 - continue to keep this 1991 vehicle up and running, and while waiting for repair parts to ship, buy temporary vehicles if available. Pricetag $5000, and wasted time/money.
  • 2 - purchase another used vehicle in country, the problem is that many of the older trucks are just as worn out as ours. Pricetag $9000 (if we can find a decent one)
  • 3 - purchase a used truck in the U.S. and ship it over (Fords have the most parts available) Pricetag $20,000 ( $7000+shipping ($13,000)
  • 4 - purchase a used vehicle from Japan and ship to the U.S. Pricetag = $12,000
The catch is, we have no money to do any of this.
So, without purchasing a vehicle, we'll be unable to get off of center easily, unable to give rides to people in the rain, my wife will be confined to the house after 6pm, unless I accompany her in walking to places.

Having a trustworthy vehicle, a rugged vehicle, one that can handle the tough PNG roads, and get you out of trouble quickly, avoid getting stuck and give you a secure place to be, is very important to life in PNG for us. 

So we're putting this out there as a big prayer request. This is something we need. If we were to raise enough money, I would by far prefer to purchase a truck from the U.S. and ship it over, as it will ensure I can get parts for it much more affordably in the future, plus it will be something I can see and touch before shipping over.

 Please join us in prayer.

The idea of returning to PNG without a working vehicle has my wife and I distressed. 

We are hoping that God provides as He always has.

11/03/2014

Photo Memories


Me in Kokopo 1 year ago.  I was recording the Luke Video with these two friends, on my right is the man who played the voice of Jesus, on my left is the man who was the Narrator.

10/31/2014

Melloween

I used to love carving pumpkins on halloween.  I don't enjoy the day so much as I didn't really enjoy dressing up (though in my younger years I did.)  I enjoy the creativity that others put into their celebrating.  The creative jack-o-lanterns, and the creative costumes.  I enjoy seeing the creativity of friends, while at the same time, never really feeling like this holiday was my outlet for creativity.

Admittedly, I'm too tired to even try this year.  We're in the U.S. for 1 year, and we did carve pumpkins, but I didn't give it my full gusto like in past years (where I won contests for creativity).  My kids will dress up, but I won't be.  I hope I'm not making a mistake and missing out on family memories… but I don't think it'll warp them too much.

I'm just not in the mood for halloween, and I'm allowing myself to not be in the mood, because part of this year, is to get some spiritual rest so that we can go back fully rested…. and if I'm tired, it means I need rest.

In PNG we don't celebrate Halloween.  It never made its way into the culture, and so, for the past 7 years, October 31 comes and goes and no one really even thinks much about it.  We don't have big orange pumpkins to carve (our pumpkins are small and green), we don't dress up, we don't trick or treat, we don't put up spooky decorations.  For the most part, the day comes and goes and no one even realizes 'oh yeah, in the U.S. it was halloween!'.  

October moves on by.  

This year I expected that I would whip out the old carving tools and create a new masterpiece, but because of where we are emotionally, I just didn't have it in me, and I'm fine with that.  I'm loving all these pictures I see on Facebook of friends costumes and pumpkins, etc.   I'm not into the spooky and creepy stuff, but I like the way halloween has become less of that (in my circles) and more about being silly and creative with family.

I'm never really sure what we're celebrating on halloween, some folks say it's the harvest, others say its 'free candy', neither of those things really excite me enough to care about celebrating.  But, doing something creative and fun with your kids, that excites me…. unfortunately this year, not enough to get me to engage in any highly involved shenanigans.  It'll be a low key, mellow halloween for us this year, but that's okay, because it's more our pace.  You can't avoid celebrating Halloween for the past 7 years and then suddenly jump right into it full speed. 

Our family is low speed, low intensity right now, and that's how we like it.  We still enjoy things, just, because it's all so new to us again, we don't need to go to extremes to enjoy them.  It's one of the perks of having been away, everything is fresh and new again, and so we don't need to chase the adrenaline rush each year by making it more 'extreme!'

Mellow Ween.





10/28/2014

iDoctor



So part of being in the U.S. is catching up on medical stuff.  I have had a horrible scratch in my eyeglasses for nearly 4 years now!  So I went into the doctor's office to get a new exam.  The doctor was very kind and thorough.  I hate being the guy who assumes everyone with a certain 'joy' in their demeanor is a Christian, so I didn't ask her, but when she saw on my employment history form who I worked for, she asked,

"Oh, so you work for ......[names omitted to protect from search engine caching] ?"
"yes, I do.  When I said I only came to the U.S. every 4 years, that is why."
"oh great! My husband and I support another missionary with you guys, who goes to China!"

We spoke for a while about her and her church, etc.  It was a great visit.  If you are in the neighborhood, Dr. Shui with Winchester Optical is a very nice person and an impressive doctor!  Her staff was nice, it was a good visit.  My first time there,  (they also saved me some money on frames)

That wasn't meant to be a shameless pitch, so much as I prefer to frequent businesses that are missions friendly.

Anyway... she diallated my eyes for a test (on that is included in her standard that I've never had done before)... and upon doing so, everything got really blurry.

She told me all kinds of things (now that you're 40, you can expect this when you're 50)... etc etc. etc.... told me that when I'm 50 I'll need bifocals, only these days they have this non-bifocally looking thing called 'progressive lens' etc.

It struck me that there is a lot of vanity in the area of eye care.  I mean, I was standing in front of a shelf of prada eyewear. 
I told the lady 'I don't care about looking dorky or uncool, I just like my glasses to be lightweight as these old ones are causing divots in my nose.'  Apparently eyeglass tech in the last 4 years has jumped a bit and frames are a LOT lighter (with titanium, and flexi...whatever)

Anyway, as I sat there trying to kill time reading my phone, (which was too blurry) I tried reflecting on the idea that I wouldn't be in that office for another 2-4 years.  Whatever else happens this trip, I got that whole EYE exam thing checked off the list.

And that's about as poignant as I got.  I didn't have whole lot of time to reflect on much else.  I was talking to the staff and enjoying my visit and basically being friendly.  I was thinking 'surely there is some huge lesson to be learned in here.'  But no one was pushing me more pricey frames... no one was trying to sell me on higher end lenses.

So I didn't feel like I normally do when I leave such a place which is 'wow, people really spend a lot of money to look younger, or cooler, or something-er' but I wasn't struck with that this time, so I enjoyed my visit.



10/23/2014

Sad Poo



You may have heard me mention before that serving in PNG, God has used every aspect of my personality and abilities to serve Him, in one for another.  You may have heard me say that, part of what I love about serving over there, is that I can see how God designed me for this purpose, and how everything fits together so well.

For a few days I've been consulting on some reports and each report that goes out has a score on it.  We track 6 elements of things.  Today I noticed something while processing the reports BEFORE sending them out.  If you read the first letter on the LEFT of each score, it spelled out "SADPOO".  I decided to re-arrange the scores so that we didn't somehow subconsciously give everyone a 'sadpoo' report.

I chuckled at that, because reading things forwards, backwards, and sideways is always something I have done just to entertain my eyes while I listen to people talk.  I often, without meaning to, see a word, then think of how to spell it up, down or backwards.  For example, this blog, I would look on the left hand side and see "YPWE FWSDR" in the first 2 paragraphs.  I'm not Monk, it just is part of my personality.  And I frankly, I never thought it would come in handy before.   This little oversight could have been one of those bad jokes you can't shake for a long time.

But as I got to think about it, I realize, that I too have a Sad Poo report to give. 
My wife, and I and my kids are all really down this week.  Sad.  There's been a LOT of hard things that have come at us in the past 4 months.  You already know of many of the losses.  This week there are more.

Last week, we were told a beloved Cousin has a very short time to live.  Our already hurting hearts sunk deeply.
Then we were told a friend back in PNG nearly died, though he survived he lost his leg.  Our backs felt more burden for our co-laborers in Christ.
Then, this weekend, a very dear friend of ours died suddenly from a heart attack.  A lump swelled in our throat, tears poured, and our hearts dropped into our socks.

Not everything is rosy right now.  We are sad, and with grief and sorrow comes exhaustion.  We know God is sovereign and good, and we know we've had more than our fair share of good in life.  Right now we're looking down a long dark tunnel of pain and hoping there is light soon.

If you would join us in prayer, please pray for our spirits to be healed and lifted, for our energy to pick up.  We truly had a hard 4 year term and we need this home-assignment to be restful, but it hasn't been.  It's been hard.  We need it to get better.  Would you join us in asking God for that?

Would you join us in asking God to console and comfort those who are affected most directly by all of this bad news?

Thank you.

10/21/2014

Let There Be Ice!!



We inherited a free refrigerator.  We are thankful for it!  We purchased a few cheap ice trays and my son has repeatedly told us how frustrating doing his chore of keeping the ice bin full, has been for him.  I tried the trays, he was right.

I was driving along one day thinking 'So many fridges around here have ice makers in them.  This fridge is pretty new, I wonder if the buyers didn't want an ice maker?  It would have taken a little effort to find a non-ice making fridge these days.'

WE LOVE ICE.  In PNG ice is awesome!  We use a lot of it.  We have a tradition, whenever friends come in from the village, we invite them over for a meal, and make sure to have PLENTY of ice because they can't get ice in the Village.  They've been living for weeks off of no refrigeration at all.

Refrigeration is a wonderful thing.

I got home later that day to find my wife and daughter had discovered an ice maker way down in the back.  So, I went about installing the ice maker water feed line.

Now in PNG, plumbing is a hassle.  Odds are you're dealing with at least three different types of standards and material.  U.S. vs Australian, pvc vs flexible pipe vs copper vs steel.  You never know until you begin if the thread count is going to be the same, if the part you need will be in PNG or even exist!  You have to be patient and creative, and find ways around leaks, or have money to tear it ALL out and start new.

I HATE plumbing in PNG, it requires every ounce of patience I have, and it is expensive.

But, in the U.S.... ooh la la. (pardon my French)!!

I went to the hardware store, found everything I needed, all labelled clearly, all with clear instructions, all standard sizes such that I only needed 1 wrench, etc.
Within minutes the job was done, and done right the first time!

SAY WHAT?  The first time!   That never happens to me in PNG.  Always something goes wrong 1/2 way through the project.

Nope... everything went right together, I had prepped for leaks, explosions of water, etc... turned on the main.. and... huh? It just worked.  It worked!

Now I know... I know it wasn't me.  All these years all my plumbing difficulties... it wasn't me! It wasn't some massive lack of understanding, some missing piece of information.  It was the absolute craziness of not having a plumbing standard and people just doing whatever worked. 

I mean I've seen PVC joined to Flexible Polyethyline pipe by melting it on with a blow torch.  Silicon is your friend when it comes to water proofing something... but caking it on?

This was a nice, simple, clean, properly done plumb job, and I was very satisfied.  With how simple it was to do..... and how well it works...

and now, we have automatic ice happening while I write this.  No muss, no fuss.  No more problematic trays.

3rd World Problem: - we have no water coming into our house because the tanks rusted out.
1st World Problem: - I can't fit my automated ice cub into the hole for my Sports Travel Water Bottle because they're too big.

(-;




10/13/2014

Encourage Creatively



Everybody could use some well timed encouragement.  
John 13:35 says the whole world will know we are Christ's disciples, if we show love to one another.  Encouragement is a great way to show love!   

More often than not, we're accustomed to point out flaws, or make corrections.  We can often forget that just a little bit of encouragement can go a long way.

Story Time:
Back when I was single my roommate Mark and I, who also worked together, would take the same route to work.  Every day we'd stop at the same intersection and every day (school season) there was a middle aged to older female crossing guard sitting in a lawn chair.  

Mark and I took to passing the time spent at the stop light, imagining stories about her.  Every day the story was different.  Some days she was a super hero, and other days she was serving some sort of community service.  We took to waving at her each day, but she never waved back.  At first we thought it was because she didn't see us, so we would both wave vigorously.  Still no wave back.  

'Maybe she can't wave' we wondered, 'maybe it's some sort of professional thing like, when the crossing guard waves, traffic stops, so she has to be careful with her waves?'
Maybe she's super grumpy?

Day after day, she wouldn't wave, but we would wave at her.  Day after day we made up stories about how she wound up there, but always told with respect. (I kind of have this thing about respecting public servants).

After a month or so of this, we had the idea to encourage her.  So we got a few candies, some treats, and a greeting card.

"Dear Crossing Guard, we respect what you do, thank you for keeping our community children safe.  We think you are awesome! We hope you have a great day!  - Signed - the two guys in the truck who wave at you every day."

The next day, we came to the intersection armed with our paper bag of goodies, and I shouted "go go go go go" and Mark jumped out of the passenger seat, rushed over to the lady sitting at the stop light, handed her the bag, said something nice to her, and rushed back to the truck.

The light turned green and off we went.  We hoped it would encourage her.

The next day, when we got to the intersection, we looked over and she stood up, and gave us a big wave!  We waved back and laughed and smiled.  It was awesome.
She must have been waiting there for us, sifting through all the cars visually, waiting to see if we'd come that day.  We were greatly encouraged that she received our encouragement so well.

Every day after that she waved to us, and gave us a big smile.

We had made a human connection, with someone you pass on the street.  And it came because of this little idea that maybe she could use some encouragement.


It doesn't take much.  The smallest act of random kindness can start you on a path of adventure you never thought would happen to you.  If you think your life lacks adventure, then spice it up a little.  

In my line of work, I hear this a lot "your life must have so much adventure!  We live normal boring lives, but you… the things you must have seen!"

My response to that is, "my life was full of adventure before I ever left for PNG."   I was always looking for creative ways to encourage people.  I could tell you story after story of things we do to make people smile and laugh.

Go get you some adventure!  Encourage someone today.

(this blog sermon brought to you in lieu of a 'life in png' update since I'm currently in the U.S.)






  





10/10/2014

Filthy



Today as I was out driving, I saw a man walking down the street wearing a black hoodie that read in big letters "FILTHY".  He walked with a bit of a swagger, and I had to wonder what series of lies he had to have bought into to wear that sweatshirt.

Maybe it was a band name and I'm over thinking it.
My creative mind started to concoct a video in which people walk around wearing on their chest the condition of their hearts.  There were black sweatshirtted people with "FILTHY" and white sweatshirted people with "FORGIVEN"  walking all over.

The white shirted folks if they cringed from the black while passing them, they would examine their sweatshirts to be sure they didn't get any of the darkness on them.
But the ones who stopped to talk and help the black shirted ones, suddenly found that the light spread more easily than the dark.

Of course I realized it was a cheesy analogy video that most people wouldn't watch on facebook  because after all they'd think 'yeah yeah, I get the point.'

To see that young man walk around, proud of his filth, I had to wonder if somehow, in his life, someone had sold him a bunch of lies regarding his own worth.

I think there are a lot of people walking around this earth in precious need of God's forgiveness, and when I see something like that, it stands out as such a symbollic image to me and a reminder to do more.




10/08/2014

Going Solar



check out the gofundme campaign: gofundme.com/flbbes

So I got this idea to install a solar power inverter with battery backup for my house in PNG.  I spoke with several knowledgeable people, and even waited until a neighbor tried it out, to analyze his results.

The short version of the story is... WOW.  this works.

The problem:
-electricity in PNG is expensive, but the sun is free
-voltage fluctuates causing damage to appliances and electronics
-power often goes completely out, disrupting several things (ever come home to a still frozen dinner because the crock pot went off in the middle of the day?)

The solution:
-installing solar and battery means we can go off grid
-voltage will be reliable and steady
-batteries insure no power outage

The problem with the solution:
-it's expensive.  My calculations put a price tag of $28,720 on it.  That includes all equipment, shipping costs, and installation costs.


Because we're just under the equator, what they call 'grid parity' is high.  Meaning, the money we save each month, compared to the cost of the installation will come to 0 in around 40 months.  (a little over 3 years).

THIS system would pay itself off in 3 years.  AFTER 3 years our electricity would be free.

This means, that for the original investment of $28,720... after 40 months, we would have a reduction in our monthly costs of living by $300.

It's a no brainer.  Even if we're not in PNG after 4-5 years, whoever is in that house will be able to use the system.  The panels are gauranteed for 10 years (and will likely live much longer).

So the question is "why don't I just do it?"

Well to afford it, I would have to go into major credit card debt and I don't believe in that.  Further, we live on support from individuals and I though I feel this project is the wise thing to do from the perspective of a steward, and a living member on the planet, it is a LOT of capital.

WHAT DID I DO?
-when I came to the U.S. I investigated crowd-funding.  Kickstarter turned me down.  I'm currently using GoFundMe to see if they'll approve my project.

I can't say this enough.... this is such an obviously wise use of resources, that I have to find a way to get this done.

THE EASIEST way would be to raise separate funds for this, the hardest way would be to go into debt for this.

It is like printing money not only for me, but for future missionaries living here in this house.

I spoke with a friend of mine who deals with loans in this area of technology, and PNG has a very high grid parity.  Most banks who give loans would consider it a 'yes' (but the banks who give loans don't give to PNG).

So, here I am, trying to raise funds for this.

Here is the break down:

$20,000 - sunnyboy inverter, solar panels, and shipping costs
$8720 - outback battery system, with batteries and shipping and duty.

If you're interested in the technology or contributing towards this project, please contact me.

chad_owens[at]sil.org

the donation would be tax-deductible, and really cool.  As a contributor, I will be sure to send you pictures of the installation as well as put an inscribed plaque on the roof with your name on it... so that people in the future would know who to thank for the fact that their computer equipment doesn't catch on fire (yes that has actually happened), and they have avoided the cost of living increases that come with an ever rising cost in power!

Let's get this done together!




Leggo my what now?




My wife and the kids went shopping and picked up some frozen Eggo Waffles.  
When I get home, I see the boxes from Costco in the hallway:
dad: "Hey family! We have eggos!!!"
kids: "We have what?"
dad: "Toaster Waffles!"
kids: "oh."

Not sure if this is a missionary kid thing, or just that our kids have cheap parents.
I think it's a mixture of both.  Before we left for PNG, we bought generic brand (still do usually)
and they've never really been exposed to TV commercials... so  "leggo my eggo" is not in their vernacular.


10/07/2014

Not PNG reminder 323

I was driving down the street today when I saw two kids obviously
walking to school.
My instinct was to pull over, look at their faces and say 'hey, jump in
I'll give you a ride.' I didn't do it.
In PNG - not a problem, people are always waving you down for rides, or
a nice adult offers to help keep kids safe.
In USA - I was that creepy stranger danger that parents warn you about.

I opted to deny my instincts and kept on driving. But still, that
little pull was there to help, and I chuckled at myself.

-Chad

Wifi E-vangelism

I'm not a bumper sticker guy, I don't wear t-shirts.  I get that people share parts of their personality via these mediums, I never have.

Recently, wherever I go, I'm joining a wifi on my iPhone.  And man there is a list of dozens of wifi networks to choose from.  These days you have to tell people your SSID as well as the wifi password to join.  Back in PNG and in my day, you didn't have to say the SSID, because there was only 1 in range.

So I got this silly idea, of course I haven't done it.. but...

since your neighbors are all forced to scroll down this long list of wifi SSID's why not take a cheap wifi device that handles Multi-SSID, and make a message out of the SSID's?

something like:



every time anyone who lives there or visits the area, joins a device, they'll see that little message, and maybe call me . (-;

I've not done it, but it's an idea I'm toying with.  I'm sure it would take tweaking to make it actually alphabetically sort properly.  I'm sure some annoyed neighbor might name theirs 00AA00_MySSID
or something to get around it.

But still, it struck me as a yet-unused-medium that one might express oneself through.

10/05/2014

Pathmakers Church



If you live in the Colorado Springs, Castle Rock area, you need to check out this awesome church.  Pathmaker's Church.  We were privileged to share this this weekend, and it was awesome.  The people were so welcoming and enthusiastic.  We had an absolutely awesome trip to Colorado, and we definitely have to come back.  We saw old friends and made new ones.  

We honestly feel that this weekend God allowed us to be a part of something awesome that He is doing in Castle Rock, Colorado.  CHECK THEM OUT!


God is really doing something there, and we're totally blessed to have come across it the way we did and stoked to be praying for their future.






10/04/2014

Pontification on How the Heart Works


I've talked a bit on this blog about saying 'goodbye' and the hole it leaves in the heart.  Today I want to talk about saying 'hello' to old friends whom you haven't seen in a while.  It fascinates me how God made us.  Sometimes you can not know how much you miss a person until you see them.  Then suddenly when you see them, your heart fills overjoyed and full just seeing their face.

The more I age the more I become convinced of the fact that God moves through people and relationships.

It is an uncanny little miracle to me, that simply walking through a door, and seeing a face that your heart suddenly feels like bursting with joy.  Every moment with that person or people fills like your heart is filling up, and overflowing.

Sometimes it is people you've been missing for a long time, and are anticipating a grand reunion.   But other times, it's just old friends that you have gotten used to not seeing, and then when you see them again, you're ambushed by how happy it makes you.

The impact of it is so strong that I'm always taken by surprise.  After a visit with such people, friends, family, whomever it is, you may completely forget all the details of the conversations you had, but your heart retains the memory of their presence.  For days, weeks, and even years afterwards I might stop and think 'wow that was SO good to see them again.'  Just the memory of it, can fill you up a little bit again.

It's like being hungry and not knowing you're hungry until you taste some really good fruit or something and you realize it tastes so good because you haven't had it in a while.  The hunger increases the flavor.  But with your heart and people.

It is this phenomenon that convinces me of two things:
1  - I would never be able to see God's face in human form.  I  think my heart would literally explode at the joy it would bring.  I suspect my soul hungers for him much deeper than I realize.
2  - When I do get to see my Savior face to face, it's going to be more joy than I can currently comprehend.  And I can currently comprehend a lot of joy.


The idea of eternity used to boggle me, and even make me a bit anxious.  But these little reunions with friends, bring me peace about it, and remind me 'heaven is going to be SO awesome!'.









10/01/2014

Technology in PNG

the following is courtesy Adam Boyd's Blog.

(Adam is a fellow co-laborer in PNG and we have worked together and talked about technology and the use of audio in PNG)

When we launch the book of Mark and Abraham Story in Enga the week of October 12, our primary focus will be distribution through solar-powered audio players called Audibibles. Most Engans (and Papua New Guineans for that matter) have never learned how to read in their own language, and often they are not interested in learning because reading is not a strong part of the culture. So if you hand an Engan a printed Bible in their own language, they will likely never read it. If you hand them an Audibible, however, they will listen to it over and over, as will most everybody else who lives in their village. In the oral cultures of Papua New Guinea, audio recordings are the best way to share God's Word. And when the battery runs out, they can just put the Audibible out in the sunlight to charge!

Enga Bible App



In addition to the Audibible, Enga will also be one of the first languages in Papua New Guinea and the world to have a smart phone app. The smart phone app highlights the text of the Scripture sentence-by-sentence as the audio recording plays. We have found that the same people who would never read a printed Bible will immediatley engage with the Enga Bible App and try to read along with the recording. (Engans love technology!) And those who have learned to read in English or Tok Pisin can fairly easily transfer those skills over to Enga with a little practice. So the Enga Bible app not only gives people the Word of God in their own language, but it also teaches them how to read.


Some of you may be thinking, "What good is a smart phone app for people who have no electricity?" Good question! The reality, however, is that even people who live in remote villages without electricity often have cell phones, and they find all sorts of creative ways to charge them. Smart phones are just now reaching the price range ($35) where the average Papua New Guinean can purchase them. We have gone to villages in Enga where there was no electricity only to be shocked to find the villagers taking video of us with their smart phones! While the Audibible is still going to be the most popular way of accessing Scriptures right now, the Enga Bible App is sure to take off in the near future, especially among Engans who live in town. The best part is that the app is free and can be transmitted for free from one person to another. It would not be at all surprising to share the Enga Bible App with one person and come back a week later and find that all of his friends and family now also had the app. Papua New Guineans are good at sharing media on their phones! Click here to see a video of how the Enga Bible App works.

We will also have printed versions of the book of Mark and the Abraham Story available in Enga printed side-by-side with the Contemporary English Version (by permission of course). So those Engans who do want to read the printed Word will also have access.

Please keep the upcoming launch of Mark and the Abraham Story in your prayers. We are hoping to distribute in four different locations from October 12 to October 16. Pray that many Engans will come and receive God's Word in their own language. Pray also for the team from Newbreak Church near San Diego that is coming to participate in the distribution. We look forward to sharing with you next month about how it all goes!

9/27/2014

Family Fun


obviously photoshopped (-; 
We were able to visit some friends in Orlando this past week, and they blessed us with a great day at Universal's Theme Park.  It was awesome!!  They had a real fire breathing dragon!!!  Of course this is photoshopped but it felt real when it breathed near you.  


9/25/2014

Social Media Patience


In 2004 when I first came to PNG I blogged about the trip.  Blogging was relatively new then, but me being a computer type person, was pretty into it.  I was blogging multiple times a day and when I returned many people said " that was the most connected I've ever felt with a mission trip!"

I realized then and there that communication was something I cared a lot about.

We became full time missionaries not long after that, and committed to communicating with those on our team who didn't get to go overseas.  We want people to feel 'plugged in' informed.  Gone were the days of a quarterly newsletter, you wanted real-time information.

And we wanted to give it to you.

in 2007 that was 'cutting edge'

Today, it's common practice.  I've just finished a training session where I've been shown video, blogs, tweets, face books, snapchats, instagrams and more!!!  I USED to be cutting edge, and communicate MORE than the average missionary, and now I'm finding out, everyone else has caught up with me, if not even passed me!

I recently showed some videos to some friends who said 'you need to cut this down, that 4 min vid could have been 2 mins' 

WOW… things they are a changin!

I used to be almost controversial when I told my fellow missionaries 'keep your videos under 4 minutes' and now, 4 minutes is too long!

To cut your message down, so that people can digest it, takes a LOT of time.  
To communicate in all these ways takes a lot of time (although there are tricks to cut down how much time it takes)
To stay up to date with all of YOU as our partners, and read your posts, takes time.
And also during all THAT time, we have to be doing the work that enables us to generate stories that are worth telling!

It can be a bit overwhelming, honestly.

Before a single word is made public, it has to be checked, because legally, we're representatives of our organization (notice I never name our organization? I want to avoid legal issues), and if we ever say anything that can be misconstrued or misinterpreted it could be used against our organization which does a lot in the world to spread God's Word.

So…

I'm asking for patience for the missionaries.

I fully intend to sit down and update all our social media stuff, but I haven't had much time to sit and concentrate on any one thing.  I'd much rather be seeing you face to face, and so we're driving and flying all over to accomplish even a fraction of that.

We love you, we want you in the know, we're committed to good communication with you…. we need you to do one simple thing for us….. invent more time.  Barring your ability to somehow slow the world a little bit, then use patience with us.  You have been so gracious already.

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thank you