Islam in PNG

There is a mosque in the capital city (port moresby). Current
attendance is about 1000. (200 of which are women).
I met a Catholic priest named Father Franco who has been in this country
for a long time, who has researched and published papers on the growth
of Islam in PNG.

Current census statistics are still pending, but the projected number of
Muslims in PNG is between 3,000-5,000.

Father Franco states in one of his papers that he has interviewed PNG
Muslims and he listed their answers in the paper. The bottom line from
my interpretation of the paper is that Islam is growing in the country.
The religion meshes with the culture well in some respects, and
therefore is attractive.

However certain aspects like, not eating pork, and not drinking, seem
prohibitive. One man replied 'I own many pigs, I will wait to convert
to Islam until after I have sold all of my pigs."

Speaking with Father Franco personally, and having read his published
work on the topic, it is true that Islam is growing in PNG, but they
have not yet reached critical mass (the point at which the religion will
grow on it's own without as much momentum from the local Imam).

You can join me in prayer, as this is a fact that will change the
environment in which we serve, once it does reach critical mass.


Plop Plop wheeze wheeze

3 weeks ago I was outside cleaning my house on a Saturday.  I didn't feel like doing any hard labor that day so I decided just to dust for cobwebs outside.  Spiders can leave a huge mess if you don't stay on top of it.  We get some rather large spiders here.

I was 1/2 way into sweeping one wall when, BOOM, SPLASH.

The hatch over a concealed septic tank, broke and gave way beneath my feet.  I fell into the septic tank, catching my entire weight on my left side.  I was covered in things best left unmentioned, and couldn't catch my breath.

Long story short, the doctor said that I have a costacondrial separation (in my left flank).

Not sure if the ribs are cracked or not, it's hard to take a full breath, but I'm rather sure they're not broken.  The Doctor says this is gonna take a long while to heal. 

I'm cool with dealing with chronic pain, my only concern is the flight we have in June coming up.  It's been 3 weeks and I still can't sleep well at night because I have to lie very still or I feel bad pain.

Anyway, pray for my healing please.  This last year I feel like I've been a punching bag a little bit.  I would prefer not to be in total discomfort for the entire flight if at all possible.

Thanks for the prayers.


book on CD or book?

What type of person are you?
Would you rather read the book?
Watch the movie?
Listen to the book on CD?

For me, I'd watch the movie first, then if I liked it, I'd read the book.
I read a lot of books though and sometimes I'm happy that they made a
movie of a book I like, until I see the movie and am inevitably

But I'm happy to have the choice.
I have the choice because A) I can read and B) they're making the

What WE do here in PNG, is make the books.
What I do here in media is make the movies and CD's.

Next month, 400 audio players will be in the hands of PNGians, some of
whom cannot read. AT the same time, there will be a printed New
Testament available. Currently the audio versions are doubly popular
than the printed text.

It is evident that there is a huge need for audio here.

I'm privileged to be a part of it.

Jury Rig #732

Imagine trying to charge 20 cell phones all at once, every hour.

One of the last things we do before sending an Audio Bible out into the village, is to make sure it works and has a good charge.  We want the units to be trouble free right from the beginning.

So we take the unit out of the factory packaging.  We plug it into a wall charger, we charge it up.  We turn on the unit, turn the volume to max, and make sure the unit works.  Then we put some final assembly touches on it, repackage it, and send it off.

This helps us to weed out any factory failures, etc.  (believe it or not we've had people claim they were broken because they hadn't turned the volume up.... so we do that).

This week's Jury rig has helped speed up how fast we can charge the units.  Each unit takes 45 minutes to charge.
We originally had 10 wall chargers, with their wires dangling every which way.
There are 20 units in a box.  So, each box would take a little under 2 hours to charge.  That means every 45 minutes I get up from my desk, to go unplug 10 units, hunt for the wires, and plug in another 10.

I decided to dig up 10 more chargers.  But then we had a mess of wires.  So you would have to hunt for the little silver ends of the wires and then plug in the units.  (in my dreams I'd have built a unit you could just slide the units into for charging, instead of hunting for cables and connecting them).

I decided we needed a way to organize the ends of the cables, so that we could quickly grab them.  I hunted around and found a thin piece of plywood, then took my leatherman's and hand sawed a few notches and voila!

now the ends of the cables are super quick to find.

These two changes, easy and free, have drastically sped up how long it takes us to prepare Audibibles.  And that's a good thing since the current order I'm working on is 400.  Due by end of next week.

The thing about a good jury rig is:
-it should be cheap
-it should be fast
-it should fix the problem, while also identifying the need for a longer term solution.

Often a jury rig convinces someone 'hey this is a good idea' and then you have popular opinion behind you and can go and find a more permanent and better solution.

Getting things done, one day at a time.


Crazy Theory #17

I jokingly come up with humorous and crazy theories from time to time just to see how my kids will react to it, and possibly to trigger their critical thinking so that they engage with a concept.

One of my theories is the usage of the interaction:
"HE is Risen!"
and then people reply "He is Risen Indeed"

Easter morning is one of those rare mornings when a non-churched individual will attend church.  And imagine their surprise when someone says 'He is Risen' and the entire room responds with 'HE is Risen INDEED!' as if they practiced it.. perfect unison, strong, loud, joyful.

It's a Christian thing, it's a church thing.  And it could make you feel on the outside.

One time my children asked me 'dad why do people do that?'

and this is how I responded:

"Because one day, being a Christian is going to be illegal, and Christian need a way to know who they can trust.  If you come across a stranger and you need to know if you can trust them you say 'He is Risen'  if they reply 'He is risen indeed!' then you can trust them and go into their house for shelter.  But if they reply 'um.. yup, sure whatever dude!'  then you know they are not Christians and you can't trust them, and you need to run for your life."

Of course that's not the reason.  But its what I said and they knew I was joking.

The real answer seems to be findable on Wikipedia.  Apparently it's called a 'Troparion'..

The Paschal greeting, also known as the Easter acclamation, is an Easter custom among Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Christians, as well as among some Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians. Instead of "hello" or its equivalent, one is to greet another person with "Christ is Risen!", and the response is "He is Risen Indeed" (compare Matthew 27:64, Matthew 28:6–7, Mark 16:6, Luke 24:6, Luke 24:34).[1][2]

In some cultures, such as in Russia and Serbia, it is also customary to exchange a triple kiss on the alternating cheeks after the greeting.

Similar responses are also used in the liturgies of other Christian churches, but not so much as general greetings.

At the Cross

4/20/2014 06:54:54

Our favorite Ukarumpa tradition is the Easter Sunrise Service.  It starts outdoors in the dark, under the tall pine trees, with a wooden cross on the crest of a hill, facing where the sun will rise.  As the service progresses and we sing and worship and pray, the sun rises and the light overcomes the dark.  Then near the end, we bring flowers we picked from our garden and decorate the cross, thus transforming it from a reminder of pain, to a think of beauty.  Much as Christ did.

Then each year we snap a photo, and each year I am wearing that same jacket and that same hat. (yes I plan that). 

(also apparently each year I misplace the photo but here are a few more).

2012 (oh look, no jacket! Calvin makes up for it in wearing the same sweatshirt)



on making mistakes

I am going to make myself a little vulnerable here. I make mistakes.
Ecc 7:20 says "...for there is not truly one righteous person on the
earth who continually does good and never sins."

I'm not talking about sin in this entry, I'm talking about human error.
This week has been full of days where I'm confronted with some recent

I put 4 saber players out the door with errors in 3 of the files, such
that all of Acts chapter 13 was skipped. WOOPS. How did that happen?
Well, I keep backups of backups of files, and I caught the error, fixed
it, and then proceeded to put the OLD file onto the player.

I skipped all of Luke and Acts for another language on the Audibibles.

I have spent weeks trying to get a video to render properly and finally
got it all edited and rendered and it's too long to fit on 1 dvd. WOOPS!

Thankfully, I'm aware that I make mistakes and I ask others to double
check my work before calling the project 'complete' and giving it to
PNGians. And, those other people (my safety net) caught the mistakes
and sent them back to me.

When you make mistakes, you have to redo the work. Which is ironic
because mistakes often happen because you're overworked in the first place.

When I was younger, starting out in the professional market, I wasn't
aware of the mistakes I might make. I proceeded to learn from any
mistakes I made and I rarely ever made the same mistake twice. My mind
was sharper and faster then, so I could keep track of multiple projects
at once.

Now I'm older, and my mind is not as able to track the details of many
simultaneous projects, but I'm also more experienced and know how to
manage my time better, and avoid time draining obstacles that I
otherwise could not foresee.

Knowing that my mind can get cluttered with a lot of simultaneous
projects going on, I have created a system for myself. I have several
'reminder lists' as well as backup systems that tell me where I left
things with each project. I WRITE thing down.

Digital friends of the Silicon Valley, don't mock me, I use pencil and
paper to track my lists most times. It's quick, it's portable, it's not
affected by dropping it. It's resilient, to most thing but water and fire.

When I was young I saw a movie "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure".
Silly movie. At the end of it, the two are trying to break into a
police station and they said 'Ted, let's use the time machine, go back
in time, grab the keys, and hide them so we can get them now!" "Okay
Bill, where should we hide them?" "Right behind this plant!" then they
reach behind the plant, find the keys and cheer together.

That scene forever stuck in my head as an illustration of setting up
practices and systems to protect yourself.

For example, I ALWAYS put my keys in the same place every day when I
come home from work. I don't plop them down any random place.

There have been times when I've wandered the house saying 'where are my
keys?' and then my inner Ted tells my inner Bill 'the past you, should
have put them in the key basket' and I go to the key basket and there
they are. When I was younger I could remember what I did the previous
day with the keys, but not now. Now that I'm older, I just know that
they would be in that basket.

The difference is subtle, but its all about acknowledging that you make
mistakes, and setting up systems to avoid other people having to suffer
from those mistakes. Safety-nets.

This week, my safety nets have been in full swing, as they've caught a
few mistakes.

Sure it's humbling to be reminded that you're not perfect. It's tiring
to have to re-do work. But my commitment to excellence is high because
I want the people of PNG to be hearing the Scripture as clearly as I can
get it to them.

Even if it means re-doing the job several times (which I have done),
until it's right. Not perfect, but right.

As I think about this professional sense of safety nets, I also think
about a spiritual safety net. My two chief parts of that would be
accountability and prayer.

Thankfully I have a good accountability team here. I lose that team
when I am in the U.S. or rather, that team becomes a remote team.
On the prayer side, we have all of you. Praying for us. When we go to
the U.S. I get a chance to update those people who are praying, spend
time with them, and be around them and hopefully re-excite them to
remember to pray for us again for the next term.

I would highly recommend to anyone in the field to have these two
things. Accountability doesn't have to be only 'I messed up, help me
not to.' it can be 'I need someone to talk to, I'm stressed, lend me an
ear.' as well as lending an ear.

And prayer doesn't always have to be an hour of knee bending, deep
laments. It can be a quick 'God, please protect Chad and his family
today, right now.. thanks, Amen.'

But both of these things will enable you to be more successful in your


Geocaching Dog Tag

 years ago before we left the U.S. we placed three Geocaching dog tags with a kina coin around them, in various caches across the U.S.  One in California, One in Northern Carolina, and one in Oregon.

If you don't know what geocaching is, check out

When people found the dog tag, they looked up the serial number, saw our story, and then moved the dog tag along to another cache.

Our story was that of why we decided to move to PNG.  Our challenge was to pray for us (if you're a praying type or person), and to further the dog tag towards Papua New Guinea.  We hope that one day, someone will come to us and say 'I have your PNG dog tag here in my hand!' while we're in PNG, and we'd invite them in for dinner.

Along the way the finders of the dog tag, write notes on our website wall and tell us something about themselves. 
(I got this idea by having found a journal with entries written in it, in which a couple on their wedding day, told their story, then dropped the journal off in the hopes that at their ten year anniversary it would find them again).

About 3 years into the experiment the Dog Tags disappeared.  I should never have attached unique coins to them.    But then suddenly one surfaced in Germany.  (we know several Germans here, and so, it could very easily job the pond to get here). 

The funny thing is, all the status update posts have been in German since it re-surfaced after a 4 year hiatus.  And we don't know German.  I have been meaning to have someone interpret for us.... but haven't gotten around to it.

For fun today, I had Google attempt to translate and this is what today's has said:

"who has been his goal but misses neat. participating with you after. then is true times the direction"

This is just one of the many 'unique' ways we're trying to share our story of how God has moved in our lives.  Geocaching is a family fun hobby that we enjoy when we can, and we happened to be able to find a way to tell people about our ministry through it.


Was it Worth It?

I feel I need to expand a bit on my answer from my previous blog post regarding the question:

"Was it worth it?"

I'm getting some private comments from folks that make me think I wasn't very clear.

I'm a somewhat literal person, and when people ask me 'was it worth it?' I have a hard time answering what I perceive as a vague question.

Are you saying:
"Was the sacrifice worth the reward?"
If so the answer is:  I'm not seeking a reward, so I can't really say that the sacrifice is worth something I'm not trying to get.

or "Was the sacrifice worth knowing people are coming to know Christ?"
A: God highly values finding lost sheep. Following God I condition myself to ignore what I want and learn to want what He wants.  So from that perspective yes, it is worth it. 

But with my shocking 'yes and no' answer from before,  what I probably should have said was:
A. I can't really answer that because the question is irrelevant.

If the question were relevant, I would have to spend a lot of time figuring out the value of things that I can't comprehend.  I can not comprehend the value of an eternity spent in heaven.  I don't know how to put a pricetag on a few precious moments with a loved one.   I don't know how you would answer the 'worth it' question because we're dealing with variables that have a worth beyond measure.

My point from yesterday was that the question was irrelevant because God has put this desire on our hearts and obedience is the only way we know how to live.

At certain points in your life you look back and assess.  From that assessment you think 'that worked out well" or "I should have done something different at that point" possibly you have some regrets, possibly you get some smiles.

But we're not done.  It really isn't time to assess the entire act.  Our lives are continuing on, we plan to return to PNG.  The only assessment I can make at this point is that it was the best decision of our lives thus far, to come to PNG.

I think, I'm going to stop asking people 'was it worth it?' and start asking them 'was it a good decision?'.  Yes it was a good decision.  It was a hard one, but a good one.

When I was in college my friend told me a story, which I later found out is called the "Story of the Taoist Farmer" or "The Horse that Ran Away".  Digging a little there apparently are many versions of the story from multiple cultures. 

Here is one version:
This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to console over his terrible loss. The farmer said, "What makes you think it is so terrible?"

A month later, the horse came home--this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer's good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, "What makes you think this is good fortune?"

The farmer's son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, "What makes you think it is bad?"

A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer's son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. "What makes you think this is good?" said the farmer.

My point in sharing this story is this:
We look at our lives through a very small window of time.  Our life spans are short compared to the history of man.  We also look at our lives through a very selfish lens.  'This is happening to me', 'how is this affecting me?'  I'm not judging, I'm just stating how we see the world.

When we expand that view, past our lives on earth and think with eternity it mind, and with God's kingdom in mind, then our perspective changes on a lot of things.

So with that 'was it worth it question?' we get asked, I think I would ultimately answer:

-I can't see what's going on in heaven, nor what my time on earth has produced.  I am unclear if I will ever get to see if my life displayed and how it bore fruit in heaven. ('Thank You' by Ray Boltz comes to mind).  I have faith that we've spent our time and effort doing things that will expand God's kingdom, and glorify Him.  I'm aware that we're not needed, instead we're privileged to be asked to help.  God could use anyone, we're not necessary, we're expendable and replaceable, and yet He loves us enough to ask us to serve Him.  From an earthly selfish perspective, since I can't see what God sees, there are days when the sacrifices seem overwhelming.  Those are my selfish days.  But God has taught me through this life to have Faith that our struggles and our toils have meaningful and lasting results.  With that faith I can firmly say that anything would be worth it.  Any level of sacrifice would be worth it.  Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us, and so even without this faith that I have, I still have a debt that I'll never be able to repay.  Regardless of worth, there is debt.  But even if there were no debt, and our actions produced folly and had no worth whatsoever (which I do not believe they do) I would still have absolutely no choice but to follow and obey because a life lived outside of obedience would be a miserable one.  God loves us and wants to bless us abundantly, and He does when you act in faith and obedience.  God has blessed us in so many deep and meaningful ways since choosing this lifestyle.  Ways I can't fully comprehend sometimes.  There is a depth of understanding of His love for us that I just didn't grasp before coming to PNG.  Just that closeness to God alone was worth it all.  I'd do it again in a heart beat.

That's what I should have said in my blog yesterday.  I was having a hard time coming up with the words.  I hope this helps.

Q.People have asked me "Chad, what if one of your gets gets sick or injured or worse? Would you feel your decision was foolish?"
A. In preparing to come to PNG we asked ourselves, 'where is the line we draw that says 'Okay God, I'm not willing to cross THIS line'?'  Honestly, before He asked us to move to PNG the answer was 'I'll follow you but please don't ask me to move to a foreign country'.  Then He did.  So I wasn't about to draw another line.  Definitely not "Okay we'll follow you to a foreign country but please don't let my kids get hurt."   That seems like a bad idea to me.  No, instead we had to resign ourselves to the fact that our kids may suffer.  THAT is a very hard process to do for parents.  To knowingly say to God, "I will obey you, even if it means I lose everything I love and care about."

Why do you think we ask for so much prayer?    I'm addressing these questions because people have asked them before.  I would not feel the decision was foolish.  It wasn't foolish.  We spent years considering it, praying, training, investigating.  We didn't go off half-cocked.  We were as cautious as could be and ultimately obeyed.

Q. How mad will you be if something very bad happens to your family because of your choice?
A. Mad at who myself or God?  The answer is neither.  I've never subscribed to the 'its okay to be mad at God' theory of therapy.  Part of relinquishing control to God is the understanding that bad things might happen.  I read a book 'why bad things happen to good people" and the author was a former rabbi who lost his son.  In the end, he lost his faith too.  There are reasons for that.  One reason is, asking the question 'Why?'  'Why God? Why did this happen?"  My entire life I've found that question to be a really dangerous one.  Who are we that we get to demand answers of God?  How entirely selfish is that question... why?   When I tell my children 'go to bed' and they say 'Why?'  I say 'Because I told you to!'  We don't often get to know why before something happens, and rarely after it happens.  In Acts ch8 Philip was told to get into the Eunich's chariot, so he did.  No idea why.  Turns out, it was for a really good reason, as that Eunich came to know about Jesus.  But Philip didn't ask 'why' he just started running. 

Asking Why assumes God owes you an answer, and He doesn't.  He is sovereign.  Just ask Job.
So knowing He is sovereign I often don't bother with 'why' questions, but begin working on reminding myself that all things work together for God's good.  And then further reminding myself that the Bible doesn't say 'that all things work together for Chad's good'.

It could very well be, that bad things happen to me and mine.  But when they do, I do not question that God is supreme, God is in command, God is good, and I am His servant.  That won't make me mad at myself, nor at God, nor at the decision.  I may experience anger, but it would be focused elsewhere until I can get rid of it.

I think that's enough of my personal philosophy on life for now.  This blog is supposed to be about what life is like over here.  I guess I was sharing some of the mental process.  I rarely get into 'preachy' mode because I figure most people have this stuff figured out WAY more than I do.


7 years

We've lived in Papua New Guinea for 7 years now. We arrived in March
2007. It is time for some reflection.

Q.What have we given up?:
-the birth of a nephew
-multiple funerals: three uncles, two grandfathers, two grandmothers, an
aunt, friends and more
-the birth of twins
-the birth of a friend's only son
-visiting sick loved ones in the hospital
-a good friend's wedding
-church Sundays and community events
-countless hours with loved ones, time with grandparents, moments that
we can not regain, celebrations with friends and family that we did not

and today, a very close friend of mine experienced the birth of his
first child, a boy, and I was not in attendance.

You'll notice I didn't list foods, amusement parks, clothing that fits
and other modern conveniences. It's true we've given much of that up,
but it doesn't cut to the heart like missing life changing moments with
loved ones.

Q.What have we gained?:
-moments like this video describe (start at 6:10 for the quick version)

-or testimonies like this one: (start at 00:24 for quicker version),
the story of how 1 man reading his Bible, changed a community.

Q.Was it worth it?:
Yes and No. Maybe I could wax poetic here about the worth of a single
soul entering into heavenly gates. But that's God's economy, not mine.
My selfish economy says to me that no, it in fact wasn't worth missing
out on the most wonderful moments of life with those I hold dear. I
battle with my more spiritual nature and say 'but surely your reward
will be in heaven', but to be honest I'm not seeking a heavenly reward.
I don't deserve one, I'm still a selfish human being with sins that get
forgiven. No I really really want to be alongside those I love for
these events. I really really want to be an uncle, a brother, a son,
and my wife and children want to be in their relational roles as well.
We want to be able to go and be with those we care about. To hug, to
cry, to comfort, to cheer, to celebrate to LIVE together.

But we aren't and we don't. God has seized our hearts and put a vision
and burden on them so that we can not be happy unless we are pursuing
that vision.

The act of taking the things we've missed out on, and making our
attitudes that of a generous giver, and then giving them, as a sweet
smelling sacrifice to God is how I worship Him.

On the days when I would rather be in a hospital room in California than
standing on a muddy road in the rain in PNG, I am worshipping. Because I
can honestly say I don't begrudge God that I am called to PNG to do this
work. I am sad to have missed something special back home, but I am not
sad that I get to participate in this wonderful ministry God is doing.

I won't put a candy coating on it, missing out on things hurts. It cuts
deeply to know you are missing out on lives that matter most to you, and
trading it for souls that matter most to God. I can not love a perfect
stranger as I love my sisters, but God can instill that in me.

I am rather certain God would tell you it's no contest. He seeks after
the lost sheep. He tells us to depart from family.
I on the other hand, would tell you it's a daily contest. One that
requires daily sacrificing my will to God's to continue doing this work
with a cheerful heart. And I can honestly say we have accomplished
that. We don't live in constant homesickness or regret. Instead we
live cheerfully.

Some days are harder than others. But we don't view our time on earth
as ours any longer. Our time belongs to God, He's asked it of us, and
we've given it freely and obediently. When our attitudes stink, we pray
and work on correcting them.

And then, from time to time, we get to return home, and be with those we
love. For a short while. There is much work to be done here, and we
feel the urge to return before long.

We are a people caught between two places. Where we call home - our
heart is with our family, and where we live home, our mind is with our
work. And what better analogy for a people who are not to see this
world as their home.

a song we sang as children goes:

"Oh Lord, you know, I'm just passing through, my treasures are laid up,
somewhere beyond the blue.....I can't live at home in this world anymore."

Don't we all feel a constant tug in two directions. It seems to be the
way with life.
Heaven and hell
Selfish will and God's will
Temporary home and permanent home
Men Mars, Women Venus

Tugging, tugging always pulling. When we make a choice, to do that
which honors God, it is worship. When you choose to depart with some
money to support us, to depart with what you're doing at the moment to
pray for us, to depart with valuable free-time and email us, you are
making a choice and acting and that is worship, because you choose to do
it to glorify God.

Read Ecc. ch 2 some time. This way of living is the only way that makes
sense to us. This constant battle of wills and choosing to please God.
And make no mistake, we aren't the only ones doing it. Everyone who
knows us is doing it, in one form or another. Whether they like it or
not... they're making a sacrifice.

To everyone who has ever said 'I wish Chad and Kendal were here right
now to see this...' your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed.

We miss you, we're excited to see you soon!
It's been a crazy 7 years, and I wouldn't trade a moment of it.

Why do I say all of these terribly honest things? Because I know that
there is someone out there like I was 7 years ago thinking 'God has
burdened me with becoming a missionary, and yet, I am finding it very
hard to leave my family. Aren't I supposed to get some supernatural
power that allows me not to miss my loved ones, now that I've committed
to going where God is sending me?'

You can ask for that. The Lord knows I tried to at first. But it
didn't come. It tore my heart out at first, it was painful. When
return on furlough I'll be reminded of that pain when I try to catch up
on lives I've missed out on, and when I have to say goodbye again. But
then I realized, the act of giving this cheerfully in worship to God
shapes you and benefits you and I believe God takes it as a sweet
smelling offering and is pleased with it. At least I hope He does. For
those in that position I was in 7 years ago, I have this to say.

Your life will never be as fulfilling as when you are doing what God has
burdened you to do. You have a choice. You can seek your own comfort
and pleasure as Solomon did and find that it brings only temporary
happiness. Or you can give it up to God and find that your life is
permanently fulfilling. Missing family is a small blot of sadness on an
otherwise fulfilling life. If God has truly impressed a burden on your heart, then choosing to ignore God's calling would mean
your family/friends becomes the center of your happiness, and would be a large
portion of happiness on an otherwise lackluster life. It's your choice to
make. We made it 7 years ago.  Not everyone gets the opportunity to make that hard choice. Consider yourself fortunate that you have such a cross to bear.

To all of our friends and family whom we miss and who have missed us....
we thank you for your sacrifice as well, and we look very forward to
seeing you soon for 1 year in the U.S. come June 2014.

At this time we're praying for a house to stay in for that year, please
join us in prayer.



Lunch time, power is out because the guys are working on the power lines.  Sun is out, sky is clear.  KABOOM! CRACK!! .. the house shakes with thunder.  We all jump half out of our skins.  Turns out lightning struck near a neighbors house.

Lightning damage is very real here at 5000 feet.  Seeing lightning strike is not a rare occurrence but often it's pretty off-in-the-distance.

Today it was local.  People reported modems dying, surge protectors melting, etc.  Outside of the normal electrical damage, there is EMP damage... it can make electronics behave oddly.

Because of this part of life here, we have surge protectors, power guards, UPS battery backups, generators, all kinds of things.

I have always found it fascinating how man adapts to his environment to live, and what once seemed exotic and new, becomes a daily behavior.  For example, if you live in a very snowy area, putting on snow coats and boots wouldn't be a hassle after a while as you adapt and develop habits.

Such is life here, we adapt to the idea that there are earthquakes and lightning storms, and land slides and that sort of thing.  Once you remove yourself from worrying about danger, you start to appreciate the beauty.

We often sit outside and watch the lightning storms, it's really a wonderful thing to see.


This video doesn't quite cover the experience of being there, but it
gets you close. The other day I was out driving and a man, unused to
the road didn't know that the Kunai grass had overgrown a drop off,
wanting to give oncoming traffic more room, he accidentally dropped his
vehicle half into the drop off that the grass was disguising.


the Ride from....

If you'll allow me to walk you through our afternoon drive home. Rather
typical for PNG. We were heading along a 2 hour drive in 2 vehicles.
One was four wheel drive, the other a 2 wheel van.

We checked all the fluids to make sure all was good. As I went to start
up my car, it wouldn't start. The battery was dead. That's fine, I
parked on a hill in case that happened, roll start, and away we go.

We drove through beautiful country, but the driver rarely gets to see it
because there are too many obstacles on the road. School had just let
out so the road was flooded with red-shirted children who holler and
wave as you pass. We wave in return, and if you're me, you holler back
in fun. They're genuinely excited to see you, but don't get distracted
if you wave back and aren't looking you'll hit a pothole.

We follow each other hoping that if we hit a bad pothole in 3rd gear,
and bust an oil plug, the car behind us will notice we're leaking oil.
Thankfully that didn't happen.

We counted about 18 goats, 13 dogs and 6 pigs on the road, none of which
we hit.

We passed by grass huts, people selling anything from coffins to chewing
gum along side the road, people sitting or laying on the pavement to
warm up, kids not aware there was a car coming on their 'walkway' etc.

We had a pit stop along the way to look at some baskets and such, at
which time I checked the fluid levels in my battery and realized why it
wasn't charging. Bone dry. I emptied my drinking water into it in the
hopes that it would charge on the remainder of the ride home.

I felt foolish for not having checked it before. I had checked my
spare, that I had a jack, a tow rope, spare oil, water, my fluids were
good, belts were tight, etc.

The car started right up, but I had stopped on a hill in case. The rest
of the drive went remarkably well. We stopped for the wives to get
something quickly at a store. I stayed in the car for security, watched
a crazy man bother people and beg for money. Another man came up to us
and spun a very long lie about something while men behind him gave us
the hand signal that 'this man is a liar don't give him money.' We
weren't new to the country, nor were we naive, but 'traim tasol' as they
say, which means 'give it a try, what could it hurt?'

Finally only a few turns from home and we notice a landcruiser half
rolled over in a huge ditch. We pulled over to see if anyone was inside
and if we could help. Inside was an ex-pat gentleman whom we didn't
know. He had somehow gotten this borrowed vehicle stuck in a very deep
and muddy concrete drainage ditch.

My son and I remained behind and sent the other car in our caravan on
hope with the women and children, while we stayed to help.

We gave him a few tugs before our tow rope broke. He was very stuck.

Then along came a large 'hino' truck. Since the landcruiser was
borrowed, and the driver didn't know how to work the wench, I offered to
work it for him. We hooked the wench up to the front, and to the large
hino truck and with a little bit of heaving and elbow grease, we got him

He was very thankful.

I looked around and we were surrounded by Papua New Guineans. Some of
which were looking, others were helping. To show our gratitude I
offered several small bills to the men who helped, which is customary.
(and often times why people HURRY to help when you don't always need
that many 'helpers'.)

The driver was thankful to have gotten out. He could have been stranded
there. He thanked me for being a good 'Samaritan' to which I replied
"that's what we do here!" we smiled and he was about to go on his way
when the police showed up, made a big show shouted 'what is going on
here, how did this happen.' Didn't lend a helping hand, but was sure to
issue the drive a ticket for nothing in particular.

He accused the man of speeding, but the man was never out of second
gear. After staying to help him because I didn't hear him speaking
tok-pisin, we went on our way, sure that all was good.

And then we arrived home not much longer after that.

It sounds like an adventure, but really, it's very typical for a 'ride
into town' here. And if you were paying attention you noticed that at
least two times, Papua New Guineans were very helpful. One helped us
avoid being conned, and the other helped a stranger get unstuck.

It's a hospitable place, full of adventure in daily life, and beauty, it
was a beautiful drive.

All in all, I enjoyed it.