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12/13/2015

My Cousin Donna

She's in heaven.
We found out this weekend.

We won't be able to return to the U.S. for a memorial service. I was
having a conversation today with a friend and told him this news and he
asked 'Was she a believer?' Boy was she. We then discussed how asking
that question might upset some people.

He once surprised a pastor at his father's funeral by saying at the end
'Thanks for sharing, I look forward to meeting your dad.'

If you are kingdom minded, a Eulogy is little more than an introduction.

Often we get mired down in our earthly woes, but Christ reminds us to
keep looking upward and thinking about what happens AFTER our time on
earth is done. It affects how we live here, the decisions we make, etc.

So, with that in mind, and if you are assured of your salvation, let me
introduce my cousin Donna to you.

She's a very kind person. Her heart was always thinking about other
people, how they are doing, what she can do to make them comfortable.
She lit up every room she entered. She recruited me more than once to
play Santa for the youngest members of our family at the time. She
embodied the Christmas spirit, 365 days a year. She loved on my kids,
and they loved her back. Even when she wasn't able to get around much
near the end, she made a point to hand pick gifts for my kids and send
them over here in PNG. Such that, when we broke the news to the kids
yesterday, we had a gift from Donna and Jack to give to them.

She has a rare gift for uplifting people around her.

We'll miss her of course, but only for a short while. The time we'll be
without her will seem like nothing once we've entered eternity.

12/11/2015

Water Mystery

We have been in a drought for 4 months or more, really since we returned in July, there wasn't rain.

But, we had water storage and were happy that, by using extreme water conservation techniques (like saving your laundry water and reusing it for toilet flushing, or wearing clothing more often then usual) we never ran out of clean tank drinking water.


Two weeks ago, it started to rain again.  After a few checks on my home made water gauge (I made it myself, designed it myself)... I figured the tanks were full and we were happy.  Two nights ago I went outside to find our tanks empty.  It was a shock.

After digging up the underground plumbing, I couldn't find a break or a leak.  So, I thought perhaps our water tank had rusted out from the bottom.
Sure enough it had.  See this pic with the light coming through? Those are whole at the bottom.  It didn't take me long to figure that out.


So thankful for 2 things,  #1 We had a backup tank that was purchased for us some time ago that held 1000 gallons, and THAT didn't drain empty.
and #2, that we're getting some rain now, so we should be able to keep that tank full.  Our capacity is down by 1000 gallons which may hurt if the drought comes back.

Here's Calvin helping me haul the old rusty tank out to the dump.






Yes he can drive, no I didn't let him drive that tank down the steep hill. and No he doesn't drive without a helmet. This was a pose only. (-;

Oddly enough, as I was wondering what to do with this tank, as local PNGians can cut them and turn them into roofs for their outdoor kitchens, I came across some men with a truck full of scrap metal and another tank. WHAT ARE THE ODDS? 
I offered the tank to them, they gladly accepted, so we didn't have to take the entire trip to the dump.  Awesome.

I've always been proud of our water situation.  Doing what we do, I am not the financial 'provider', but I have tried to make sure that the house is functional with things like water and power. 

Not getting rain water was tough on the community.  But I was pleased that we had water capacity as a result of moving to a new house and keeping our old tank.

I knew this tank would fail within the year, and I was thankful it didn't fail before the drought was over. 

It would be nice to pick up a new Water Warrior tank that won't rust, but we have to save up the funds for that still.
But we're not complaining, because it could have been much worse.  I could have not caught it in time, and we'd be without drinking water until the next rain.

It seems there is always something to fix around here on Saturdays, and I'm also very thankful for two teenage kids who can help me as I age.

(we also went and shoveled some dirt to cover any exposed pipe and protected any plumbing that might get 'stepped' on as well as built a small fence to protect the plumbed area.  I was certain someone had broken the plumbing, because it was the most obvious weak point.  But, now, it isn't as weak as before.  A full day's work to be sure, but work is always more enjoyable when your son is helping at your side.  This is our Saturday tradition and I hope it teaches him that he needs to work hard and care for his family as well as giving him the skills to do that.




11/26/2015

Friends teaching Friends

Some of the Bible translators we support wrote me today and, being thanksgiving I thought it appropriate to share.

----
They are thankful for Bennis Tuka (a PNG man), one of the people trained in audio recording in Kokopo, who has recorded eight more books, and they will be bringing more Audibibles and SD cards with those plus the original recordings of Luke and Acts. Pray also for preparations for a course for teaching people to help illiterate adults to learn to read, which will take place in February.
----


What I see as significant about that is that there is a PNG man, trained to do audio recording, who has recorded 8 books of the Bible!!!  The more Papua New Guineans we can train to do this type of thing, the more ownership the PNG church has of Bible Translation.

11/23/2015

Tamales


When you don't have corn husks you use bana leaves. Made 60 last night and will make another 80 tonight or so. Banana leaves tend to tear more easily than husks. They also seem to keep the tamale more moist and change the final texture of the tamale. I like the end product better but working with banana leaves takes more effort.  

All four of us got together to assemble. 

Bird

A bird flew down our chimney. Catch and release. Two days later our neighbor tells us they returned home from a weekend away to find a bird had flown down their chimney and messed the place up. 

11/20/2015

Jury rig #526

After waiting several weeks for new mail ordered keys for our truck.  They were too large to fit I to the ignition so.... I ground then down  original on the right. Working on the left. 

11/18/2015

Old Folks at Home


This week is spirit week at the school and the theme for Monday was 'Old vs Young'.
My kids both chose to be 'old'.  What's funny is that they both did their own costumes, we barely lifted a finger.

But what is even funnier is that Calvin chose to be in character all day.  He walked slowly, he called the young people 'whippernappers'  and was generally believable as an old guy.  So much so that the high school drama teacher now has her eye on him.

He stayed in character so much that his teachers had to extend him patience as he slowly moved from the door to his desk with his cane.

It was pretty funny.  Sometimes, your kids can be a real source of hilarity.  (if their hair looks grey, it's baby powder).

Autodialer WIN!


The past two weeks have been hard for a lot of people, myself included.
Morale seems low, work seems busy, and overall I've been depending on
God for my daily allotment of grace and good attitude, rather than the
naturally supplied good attitude I normally have.

But today.... something interesting happened.

Several weeks ago, I got an idea from listening to some friends speak.
I had this idea to purchase, install and configure a robodialer
(autodialer). The idea is that if the computer systems went offline and
we couldn't email everyone, we could use the phone system to make calls
to people informing them in the case of an emergency.

This little system has been my pet project for a few weeks, and I had
just finished getting it working last week.

Today, there was a thunderstorm. A tree fell and struck a metal power
pole, bending it beyond repair. Suddenly a large section of our
community was without power, thus they were without email or internet.
Suddenly the office is a buzz with what we're going to do about this,
how we're going to inform everyone etc. I piped up with 'we can use my
new autodialer.'

Following my documentation, I recorded a brief message meant to inform
those who were without power, that they'd be without power all night
long. But, because I had built the call list to include EVERYBODY, I
also said 'for those with power, you can contact those who are without
to lend aid.' Or something close to that.

I hit go, and the computer did the rest. With about 30 seconds of
effort from me, 45 minutes of automated dialing, suddenly the entire
centre was informed.

But that isn't where this story gets interesting. It is what happened
AFTER that.

I started getting emails 'this is SO COOL! NICE JOB!'
Then, I went outside to look at the situation (picture above), figuring
I should put eyes on the actual issue. The freshly returned manager of
the Electrical department saw me and said 'Chad thanks for getting the
word out.' I replied "no worries, my part was the easy part, you guys
have all the heavy lifting." to which he said "for us, contacting
everyone would have been a lot of work, so thank you."

It started to dawn on me that my little pet project was already starting
to help people.

And then, on my way home I realized that a house on my way home, full of children was
without power, I pulled up and offered to help. This family has
quintuplets and are friends. But as I offered, my wife pulled up behind
me with candles and lanterns.

We had not coordinated to help this family out, in fact I'd been at work
all day and hadn't spoken with her, but here we were together, lending them aid.

My wife told me 'yeah, I received your automated call, which made me
think 'well we have power, I wonder who we can help who doesn't?' She
thought of the same family I did, and brought over candles and lanterns.

I suddenly realized that my little 'off the cuff' remark may have inspired others to help out, so I checked around.
Sure enough, those with power were lending aid to those without.

I'm not claiming credit at ALL for the fact that people were offering
help, this community does that without prompting, it is their best quality.

My point is, that today I felt as if I had made a contribution to making
a bad situation less bad, by informing people who naturally wish to help
others.

It was my first big win in a while, and my heart is full of gratitude to
God for the timing of it. I feel as if my time in this job has been
validated, and God was saying 'hang in there, you are where I've put you.'

11/15/2015

Mail Dominated Society



You've likely ordered something from Amazon or eBay.  I think the amount of people who have never received a package from the mail has dwindled enough to the point where I can safely say that.

The way we receive mail here is varied.  We can receive a sea freight shipment of cargo from the U.S. and it'll take 3 months.  From Australia and it'll take 2 months or so.

We can receive a package via USPS in about 15 days if it is FAST and good, but more often 30 days.
We can receive a DHL package within 30 days, usually.
We can receive airmail cargo from Australia within 30-45 days or so, sometimes more quickly depending on when flights are scheduled.
If someone gets hurt and is medivac'd sometimes much faster because the plane backloads with cargo.

And if we know someone coming from our home country who is willing to hand carry something, in that rare occasion, we can receive something within weeks!

We can drive into town and hope they have something affordable that will do. (3.5 hour drive one way).
Or we can go to our local volunteer run stores and see if they have something that will suffice. (minutes).

But same-day delivery, next-day delivery, practically NEVER happens.

We're by no means without supplies, or without avenues for supplies.  But we also do not have anything that happens instantly or quickly.
As a result we have to plan and be patient.

This always come into focus around Christmas time.  People sending packages, wondering around August if they should order some gifts for their families, etc.  Having returned from furlough only a short 1/2 year ago, we may have packed a few christmas gift trinkets in our luggage and tried to hide them from one another.

Or we may opt like we do many years, to just have a very simple Christmas.  I REALLY love those.  One of my favorite gifts one year was a six pack of Dr. Pepper because my wife bought some in the local store when they were in stock, and saved them.  I haven't had a Dr. Pepper in months.

So, it may seem to some like we're way out in the middle of no where with no 'fast access' to anything and that may be true, but we do have the ability to receive packages and mail, we just don't have the 'instant gratification' of fast delivery.

Sometimes a place won't ship internationally.  So we have a go-between.  A group of people in the U.S. who receive and repackage and ship items for us.  They charge a fee, which almost always doubles the cost of the item, but in a pinch, it is nice to have a U.S. mailing address.

We pay customs taxes for everything that comes into the country.
So, if you see something on Amazon for $10, with next day delivery.
It'd likely cost me $35-$40 and arrive in a month or so.

Which is why, we don't really order things unless we REALLY need them. 

Funny thing is, sometimes you wait so long, you forgot you ordered something.  And then it comes a month or so later, and you get it and think 'oh yeah! hey I needed one of these!'

All of this lends itself to the 'make do' mentality I so enjoy, and the 'jury rig it' habits I have developed.

I chuckle at myself because some of you reading this are thinking 'that sounds so awful! they don't even have malls!' and all the while I'm thinking 'this is such a wonderful way to live.'

It forces you to eliminate online 'impulse' buying almost entirely.  It forces you to contemplate what you truly need and can't live without.
I'm not saying that everything I own, I can't live without.  On the contrary, we are very aware of all of the excess even living this lifestyle.

I'm not sure what the point of this post is, other than to explain how the mail works here and how that has affected our lifestyle.








11/05/2015

Blog Series Amele #5

Youth:

According to church leaders, the past several years in Amele have been a dark chapter for the youth. The youth had received a bad reputation in the Madang area
for their involvement in making home made whiskey. Others were addicted to drugs. Many held up cars on the road and violence was spiraling out of control in a feud between
clans that had left many young men dead. It was the church leaders prayer that many of these boys would come to the Bible course. God heard their prayer and spoke to the hearts
of some of these boys.  Below are some testimonies from young men who were touched by the Word.

"One day I was walking down the road when a boy pulled a gun on me and tried to kill me.  The gun failed to go off.  Since then I have been planning how to kill that boy.  However God has spoken to me during this course and I have given my life to Christ.  He has completely taken away that evil desire from my heart."

"I lead worship in church, and yet have been holding onto many sins. I have been deceiving everyone.  Yesterday I was convicted of my sins of lust and covetousness and confessed them to Christ.  I believe God has begun to set me free from these sins I was holding on to."

"Both my mother and father died.  I have no close relatives.  I felt  that no one truly loved me.  Yesterday I learned that I have a Father in heaven who loves me dearly.  I have given my life to Him."

"I am not from this area but have been wandering around hanging with friends here in Amele for the past year.  I heard about this course and was like, 'why not', I'll go see what it is all about.  I praise God that He led me to come because while here He spoke to my heart and I have given me life to Christ."

Many other young men and women were impacted by the Word.  At the end of the first course they said...  "We are still hungry... we are going to follow you down to the second course and repeat this same study in the Word!"  Praise God that many did and continued to grow in their new found faith.

Blog Series Amele #4

Termites and Locked Bibles:  


As the Amele new testaments were  removed from storage it appeared that termites had destroyed some of the boxes.  But upon closer
examination it was discovered that the termites had turned back at the New Testaments.  They had
eaten the boxes and cut through all the protective layers surrounding the Bibles, but they didn't touch
the Word of God. Because the boxes for these Bibles were eaten by termites, they were put in a suitcase
for safekeeping until they would be sold.  Everything was cool until one of the Amele church leaders
accidentally locked the combination lock on the suitcase.  Nobody knew the combo and Bibles were
needed the next morning as the course was to start!  The team prayed that evening and in the middle of
the night the same church leader was awoken by a number that the Lord had put into his head.  214...
immediately he new that he had been given the combo by God.  Walking over to the suitcase he entered
214 and the lid sprang open.  God's word had been locked away for long enough.  It was time for it to
get out into the hands of Amele men and women.   The suitcase on the morning all the Bibles sold. :)


11/04/2015

Blog Series Amele #3

 And from witnessing what transpired in the
 following weeks... it became quite evident that
 the King of Glory did come in and work in
 Amele hearts and lives through His Word.

 

Numbers:
215 official graduates from the course.  
(Another 50 or so came to observe every day)
185 Amele NT were sold during the 2-weeks.
During the outreach at the end of the course
996 Amele men, women, and children were reached.

11/03/2015

Blog Series Amele #2


God's purpose for the Amele NT began to be
revealed as He broke open those boxes and distributed
His Word amongst the Amele during the two SALT
courses.  At the courses there were 480 graduates, 448
Amele NT sold, and 2,636 Amele men, women and
children reached by the teaching during the outreaches.
(Those can only be God numbers!)  What follows is the
in-depth story of how He worked amongst His Church
in Amele. May all the glory go to Him!

The translation committee drew near to finishing, so they invited
 members from other denominations to be involved in a week long
 checking of the translation.  Working in partnership with several old
 TPPS teachers, Samson and other church leaders meticulously checked
 the translation work for errors, making sure that what was being said aligned with Scripture and stayed
faithful to the Amele language.  This involvement of other church denominations peaked interest in the
upcoming course. As the book went to be typeset, church leaders started registration for the course and
names quickly started coming in. The 20 kina registration fee set by the
church to provide  food for the participants did not seem to be
discouraging many to register.  It quickly became apparent that one
course would not be able to serve the number of registered participants
and so Samson in partnership with the SALT coordinators made the
decision to run two back to back courses in separate locations in Amele.
By the time the SALT book was ready to be printed, there were roughly
500 people registered to attend!


11/02/2015

The Rainbow

Why are there so many, blogs about rainbows? And What's on the other side?


On furlough, I purchased this decal for my laptop. It utilizes the lit
'apple' on the back, and adds color to this retro Apple logo. It also
helps me identify my laptop in a crowd of Apple laptops.

However, when I first went to a staff meeting with it, someone asked me

"Why is your Mac gay?"

Then another person, and another, and another.

One after the other kept asking me that until I had to conclude they
were all in on a prank... but they were not.

Many of them did not recognize the retro logo as being that.. instead
they saw it as a gay pride symbol.

I had not anticipated that reaction, especially from missionaries.

I replied "This is the retro apple-logo, it is not a gay pride symbol,
it is retro and it's cool. I refuse to let the homosexual agenda own a
symbol that God created. They do not own the rainbow, and your comments
have suddenly made this logo even more cool, because now, I am standing
in defiance of social trends."

to which they replied "whatever dude, your mac is gay."

So the next day I showed up with pictures of unicorns on my laptop as
well, just to get a laugh. I leaned into the joke.

But since then I've taken a poll, and surprisingly 100% of people so
far, when asked "what does this logo make you think?" their FIRST
response is 'you're gay'.

IT's not 'oh that is reminiscent of the original Apple logo, it's retro,
and cool, and how appropriate to have it on your laptop.'

I'm not gay, my laptop isn't gay, God created the rainbow, and I'm tired
of all the perversion of symbols that originally pointed to God's goodness.

And I can still locate my laptop in a crowd.

So the sticker remains there.

Blog Series Amele #1

I'm starting a Blog Series on the Amele NT.  There are a lot of cool stories about this, but to read them all back to back, would take you a while.
So I will begin here.



God had been working quietly amongst the Amele people of Madang province for more than a
year as He prepared the stage for His Word to go out with power. Things came to a head during two
SALT (Scripture Application and Leadership Training) courses that were run back to back in Amele last
September and October.  Just one year prior, the Amele people had received a dismal Scripture use
rating from the SIL SURAM (Scripture Use Research And Ministry) team who had visited their area.
The team found that hardly any Amele owned a vernacular NT and on top of that, many were unaware
of the NT's existence. Meanwhile, for over a decade, hundreds of Amele New Testaments had been
quietly sitting in several SIL storage facilities.  But praise God that as Isaiah 55:10-11 states,

 "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my
word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and
achieve the purpose for which I sent it." 

God's purpose for the Amele NT began to be
revealed as He broke open those boxes and distributed
His Word amongst the Amele during the two SALT
courses.  At the courses there were 480 graduates, 448
Amele NT sold, and 2,636 Amele men, women and
children reached by the teaching during the outreaches.
(Those can only be God numbers!)  What follows is the
in-depth story of how He worked amongst His Church
in Amele. May all the glory go to Him!

10/30/2015

Two Phones





These two men came from a very far distance to work on translating their Bible.  They are very near the end, and nearing publication.  When I was in their village a few years back, I went to serve them with recording. But they humbled me with their hospitality and friendship.  They gave me several gifts when I was going to leave.

Now they have come here for a few weeks and leave in 2 days.
We had them over for a meal a while ago, and I had wanted to give them gifts from 'my place' as they gave me gifts from theirs.  But I had no ideas.
At dinner, it was mentioned in passing 'we don't have phones that play the video we made together.'

Which gave me an idea.  I'm also from the Silicon Valley, home of electronics.
I had to drive into town to find a place that sold the right type of cell phones.
Then I got our Scripture Use Media Dept. to make me some micro SD cards and put the Ura videos and audio on it.

It took me a few days to do, but I got the phones just how I liked them for the guys, ready to play the video.

Then I delivered it to them today.

(in tok pisin)
"Before, when I came to your place, you made me happy and gave me gifts from your place.
And now you come to my place to do work and I would like to give you gifts from my place.  I'm from here, but also my church and friends have sent me here, they support us with gifts of money and they pray for us.  So I have two places.  Here, and California, America.  Please accept these phones as a gift of appreciation for the work that you do in translating the Bible."

They were all smiles.  They thanked me in Ura which I remembered from my time there (Mamurr.. Mamurr Mas).

I showed them how to use the phones and how to play the videos.  We said our goodbyes, and I headed home. 

I set foot on the road, and thunder hit....And then.... it started raining.  Rain which we desperately need.

There are times in my life, when my heart is so overwhelmed with God's goodness.  And those times seem to come around the time when I'm trying to bless someone else.

God is so very good.



10/29/2015

AutoDiallin'



The communication situation where I work and live, is pretty involved.  Ideas have been circulating in my head for years about how to improve things, and I did so as a hobbyist for a while.  Now it's my job.  God has a funny way of turning your hobbies into ministries.

One of the things I wanted to implement was an 'autodialler'.
The idea being, in about 2 minutes time, I can punch a few buttons on a phone, speak a quick message, and everyone with a phone who needs to, can get the message.  It takes me (or anyone) about 2 minutes of work, to reach everyone quickly.

Prior to this, what would happen would be a telephone chain.  A team of people have a list, and script, and they have to go through the list and make the calls.  The telephone chain took a lot of maintenance, and time. (updating the list, etc).

What I have now is an automated process that catalogs numbers, and calls them in an emergency. 

It is one of those 'we'll rarely use it, but when we need it, it'll save a ton of effort and time' projects.

The trick was, everyone selling these systems these days, wants to go with VOIP, which I didn't want to utilize here.  I finally found a company who sold analog phone diallers... and the salesman was a believer!

He cut me a really great deal, and was very friendly to work with.
I'm happy that this project is going so smoothly and is nearly completed.

Jury Rigging



Today, I needed to install 4AA batteries into a device, and there were only 3 AA batteries available and 1 AAA battery.  Knowing that they're all 1.5volts, I grabbed a paperclip, stripped the rubber coating off of it and bent it into a spring shape with my leathermans, and dropped all 4 batteries into place.

Sure it won't last as long, but it works for now, until I can go rustle up more batteries.

"OH COOL" you say.  Well, yes n no.
Living in the land of the Jury Rig has its down side.

Today, I was wiring up a new project I'm working on at work, and I needed to convert 240v power to 110v power.  I happened to be needing this in the HEART of the Jury Rig capital of where I live.  An awesome Aussie guy lived in this telephone room for years, doing all kinds of incredible fixes and Jury Rigs before he retired.

I foolishly saw an unused transformer.  Completely ignoring the fact that there was a high probability it had been rigged for something else.
Plugged it into the wall, took my own personal 110v surge/power strip (because you can't buy them in country) and ..

BANG.. POP.. HISS.. Fire..SMoke... 
I unplugged it quickly!

Okay, THAT didn't work.  I suspect the transformer had be cross wired or something for some other purpose.  Thankfully my power strip didn't totally fry and still worked (though the surge protection feature is likely gone forever).

Love the smell of ozone in the morning.

10/28/2015

Another one Recorded

Praise God with us, the whole Kuni New Testament is recorded! It seems
like a miracle. Last year the recording team recorded 25% within four
weeks. Later it was a bit more than 70% also within four weeks! ... and
that was including a few 'hick-ups' along the way. God is good.
Now please pray for the post production to go smoothly so that the Kuni
NT will be ready to be distributed in audio form on different devices.

10/26/2015

Me and My Leatherman

I use my leatherman's tool for a lot of things.  Every day I use it multiple times.  On furlough, the company in Portland, received my broken ones and replaces them with new ones, free of charge.   I like this tool.

If I were to list out the many things I do with my leatherman it would be a very long list.

I got distracted.  This post was about keyboards.

Mass Communicatin'



I use my laptop keyboard a lot.  I do a lot of typing in meetings.  One day, it started behaving oddly and I needed a replacement.  So I had the local computer department order me a replacement.  Only, it came without a ribbon cable, which was part of the broken piece... I wanted 2 months for a keyboard that didn't work.  I decided to do the repair myself, and order the repair piece myself, because I felt like I had already taken up too much time from the computer department.  They are REALLY busy, and I have the skills myself.

In the 2 months the second replacement keyboard took to arrive, I used an external USB keyboard.  It was a pain to have to haul that around to meetings, but I did. 

Today the new keyboard came.


It was damaged in shipping.  The key in the corner bent up there is the ESC key. (OH NO! I CAN'T ESCAPE!)
I whipped out my leatherman, bent the corner back into place, installed it into my laptop and viola... it works just fine.
If I were back in the U.S. I would have rejected the package and ordered a new one, and it would arrive in 2 days.
But not here.  Here, you have to make due.  Which is why a leatherman's is so helpful!



10/25/2015

Saturday Stuff

This Saturday, Oct 24th, (for us in PNG it's the 24th)
Was the birthday of my recently deceased father in law.

Knowing my wife may need to grieve, the kids and I planned to do all her chores for the day, plus our own.  Several of her friends dropped by with some goodies to share, and briefly chat.  One friend stayed the whole day to craft with her.  As a result, the day was not as hard on her as it could have been.

Calvin and I did a long list of chores.  In our family, the kids do chores on Saturday morning until I release them (usually around lunch time).



Calvin and I dropping off yard rubbish at the dump.  PNG is not normally this brown but we have a drought on.




"Calvin, you work while I, uh.. take photos and stuff."

That shirt, btw, reads "Hume Lake, PNG"  It's a cool shirt.

After chores were done, the kids went and did their things, homework, visiting friends, etc.

On Sunday I gave Sydney a driving lesson.  I don't have a picture of that because I was hanging on for dear life. (-;  (I'm joking, she did fine.)
I'm teaching her to drive standard, on dirt roads, in PNG.  Because I think that one day she'll appreciate being able to tell her kids where she learned to drive.

Blog Suffering

My blog has been suffering lately. Anyone who is a loyal reader has
definitely noticed the change in it. Why has that happened? Why have I
stopped writing about my work as much and how awesome PNG is?

Well, it is because of my job. I'm Chief Officer of Internal
Communication and because of that, a lot of what I do, is handle
internal items which aren't for public consumption.

My job is one that was designed to help with efficiency and unity. The
idea being, I'm supposed to be the guy who finds where problems are
being caused by a communication breakdown, and resolving those and
making sure that they don't happen again.

I'm also responsible for making sure that the people who live here, know
what is going on around them.
Right now, my concentration and purpose are important. My job doesn't
afford me as many chances to get into the village and do recordings, or
do exciting things.

Mostly I spend my days talking to people, writing up communications,
doing research and sitting in meetings. That isn't exactly exciting
blog stuff.

And yet, the job is exciting, because it's important, and useful.
When I first started I thought 'am I really going to be doing any good
here? Could it possibly be as good as recording Scripture in tok ples?'
The answer had to be no. Recording audio in the village was some of the
most exciting and rewarding work I've ever done.

But what I'm doing now, feels vital. It feels like there are only a
handful of people who have the vision I have for this ministry.

Why is it so important?

I feel we are at a crossroads. We're coming up on 60 years in this
country. There is still a lot of translation to do. There are more
jobs than we have workers. Morale has been low for a while because that
tends to happen when you are overworked.

And I have this strong impression that in order to continue getting the
Bible into the hands of Papua New Guineans, some things are going to
have to change. And whenever things change, good communication is
needed to make sure that change is clearly expressed and understood.

Since doing this work, I've had many missionaries (whom I support) offer
me words of thanks and appreciation. Part of my role is trying to make
their burdens lighter.

I am much more in a supportive servant role now than I am any kind of
photo worthy role. If I'm doing my work well, people won't notice,
because things will work smoothly.

When I was doing computers, if something broke I fixed it, and people
were excited and I was a rock star (love those CTS guys!)
When I was doing recordings, I was in the village or the studio and
meeting interesting people and it was awesome!

What I'm doing now, is not really blog worthy, and the things that are
worthy, I can't share due to confidentiality. But it is important.

I could say 'last week some friends went finish after 30 years in the
field. I was instrumental in helping people become aware of their
contribution and facilitating a chance to show them honor and
appreciation." WOW... * blog snore*. And yet, I got real satisfaction
out of knowing that a couple finished well here, instead of leaving
burned out and angry.

So I'll ask for some grace on my blog as I'll be sharing more of our
'saturday' stuff than our mon-weds stuff.

Third Culture Kid Moment

My daughter yesterday was calling to help arrange a surprise party for a
friend turning 17.
One of the people she needed to call was a Korean friend named
'Seonghwan' (pronounced sung wahn).
Without knowing it, she accidentally dialed the wrong number and reached
the place of a Papua New Guinean.
A man answered the phone.

Syd: "Hello is Seonghwan there?" - she asked assuming it was
Seonghwan's dad.
Man: "yes."
pause....... silence.... my daughter assumed the man was going to go
fetch his son.
Man: "What do you want?"
Syd: "Seonghwan."
Man: "I'm someone."
My daughter, thinking this man did not sound like Seonghwan, slowly
realized the mistake and the miscommunication.

Syd: "I'm sorry, I wasn't asking for 'someone' I was asking for
Seonghwan, I think I've dialed the wrong number."

*click*

As she told this story to her dad at dinner, I was SO hoping for a
'who's on first' unraveling but it stopped pretty quick as she realized
what was going on. Still funny.

10/22/2015

About the Book

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Call-Missionary-Chad-Owens/dp/1478753137/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Well it's been a while since the book I wrote has been available to the
public (8 months).
In that time, we've returned to PNG. I told myself 'I'll work on
publicizing this book when I have the time, maybe on weekends in PNG.'

I haven't had the time.
We've been very busy. In fact Kendal and I have been more busy this
term, on average, than in other terms.
As a result I forgot about publicizing the book.

Not a lot of people back in PNG mentioned my book to me, so I figured
they heard about it and didn't care. Or worse, they read it and didn't
like it.

Come to find out, a lot of people didn't know about it. They were
asking me "WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL US!?" and "AM I IN IT?"

I was surprised people seemed to care. I have to admit, I'm often
surprised by what people care about. There was a modicum of hubbub when
we imported our truck. People seem to want to come see it and touch it
and stuff. When I expressed surprise at this, friends said "well yeah!
it's something new and exciting."

So today I checked out my book on Amazon. Apparently there are 11
reviews, a majority from people I am not sure that I know. So that's
good, it seems to be reaching people and having an impact. I'm glad of
that. I've said from the beginning that this is really something up to
God to use. If it is useful to someone, I suspect He'll bring it to
their attention.

Still, it's nice to see people happy with the book. I still don't have
time to publicize it much, so if you know someone who needs to read it,
let them know!

Thanks
-Chad

10/17/2015

Goat on a truck lift


At the autoshop, they have a goat.  The goat was standing on the truck lift, and I was thinking 
"he needs his hooves rotated"

anyone with a better caption?

Ura friends

You may recall that a few years ago I spent 3 weeks in a village and did a recording to dub a Luke video in the Ura language.  

Two of the friends I made in the village came to visit at Ukarumpa and do some translation work.  We had them over for dinner so that I could introduce my family to them.

It was an enjoyable evening of visiting.  To my right is Boaz, to my left is Mangseng.

Boaz spoke to me and told me that since we did that video dubbing, hundreds of his people have seen and heard about what Jesus did for them.  I was told that one man had heard it on the radio and said that he finally understood in his skin, his whole body, what Christ did.

The message was going viral, via cell phones and the radio.  And though no official screening of the video was ever scheduled, the people were passing the film amongst themselves.  

He told me that though some people recognize his voice, and heard stories of me and my coming to do the work, most everyone doesn't know him, or me.  But God knows.  And the work we did has reached hundreds of people.

I was really touched by him taking the time to share that with me. I had no idea that the video we did was affecting so many people.  It is wonderful to see God's Word and the Gospel being so absorbed by these people.  

It was enjoyable to see old friends, and the unexpected update on the results of that work was a bonus!! God is really great.  You don't always get a moment like that when you're in ministry.


For a ride

My son on a ride in PNG.

Not Nerf



10/07/2015

It's my ATV



The other day I was outside, driving to work on my ATV.  I was going very slowly, looking around at the beauty of Papua New Guinea.  And a huge smile crept across my face.  This is my therapy.

But after a while I thought 'why do I have this huge smile?'  Is it the freedom? Being outdoors? The scenery?  Why this huge grin, every day? I feel like people are looking at me saying 'why is he so happy?'

And it dawned on me today.
Sorry this isn't a super spiritual post.

The 'put put put' sound my ATV makes, reminds my inner child of the Autopia ride at Disneyland.  And how as a kid I always wanted to jump the track and drive tha gas powered car freely around the park.  And now, here I am, a grown man, doing just that!  I had the realization when looking up at my desk today that has one solitary Disney pin on the wall.  Years ago I traded all of my pins for this one.



I love this place. (PNG, not Disneyland, but I love that place too).



10/04/2015

Thankfulness in gallons per inch

My daughter occasionally used to say 'we never use math in a practical
way'. We've been really short of water these days, and today it rained,
hard but short. It rained about 2mm worth. Not much. I wanted to show
everyone 'although it did just rain, we still need to conserve.'

So... FIRST you measure the width and length of your roof.
Then multiply those two numbers to get your square footage.
My roof has 3 parts, so I did this for all three parts, and then added
them all together.

1756 sq.ft of roof.

Then I multiplied by .56 which will give you the amount of water
produced per inch of rain assuming 90% efficiency. Since my gutters are
only slightly leaky I'm comfortable assuming 90%.

That gave me 983.36 gallons p/inch or, 39.3 gallons p/mm or 148 liters
p/mm (I'm rounding for simplicity)

So now the kids know, if it rains a single millimeter, we'll get near 40
gallons of water.

the stats I used for the average water consumption (drinking/potable,
dishes,laundry, etc) per person per day is: 150litres (that is using UK
stats, US stats are much higher). or 40 gallons. Our family consumption
p/day would be 120 gallons p/day when NOT in conservation mode.

80litres for a bath
45litres for a 5 min. shower
50-100litres for a wash of laundry
15 litres for doing dishes (we don't have a dish washer)
+ drinking water around 3 litres p/day.

Given that we only produce nearly 148litres/40 gallons for a mm of
water, then that little flash rain we got covers the need for only 1 of us.

That opened their eyes.
THEN, I decided to calculate how long it would take to fill our tanks.

PRAISE to God, that in the midst of this drought, we have not run out of
rain water in our tanks. This is because we have a LOT of storage
capacity. I do not know if we were the only ones to not run dry here,
but it is thanks to the fact that we were bought a new tank a while ago,
and kept it through the move. When we looked for houses to move to (2
yrs ago) water storage was a huge issue for me. Knowing we'd have 2
teenagers, and knowing that a drought was predicted 4 years ago, water
storage was more than once a reason I said 'no' to house.

God provided us with water storage, and we are thankful. We got to
within 2 weeks of running out, enacted our emergency stores, and then it
rained and now we're at 1/2 capacity again (most people are full).

Our storage capacity is 4000 gallons of water, plus an emergency 400
gallons.
With that in mind, it would take us 4inches of rain to completely fill
our tanks if they were empty. So far, we've got a little under 2 inches
of rain.

I also designed a clever little water tank meter, so that we can easily
monitor our water level. Otherwise you have to tap on a metal water tank
to tell where the water level is (or pour hot water down the side and
watch the condensation mark).

(you tend to learn a few tricks regarding water).

That all said... the way I figure it, if we go 3 months without rain, we
will have depleted our reserves. This assumes tight water conservation
methods kick in once we reach half tank.


So we're thankful for the rain, and we're able to actually measure that
thankfulness in gallons per inch. (or litres per mm)

10/01/2015

Odd Conversation

Are you prepared to have a conversation with someone who sits down and
says 'Tell me about Christ.' ?

That happened to me today.

Are you then prepared to have a conversation with someone who says 'I
disagree with you and here is why.' ?

That also happened to me today.

I believe I would answer both of those questions with an affirmative
'yes'. But that isn't what was really happening.

Today as I was at work doing my job, and in fact, on a Friday being very
busy about it, I was asked by the receptionist to speak to a man who
walked in off the street. My office is placed inside the Director's
office but I am not a director. I happen to sit here because my job is
communication. So, when a man came looking for a director, and they
were all out of the office, I was asked to field it.

I showed the man in. He was a Papua New Guinean man, we spoke a mixture
of English and Tok Pisin. He was definitely educated about the Bible
and able to quote Scripture. I kept trying to discover why he was here,
what he wanted.

So, (not for the first time) I played a little bi-lingual back and forth
trying to discern the man's intentions. Often times a man says 'tell me
about Christ.' and there intention is not to learn about Christ at all.
God must have prepared me for this meeting years ago because the first
time I was asked this in country I did an entire Gospel presentation
only to find out the person didn't want to know any of that.

After going back and forth in a friendly way, talking about the Bible
and our beliefs, I gathered that the man wanted to come and speak to
leadership. He saw us as responsible for translating the Bible and
wanted to convince us to clear up a few misunderstandings. Mostly he
was friendly and wanted to be heard.

He believes that Christ has not come yet. That the Bible is talking
prophetically about a savior yet to come. And because we have not yet
identified who Christ is, we're still in sin. He believes the church
was wrong in assuming that Christ has already come and he is going
around talking to everyone in leadership about his ideas. He kept
quoting Daniel to show me he was right. Of course, one verse does not a
theology make.

I kindly told him I disagreed with him, shared with him a brief Gospel
message of who Christ was and is, and is to come.
We agreed to disagree, and he thanked me for listening to him. He
wanted to be sure that I heard him and got his name known, in case we
wanted to ask him questions in the future.

And then we shook hands and he left.

Unexpected and odd conversations like this happen frequently amongst
folks here. For me, in this office job, this is a first. But I've had
these interesting conversations outside of the office before.

It is during these conversations that I say a quick prayer "God, give me
the words to say, this person has come to me probably on your behest,
what do you want to share with them today?" I never know what happens
after that.

You never know when those chances are going to come, and I tell you, it
makes me want to continue memorizing more Scripture so I can be more
prepared for them. I'm actually kind of excited that even in a desk job
that supports Bible Translation, I can have these face to face meetings.

9/29/2015

Ren i kam



It is hard to photograph rain.


Folks in No. California can appreciate this, the rain came today. 
Well it came a few days ago, but today was the first time it rained during the day, and finished filling up the water tanks of many who have not had water.
This year we went a record amount of time before seeing rain.  In fact, since returning from furlough we hadn't seen it, until a few days ago.

This place comes alive with Rain.  The dust settles, the grass starts getting green again, people breath a sigh of relief because it truly affects the food supply in the country.  Because of this year's record breaking drought, there are several who are having difficulties in this country.  Imagine hiking miles to find drinkable water, or having large portions of your food supply being eaten by bugs.

But the rain came.
Every week a few times a week I have been talking to my PNG friends and asking how they are doing, how is their food supply.  I want to share with you one story.

One friend, each week would say 'God is good to us, we are okay.'  And each week things were getting worse.
Last week she told me 'our children don't like the food we have to eat, because it is not their favorite, but I tell them, God is good to us, He gave us food, so we will not starve.  And he will send the rain because He is a God who hears the prayers of those who love him.'

Each week it got harder for her to say this.  As a family we would help when we can, but wisely, so as not to cause cultural problems.  We conserve water heavily.  My kids know what a 1 min. shower is and how to take one.  But our food supply was never at risk because we don't rely solely on gardens. Well, perhaps our fresh fruits and vegetable supply was.

Truly, this drought has brought many closer together as we reach out to show love, and care, and concern, and offer help.

Today, when the rain came, the people around me, at work, rejoiced.  Having rain means so much in a tropical country.  The ground is like a sponge, soaking it up.  The same way our spirits are soaking up the encouragement that it brings.





9/21/2015

Now and then

The govt systems have made progress in then last 4/years. The top license I got in 2011. The bottom one, today.  They are making a go at cleaning up traffic regulations as well. 

Renewing Our Licenses

In 2007 we got our Driver's license in Kainantu, they last for 3 years.  Right after renewal, the Traffic Offices burned down.  They relocated some time after with new policies that involve multiple steps now.  Which today we went through.  Thankfully one of the ideas I helped engineer was a sort of local 'wikipedia' in which friends contributed hints towards going through the steps successfully.

Please don't see this as a complaint, in fact, the entire process went very smoothly for us today (comparatively)  AND we all came home with licenses in under 4 hours! Praise and thanks to God for answering prayer!


Step 1: Pray.
Step 2: Call ahead at 8am to see if all the offices are open.  I did that, and was told they were open, and they would have receipt paper, and card stock for printing licenses.
Step 3: Drive to town with a truck load of people, as many as can fit.
Step 4: Go to the Bank, stand in line in the hot sun while they are an hour and 15 minutes late to open.  (Heard a PNG man lecture the guards about opening on time, to which the guard replied "You're thinking like a white man! This is PNG! Time is different here."  But it was funny to see the two men arguing.)


We got there early, and though we had to wait for it to open, we did not have to wait in this line, we were at the front of it! Total bank time, 30 minutes (that's FAST!)

Step 5: Pay at the bank, get a receipt then go to the receipt office (5 minute drive).  We did, it was closed, they were installing new computers.  We were told it would be online soon.  Ironically, when it opened, they didn't use a single computer to process our payment, it was all done with a paper ledger book.

Step 6: Realize the Traffic Office is closed, though I was told it was open on the phone... try to call again, no answer, decide to wait for an hour while doing some in town shopping.  While shopping, find canned snails, and snap a photo.  Interesting little item collecting dust.  No thank you.


Step 7: Finally ring through on a cell phone number (Thank you Ukapedia!) and reach a lady who, after some debate, decided to agree to come open the office.

Step 8: Arrive back at the receipt office, computers are installed, and we hand our bank receipt for which, they return us with another receipt.



Step 9: The lady arrives at the traffic office, opens it up, and we hand her the receipts, as well as get our license printed out.  YAY!!!  Funny thing was, I was too tall for the camera setup, so I had to stand on my knees and they put the camera on some thick books.  Improvising, it all worked out.  (I was last in line so I didn't get a photo of this, but imagine me where Kendal is, standing on my knees)  The PNG woman in the pic below, came from Goroka, which is 2.5 hours away.  When she told me this morning the dept. was open, she meant it WOULD be open when she got there.  We arrived before her, and so once she showed and opened the offices, I made sure to express my thanks.  Getting this all done in close to 3 hours and in 1 trip, is a huge success, and we were thankful for her answering her cell phone.  We were thankful for cell phones, and we were thankful for community contributed information that gave us the number!  Today was a success in many ways, and I'm glad it worked out well in the end!



Step 10: Return home praising God that even though there were a few bumps, we came home with licenses!!!




Nice Smile!!!!





9/15/2015

Waxing Poetic


so I've been learning 3d modelling with my son using the software "Blender" with the intention of printing it out on a 3d printer.

Only none of our designs have printed out properly.  

Two days ago my son committed himself to a homework assignment in which he seals a letter he wrote with his own custom signet in wax.

Yesterday he offers me a design to print out on the printer.  I was proud of him for doing that, except that as of yet, I have not been able to figure out how to print out my designs.  

The learning curve was steep and I saw no straight forward process to learn, so as usual, I learned using google, forums, and a whole lot of intuition.

Well, after a few hours of reading I discovered there is software out there to help you find the errors in your design.  It took a while to download, but once I did, I instantly saw the problems in Calvin's design, we fixed them together, and then, about 15 minutes later, he was holding it in his hands.

I had an old piece of wood lying around, I glued the signet to the wood to make a nice peg handle.

We then melted crayons to provide the wax, pressed the signet stamp to the wax and.... viola... blob.

We tried again after coating the stamp with a little oil, and waiting longer for it to cool... and bingo!

One personalized, totally unique, high tech but low tech, creative homework assignment completed.

And, we both learned a ton of things that will make future designs go well.

I think we turned a corner today, and my confidence in our ability to design and print our own stuff has soared!

Today is a holiday in this country.  And this is one of the things we chose to do for fun.
-Chad

9/10/2015

Fixing power

The CAM team hard at work to remedy the electric problems we've been having. Hoping to have an end to the outages and low voltage low in November!  

-Chad

Surge

Power surges today killed the washing machine. I took apart the control panel and found the culprit on the logic board and am utilizing the services at CTS to repair. 

-Chad

My wife

I dropped in in my wife at her new desk. 

-Chad

9/04/2015

The Weekend


Well, what did we do this weekend?
It was completely about the kids.

Friday - we set up a test for outdoor movie night, using an old beat up projector and a white sheet, we prepped for next week.  We also had the 2 kids of friends staying over for the week while their parents were in a remote location.

Saturday - being that water is tight, my son and his guest, and I setup a water pump with hoses to move water from one tank to another to give us more drinking water for the next few weeks.  Then we found some sticks and whittled them down for roasting over the bonfire.  We took our bonfire setup and moved it (the bottom half of an old 55 gallon drum with a wheel hub in it.  The benches I made years ago out of a tree that fell during the wet season on our property.  Kendal made home made marshmallows (none in the store at the moment) for smores!!! YES, HOME MADE MARSHMALLOWS!.  I printed up a few small trickets for prizes on the 3d printer, fixed a shower head.  We had over the high schoolers  for a 'hang out' night.  And also several adults.   Oh yes, I made a gigantic bubble wand and some home made bubble juice for big giant bubbles!  Trying to resolve ALL leaks in the house because water is short, I printed out a small plastic gasket/washer for the shower head and fixed that as well.  (turned out it didn't work, so I ended up using a store bought one, but hey, it was worth a try)

Sunday - we had friends over with little kids, so we blew bubbles.  I had to print some bubble wands out on the 3d printer for the little ones to play with.  Did a few magic tricks, etc.


Overall, this weekend has been really busy with fun stuff.  My 3d printer I brought was a small kit (the QU two up) that I had to build myself.  Today I had a few kids over who had been learning how to use Blender and showed them the printer.

I bought a few inexpensive tech gadgetty things on furlough and brought them back.  Why?  Because when I saw how the kids were using the arduinos, the 3d printers, the drones, the robotics at the maker faire on furlough... my first thought was 'the people at Ukarumpa have GOT to see this.'

Sometimes by living here, the kids grow up not knowing what they want to do.  There isn't much tv or movies, there isn't much outside contact, (there is some but not as much exposure as in the U.S.) .... and the kids aren't always sure what they want to do.

So show them robotics, show them 3d design, show them 3d printing, show them quadrotor drones.... and maybe some of them will get an inkling of what they want to learn in college!

And plus it is fun for me to learn and play with too!  Still, all in all, with all these gadgets, I have under $500 invested.  I wasn't going to spend a thousands so I got the 'missionary' version of these things.

For me, when I was a youngster, someone showed me something that affected the path of the rest of my life.  And I've been forever thankful to that person.  If I could do that for one other kid here, it would be something I'd enjoy.