Training Dedication

One of our major foci (focuses?) in PNG is training.  We want to equip Papua New Guineans to engage with, translate, read, preach from, etc.... the Word of God

Today was the dedication of some new training facilities in Ukarumpa. (new classrooms and office)

new classrooms require new networking, which I was a part of configuring and setting up.  We had to create an entirely new and secure wifi network and it took a long time to find a mix of 'easy to join' and 'secure enough to join'. 

A team of 8 I.T. guys worked together to pull the fibre optic cable through several underground junctions, to make it to this building.  Can you see the bright orange cable under this lawn?  No... because it's 4 feet under it! (-;

Carrots as decoration!  Is that Sago?... and Bananas too! 

10 Days of Praise: Day 10

God works in Mysterious Ways.  This famous phrase is never found in the Bible.  The closest we come is Romans 11:33: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"

This is day 10, and I had to choose which item to give praise about.

-There are some stories of 'mysterious people' coming in and out of our lives in the 'nick of time' to bless us and those around us, with some small talent that was so uniquely timed that it had to be of God.  Were they angels? Just people sensitive to God's nudges?  Have you ever looked back on your life and met someone like that?  ….. we've seen it happen a few times.  Someone just arrives from seemingly no-where, fills a specific need we had, encourages us, and then is gone, and we never see them again. (three specific stories come to mind, the heavy equipment operator, the jungle chef, and the old man…ask me later)

We definitely praise God for these mysterious miracles!  But should it be our day #10 entry?

-What about the fact that our son is turning 14 on Sunday.  Praise to God for him and his contribution to our family:

Son: "Dad, in the future I'm going to invent time travel."
Me: "No you won't.
Son: "Yes I will, and I'll prove it, when I invent time travel I'll come back to this very moment and prove you wrong."
*blink… blink.. wait
Me: "Well, I hate to break it to you son but you didn't invent time travel."

We definitely Praise God for Him.

-What about all the people who have been blessing us this year/month/day/hour?  What about the generosity of spirit we've seen, the gifts given, the loving emails?  Nah, we did that in day 3 (-;

-What about the power of God's Word to change lives?  The people in PNG giving their hearts and lives over to Christ after getting the Word in their heart  language the first time?  We praise God for that too!  We're reading the updates of our co-laborers in PNG and hearing awesome stories (which I'll be blogging)

There is really a whole lot to Praise God for.  10 days doesn't cover it.  We give thanks to God every day, we lift His name up every day.

So what should we do for Day 10?

oh…. I dunno… maybe…

…… this just in.  We're at 100% financial support!!!  We're officially able to return to Papua New Guinea.  (happened minutes ago).

That sounds like a pretty good one.  With our deadline of May 1, this Friday, we're at our goal on Weds.

ASK ANY MISSIONARY, the money always comes in at the last minute.  I don't know why God does it that way, but He does.  And we KNOW He does and its a practice of faith to not get overly freaked out as the deadline draws nearer.

We told ourselves 'May 1 seems impossible, we have too much support to raise by then.'  
but then we reminded ourselves 'God has always done it this way, He reminds us that He does it, we don't do it with our own power.  HE does.'
and we calm down, we sit, we pray, we work, and we watch it happen.

And God has done it again.  *enter your favorite triumphant music here*

I was so hoping we'd be able to state that as the 10th day of Praise, but I wasn't sure because, well, May 1 is still 2 days away (-;  Maybe I should have hedged my bets and made it 12 days of Praise!!!

God is awesome, He is faithful, He sends us encouragement, He brings people together to glorify Him, He causes miracles, He changes lives, He repairs brokenness, and enables us to love the unlovable.


(maybe I'll tell you some of those mysterious people stories in another day's blog).

P.S. though we are excited about the financial goal being met, it in no way trumps or devalues the priority of the other items we Praise God for!  We don't want to give the impression that we're all about money.  In fact, these 10 days have been about changing our recent focus from our financial needs and onto God and praising Him.  (hmmn, interesting how that works out innit?)

However, God deserves praise for that which He has brought about, and this is definitely one of them.  Now we can stop talking about money and get on about the business that money is going to support!  Be watching this blog for future updates on the exciting things happening in this ministry in PNG!


10 Days of Praise: Day 9

On my mind today is the Nepal quake.  The deathcount is reported at over 4,000.  Yes our organization has people there, and yes they are all safe.  We're told to give thanks to God in all things but events of this magnitude leave me tongue tied, and emotional.

Part of me thinks 'thank God that we didn't lose anyone.'  But then I condemn myself for being so selfish and thinking only of those we know.  What about the loss of thousands we don't know?  How many of them will be with Christ in heaven?  So I can't bring myself to say that out loud.

Part of me thinks 'God is powerful, the Word says his voice shook the earth.  I am reminded that God is not just one sided.  He's powerful.'  But I can't bring myself in the face of a disaster like this to say 'Praise God, because He is powerful!'

I also can't bring myself to say the many things people say at times like this because they mean well but don't know exactly what to say.

And that's when I arrived at how to praise God today.

When we don't know how to pray, don't know what words to say, don't know exactly how to give thanks in a situation that seems thankless, nor praise Him at a time when we may be wondering how He let it happen… God has provided for us.

God has given us His Holy Spirit who intercedes for us.  

In horrible times like this, and many others, my heart desires to be close to God.  I desire to reach out and comfort and help others.  But I'm often stunned and at a loss for how to proceed.

God provided the answer in those times.

Romans 8:26 (NIV) In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God.

John 14 calls the Holy Spirit, 'comforter' 'counselor' 'advocate' (depending on your translation).  The original word was 'parakletos' which means 'to comfort, encourage, lend aid.

So today, in the wake of the Nepal quake, when I'm tongue tied, when there are thousands who need encouragement, and aid… 

I PRAISE GOD for the Holy Spirit.

We are told to bear the fruit of the spirit, which, is exactly what people need in their time of….need.  They need love, peace, patience, kindness and goodness.  They need these things.

God knew we were only human.  God knew we'd need help.  Help understanding, help coping, help praying.

He sent us help.

I Praise God for the Helper, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit!

(and I also am trusting that He is interpreting my prayers for Nepal right now).

10 Days of Praise: Day 8

Missionary financial support is trending away from churches and towards individuals.  For our time though, we have been largely individually supported.  For many years we have felt like the lone wolves out in the missions world when people ask us about churches.

This week we got some exciting news.  My home church has decided to join us in ministry and include us in their missions team! (Global Support Team)!!!

That makes 3 churches total for us, which is an all time high and lends us more stability, emotional comfort, and inclusion than we have ever had!

We want to Praise God for 3 churches today.  Because each church has an awesome story attached to it.

PRAISE GOD for the faithfulness of Bethany!

PRAISE GOD for the longevity of Bethany!

This is my wife's home church, and the church we were married in.  This amazing group of people have been by our side since the beginning of our time in PNG.  There were times when Bethany was the only church that came along side us, was encouraging us, etc.  We also praise God that other churches have joined us over the years… but Bethany will forever have a place in our heart as having been there during the entire journey.

Praise God for a little church in Castle Rock, Colorado and all they have meant to us this year! 

Pathmakers church is an awesome place, you step inside and you can feel that God is present there.  It is hard to quantify for anyone who has never experienced a sense of God's presence in a place, but this group of people definitely is doing something right.  If you are in the area, and need a church home, check them out.

We THANK GOD for you guys and your encouragement to us, and your loving on us. 

PRAISE GOD for the awesome way we found each other.  It's a cool story, we met through a common friend that I went to college with, and it turns out that the lead pastor is an old Sunday school chum! 

PRAISE GOD because He brings about relationships that glorify Him!

For the first time in our 8 year ministry (so far) we have 3 churches who have joined our team!! Three!  You probably know how much I love the number 3!!! 

If you ask most missionaries, 3 is a very low number of churches (thus see Day of Praise #4).  Individuals make up the bulk of our support.  Having three churches supporting us is a miracle to us.

Some of you may know this, but our history of getting churches to join our team has been riddled with difficulty and rejection.  It is a long story.  Through it all God was faithful. 

As of this last week, we have 3 … count them, one, two, three… supporting churches!  THAT IS SO AWESOME!!!!  It means that we have a home!  It means we have leadership who will pray for us, council us, pastor us when we return!

It means more stability for us.

PRAISE GOD from whom all of these blessings flowed!

PRAISE GOD for the youth ministry at Calvary who have loved on our kids this furlough year!

PRAISE GOD for the leadership at Calvary making wise decisions in outreach and ministry!

We're pretty pumped about this.  We normally keep our support relationships quiet and confidential, but it is really hard to have a blog about praise and not list the things we are excited about!

We Praise God for these three churches.  Not the buildings, but the people.  We would encourage anyone not taking advantage of having a loving family available to you, to consider finding a church family of your own.  When we're overseas, church takes on a different connotation.  We so enjoy having a place to return to, where people can hug you, love on you, comfort you, and a place where you can serve others as well.

A lot of people in our generation, don't attend church.  I feel like they are missing out.  Missing out on seeing God moving in the lives of people, missing out on opportunities to love others, serve others, reach the community around you, and contribute to bringing up the next generation of christian leadership.  

We are thankful to God for these three churches and the sacrifices they have made for this ministry!  We PRAISE GOD that we have you in our lives!


10 Days of Praise: Day 7

Today just praising God because He is.  Not because of something He has done.

Praise God because He has given us His Word so we know stuff like this:

Praise God in our weakness!  This year has been one of those years where we reside in weakness.  Portions of this prayer really hit home and lift our eyes to God and out of our current situation.
God is strong, and powerful, and able to turn the world around on its head.  When our world is upside down, God can turn it around.  And when we have nothing left, God says 'it's okay you weren't doing it with your power but with mine.'  

Praise God, together, today.

1 Samuel 2 (NET Bible)
Hannah Exalts the Lord in Prayer
Hannah prayed,
"My heart rejoices in the Lord;
my horn is exalted high because of the Lord.
I loudly denounce my enemies,
for I am happy that you delivered me.
No one is holy like the Lord!
There is no one other than you!
There is no rock like our God!
Don't keep speaking so arrogantly,
letting proud talk come out of your mouth!
For the Lord is a God who knows;
he evaluates what people do.
The bows of warriors are shattered,
but those who stumble find their strength reinforced.
Those who are well-fed hire themselves out to earn food,
but the hungry no longer lack.
Even the barren woman gives birth to seven,
but the one with many children withers away.
The Lord both kills and gives life;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.
The Lord impoverishes and makes wealthy;
he humbles and he exalts.
He lifts the weak from the dust;
he raises the poor from the ash heap
to seat them with princes
and to bestow on them an honored position.
The foundations of the earth belong to the Lord,
and he has placed the world on them.
He watches over his holy ones,
but the wicked are made speechless in the darkness,
for it is not by one's own strength that one prevails.


10 Days of Praise: Day 6

Praise God for walking.

Many years ago my mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  When I heard that, the first thing I thought was 'it won't be long until she's in a wheelchair.'  That was over 15 years ago. Today she walked 3.1 miles.

We all walked with her.

Los Gatos was hosting an M.S. Walk 5k in Vasona Park.  The executive pastor of Calvary Church, Dale Gustafson, also has M.S. and pulled together a team of walkers he calls the 'Gus Bus'.

Family health is always a concern for any missionary.  You're praying that God would preserve them and not let harm befall them.  As we support each other, we're constantly praying for one another and family members.  Often we will fly back to be with family through illness.

In previous years, my family has sent us photos of them on the walk, while we were in PNG.  Each year seeing that photo has been a huge encouragement to us because it means mom is still walking!

This year however, her personal goal was to walk the entire 5,000 meters.  In previous years she had walked the shorter loop.  And since we were here, we signed up and joined for the walk.

The point of the thing is to raise money for research to a cure, and to raise awareness.  1200 people showed up!  Including 5 people on our team alone who have M.S.!!  
That's amazing.

Together, we walked.  Seeing my mom walk that entire length, put my spirit at ease about the fact that we're getting on a plane in a few weeks.  Because the health of parents is a huge concern, and not knowing about the future always weighs heavily.

So today, I PRAISE GOD for my mom's health, my dad's health.  Earlier we praised God that Kendal's mom was home from the hospital, she still needs to heal so you can pray for that.

For a few hours today, my PRAISE was:
GOD you're so faithful, my mom is still walking, and more capable this year than the previous year! AND we got to walk with her!  Thank you God for that!  It means a lot.

Look how happy she is, that she made her goal (to be honest, she was in better shape than me!)

She even photobombed us!!! (with my brother in law apparently)

So.. PRAISE GOD for fun photo moments too!  Really, every photo we see from the U.S. is an encouragement, but also a reminder that we were not there.  So being IN some fun photos is yet another reason to PRAISE GOD!


10 Days of Praise: Day 5

My wife is home!  She has returned to us, safe and sound, after 24 days apart.  That doesn’t beat our previous record of 26 days apart set earlier this year.  According to my calculations, we’ve been apart for 17% of the last year (including other shorter periods).  You know that phrase “but whose counting?”, when it’s my wife, I AM!  (-;

PRAISE GOD, that my wife is home!
PRAISE GOD, that the kids mom is home!
PRAISE GOD, that she’s safe and sound!

PRAISE GOD, for all that she does for her family and those around her!


10 Days of Praise: Day 4

Praise God for Papua New Guinean Bible Translators!   

Over the next two weeks, around 79 Papua New Guinean translators are coming to Ukarumpa to attend the Translators’ Training Course (TTC) at PILAT, with the main course running from April 29th–June 3rd and English Enrichment for a week beforehand. These translators are leaving behind their spouses and children to come and study in a very different environment from what they are used to, and can really miss their families. There are 18 different language teams attending, mostly with about 4 people in a team. 

A major focus of ours has become training Papua New Guineans to take on the task of translating and engaging with the Scriptures.  We offer several different training courses to accomplish specific tasks.  The video above is an example of the VITAL course and gives you an idea of what these courses look like.

If you've ever pulled together any kind of curriculum you understand how much work goes into even one of these courses, much less several throughout the year.  It is a huge undertaking.

When a Papua New Guinean decides to commit to helping with Bible Translation, they meet all kinds of adversity.  Negative peer pressure, possible financial problems, separation from family (if they are away on work), etc.

Finding people willing to go through the training to become Bible translators, is hard work.  Retention is also an issue.

Today we PRAISE GOD for all the men and women who have come along side us to translate the Bible, record audio bibles, act in the Jesus Films, engage in preaching from the Bible and otherwise be committed servants of God through thick and through thin!

We are thankful that these people have joined the team!  We PRAISE GOD that HE continues to raise up such people.



10 Days of Praise: Day 3

PRAISE GOD for all of the individuals who have come along side us in prayer, encouragement, financial support, one time gifts, lending furniture, places to live, cars to drive, cooked meals, hugs, and more!

PRAISE GOD for how he moves in people’s hearts and lives to join with others and accomplish awesome works!

Think of the most comfortable place you can be.  Maybe a hammock on a sunny day?  Maybe a bean bag chair with a warm blanket in front of the fire?  This is how we feel with the people who are supporting us.  We feel safe, loved, comfortable, and thankful.

PRAISE GOD for you!  For your sacrifice!  For your gifts!   God is powerful, righteous, loving and good.