If you've read "Sleeping Coconuts" then you have to watch this video

It is 30 minutes long, so it's not a quick view.  I won't write a lot of words to convince you to watch it.  I myself hit play and was compelled and couldn't turn away.

I know John and Bonnie.  My family currently lives in a home they previously owned.  This video follows their life as missionaries in PNG.  It documents how they met, how they raised their family and then how they dealt with a huge tragedy.

For all of the people who ask us 'what it life like in PNG' ... the answer... is this video.

On a personal note, Kendal and I have both used our skills to support the people you see in this video. We have prayed over them, cried with them, recorded with them, taught their kids, and more.

"It takes a team to keep us here, doing the work of Bible translation....." 27:09


Jesus Film

Though this video may seem a tad slow to you, rest assured it is exciting to me.
Why?  Because it shows three things dear to my heart:
1 - Jesus
2 - Papua New Guineans learning to do it themselves, for themselves
3 - Video

For those of you (like I used to be) who have no idea what the Jesus Film is, let me explain.
Many years ago, a movie was produced about the life of Christ.  The script was adapted from the book of Luke.

So, anyone who translates the book of Luke from the Bible, has only a little bit of work to adapt it into the movie depiction of Christ's birth, ministry, death and resurrection.  It ends in an altar call.

It is a very powerful thing for someone to see Christ speak in their own heart language, with their eyes and to hear it with their ears.

When this film is shown, people weep, shout, and become aware that Christ is REAL and ALIVE!

I have been involved in the recording, dubbing, editing, mastering, etc... of the Jesus Film in a few languages.  This video shows you that we're using TRAINING, to multiply our efforts.

Instead of 1 technician doing 3 Jesus Films in a year, that 1 tech, trains dozens of PNGians to do it, and hopefully within 10 years, 100 Jesus Films are out there, being shown on cell phones and televisions and bringing people to a saving relationship with Christ.



Today in church our pastor talked about these online video reunions of military personnel coming home and surprising their family.  It got me to thinking.
As a missionary, you do reunions more often than most people.  You say goodbye and you say hellos.

I don't have a word for it, I might could make one up, maybe I will… let's call it 'Stunderful'….
It is this sensation that happens when something really good happens to you that warms you to your soul that you were not expecting.  But that's not all of it.  It is the specific sensation that comes from seeing someone you haven't seen in a really long time, and weren't expecting to.  Or, maybe you were expecting to, but you weren't expecting how good it would feel to see that person.

I've had encounters where I ran into someone and was surprised at how good for my soul it was to see that person.  It surprised me.  I didn't anticipate that seeing that person was like medicine to my spirit.

Hopefully I've expressed this emotion well enough.  It's when you walk away going 'wow it was really good to see them, so good I'm surprised at how light my soul feels right now!"

Maybe it's just certain personality types that understand what I'm talking about.  My wife tells me she gets it, but she knows it'll be good to see some people.  Me, it sort of sneaks up on me.

Like these military reunions.

I'm thinking, take that 'stunderful-ness' and multiply it by infinity, and that's what it'll be like to be in heaven with my Savior.  My soul, longs to be with Him, and I don't even realize how much.  So that surprising day when I finally am united with him… will be like these reunions a million times over.

How can you not look forward to that?

How can you not want as many people as possible to experience that?

This world needs the love of Christ and many of them won't allow themselves to run into His open arms.


Powerful Video

I've seen a lot of dramas and sketches, but the one in this video is powerful, and an excellent depiction of how the people of PNG understand what the Word of God means to them.

I teared up watching this, because these people 'GET IT'.  But they didn't always get it.  Not even a year ago, they didn't get it.   God changes lives, and works in people's hearts.

As you hear Mack and Doris explain this drama... realize that for a very long time, they were never completely sure if the Kandawo people would ever truly 'get it'. And then they see a drama unfold before them that they had no involvement in planning.... you can imagine how reaffirming seeing something like that would be.

Watching people you have ministered to for a long time, communicate to you now that 'yes we get it, we understand, God wins!'.... means more than I can say.  This video does a good job.


Enga news

Reason to celebrate brought to you by our friend and co-worker Adam Boyd:

Returning Anxiety

When I was a young man, on Sundays, those last ten minutes of the drive to church I'd start to get nervous.  I'd get a real bunch of butterflies in my stomach, anticipating that soon I'd be amongst peers.

I hate that feeling and I have worked disciplines into my life over the years to combat that 'fish out of water' anxiety.
I have tested those disciplines by purposely throwing myself into situations that have made me uncomfortable.  I have tried public acting, performing on stage, serving behind the scenes, running audio for church.  I have played football in college, and basketball knowing I was no good at it.  I have held on to one motto:

"Never let being bad at something keep you from doing it.  If the only reason you have NOT to do something is because you're nervous, that's a bad excuse not to do it."

I have tried a great many things that would normally make me quite nervous, and each time I have pushed myself passed it.

From riding my first upside-down roller-coaster to moving to Papua New Guinea.

Stepping outside my comfort zone has become a way of life for me, and it is almost always accompanied by a strong sense of queasiness. 

Through years of hard work, I have turned that reaction into a tool.  Now I know, if something makes me nervous, it might be worth doing.
If the idea of taking on a new venture DOESN'T bring that sensation to me, then maybe it is because it is boring and not worth my time.
If the idea of doing something DOES, then maybe it'll be a challenge, and I'll learn some new skills and get excited by it.

In front of me now, are two such challenges that I'm committed to overcoming.
The first is a new job.  A position of leadership.  Something I've never aspired to.  I have no desire to be responsible for OTHER people.  I have me, and my family and that is enough for me.  Being the man who other people turn to for help, guidance and being an example, makes me nervous.  That nervousness is how I know it is a job worth doing well.

Also in front of me, is returning to PNG where there are a lot of new and young faces.  Hip kids, cool kids, just like those days back in Sunday School.  The idea of trying to integrate and make new friends, forge new relationships brings back the butterflies.

We've been telling our kids for years as MK's 'always be making new friends, always be welcoming to new faces, your friendship may mean the world to them! So keep stretching yourselves.' 

Well now the shoe is on my foot as well.  I will be modelling this for my kids as I try to extend myself to making new friends.

My wife and I have committed to always be forging new relationships.  Never closing ourselves off to new people.  It means keeping a wound always open, never putting bandaids on it.  IT means you may end up saying tearful goodbyes more often than not.  But you never know what God will bring about through relationships.  It is truly a discipline.  Our status quo would say 'they'll be gone soon, so why bother with the pain?' 

To me this is the epitome of Agape love.  Putting yourself out there, means that you're giving of yourself.  Each new friendship takes something away from you, and sometimes it gives back.  My interpretation of Agape is, whenever you reach out to give of yourself, there is always something available to give.  Even when you don't think there is.  That's the miracle of it, God is supplying the material you have available to give.

There is always a part of you, available to love others.  Agape.

You don't have to be a missionary to understand that.  It is easy to get socially isolated in your own home country.  God blesses us through people.  Even in times of hurt, when you want to retract, I would challenge you to reach out, and make friendships that you can share Christ's love through.


thoughts on returning to PNG

Typically I avoid public displays of exuberance.  It doesn't mean I don't feel elation and joy, I do.
But I typically do not express that loudly, and in public with song and dance.  The reason why is two fold.

1: I don't like to make people uncomfortable.  Whether it be, I'm happy and you're not, or you don't like how I look when I dance, or my happiness has come because your team has lost, I simply don't like to make you feel uneasy.

2: When I get overly happy, people suspect I'm on some sort of drugs, because I get really hyper.

Well, I'm breaking that rule. Because I just can't help it.  57 days until we return.

Question:  Owens family, how do you feel about returning to PNG?
Answer: Happy.

Question: Owens family does that mean you'll be happy to leave the U.S.?
Answer: No, we'll be sad to leave.  We're always sad to leave, and always happy to return.  We were sad to leave PNG a year ago, but happy to return to the U.S. and now, it is vice versa.  Sad to leave the U.S. and happy to return to PNG.

Question: Then doesn't that mean you're always sad and always happy since you're always moving?
Answer: No.  It means we have two homes, and for every sad, there is a happy, we live in balance.

God has built humans this way, to be emotional in relationships.

Right now, we're happy! We are celebrating that we get to go back! God has paved the way!

To quote Balky and Larry Hamliton:  "Now we are so happy, we do the dance of joy!"


Explaining Bible Translation

People sometimes ask us 'is that all that you do? Make a Bible? What about fresh water? AIDS? Literacy?' We're also asked "850 different languages? Aren't some of those dialects? Can't you just make quick changes to existing Bibles?

The answers are usually more involved than we have time to fairly deal with the topic. I find it frustrating that we have to constantly boil down years of training and experiencing and living, into sound bytes that don't do reality justice.

This video is one of my favorites, and yet, I'm rarely able to show it.  Why? Because it is 4 minutes long and people don't have the patience for it.  The times we've tried to show it, we see people drifting out of attention.

The reason I like it is because it talks about the HOW we do what we do, why it takes many people of many types.  It explains how we work along side Papua New Guineans and utilize their skills.  It talks about how we often do other things to bridge gaps and bring healing.

It talks about the process as a whole.  Often times I feel like the questions we are asked all peck away at one big picture.  It is VERY hard to give someone the big picture.  This video does a good job of that in only 4 minutes.  It is still just an overview, each little title and video have hours of stories behind them.  But it is the best attempt I've seen at covering the material.

We live in a day and age where complex problems aren't sufficiently investigated because most of us want sound byte answers.  Finding real solutions requires much more understanding than a soundbyte can offer us.  There is too much information in the world, for us to read all of it.  We have to discern what we pay our attention on, and many people choose to pay attention on things which require little time.

Bible Translation requires a LOT of time.  This month's dedicated New Testament took 23 years to create.

It is part of our youtube/facebook/twitter generation, that we want information boiled down more quickly for us.  And if it isn't quick enough, or simple enough, we move on to the next thing.

Bible Translation takes decades.  It takes a lot of people, a lot of effort.

This video is no soundbyte, but it is the most inclusive thing I've seen in the window of 4 minutes.

Take a gander, it will be worth your time if you have questions about Bible Translation and our role in it.