Jury Rig #783


What you are looking at, is one of those laptop cooling pads with USB activated fan, duct taped to a side mounted Mac Mini.
Talk about a missionary field fix!

The fan on my main computer went out, and I installed a software to tell me if it was getting too hot.  Well, after a while it got too hot without a fan, and, wouldn't you know it, there are no Apple Stores nearby that I could go and pick up a spare internal exhaust fan.

So, I mounted the computer on its side, opened it up (left the cover off) and duct taped a make shift fan to it... and viola.. it is working!

This of course is a stop gap measure until I can get the $14 part here from the U.S.



So I have this 2010 mac mini.
I carefully downloaded the 'how to replace the hard drive' pdf with pics.
I decided to take my time doing it.

The logic board has sockets, that the various sensors and such snap into (they pry up, not pull out).  Successfully removing the connector requires a fine touch, and a glued in place socket.

Unfortunately, the glue had aged or been eaten away or something on the fan connector.. and up came the entire socket, pins and all.

I successfully did the HD swap.  But no fan.

So I went online and found 'how to re-solder the fan.'

Seeing that I needed tools and skill I didn't possess.  I laid down my torx driver, and went to bed, hoping that a friend of mine might be able to save me.

I went to my friend Wayne.

Wayne is an electronics engineer turn missionary.  His specialty is radio tech, and he's one of a dying breed of electronic repairmen.  He took one look at the tiny soldering joints, the 0.015" solder points and said 'oh yeah, I can do this.' 

When Wayne says that, you can take it to the bank.  He's one of those guys who takes the time to do something right.  Everything he does, he does completely.  He even put epoxy on the bottom of the socket to make sure it doesn't pry up again.

(not that I'm ever going inside that computer again).

When I popped that socket I gasped.  And my only thought was 'well either that was just a $700 mistake (new logic board) or, Wayne can save me for pennies'.
Wayne saved me, and it costs next to nothing.

The electronic engineer/tinkerer... the guy who can get down and dirty with capacitors and soldering irons.  The guys who time and time again save us from expensive and time consuming repairs are an awesome bunch of guys.  But they are a dying breed.

When I first got here, we had at least 3 such people on this center.  Three people who could fix a microwave, repair a power supply, or put a new motor in your fridge.
They were all over 50 when I got here.

Now there is one left, and his name is Wayne.  But Wayne won't be around forever.

And then, our only recourse will be to keep more spares on hand, wait months to order repair parts.  Because no young people are becoming electrical engineers turn missionaries.  ALL the guys in the past who have come to do this job, have had white hair.

We need some more white haired guys to come do these things!  It is an awesome skill set to have on a remote mission field.
Wayne has saved me personally and professionally so many times I can't count.  He has literally helped hundreds of people with his skill set, simply by being on the mission field.  He has repaired the X-ray machine for the clinic, radios for remote translators, laptops, solar panels, kitchen appliances, you name it.  If you plug it in, he's fixed it.

Here is a frequent scenario.
A power surge happens, a Bible translator sitting at his desk hears a 'pop!' and realizes his laptop no longer has power.  He packs it all up, goes to see Wayne. (Or the repair guys at the repair dept. which more often than not, is Wayne alone, but sometimes is some of the Papua New Guineans that  Wayne has helped to train.)  Wayne takes the laptop, opens up the power supply, finds a burned out capacitor or something, removes it, replaces it with a spare piece he has kept in stock... and the laptop is back and working that same day, and the translator is translating again that same day.  Out of pocket expense, a few pennies for the capacitor.

This is a gross simplification of what Wayne (and his ilk) do.  It's a tremendously busy and complex job that he does.  Without people like Wayne, that translator would have to wait weeks for a replacement power supply. 

So what happens when the Waynes (electrical engineers) stop coming to PNG?  A lot of things get thrown away that could be repaired.  They get replaced.  It means that translator will have to carry a few spare power supplies with him wherever he goes 'just in case'.  It means that moment where I 'gasped' and went to bed didn't have the 'saved by the bell' relief moment at the other end.

The stuff that Wayne has his hands in, fixing and repairing during work hours.  AND THEN all the things he does in his personal time, fixing items for people who simply do not have the money to buy new ones (we're missionaries!)....

 (here's Wayne repairing a boat console)

You're starting to see why people like Wayne are so useful here.

To you, and me, that pile of broken electronics is little more than junk.  To people like Wayne, that pile of junk is spare parts that could mean the difference between spending hundreds of dollars, and spending pennies.

God can use every skill set to further His kingdom.  Some skill sets are becoming more and more rare.  I seriously do not know what is going to happen when we're devoid of anyone like Wayne.  I expect a lot of things are going to break, and in our customary fashion, we'll get by and make due.  But some of us will remember the times fondly, when we could get things fixed, and we'll sigh and wonder 'what is Wayne doing now?'  If we truly run out of people with skills like Wayne, the collective electrical and electronic components will shudder in fear and pray they never die.

If you're an electrical engineer, and thinking about missions, I can tell you personally, you will be so useful where we live.  Because we don't live in a country with electronic stores or repair shops, and it takes weeks to get parts from outside the country.  If you're looking to be loved, and valued... and maybe even a little over-worked... come to PNG!


Rubber Sweat

One of the oddities of living where we are, (and I have no idea why this happens, someone explain it to me) is that rubber behaves very oddly.

It sort of, melts. Rubber bands, left unused will melt in place. Earphones and headphone covers will disintegrate or flake apart. And remote controls, which have rubber insides, sweat.

see those little beads of sweat around the pieces?

So when you return from a year's absence, there are a few things you need to do.
First, hopefully you didn't leave batteries in anything, because they will have decayed and sweat, and corroded and ruined whatever they were in.

Assuming you had the foresight to disconnect the batteries, then you may have to clean the rubber sweat from your devices. Today I found two devices whose buttons were not working. Our cordless telephone and our TV remote. So what did I do?

Electronics repairmen please excuse me for not knowing the right vocabulary or even the right techniques.

I opened them up, carefully, then removed the rubber pieces, took a rag with a degreasing agent and removed the sweated/melted rubber from the contact points on the electronics. What happened is all that 'rubber sweat' caked over the contacts and then the buttons wouldn't make a good contact to the electronics and thus not work.

 So after degreasing or removing the decayed rubber, and then exposing metal again, the contacts worked, and my remote/phone was working again. It is one of the oddities of living here, I don't know if it is the elevation, the humidity, the ants, or what... I don't really know. But, it is one of those things no one taught me, I just figured it out on my own, and fixed it.

I probably didn't do it the proper way, but I did it none the less.


Quick Update

We're back, we're settled in.
Unpacked, house is back to what it was like, and we've begun our jobs. Kendal is in the registrar again and I'm reporting to my role as Chief Officer, Internal Communications.

What does that mean? Good communication greases the skids for translation work. Bad communication is like putting the brakes on. Changes are happening so fast in this day and age, that we need to move more quickly. But you can't move a large body of volunteers without concensus, and you can't get consensus without communication.

Sorry no pics just yet, you can let us know what pics you want to see, and we'll try to post them.

It's been rather busy just getting ourselves back into the swing of things.

THE kids are super happy. They're seeing many of their friends again, our house has been a flurry of teenage activity, with people coming and going all day. It's been great.


Staffing Issues

Literacy Course

Betty touched my arm, her curly head bobbing in inquiry. “I know that it costs thousands of kina [PNG currency] to attend a school like this literacy course. So, how is it that I’m able to come? Someone must have paid my school fee—who was it?”

 “Many churches and people in our home countries have sent money to help pay your school fees so you can attend this course,” I explained. “They believe it’s important for you and your community to be able to worship God in your own language.”

 She grasped my hand with both of hers, her eyes wide and sparkling. “Please, please thank them for me!” Laughter burst from her as she couldn’t stop grinning. “This course has helped me so much!”

 Currently, a personnel crisis in the finance office means that we’ll no longer be able to effectively support people like Betty to go to translation and literacy courses. Do you have skills in accounting or financial management? Contact Tara Ellis ( to learn more how you can serve in a vital role here in PNG.


Staffing needs here ebb and flow.  Sometimes departments have more than enough people, and other times they have so few people to get the bare minimum of work done.

When some groups can't get their work done, then Bible translation slows or stops.  Finance is one of those groups.

Because of the training, and the time it usually takes to raise financial support, the average time it takes for a new person to arrive at our field is 2 years.

So imagine, you're doing the work of 6 people, you're tired, you're burning out, you know if you don't keep on, then the department will close and Bible translation will crawl to a stand still.  And then image the light of the tunnel is at least 2 years away.  2 years until you see someone coming to relieve you.

What would your response be?

There is this thing I call the 'staffing hopper'.  Like a grain hopper or a silo.  We have people in various stages of getting here.

Recruiting    - these people haven't decided to join us yet.
Training - they've joined and are still in their home country preparing.
Support Raising (partnership development) - they are still in their home country raising finances.
Jungle Training - they are in PNG and going through several weeks of training.

So from that 'hopper' you have the time to get in country, and the odds that you will get in country.  All kinds of factors contribute to people never making it.  Some can't raise the support, others have a serious family need that changes their plans, a death in the family, change of country assignment, etc.

Recruitment - 5 years out, smallest chance of them arriving in PNG
Training - 2 years out, medium chance of arriving in PNG
Support - 1-2 years out, better chance of arriving in PNG
Jungle Training - 14 weeks out, they are in PNG, good chance they will be assigned the job they came to do.

Are you getting the picture?
So... now... imagine you're that tired, one cowboy working in a job meant for 6 people, and you don't see anyone in Jungle training with skills to help you, no one in the support phase, no one in the training phase, and no one in the recruiting phase.

What is your reaction?  Yeah.  I know.  The spirit wains, we tend to look at things as being bleak.  We start to beg borrow and steal staff from other places, hoping they won't burn out and get upset that they aren't doing what they love to do.  This is the reality of staffing in a country with over 800 languages to translate, 400 of which have work yet to begin.

God knows what He's doing.   God has abundant resources.
Please join me in prayer, we have some very critical needs here.  Finance personnel is highest on the list.
School personnel is second highest.

Would you pray that these needs are met?  Pray that God would send some of those resources to fill the needs?

Thank you.


Internet first

I photobombed Bible Translation work!!

Just making it fun. No disrespect intended. I just happen to know the translator in this pic and have tremendous respect for his work and the work of the many others we support.



Fwd: Uk

Ukarumpa in 1964

Ukarumpa in 2015

Two Lives One Dream

in 2008 a book was published about the ministry of the McBrides in PNG.

The story starts in 1964, and it is a quick read.  There are several stories of miracles and God healing people…. changing lives, etc.
It was a different time in PNG but the stories still ring true.  Back then, Nancy had to get to PNG via ship, we take a plane.

There's a hilarious story about the first time her kids saw a white person, and the first time they went to Disneyland (and were freaked out).

Here's an excerpt I liked: "… we gave him the Gospel of Mark in his own language and he read it all the time.  One day he said to us "If I hear the English Bible it means nothing to me.  It would be like eating sweet potato from a distant place.  It would taste unfamiliar.  When I hear God's Word in Gimi it tastes so good I get filled up and satisfied."

It is definitely a good read for anyone who has been in Ukarumpa.  It is reminding me that our predecessors really did blaze a trail. They were definitely made out of strong stuff!