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.



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. 


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. 


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. 


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

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.'


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.


Blog Series Amele #5


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. :)


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.


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.


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!


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!