This morning as I headed to work I saw the morning clouds topping the
hills. Rolling green hills, scarred by the remnants of fire lending a
sort of beautiful texture.  I saw the trees animated by the breeze, and
the blue of the sky and I thought 'this is a remarkable painting God
made.'  But then I thought 'He's made these paintings all over the
world, stretching out His wonderful hand and moving His creation to make
daily, ever changing portraits of beauty.

And then I thought 'If I had to make thousands of such portraits a day,
as a unix administrator, I would have written a script to do it for me
automatically.  It would take up my entire day otherwise.'

Which is when the thought hit me.  God has already automated such
beauty. That's one of the magnificent things about His creation,
designed in such a way as to move and shift and maintain itself.
Automatically creating this portraits all over the world.  I dunno how
anyone can see it and not want to praise God outloud.  PRAISE GOD.


Being Support Staff

We're support staff.  We are on about Bible Translation in Papua New Guinea.  So what does it mean to be 'support staff'.
Well it means a great many things, but one of the most recent was to cover our friends Ben and John and Beth in prayer.
Ben and John and Beth were heading into their village to do Bible Translation work and training.
I've been to their village.

We were praying over obstacle #1 and #2.  I'll let Ben share:
Tadji airstrip is one of two operational airstrips in Papua New Guinea that still has the steel perforated Marston Matting that was used during WWII for quick and portable temporary airstrips. Nearly 80 years later, we're still landing on it. However, tall grass frequently grows up through the holes in the steel matting and makes it unsafe to land. We asked you to pray that we could land here and avoid an additional 8+ hour road trip from Wewak. After praying for the day's activities, praise the Lord that our veteran pilot got us to Tadji, circled once at low altitude to check the airstrip, and then safely navigated his landing against a strong headwind.

I've taken this flight and landed, the alternative road trip is very taxing on the body. It is polite to call it a 'road trip'.  A road trip implies music, snacks, comfort. This is much more like a sojourn. Unless you've lived it, you won't really get what I mean from that so I'll move on, suffice it to say, when you arrive at your destination you're exhausted.

So my family and I, our Bible study, everyone prayed that they would be able to land, and the Lord provided!

Obstacle 2: (from Ben)
Can the truck make it through the rivers and the mud?
Once we landed, our friends from Pou, where the language of the same name is spoken, were ready for us with their pickup truck. We loaded up and headed out to Arop. Our teammate Beth reports that the river now normally flows down the path of this road.

Maybe you saw the video I posted last year about the 'river road'.  This is one crazy journey.

One of the things you hear Christians say is 'pray for travelling mercies'.  Before I came here, that meant having a nice comfortable air-flight, a safe flight, not losing your luggage.

Now it means, arriving in good health without your cargo capsizing, without your truck being washed down river, without major injury or worse.
It's funny to me because I never could relate before, when watching movies of people driving jeeps through the jungle. I used to think 'that looks like so much fun!.'
But when you've done it a few times, it stops being 'fun'.  In this case, the journey is NOT the point, arriving to the destination and being able to do Bible Translation is the point.

So we are supporting them in our prayers, and in any other practical way we can (technical support, moral support,  caring for family staying behind, sending supplies, whatever they need).

That's just a glimpse at one of the things support staff does.


The Little Firefort that Could.

It was Christmas break and I wanted to get Calvin and myself outside.  Recently a neighbor had cut down a tree, and many branches were lying around.  Having learned how to make a 'haus win' (temporary outside fort) using nothing but branches and twine, Calvin and I embarked on a fun project.

We would make a little outside firepit area, and put a tarp over it.  Every time we build an outside fire for an event, it rains.  So, we began the work.

It wasn't impressive but it was near free, and it worked.

Problem: - we accidentally and unknowingly built it mere feet from our neighbors bedroom so when we had a bonfire and chatted, it was like we were in the same room.   When we were told this, we had to figure out a way to move it.

With the help of some friends, we dug it up, and carried it about 50 meters away to it's new home.  It was a little bit weaker and not where I wanted it to reside, but it was done.

Problem: - The wind picked up. Cyclones over Australia nearly ripped the tarp off the top of it. I had to run out there in the wind and secure the tarp with ropes, before the whole thing flew away.  Mysterious winds have been present since.  I've had to repair it a few times.

After a long week of work, it's nice to have a fire, maybe roast a dog, have a place to chat, even have teens over.  It was still alive.

Problem: - As if the winds weren't enough, one evening a tree fell over and hit the firepit area (which Calvin and I dubbed 'FIREFORT!'.  But! Since the limbs we used were still green and flexible, they bent instead of broke, and though the tarp is torn more, the FIREFORT lives.

So, we started chopping up the tree and now firefort is eating the tree that tried to eat it! (we're burning the  tree wood, yes, that quickly because the tree was dead standing)

Having survived a move, defeated the monstrous winds, and survived the falling tree, FIREFORT was beginning to win over my heart. This stupid ugly little fort was living a lifetimes worth in only 1 month's time!

Problem: - The rain picked up, and the firefort, after taking the hit from the tree, was not strong enough to let the rain roll off of it (also because the move moved it from a slight hill to a flat area).  So the rain water began to pool into the now, tired fort's roof.  This resulted in the green bows, bending (not breaking) under the weight.

The Firefort was dying.  I went out to drain the tarp, and put it all back together again with new branches from the tree that fell on it.

Today, we sat under the firefort, held together with zip ties, bunjis, nails and screws and of course, a refusal to die!

As we sat there, my friend and son laughingly mocked me and said 'The reason this wind is here, is because you refuse to let this fort die. Let it die and the wind will go away!

It was funny but the fort still stands.

All I wanted was to keep my our bonfires from being 'rained out'.  But now what I have, is a story of the Little Firefort that Could.

This is truly a beautiful country but you have to be outside to appreciate it. Our Little Firefort gives us that underdog appreciation.

People have said 'it'll burn down, that's a tarp!'
'it won't last 6 months'
'let it die!'
'it's ugly!'
'it's a lost cause give up!'

Don't  they know, that kind of talk makes me love it all the more?