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Archive for the ‘Newsletters’ Category

After I finished reading the ‘Harmony of the Gospels’ and the life of Jesus I continued reading the next book of the NT. Acts is the story of the early church and the story of Saul being transformed to Paul along with his three journeys.

In Acts 20 you pick up the story about Paul’s third missionary journey. He is on a hurry to return to Jerusalem for Pentecost so he decided to bypass Ephesus. He stops in Miletus and sends message for the elders of the church of Ephesus to come to Miletus (coastal town south of Ephesus). Here Paul gives testimony and encourages the leaders of the church.

I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the Good News of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

What a powerful statement of faith. Paul was not afraid of anything or anyone. He in fact faced mobs head on. The old saying, when you get knocked down, you get up again. That was Paul’s motto, you can’t knock me down cause I will rise again.

In v.24 above I see three takeaways:

1. “My life is nothing” – Here Paul is defining humility, my life is not about me it is all about Jesus. A few chapters ago we read the life of Saul and how he was going to Damascus to arrest Christians. Following his humble transformation and three days of blindness, Saul > Paul is declaring his allegiance not to self, but to Jesus.

2. “My life is to complete the task” – Paul was a man who walked with purpose in his step. You think he wondered Asia for exercise or for a vacation to see the sights? No, Paul had purpose. The question comes to mind, what is my purpose?

3. “Task to tell the Good News” – To end, Paul states his task is to tell the Good News. His journey to Asia and the Gentiles was not to see the sights but rather tell of the Good News of Christ. The closing question is, what is my task?

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By Emily

Fidelis

Fidelis, Sam & Thomas returned to town for another recording session at the beginning of May.  Bit by bit, they along with another team of three men have recorded the New Testament in the Mborena Kam language.  The session started per usual with the steadiness to finish the task.  Each day they have the victory of knowing they are one step closing to the mark of finishing, but sometimes it is hard to see that point in the midst of reading.

Almost daily they give me updates of how many chapters they have completed, per our routine of the past year.  In the last few weeks the number of remaining chapters have dwindled until, 11:32 on May 25 the last verse of the Mborena Kam New Testament was completed.  I walked into the room where Fidelis was recording within seconds after he finished, because I knew he was getting close and I wanted to document it by taking a picture.  Cheer with us in victory that one step in the journey is done.  There are still many more hours of revisions and re-records, but as of May 25 we can say these men have recorded every last verse of the New Testament in their language.  Pray for these men and their families as they continue to press on in the work God has given them.  Pray that the words they have been reading can impact their lives and God will use them to share the recordings, when it comes time to distribute.

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The internet is great! The chance to browse Amazon.com for the next great purchase while sitting on the sofa in own home has its perks. Living as an overseas missionary you can’t walk to the big box stores such as Wal-Mart, Lowes, Best Buy, etc. to purchase the gadget you need to complete a project or task. Living overseas takes planning and patience when it comes to online shopping. The biggest hurdle is not the purchase but how to get it from point A to point B in this case from the USA to Papua New Guinea. The easiest option is to find a friend to hand carry the item in their luggage across the ocean to you. There are many other hurdles as well that I want to explain.

Recently I made an online purchase from a company in Wisconsin. Hereafter is where it gets complicated and perhaps you can see the complexities of the system. During checkout I declared my billing address is Alaska, my shipping address is Florida, and my contact telephone number is listed in Texas, and I am purchasing the item on my computer from Papua New Guinea. Perhaps this map will give a better picture.

Legend:

Pink – Billing Address (Alaska to Wisconsin)
Red – Shipping Address (Wisconsin to Florida)
Yellow – Hand delivery (Florida to PNG)
Green – Telephone Contact (PNG via Texas to Wisconsin)

As often times when purchasing from overseas the credit card company flags your purchase as fraudulent. When that happens, you have to ring the credit card to verify the transaction. In this case, the company in Wisconsin was trying to verify my credit card with my telephone number I provided. As the story goes, I had to call the company in Wisconsin which was actually a VOIP call from Texas (green line above). The call was breaking up and hard to communicate. The sales rep told me, they were concerned why I was calling from Texas, shipping to Florida, and billing from Alaska. To top it off, the sales rep asked why the phone call was so terrible which I had to reply ‘I am actually calling from out of the country.’

To make long story short, the sales rep approved the purchase as I talked to him on the phone. (Not to forget this was at 1 AM PNG time and normal business hours in Wisconsin.)

So yes, online purchasing is very nice but as the photo shows above it is very complicated and confusing. I am glad measures are being enforced against fraud and I have to learn to be patient and be accepting of the system. Hopefully the item I purchased will soon be coming to PNG with teammates whom were visiting Florida.

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March started out with a bang and a quick one week trip to the Mborena Kam language group. The reason of the trip was to field test recorded scripture from Mark and parts of 1 Corinthians.

The middle part of February three men came to town to record the scripture. I was apart of helping Kevin and Jim setup two laptop computers with a new audio recording program that specializes with translation software. My previous post was about this recording opportunity and using the recording software, HearThis for the first time. It took almost two weeks to record all of Mark and 3 chapters of 1 Corinthians. Once the recording was finished it was my job to do minor editing and cleaning up of the wav files in preparation for joining the files into chapters then converting to MP3. Since we were just testing the scripture and not making a finished product the editing was speedy and quick.

A one week trip was organized for Kevin (Scripture Impact co-worker) and myself to go to the village and test the recording. We planned on going to eight different villages within the Mborena Kam language and hold a town hall like meeting with the leaders of the communities. The plan changed to combine two communities for one meeting and go to four villages instead of eight as originally planned. (#1 rule required to be a missionary – be flexible.)

   

At each community Kevin lead the discussions with questions as the community listened to scripture portions. They would listen to the short parable then answer questions to gauge their understanding. Was the recording natural, was is true Mborena Kam language, were there errors or flaws in the recording, was the parable understood in their dialect. Simply, it was a recording survey of the scripture in a village context.

   

The results were mixed but the simplest explanation from a community leader was the road has potholes. Meaning, the translation is ok but not perfect. We can understand the translation but there are bumps along the way thus not smooth. A final report was written and passed to the Director. I believe the final agreement between all parties were we need to fix the potholes. This may delay the final product from being published but we want a final product that is natural, smooth, and free of error.

Please continue to pray for the Mborena Kam language group as well as Steven and Denny the two national mother tongue translators. Pray for their health and for stamina to continue the process until completion.

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Last year before Christmas I decided to take Andrew and Ismael (two workman) out to lunch as a thank you for their hard word. We went to Eden Restaurant which is a mix between Chinese and Thai cuisine. Papua New Guineas like rice and I knew this would be a safe bet. They thoroughly enjoyed ordering whatever they wanted and getting a drink of their choice as well. It was definitely a hit and all the other office employees were jealous.

This past Friday I took the workman out for their thank you lunch again. Couple weeks ago, Ismael started to hint about the lunch and how they wanted to go out again this Christmas. I told them, you pick out the place for lunch and we will go. As they started to scheme and come up with options they are getting excited. They would come to me almost daily with their plans and what day was the best to go.

On Friday, I took both Ismael and Frank out for lunch at the Ocean Restaurant. Frank had cut grass all morning so he was thirsty and hungry while Ismael was Mr. Cool with his ear buds in. Frank is a new hire from July and a bush man. He lives 1.5 hrs from town near Ono but during the week he lives in town then commutes back to his home on the weekends. Going to a restaurant is a very special thing and probably something that he has never done before.

Ocean viewIsmael ordered a pretty standard choice of fried chicken legs and french fries while Frank ordered a typical Chinese choice, chicken and vegetables with rice. With the menu in English I had to give options to Frank as I translated from English to Tok Pisin. I assured Frank that he made a good decision.Ismael lunch

While waiting for the food to arrive, they both enjoyed the scenery of the ocean and small boat harbor. Ismael started taking pictures with his camera phone while Frank was upset that his phone didn’t have any memory to take pictures. They both were grinning and smiling with enjoyment as they sat on the outside porch sipping their sodas.

Once the food arrived, Ismael tore into his meal and so did Frank with the exception of what to do about his fork and spoon wrapped up in his napkin. Frank grabbed the the utensils as one unit Frank lunchand started to eat. He did not know any better and had a odd look on his face. I gently informed Frank to unwrap the napkin. He set aside the napkin and proceeded to grab the spoon in his right hand and fork in his left hand. By this point, I let the man enjoy his meal and eat it how he liked.

Frank repeatedly thank me for the lunch and opportunity for the boss to take him out for a meal. They left nothing on their plates as they happily exited the restaurant with their bellies full. ‘Thanks Boss.’

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Skydiving Freedom Videos

The first video is a short 1 minute video featuring the free fall only.

The second video is the full length 5 minute video including leaving the airport, plane ride, free fall, parachute, and landing.

Enjoy!

 

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40 Seconds of Freedom

November 1, 2014 will forever be marked as the day we jumped out of a plane…on purpose! Yes, Emily and I went skydiving!

While on vacation in Cairns, Australia it has been my dream to skydive. I pondered the decision, slept on it, thought about it more and more and finally came to the conclusion that I am not getting any younger so why not do it now. You never know when the next chance will come and I always try to enjoy the moment and live for the day. So the decision was made…lets go skydiving in Cairns.

Prior to jumping you have to complete paperwork basically saying you are stupid and if you die then so be it. So we both signed, dated, and returned the documents with a smile. We are also members of the Australia Parachuting Federation.

We arrived at 7:30 am but soon found out that more jumpers were there so we were put with the second jump group. About 9:15 am it was our turn as the first group was returning to the office. They were saying, ‘awesome, amazing, thrilling.’ I knew I was in for a thrill of a lifetime.


My jump master or tandem instructor was Ben. He was raised in Cairns and made his first jump at 18 years old. He has totaled over 9000 jumps in over 14 years. He quoted, “I have yet had one failure.” With 100% success rate you could doubt skydiving?

We got the harness on and headed to the plane. I asked one last question, ‘who packed the parachute?’ Another tandem instructor simply said, ‘oh we have hired minimum wage monkeys for that job.’ There is always a second chute just in case.

I load the plane first which meant one thing, first in last out. So I got the thrill of watching the previous seven jumpers exit the plane. That had to be the oddest thoughts to run through my mind as I continued to see people line up at the door of the plane only to disappear in a blink of an eye. I thought to myself…I am next.

 
I crossed my arms as instructed, sat down with my feet swung under the belly of the plane. My instructor simply pushed us out of the plane as we entered into a roll. Wow…what a feeling to be falling literally like a rock. We jumped from approximately 12,000 ft. The parachute opens at around 4,000 ft. In 40 seconds of freedom we were going 200 ft./sec or 137 mph as we fell to earth. We covered 1.5 miles in 40 seconds. I can testify gravity is still king.

The parachute opened and all of the sudden things were really quiet. The rush of wind stopped and 137 mph slowed to a crawl. We gently fell through the clouds to see the landscape of northern Queensland. Cairns was off to the north and the sugarcane fields to the south. I could see a few other deployed parachutes as well below me. Ben, my tandem partner, gave me the ropes to drive. He told me to pull down as far as I could with my left hand. I did and this put us into a cork screw spin. Wow…now just a bit dizzy. That kind of set off a little bit uneasy feeling deep down inside. We spotted the LZ (landing zone) and made a successful landing.

I was unbuckled from Ben and yelled over to Emily as she landed before me. She came running over to give each other a high five. This bucket list item has been checked off!

Make sure to check out the videos!
1. 40 Seconds of Freedom
2. Skydive (full length)

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