One of my favorite times of the church service here in Papua New Guinea is testimony time. This is the opportunity for the church to stand up and give praise, thanksgiving, recite a Bible verse, sing a song or simply testify. Some weeks there are four or five and other weeks there are none, but usually there is at least one testimony.

One of my favorites comes from a regular attender and you knew the Holy Spirit had been working on this particular morning. When he got up to speak he honestly said, ‘the Spirit has awaken my soul this morning so I had to get up and say something about it.’ I love to hear what God is doing amongst His people.

This morning at church a man from out of town was visiting Madang. As testimony time approached the song leader provided the lead in for anyone to come forward and testify. The visitor quickly rose with his pocket size New Testament in hand that was coverless. His message and encouragement to the church was obedience is better than sacrifice. He went on to explain that following Jesus is better than any offering or sacrifice that we may bring to him. Jesus calls his disciples to ‘follow me.’ As he called Matthew the tax collector, the four fisherman, etc…Jesus simply said ‘follow me.’ To follow after Christ we are called to obedience in Him.

There are often times at church my mind wonders or I don’t understand what is being said or I am simply overwhelmed with the surroundings but this morning there was only one testimony from a visitor which spoke to my heart.

A couple weeks ago we left town and headed to the village of Ono. It is about 1 hour 15 minutes drive on the Ramu Highway. The Ono Church of the Nazarene is situated along side the dusty, bumpy highway. We were drawn to this church because one of the PBT workmen, Frank, is from this area. (He actually lives about 2 hour walk from Ono on another mountain ridge.) The Ono church resides inside on of PBT’s language groups, Somau Garia. We not only used this chance to visit and encourage Frank but we encouraged the people to use vernacular scripture and hand out a few books of Mark in their local language. It was a pleasant trip to meet the people, pastor, and worship with them in Spirit and in song.

Pastor Titus is the church pastor. He is not from the area but from the Southern Highlands Province. He is a recent graduate from the Nazarene Bible College and has been at the Ono Church for five months. As I anticipated him asking me to preach I politely declined replying I wanted to hear his message. He did give Emily and I a chance to speak following the message.

Pastor Titus like most Papua New Guineas gave an illustration relative to their culture to that of Biblical reference. He referenced the story of Joseph when the King of Egypt granted Joseph permission to take the King’s wagons and bring Joseph’s family to live with him in Egypt. (Gen 45). The imagery in Tok Pisin was a car or perhaps a bus. He stretched the story to tell about the Holiness Bus is coming. Not a Greyhound bus or school bus or some kind of taxi, but a bus destined for Kingdom of Heaven. This bus is one way, direct, and without any stops. The best part is there is no fee for the bus ticket. The ticket can be found within scripture and anyone can ride the bus. “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life” John 5:24.

It was a joyful day to see a village church with over 90 people (men, women, and children) worshiping the Lord. Emily and I both shared the ministry of PBT and encouraged the use of their local language. They currently have the book of Mark and have drafted portions of the New Testament. Please pray for the Somau Garia people that their lives will be transformed through God’s Word.

The future is here! The ability to put translated scripture onto smartphones and like devices is now here thanks to a brand new SIL application called, Scripture App Builder. While attending a recent conference in Australia, I learned how to create and develop many types of scripture related apps. I would like to give a quick demonstration of what the app would look like on your smartphone or Android device.

First let me tell you the sequence of events to the short video clip:

– You will see scripture text (Gospel of Mark) from the Mborena Kam language. The app opens to Mark 1 and it is demonstrated how you scroll up/down the page.
– Next, select the chapter number which opens a chapter selection box. Chapter 2 is selected.
– This screen is different because there is accompanying audio with the text. You will notice a speaker icon in the top icon bar. Once you unmute the speaker and press play you will notice each portion of the text is highlighted and synchronizes with the accompanying audio. After a few portions are read, the text is advanced by pressing fast-forward. The screen scrolls automatically along with the highlighted text.
– Chapter 2 audio is paused then it is demonstrated how you can swipe to the next chapter as an alternative to selecting the chapter selection box as before.
– Last you can also change text size and background color of your choice.

This application is currently only for Android devices. The reason being that most smartphones in developing countries that nationals are purchasing are Android based devices.

Scripture App Builder is not only a Bible or scripture app but it can be tailored to other uses as well. It can be used as a picture book for oral Bible stories, it can create a song book or hymnal, plus others. The neat thing is both the text and audio can be synchronized with a matching highlighted area to easily show the reader where to follow along. In a highly illiterate country this feature will play an integral part in fluency and literacy rates amongst language groups.

The future is not only here but it is bright and alive.

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.


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.

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.

Recording Opportunities

In the first six weeks of the New Year God has given me opportunities to get my feet wet in recording scripture and utilizing technology such as AudiBible and HearThis.

The latter part of 2014, men from the Tay language which recently dedicated their New Testament last July were in town to record the New Testament with their advisor. They were not able to completely finish the recording but they left the files and data so I could compile and transfer to the AudiBibles. (The AudiBible is a small digital audio player that includes a solar panel on the back.) I was able to complete this task last month and now have three AudiBibles with much of the recorded Tay New Testament ready to go back to the village. The process was not as complicated as originally thought and went smoothly. Once the whole New Testament is recorded it will be a simple process to transfer the remaining scripture to micro SD and insert into the AudiBible. The Tay people will not only have the printed text but will have a recorded version as well. PTL!

The second opportunity for recording came rather quickly. The Mborena Kam language group are struggling to finish their New Testament. They are very close but there are a few small hang-ups in the text. It was presented to bring in three guys from the village to record parts of 1 Corinthians and the book of Mark. Then we will take the recorded scripture back to the village for testing to see if what has been recorded is true and correct. The neat thing about this is we are using for the first time a new recording program called HearThis. It is a SIL program that integrates with translation software, Paratext.

The photo below shows the text to be recorded in yellow. The speaker records only the yellow text otherwise known as a block. The next line below the yellow text will advance forward and be the next block to be recorded. In the end, you simply click ‘Publish’ and the program will join all the blocks together to form a single chapter of recorded scripture.

The third opportunity will be a training and technology conference in Australia. I plan on traveling to Australia in April to attend the PacTech Consultant. The focus will be to learn more about the program, HearThis as well as other developing technologies such as putting scripture on smartphones like the mobile app YouVersion. The conference is a joint venture between SIL and Every Tribe Every Nation which PBT was invited to attend. It will be a good opportunity for me as well as PBT to learn more about the cutting edge technologies that are changing how we can reach the Bibleless language groups.

It is exciting to see how fast technology is changing and growing that brings new avenues into the arena of Scripture Impact. Probably the greatest impact of the recent years has been the mobile phone and smartphone movement in developing countries. I look forward to learning more about how God can use me to fulfill His promise to the nations.

Praying for You in 2015

Happy New Year or Hepi Niu Yia (Tok Pisin)!

One of the new year activities is to toss out the old calendars and hang up the new calendars. Yes, it is time again to roll out the new calendar with the pretty photos and replace 2014 calendars. Your new calendar may already be filled with events, vacations, appointments, and birthdays. Or you calendar simply looks like the one below.

Neither Emily or I are into New Year Resolutions so we like to set goals moving into the New Year. This New Year we have one goal in mind. We both fully believe that serving in ministry requires one thing, prayer. In fact the strategy of Pioneer Bible Translators is exactly that, prayer.

We are both humbled by the continued support by many of you either financially or prayerfully or both. Our ministry with PBT in PNG would be literally a heap of rumble if it were not with prayer. I believe prayer is the grease to the gears which God enables the wheels to turn. We are grateful and honored to those who are faithful in prayer.

This New Year we have committed to praying for those who support us financially. Our calendar is not filled with events or appointments rather with the names of those who regularly give to our ministry with PBT. Each day we will be praying for one financial partner asking God to bless the giver and return blessing in their daily life. If you are a regular financially partner, you can be assured that we are praying for you this year, 2015.

Not to be forgotten, each Sunday we will be lifting up a different church that is a partner with us. As an extension of the church in PNG, we are appreciative of the global outreach each church has demonstrated. We will be praying that God will bless the church’s local efforts in reaching the lost and making disciples.

May God bless you in 2015!

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.’

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.



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)