Selling PNG and Other Onobasulu Changes

The Onobasulu Bible Translation program is once again going through some changes.  Progress is being made with the Bible Translation and Literacy among other important steps for the greater Onobasulu community.  But there are challenges to face and hurdles to overcome.  These cover the gamut from logistics to finances and even emotions as these changes impact all parts of the greater Onobasulu community.

Beverly's House

The main factor at the forefront right now is the decision for the main ex-pat Bible translator, Beverly, to change her assignment and work from Texas, this means selling her home and car in PNG.  Anne also works on the translation away from PNG, so now the two main expat Bible Translators will be primarily living and working in their home countries, the USA and the Netherlands.  There will still be a home in the village, the Walagu Lodge, but Beverly will (pending the sale) no longer have her Ukarumpa house.  Please be in prayer for Beverly because selling her home is a huge emotional step and it means saying good-bye to a big part of her PNG life.  Please pray that both the house and the car sell quickly and that she has the time and energy to clean out her house and take the things she needs to back to the US and store what needs to be stored in PNG.


This is Beverly in her car, in front of her house, filled with the Onobasulu co-workers.  You can see Joseph’s pink jacket in the back.  Beverly loves pink (did you notice the pink house!?) and the Onobasulu guys also have an affinity for pink.  It definitely makes Joseph easy to spot in a crowd.

Because Beverly will no longer be in PNG full-time, the Onobasulu program will have to rely even more heavily on the Onobasulu people themselves.  This is a very good thing but it also means the translators need more training in order to prepare themselves for the work.  Beverly is currently in PNG helping Wabele, Joseph, Yobe and Jack get through another important training course.  This course will give them key knowledge in order to do more of the translation work on their own.  They of course know the Onobasulu language but Bible translation requires knowledge of Greek, exegesis, hermeneutics and many other difficult concepts.  These four men have been attending these courses for years now, slowly learning and working along the way.  However, this was an extra course that they had not planned on attending for awhile so they are currently underfunded and need another 90% of their costs.  If you feel led to give please donate at, every little bit helps.  This money will go directly to fund the national Onobasulu translators and help them become more prepared for the huge task of Bible translation.

Most importantly please pray for the Onobasulu program.  Please pray for Beverly as she is transitioning to a home assignment.  Please pray for the Onobasulu translators: Wabele, Jack, Yobe and Joseph.  And the Onobasulu literacy guys: Hauwo and Jeffery.  Please pray for their families.  Pray also that God would raise up another generation to help them translate and continue the literacy program for the Onobasulu people.  Please pray for a smooth transition and for God to provide people on the ground in PNG to help with communication and some logistical challenges with having no full-time expat co-workers in PNG.  And finally please pray that God would continue to be glorified through the Onobasulu language and that people would come to know Him because of this life changing work.

A Friendship Tale

I always enjoy my time in Santa Barbara, but there are little things that have a way of making it even more special.  Yesterday I had a lunch meeting that did exactly that.  Let me tell you a story about how life, weddings and Papua New Guinea made this friendship happen.

It all began in a duplex on the hill near the translator lodges in Ukarumpa.  4 ladies lived happily together, one Australian and three Americans.  One of those ladies decided that she would get married and in keeping with tradition, she left the apartment to live with her new husband.  And then there were three.

I became the fourth and moved into the empty bedroom.  It was a happy time in Ukarumpa and we all got along well.  I had a language surveyor housemate and the other side of the duplex housed a linguist and a literacy worker.  The other literacy person and I became co-workers and had a happy Onobasulu connection.  My surveyor housemate and I ended up sharing an office.  I actually kind of just took over a desk but it worked out quite nicely.  This meant easy access to friends for icecream runs or go-to-the-store breaks during the work day.  And then there was the other duplex buddy.  A smart, quiet, thoughtful, Californian who I didn’t completely understand.  All was well and good in Ukarumpa but then the inevitable happened and slowly my three other duplex-mates moved away.  I didn’t know when I would see these ladies again.

And then the news came.  The language surveyor was going to marry her language love, a tall dreadlock haired man from the Pacific Nothwest.  Since I was already in the US, the flight from California to Texas seemed easy enough.  I would celebrate with them but I needed a ride from Dallas out to Longview.  And it was the linguist to the rescue.  She picked me up from the airport, we got caught in traffic, stopped for much needed sustenance at Sonic and made it in time to see the vows.  The reception was lovely but driving back to Dallas proved challenging when we sustained tire damage due to stray ‘drift wood’ on the road.  Only a Californian could find driftwood in east Texas.  Long story short we spent the night in Longview with other PNG friends and made it back to Dallas in time for my flight the next day.  Needless to say this mix of an adventure helped the acquaintanceship move into the lovely realm of friendship.

But as with a lot of my friendships, I have to accept the fact that I might not see that person for months or even years at a time.  Lucky for us we have facebook, cell phones, email and all sorts of other wonderful ways to communicate from afar but it’s not the same as sitting down with someone face to face.  So you can imagine my excitement when my friend happened to be in California and driving through Santa Barbara.  We enjoyed a lovely lunch and catch up time.  It was of course too short but that’s the way it is with friends.

A Long Night in Longview

Does this give you any clue of what our night was like?

So let’s start at the beginning.  Joyce and I left the wedding a little after 10.  We were caravanning with Juliann’s previous roommates since it was late.  Joyce and I were discussing Sunday church options when we changed freeways in order to cross over to the 20.  However the onramp had another idea.  Right in the middle, almost impossible to avoid was a piece of firewood.  Joyce being a fellow Californian called it driftwood but firewood is probably more likely in east Texas.  The girls in front of us had hit it but it didn’t cause any damage however Joyce and I hit it right on the tire dragging it and causing us to have to pull over.  The tire was shredded.

Joyce didn’t have a spare but the girls did so a nice Texan couple helped us change the tire to the donut and we followed them to Walmart in order to get another tire to get us on our way.  The couple, Ashley and Morris were very much Texas born and bred.   Dressed practically in their camo jackets and comfortable clothes it was quite the contrast to the 5 of us dressed in our wedding outfits. They were very determined to help us and the five of us followed them into Walmart down to the tire isle.  However Walmart wouldn’t sell us a tire since it was too late so we bought another more heavy duty spare that they would sell and headed out to the parking lot for tire change number two.  It all looked like it was going to work but the rim on the new tire wasn’t wide enough.  So we all traipsed back into Walmart again to take the tire back.  It was already after midnight if not later at this point.

We all came back to the parking lot and I called AAA while Morris kept calling friends to try and find a tire the right size.  Unfortunately AAA does not provide tires so without a usable spare the most they could do is tow us and there were no 24 hour tire places in all of Longview.  Morris’ friends also didn’t have the right tire size so we tried another Walmart.  The one on the other side of town would sell us the right size tire so we all piled into the cars with 4 working tires and headed across town.  We arrived at Walmart, bought the tire and then drove back to where Joyce’s car was parked at the other Walmart.

By this time it was after 2.  Morris’ brother was supposed to help him mount the tire which is very difficult to near impossible without the right tools.  However his brother had already gone to bed.  We wanted to give up but weren’t really sure what we should do.  Should we stay in Longview somewhere, drive back to Dallas with the roommates and leave the car in Longview.  The only people we knew in Longview, besides our new friends Ashley and Morris, were the children of two couples from PNG.  It was late by this point and we didn’t really want to bother them but were weighing our options.  This was all happening as Morris was trying to get the old shredded tire off the rim.  This incorporated a series of very inventive innovations.  Including but not limited to a hacksaw and his truck.  He sawed through the tire and then ran over it a couple times to get it loose enough to get it off of the rim.  Despite the cold this was very entertaining in an exhausted, long day, Texas culture sort of way.  Morris was very determined.

I kept thinking during the course of the evening that Walmart was a very fitting setting for all of these activities.  Walmart is in some ways an American cultural center, open 24 hours, well lit parking with cameras too.  I can’t think of a safer place away from home to be trying to change a tire at 3 in the morning.  The evening could have gone very different if we had just admitted defeat when the tire was first down but each next step, buying a spare, buying another tire, changing the tire kept our hope up that it would happen and we would be able to get back to Dallas that night.

When Morris was doing his best to get the tire off the rim we realized that it would be just as much work to get the new tire back on the rim without the right tools.  So we bit the bullet and called our PNG friends and thanked Morris and Ashley profusely for their help.  They went above and beyond in so many ways and gave me such a great impression of the hospitality of Texans.  By 4 in the morning we were at our friend’s house warming up in their comfortable guest bed.  Joyce and I slept exhaustedly and awoke to Sunday breakfast.  After breakfast our friends took us to Walmart on the way to church where the tire was mounted and we were ready to roll by 10:30.

Joyce and I made it back safely to Dallas with time to spare before our evening flight back to California.  This was my first trip to Texas and it was quite an adventure but I met some great Texans and now have toured a good portion of the Walmarts in Longview.



They Said I do.

Introducing Mr and Mrs Jacob Bullock.

I arrived in Dallas on Saturday at 1.  My friend Joyce picked me up at the airport and then we headed out to Marshall for the wedding.  Joyce had planned on zipping through Dallas and getting on the road right away.  But road construction gave us a much different ride, sitting for an extra 45 minutes surrounded by huge trucks and lots of cars all trying to merge down to 1 lane.  Outside of Dallas we made good time and arrived in Marshall in time to see the last third of the wedding.  It was a short ceremony but the most important part is of course seeing the vows.  The church was filled with the soft glow of candlelight and after the vows the couple bent their heads together in order to share their first prayer as a married couple.  It was very special to see them wanting to start their lives giving glory and honor to God.

The Benders and Lynn.  The Benders are support workers in PNG and Lynn is a Sociolinguist.

After the ceremony we headed over to the reception and sat with Juliann’s previous housemates and some other PNG friends.  It was so great to be able to catch up because each of our PNG friends are currently living in the US.  Juliann and Jacob both appreciated having love and support from people who shared their lives in PNG.  During the toasts the MC was engouraging other people to give a blessing or a short toast to the couple.  Our table decided that we needed to give Jacob and Juliann a toast with PNG flare.  So I stood and let Jacob know that Juliann’s brideprice was 50 pigs and 5000 kina.  Juliann is definitely worth every toea.

Enjoying the yummy cake.

Juliann and Jacob were surrounded by lots of family and friends.  The reception had lots of good food and swing dancing.  The happy couple enjoys dancing and so they shared that with all of us.  This was my first trip to Texas and it was definitely worth it.  I am so happy to have shared this special day with Jacob and Juliann.  I wish them a long happy life together.

Joyce and I with the very tired couple.  So blessed to have good friends like these.

A Wedding in Texas

The Engagement Picture

Juliann was my housemate in Papua New Guinea working as a Language surveyor.  Jacob came to PNG short term to work with scripture use.  They ended up spending time together on a survey out to some smaller islands of PNG.  After the survey the continued to spend time together and eventually began to date officially over Christmas last year.  Jacob returned to the states after his work commitment was finished and Juliann returned to attend some more school.  He moved so that they could be closer and the rest is history.  Tomorrow morning I will be flying to Texas in order to attend their wedding.   I’ve never been to Texas and am very excited to be seeing PNG colleagues who are coming together to celebrate this special event.  Please pray for good weather and an enjoyable time for everyone.