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Category Archives: BGAN

Miles to walk for email and no electricity to boot

Can you imagine having to drive to a town miles away every time you needed to send an email? It’s hard to imagine with the wonderful technology choices we have here in the USA. Our computers, tablets and mobile phones can immediately send and receive our emails mostly 24/7. In fact, if you live in a “dead spot” where Internet connectivity is spotty or the local fast food restaurant doesn’t provide free Wi-Fi, we can get a little crabby.

Video via Phillip Harms

Kathleen Spence (Video via Phillip Harms)

Kathleen Spence is a linguist who works in Central Africa Republic (CAR). She works with the Bhogoto Language Project.

Bhogoto…you’ve heard of it, right? Maybe you studied it in school when your friends were taking Spanish or German courses, no?

Of course not. But for the 200,000 speakers of this language, it’s important to them! While French is spoken in many places across CAR, most people cannot understand it hardly at all.

So having a Bible in French just doesn’t do the job for them. It’s about as helpful as you or I having only a Bhogoto Bible to read.

Click here to watch a very short video on some of the challenges that face translators in this region. I’m so excited that we are part of a group that provided them with Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) as well as a solar set up to help since there is no electricity in the region.

Oh, yeah, there’s that too. No electricity.

Boy, do I have an easy life. Thanks for praying for us and projects like this.

 
 

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Their words, not ours…

It’s nice to be appreciated, don’t you agree? While we all have a work ethic that keeps us serving each day, it’s always wonderful to know that what you are doing is helpful. Ken was copied on an email yesterday. In it, the consultant from his South East Asia trip was thanking Ken (and his colleague Russ) work that was done last month. I thought I would share it with you because your donations and prayers make it possible for us to do this work.

“I want to express our thanks for all the work that was done by Russ and Ken and also for the generosity of WA in picking up the tab for all of those licenses of Windows7!
 
It was no mean feat to setup 11 computers to the specifications we had set, to tweak each one, to lock them all so that translators cannot get themselves into trouble – all that among other things.  And once the workshop started both Russ and Ken gave themselves to  teaching and problem solving until the time they left.  Even after they had arrived at home they continued to give support via the HelpDesk.
 
As a result, we now have 4 translation teams who can use BGAN, can chat via Pigin, can send email and can enter the text of Scripture using the Paratext program.  I’d say that is very impressive!”

So from Asia to wherever you are, THANK YOU!

P. S. Ken departs next week for Nigeria. We’ll keep you updated!

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2012 in BGAN, Ken, Laptops, Wycliffe Associates

 

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Asia Trip Pics

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Someone’s missing…

One of my fondest visions each day is looking across my living room and seeing my husband doing his devotions in his Lazy Boy chair. For almost thirty years now, I’ve watched my disciplined spouse get up almost daily and spend time reading the Bible and praying before the start of each day.

One day some years ago, I took a photo of him sitting in his chair. He was in his warm, striped bathrobe, scruffy morning hair, with hot coffee steaming in his mug to the side of him. As the camera flash shot a stream of light across the room, he looked up and said, “Why are you taking my picture?” I smiled and said, “It’s just for me.” I wanted to always remember this special view.I have photos of Ken working, playing with our children and grandchildren, lined up with his brothers and a few awkward studio photos. But none warms my heart more than the one of him in his routine, getting his life lined up with God’s each morning.

The photo above is what his chair looked like this morning. Empty. But it’s empty for a good reason. Ken is on the other side of the world, contributing in the way that fits him best for this time in his life. Fixing computers, teaching about computers, training in software…I couldn’t do any of it! Where are you sitting today? Wherever it is, it’s probably where God wants you today. Working, taking care of children, serving in your community…Thank you for supporting us as we do our part. You are loved! Update from Ken:

We went to church this morning. Three hours. It was nice to hear them sing again …that Hawaiian-style singing. After the service was over, they auctioned off vegetables to help finish the church building. It was so fun to hear the auctioneer tell jokes and try to get them to up the bidding. It was disheartening though to know how much work went into producing the vegetables and hear them receive 10,000, 20,000 [rupiah] or maybe a little more for an entire bowl of vegetables. That’s a little over $2 for a whole lot of work. We have so much.

Tomorrow afternoon I start computer training. The first day will be basic computer skills. The second will be how to use the BGAN satellite terminal. The third day will be teaching email and the final day or two will be teaching Paratext.

More tomorrow!

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2012 in BGAN, Family, Wycliffe Associates

 

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Ok, I’ll try to explain!

Just got a short email from Ken asking for urgent prayer. It’s all very technical so please don’t quote me on the problem!

As I understand it (this is like a lay person explaining string theory!), Ken and Russ are running into problems getting the translators computers ready to be used on Monday. Each translation team is receiving a new laptop in order to start their journey of Bible Translation. Each laptop must be configured so that they are the same. They need to have licenses and programs and all sorts of other stuff put on them.

There is some sort of major problem with where they bought the licenses , the computers, and who knows what else. Ken has had to do a lot of “work arounds” and is trying to image the correct computer so that they can easily do the next 10 computers. Remember, they are in an area with little Internet capabilities, so they can’t just download all of these things.

They need to get this done so that they can focus on their training materials but it’s taking up all of their time.

So would you pray? I don’t know how to ask you to pray…some of you understand this better than me!

Frog for lunch! (image from Paris Miniatures”

By the way, Ken had frog for lunch yesterday. What did you have? My tomato soup sounds so boring!

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in BGAN, Ken

 

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A twenty year difference

I was visiting with an old friend the other day and she asked, “How has technology changed since you first left for the field?” Wow, exponentially! I knew she was asking because Ken was on his long trip to SE Asia and she wondered if I had heard from him or not.

20 years ago it would have been over a week until our family received a letter from us letting them know that we had arrived safely to our destination. This trip was a first in that I received a text message from Ken from every place he landed except the last most remote location. Isn’t that great? I could “follow” him across the world with each message and pray him on to the next. What a huge change and this just in 20 years!

Ken must use the BGAN satellite that they are deploying just to get email in and out this trip so he warned me that I might not hear from him too often. But I did get one short message last night.

Ken’s email:

I remember when our daughters were little and we traveled long distances in the car they would inevitably ask, “Are we there yet?” I would almost always respond, “Not yet. Another 10 minutes.”

Russ, my colleague and I, were asking the same question Wednesday evening around 8:30 PM our time during the last leg of our journey to our final SE Asia destination.

Charlotte to Minneapolis/St. Paul -> Tokyo, Japan (12 hours) -> Singapore (7 hours) -> overnight in a hotel -> Jakarta (2  hours) -> overnight in Jakarta -> up at 2:00 AM for a 5:40 AM, 3 hour trip to an island -> another hour trip to another island -> 1 hour boat ride across the crystal clear watered bay -> 3.5 hour drive over some very challenging roads.

Around Wednesday, 8:00 PM, tired and weary, heads bobbing wanting for sleep, we were following in our children’s footsteps and asking ourselves, “Are we there yet?”

We arrived at our destination and were warmly met by people of the area. A nice meal, a cold shower, and a comfortable bed was all that was needed to answer, “Yes. We’ve arrived.”

We thank God for the opportunity to partner with brothers and sisters in Christ in this remote part of the world. The challenges are many but the blessings are greater.

Thank you for praying! I’ll update here as I can. He’s hit “the ground running” so I’m thrilled how God can use him and his partners to speed the Bible Translation task forward.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in BGAN, Ken

 

Undercover Boss – Part II

Mother tongue translators. Who are they and where do they come from? And how do these BGAN things work?

As mentioned in a previous post, our boss is in Cameroon deploying BGAN satellite terminals. Bruce posted again, sharing a little about his Nigerian and American teammates. May I encourage you to take a moment and read about these Godly servants, people that have sacrificed much, that the Gospel may go rapidly forward? You’ll be glad that you did.

His second post, Tchouvok, is equally fascinating. It’s not pretty to read because he’s simply sending text from Cameroon. But, read to the end and you’ll have a much better understanding of how a BGAN satellite terminal is indeed, accelerating Bible translation.

I hope it encourages you as much as it has me.

The boss, accelerating the process of getting God’s Word in the mother tongue, the language that speaks to the heart. It doesn’t get any better than that!

 
 

My Boss Isn’t Undercover!

Have you ever seen the program called, “Undercover Boss?”. I have and I can tell you that it’s not my boss. You see, each episode features a high-ranking executive or the owner of a corporation going undercover as an entry-level employee in their own company. The executives alter their appearance, assume an alias and fictional back-story, and then spends approximately one week undercover, working in various areas of their company operations with a different job (and in most cases a different location each day). They are exposed to a series of predicaments with amusing results, and invariably spend time getting to know the people who work in the company, learning about their professional and personal challenges.

At the end of their week spent undercover, the executives return to their true identity and request the employees they worked with individually to corporate headquarters. The bosses reveal their identity, and reward hard-working employees through campaign, promotion, or financial rewards, while other employees are given training or better working conditions.

My bosses, David Reeves and Bruce Smith, frequently gets their hands and feet dirty by going into the remote regions and fields of the world to perform service just like the rest of us. It’s not the exception, but the rule. These men are great writers, articulating their experiences so clearly.

May I encourage you to take a moment and read Bruce’s most recent trip to Cameroon (starting with Bruce’s January 30th Younde to Belel post). He is a part of a Wycliffe Associates Tech Advance wrapping up a deployment project that was started back in November when the first team deployed 9 TAKs (Translation Acceleration Kit). These kits contain a BGAN satellite terminal, a solar panel, large batteries, a charge controller, and a netbook computer with an external USB powered monitor. This second team will finish the remaining 3 TAKs installations in northern Cameroon.

Take five minutes to read it. I dare you. I think you’ll gain a much deeper perspective and appreciation of the travel, BGAN satellite terminals deployment, and training challenges we typically face.You’ll be glad you did. Serving in the field is my bosses norm.  I don’t think that Bruce and David will be invited to the Undercover Boss series anytime soon.

 
 

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What’s up with Nigeria?

A number of you have asked us if Ken is planning on returning to Nigeria any time soon. As you recall, he has made three trips there this past year helping deploy the BGAN satellites as well as doing training for our national Bible Translators.

The frequent news articles highlighting the increased bombings in the region make us all a bit edgy. As of this week, Ken has no plans to return to Nigeria until he is needed. But our work is not stopping in the region. Most of the translators are nationals and therefore have a good idea of how to keep themselves safe.

But all our work is not safe, is it? We lived in Indonesia for 10 years and had malaria many times. We watched colleagues and workers die from this disease in spite of medication. We lived in a place that was frequently protesting to become independent. This caused us to have “riot” days — days that we closed down the local school just in case there was to be a local uprising. Increasingly, the places we work will seem not that safe. Sure, none of us wants to walk into the path of trouble, but there are risks to working outside of your own culture and comfort zone.

Please be in prayer for the nation of Nigeria which is experiencing unrest and violence targeting Christians. Nigerians are hungry for God’s Word and translation is going on in dozens of languages. Pray that Satan will be stifled and God will allow these translation projects to continue so the people will have His Word in their heart language sooner rather than later.

An article Thursday on the Mission Network News website included an interview with Wycliffe Associates president Bruce Smith (see http://mnnonline.org/article/16662). When asked about the Nigerian translation teams, Bruce responded:

“They (the Nigerians) are seeking wisdom about how to respond in these circumstances. They’re actually looking to God’s Word for the answers that they really need in terms of how they relate to their neighbors and other members of the community that are part of this stressful situation.” The article says that the teams have not allowed the situation to disrupt their deadlines for translation work. Bruce said, “It’s definitely creating a climate of uncertainty and increases their concern about how to continue carrying out their work. They know that God’s Word has the real power to change people’s hearts and that continuing to move forward in Bible translation is the best way to remedy the situation that they face.”

You can keep up with the latest news about the Nigeria situation at the Mission Network News site as well as other news services like CNN. These events highlight that we need to take advantage of opportunities to spread the Good News while the doors are open.

Thank you for standing with us as we continue to do so.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in BGAN, Ken, Prayer, Wycliffe Associates

 

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What’s Next?

I was sitting at the breakfast table, over 5,000 miles from my house, and in walks Ed and Aretta Loving. The Loving’s are my neighbors, living two streets from Anne and I. We haven’t seen them in person for over eight

Ed and Aretta Loving 2010

months and yet, I can catch up with them here, in Nigeria. How ironic.

Aretta wasn’t feeling well and made some oatmeal from a package that she brought with her. It was as much as she could manage to eat that day. And they hadn’t slept too well we were told. But, they weren’t complaining. Instead, they were laughing and joking, sharing some of their past war stories occurred during the time it took to complete a New Testament in Papua New Guinea. We were enthralled at some of the things we heard, recognizing that today’s missionaries may have it easy compared to what Ed and Aretta went through.

Somehow the topic around the table shifted to retirement. And frankly, I wasn’t prepared for their next statement.

I’m 15 years past official retirement age”, Aretta said, “and we’re still not officially retired from Wycliffe.”

WHAT?  Did I just hear that right? Did she say, “15 years?”

Quick calculations caused me to think Aretta was approximately 80 and, assuming Ed was of similar age, he was too. And, instead of enjoying the comforts of their home and family, they were sitting in front of me in Nigeria, traveling over 5,000 miles to arrive her, to help translate the Bible. At 80 years of age!

I’m 57 years old and for the first time in my life have come to realize that I am just a short ten years shy of official retirement age. And for whatever reason, it started me thinking… What’s next? Where will I go and what will I do after that? Should I enjoy the rewards of my labor (assuming my retirement funds haven’t dried up by then!), sit back, and enjoy a few rounds of golf (once I learn how to play)? Or, should I invest my time in something a little more significant, outside of myself and for the benefit of others? Well, because I am ten years shy of “retirement” and don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, I have chosen to give the thought a rest for a while. But, after watching some of my friends and colleagues, I have a clue of what I’ll do.

I was in Nigeria last week, teaching a workshop with Bruce Bridges, a Wycliffe Associates colleague. Bruce is 71 years old and has worked in an IT related field his entire life, in both the corporate world and in academia. Together, Bruce and I, working alongside our Nigerian colleagues, are up until 10:00 PM each night fixing mother tongue translators’ computers, ridding them of viruses, updating them, patching them, and anything else that needs to happen to make this tool perform at peak performance. Thereafter, we will be teaching computer file management, how to use Microsoft Word and Excel to expedite the Bible translation process, how to submit an email to the NBTT’s* new helpdesk for technical support, and other topics to help the MTT’s themselves become more efficient.

Bruce lives in what might be considered a retirement community and could be living the “good life”, similar to his neighbors. He and Gwenn, his wife, could be traveling regularly, taking frequent cruises, golfing, visiting friends & relatives, and participating all the other activities enjoyed by those living to his left and right. Bruce could, if he so chose, purchase a new Corvette, his driving passion. In fact, Bruce recently shared with me he thinks about that option often. But, a Corvette he has not. Instead, he has chosen a different course, including long hot days serving Nigerian mother tongue translators.

Because Bruce and Gwenn are so committed to God’s Word and its’ impact in people’s lives, they pay out of pocket expenses to minister with, and to, our Nigerian (and other national) colleagues to advance Bible translation. And, believe me when I tell you some of the places they have traveled and the work they have been involved in are anything but pristine!

I’ve quickly come to realize that the more I work along side of people like this dear brother and the Lovings, the more I appreciate them and their eternal perspective. And, the more I appreciate THEIR eternal perspective, the more it challenges me towards the same eternal, rather than temporal, perspective.

As I pondered Ed and Aretta Loving’s and Bruce and Gwenn’s motives, I suddenly started thinking of the many other people I know that have spent their “second half” ministering for the Lord. I know of the Ken and Flo Ginter, out of Florida, that have ministered for years with Children’s Bible Fellowship/Camp Hope/Camp Joy for years and years. I know of Bill and Barbara Bosch that have tirelessly worked at CBF in maintenance. I know of Don Storteboom and Bob Bates, Wycliffe Associates volunteers, who traveled to Nigeria with our team in June and deployed BGAN satellite modems in the remote regions of the country. And I know of tens, if not hundreds, of other “retirees” that are, after leaving the corporate world, spending their time and energy on serving at JAARS rather than on trips and cars.

The more I look at these saints, the more I suspect that  the word “retirement” isn’t a part of God’s vocabulary or plan. Yes, we may retire from our normal source of income, whatever our employment may be. But, I am becoming more and more convinced that God has a work and a plan for each of us thereafter, for the “second half” of our lives.

So, what’s next for Anne and I? I can’t say for sure and, God willing, I still have some time to ponder the question. But, what about you? What is your perspective? And what’s next for you?

Ken

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2011 in BGAN, Wycliffe Associates