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Category Archives: Hardware

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

 

From Their Perspective

You often read about the excitement we feel when we deploy technology to accelerate Bible translation. But, have you ever wondered about the mother tongue translator’s reaction?

Recently, Mark Hancock, a member of our team, went to a South American country and installed a BGAN satellite for someone living in a remote region. Check out this video as he describes his reaction to this new tool. And, while you’re at it, check out the scenery, the house, surrounding this couple. We have so much, don’t we? Our colleagues have so little. It really is amazing.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in BGAN, Satellite, Video

 

Just can’t pass it up!

Some things are just too good to let go by!

I was in Orlando last week for team meetings and enjoyed a dinner with Dwight and Margaret Hartzler, a couple of my former Indonesia colleagues. Dwight and Margaret completed a New Testament translation and now both serve as translation consultants. And as old friend do, we began to reminisce about our Irian Jaya (now called West Papua) days.The topic soon turned to how much Sentani, where we lived in Papua, had changed. It was then that Margaret pulled out the picture below. I simply had to share it with you. Talk about culture clash!

What’s amazing is Anne and I and our daughters frequently visited and walked the paths of jungle villages like these. What’s even more amazing is that these are the people currently receiving God’s Word, not in Indonesia which they understand little of, but in their mother tongue.

The president of the ministry Anne and I served in for five years said that although people may be physically and/or mentally limited, the Holy Spirit is not. Likewise, although the world may consider these people of the stone age and backwards, God doesn’t. He loves them just like He loves us. And, Jesus died for them just like he died for you and I. And, just like us, they need His Word to grow in Christ.

But it sure does look funny getting there.

Dani with a computerClash of cultures – Dani with a computer

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2011 in Laptops

 

Accelerating Bible Translation

I love technology, not for technology’s sake, but for some of the ways it enhances our lives and makes it more productive. Yes, I’m also aware that technology sometimes complicates life, like when your computer won’t work like is should, when your email is hacked and your system starts sending out embarrassing messages, or in my case, when I carry the phone but can never seem to get it out of my pocket in time to answer a call.

Here is a link to a video where technology DOES work. And, it not only enhances a life but it accelerates Bible translation too.Take a look at it and simply think of the context —

  • someone living deep in the jungle using a BGAN satellite terminal
  • sends an email with attached translation data
  • via a communications satellite located (I’ve heard) 22,000 above the earth
  • to a translation consultant located thousands of miles away!

What’s even more amazing is that the consultant can send the corrected translation data back the NEXT day as one would do with any email.

Formerly, sending and receiving translation data via the post, hand carry, or other methods would take days, if not weeks or months. One translation consultant said that sometimes he would not hear from one of his mother tongue translators for a year! And now the process can take as little as a day. It’s amazing.

I praise God for this new technology. Take a few minutes to watch these video and I suspect you will too.

Take a moment and watch Accelerating Bible Translation for the Jiru and Levering Technology

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in BGAN, Satellite, The Seed Company, Video

 

Giving thanks for BGAN and Pidgin

Many of you know that Phil Harms, a Wycliffe Associates colleague, and I had an opportunity to visit the Mgbolizhia language project and meet John and Ike, two of the translators. I believe I can speak for both Phil and I when I say that we both left truly impressed with these two individuals. Both are so eager and willing to receive and learn more about this new BGAN* technology. And, unlike many interested in learning about technology for technology’s sake, these two Godly men are interested because it will increase the pace of the translation. Getting God’s Word into their language is what is first and foremost in their hearts.

These mother tongue translators had limited connectivity causing difficulty uploading their language data to consultants around the world. Listen carefully as they praise God for this new technology knowing they no longer have to travel long distances to connect to Internet and upload/download their data. Today, because of their new BGAN satellite modem, they can upload and receive data within minutes or hours. Gone are the days of having to wait days, weeks, and even months to hear from the translation consultant! We believe this technology will allow them to shave a year or two off their translation project!

Here is a video of their praise unto God. It’s a little lengthy but listen carefully to the words. (NOTE: John, the one on the left, sounds like he is saying “Bee-gads”. He is communicating “BGAN.” Ike, the one on the right, talks about Pidgin, a chat program that will enable him to communicate in real-time with people all over the world, not only to receive help but to give it.)

The second video is of John taking the BGAN configuration test. Notice how slowly he approaches the satellite modem and carefully proceeds through each step. A huge smile flashed across his face when he heard the fast beeping sounds indicating that he had successfully configured the BGAN satellite modem for use.

We praise God for this new technology but more so for His people. It was a great day for all involved!

  1. Interview with John and Ike.
  2. John and Ike’s final BGAN configuration test

*BGAN – Broad Global Area Network

 

Nigeria Trip Pics

Here is just a sampling of the pictures taken on my most recent trip to Nigeria. Additional photos have been uploaded to Google’s Picasa photo viewer (here) and even more photos from other team members will forthcoming in the future.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed the trip.

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News That Feeds the Soul

I recently received an email from a Seed Company’s colleague with an update on the BGAN satellite deployment activity. His comments and statistics were so exciting I decided to pass them on. I trust you will be excited to.

Ken

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Hello Connectivity Team,

Here is a brief summary of what we have been able to accomplish together so far this fiscal year.  Not everyone or any one group had their hand in each of these items. That’s part of what makes us a good team and makes these kinds of results possible.  I am constantly getting reports of immense gratitude from consultants who are now able to accomplish what they had always wanted to – helping their national colleagues build the Kingdom while they are not able to be present in the field.  God’s work is being propelled forward at an astonishing rate and you had a hand in it.  Thanks for all your effort.

98 – Total # of languages connected by our team in the last 8 ½ months.  These languages have 15.8 Million speakers.

Broken down:

  • 84 languages using 59 BGANs
  •   8 languages using 8 cell modems
  •   4 languages using 1 VSAT
  •   2 languages using 2 DSL connections

Other noteworthy accomplishments:

  1. Establishment of Pooled usage contracts (3) expected to save $53,400 in data charges annually.
  2. Setup and thorough testing of a VPN that restricts BGAN usage to only translation activities, estimated to save $120,000 annually.
  3. Quality training materials developed for preparing deployment specialists – 20+ trained already.
  4. Simplified user instructions developed in 7 languages to help Mother Tongue Translators and consultants use new tools.
  5. National IT colleagues from 9 countries trained to support BGAN technology.
  6. Internet Connectivity setup at the NBTT campus in Nigeria which serves 64 language translations.
  7. Many other translation organizations are now looking to us for assistance in using BGAN technology.  We are being followed.

There is still much work to be done, so don’t look back for too long.

To God be ALL the glory.

 
 

Something’s missing!

I noticed that Ken tried to post a blog while in Nigeria, but only half of it has shown up. Apparently something went wrong while it was uploading because I’m sure he finished his thoughts before he sent it. But this is a great illustration of some of the things other missionaries and nationals must deal with on a regular basis in Nigeria and many other parts of the world. Sketchy Internet access.

Well, Ken is now starting his long trek home. He is on the road from Jos to Abuja where he’ll sit in the airport for many hours until his flight out at 11pm Friday night (5pm EST). He flies from Abuja to Frankfurt, Germany, waits another three hours and then flies to Munich where he has just one hour to catch his flight to Charlotte.

If all goes well, he will land here at 3:30pm Saturday afternoon. I will be waiting for him.

Afterall, it will be our 28th anniversary that day so who better to pick him up from the airport?

Thanks again for you prayers. I’m sure he’ll be writing a great update very soon for all of us.

 

June 15th Nigeria Update

It was about 95 degrees out and we were hot and sweaty. My colleague, Phil Harms, and I packed our luggage in the back of a Toyota minivan and, with expensive satellite terminals and luggage piled high behind us and our driver and translation consultant in front of us, we proceeded out the drive. We were finally deploying BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) satellite terminals for the purpose of accelerating Bible translation. This is what the nine of us came for. The countless hours of preparation, the numerous weekly meetings, printing and sorting documentation, purchasing the materials, vaccinations, and all other miscellaneous preparations all led up to this moment. It was happening.

So why was I so nervous?

We were told that Phil and I were headed to southern Nigeria. Not “south south” Nigeria, as they call it, because this the area where the oil is produced and people are kidnapped for ransom. We were only driving “south”, a mere 11 hours away, and the translation coordinator would be coming to meet us.Abakaliki 800x600

Arriving at our first location and meeting our mother tongue translator colleagues, the Lord stilled my heart. The warm reception, the smiling faces, the eagerness to receive and use this new technology suddenly cast away all the fears, the uncertainty, the anxiety I was feeling.

I trained the mother tongue translators how to set up and use the BGAN while Phil worked on their computers, installing software and cleaning the system of viruses. The process went smooth and the translators were excited Mgobolizia BGAN testto supplement their local, sometimes unreliable connectivity for something more stable and dependable. They were incredibly excited, as much as we were. We repeated the process for the Mbolizia language project, the second village we visited. You can tell by looking at the smiles on the face in the picture below how thrilled they were to receive this new technology.

We arrived back at the NBTT (Nigerian Bible Translation and Trust) center and immediately received feedback that the program was a success. “This is fantastic,” a visiting translation consultant exclaimed. “I have already received an email from the translator with some attached translation text. In this past, this would have taken six months or more!” I’ve recorded another translator’s comments on video. You can view it here. It was working. I’m stoked!

God is using this technology to accelerate the Bible translation process and people all around the world are taking note, even CNN!

I returned to the US physically tired but mentally and spiritually exhilarated. The Lord is indeed using us and this new technology to complete his mission.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in BGAN, Satellite, The Seed Company, Video, Wycliffe Associates

 

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