Archive for ‘building project’

January 3, 2016

Singsing for a remote building dedication

by bzephyr

The new classroom (center) and dorm (right) in the morning sun


A few years ago, our ten-language Bible translation project in Papua New Guinea started to outgrow our current facilities. We needed more classroom space, more dorm rooms, more staff housing, and a new generator. Before we returned to the States for our home assignment last year, I had worked with teammates, architects, and funding partners to plan for the construction of four new buildings. Most of the build happened during the year that we were away.

AWTP managers

Missy and Emil managed the whole building project while we were home in the States


When we returned to PNG, our local colleagues had decided that we needed to do the culturally appropriate thing and host a building dedication. Traditionally, people in this part of the country cannot use a new house or building until they have hosted various groups to come sing and dance on the buildings and officially open them up. Sometimes the dancing is so energetic that it seems to serve the purpose of testing the strength of the new building.

For this opening, our village partners decided that the real purpose of this event was to dedicate these buildings to God and to his continued work through this language development project. So they invited one local singsing group to sing and dance, and various local church and community leaders were also invited to join in dedicating the new buildings to God. It was a day full of decorating the buildings, singing, dancing, speeches, prayers, cutting the tape, cooking, eating, and enjoying sweet fellowship together.

The pictures that follow are just a glimpse at all the beautiful art and joyful activities of the day…



Fastening bilas (decorations)



Adding color – the new and the old



Hold still



Women folk of the local translation advisor



Children getting all decked out



Almost ready to begin the festivities



Many speeches



Cutting the tape



Exploring the new buildings



All dressed up and ready to dance



Singsing Tumleo – a song learned by grandparents from a neighboring language



Watching the singsing from the decorated new verandah


Taking a breather before the next verse

Taking a breather before the next verse



The next generation with PNG flag colors



A headdress to match her afro



Learning from the grandparents



The littlest dancer



Too much excitement for this little super man



Someday, he’ll join the fun


Cooking kaukau

Keeping the fire going



Cooking fish



Waving the flies off


Distributing bread rolls

Distributing bread rolls



Waiting patiently to eat



Time to rest and story



Leading the singsing with a flare


January 14, 2014

2013 in review

by mendibpng


Our intern Luke Elliott  (pictured above, with Noah, Joe and Ellie) spent nine months living with us last year.

January: We had planned to go to the village and do a ‘walkabout;’ however, Ben and I became too sick to travel. Once the virus had finished, it took weeks before the fatigue left us. We had to cancel the trip and Ben worked from home. Our teammates Luke and Laura still went to the village to do language learning.

February-March: Ben worked from home in Ukarumpa. This entailed managing the project (reporting, etc), doing advisor checks on 1&2 Timothy as well as dealing with personnel issues long distance over the phone or via skype. I supported him as the team leader by checking in with teammates regularly and hosting team meals and meetings.
Dictionary Workshop participants identify nouns and verbs in their own languages.

April-May: We attended our bi-annual branch conference. During this month, we went to the village for a follow-up Dictionary Workshop and a translation revision for 1 &2 Timothy. We also began renovation on a staff housing building. Wayambo supervised the construction of most of our other buildings in our project previously, and came out to do this one. The house he renovated into a three bedroom house plus the downstairs apartment was split into two separate living spaces with their own bathrooms!
Jacob “helps” Wayambo.

June-July: Ben and our teammate John consultant checked 1 and 2 Timothy in seven languages (three first, then four the next week) which was the first time they have attempted to do so many languages at once. The translators and language consultants told us over and over how Paul’s words impacted their lives—it was the first time they had translated preaching, rather than narratives in Luke and Acts. A video team from Wycliffe U.S. come during this time to get footage of the project.
August-September: We all appreciated the stability time for the whole family while Ben worked from his cubicle in Ukarumpa. Meanwhile, we supported our team long distance as Luke and Laura did linguistic analysis, Jerry recorded Acts in Arop and Beth, Missy and Cindy went to all of the people groups in our project to do Scripture Use and Literacy activities. In September, Ben and I took the twins to Cairns to see a pediatric dentist, since both of them had some deep cavities that required the skills of a pediatric dentist.

Josiah helped lead worship at church numerous times throughout the year. He also plays in a Soul Purpose (youth) band and accompanies the Sunday school kids each week.
Jacob and Jenny Beth still talk about seeing kangaroos in Australia!

October-November: Seven of our translators/literacy workers came to Ukarumpa for a Discover Your Language course. Ben mentored the Rombar Onnele group which allowed him time to do some more in depth study of the language, which essentially will help them make the translation more accurate.
Language Discovery Course 05 crop
(photo credit: Phil King) Ben coaching the Onnele men during the Discover Your Language course.

November-December: Ben went Arop for a translation workshop, while the kids and I stayed in Ukarumpa. He took new computers for the translators and spent most of the time trouble shooting how to connect them to the online and local servers (which store data for our translations) It turned out to be a difficult task but he came home having left them all up and running, praise God! This was probably one of the most challenging times of the year, since many of the appliances in our house died (while Ben was gone) Praise God that the shipping office and the Wycliffe buyer in Cairns helped us replace most of them before Christmas!
At Christmas we had our hilarious moments…
but also our more serious ones, when we shared our Jesse Tree (advent) readings together.

December: Ben arrived home safely and hiked out to a friend’s village the next week. He ended up getting very ill on Christmas day but since we had a low-key holiday planned, he was able to stay in bed for well over a week.

In summary: I am sure you are able to read between the lines and see that it has been a very busy, very fruitful year work-wise. Now, we look to the next five months here in Papua New Guinea and pray that we will be able to balance work and family life as we also pack and prepare for furlough starting in June.

May 27, 2013

Renovation Days 23 to 24

by bzephyr

In the last few days that Wayambo was in the village, we realized that there would still be several jobs to finish after he left. So he worked hard to complete some of the more technical jobs. He prepared everything to help the guys finish the small roof extension…


He hung doors…




And he worked late into the night to fit the new toilet waste pipe into the existing pipes…


Thank you, Wayambo for closing the door on this stage of the building renovation. This was the seventh time that Wayambo had made the trip to Arop to help us with building projects.


See you next time!


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May 26, 2013

Renovation Days 21 to 22

by bzephyr

On days 21 to 22 of the Aitape West Translation Project’s renovation, we saw door frames and window louvre frames installed…


The kitchenette in the flat was moved to accommodate access to the old toilet and shower rooms, the plywood walls were put up, and a new door installed…


And the old flat has access to the new bathroom…


Split blackpalm “limbum” was collected for siding…


Meanwhile, next door at the office, Onnele literacy teachers Rosalyn and Linda are enjoying the new things they’re learning about dictionary making…


The overflow pipes for the two tanks were creatively fitted, even though we didn’t have the right connections. Wayambo improvised with some tightly wound sheets of plastic…


The plywood walls and limbum siding starting going up…




The view from the developing new bathroom with its new door and plywood walls…


The siding needed to start above the first floor windows so that we could hang the downpipes in front of that space in the days ahead…


It was the last day for the translators and literacy team to be together. Tomorrow, the literacy team would head home and the translators would continue revising their translations of 1 & 2 Timothy. Today, the literacy team returned the favor and helped the translation teams read through these letters and made valuable suggestions…


May 26, 2013

Renovation Days 19 to 20

by bzephyr

On days 19 and 20 of the Aitape West Translation Project’s urgent renovation, we saw the kwila hardwood floors being installed…


The translators also returned from their communities where they had been village checking 1 & 2 Timothy, and they consulted with the literacy teams about the progress they had been making on their dictionaries…


I continued to work on cleaning up the last computers still effected by viruses…


Jacob continued to get lessons in carpentry…


Hey, there weren’t doorways there before!


We often joke around with Wayambo and tell him that he is a man who wrecks buildings and puts holes in them where they didn’t exist. But we really wanted these holes. The new room will access the old toilet and shower rooms. And there will also be an optional doorway connecting these two flats…


The hardwood floors were also installed upstairs…


And from the opposite angle…


Window frames were installed…


Arop translation advisor, Emil Ninkure, helped teach some of the dictionary lessons…


With the translators and literacy team working together, we had more people than ever at this workshop…


May 16, 2013

Renovation Days 16 to 18

by bzephyr

On days 16 to 18 we saw the roof worked on, and the second water tank put into place. In this remote part of Papua New Guinea, we collect rain water off our roofs and store it in large water tanks to be used for showers, laundry, dishes, and drinking.

The second floor wall framing was completed, and also the roof extension…

Wayambo impressed me as he sat on the most precarious batten and fascia board, and then started bouncing up and down…


The inspector came by to check on the work…


The second water tank set in place…


And the tank was ready to be used…


And that very night, we got a really big rain that made both tanks half full from only half the roof.IMG_2804cropsmall

But in the Aitape West Translation Project we are completing this renovation as we build a bigger staff in order that we can supply the peoples of Papua New Guinea with God’s living water…

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
For you will go out with joy
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  (Isaiah 55:10-12)

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:10)

May 12, 2013

Renovation Days 14 to 15

by bzephyr

This month has been quite crowded at the Aitape West Translation Project with overlapping translation and dictionary workshops. The literacy team continued to make progress as they taught through the dictionary workshop coursebook.


We’re getting ready to host even more team members in June/July when we consultant check 1 & 2 Timothy, record the audio of Acts, and host some international partners. So it’s good to see new walls going up.

By day 14, work started on the new second floor room that was formerly airspace for a nest of little bats located above the water tanks. Since the room will include the existing door to the verandah and extend out beyond the current railing, it was time to remove some posts and bearers…



At this point in the project, we realized that we were a little short on lumber. We arranged for local neighbors with a chainsaw to cut what we needed. But when they couldn’t get their saw running, Wayambo found enough spare pieces laying around that he could rip himself…


Here, you can see where the new floorplan connects to the existing verandah. Not only are we extending the floor in the direction of the old water tank location, we’re also extending outwards a few feet…


Hey, this is exciting…IMG_2751cropsmall

What can we do to help?


May 11, 2013

Renovation Days 12 to 13

by bzephyr

With a bigger team and growing opportunities to facilitate Bible translation and language development, we needed an urgent renovation to an existing building in order to accommodate more people at our training center in the bush. By day 12 we were utilizing the water tank that had moved to its new location, so it was time to move the second water tank. And this meant we could start framing the room that would go in at ground level.


Once the bearers and floor joists were in place, it was time to start putting up the wall framing…


And once the ground floor walls were up, it was time to think about supporting the second floor. This is when Wayambo’s skills really started being appreciated. Building a two story addition onto an existing house is not as easy as it would have been to build a separate building. And this is especially true for this house, because they’ll have to do some creative jacking of the house in order to knock the existing posts out without compromising the integrity of the existing cantilevered structure.


At the end of day 12, this warped bearer was giving them real problems.


They couldn’t jack the existing house high enough to pound this bearer into place. So they’ll have to try again tomorrow after a good night’s rest…


The next day, they had success, and so it was time to take the old posts out…


More jacking and supporting…


Another day’s work…


And meanwhile, the literacy team continued to make progress on their dictionaries…




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May 10, 2013

Renovation Days 8 to 11

by bzephyr

In the Aitape West Translation Project, one of our main goals is the training of trainers so that Papua New Guineans are equipped to serve their own communities and also share their skills and experience in helping others from the various 831 languages in this country. So two years ago we realized that we had a need for additional staff to train our PNG colleagues from the 11 languages in this project. We are now seeing new teammates join the project.

Below, our new teammate Luke from the UK demonstrates some features of the computers that these literacy personnel are using as they work on their dictionaries.


The quick influx of new staff has also created an urgent need for additional facilities in our remote village training center.

By day 8 of our renovation project, Wayambo had started making some significant changes in the existing downstairs flat. He had moved the kitchen counter over about a meter in order to make space for a new hallway to the old toilet and shower rooms from the new flat being built outside this kitchen window. This existing flat will receive the new bathroom.


And the framing for that new hallway has started…


Wayambo started fitting the new shower tray…


And we saw a new ditch dug to direct the waste water from the new shower and hand basins…


And one of the jobs that I’m spending a lot of time on in this project: the plumbing. On day 11, it was once again Sunday, so time to rest. But we did allow our water pumps to work all day as we pumped water from the remaining existing water tank to the repositioned water tank. And before we turned the generator off for the night, we were able to start getting water out of the newly plumbed water tank. Tomorrow, we’ll move the second water tank so we can start building the two new rooms.


These days also marked the dictionary workshop being into full swing after the translators left to go home and check 1 & 2 Timothy with their communities. But they also marked the start of several days of cleaning viruses off our 22 project computers and our local network. Below, Beth (right) and Luke’s wife, Laura (left), help run the virus scans.


Everywhere we look these days, we see people working together to support the growing work and ministry of this Bible translation project. We are blessed!

May 9, 2013

Renovation Days 5 to 7

by bzephyr

With translations, dictionaries and scripture use training going ahead in nine languages, we are so thankful for our growing number of staff. And work on the urgent renovation continued despite some big rains. We were thankful for the rain, because we had already emptied one of our two water tanks in order to start construction. The second tank was nearly half empty. So the kids had a good excuse to get outside and collect water by any other means, although baths were needed after this got muddier…


I failed to get pictures of the renovation on days 5 and 6 because I was busy with the Dictionary Workshop…


The translators stayed around for 3 days after their workshop to help work together with the literacy team as they met for the second time to work on their dictionaries…


By the end of day 7, much more had been accomplished on the renovation. It was decided to widen the two rooms by another foot and a half based on the length of the 4×4 bearers that we had acquired. But this also meant that we would be short on flooring, so we would need to get our hands on a few more pieces before the project could be completed.


You can also see above that Wayambo did figure out how to make enough cement for new circular tank stand pads. This was a really nice surprise since we’ve had two other tanks break after sinking into the soft ground. Although we were short on gravel, there were several hardened cement bags lying around, and once broken up, that was able to substitute for the needed gravel. Wayambo’s always good for creative solutions.

And let’s take a closer look at how the new bathroom is coming along…


And looking from the inside out…IMG_2222cropsmall

It was time to rest after another hard day’s work. And look at that wall ready to go up…


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