Category Archives: Organizations

Working title: My 2nd trip to Ghana in 20 years

Introduction

Back in 1997, my wife Fiona and 7 week old baby Tane travelled to South Africa to attend and assist with two conferences: The Global Consultation on World Evangelisation (GCOWE) and the African Evangelical Alliance (AEA).  These were held in Pretoria and Johannesburg, respectively.  While on the continent, Fiona’s Uncle Ross invited me to travel with him to East and West Africa, to distribute a Church Survey Database (written in Microsoft Access 97).  Ever since then, uncle has feed me data updates about every 5 years, and I have done number crunching and sent back formatted reports.

This year, 2016, nearly 20 years after that initial visit, Uncle Ross is nearing retirement.  So, he thought it would be a good idea to disband the Ghana National Church Survey database, split it into its denominational constituent parts, and distribute these to their respective denominations.  He invited me to return to Ghana (where the national church there had run with this idea) to assist with the distribution of data, and training of their technical people.  At first, I was hesitant, because the airfares were significant, but Uncle Ross is such a frequent flyer that he assured me he could probably get my economy tickets free (he’s a platinum card holder).  In the end, I’m still not sure whether my flights were free, because uncle is supported by WEC International, and he doesn’t like to discuss his financial needs.  Instead, he relies upon the provision of the Lord.  All I know is that they were free to me.

I booked 3 weeks annual leave from my job as a Solution Architect at Spark, NZ’s largest telecommunications provider.  I got shots for Yellow Fever and Hepatitis A.  I exchanged NZ$700 for US$500 to take into the country with me.  We flew out on 1st October.  I was pumped and ready to go.  In the immortal words of Bilbo Baggins, “I’m going on an Adventure!”

The first notable blessing which came our way was, on our flight from Perth to Johannesburg (the 2nd leg of our 3-leg trip), we got an upgrade (because of Uncle’s Platinum card) from Economy Class to Row #1!  I have never flown First Class before.  It is such a blessing.  There is so much more space to stretch out my 1.81cm frame.  Also, by virtue of uncle’s status, we were granted access to the South African Voyager Club lounge.  This afforded us access to the showers and sleeper unit.  I was greatly refreshed for the final leg of our journey.

We arrived 5pm Sunday local time, which was 6am Monday NZ time, after departing Saturday 2pm.  That’s a lot of travel.  I was exhausted and collapsed early into our accommodations.

Week 1

The first week was spent in the Ghana Evangelism Committee (an organisation uncle had created and initially chaired), splitting the databases and training the in-house technical staff.  Ghana is 13 hours behind New Zealand, which means Ghana is in line with GMT.  It also means that when I wake up at 6AM on Monday, it’s already 7PM in NZ.  This makes for some limited opportunity for communication with home.  However, mobile data is relatively cheap and the Internet is a modern marvel which makes face time possible.

As expected the days are hot, but at least I’m in an air-conditioned office.  The nights are hotter, because we only have a ceiling fan to keep us cool.  Needless to say, we are up early each morning because it’s too hot to stay in bed.  It is usually about 30.5 degrees Celsius first thing in the morning.

After breakfast, there’s time for a cold shower.  Rather than an imposition, this is a blessing.  It removes the sweat from the night.

For lunch, we go to the street markets and buy either fish and (yam) chips or chicken and (yam) chips.  For dinner, we pop next door to the office, and buy from the Portuguese fast-food restaurant with Western-style food.  Here, it is called Barcello’s.  In New Zealand we would recognize it as Nando’s.  We are eating out each day, because it is cheaper than buying Western style groceries, and the facilities back at the Guest House are not conducive to cooking a meal.

Once a week, we wash our clothes in the bucket in the shower.  We use soap powder that we brought with us.  Uncle lives very frugally.  He’s worked out the best systems for maximising his return on investment.

We are usually tired by 8pm and there’s no telly here, so we end up listening to BBC World Service on our separate radios, and retiring early.

Week 2

We started meeting heads of churches.  I’m so impressed with Uncle’s ability to pick up the phone, dial a Director or Moderator or Chairman to request a meeting, and getting a positive response.  By the end of this week, we had meetings with:

  • General Secretary of the Church of Pentecost
  • Personal assistant to the President and General Secretary of the Apostolic Church of Ghana
  • Moderator of the Global Evangelical Church
  • Moderator, Director Church Life and Nurture & Clerk of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana
  • Presiding Bishop and his head office staff of the Methodist Church of Ghana

With each, we have attempted to schedule a follow-up session with their IT department, in order to take possession of their data, and give them some in-depth training on its usage.  But first, it was necessary to meet with the leadership and really get them on-board with the data.  I prepared a brief 8-slide presentation, which Ross presents skilfully.  Depending on the audience, he can make the presentation last 15 minutes to 30 minutes to 60 minutes.

Uncle feels it is important to get the leadership’s buy-in first.  He also feels it necessary to trot me along for this initial meeting, and espouses my various qualifications and credentials.  He builds me up, to lend credibility to the training and to the data.  Although the data really does speak for itself.  He has some old printed reports to go along with it, but the latest stuff is only available in soft copy.

On weekend, we took the opportunity to travel up to Kumasi.  There, uncle introduced me to the Christian School (now University) he established in 1969.  Christian Service University College (CSUC) in Kumasi is a Presbyterian school.  It houses 600 students and has a campus now of 2000.  The Featured Image (above) shows uncle shaking hands with his former gatekeeper: a fierce, but gracious, Fra-Fra man.  Apparently, it is well-known that this tribe makes the best security.  Uncle told stories of having to chase of thieves in the old days, in the middle of the night.

Week 3

This is a typical example of how I conducted the in-depth training.  It was in a large board-room with projector, and 3 techies, with one laptop.  So, I plugged into the projector and demo-ed their database, while the senior guy with the laptop, mirrored my activities.  In this way, I trained them how to create their own queries on the data.  We spent half a day with them.  They fed us a lovely lunch of rice, fish & vegetables.

We ended up training the following groups:

Date Group Name Church Number of Participants
11/10/2016 Peter & Martin Ghana Evangelism Committee 2
14/10/2016 Beatrice & Richmond Global Evangelical Church 2
17/10/2016 Hulda & Vivian Ghana Evangelism Committee 2
18/10/2016 Jeremiah, Emmanuel & Manasseh Apostolic Church of Ghana 3
19/10/2016 Statistics Department Methodist Church 4
20/10/2016 Daniel & Eric Church of Pentecost 2
20/10/2016 IT Department Ghana Baptist Convention 4
20/10/2016 IT Department Hope Foundation Church 1
21/10/2016 Data Managers Presbyterian Church 8
21/10/2016 League of Non-Aligned Denominations Globeserve 3
21/10/2016 LONAD Bread Of Life Mission 1
21/10/2016 LONAD Full Stature Mission 1
21/10/2016 LONAD Restoration Church 2
21/10/2016 LONAD Community Churches 1
21/10/2016 LONAD Southern Baptists 3
Total 15 39

 

I must admit, by the time we got to the last few sessions, Uncle and I had quite an impressive repertoire worked out.  He presented the overview of the survey, what it contains and the types of statistics that they can get out of it.  Then I did a deep dive, showing them their individual church databases, the number of congregations they each had, and how to create Access queries for the very first time.  I took them right up to Grouping and Totalling.  From there, I showed them how to copy/paste into Excel and use Excel to pretty up the table, and finally to create a pie graph.  After that, I told them to expect a pay rise.  They laughed.

This was the exchange rate:

  • NZ$700 = US$500
  • US$100 = GHC$400
  • Therefore NZ$0.35 = GHC$1

In addition to meeting Peter in the office I also met, in Kumasi, Uncle Ross’s #1 Field worker.  His name is Martin Osei-Buabeng.  A mature gentleman, he’s been with uncle since the beginning and is a tireless worker.

Ghanaians are not shy of taking photos.  They were quite chuffed to be asked to be in our record of our little training programme.

Conclusion

This was a golden opportunity to use my secular skills to advance the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations, so that all pre-conditions are fulfilled, so that Christ may return, and we may all go home.

How to make a great marriage

Toastmasters Speech – Competent Communicator Manual

Project 2 – Organize your speech

Delivered: 29 August

Select your topic

  • How to make a great marriage

Make an outline

  • Poor
  • Improving
  • Good
  • Great

Develop the opening

  • Dave Meurer — ‘A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.’
  • Where-ever you are on the spectrum of marriages, there is hope that you can move up the scale. Even if it’s great, you can still “sharpen the saw”.

Draft the body

Who am I to talk on this topic?

  • Married 22 years
  • Been a participant or instructor on various marriage enrichment courses.
  • Knows what works (and what doesn’t). More about that later.

Where-ever you are on the spectrum of marriages, there is hope that you can move up the scale. Even if it’s great, you can still “sharpen the saw”.

Imagine a spectrum, from poor to great. (Use hands)

(I won’t do a “Patrick Jane” and attempt to Mentalise you by observing where your eyes are looking right now.)

I have grouped the various courses of which I have either been a participant or instructor, into three Toolboxes for improving your marriage:

  • Fundamentals
    1. Relating Between the Sexes (Pre-Marriage)
      Dean Sherman from YWAM taught me that I need to be a whole person first, before I inflict myself upon another. Don’t bring my baggage into the marriage, and deal with it first.
    2. The Marriage Course (Alpha)
      The Marriage Course taught me to treat my wife as equal but different. The 5 Love Languages, for instance was great at explaining why sometimes it would appear that we were “talking past each other.”

      • Conflict Resolution
      •  The 5 Love Languages
    3.  Get a Hobby!
      No one person could or should fulfil your every desire. It’s unhealthy. Better to have some friends for a “time-out” occasionally. For instance, my wife can go with her friends to see Chick Flicks, so I don’t have to!
  • Parenting
    1. Growing Kids God’s Way
      A controversial series, which believes in discipline, but taught me the inverse triangle of responsibility.
    2. The Parenting Toolbox series
      Ian and Mary Grant are just great.1.Toolbox for Toddlers

      2.Pre-schoolers

      3.Primary age

      4.Teenage

    3. Preparing for Adolescence
      Necessary because you want your children to be strong-minded, independent & confident but also respectful, caring and engaged. Doctor Dobson’s 20 week course is fantastic.
  • Advanced
    1. Boundaries: When to say yes, when to say no to take control of your life.
      When your Yes means Yes and your No means No, then you can really say no to the good, in order to concentrate on the best. Learning to prioritise.
    2. Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul
      We were created equal, but different. Find out how to harness a man’s innate desire to lead and be respected into positive areas of growth.1.Let’s face it: the greatest hindrance to a great marriage is a passive husband.

      2.Women want a man who will take appropriate initiative.

    3. The Bible: Beginner’s Instructions Before Leaving Earth
      Read the Instruction Manual from the Manufacturer.

The Conclusion

When I married my wife, she was a Quality Manager for a large computer company. Her mantra was “process of continual improvement.” This means, you can always improve. In our marriage, this has translated into attending a course together every year. Whether it’s marriage, or parenting or simply further our education, it’s an opportunity for us to continue to grow closer together. Because the world pulls you apart. Whether it’s work or kids or friends or other interests (although there’s nothing wrong with pursuing your personal hobbies), there’s always something pulling us in different directions. That’s why it’s vitally important to be intentional to spend time together enjoying each other’s company. Because eventually, the kids will leave, work will cease, but you’ll (hopefully) still be together. By building foundations early, you won’t be caught in the trap of looking at each other in 20 years’ time and realising you’ve marriage a stranger.

Vision Sunday

Sunday 30 November

  • Vision Sunday
  • Past, Present & Future
Title Name
Senior Pastor Alistair (Arnie) Hall
Pastor Garey Clark
Children’s Pastor Jamie Acraman
Worship Team Caleb Stickland
Youth Pastor Marty Barrett
Men’s Ministry Carl Graham & James Hippolite
Sound Desk Tane Hippolite
Lights Hamish Hippolite
Alpha Keith Thompson
Baptist Missionary Fellowship Margaret Street
Bible In Schools Murray & Pam Storey
Building Hireage David Jackson
Come Walking Jill Hall
Finances Raymond
Church Historian Doug Snook
Lifecare Counselling Kathy Symons
Events Team Colleen & Ricardo
Filipino Group Mel Garcia / Rey Gumtang
Flavor Café Anne Edwards
Forty Plus Rob & Diane Stone
Girls Brigade Sarah Woods
Indian Outreach Jack Chandra & Manohar David
Indoor Bowls Margaret Rowe
Kids Clothing Exchange Karen Page & Susan Blackett
Ladies Bible Study Marian McIntosh
Ladies Fellowship Heather Hughes
Library Joy Austin
Children’s & Family Ministries Denise
Manukau City Baptist Global Missions Barb Perry
Marriage Course Kathy & Dave, Kev & Joy
Morning Tea Ministry Jenny Prakash
Pasifika in Christ Akaata & Anna Haurua
Prayer Chain Pamela Cammell
Prayer Ministry Ross & Iris Abernethy
Sound Gregory McKinnell
Unicycle Club & Prayer Groups Bryan Page
Her Ministry Aly, Sara, Bex, Alixx & Gail
Te Roopu Awhina Steve Mihaere

I got thanked for my part in organising, praying for & presenting Authentic Manhood, men’s course.

Actual Discourse

For Against
It’s an alternative point of view from naturalistic materialism, which brings comfort to many Christianity is too narrow a focus for our pluralistic society.
There is a spiritual hunger, not satisfied in any other way. Conflict with use of time/resources.   Spark shouldn’t be in this business.
Act as conscience (of the company) Harden up
Useful for therapy (improve employee life) We’ve already got HR & EAP
Better to have an opinion and move on, then to wallow in unbelief & inaction. Couldn’t we just exclude the Christianity aspect?
Another method of communication and community within the company.
Aligned, on the same page
Values-based directional counselling has great value.
Good exposure to alternative view increases tolerance. Bad experiences decreases tolerance.

What Would Chaplaincy Offer?

  • Basic Life Principles
    • Boundaries
    • Marriage Course
  • Personal, private confessional (active listening)
  • Directive counselling (talking)
  • Social community
  • Potential measurement: Brand value

Thoughts outlining how I think my session will go

Introduction

  • When I previously introduced myself as “Chaplain,” that was an aspirational role.
  • I am a trained student of the Bible.

Does Spark Need a Chaplaincy?

For Against
(Assuming Chaplaincy implies Christianity) It’s an alternative point of view from naturalistic materialism, which brings comfort to many. (Assuming Chaplaincy implies Christianity) It’s too narrow a focus for a pluralistic society.
Other religions are tolerant of Christian services in an (admittedly post-) Christian society. Only atheists appear intolerant of Christianity in any form. In which case, just stay away! It’s all mumbo-jumbo and I don’t want any resources diverted into such an unscientific endeavour.
I see case after case of spiritual hunger in the workplace that is being unfulfilled. I want to help. Those people can go elsewhere.   Spark shouldn’t be in the business of fulfilling spiritual hunger.
There are some basic life principles that people are not being taught, which will improve their lives (and make their work life more tolerable). Harden up? Such as what?
The Boundaries Course has helped me.
The Marriage Course has helped me.
The Alpha Course has helped me.

#SparkInnovation14

Does Spark need a Chaplaincy?

  • If yes, what would it do?

My Motivations in asking the question:

  • My career has peaked. There’s nowhere vertical for me to go. Therefore, in order to be more fulfilled, I have to incorporate more of my outside interests into my work. Hence, offering my marriage counselling, spiritual guidance skills.
  • Nearly every week, I observe within Spark, demotivation, depression, crises. I am fundamentally loyal to this company. I would like to offer something to help.

Relevancy:

  • The first session I attended this weekend was “Plane crashes & Ebola: are your travel plans affected?” The discussion transitioned into doomsday scenarios. I was fascinated. The veneer of civilisation very quickly disappeared in that discussion, in that people were actually contemplating bombing potentially innocent boat people. To me, this prove a lack of moral centre. We agreed that empires fall. Is the American empire about to fall?
Empire Prophet Expression
Greek Aristotle There is no good in mankind
Judaism Jeremiah The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
Christian Paul All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
Humanism Philosophers Man is a helpless victim of this environment
  • The second session was “3D Printing & the Internet of Things”. 3dhubs.com provides a 3d printing & delivery service.
  • The third session was “Odd Hobbies”. We are unique human beings, with diverse enthusiasms. My contributions (from more mainstream to less so) were:
    • Squash
    • Blogging (somebody else wrote “TV & movies”
    • Attending Conferences (somebody else wrote “going to sci-fi conventions”)
    • Speaking/presenting
    • Marriage counselling
  • The fourth session was, “Business Patterns” and how to use them to improve business. The problem of entrenching success, is it makes the process inflexible. However, in order to allow flexibility, requires delegated authority, which incurs risk.
    • I liken this to fatherhood: leading the family. If they were warned, then they are being disobedient. If they weren’t warned, then they are not disobedient, they are merely childish, and shouldn’t be punished.
    • Likewise, the owner of the company decides what is best for the company, and needs to communicate that, then allow their people freedom to work within that paradigm. This is a Biblical model of hierarchy.
    • Also, I’m raising generals, not soldiers.   Therefore I’m going to teach them how to think, not what to think.
    • But, organisations like McDonalds, who have a repeatable process, want drones to follow the process.
    • But if I’m a start-up, I’m going to hire pioneers, who thrive on the chaos of creativity, and need to be entertained, and hate structure. Structure may come later, but when, and to what degree?
    • The owner is the visionary, but needs to hire either employees to follow, or consultants to recommend new directions.
    • Nobody here liked my suggestion that any organisation is like a family, in that Dad sets the direction. (I love stirring the pot.)
  • The Fifth Session, “What has technology done to humanity?”
    • Why I Think This World Should End: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJ1qlSjL_9g. This video talks about the negative aspects of our society and recommends that the antidote is love.
    • Are we too loosely allowing future generations to view bad things? What has changed between the 1950’s and today? Culture, technology, expectations, values.
    • It’s feeding our insatiable appetite of inquisitiveness.
    • My slant: “there is a Book, that talks about Man’s propensity to use technology for self-advancement, instead of contentment. At the Tower of Babel, Man tried to eliminate God from their society, and failed.”
    • Computers allows us to do things quicker. We’re doing the bad things quicker. Technology amplifies what’s there.
    • In the Humanist Manifesto, which is the predominant philosophy of Western Society, the promise was that Science would solve all our ills. The problem is, that Science is driven by fallible human beings. A good case in point is fat was discovered to be “bad”, was removed, but was replaced with salt and sugar. The result: incredible obesity. So, the philosophy is corrupt, because its basis (a purely good humanity) is false.
  • The sixth session: “Does Technology enable or relieve loneliness/isolation, especially in the elderly?” What can be done to improve the situation in 2041, when 1.3M Kiwis will be over 65?
    • Is the Hugging Chair (in Japan) a good idea? Just because they built it, and it’s being used, does the need exist? Nobody doubts the need for real hugs. Can technology replace that? I doubt it.
    • My slant: The Wheton Law applies: “Don’t be a Dick.” Invest in relationships now, so that people want to interact with you later. It doesn’t really matter what technology exists in the future, if humans don’t want to talk to you. The Hugging Chair is tacky.

I’m going to blog this now, so that you get a feel for it.

Indonesia Mission Trip July 2001

I found these old hand-written notes of mine in a big tidy-up.  I thought I’d share them before I disposed of them.

Tues 17 July 2001

06:00 Woke up in Jakarta.  Watched “Rocky 2” on TV.
08:00 Had breakfast @ hotel
09:30 Were picked up from hotel by “Alex”
11:45 Flight from Jakarta to Solo.
Had Sate lunch in car & bought monitor for US$125.
Sam paid for everything, even the postage from the hotel.
16:00 Arrived @ the School.
Immediately, Augusta, James and me set up the new PC.  The hub’s going to be tricky.  Will deal to it later.

Must help Augusta with library tomorrow first, before he leaves on Friday.

18:00 Dinner with the Family, consisted of rice, fish, water cress, some Chile sauces, brown sugar cakes, iced tea, red bean buns, oranges & a rice soup.  Delicious!  Dinner is served promptly at 6pm.

Sam treats his servants very well, compared to South Africa, I told him.  Sam posed me a very tricky question: Alex wanted to give him a 22-carat gold right with Topaz.  Same wanted to know what I thought!  I asked him what he would like me to think.  In the end, he accepted, but told Alex bluntly that Sam is probably going to give it away.

20:50 Spent some time on-line, but couldn’t get web browsing to work.  I’m writing give myself something to do, to stay awake.

Wed 18 July 2001

A good day’s work.  Spent the morning with Augusta down @ the library, installing my library database & customising it for their use: adding a Students & Lecturer module so that borrowers can be viewed, selected by combo-box.

Each day is a culinary delight.  Authentic Indonesian cuisine 3x a day.  They are filling me up, no problems.

Sam tried to have me on about snake meat today, but Carol can’t lie.

Thu 19 July 2001

On the reverse of this sheet is the address of Paula Tyas in Solo.  Apparently it’s a main road, and easy to find.  Will go to visit her soon.

Got the server connected, but had to move it back into the main office space, out of Carol’s office.  Now her PC won’t connect, although it is making the hub light come on.  All other PCs are now sharing a server data folder & each other’s printers.

Actually managed to surf on-line tonight, and successfully connected to my emails.  Still can’t download though, which is a real blow, given the financial constraints of the telephone call.

Had problems sleeping last night, in that a mosquito got into my room.  Eventually ended up with a pillow over my head.

Finished reading a good book, I Talked with Spirits.  Am still reading Your Work Matters to God.

Managed to have a hot shower tonight.  It really is very pleasant here & very cheap to live.  If I could work here, I would live like a king.  Sam & Carol have already asked if I’m interested in Kalimantan.  I’ve said I’d like to see a job description.  I even offered to write one from Carol’s spoken word.

Got my 1st roll of film back & into a folder.  Wrote captions, too.

Friday 20 July 2001

Bought several things from Solo:

Description

Rp

NZ$

Pepsi Cola can

2,375

0.50

2 outfits for the boys (1xshirt, trousers & sandals each)

240,400

50.00

Matrix CD

39,000

9.00

2 x Babylon 5 CD

88,000

20.00

MS Visio (for home)

36,000

8.00

MS Office (for the STTT)

54,000

12.00

Dune CD

58,000

13.00

20m RJ45 LAN cable

108,000

24.00

Muppet

110,000

24.50

Fixed the cable: was a fleck of dust on one of the pins on the head of the cable.  James re-strung it for me.

Missed morning prayers again (05:30).  Went to eventing prayers instead.  Dragged James along as my interpreter (19:00 – 21:00).

No time to email this evening: Watched Part 1 (of 4) of Dune instead.

I’ve got Rp.333,000 left of my original Rp.1,200,000.  Am tossing up whether to buy VCD player vs. DVD player vs. VCD+MPEG3.

Trained:

  • Christine how to Mail Merge (Advanced)
  • Yehezkiel how to load Lotus & save as Excel.
  • Suhendar how to log in successfully to new LAN.
  • Carol how to view message size in Outlook.
  • Sam how to switch between laptop & external monitor.
  • Augusta (yesterday, he’s gone today) how to fix laptop stuck key.
  • James how to ping the server.

Augusta: nick-name is Utha.

Saturday 21 July 2001

Have just got back to my room to discover it’s sprung a leak.  This unseasonably wet weather has broken through my ceiling.  The time is 22:30, too late to bother the Family, so I’ll just make do with the spare bed.  The reason I’m so late to bed, is because I’ve been enjoying my Babylon 5: In the Beginning VCD.

This afternoon, spent the whole afternoon at the house of James, watching the rest of Dune on his large screen TV.  I prefer the solitude and control of a PC, myself.

Spent the morning with Carol, helping her to create her first ever Job Description, for the position of a Computer Trainer in Kalimantan.  She will use the template for more vacancies, too.  We soon realised that the position does not allow for a family to live there.  Pity, another opportunity bites the dust.  Lord, I have faith You have the perfect marriage of my skills, gifts & abilities with more opportunities like this one, here @ the School.

Amen.  I’m not disappointed.  A bit relieved, really.  I can continue focussing on Mana (Information Systems Limited – my own company) for another year.

Sunday 22 July 2001

Nice, slow start to the day.  Went to church @ 11:00am at the home of a Southern Baptist Missionary couple.  Of course, it was in Indonesian, but James again interpreted for me.  His boy Christopher is disruptive.  Glad my boys aren’t that bad.  This couple, the Masons, are shortly returning State-side on furlough.  Met their replacements: a 30-year veteran missionary in Indonesia, who has never gone native, apparently.

After lunch, I got a ride into Solo and got dropped off at YAKKUM Central Office.  (I had previously visited the Surakarta Office.)  Met Paula Tyas.  She took me to her village.  She took me to her village.  She showed me around (and I suspect showed me off).  I gave Rp.100,000 to their church.  I didn’t buy a Rp.200,000 chair!  The 1-hour trip took 2 hours to return, because their van is not as powerful as Sam’s.  But, we sang many Christian & non-Christian tunes to while away our time.

Upon my return, I discovered that someone had phoned in a bomb threat!  That was interesting, but we just carried on.  I’m glad my family are not here.

I watched Babylon 5: A Call to Arms on VCD.  I’ve never seen this one before!  I’m so happy to have it.

Good night, my love (22:07 Indonesian, 3:07am NZT).

Monday 23 July 2001

Straight after breakfast, drove back into Solo for a spot of shopping.  (First of all, got up for prayers @ 5:30am.)  Bought external modem so that can now move e-Vectra into Carol’s office, and she doesn’t lose her emails.  Picked up 20m cable for Sam’s office.  Will wire that up somehow tomorrow.  Have asked for the price of a PCMCIA LAN card for Sam’s laptop.

Went back to Mata Hari for more VCA’s, but couldn’t see anything I liked.  Think I cought a cold from the car’s air conditioning, blowing down on my forehead.  Tried to have a sleep after lunch.  Managed to sleep in the car on the way back to School.

Watched my Matrix VCD.  Nothing much else left to do.  Everything’s in place.  Sill no-one around the office for me to help.  Gotta remember to wear trousers around the office, to help maintain the professional image.

I just took a good look at myself in the mirror, and I’m getting fatter, not thinner, being here.  No exercise.  Not good.  Will fast tomorrow.

Bought post-cards in town.  Came home and wrote one for each member of my family.

Bought a CD with Exchange Server 2000, but unfortunately, it requires Windows 2000 Server, which it didn’t come with.  So, I cannot enable internal email and auto-dialup and automatic internet email forwarding and proxy server to enable all PCs (including Sams laptop) to browse the web through Carol’s new external V.90, 56kb modem.  I was looking forward to doing all that, but perhaps it is not meant to be.  After all, the “Amazing Networking” CD on cost Rp17,500 (NZ$4.00!).

Tues 24 July 2001

Skipped prayers & breakfast.  Helped Carol with various, small computer-related problems.  Started new database for Suhendar Ong, to receipt Students fees.  Over-sought (over-saw?) installation of new cable from the hub to Sam’s office.  Went to Solo.  Bought MS Windows 2000 Server.  Bought more VCD’s.

Came back.  Watched Star Gate.

Emailed Russell, Steve & Fiona.

Paula rang again.  Will try to see her again.  Thursday @ 10:00am @ YAKKUM Office.

Fasted lunch.  I’m still fat.

Wed 25 Jul

Sam went away.  7 hours East.  Ministry.  I was sad to see him go.

Email from my wife cheered me up.

Completed data entry & 1 report for Suhendar’s DB.  Will need to train him on it tomorrow, and adjust the report for the pre-printed line-form paper, when it arrives.

Visited Ambon Children’s Refuge.  Met Jimmy.  He told me his testimony.  Very powerful.  Watched his sister get murdered.  Jesus prevented him from attempting to take revenge.

Watched:

  • “SG” with Carol.
  • “Analyze This” by myself in the office.
  • “Unbreakable” until mid-night

I have decided that since I have finished all my pre-set work, I am therefore on holiday.

Thu 26 Jul

Work up late for breakfast (not to mention, prayers @ 5:30).

I was going to help Christine with some computer questions she had, but instead I took the opportunity to catch a ride into Solo, with Betty & Nocke.  They went to pay the rent on the 3 children’s homes.  I went to see Paula Tyas for the last time at YAKKUM.  She said we couldn’t go to see Rusdiyanto because the situation over in Kartasura was too dangerous for her.

So, I helped a few people with a few computer problems.  I really could make a huge profit and live like a king in this country with my training, skills & knowledge.  Lord, what is your plan for me?

Had lunch, visited another Ambon Children’s home, then back to the School.  Another lunch awaited me.  James was back (he had gone with Sam, but wasn’t needed, so got sent back).

I wrote some more for Suhendar’s DB.  Had a shower.  Had dinner, this time with Carol (first time together at a meal today, unusual).  After dinner, I watched some VCDs with James:

  • Enemy of the State (review)
  • The Waterboy (view)

Fri 27 July

Woke @ 6:30am.  Missed prayer meeting, but in time for breakfast this time.  Worked a little bit in the office.  Decided didn’t have enough time to complete Suhendar’s database.  James came and took me to the gardens next door.  Paid Rp2,000 each (US$0.20 = NZ$0.50).  it was worth about that much.  Not much to see nor do.  It’s a picnic spot, with some really grotty chldren’s swings and stuff.  They were emptying the pool, which looked unhygienic anyway.

Went back to my room to read.  Some more Bible.  Nearly finished my textbook, too.  Will finish it tonight.  Had lunch.  After lunch, had a nap.  Woke up at 3pm.  Jimmy was here to take me to the waterfall, as arranged 2 days ago.  The walk down took me past a line of trees, from which monkeys were freely roaming onto human habitats.  I didn’t realise, it cost Jimmy Rp3,000 x 4 people.  He wouldn’t let me pay him back.  He said he wanted to bless me.  The four people were me, Jimmy, Wawan (the bus driver from yesterday) and Sam (Nocke’s youngest son).  It was a big trek back up the stairs after my swim.

Helped Carol with some more computer, then it was dinner time.  I said grace.  “Puji Tuhan, Terimah kesih okuna mekanan.  Amen.”

After dinner, James came around one last time, to watch “The X-Men” on VCD.  He had a special limited edition.  Extra scenes.  Glad I’ve seen it.  Glad I didn’t go to the movies.  Wrote & sent email.

Good night.