Mar 28, 2014

My photos used for aviation recruitment

Some of my photos are featured in the current recruitment eLetter by JAARS aviation. The article, written by one of our neighbors in Cameroon, can be found here.

Feb 8, 2014

An Unusable Bible

"If Deaf people can read, why do they need a Bible translation?" Good question. For Deaf people, sign language is their 'mother tongue', the language that speaks to their heart. And sign languages have a unique vocabulary and structure that doesn't resemble the spoken language where they live. Translators explain that since most Deaf people have never heard words and their associated sounds, learning to read is like memorizing a phone number for each word.

With an estimated 400 unique sign languages worldwide, Wycliffe and several other organizations are translating the Bible into sign languages where the end result would be a video Bible (see below).

As a hearing person I was surprised at my own reaction to the above video. Not only is it uncomfortable as my ears strain for sound, but since I know nothing of sign language I feel totally disconnected from it, rendering this Bible unusable to me. Simply put, it's in a language that does not speak to my heart.

And this is why we press on in Bible translation, because there are hundreds of millions of people who still have no scripture in the language they understand best. 

You may remember the story we did about Diane Lovell and her work with the South African Sign Language project. See a larger version of the video here on

Jan 30, 2014

You might be a missionary if...

-your kids ask if the power is on before they open the fridge door (they're not allowed to open the fridge if the power is off)
-your kids think the electricity has been cut when you turn a light off.
-when the electricity comes back on, everyone in the neighborhood yells "YEAAA!"
-you're kinda excited over a $3 can of Ragu sauce because it means you don't have to make pasta sauce from scratch today!
-you don't know whether to greet someone in French or English, not knowing which is their first language
-you go to the hangar and use jet fuel to clean your bike
-your daily beauty regimen includes mosquito spray and sunscreen
-your Valentine's day gift includes a much revered imported can of Dr. Pepper!
-in the course of a walk, you smell ripe guavas, breakfast cooking over someone's fire, and their pit toilet!
-your dining table's centerpiece is an emergency lantern
-your kids are in awe when they see their breath in the morning (West African MK's that is)

Jan 24, 2014

A few more spherical panos...

On the grounds of Collegiale de Neuchâtel

On the grounds 2 of Collegiale de Neuchâtel. And no, that is not a cigarette hanging out of my some tourists mouth, just some white stuff on the roof in the background. Honest!

The same bum in the Collegiale grounds pano showed up in the Rlle William-Mayor tunnel. Was he following me or was I following him?

Which pano is your favorite? So far Le Cabinet d'Amateur has gotten the most feedback. The candle-soot ceiling writings are unique and give the bookshop that 'special something'. Reading the writing, some of which is nearly 300 years old, I can't help but wonder what their lives were like back then in that 17th century winery.

Dec 27, 2013

Panoramas from Switzerland

During my trip to Neuchâtel Switzerland I made several 360º panoramas. Click on the image for an interactive view. Enjoy!

The village of Cortaillod [core-tie-oh] where I lived with my host family.

My first weekend in Switzerland was actually spent in Les Fontenelles, France at a spiritual life retreat. Here is the interior of the Eglise Sainte Anne church.

Hiking the Cru-du-Van, AMAZING!

Le Cabinet d'Amateur, a present day bookshop converted from a 16th century winery. This one made the 360 Cities Editors Pick.

More to come...

Dec 25, 2013

OUT OF STOCK- God's Word

At the recent Hdi New Testament dedication with over 3000 people in attendance, all copies of the New Testament sold out and more had to be flown up. I managed to rouse myself to be at the hangar at 5am to photograph the boxes of New Testaments being loaded for the 6:30 flight. 14 Boxes, 45 copies per box, 672 New Testaments in total.

Dec 19, 2013

A PNG blast from the past

I started with Wycliffe Bible Translators working in the joinery at the Ukarumpa center in Papua New Guinea. One of my employees was Tobi and I ran across his photo on Face Book at the airstrip in Ukarumpa. Read the story here of how God parted the clouds for Tobi's people, the Awa, to make way for a delivery of Audibibles.

Photo by Tim Scott

Image of Audibibles from DAVAR's website.

Dec 11, 2013

Life in Africa, part 2

Life abroad often means preparing for living conditions that we usually don't encounter in the States.

One aspect of moving to Africa we had to prepare for was clean drinking water. We decided on The Outback Water Purification System by ESP Water Products. It wasn't cheap, but can you really put a price on safe drinking water for your family? After having amoebas and stomach yeast infections from non-filtered water, The Outback is money well spent I assure you.

Designed for disaster relief filtration in the field, I suppose technically it's a three stage filter system if you count the pre-filter net (catches leaves, sticks, bugs and other big things). The water then travels through a 0.5 micron sediment filter, then finally through the Multi-media Bacteriostatic Removal Cartridge... a 'makes-bad-water-good' filter.

The public water supply here in Cameroon can be quite dirty, with brown grit coming straight out of the tap, rapidly clogging our sediment filter. So I constructed a pre-sediment filter from a locally purchased bucket and 5 ceramic filter candles. The candles are advertised to work in and of themselves, but I'm not willing to risk my family's health on a two dollar filter. It strains the main sediment, is easily cleaned and cheaply replaced- good deal!

I then made a frame to support my new bucket-filter above my pre-filter net. A pre pre-filter? It was good to get back in the shop and work with wood too. Lacking good hardware I decided to take the longer route in construction methods, and although it took a bit longer, all joints are mortise and tenon. Therapy.


It takes a bit of time for water to travel through the ceramic candles, but as long as we keep an eye on the water level in my homemade bucket-filter, we never run out and always have crystal clear, great tasting, and safe, drinking water.

Interestingly I found not one single "testimonial" on ESP's website about the waters taste, but only about their great customer service. So I'll sing it's praises here, the water tastes great. We previously had Katadyn filters which have a definite aftertaste that we don't like. With The Outback, there is no aftertaste and that equals mmm-mmm good!

Aug 9, 2013

Mud men

Like father, like son. When asked who was in the top photo, Slone thought it was himself. Rodney was two. And most days Slone can be found playing with a water hose. On this day it was the mud at the soccer field.

Aug 5, 2013

Life in Africa- part 1

It's often the case that in the countries where we've lived (outside the US), that we've struggled where to spend our leisure time. In the States (NC) we'd go the beach, or simply to the mall in Hickory and let the kids jump on the...jumping, thing (huge air bag, harness, long bungee cords, lot's of bouncing). Or during the summer we liked to go biking as a family on easy to access trails in Statesville.

But here in Yaounde we have yet to discover what all is available to do on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon for the family.

One thing we have found is the American School of Yaounde (ASOY). And no, we don't send our kids there as it's close to $20,000/child/year. During the dry season, we like to go swimming on a Sunday afternoon right after church. And it seems that most Cameroonians like to do their activities later than Americans, so we usually have the pool almost all to ourselves the entire time. It's a nice way to unwind and relax till late afternoon, and there is little enough traffic on a Sunday so as to not undo what was done.

Here is a pano of the pool, click here to interact with it in all of it's digital 360º glory:-)