WHAT I DO ALL DAY...

My day starts early. I'm usually up by 5:00, sometimes earlier. The radio tower is next to the hangar, on a hill at the north end of the Nasuli center. I make myself eat breakfast before riding my borrowed bike up there. Everyone's happier that way, believe me! Some mornings our dog, Fluffy, goes along to keep me company.

The tower offers the best view of the sunrise, since flights often leave at 5:45 am, and spectacular cloud displays. I'm learning how to watch the weather and to describe it in terms that will be helpful to the pilots. When they are above the clouds I am their "eyes" down here. Scary thought, huh? Mostly I need only read them the latest reading on the gadget that measures the winds.

SIL has three planes here at present, and two pilots. The Helio's can carry 5 passengers. They are slow, but maneuverable. The Navajo (aka "the Twin") holds twice as many passengers and goes much faster, but is more limited by its size.

The airstrip looks like an X, running roughly east-west and north-south. It is a main shortcut for the people in the neighborhoods on either side. If someone happens to be crossing when a plane is ready to land, I get the job of flipping the switch on our alarm siren. Then everyone is *supposed* to freak out and get out of the way quickly.

At 7:00 am, we have roll call with the teams. I check in with each of them individually, read them messages that have come for them by email, and copy down messages they have to go out. Some days there is nothing to it. Other days the messages are long and complicated or interference is bad and I have no idea what they are trying to say. Those are frustrating times, because I want so badly to help them, and to get it right.

God reminds me, if I listen, that what He wants is not impeccable work, but availability. If I remain patient and cheerful, my Boss is pleased. And He might offer a bonus: the grace that can only be accepted in humility. Help from someone else listening who is able to make out the message and relay it to me. Because God wants the teams to get their work done, too, even while He's working on me.

When the planes are all back on the ground, I shut off the tape recorder, turn down the air/con, lock up the tower, and coast down the rutted two-track to the main admin building and the Computer Services office. Never know what you'll find there.
I've scanned hundreds of pictures-illustrations for New Testaments, literacy materials, or health books, and photos for newsletters-and printed thousands of pages-proof copies of Scripture files, dictionaries, hymnbooks, a health curriculum; maps, letters, phone lists, address labels, baptism certificates, inventory reports…

Elderly translators call when their laptop freezes and we help them turn it off and back on. Printers baffle us all at times. The climate does strange things to them, and it's not helpful when the manual refers us to the nearest HP service rep. Email is our lifelink with the rest of the world, and I answer lots of questions about how to save attachments with cc:Mail, or how to dial in to our network to access email or the Internet.

We have lots of variety-laptops, desktops, Macs; Windows ME, relics running Win 3.1; Linux gurus, DOS fans, Office 2000 users; linguists who tolerate computers, programmers who translate. Can be challenging to meet all their needs, but the challenge is fun, and I learn plenty on the way!

Last month Jeff soldered 10 small batteries together to replace a dead laptop battery pack. And it worked. We can't call outside the center on our home phones yet, but two of our translators check their web-based email through a prepaid Internet card and a cell phone. In the picture below he is doing tech support for them, out in the village.



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