Merry Christmas!

Christmas seems to have snuck up on us this year. I guess that's not surprising since we were on the other side of the world for 2 months, and didn't return until just a few weeks ago. We are doing things much simpler this year - fewer decorations, no lights outside, not going overboard with gifts. While those things are nice, it feels good to simplify (and also to know that there won't be near as much stuff to clean up!). It's so easy to get caught up in all the "stuff". Life was very simple when we were in Papua New Guinea. There were so few distractions that you couldn't help but get to know people better than you might in a different setting. That's something we want to try to continue here. It won't be as easy, but it will definitely be worthwhile. Anyway, back to Christmas......

We finally managed to get our tree decorated on Saturday.

On Sunday Abby was in her first Christmas program. The kids recited a poem and sang a song. She did very well, and we received several comments about her performance that morning. Having been placed directly under a microphone, and not being shy, it was no surprise everyone heard her loud and clear! You can see that the video starts shaking because Dustin is laughing.

We will have Christmas dinner with my family, and then my sister and her family will be staying with us for a few days. Abby is very excited to see her cousins again! It's been over a year since we visited them in North Dakota. We plan to take lots of pictures and try to post them here.

As far as pictures from our trip, we have LOTS, so it may be a while before we can get them organized and in a good format to post here.

Merry Christmas!!!

PNG... Wrapping up

Dear Friends and Family,

I'm sorry it's been so long since we have been able to write to you.  The short explanation is that our computer has finally, after two months of trouble, succumbed to hardware failure.  We are glad that the hard-drive appears to be undamaged, so we haven't lost everything on it.  In some ways the failure is a relief, as the intermittent problems caused a lot of stress, and now at least things are settled.  As strange as it may seem, a computer seems to be even more necessary here than back home in the States.  We are very thankful that we have been given another computer to use while we are here, although it is an older system.  Please pray that we will have wisdom to know how to deal with this situation when we return home.  Because of this, we haven't been able to complete a newsletter for some time, and now that our computer is completely out of commission, the work that had been done is inaccessible.

The last month has been eventful.  I have stayed busy at the hangar with all sorts of projects.  For the last two weeks another mechanic and I have been working on a rather involved repair to a Cessna 206 wing which was damaged several months ago.  We replaced almost all of the parts in the outer half of the wing with new ones; riveting on new spars, skins, leading edge, rib, and stringers.  By the time we leave the wing should be painted and back on the airplane, hopefully completely rigged and possibly even flying.  When the airplane is serviceable it will be transferred to a missionary pastor and pilot who is beginning work in an otherwise inaccessible area.

Sarah has been staying busy as well.  Along with the full-time work of a third-world wife and mommy, she has begun working in the linguistics department three mornings each week.  Her job consists mostly of formatting and quality checking completed Bible translations for inclusion in a database-type website.  While Sarah works, Abby enjoys going to the daycare here, where she gets a lot of good interaction with other kids.

Other than the routine of daily life and work, we have had some opportunities to get out and see Papua New Guinea outside of the center.  I had the chance to go out to a nearby village with one of our friends and show the movie "The End of the Spear" in their church.  Although the church building is visible from where we live, the twenty-minute drive was far from smooth, and electricity was provided by a portable generator.  We went with prayers for protection from an infamous outlaw who was rumored to be in the area at that time.  Due to these rumors, we decided to avoid driving at night, and instead stayed with one of the church leaders in a "bush house."  For those of you who picture missionaries living in grass huts...  that is an accurate picture in this case.

We also had an opportunity to visit the city of Lae, accurately self-proclaimed "pothole capital of the world."  We enjoyed seeing what things are like down on the coast, and staying at the SIL guesthouse there.  At these tropical latitudes the lower elevations are very hot and humid, so we really appreciated the swimming pool, especially Abby, who got to "swim" on her own with floatation "wings." On the way we also got to visit some translators in their "village house."

This weekend has been busy as well.  Friday night  we enjoyed a community production of the world-famous "Fiddler on the Roof" musical.  When you live literally in the middle of nowhere, a bit of entertainment every once in a while is almost necessary to sanity, and everyone can be involved.  Sarah and I actually spent an hour or two helping with the set construction.  It differed from any other production I've been to, in that before they began the director came on-stage and prayed for the production and for the protection of our homes while we were there...  there have been one or two break-ins and thefts each week recently it seems.  Anyway, the talent and creativity that went into it paid off...  it was an amazing evening.

Saturday morning I went on a new adventure, taking my first ride on a "PMV" (Public Motor Vehicle), which is the main form of transportation for Papua New Guineans.  I went to the local center of Kainantu with a national friend from the hangar, Philip.  Our ride there was in the back of a large flat-bed truck known as a "Dyno."  As it was quite full (I counted 41) we rode sitting on the edge of the low railings.  I was a bit worried about falling out, but arrived without incident.  We spent the morning wandering through the various shops, most of which are owned and operated by asians and carry essentially identical inventories of food staples and cheaply produced electronics.  One exception is the Christian book-store, where I bought a map of the country and large PNG flag.  After a snack of heavily-breaded deep-fried sausage, we waited about two hours ("PNG time" I was told) for another PMV, this time a fully-loaded van, to take us back home.

Much more has happened in the last month, but most of those stories will have to wait until we get back.  It's hard to believe that in only a little over a week we will be "moving out..."  Two months have gone by so fast!  Our time here has been everything we hoped it would be.  We have learned so much and been able to serve in ways we had never expected.  When we get back we will certainly have a lot to think about and pray about!

We will be flying out the morning of December 2nd to the PNG capital of Port Moresby, where we will wait most of the day for our evening flight out to Cairns.  We are glad to have two nights in Cairns, at Treetops Lodge again, where we will be able to spend a little time with some friends who will be leaving here this weekend for pregnancy leave.  Since before we even left the U.S. Sarah has been looking forward to holding a Koala, and so we will be planning to make a visit to an Australian zoo during our brief stay as well.

When we leave Cairns, it will be the beginning of the longest traveling time on the entire trip...  We will go approximately 6 hours from Cairns to Auckland, where we will only have an hour before embarking on the 13-hour trip to San Francisco.  After a three hour layover we are off to Portland, where we will almost certainly arrive completely exhausted.  Twenty-four hours of travel with only brief stops, and against the time zones, is not something we are looking forward to.

Please pray for us as we pack up and say our goodbyes, and especially while we are traveling.  Also, thank you for praying for Abby and her issues with obedience.  It seems that prayer has been answered.  Please pray for Abby as last night she came down with a croup sort of a cough and breathing trouble.  Although this morning she seems to be feeling better, she still has the cough, and none of us got a lot of rest.

We are looking forward to seeing all of you soon!  Thank you for your continued prayers.  Please feel free to send e-mails...  we would love to hear how all of you are.

May you be blessed as you work to bring glory to God,

-Dustin, Sarah, and Abby

Two Weeks In Ukarumpa...

Dustin's Journal

Dustin’s Journal, Full Text

Dustin's Journal, Full Text...

Wed, Oct 7th, 8:25PM

What a day! We finally got on the Kodiak and got rolling (after the pilot forgot to remove the chocks). There was no seat for Abby- she sat on my lap. Before we rotated she was asleep, and slept for about half the flight.

It was incredible... seeing trees that only grow in jungles, and villages of grass huts, and mountainsides of hand-tilled gardens. We landed on the dirt strip, and were finally "home."

Janine Lyninger and our fellowship family, Scott and Sarah Carey, were there to meet us at the airport and help get us moved in to Translator Lodge 3A. It is a duplex, with no one currently on the other side, and probably as large or even larger than our house in Canby.

Newcomers in Ukarumpa are assigned a “Fellowship Family” (in our case Scott and Sarah Carey) who take care of them and help them get oriented. Residents also signed up to have us over for lunches and dinners for the first three days, which was a very welcome rest!

We had Kristen Brewer (Jeff Brewer is in aviation) stop in with peanut-butter bread and say hi. Everyone is so nice!

We finally got settled, and then it was time for dinner with Dave and Melissa Raube and their 7 (!) kids. What a fun circus! We rattled over to their house in the Carey's Hilux over the steep and potholed dirt roads. This place is beautiful though, with tropical birds singing, everything green and growing, and a perfect breeze in the 70 degree weather.

At the Raube's Melissa was making tortilla chips... deep frying tortillas she cut in stacks with scissors. The tortillas had been made earlier by a "house mauri." We had a delicious meal of white-sauce enchiladas and chips and salsa to the accompaniment of stories about the outlaws and gun-fights that go on round-about, punctuated by half a dozen distant gunshots at irregular intervals. (just as I was brushing my teeth I heard three more on this side of the compound). Apparently no one is too much bothered by this.

While we waited for brownies there was a major brownout. Candles were lit, but unfortunately an accident with one of the kids landed the nearly-done brownies in the bottom of the oven... so we had just ice-cream (which was quite good anyway).

Abby had got a scare from something one of the boys told her while they were playing in the other room, but finally recovered after the lights came back on.

Abby has already started making friends, and I think we're all going to like it here.

Saturday, Oct 10, 2009 5:00 PM

What a delightful time we've had. I don't know how better to describe it.

So much has happened since Thursday that I can barely remember details. We had lunch with our fellowship family, Scott and Sarah Carey. She was in linguistics before they got married, and helps out one day each week with translators. He is head of the math department at the high school. They have two kids around Abby's age. They were kind enough to loan us some toys.

We took the computer in to CTS also. They had some trouble with it, as we had, and changed out the memory chips. They thought they had solved the problem... however, it seems that something else is amiss, as it is locking up when it gets hot... and it does get hot.

Thursday evening we had dinner with Julianne Spencer and her friends Benji and Esther. Julianne does survey work... very adventurous stuff. She's the one whose photos we used on our newsletter, and friends with Kristy from San Diego. He place was very clean and modern. It seems that whatever sort of home you would have back "home" you could also have here. We had a fun time.

Benji and his wife are newly married. He grew up in Ukarumpa, and she is also a MK... as are many of the people here. He is the "youth pastor" so to speak.

Friday morning we went to the market with Scott. It was interesting, and reminded me a lot of Africa... but bargaining is not a part of the culture here. We got a few veggies... the selection is incredible!

We stopped by housing, finance, and CTS on the way back, then went down to get some much-needed groceries at the store. It was the last opportunity, as they are closed for the weekend.

At lunchtime we had a very long walk over to the home of Christopher Clark and family. It's funny, we've had enchiladas for two dinners, and we had tacos for lunch at their house.

Christopher is a pilot, and after lunch I went with him up to the hangar, where I got a mini-orientation and actually got my hands dirty pretty quickly. I will be back there full time on Monday. There is certainly plenty that needs done there.

I left early, at 3, and picked up our computer. We had a little time to send a brief e-mail to parents before heading off to dinner at Michael and Sarah Johnson's house... just as long a walk as lunch if we hadn't hitched a ride halfway with Raubes.

We had a great time with them. They have two girls just a bit older than Abby, and an older boy. It was nice to be able to commiserate about parenting a bit. They also had James (pilot) and his wife Natalie over. We had a great time, and it was sad to have to walk home, but the girls were all getting tired.

Today was very exciting as well. I got up early and went on a "joyride" with MAF pilot Remi W. to Sangapi on a medical evacuation. They have a clinic there, the condition of which would horrify any westerner, but which is much better than nothing. A national lady was evacuated for an ectopic pregnancy to Madang. It’s an amazing feeling to think that what you’ve done has saved a life. Had Remi refused to work on Saturday, she most likely would have died.

Continued Monday, Oct 12, 2009, 8:30PM

I actually got to do a lot of the flying, and it was challenging stuff. The flight from Aiyura to Sangapi wasn’t gorgeous, flying around and over broken/scattered clouds over the sea of green mountains, through passes, and over incredibly high ridges. The cramped quarters of the runway would give any pilot either wonderful dreams or nightmares. I got to do all the flying until the last few hundred feet. The Robertson droop-aileron/flap mod brought the airplane down slow. As we came over the end of the runway I was very honestly momentarily afraid that we were going to catch the main wheels on the edge. We must have touched down no more than twenty feet onto it. The airplane was slowed and stopped before we had gone more than 300 feet.

We picked up the woman, her husband, and their young daughter, I would say three years old. She was hysterical about being on the airplane, but (as Remi predicted) as soon as the engine started she quieted. He let me do the takeoff and climb out, over a ridge that I would never have guessed we could have out-climbed. In fact, I did all of the flying, even to the landing in Madang, although he had his hands on the controls as well.

After the family went away in an ambulance, and the plane had been refueled as necessary from a 55-gallon (200 liter) drum, Remi took me on a tour of Madang. It is a favorite vacation spot for missionaries, and he showed me all of the favorite places to go. Although it is hot and humid, it is not nearly as bad as Port Moresby, and the coastline is beautiful. The water is crystal clear. I can see why it would be a nice change from Ukarumpa once in a while.

We took off about 11AM and headed back toward Ukarumpa. Thanks to Bergmans, I had a little idea of how the Garmin 430 works. It was absolutely necessary for our flights. We put the turbocharger to good use (absolutely necessary in this part of the world), climbing and climbing, trying to go over the clouds VFR. We ended up in a valley of clouds, several times having to pass through them briefly. As we climbed to 12,000 feet over the passes, the Garmin showed a terrain warning... mountains beside us that high!

Finally we found a hole, and squeaked through, down toward Aiyura Airport. We did a straight-in approach, not approved by SIL, dropping down full flaps and side-slip over the mountain at the end of the runway, and I landed, flaring high, and coming down in what would have been a poor 180 landing, but was salvaged by a bit of extra power and the tricycle landing gear. I’ll blame the landing on the visual oddity of the uphill runway. What a great time!

When I got back to the house, Sarah and Abby had been to a “neighborhood” yard sale at the top of the hill, and Abby had a “new” princess dress. Almost immediately the phone rang. It was Dave and Melissa Raube, offering to take us on a shopping trip to Kainantu. Kainantu is the “big city” for Papua New Guineans in this area. We went to a well-stocked supermarket where they were going to get bread and toilet paper, and then enjoyed shopping in some second-hand stores. The stores buy bales of clothing from Europe or Australia, divide them up, and sell them. Much of the clothing is high-quality good name-brand clothing with nothing wrong with it at all, although some is stained or damaged. I picked up another tee-shirt and long-sleeve button-down, and Sarah got a hat for Abby. The Raubes were looking for a “costume” for Dave, who is playing a Russian in the upcoming community production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Sarah cooked her first dinner here that night - tuna casserole.... mmmm.

Sunday morning we all got up bright and early to wait until church... It doesn’t start until 10:45. It was a pretty nice morning until about half-way through the service, when it began pouring rain in buckets. It’s been soggy ever since, and the laundry Sarah did Saturday afternoon is still not dry.

The service was interesting. Apparently people in the community rotate through a sort of council which picks leaders for worship and the message. Ever week it is different. This Sunday it was a Lutheran who led worship, and the songs were all hymns I love, and the prayer and scripture readings very scripted and liturgical. The speaker was an older Australian fellow. We sat in the back, where the families with children sit (there is no “children’s church”), so it was a bit noisy and hard to hear.

We slogged through the mud back home to take the dripping clothes off the line, and moped about all afternoon. The computer was most certainly on the fritz, but I was making a valiant attempt to get our newsletter finished, and finally did. It seemed that we had only a certain amount of time to use the computer before it would fail, then we had to wait until it cooled down before we could use it again.

In the afternoon I took a walk back to the meeting house through the mud to get my Bible, which I’d forgotten. Unfortunately, it was locked, but I took the opportunity to take a tour around the perimeter of the center. It was a long way! I had no idea how big this place was, and was also surprised by how winded I got, much due I think to the mile-high altitude.

After dark I slogged again through the rain, and caught the last part of the evening goings-on at the meeting-house. It was a report by a couple who recently finished a Bible translation. Very honest... goods and bads. Encouraging in that as well as in the good which came of it all.

Today was my first full day at the hangar. I caught a ride on a little motorcycle-driven cart thing that one of the mechanics, Dan, drives to work. The potholed road is insane. We started off the morning with a Monday devotions and prayer time. Next I was given most of the remaining orientation by the new shop foreman, a fellow who can’t be much older than me by the name of Paul. He seems a nice guy, and easy to get along with.

I got to go home for lunch, which I enjoyed briefly. Sarah hasn’t been feeling too well today. When I got back to the hangar I spent much of the afternoon reading ops manuals. They seem a lot like part 135 manuals back home, except they cover every possible aspect of what happens in the Aviation department. Fortunately, Paul came and rescued me by sending me to find out what was leaking on the 206 I’d helped look at Friday. It didn’t look to us like it had been leaking anymore at all, but there was another squawk to work on, which was a failed engine fire probe. I’ve never seen before, two OAT-type probes, one on the inside of each cowl-flap hole. Good idea, I guess. By the end of the day I was still working on repairing it, as apparently we didn’t have any new ones in stock, and the problem appeared to be insulation chaffed off the wires.

When I got back home I was just in time for the CTS technician, Loren, to show up, bringing back our computer with the report that although he’d removed a likely-faulty printer driver (I don’t doubt it), he couldn’t make it crash. We hooked it up, and in about an hour it crashed again. Sarah suggested that it could be the dial-up modem. I unplugged it and restarted the computer. So far, more or less glitch-free except for a pause from I-Tunes.

Well, it is getting late. Apparently we are beginning to finally adjust to the time. I slept all night last night, and now I’m up after 9 and still feeling all right.

Sunday, Oct 18th, 2009, 3:00PM

It’s been a busy week. As far as work goes,I spent the first couple days in orientation, reading operations manuals and learning what everyone does. I did a few odd jobs, and then got to help with the inspection of an M.A.F. 206. It was the same one that I had gone to Sangapi in.

The only notable exception was on Thursday. Thursday morning I was up by 5:30. The “P2” bus was outside the door at 6AM to take me and several others to the hangar. (Officially the Aviation bus, but called “P2” because all of the aircraft registration numbers in PNG start with “P2”). By 7:30 a group of mostly pilots had got the Kodiak and a 206 loaded and ready to go. By “loaded” I mean that I loaded about 1000 pounds of sandbags into the Kodiak.

We were going down into the Ramu valley, just 10 minutes away, to Gusap airstrip, a former WW2 base. The strip is used for training, and on this trip we were going to be testing the performance of the Kodiak. Using laser range-finders, radios, and survey and photography equipment, those of us on the ground recorded the distances and angles for takeoffs and landings with the Kodiak loaded to its maximum weight and then empty.

Gusap is at 1400’... Ukarumpa is at 5100’. What a difference! By noon the tropical sun was beating down on us, and even with a considerable breeze the heat was becoming almost unbearable. Humidity must have been about 100%. Although I enjoyed the trip and the chance to do something new, I was glad to climb back into the 206 for the trip to Ukarumpa. The cool breeze at Aiyura was delightful. I’m really happy that I can be involved in readying the first-ever Kodiak in use in missions work, in a small way helping to usher in a new era in missionary aviaiton.

At home, Sarah has been feeling sick since Monday. She hasn’t had trouble eating, but her tummy has been hurting, and she hasn’t felt up to going much of anywhere. As a result, I was up early one morning for a trip to the market, and then took two hours for lunch so I could make it to the grocery store and to pick up our computer (yet again) from CTS. Sarah started boiling all of our drinking water, but at this altitude it has to be boiled for 20 minutes before it is safe. Fortunately, one of the guys from the hangar loaned us a filter, which we started using Saturday morning. Today she thinks she may be feeling slightly better... I sure hope so. If she is sick for this entire trip, it may put a definite slant on the “test.”

Speaking of the computer... It seems that a “work-around” solution has been found. It is unclear why the computer heats up so badly, but overheating has definitely been found to be the problem. Apparently there is a firmware upgrade (hopefully we can get next week) that increases fan speeds. I have some doubts that even that will fix the problem. However, the computer guys installed a temperature monitor program and a program which allows the cooling fan speeds to be adjusted manually. With this combination we have been able to keep it cool enough to be usable, although it’s frustrating that it won’t “just work.”

Friday night was “hamburger night.” The teens on center put on “hamburger night” most Fridays to raise money, and it is the only opportunity for a family to get a chance have someone else do the cooking. Since Sarah was feeling ill anyway, we took advantage of it. Unfortunately, Burgerville beats the food hands-down... but the nearest Burgerville is half a world away, so we were thankful for what we got.

After Abby was in bed I walked up the hill to a new friend’s home and spent the evening with a helicopter pilot, a village translator, and an on-center translator administrator playing board games. We played two rounds of a complicated little game called “Puerto Rico.” It had hundreds of tiny parts, which I love. It was a lot of fun.

Saturday we went to the center library. It is only “regularly” open for a couple hours Saturday afternoons. It’s not big, the books are beat-up, and the card catalog isn’t very good, but we did borrow a few books. Many of the paperback books don’t even get “checked out,” but are simply labeled as belonging to the library, and expected to be returned when you finish with them. Since it gets dark about 7:00, and there’s no where to go anyway, the books will be a wonderful evening entertainment.

Tuesday, 20 Oct. 2009, 10:53 PM

Just a quick note... I’m glad to say Sarah seems to be feeling better. She’s not completely back to 100%, but certainly a lot better than she was. The computer, now that we’ve got ADSL hooked up, is quite fast enough to get things done on, although not nearly as fast as in Canby.

Yesterday we had dinner with Tom and Marilyn Kelley, and this evening we enjoyed the Wycliffe Associates weekly potluck.

I’ve got to ride to work and back with Steve Parker in his “buggy” the last couple days... what a blast! The P2 bus seems to average no more than 25mph, while the buggy feels like at least 50mph on the muddy/dirt road. On the way home today (in the rain) Steve let me drive, which was an absolute blast! The little motorcycle-powered two-seater is designed for racing, and the air shocks and grippy tires, along with the light design, make it the fastest thing around.

Working on the Islander today and yesterday.

Wednesday, 21 Oct. 2009, 7:25 PM

More work on the Islander today. It looks like Sarah is back to feeling like her normal self, and I feel like I’m successfully fighting off the remains of a sore throat.

The bulk jet fuel tank is almost empty up at the runway. They have been trying to get fuel for a week or so, without success. Today they finally got fuel, although it was in 55-gallon drums. They opened the back of the truck and backed it up to the storage building, then stacked two very large aircraft tires behind it, followed by two smaller tires, then a number of others in a single layer. They rolled the 28 drums to the back of the truck, then with a “plop” and “whoosh” out of the truck and onto the tires. It was quite a job, but now at least we have enough jet fuel for the next couple weeks.

The Journey to Ukarumpa...

The Radfords
Papua New Guinea

Newsletter #5 Oct. 10, 2009

Dear Friends and Family,

We've been in Ukarumpa just over 72 hours now, and our first three
days have been wonderful. Getting here was another story...
Abby grinned at us nervously as the engines came up to full power on
her first "big airplane" ride. Before Portland was out of sight she
was engrossed in a new coloring book, and by the time we got to Los
Angeles she had decided that flying was no more exciting than riding
in a car.
We watched our last sunset in the states through the orange haze of
the southern California sky, and tried to satisfy our growling
stomachs with overpriced airport hamburgers. We were very relieved to
board the well-appointed Air New Zealand 747 bound for Auckland.
As good as they were, the in-flight food and entertainment grew
tedious as the hours slowly dragged by. Cramped into the hard seats,
we tried in vain to get more than a few minutes of fitful sleep. What
a blessing it was to be able to check into our room early, finally
crawling into our beds after almost 22 hours on the move. Cramped and
seat-sore, we closed our burning eyes and let the ache in our heads
fade gratefully into sleep.
We slept the morning away, and made a brief foray out of the hotel in
the afternoon. With such limited time and money, the glimpses of
beautiful green hills we had seen from the airplane were as
informative about the country as our bus-ride to the local shopping
The cold rain continued to fall from clouds hidden in the pre-dawn
darkness as we left our hotel the next morning for our flight to
northern Australia. The flight was more than five hours, long enough
that it began to blur into the memory of the previous flight. We
finally descended into Cairns over blue water and beautiful white-sand
beaches glaring in the hot morning sun, and took a taxi to the
missionary haven of Tree Tops Lodge.
The Hotel is joint-owned by Wycliffe (SIL) and Missionary Aviation
Fellowship. Once one of two top-rated hotels in Cairns, it had fallen
into disrepair before, through a series of providentially-guided
events, it was purchased by the missions agencies. The renovated
grounds are now a comfortable and affordable place where missionaries
can come when they need medical care, are expecting a baby, or are
traveling through on their way to a furlough.
We enjoyed our day there, although the facts that our ATM cards didn't
work and we were low on cash were stressful, especially since food is
so expensive. Add this to the fact that our computer began acting
strangely on the last flight, and we really needed the relaxation of a
splash in the saltwater swimming pool.
At 4:30 AM we were back in a taxi headed for the airport.
Fortunately, the flight from Cairns to Port Moresby was only two
hours, as the planes were getting smaller in stages, and it was
beginning to feel cramped. We got off the plane our first impression
of Papua New Guinea was 105 degree temperatures and unbelievable
We spent our first half and hour waiting in a line at passport
control, not moving at all. Finally whatever problem they were having
was cleared up and we moved through. In the stifling heat we made our
way to the exit, where we waited for someone who would pick us up and
take us to the MAF hangar where we would board the last airplane. We
waited and waited, and finally the helpful local at the service desk
helped me place a phone call to contact our expected ride. By the
time he arrived, most of the New Guineans were quite concerned from
us. I can't help noting contrast, compared to the western way of
As it turned out, there was no rush. Originally we were scheduled to
fly to Ukarumpa on a Beech King-Air, but were then re-scheduled for a
Cessna 206. At the last minute, plans were changed once again, and we
got to be part of the second or third load of passengers to fly in the
sparkling new Kodiak! What a thrill! Unfortunately, sweating for
another hour or so while we waited for the pilot to get some sort of
check-out in the new plane was less than thrilling.
Finally we were in the air for our last flight to Ukarumpa. The
blazing coastlands receded behind us to be replaced by the precipitous
heights of jungle-green mountains. We dodged tall white cumulous
clouds and after less than an hour and a half descended past villages
of grass huts onto the dirt runway of Aiyura Airport. We were "home"
at last...
Dear Friends and Family,

To contact us:
011 675 737 4214

Please Pray!
The main reason you haven't heard from us before now is that we have
had a lot of trouble with our computer since we arrived. Not only
does this make it more difficult to communicate, but it adds
considerable stress to our lives. Please pray that the technical team
here will be able to find the problem, and that it will be something
which can be fixed easily and without much cost.

A lot more has happened since we arrived, and there just hasn't been
time to write about it yet. Contingent on having a functioning
computer, we're looking forward to writing about our most recent

What our home is like
Meeting other missionaries
Going to market.
The med-evac flight Dustin participated in
Our trip to Kainantu.
...and other adventures!

Leaving today!

Dear Friends and Family,

The last few items are being checked off of my list, and only a few
hours remain until we board the first plane to begin the next phase of
the adventure that will certainly change our lives for not only the
next two months, but forever.
We will be in flight for a total of almost 24 hours. With our
layovers, the trip will take three full days.

Please pray for our physical health

Pray that we will have safe flights

Pray that we will not become over-stressed during the trip

Pray that our home will be safe while we are gone

Pray that there are no problems with customs or flight connections

Pray that we will be able to sleep on the airplane

The Last Crazy Week
It seems like the last week has been unusually stressful and hectic.
Sunday evening we had a computer hardware glitch, requiring an
overnight shipment of a new hard-drive and complete re-installation of
everything on the computer (done Thursday night). On Monday I came
down with an odd rash accompanied by fatigue that lasted until
Thursday. Abby complained of a "hurting tummy" Monday evening. I had
meetings from after work until 9pm the first three nights of the
week. Thursday we found out that our house-sitters may not be able to
be here as planned. It almost seemed as if when something could go
wrong, it did.
Maybe the Enemy doesn't want us to go. Maybe God is giving our faith
a chance to grow. Whatever the reason for all of these things, we
found ourselves leaning on God for our strength, and feeling the power
of your prayers supporting us. We are all feeling healthy now, and a
blood test confirmed that I don't have something awful that will be
haunting us as we go. The computer appears to be working normally.
All of the packing is done, and the very long list is whittled down to
the last few things.
One thing we would like prayer for is our house-sitters. Their
brother was unexpectedly diagnosed with an aggressive form of
leukemia. Please pray for him, and for their family, as they go
through this difficult time.
As a result, they don't know when they will be able to stay here, and
have come up with some other options for themselves in case we find
someone else to do it. If you know someone who would be interested in
house-sitting, please e-mail us as soon as possible.
Please pray that our trip would be blessed in every way. We thank
all of you! Without you and the many ways you have been a blessing to
us, this trip wouldn't be possible.
Look for our next update when we get to Ukarumpa!

Quick Update 9-20-09

September 20, 2009

Papua New Guinea

The Radfords

Thank You!

Dear Friends and Family,
Just a quick note to let you know we have reached our financial
support goal. All of our trip expenses have now been covered! Thank
you to everyone who has supported us both financially and in prayer.
We now have less than two weeks before we leave, and while all the
major arrangements have been made, there are still quite a few last-
minute details. We will be keeping our blog up to date and sending
newsletters regularly.
We'll be departing the evening of Oct. 3rd, and should arrive in
Ukarumpa Oct. 6th. May our Lord bless and keep you.

What Will We Be Doing in PNG?
Dustin expects to spend most of his time working as a mechanic in the
hangar. However, he hopes to ride along when possible and perhaps do
field repairs if needed. He most likely won't be piloting because of
the unique training required.
Sarah will be available to help out wherever needed, but has been told
she will have her hands full caring for Abby and keeping house in
third-world conditions.

Our blog:

Papua New Guinea, Newsletter #2

Dear Friends and Family,

Here is Newsletter #2 in .JPG format. If you prefer the plain text
version, it is at the bottom.

Papua New Guinea, Newsletter #2

Monday, September 7th, 2009
Dear Friends and Family,
Four weeks from today we should be getting off the last airplane at
Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea. For the months of October and November
Ukarumpa will be home.
At times during the last month life has seemed overwhelming. Sarah
was ill for several weeks. The garden is producing more than there is
time to harvest - including weeds. Abby has been growing a very
determined mind of her own. Our computer hard-drive crashed. I've
been given new responsibilities at work, sometimes resulting in longer
hours. We got our immunization shots. Abby had her third birthday,
and Sarah her 30th. On top of all of this, planning the details and
preparations for a two-month trip to a third-world country has been
difficult, to say the least.
Through these things, God has been faithful. Perhaps He is preparing
us to learn ever more deeply that "with men this is impossible; but
with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26.) His blessings are
so many. He's been blessing us through the teaching and fellowship of
our wonderful church here. He's blessed us with highly-recommended
prospective couple to house-sit our home. He's blessed us with a
loving family and good friends. He blessed me with a good job and
bosses who understand and have even encouraged this trip. He's given
us trials, but with them He's given us the grace to grow more like Him.
He's also blessed us financially. As you can see from the graph at
the top of the page, the gifts we have received amount to just over
$100 more than our expenditures so far.* Our airline tickets,
immunizations, and required insurance -the most significant parts of
our expenses- have been taken care of. "Cast your cares upon Him, for
He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7.) Our Lord has provided just what we
need, and at just the right time.
About half of the expenses remaining on the graph are to cover the
cost of maintaining our home while we are gone and for living expenses
during the time between our return and the first paycheck. Although
they are necessary, we would not have these expenses if we were going
to stay overseas as career missionaries.
We are so thankful to those of you who have given to us, and to our
God who has blessed you with the will and ability to give. Although I
have believed that He would provide for us, I have always had in the
back of my mind a "backup plan." I feel like the man who said "Lord,
I believe... help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24.) Already He has
provided enough that my "backup plan" is unnecessary. As I think
about it, I realize I've subconsciously said to God, "I think if I try
really hard I've got this almost taken care of... could you chip in a
token amount so we can claim that this is Your will?" He is taking my
pride and crushing it under His grace. He is saying to me, "My grace
is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness!"
(2 Corinthians 12:9)
The most important thing we can ask for is prayer support. Your
prayers for us are what will keep us going when we are too exhausted
to pray for ourselves. We really would like any of you who are
willing to let us know that you will be praying for us daily while we
are gone. Just as we keep a list of financial supporters, we also
keep a list of those who support us in prayer. Please, pray for us!
Specifically, we would like prayer for peace about travelling. We
are in need of extra wisdom to parent Abby as she grows and develops
her own personality. We expect the flight to be stressful for Sarah
and I, but with Abby on board it could be even more difficult. Please
pray that the time would go by quickly and that we would have the
grace and patience to deal with any "bumps in the road" in a way that
would bring glory to God.
We will be meeting with our prospective house-sitters in person for
the first time on Monday, Sept. 14th. Please pray that they would be
just what we need, and that we can have peace about our home while we
are gone.
Please pray that we would be wise about our preparations and the
decisions that we make before we go, and that God would prepare the
way for us where we are going. Also, that we would have greater faith
in Him. Pray that we would not have "the spirit of fear; but of
power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7.)
Please pray that God will use us to bless those we are going to
serve, and that the good news about His Son will be spread to the most
remote regions of the jungles. Lastly, pray for us in whatever way He
leads you.

Thank you, and may you be blessed as you do the work you have been
-Dustin, Sarah, and Abby

*The day after I wrote this, a check for $1500 arrived in our
mailbox! Praise our Lord! We are getting very close to meeting all
of our ministry-related expenses with gifts alone!

On the Job
I am glad to say that recently I have been able to begin dusting off
my flying skills and putting them to use! Although I had been flying
more at my current job than before (on average about 3-4 hours per
month), in the last few weeks I've been able to fly considerably
more. It was a blessing in disguise when our "second" of three pilots
moved on to a small commuter airline, and I was trained to take his
place. As a result, my current total flight hours are up over 500.
Although this meets the minimum requirements of some mission aviation
agencies, I hope to have around 1500 before considering our career
move overseas. Now that I'm flying more, that time will be shorter,
and we will be ready to make missions a "career" and not just a
"trip." I am still responsible for aircraft maintenance and repair
and all of the odd hangar jobs that I enjoy so much as well. Please
pray for my safety and efficiency as a pilot, and that I won't be worn
down by the extra work load.

Kodiak Update
The Wycliffe Quest Kodiak, #11, has finalized plans for its trip from
Waxhaw, North Carolina to Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea. This incredible
airplane will greatly increase the abilities of the aviation
department there to meet the needs of Bible translators and
missionaries in remote areas. Not only was is specifically designed
for missions work with back-country short-field capabilities and a
generous payload, but it also uses readily available jet fuel. This
means that missionaries will no longer have to rely completely on a
tenuous and expensive supply of aviation gasoline, and the aging and
heavily used Cessna 206 airplanes which use it.
I was recently able to see Kodiak #8, which belongs to Missionary
Aviation Fellowship, as it made a local stop while on tour before
going overseas (photo above). Interestingly, it will be based on the
other end of the island from where we will be, in Papua, Indonesia.
Kodiak #11, with Wycliffe, will be leaving Waxhaw on September 11th,
and if things go as planned, will arrive in Papua New Guinea September
21st. They will be flying by way of Alaska. Please pray for the
final inspections and approvals, for the pilots (one of whom I worked
with in Africa!), and for a successful journey. I am very excited to
see this special airplane being put into service for the first time
while we are there!

Preparations Continue

Dear Friends and Family,

We have been busy this week with more preparations and are getting
more excited by the day. Nine weeks from now, to the day, we will be
getting on the airplane at PDX for our 3-day journey to the highlands
of PNG (Papua New Guinea)!

Today we began making reservations for places to stay in-transit to
PNG. We are planning to stay at a wonderful accommodation co-owned by
Wycliffe and Missionary Aviation Fellowship during our layovers in
Australia which is known as Tree Tops Lodge. They have an interesting
story about how they got started at their website. We are also
looking for a place to get some sleep in Auckland, New Zealand. If
any of you have some tips on a nice and affordable place close to the
airport, we are still looking. After the thirteen-hour flight there,
we will more than likely need nothing more than beds.

I also filled out all 18 pages of the Australian transit visa
applications today. Whew! And those are only good for 72 hours or
less! I'm glad we aren't planning a permanent move there! After
getting another round of passport photos, those will be in the mail.
We aren't expecting any trouble with them, but it always makes me
nervous to put our three passports in the mailbox.

We are also getting ready to share at our church about our trip. It
is exciting to let everyone know what we are doing, and how God is

These preparations seem so mundane until we really think about what we
are doing. We receive regular newsletters from Wycliffe Associates,
the major support structure for Wycliffe. (Recently the water supply
to Ukarumpa was completely shut off for almost a week... that's where
we're going! Imagine what you would do if the water at your house
suddenly quit flowing for a week. No showering, no flushing
toilets... the compound which normally uses almost 60,000 gallons a
day was down to the small amount of water they are able to store on-
site. A local land-owner hired men to damage the supply pipes which
are on public land, and then these pipes were guarded by men with bows
and arrows until police intervened!

On the other side of the coin, serial number eight of the new Quest
Kodiak airplane is on its way to PNG, and expected to arrive in
September! I am very excited to be there as this plane is being
brought on line to begin replacing the Cessna 206 piston aircraft, for
which fuel is becoming unavailable. Check out their website for more
information on this wonderful aircraft, designed with missionary
aviation as its primary objective.

As you can see from these two stories the missionaries we are going to
support are living with hardships and using every resource available
to spread the Good News. They are on the front lines, literally. We
are really looking forward to joining them! Please continue to pray
as we continue preparing.

Thank you,
-Dustin, Sarah, and Abby

Note: If you check back on a regular basis, you can see daily updates
about the small things happening being posted to the right under
"Current Status:"

Related websites:

Ukarumpa, Here We Come!

Dear Friends and Family,

It is hard for us to believe that in nine weeks we will be on our way
to the other side of the planet! Last week we bought our airline
tickets. A month ago we got our medical clearances and a passport for
Abby. Almost a year ago I contacted Wycliffe about "volunteer
opportunities" while randomly browsing the internet. Fifteen years
ago I asked God what He wanted me to do with my life, and He showed me
missionary aviation.

Since I was in high school I have felt a calling to missionary
aviation. I've spent the intervening years in training and
preparation to go someday as a "career" missionary pilot. This
means providing critical support to missionaries in otherwise
inaccessible areas by the use of airplanes and helicopters. Our
family has a few more years before we will be ready to make that step,
but now is the time for a "test run." In the same way you don't launch
an airplane without a test run on the ground, you don't launch a
family into a third world country without knowing they are properly
prepared. We have prepared as well as possible for the "career" move,
but before we're committed, there might be a few adjustments to make.
The purpose of this trip is to find out what those adjustments should

The island of New Guinea is the first large land mass north of
Australia, roughly the size of California. The eastern half of the
island, as well as many smaller islands in the area, make up the
country of Papua New Guinea. We will be serving there for two months
at the Wycliffe Bible Translators hub of Ukarumpa, where nearly a
thousand missionaries work in every field needed to support the work
of Bible translation. There are schools, a grocery store, printing
presses, housing, computer stations, a vehicle maintenance base, and
many other specialized facilities and workers. We will be there
working in the aviation department.

We will be leaving Portland, Oregon for Ukarumpa via Los Angeles,
Auckland, Cairns, and Port Moresby on October 3rd, and returning via a
similarly circuitous route December 4th. I estimate that we will be in
flight for about 24 hours both there and back, and that we will be in
transit three days each way!

Life there will be different in many ways. Although we are told
there will be many modern conveniences such as running water,
electricity, and even internet access, there are a lot of things we
won't have that we are used to. Routine activities like grocery
shopping, getting mail, and making a phone call may involve completely
foreign concepts which we will have to master. The most important
things to grasp will involve our interactions with nationals and other
missionaries. Language, culture, and subconscious habits will likely
provide many learning opportunities. However, facing these
difficulties now, and being able to spend some time processing and
readying ourselves to deal with them for not just months, but for a
lifetime, is the entire point of this trip.

Although we strongly feel that this is the next step in following the
plan God has laid out for us, we don't understand how He is planning
to fund it. The airline tickets alone cost $4,300! In addition, we
will need about $7,000 for other travel and living expenses while we
are there, to pay our bills here while we are gone, and to get us
through to the first pay check after we return. Realistically we need
to have $11,300 in our bank account before we leave. That's a lot of
money for you or me, but it's as easy for our God to provide $10,000
as it is for Him to provide $10. We've been saving money for a long
time; considering a down payment on a house, a retirement account, and
creating a safety net fund. We are willing to put all of the money we
have saved, down to the last cent, if need be, into this trip... but
we still won't have enough.

Our Boss is the Lord Jesus. If the Boss sends you on a business trip,
He pays for it, one way or another. We are looking forward to seeing
the ways that He will provide. It will be an amazing time of growth
for our faith in Him. This letter may be one of the things He uses to
do that. If you would like to donate money, there is a tax-deductible
account set up with Wycliffe. The specific information is at the
bottom of this letter. We thank you for following the leading of the
One we thank for all things. He will provide.

Last of all, I can't ask strongly enough, pray for us! There will
very likely be physical dangers, stresses within our family, illness,
financial struggles, spiritual attacks, personality conflicts, and
worse to deal with while we are there. More than anything else, we
need you to pray for us while we are gone. We are planning to send
regular e-mail updates to all who are interested in which we can share
specific requests for prayer, but overall, please pray that our trip
will be blessed. Pray that we will be able to see how we need to learn
and change to be effective servants, and that this trip will be a time
of growth in every way. Pray for protection from the dangers listed
above. Pray that we will be used to further the important work of
translating God's Word into new languages. Pray however our Lord leads
you to. If you are willing to commit to pray for us every day from
October 3th to December 4th, please let us know. It will be
encouraging just to know that someone is on their knees before the
Father for us.

If you would like to donate money feel free to give to us directly.
However, if you would like a receipt for tax purposes, we have an
account set up with Wycliffe which we will be using during our trip.

Our personal fund code is: 8773.

Contributions can be mailed to the address below. It's important to
add the fund code only to the memo line, and include a separate sheet
of paper with our name and the fund code in the envelope. If our name
is on the check, it will not be viewed as a charitable contribution by
the IRS.

Checks can be mailed to:
Wycliffe Associates
PO Box 2000
Orange CA 92859

Those wishing to make a contributions using a credit or debit card
should contact Judie Hess in the Orange, CA office - 800-843-9673.

Our current contact information is:
Dustin and Sarah Radford
661 NW 4th Ave.
Canby, OR 97013


We hope to send regular e-mails about our progress. If you have
received this letter via e-mail, you are on the list already. If you
would like to be removed, please let me know.


The e-mails will also be duplicated on our blog, and hopefully we will
be able to include some photos and other information there as well.
If you are interested in more information about Wycliffe, JAARS,
Ukarumpa, or Papua New Guinea (PNG), please see the links on our
blog. We are also on Facebook, and welcome phone calls or letters.

While we are in Ukarumpa, you will be able to send mail to us at:

Dustin and Sarah Radford
PO Box 169
Ukarumpa, EHP 444
Papua New Guinea

Airmail letters from the US take 12-14 days to reach Ukarumpa.
We may have a phone while we are there, but we do not know what the
number will be, or if it will be practical to receive phone calls from
the U.S. We may also be using a different e-mail address. Although
we don't know all of the specifics, and don't have access to it yet,
it will most likely be:

Thank you, and may you be blessed as you do the work that our Lord has
set before you.

-Dustin, Sarah, and Abby Radford

P.S. - Before we leave, we would like to find someone to take care of
our home while we are gone. If you are interested in house-sitting
for two months or know someone who may be, please let us know.

Happy Thanksgiving! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

I guess it's been a while. Due to some serious uploading issues, I don't have any new pictures here. However, off to the left, at the top of our favorite links, you can see one called OUR PICTURE ALBUMS. That is a link to our Shutterfly site. It has pictures from the trip Abby and I took to North Dakota, and a bunch of Christmas pictures. It also has some older pictures. 

December was pretty crazy around here. Dustin remodeled the bathroom the first weekend. It ended up taking much longer than one day (as he had planned). Luckily, we were only without a toilet for one day. He tore out the carpet and replaced it with tile. He also replaced the toilet, cabinets, and molding. What a huge job! It looks much better now. 

Dustin and I celebrated our 5th anniversary on December 13th. We actually left Abby for 2 nights!! We didn't go very far (downtown Portland), but we had a lot of fun. By the time we headed home, the snow had started. There were cars all over the side of the road! It was a slow trip, but we made it home safely. We then celebrated Christmas with Dustin's parents, since they had been up here watching Abby. 

There was more snow throughout the week, so Abby and I dug out a really old sled we found in the garage. Talk about fast! That thing can move! A few days later, all three of us spent the afternoon sledding. Abby had a blast! By Christmas Eve, we had 14 inches of snow. It was great fun, but hard getting around, even with chains on the car. We spent Christmas at my aunt's house in Brooks. The roads were fairly clear, but we almost couldn't get out of our parking space! We spent the afternoon eating and opening presents, and Abby got to take apart the gingerbread house they had made. 

We rang in the new year at Dustin's aunt's house in Clackamas. She had a cheese party. We didn't plan to stay all evening, but we were still there when the new year began. Abby was still awake and having fun, but she fell asleep within minutes of getting in the car. 

We've been taking life easy since then. Abby was sick last week and she still isn't sleeping well. I'm starting to feel a bit sick, myself. Today definitely felt like a Monday! I'm hoping to start updating this blog more often, but no guarantees. I know I've said that before, and it just hasn't worked out. Oh well, Happy Monday!