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!