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
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Checks can be mailed to:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.