Land Agreement & Build Trips

352 days after arriving in country, we’re ready to set the first post in the ground in Konomala!

Recap: Akolet

The whole month of November, we lived on a small island that’s home to the Akolet church. We got to be neighbors with our friends Adam & Julie who had a part in planting that church and are now working to help the believers grow into maturity. We really appreciated getting to spend time with Adam & Julie and the church there.

If you ever want to sit down and talk about Romans with Gili (an Akolet Bible teacher), just bring some instant coffee along and watch the magic happen. After he’s done smiling about you bringing coffee, he’ll get out a blackened, metal water bottle, fill it halfway with water, then put it over the fire. A few minutes later he’ll pull out his two coffee mugs and put 10 to 15 cups worth of instant coffee in the mugs. Once the water is boiling, he’ll pour about a sip of water in. Yes, “a sip” is an approved unit of measurement.

Then he’ll hand you your mug. When your coffee sludge is cooled down enough, knock that sucker back and he’ll make you as many as you can handle…or until the coffee runs out…which happens reasonably quick. In PNG, it’s called “short water”, and the guys in Akolet have perfected the craft.

Recap: Konomala Land Agreement

At the beginning of December we flew out of Akolet. That same day, I (Seth) got right back on the plane with Luke and a couple of our mission leaders to go out to Konomala again.

After meeting up with some guys from the Patpatar and Siar churches, we finished the drive down to Konomala.

We spent time just hanging out and connecting with a few key guys in Konomala, then we officially “accepted” the community’s invitation for our two families to move in. We all signed a little agreement about the land we’ll build on, then we talked through how the next couple months could look in regards to building our houses.

When we told the “short water” story to the guys in Konomala, they were in shock. They don’t like the taste of black coffee in general, never mind anything that ridiculous. The Konomala drink “tea” as the Akolet would label it. Tea is coffee with creamer and sugar in it — only wimps drink that in Akolet.

Since our trip at the beginning of December, we’ve been working at full speed to make sure everything on our end is ready to go. We have two homes worth of cargo packed on pallets or in crates waiting to be shipped.

We even got a little time over the holidays to rest before the chaos ensues over the next 3 months. That said, we could use another month … or six … to feel rested.



Now: Konomala Build Trip #1

Tomorrow, Luke and I fly out to New Ireland for our first build trip to Konomala. We’ll be there for about a week working alongside some Konomala guys and a group of people from the Siar church.

Our goals will be to: 

  • Intentionally connect with the community
  • Make sure the ground is cleared
  • Check that the timber is being milled on pace
  • Build a storage shed for all our cargo that will eventually be arriving by barge


End of January — Build trip #2 to set posts and prep the houses for when the barge arrives with all the other building materials.

Middle of February (likely) — Build trip #3 to get roofs, floors, plumbing, and electrical done on both houses.

Sometime later — Build trip #4 to finish the houses and move families in.


That our time in Konomala would be a valuable connection time with the community and with the Siar church … that our work would be productive and safe … and that we would remember why we’re really there and depend on the Holy Spirit for wisdom and power.

That our wives would have that same wisdom and power. It’s never easy being left at home without much help. Pray that they’ll all be healthy while we’re gone. Sanity can quickly run away when sickness and lack of sleep moves in.

That we proactively let God change us every day so that we can experience His life, and that He would keep preparing the hearts and minds of the Konomala to finally find His life.

5 thoughts on “Land Agreement & Build Trips

  1. Thanks for the update. We sure R praying that all goes as planned but as we all know sometimes the Lords timing is little different.. we, Judy and I are in Florida for next 3 months but miss our church body in Clayton though have very strong body of believers here. The Lord is good all the time and all over His world.


  2. Seth and Kaitlyn, so good to hear from you. We are so thankful for you and all the team’s service to the Lord. Everyone is in our prayers for the Lord’s work to be done and for your protection as you serve. God is an awesome God. We have been blessed to be in Florida out of the cold for a little while with some other friends from Church and are praying the Lord will lead us to a ministry in our small church we are attending here. Blessings for the New Year. John and Carol DeForest, River Community Church, Clayton, NY


  3. Seth and Kaitlyn, we sure admire your ambition and dedication to God’s work especially with those sweet little girls! We will continue to pray for you and your parents as they must miss their granddaughters terribly! Our continued love and support to both of you!


  4. Hi Seth and Kaitlyn. Your little girls could be twins. So darling and sweet. Thanks for the prayer requests. It really helps to know what you need me to pray for. What an exciting time this is for all of you. Long wait, much preparation, much prayer for guidance and blessing, AND enormous patience. I am so proud of you all. May this new year see your efforts begin to materialize in a most delightful way. Love, Ann

    On Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 3:40 AM Seth & Kaitlyn Sanford wrote:

    > Seth & Kaitlyn posted: “352 days after arriving in country, we’re ready to > set the first post in the ground in Konomala! Recap: Akolet The whole month > of November, we lived on a small island that’s home to the Akolet church. > We got to be neighbors with our friends Adam & Ju” >


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