Moved in and Starting Language

Marav mal! Ba malke? 

Good afternoon! You all alright?


Thanks so much for being patient in hearing from us!
We’ve been in Konomala a little over a month now, and we finally have a half-way-working cell signal. It’s not much, but it gives us access to email and texting … slow and minimal access that is.

The cell tower is way up in the bush, so when its generators run out of fuel, the company has to hire people to hand carry the big containers of fuel into the mountains. Not really an ideal setup. The last time it went down, it took 3 weeks to get the tower running again.


On that note, if you want to email us, keep using this

If you want to text us, the best way is to use an app called “WhatsApp”.
Our PNG number is: +675 7481 3286.



Moving in


So, after a lot of planning, executing, and seeing God do stuff, the house building was finally done (almost). Move in day was upon us.
We woke up and hit the road at 4:30 a.m. on June 17th. Outside of a flat tire, some anxiety, and a really bumpy road, the 11 hour drive went rather ‘smoothly’. The kids handled it great which was God’s amazing grace to us as parents that day. About 7 minutes into the drive one of the kids asked if we were almost there … nuff said


As we pulled up to our Konomala houses, the wives and kids got to see everything for the first time. Less than 7 minutes later, the group of families who live nearby came speed walking down the path to meet everybody. They’d seen Luke and I plenty of times, so they didn’t care as much about us two. This was their first chance to touch and stare at the long awaited white haired boys and girls. They took full advantage of the opportunity.

Culturally, most people in Konomala are very concerned with ‘respecting’ others, so they didn’t stick around too long. They helped us unload the truck then after a half hour or so they left so that we could settle in.


For that first two weeks, we were finishing up the houses and walking around trying to meet the community. During our third week here, a missionary consultant and his family came for a couple days to give us a little jump start into the language and culture learning process.


Then it was all hands on deck to get ready for a big meal with the community. We connected with the main Konomala leaders in each community and invited them to come hear (again) WHY we’re here and WHAT we’re hoping to do. Everyone from our immediate community was invited to come too. Our closest neighbors Michael and Arena along with their whole extended family put in a lot of work to make that day happen. We got 4 pigs, a lot of local garden food, and a couple hundred pounds of rice to feed everyone. To say the least, we were worn out after a week of hard work, an all nighter prepping the food, and a full day of trying to socialize and clearly communicate while public speaking in a second language.



We’re not enough


As we sit now, we’ve just finished our first full week of studying the Konomala language. Only a million more weeks to go … okay, maybe a hundred more to go (hopefully).

I can confidently say that we are not enough for this job. I can’t really imagine the day that we’ll ever get this language. I’m pretty sure it’ll happen, but I can’t really picture it yet. That’s probably because we’ve only put in 50 of the 5,000 hours that it’s going to take … but who’s counting …


So we’re finally here. After so many years of thinking about it, this is as real as it gets. But don’t fool yourself, until we’re finally home with Jesus, we’re all in a battle. Every single day we are coming face to face with our own selfishness, pride, anger, and insecurity.
We were just sitting with Luke and Ellenie the other night talking about how baffling it is that God is wanting to use us out here in what feels like an impossible work. He could whip out an unending list of why we should NOT be allowed to do this. But instead of throwing us out of the game in frustration, He has facilitated everything to get us out here. And now He is giving us everything that we need to stay here!
There is hardly a minute that is going by in our days that we aren’t feeling our overwhelming need of Jesus. Hopefully we’re growing little by little as we fail most of the time and constantly have to refocus on Jesus, trust Him, and follow. We can just keep taking baby steps. And we’re praising God for the Mount Everest amounts of grace that He is giving in each of our stumbly little steps.


Anything good that happens here in Konomala is only because of our gracious Father, His humble Son, and His powerful Spirit doing their awesome work in people (us included).





That we live every moment remembering what Jesus did and remembering what He is going to do. He came down in humility to offer Himself for us, and He is going to come down again in victory as He restores everything to the way it was always supposed to be. We cannot wait!


That we would love and disciple our kids well. We don’t feel like we’ve been great parents lately. We want to extend the same grace to them that our Father is giving to us every day. We want to love them just like Jesus loves us. And we want to be consistent and faithful just like the Spirit is in us. Easy stuff to say … not natural to live out.


That we would look for and take advantage of every opportunity to serve the people around us. We want to joyfully serve each other as a couple. We want to joyfully serve our friends and teammates Luke and Ellenie. And we want to joyfully serve our friends here in our Konomala community.


That God would give us extraordinary wisdom and ability to learn the Konomala language. And that He would give us the stick-to-it-ness that we need to see this thing through to the end.

6 thoughts on “Moved in and Starting Language

  1. Such a fantastic letter, Seth & Kaitlyn!! We praise God for what He has done and is doing already and what He will do amongst the Konomala!!!

    On Sun, Jul 28, 2019 at 12:50 PM Seth & Kaitlyn Sanford wrote:

    > Seth & Kaitlyn posted: “Marav mal! Ba malke? Good afternoon! You all > alright? Thanks so much for being patient in hearing from us! We’ve been > in Konomala a little over a month now, and we finally have a > half-way-working cell signal. It’s not much, but it gives us access” >


  2. It was very encouraging to read your post and hear of the Lords work in PNG. So much going on in your lives and the lives of those around you. As I read your post I thought of the Daily Bread reading from that morning (July 28). The passage was from Hebrews 6: 9-12. The reading told of William Carey (1761-1834) a missionary to India. William was the son of a weaver. He was a not to successful as a teacher/cobbler. However he did manage to teach himself Hebrew, Latin and Greek. That boggles My mind. Hardships he faced were loss of a child, his wife had mental health issues and a lack of response from those he served. Yet he translated the entire bible into six languages and parts of the Bible into 29 other languages. Carey said of himself, “I can plod”, “I can persevere in any definite purpose”.

    Bill Burtis Sent from my iPhone



  3. Sorry but the previous email was sent before it was finished. Big fingers small phone. My hope was as I considered your post and the Daily Bread reading was to encourage all of you to continue “plodding “. God is at work in PNG and God is using all of you to bring His Gospel and salvation to the people of PNG. You do have mountains of work ahead of you. But we have a God who can move mountains. And God’s Grace is or strength, 2 Corinthians 12: 9. So smile, God loves us, God will lead and guide us. Keep up the “plodding ” in Christ. God will do an amazing work. We love you guys. Take care.

    Bill Burtis Sent from my iPhone



  4. Hey man,

    Great to hear from you guys! I tried to WhatsApp, but it didn’t like the number; does it have an extra digit?


  5. Please Keep “plodding” .I am only one of many that take joy and hope from your “plodding”.Thank You for yielding to the Holy Spirt for this work


  6. Dear Seth and Kaitlyn, It is obvious to me that God is greatly blessing every step you have taken. Your faithfulness, honesty and transparency is stunning. It is so wonderful of you to share your lives with us. Everything will happen that He has planned to have happen. You will learn the language, make new dear friends there, be loving, effective parents, have joy in your lives and feel the presence of the Holy Spirit everywhere. The people will become enamored of God just as you are. It’s all happening. Praise be to our mighty Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What a marvelous gift the Trinity is for all of us who believe. Great to hear from and about you. Waiting for the next chapter. Love, Ann

    On Sun, Jul 28, 2019 at 12:51 PM Seth & Kaitlyn Sanford wrote:

    > Seth & Kaitlyn posted: “Marav mal! Ba malke? Good afternoon! You all > alright? Thanks so much for being patient in hearing from us! We’ve been > in Konomala a little over a month now, and we finally have a > half-way-working cell signal. It’s not much, but it gives us access” >


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