the Unknowns

EMAIL US!

seth_sanford@ntm.org


CALL or TEXT!

Seth – (272) 209-6342
Kaitlyn – (272) 209-6733


A global virus, two governments, three passports, three visas, five COVID tests, multiple international flights … and a few little people just waiting.
Mix it all together and you’ve got a whole bunch of unknowns!

As the urgency to make decisions grows, the variables keep changing, and the unknowns seem endless.

Here at home

It’s been a good few months of being home for our family. We’re doing well. We’ve really enjoyed a lot of time with parents and extended family. The girls, of course, are loving every second of it. Playdates with Gramma, swimming in the creek, riding bikes … so much fun stuff. Honestly, so many good gifts from God.
Baby Livi is doing great too. She’s chunking up and happily sleeping through the night (most of the time).

Since getting back to the U.S., we’ve kept plugging away at working with the Konomala language. We have a bunch of recordings that our team is transcribing and then filing everything into a data collection program.
It’s been really nice to get a head start on some of the busy work that will help us down the road. When we’re living in Konomala, we would much rather be with people than be stuck in front of a computer, so it’s great to get ahead of the game while we’re here in the U.S.
Everything that we’re doing now will facilitate future stuff like: creating an alphabet, analyzing grammar, teaching literacy, and beginning translation.

IF (and it’s a big ‘if’) everything in our mix of unknowns worked out “ideally”, our family along with the Hodgdons (our teammates) could be heading back to Konomala this fall.

If all of those things don’t end up falling into place, then we will just keep taking things one step at a time and see when the Lord wants us to be back with our friends in Konomala.
It’s all so much bigger than us and completely out of our control. We can just rest in the things that are always true, and remember that God is big enough to see, know, and work in it all.

Getting to Konomala

So, in order for us to get back to Konomala, we need the U.S. passport agencies to fully open in order to facilitate a quicker turn around for our girls’ passports. We need to get a new passport for Olivia and renew the other girls’ as well.
At this point, the agencies are about 4 to 5 months behind on all the previous applications that have come in since the COVID shutdown.
If the agencies re-open sometime in the next month, that would be the most helpful for expedited applications. Then after getting the passports back, we still have at least a month to wait until the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government approves the three visas for the girls.

The timing of it all has to happen pretty precisely.
IF all of those things happen in the right sequence, then we’ll have to get COVID tests, buy tickets, pack up everything, and arrive in PNG … all within a two week window.

Then just to add a little extra spice to it all, PNG is starting to see more positive cases of COVID. The capital city is now on lockdown, and we have no idea how the government will react over the next months as the numbers keep increasing. International travel may get even more limited, domestic travel may get completely shut down, and living in our isolated community in Konomala might not even be possible if things get extreme.

It’s silly.

All the unknowns and variables are so out of our control.
Sometimes bigger things like this seem easier to trust God with. When we have no ability to influence circumstances (like a global pandemic or government regulations), we’re quicker to see the reality of things and rest in the reality of who God is and what His heart is through all of it.
That mindset is certainly not always true of us, but for the moment we’re just taking things a step at a time and waiting to see what God opens up.

Our friends in Konomala are doing well. We have been able to talk with our best friend, Michael, pretty regularly since coming home. He said that things have been fine in our community there. Everyone is wondering if our families are ever going to make it back.
God was preparing hearts for the truth well before we ever got showed up … and we’re very confident that He will keep working during this stretch of time that we aren’t able to be with our friends.


Please Pray

That we would be faithful with the things that God has for us right now.
In our family, in our church family, in our tasks for Konomala, and in waiting to go back.

That the unknowns and logistics (passports, visas, etc.) would come together to enable us to get back to our friends in Konomala so that we can continue moving forward in learning and growing there.

That God would provide an option for good housing for Luke and Ellenie (our teammates) in California. They have to move out of their apartment soon, and they don’t have great options for where to live after that.
Not knowing where your family is going to live is hard.
Here is a link to their family’s recent update:

That God would continue to protect our friends in Konomala. Satan wants to see our friends move away from the truth and die in his family.
Pray that God would protect them from sickness or physical harm, lies from outsiders or false churches, apathy towards the truth, distractions of money or positions of status … there are a million things that Satan wants to use to keep our friends out of God’s family and kingdom.
God loves them so much more than we ever could, so we know that He is doing what’s best and will always be faithful.


7 thoughts on “the Unknowns

  1. Good to hear from you guys and so sweet to see your adorable family picture! Crazy days for sure. I keep praying that it (the irrational reactions to this virus) will all end very soon and the world can settle down to more normal, but until then it does stretch our faith in new ways. Comforting to know that God is still in control and knows the future, even when it is so unsure to us. I love that you can still progress in language study while you’re in the States.

    We are so relieved to be back in PNG after staying longer than we had planned in CA for Caleb’s wedding. We are in quarantine now in Lapilo. Thankfully, we are all healthy and choosing to enjoy the extra time at home as a family.

    Love to each of you,
    Esther

    PS Did you decide to start Kindergarten with Natalie now in the States or wait until you return? Just curious 😊

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  2. Seth and Kaitlyn, what beautiful kids you have! We’ll continue praying for all of you as you wait on God’s perfect timing. How frustrating it can be to not be able to move forward with plans huh? It’s nice to know that God’s timing is always better than ours. What town are your partners in in California?

    Let’s see if we can get together some time in the coming months. We can make a trip up there or you can come down here. If we go up there we can visit with the whole clan, but if you come down here we may be able to get your family into Hershey Park with some complimentary passes.

    Anyway, it’s good to hear from you in these newsletters and it’s good to see that you’re still able to continue learning.

    Dan

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    1. Hey Dan!

      That would be great to see you guys! It’d be fun if you could make it up to see the whole clan.

      The general schedule is pretty freed up because of the lack of Wayumi groups.
      If you’re thinking about it, just shoot us some dates and we’ll all make sure we’re free!

      Luke and Ellenie are in Santa Barbara.

      Seth

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  3. Hey guys. Thank you for the update. We’ve been wondering about you.

    We are all good here. Pretty much staying home most of the time. All summer plans have been cancelled so just sitting back enjoying the beautidyl weather.

    Congrats on the new baby. She’s beautiful.

    Our daughter Laura and family are in the waiting game as well. They were supposed to leave for Jordan (language school) in August. But now maybe October.

    Questions you are asking as are they: Do we pack or stay settled, get rid of stuff or keep it a bit longer, keep working or give my notice????

    But as you said, God has all the details worked out and His plan will prevail. Wait on Him!

    God bless you as you wait. We pray Gods perfect timing and patience for you as you wait for it.

    Love, Greg & Julie

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