Friday, December 21, 2012


We are just back from saying hello and goodbye to some friends and family from where Trudie grew up. Everyone was so lovely and the most common question was about the bug life we will encounter in PNG! Tru's response was:"There are no bugs in PNG!" Denial is working well so far...

Being serious for a moment, it really was great to see people we love. We will miss you so much! Everyone should consider holidays in Papua New Guinea. Seriously. We hear it's brilliant...

In other news Duncan is trying to whip Trudie into shape in preparation for Pacific Orientation Camp. We are doing a mix of aerobics, running and even went for a swim this morning. Well done us! Not sure if it will make any difference in such serious heat, so good thing God will be with us.

Now we are back to paperwork, packing and panicking followed by praying. Tru's new description of our feelings is reverent terror. Not long to go now!

The picture is of Tru with her lovely mum and Aunty Joyce : )  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Paperwork and People

It would seem that moving abroad involves a great deal of paperwork. We knew that before, but now we KNOW that! We are getting there, but much more slowly than we would like. Things keep distracting us. For example: burst pipes, cars that won't start because the air-conditioning pump has stopped working and agas that won't stay alight for more than a few hours. We could go on, but it's boring.

He is trying to smile...
We have also managed to break away from the laptops and spend some time with people. Going to our church again was wonderful and we have also had the chance to speak to our house group, youth group and church friends about our experiences in America.

Overall, time feels short and it's a bit overwhelming. The goodbyes have started and so has the sadness. We are truly in the land of the inbetween and it's disorientating when that place is home.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


We are home and feeling full of thanksgiving for an amazing trip to the U.S.A. It really has been brilliant.

We will always remember (in no particular order):

Swing-dancing, listening to Blue Grass music, attending an auction, laughing A LOT, meeting new people all the time, swimming in a lake, dancing in the rain, writing on stones, reflecting, eating Southern food, discovering 'moose tracks' ice-cream, engine-off landings, autumn colours, flying down the longest runway in the world (together), seeing manatees and porpoises, meeting Mickey, driving in Dallas and L.A., the Blue Ridge mountains, going to a rodeo and seeing REAL cowboys, meeting up with old friends, going to an American football game, flying with an under-slung motorcycle, Moriah's smile, off-roading, tour guiding, singing new songs, e-mails, meeting Chuck Swindoll, experiencing constant hospitality, Egyptian Ratscrew (card game), the Bunn mobile, Josh's English accent, white-water rafting, sharing our story with 190 young men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, arriving at church in the helicopter, learning to change a nappy, skype, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, lying on a bed of nails, packing, contra-dancing, blue jelly/jello, Chimney Rock, flying across 4 states in the Helio, learning some Pidgin, aviation wives, Jeff's prayers, art galleries, sleeping in the hangar, Darcy's videos, seeing fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, eating scrapple, a few tears, new friends who touched our hearts, people thinking 'Duncan' is spelt 'Dunkin' (as in Doughnuts!), ordering blue shirts, getting THE helmet, flying in the mountains, seeing family, going out for breakfast, the satnav 'recalculating', Starbucks, Rodeo Drive, the PNG bugs' case, JAARS day, Missions at the Airport trip, the 'A' rock, meeting MKs, Jonathan's stories, 'jazz' in Charleston, Trudie's Minnie Mouse hairband, farkle, goodbyes, Crowell 3, doughnuts, the sound of crickets and the not so crystal lake.

We could go on and on, but there is something we havent mentioned - the reason we went to America was not to eat ice-cream or visit tourist sites. We went to prepare for the next step. We thought Duncan was going to learn jungle flying skills and Trudie would learn about missionary kids and how to serve them - we did those things, but something else happened too. God poured His love into our hearts through the words and actions of strangers. We saw Him work amazingly in our lives and in the lives of others around us. As our new friend, Carrie would say: God has really shown off and THAT is truly awesome.

The JAARS helicopter

Arty shot of the Helio - can you spot it?

Every couple needs matching JAARS caps!

Wings with Josh (left) and Jonathan (right)

The Crystal Lake at JAARS

Us with Mickey and Duncan's sister, Katrina

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bell Beginnings

This past week Duncan has been at the Bell Helicopter training facility near Dallas, Texas, learning from the horse's mouth how to fly the 206L3, or Long Ranger. A 7 seat, turbine-powered helicopter, this is what SIL operate in Papua New Guinea.
Some of the Bell Helicopter fleet
The first half of the week was all ground school - learning the technical side of the aircraft. Bell certainly have a good facility, with plenty of bits of helicopter to get your hands on and a maintenance training aircraft in the hanger to see how it all fits together. Then came the fun part...
Brian (my instructor) and me
Most of the time was devoted to what to do in the unlikely event that things mechanical stop working the way the designer at Bell intended. Time was spent practising what to do when the pedals stop working (no, you don't have to pedal to keep the aircraft airborne) but most of the time was used landing safely following an untimely engine failure. Brian certainly opened my eyes as to what was possible (safely) in a Long Ranger.

The Bell Practise Area

Brian failed the engine in just about every location imaginable, and each time we manged to land back on the runway with the aircraft still in a state that we could go and do it all again. We did engine failures on take-off and approach, and just about everywhere in between. I think the most interesting was from very close-in downwind: flare the speed off, pedal turn and then accelerate (all within 800') was a new technique!
 Each runway had the yellow aiming squares on it - each square is 12m x 12m (40' x 40')
As time progressed, Brian expected me to vary the flightpath such that we landed in the square he designated. Brian could land and stop in a square of his chosing! Me ... more like one or the other; but it was a lot of fun! And good training too, of course.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Last week, Duncan and  I took a short off-road driving course...JAARS offer this for missionaries who are going to places with challenging roads and there are definitely some of those in PNG! There is a 'course' in the forest near the centre, so off we went...

The teacher's tactic was to drive us round the course first and then we each took a turn at having a go. I sat in the back to begin with and was determined to act cool, unsurprised and totally calm about whatever arose! We chatted about life in PNG as we went around - our instructor worked there for a number of years and had lots of great stories to share. As we talked, we experienced some pretty interesting angles. The photographs don't really convey what it felt like, but from the back seat I felt, well... ok I admit it: I was terrified and the thought of driving this road myself was even worse. But I think I looked pretty calm...

Driving in the forest!

Duncan took his turn and was unsurprisingly brilliant. I was up next. The view from the driver's seat was daunting and I am amazed that we stayed upright! But we just kept on chatting and somehow the car performed dazzling feats while I wiggled the steering wheel. I thought I had managed to act cool, but Duncan reported afterwards that more than a few little squeals could be heard in the car!

This bit is called 'the steps'...

I now know that I love 4WD and that it is possible to drive along 'roads' that your head tells you should not be passable. Don't get me wrong - I do not believe that I am now the best off-road driver ever and can tackle anything (although in the euphoria of survival I did wonder that for a moment!). But it did teach me - again - that the way I 'see' is changing.


After we came home I was VERY excited! I rushed up to a friend and enthusiastically babbled on about our latest adventure. When I calmed down, I realised we could use the experience as a metaphor for what is happening to us here...the whole thing was a like a little picture of what life feels like at the moment. To be honest, the road ahead looks more than a little daunting, but people are telling us stories and sharing their hearts with us so much that we feel like this 'car' will drive...we are going to experience some interesting angles, but our perspective is changing because the concept that God makes the impossible possible isn't just a concept anymore.

How can we ever thank the people at JAARS for all they have taught us?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Adventure Begins!

Hello everyone and welcome to our shiny new blog! Sorry it has taken so long...Hopefully this will be a space for us to keep you up to date with our adventures as we prepare to start a new life in Papua New Guinea as missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Duncan will be working as a helicopter pilot and Trudie will be teaching at the High School at Ukarumpa where we will be living! But that is still some way off....

So why are we doing this (insert suitable adjective - exciting? crazy?) thing?
Well - we love God and are loved by Him! We want others to have access to the Bible in their own language so they can learn about God too and decide what they think for themselves.

Do we have to go to Papua New Guinea to do this?
Obviously you don't have to go to PNG to serve God, but we believe that He wants us to use our skills to advance His work there. Over 800 languages are spoken in PNG and there are still 300 or so needing translation projects. The country is covered by huge areas of jungle, mountains and swamps, so Duncan's skills will come in very useful and Trudie can continue to teach at the High School on the centre. There are missionary families from all around the world at Ukarumpa so the High School will be a very exciting and challenging place to teach.

Why are we in the U.S.A?
We are currently based in Waxhaw, North Carolina, receiving orientation and training from JAARS. No, it doesn't stand for anything; it used to stand for 'Jungle Aviation and Radio Services', but now they do so much more that the acronym would be impossibly long, so it's just JAARS. Basically they provide practical services to support the work of Bible translation around the world, including aviation, land transportation, maritime services, whizzy IT stuff and much more.
We started off with a month long course called the 'Inter-Cultural Communications Course' which was challenging, mind-bending and excellent. All the aviation training for Wycliffe is done here and Duncan is currently doing his helicopter orientation. Trudie is taking part in aviation wives' orientation, learning to be a JAARS centre tour guide and doing a Children's Education Online orientation course to help her prepare for teaching in a new environment. We are also soaking in as much knowledge as we can from the wealth of experienced and lovely people we are meeting here.

Our apartment is the one with the sun shining on the door!

So are we having fun?
Absolutely! As we said, the people are lovely and the training is really useful. An added bonus is that we are getting to do some travelling around, as well as catching up with friends old and new. So far we have visited South Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania, passing through Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland on the way. We are also headed to Texas and California before we head home at the end of November!

When do we leave leave?
We leave for PNG in mid January 2013. It is feeling very close now and we are excited, daunted and all the rest! When we arrive we will have fourteen weeks of Pacific Orientation, including language learning and a village living phase, after which we will, God willing, make it to our new home at Ukarumpa in the Highlands.

If you are interested in finding out more about JAARS and/or Wycliffe Bible Translators, then follow the links below:

JAARS website
Wycliffe Bible Translators Website