Our home assignment has been a bit like the theme song from Gilligan’s Island. We returned from Papua New Guinea in early January anticipating time with family, Luka’s birth, visiting friends, speaking and traveling. Well, as you may know that’s not exactly what happened. We were able to travel a little in January and February and visit a few churches to speak before the pandemic shut things down. We were grateful for technology that allowed us to connect with those we weren’t able to visit in person, but it definitely is not the same as actually being with people.
In May we welcomed Luka Peter Radcliffe, our fifth child. Katherine had experienced complications with the pregnancy back in November of last year and we were uncertain for a time as to whether or not we’d get to meet Luka. We are so grateful for his safe arrival. He has been a source of incredible joy even in the midst of a difficult year. We had initially planned to travel back to PNG in June, but Luka didn’t not get his passport from the U.S. State Department until late August and we just received his PNG entry permit Friday which will allow us to travel.
In July, Katherine’s father, Lincoln Stevens, became ill. His condition rapidly deteriorated over the next several weeks. He ended up diagnosed with myeloid sarcoma, a rare aggressive tumor variant of acute myeloid leukemia. He passed away on September 26th. It all seemed to happen so quickly, but we are glad he did not suffer long. We are still grieving the loss of this godly man and loving father and grandfather. We are incredibly grateful that we were able to be here in the USA for the entire process. We know that this holiday season will not be an easy one for our family as we grieve many “firsts” without Grandpa Lincoln.
We would ask you to join with us in prayer as we finalize plans for traveling back to PNG. We have a small window between now and December 4th when we can travel without other significant delays. Flights are limited and restrictions abound but it is possible, albeit expensive (about three times what it would normally cost for our family). We are excited to return to the place God has called us to and are trusting that He will provide the necessary resources and logistical miracles to get us back “home.” We hope to finalize tickets departing November 23rd within the next 24-48 hours.
We wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas season and hope to be updating you next from Papua New Guinea!
If you feel led to help get us back to PNG you can give via the following link.
Ben, Katherine, Simeon, Matthias, Tabea, Naomi, and Luka