today is “depending on God.” day…. We heard from a man who has been a member of our organization for 63 years… and he told about how God has provided for him his entire life and having money in the bank always worried him because he wanted to depend on God for everything. It was an amazing testimony.

that is the theme of our worship. The point is to learn that independence is not a virtue that God respects but it is a dependence on God and on fellow believers that brings unity and is truly worship.

The weekend was relaxing and fun.... and now we're back to work.



today is family day....
we went to moss park and played near the water and cranes (very bold birds that like to try and eat children's noses).

we played and relaxed and enjoy resting after a long and hard week of work.



Last night was interesting, as we dealt and confronted a lot of stuff and faced a lot of anxieties and fears about our future, we came to a point where either we decide to give up on our passion because it's too hard and dig a hole and hide,

or to turn to God in prayer and trust and wait on Him to meet us there.

The temptation to run and hide is very strong and we recognize that as spiritual warfare.
We are confident in our calling, and yet still that confidence can be shaken by getting inside our own heads with doubt.

So there we were.... weak. In our weakness God is proven great. We decided as a couple to turn to God and pray and ask for help and strength to withstand it all.

Weds was a tough day for many of our new friends, with illness and energy level low and being assaulted with spiritual warfare and all kinds of emotions.

After we prayed, I jsut sat it silence and waited on God.

A thought popped into my head, "tomorrow morning's worship theme will comfort you."
this morning's theme was "Worship is acknowledging God in the midst of our fear."

a tear streamed down my cheek as I marvelled once again at God's provision.

We were weak, using discipline and forcing ourselves, we took a step towards God instead of away, and HE took care of the rest.

As if He said, "you need to do work, and it will be work, but fear not, I will meet you there and carry you."

Each class today was so perfect, in that it was God reminding me over and over that each of our fears were in His hands.

It is a good place to be, totally relying on God, but it is a daily place to force yourself into, not to be taken for granted, because the enemy will take any chance he can get.

We discussed written communication and blogs. We need to be very careful what we blog in that it can not be associated with our work, where we're going or the organization we're working with. In fact it needs to pertain mostly to personal thoughts and feelings rather than specifics of work. So, this blog is going to be edited soon, to comply with those regulations, but STILL is geared towards communicating with our partners, so that our relationships are upkept.

The goal of this blog is to communicate with you, so that our relationship is strengthened by an open communication. It will not be our only form of communication but it will be the most current. If you wish to be on a mailing list and have not yet filled out a form to do so, then please go here:

they are truly equipping us... nuts and bolts, spiritual, emotional, financial info, etc. we are being filled up and prepared for the field.


side note

a lot of folks have been sharing about something dubbed a "eureka" moment, where God finally put their life in perspective, and they received an excited spirit and a passion for God's work.

in talking with a good friend, I referred to this training camp as "hitting the motherload" which I now realize extends the "eureka moment" analogy. (or gold digger theme).

Only we don't have to dig for gold here, it's being poured on us in large (and sometimes heavy) quantities. The riches are bountiful.

The motherload refers to finding that place where you can draw on the experience of mature believers and discuss things of the Spirit with them.

For me and my friend, the search for deep "mentor" like relationships is an ongoing challenge, and yet here, there is an endless supply of excellent, loving, giving, knowledgable, and experienced believers with whom we get to spend time with daily!


we didn't start with worship and my energy level reflects that.
Ever been around a christian who jsut really exudes Christ-likeness to you? Imagine spending an entire week with several of these people, mature people, young people, all strong believers, and then imagine you're discussing the thing you're most passionate about for days on end.

That's this experience.
It's emotional, exciting, tiring, energizing, and really it's a great time. It feels like a home, it feels like how the church is supposed to be. We pray for each other, we share, we learn.

Things I'm learning
-listening - I've found that I am not an active listener, and thus need to work at the discipline of putting away distractions while I listen. It was HARD to do. I kept fidgeting with paperclips and pens. When I'd realize I was doing it, I'd put them down, and then before I knew it they were in my hands again and I didn't remember picking them up.

I confess, there are so many disciplines one must take seriously that I have not.
Perhaps it is my personality, perhaps my culture, but I need to develop these disciplines to be a successful missionary and not get dragged down in spiritual warfare.

Reading the Word - who can't get better at this? I love God's Word but find that I "schedule" it and in PNG we're told that there is no ability to "schedule" a day. One must find time to worship in a daily way that is flexible to people dropping in.

Listening - caring and loving more about what others share than what I feel is important to share. I believe this discipline will be the hardest for me as I get so excited to speak WITH people that I often forget to listen TO them. God has been touching my heart that truly, what I have to say is not near as important as what God wants to tell me through other people. Even when I may disagree with them, God's glory can be shared by listening.

but the content in general is great.
they did a fun thing in culture clas
on each table was a dish with a cover on it saying "do not open"
and we were told that we were all required to eat what was under the dish.
but we would do so at the end of class.
we began to talk about cultural issues,.. etc... but people kept wondering what was under the dish.
and worried about bugs, worms, etc.
at the end, we lift the dish, it's chocolate bar.

the point was, anticipating is often much worse than involving.

The point made by one of the seasoned missionaries about offending other cultures in reference to the "pushy American" syndrome was well put:
-the pushy american refers to the impatient and demaning american tourist who is either insensitive to other cultures or doesn't care. As missionaries we're going to other cultures in love and are trying to be sensitive. We will make mistakes but if you approach each situation in love, you will do well.

Some folks were sharing their different takes on how to handle food situations in as much as not wanting to eat something and how it may offend hosts.
A humorous take was from one of the students:

"Well my friend found that if he invited a guest to places he was invited, in most cultures the "GUEST" is the guest of honor and will be given the "best" part of the food, even if he himself doesn't think it the "best" and can then opt to say "well I brought this person, and they are MY guest, so I will pass this onto them to honor them." and has humorously gotten out of eating odd things.

That was pretty funny.

It is so very interesting to me to watch us all voice what we know to be real and sometimes petty, concerns (will I have to eat bugs) and yet simultaneously be able to trust God for providing for us in impossible ways. You can virtually see the faith of people overcoming the humanity in the class.

By that I mean, someone will voice something and then start to realize "well God can handle that" and they will become calm knowing that others have the same concerns, and see real ways to deal with it, or even hear stories of miraculous ways God took care of that for someone else.

In some ways it's one big encouraging support group.



we get going at 7am, eat, get kids to class, worship starts the day the right way
then we go to class, where we hear how the day is different from every other day during announcements.
we have 5 or 10 minutes between each class but it's nice since the teachers do the rotating instead of the students,
there are about 28 students and 32 kids.

today I mentioned to someone "the kids make friends so fast here, two days and they've got 4 best friends"
the reply was "yup that's wycliffe mk's for you."
that was the first time someone called my kids MK's and it had a mixed feeling to it, awkward, at first but we're starting to get a feeling of "we belong". Truly the staff here are the type who love you instantly and are honestly rather invigored by our presence. It is mostly older members volunteering here in the US who have been on the field for a while, and still desire to serve.

One older gentleman named Bud, who is one of Calvin's teachers (5 teachers for preschool) said "I teach here because it's boring at home." he used to be a teacher/principal in some tough gang areas. You know someone loves kids and teaching when during their break, they venture into the game room to see what the kids are doing and "be around" them.

classes over we meet with whatever STAFF that day, a PA or whatever... during meals and daytime personally kendal and I try to rotate who we sit and talk with, to get to know old and new members alike, and we've found quite a few people with PNG ties or aims. We've gotten a lot of our questions answered that way as well, well.. same questions different perspectives... all great.

Tomorrow is "chapel" for the entire Wycliffe campus, and we're told it is the most attended chapel because everyone loves to hear our 3 minute testimonies. It really excites them to hear the "new" members and what they have to say.

Kendal and I gave our 3 (6 total) minute testimony on day 1, wanting to get it over with, and be able to focus on others. We went first, and really you can say a lot about what God is doing during those 3 minutes.

It is interesting to me, having been at conferences before and going through the standard "getting to know you" drills, that never quite work. Here, we all share for 3 minutes, we all repeat the correct pronunciation of the names, and we all really bond during that 3 minutes as tears are shed and laughs burst out. We already feel very close as a body both to the other members and to the staff. We are trying to get to know them more deeply as we can.

WE learn a ton of stuff, not only technical about how Wycliffe works, but the spiritual preparation side of it as well, communication skills, survival skills (interpersonal relationships) etc.

The pace is faster than I remember back at Biola. It is much like drinking straight from a firehose, but the great thing is they recognize that and equip us with tools for reference later. Also they use what seems to be an effective building block method so as we understand, we progress. Personally I'm finding myself very interested and engaged.
You can jsut tell when material and teaching is honed and when it is poor, and this place is honed (training camp #24).
(it rhymed.. didja notice)

We spoke with a couple who were at PNG for 36 years and the Calvin loved to hear how to say "4 and a half" in Tok Pisin. (pidgin).

We were able to socialize tonight for a bit with a gal from PNG , Maggie, and a couple 1 month married, and we played "Settlers" (a board game). Maggie had announced it once and got a big excited shout, so we invited her over to teach a "newbie" course on it and had quite a lot of fun. She kept saying to me "you are a Geoff Russell Jr." whatever that meant.
It was in reference to my strategy thoughts and plain orneryness I think.

The game was a lot of fun, socially, and that says something because I won't like a game if I don't like the people playing it and these were good people.

The kids are doing very well, Calvin is adapting to a pre-school schedule of 7:45am - lunch - 3:30pm splendidly, and even voluntarily takes naps.

For now that's the pace. It sort of "flash rained" here.

It was a praise as well or a blessing because we visited a doctor here on campus that understood going into the field and so he knew PNG and knew what to prepare us and ask us about, as compared to our home doctor who looked at us like we were crazy when we mentioned PNG.

God is stretching us in many ways right now, and as you probably know, that invigorates and exhausts you.
The campus is great, it's exciting to see so many people after the same purpose, some living here on furlough, some visiting family, many in training, some staff and workers.

Everyone here treats us so warmly. It's not a creepy "we want your business" kind of welcome but more of a "we're united in serving the one true God." warm.



as an I.T. member heading to PNG, I ran into another IT guy about 15 years my senior. Great guy.
right after dinner another new member found me and asked me to get her laptop on the network via wireless.
well I was rushed, so I got her (new to her) laptop online via cable in 2 minutes, but could not get her IEEE1394 wireless connection to work.

I could not figure it out... all I was thinking was "AH! I gotta get back to my apartment!" I had a ton of homework to do (part of this GREAT training camp is drinking from the informational firehose)
meanwhile the biography of the Wycliffe founder is ringing in my ears "..he never seemed in a rush."

so I'm trying not to seem in a rush, when the other IT guy came in and said "this laptop doesn't have a wireless"
I pointed at the ieee1394 interface and he said "isn't 1394 firewire?"

GOD was humbling me there.
Great first impression I thought.
So I accepted my lesson and humbly said, "you're right, good catch, two brains are better than one."
this guy, he's applying to PNG, we'll most likely be co-workers.

rushing, forever created a first technical impression on a co-worker of "oops"... but he didn't take it that way because he's a humble guy.

Lesson learned... PATIENCE and PRIORITIES.

it was a mistake I could have never made if I spent even a single minute focussing on the issue at hand.

Today we learned so much, and met so many incredible servants of God.
But that lesson will stick with me for a while because it isn't like me to make stupid small mistakes. (even if I could partially blame windows for making a firewire connection a network interface).

This parallels something we learned in class today.
We need to remember NOT to view our assignment as our ministry and hurry on our way there.
What we're doing now, meeting people, sharing our passion for God and His call, talking to folks, praying with folks, THAT is our current ministry. We do not want to view this ministry of partnership discovery as a means to an end, but rather a ministry all in itself that will never end.

We strongly desire to have a widespread group of people praying for us. We do not want to "give up" like the statistics say, and while we are passionate this will not happen, we are not so naive as to believe we can accomplish anything alone.

We need you, and we all need God.



training camp, Orlando, Florida
this morning we began with worship, and then we each were given 3 minutes to say how God brought us to the point we're at.

How incredible God is that He leads us all on different paths to the same point of humbled obedience to His calling!

The interesting thing was that no matter how different the stories, we still all had a very common bond.

32 kids, 28 adults.

The facility is very nice. The task of learning before us is pretty large as we are discovering, there are a lot of things we need to understand so that we can answer all of your questions.

If you have a question please email us at
and we'll ask it while we're here.

Thank you for praying for us while we're here. Health is good, energy is good. Please pray that it keeps up.


Training Begins

We have arrived in Orlando, Florida. You can see a google satellite pic of where we are here. (we're the arc shaped building)
We're right across from the Campus Crusade building.

The flight was good, getting into our apartment was not wrinkle free, but still we're here, in our apartment, on the Wycliffe campus.
The place is rather nice, and I am told that missionaries on furlough live here at times.

We're adapting a "go with the flow" mentality here, trying to give God some breathing room to change our plans and show us what He wants to.

He already has blessed us in so many ways, two ways in the past day or so:
1 - ran into an acquaintance from PNG as our first (and only thus far) visitor 'Maggie'. We ran into her as we were hunting for our apartment.
2 - some friends were able to bless us with tickets to Disneyworld and another park (don't tell the kids yet it's a surprise), at no expense to us, and even more than that, free use of a car!
3 - we were asked to talk to a youth group while we were here!

God's timing is great!
God is faithful.

they are words that have been said before, but the truth of them is growing in strength with each passing day.

Saturday - today, we're able to adjust to the time schedule, walk the campus, handle a few check-in details and for the most part are not in any large rush.
Sunday -Friday the training schedule begins. 7am-6pm is the regiment, but it's a regiment we look forward to.



This is a very sensitive area, one that I am very new to, and I've hesitated in blogging this because the topic makes me a little too vulnerable and may be more than folks are ready to read. But I've dedicated myself to this blog being about the process of becoming a missionary and for that purpose this is an area I need to discuss.

As an American male, sole income provider, changing into a submissive no-income provider.

That is one way to look at it, and was the first hurdle for me.
I will not be "earning" an income. This was a hard one, easier for my wife than for me because she has been dependent on me for a while.
Questions like "well, what is my contribution to this family now?" or "how am I to judge the value of my skills without an income associated?"

I got over the first hurdle by submitting that part of Faith is believing in God to supply.

Hurdle #2 - income - learning to not see money as "income" so much as a tangible way people would joining the ministry. And learning that it isn't "our" ministry as in my family's but "our" ministry in that God is joining all the different folks to do something and money and prayer are a huge part of it.

I have never been the type who has wanted to make people have to sacrifice. I don't like to sit in the nice "dad" chair at other people's homes, I don't like to be the topic of conversation because it means we're not talking about someone else. I don't like to have folks get up to fill my glass. It isn't a pride in self-sufficience, but a recognition that I do not make it my aim in life to make others serve me. I prefer to be the server. I also realize that there are different skills that folks have.
-I find sacrificial giving tough
-I find going ... not as tough
-I find praying ..not so tough.

So when people give us money, I see that as the toughest thing to do and am overwhelmed and honored by it. I in fact at first feel bad because I know that these people have made a decision to go -without- something in order to do this. This is a hard hurdle to overcome, the feeling that you are putting someone else out.

I'm excited to share that while this is a process, my Bible Study today helped me to clear that hurdle. This is a huge hurdle for me. Getting a check from a friend, made me feel honored, overwhelmed, sick to my stomach, excited, and guilty... months ago.

I feel like I get to do God's work, and not foot the bill. We get to see exciting places, do what we see as our dream job, while other people do all the "work" and sacrifice to make our dreams come true. That is how it seemed at first. I've never felt that this going was a sacrifice, not yet, I probably won't until I'm there sacrificing. From the time God put it on our hearts I've felt there is simply nothing else I'd rather be doing.

So I write this to share with you our excitement as we go through this metamorphosis of mind and heart. Our minds have told us, God will provide partners and it'll be exciting to see who they are. But today my heart finally kicked in when I read this:

Matt 6:24 (the Message)
24"You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can't worship God and Money both.

25"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. 26Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? 28All this time and money wasted on fashion--do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, 29but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best--dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers--most of which are never even seen--don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? 31What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. 32People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. 33Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

It's that GREAT? I have always read this as "focus on God and He will meet your needs." But today I read this as "others, when they give money to this ministry, and make it THEIR ministry, they are focussing on God and that I (chad) shouldn't worry about what they might be sacrificing, because God is going to bless them, God is going to supply for them."

How awkward I was before today that someone felt that we... were important enough to sacrifice for... and yet honored at the same time... but that we were the cause of this sacrifice. And now I see that isn't the case at all. God is the cause, and the reason and will receive the Glory and is the catalyst and the provider, and the insurer, and the receiver.

To be honest, it is hard for me to take a compliment. And I see compliments in everything people do. An invitation to dinner says "we want to be around you." This honors me. Being asked to be in a wedding party, being asked into a home, being given a gift, being paid a verbal compliment. All of these things surprise me, and make me feel unworthy and yet so appreciative. So appreciative that there are no words or actions to communicate it.

I now have a new hurdle (-; removing myself as the perceived object of the giving. I have to confess, to feel guilt or honor for receiving a gift is pride based. I have wrongfully put myself in the center of a ministry that doesn't belong to me. It's God's. For that same reason taking a compliment now is praise to God not to me, receiving a check, is money given to God, not to me. I don't feel it's wrong to be elated about a compliment or a gift but I do believe the right thing to do is to give that glory to God.

At the same time, though, the wonderful thing is that the Spirit is working through personal relationships. The reason you are giving of your prayers and gifts to this ministry is because of the relationship God has inspired between us. The fabric of His plan is magnificent in that you can simultaneously give to God and to us and to yourself and your family and to the "church".
There is no counterfeit for a Gift from God a "God Thing". It is amazing how one action can be so far reaching and so personal.

You ever get those goosebumps when God unveils a tiny part of His plan to you?

WOW! I mean wow.

Wow #1 - God has something planned... and it's big. He's amassing people together to accomplish it, and it is not because of us, or in spite of us, it is simply all God bringing all of us together! Wow. WOW.

Wow #2 - We are joining together not because of common interests or goals which we have, but because God's Spirit is speaking to our hearts, and combining us to unification for the Glory of God. WOW! I mean is that not exactly what it talks about in Ephesians 4:13?

This is a sensitive subject, and presents many hurdles for people, but I can tell you right now even as I write this, my soul is so excited and jazzed, GLORY to God,.. shout it out right now...

God is great... His plan is outside of my comprehension. He has spoken to my heart today and shown me that He is at work through you.

Thank you so much.

I suppose I can summarize this entire entry as:
I see the process of partnershpi in two ways based on the Scripture quoted above: 1 – God will provide for my family, don’t worry just focus on Him be willing and God will be glorified. But ALSO, 2 – do not feel guilt for those that sacrificially give to this ministry, because sacrificing for God is good, and He will provide for them as well as for us.

In a way giving means we(the going, the giving, the sending, the praying) are becoming partners in relying on God to supply our needs, and in watching for the Glory He will be given.

Training Time

well we're pretty revved up about Wycliffe training in Orlande for the next few weeks.
We're leaving this friday and won't be back until Feb 8th.
My son has a fever today, so pray specifically:
-health : it seems one of us always gets sick when we travel, sickness will throw a monkey wrench in the works as both me and my wife need to attend a lot of training (from what I understand the schedule is very busy). We also need to take physicals to get membership finalized and can't do that if we're sick.

-patience and low stress: although the kids are great travellers, there is always a bit of extra stress when you're trying to navigate airports and security stations, shuttles and schedules.

the purpose is to go through the Wycliffe training, and really understand the semantics of relocating your family as well as the specifics about partnership development etc.

We walk into the training, with a lot of questions and we hope to have them answered before we get home.

If any of you have detailed questions for us we'd be glad to ask them while we're there, email us at:

thanks for praying!