Who Needs a Smartphone When You’ve got a Radio?

In the world of smart phones, it is somewhat surreal to reduce communication to short wave radio.  I invite you to join me as I chat with Darron in the remote village, Hobotongo, via radio.  This form of communication is relatively “new” to me.  Many of the long-term foreigners (+ 20 years) tell stories of the days when this was their main way of communicating. They reminisce that every morning, at a set time, the doctor would get on the radio and all the sick missionaries scattered around Papua would share their illnesses and the doctor would try to help them.  The story tellers will often chuckle at this point, and get a twinkle in their eyes, because many of the foreigners would “listen in” and it became quite the “entertaining” time of morning to hear of everyone’s problems and the solutions given.

Fortunately, now most of the foreigners that are serving in remote locations in Papua, have internet.  They pay dearly for it.  However, for my husband and our team in Hobotongo, they have stepped back in time and the radio is their only connection to the outside world.

7:00 a.m. is our time to talk. In Darron’s office.  Usually the connection is mostly clear.  Some days it is so static filled that words cannot be deciphered.  One of the most endearing radio times was recently when our pretend daughter Paige was in Hobotongo and her husband in America wanted to let her know that he passed his nursing exam.  I was able to What’s App video call Nick and patch him through to Paige and for the most part they were able to talk.  It became our daily routine for about five days.  It was so sweet, and somewhat awkward, and full of listening ears.  Yet, it was a lifeline.

Welcome to a tiny part of our life.  Communicating by radio.   This is part of day #3 and day #4 of Darron being gone.  Day #2 Darron had forgotten his sleeping bag in the city of Wamena at the pastor’s house.  His first night in Hobotongo was with a borrowed blanket that was full of pig fleas.  It is high elevation, so it gets cold there at night.  Erin, Darron’s secretary, found a pilot who dropped the sleeping bag in a near by location to Darron.  You will hear us reference this in the conversation.  For the most part the conversation is straight forward.  Short and Sweet.  Welcome to my world.


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5 thoughts on “Who Needs a Smartphone When You’ve got a Radio?

  1. I LOVE this blog. The videos make it all so real and I can feel the awkwardness and the joy in it all over again. Feels weird to be “eavesdropping” and to be eavesdropped on, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything while I was out there! The radio truly was a lifeline! The conversation sounds oh so familiar to. Still not much brick-making. This will be a long process! Thank you for sharing Ruth. Is Darron still in Hobotonggo or has he been able to return now?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is awkward at best. I find myself not wanting to say to much. Darron is still in Hobotongo. Just learned that the plane will NOT go get him as planned tomorrow. Ho hum. Hopefully on Thursday.


      1. Yes it is hard to want to say much with so many listening ears. Made me feel shy all over again like when you barely know the person! So sorry to hear he’s being delayed. Will be praying for both of you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved peeping back into the mission life in Papua. I miss it honestly. Thank you for sharing the videos that make everything come to life!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad I could drum up some feelings of nastalgia. You would like missions even more with a husband by your side. ❤️


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