The Greatest Use

By Rachel Greco

Loralie Handasyde followed her husband, Robert, with her two kids all the way from Australia to the U.S. Why the long trip? Robert needed to attend the pre-field orientation course at JAARS before they move to Papua New Guinea (PNG) where he will serve as a helicopter pilot.

Robert, Loralie, and their children

“I think there’s something about being a missionary kid that puts you at higher risk of going to the mission field,” Loralie shares. She attended primary school in India where her parents taught at a boarding school for missionary kids until she was 12 years old.

“I was always interested in missions after I became a Christian as a child, but I don’t think it was necessarily for the right reasons growing up.” Loralie was more interested in the call of adventure.

But through a series of events, God helped her see the importance of people hearing about him. In 2013, her church asked her to lead a short-term mission trip to Southeast Asia. “That was a big stepping stone for me, because we spent a lot of time talking to the missionaries there.” One lady in particular hadn’t been able to use her professional skills on the field. From this, the woman learned that God’s greatest use of our gifts is when we surrender them completely to him.

Loralie had wanted to do medical missions, and is, in fact, an optometrist. But she’d been so busy telling God what she was going to do for him, that she wasn’t listening or learning how God might actually want to use her in his story.

After she and Robert married, they went on another mission trip, and both of these experiences impressed on them how there are people in the world who don’t know about Jesus and can’t hear about him. They need people to go tell them.

Through various means, God led Robert and Loralie to Wycliffe and then to JAARS. During their stay here, Loralie has been attending weekly meetings with the other orientees’ wives to hear from guest speakers. “It’s encouraging to hear the testimonies of other women who have years of experience on the mission field. It’s also been eye-opening and a bit of a reality check to hear about some of the all-too-real struggles and challenges that may lie ahead for us as a family—yet approaching and considering these difficult topics with other women preparing to go has been immeasurably helpful.”

Loralie and the other pilots wives with one of the guest speakers at the weekly gathering of wives in pre-field orientation. Each Monday morning, aviation staff Nancy Ramsdale and Penny Tallman and the pilots’ wives meet during orientation to visit and talk about different aspects of living overseas.

Loralie and Robert are both enjoying JAARS. “Everyone [here] has a story to tell. They’re really passionate about being here.”

The Handasydes didn’t have a smooth path to JAARS. They had hoped to arrive in January, but God had other plans.

A lawyer in the U.S. put in a petition for a visa for them at their request, but it was knocked back the first time. So they submitted more evidence about their reasons for traveling to the States. In the meantime, they lived in limbo in-between January and March. “We had to be out of our house in January, so we were living on the kindness of friends and family in the meantime. And it’s a bit tricky when you’ve got a family of four.” But they put in another submission, and the visa came through.

Loralie’s family arrived in the U.S. with a day to spare before orientation. They obtained their passports with the visa on Wednesday, booked their flights the same day, and departed on Saturday. “This, too has been training for us—God is no doubt equipping us for the future in a variety of ways!” How might God want to use you in his story? Learn more here to see the variety of opportunities to serve in Bible translation.