I’m sure many of you are wondering what these Palmers are up to, and are praying for God’s direction and blessing in our lives. We do appreciate every one of you and covet His blessings for you.
On April 19th we celebrated our 60th anniversary. We would have liked to have a family reunion at this time, but we knew that Jim and Judy would already be back in PNG. So we got together for a precious, enjoyable time in July last year – 28 years since our last complete family reunion. At that time we included all our grandchildren – Judy’s and Joel’s. David and Duane were still single. This time we had only our 4 children with 2 of their mates, without our 16 grands and 7 greats.
We have mentioned my tentative plans to go once more to Papua New Guinea. I still have a desire, governed by God’s will and timing, to go for a month or two to meet with my Hamtai co-translators to work on our Old Testament translation project. I believe He would have me go. Thank you for praying for us in this decision. Various circumstances have delayed my going. One thing is Corinne’s upcoming hip replacement on May 2nd.. This means I will go no sooner than July. Pray for her; when you receive this letter she will be either in hospital or in a rehabilitation facility. She is looking forward to relief from pain, and restricted walking.
The purpose of the trip is to spend time with the Hamtai men who are helping me with translation and do some checking of the Old Testament portions that they have so faithfully worked on. Malcolm translated the first draft and I have been checking and editing it, preparing for checking. If we could check quite a bit while together, then they would be set up better to continue via Email. During the past 6 months I have been sending 5 chapters at a time for Jim Jora to check and send back.
Jim told us recently that he really enjoys doing the checking because, and I quote him, “I like to do this because it keeps me in God’s Word, and as I look at every verse and check it to make sure it is clear in my language, I am getting to know the Bible in a wonderful way. Even if the church leaders don’t want to support me and help with family needs, I’ll continue because we need these Scriptures.” Then he thanked me for still thinking of them and their need for God’s Word. I am looking forward to a good time of work and discipleship with him and with another young Hamtai man named Bradley. We’ll also do some checking with Malcolm, my translation partner for many years.
I feel that I am fit enough to make this trip. However, our NTM PNG doctors and field leaders think otherwise and have advised me not to come. Their reasons: I am 82; had 2 emergency surgeries last year within a couple month’s time; the field still does not have a pilot trained to fly the Kodiak airplane to Australia for emergency evacuations; the field is short of personnel to give me any kind of help I might want; etc. Considering the risks involved in my being there they had asked me to send them a report on a full physical exam. My doctor has held off completing it until closer to the time of my departure. But as time has moved on, the field told me I don’t need to send them the medical report because they have decided against my coming in any case. However, I am going ahead with all the checkups for my own knowledge even should I decide not to go. If something unexpected comes up that would hinder my going, we will be compliant. If God does not want me to go He has ways of closing the door.
I wrote to the field saying how I do respect them and their decision, but I still sense the need for my going. So I am considering going on my own, apart from NTM. If that happens, I would release NTM from any responsibility for my being in the country. I would obtain my own evacuation insurance. Our leaders said I would be welcome to stay in our NTM facilities if I need to do so. Our field no longer has any facility in Lae, so I would try to find a room somewhere to set up computer and printer.
If the Lord allows me to go I would go without Corinne, and I would stay in Lae City so that I would be close to where Jim and Malcolm live, and I would also be close to medical services. I am afraid I should not attempt going back into the interior to our village house, but I should stick to our work in Lae. It would be marvelous if I could have our church leaders come to Lae for a time of fellowship and teaching, but that may not be feasible. They will be representing the Hamtai churches at the annual conference at which believers from various tribes meet together. I wish I could attend.
I would love to see some of the church leaders again. Perhaps they can come to Lae for a pow-wow. One of the elders blessed my heart recently. I received a well typed and printed-out letter in the mail from Naka, an elder in Ankopiyo local church, well into the hinter¬lands of the Hamtai area. He said he has been teaching the Word from the Hamtai New Testament we revised 3 years ago. That was encouraging. He said their small churches get together in one church once a month and have a joint worship service.
Recently they studied the subject of giving, and when they read that believers should give to the ones who teach them, they decided to take an offering to send to me for my fare to PNG. Mixed motives, for sure, but how sweet. It isn’t the money that blessed me, although the equivalent of $800 was collected from their meager profits from growing coffee. But it was just the love shown and the desire to help. I wrote and thanked them and said we don’t really need it for my ticket, but I could use it when there. We are humbled by their love and concern. I would rather have seen them give it to their church workers and leaders. So I asked whether or not they were supporting some of their church workers. I hope they are sending some out to Jim Jora, too. Naka wrote later and said he is having a hard time deciding how to get the money to me. He must walk for two days, then pay fares and ride in public trucks and buses for over 10-12 hours to get to missionaries who can take it and put it in our account. He feels badly that he had to use some of the money for those fares.
Anyway, we would value your prayers regarding the whole situation. Our church here gave us $5,000 for my fare and food expenses during my stay. We will have accommodation and travel needs there as well. I may need to rent a car. Also, I hope to be able to buy a new computer and printer for Jim Jora. Mine also is 5 years old, and acting up, but I can’t afford to buy a new one at this time. Pray it will hold up for finishing this project—and that I will hold up.
Thanks for praying about the underlined items.
Rejoicing in service to the Prince of Peace, our faithful guide and provider,
Tom and Corinne Palmer
Naka, with us at the New Testament Dedication, 2013 His first look at the newly revised NT.
Jim Jora on guitar in meeting of church leaders after the NT Dedication