Greetings to all. I, Corinne, am writing this time, but it is a joint effort, as usual. So, what have we been doing recently?
Well, Tom continues to work on Old Testament portions in the Hamtai language, and Hamtai co-translator, Jim Jora edits the text, to check for accuracy, correct spellings, and smoothness in his mother tongue. Jim works faithfully without a lot of support, although some of the Hamtai churches are beginning to realize their responsibility to support Jim and the others on the translation team. Thanks to you who have prayed for this. We are also involved in ministry and leadership in the local church we fellowship with, Sanford Bible Church.
Tom and I are enjoying living in a duplex in NTM Homes, the retirement center for us Ethnos360 missionaries. How good it is to have neighbors who are all dedicated believers, and many are still serving the Lord, though retired from foreign service. What fellowship we have! And we thank the Lord daily for our dedicated, helpful staff members. While on that, we want to give you an urgent prayer request for them. They are short of people in many positions – maintenance, cooks, nursing, housekeeping, and even administration. And the need is getting greater as some are getting ready to retire.
It is wonderful living here, but not being able to drive, I feel rather isolated from the lost whom we are commanded to reach for Christ. I would appreciate prayer that the Lord will guide me in future contacts. Living in America is frustrating to me. I’m finding it hard to cope with all the mail re politics, health news, many Christian organizations etc., etc. Also all the continued phone calls with many of their scams.
We have felt a need to get acquainted more with the outside community here, when Tom can spare the time, and we are now having some opportunities. Several months ago a lady visited our little Sanford Bible Church, where we attend and serve. I greeted her, and her name is Donna.. She was looking for a church for her father to attend since he lives in the area and she lives farther up north. That didn’t work out, but we became friends and found she has a burden for lost souls. Later, she told us about a missionary couple from another mission who are working in the area to reach Muslims with the Good News. They were wanting to start a prayer meeting for the many thousands living here, and asked if they could have those meetings in our little church building. Tom and the board gave consent. So far we have met three times on Friday mornings at two week intervals. The missionary couple have been assigned the whole west side of Orlando so they are very busy.
However, they understand that a group of people called Kutchi that they had worked with in Africa now live here in Sanford! The Kutchi originated in India, migrated to Africa, then to England, and now a good number of them to Sanford! Most speak English and are well educated and employable. Our missionary friends would like to find contacts among them. They are praying God will help them and others to be a witness among these people for whom Christ died
Awhile back we were informed that President Obama was going to send a couple bus loads of Muslim immigrants to Sanford and we were encouraged to write our local representatives to not allow it. We did not respond, as the Lord might be sending the mission field to our back door! There may be ways in which I can get involved. For example, the ladies have a sewing class among some Muslim women. Also, some have taught English classes, and one might be appropriate for a group of immigrants who want to learn English. Pray for direction and wisdom.
Well, for our 62nd wedding anniversary in April we got a little reprieve from the above mentioned hassles of life. Some friends here told us about a log cabin in the woods about 3 hours drive north of here. It was built and owned by a lovely Christian couple who make it available free of charge to Christian workers. At this point of time that fits our budget just fine. It is called “The Log Cabin of Seclusion.” It has no telephone, mail, eMail, TV, internet, no close neighbors. The logs are former telephone poles, caulked with cement. The cabin was completely furnished, even with a porch swing. It was nice having some time to work a puzzle, do some reading and praying together and separately, and to play 2 games of Scrabble, (we each won one) and to just enjoy the solitude. It was so good to fellowship with the owners, who love God and are part of our vast team for reaching the world with the Gospel.
The weather man told us that June 1 was going to be the beginning of the hurricane season, and we were to make preparations. Since we have been here, the hurricanes have not been too hurtful to us, only some damage to some trees but blessing us with needed rain. During Emma last year, we managed without power for 5 days. And now, Florence landed far to the north of us.
As for our health we both seem in fairly good condition, for which we praise the Lord. We just had eye exams and were able to pay for them with insurance help in two payments. Tom is not satisfied with his and may seek to change them. Tom’s right knee is really bothering him. He is wondering if he should get a knee replacement. He has been seeing the Physical Therapist who gave him stretches, etc., to help avoid replacement. However, this week he hopes to hear their recommendation from our doctor, as well as the surgeon’s. We think that it will have to be done. We have to decide soon, for some doctor’s won’t do it after he turns 85 in January. His restless leg symptoms still bother him a lot and hinder his sleeping. I’m still getting a shot in my right eye every 2 months to keep my wet macular degeneration from progressing. The shots seem to be helping.
Jim Jora, Tom’s Hamtai translation helper in PNG, is still checking Old Testament portions that Tom sends to him via Email or Messenger. Both he and Tom are busy at other responsibilities, so progress is slow. In the last week of August, Jim was up in the town of Wau, 3 hours drive out of Lae. He taught Phases 2 and 3 of the Chronological Bible Lessons. He also taught a few men to be teachers of the lessons. The group of 19 were from the 9 Hamtai churches in that area. During that time he was able to help baptize 23 new believers.
Pray with us that the web site Tom is trying to establish will prosper and will help produce a little boost to our budget. Also, that Jim will be able to equally balance his teaching with translation work. Right now he is gone again to a Hamtai Youth Camp, as one of the 2 speakers.
Some have asked how our support is these days. God has been so faithful to us through the years and we are humbled and grateful for those who have been and are still sharing with us in the Gospel. A few years ago our main supporter went to his reward and with him and others passing on, we are living on half of what we used to live on. And the mission says we are down to 30% of the suggested level of income. However, recently, God has laid it on the hearts of some friends, and He is providing for special needs in unexpected ways.
Some others have dropped our monthly support altogether, since we are semi-retired, in order to support younger recruits, we suppose. Our present income usually matches the necessities of life, leaving no room for meeting other needs – repairs, medical, etc. For example, for Tom’s recent skin cancer surgery on his scalp and ears, our insurance paid half, but set the co-pay amount at 50%, to the tune of $1,100. He is making an appeal regarding that, but we haven’t heard their response as yet. We are also attempting to pay down some credit card debts.
So, we were thinking that with some of our supporters being in their 90’s, and others passing on, in the natural our support will get less and less. But we really need more income. Besides living expenses, there will be a great need for funds to publish the Old Testament portions in Hamtai that we are working on. So Tom is trying to get a website going for selling online, plus another online effort, which should give us some added income. Just pray that the Lord will cause it to prosper. We do have people in the know helping us with these projects.
As for my own feelings, I told Tom I almost feel a little guilt seeking assistance elsewhere. It seems we spend money to find help and all we end up doing is spending money. Then the Lord supplies in new ways for us and we start feeling that perhaps we are not trusting the Lord fully. He said he too has that feeling, and besides, he sort of begrudges the time it takes away from the translation project.
We have never wanted to be writing about all this, but some have asked, and we are sure others wonder, how long Tom will continue the translation work and how long we will need financial support. Well, we are officially retired. However, most missionaries never stop serving and therefore never stop needing support. Even if they are frail and unable to work, they still have bills like rent, power, utilities, telephone, medical, food, and transportation expenses.
As for the Hamtai translation project, Tom plans to work on it until we can get it published. Thanks for praying with us to that end. It will be done only by God’s enabling grace. Write to us if you have a question.
Tom & Corinne