Our dear Friends and Family,
Life goes on, so rapidly it seems. 2019 is more than half gone. How long the Lord will wait until His time to intervene, we don’t know. But each month we are closer to that Blessed Hope, and we look forward to that Day. Meanwhile, we focus on this, “…that I might know Him, and the power of His Resurrection,” Paul wrote in Phil. 3:10. That is our prayer. What a privilege we have, to know our God. I have been working in the books of Exodus and Leviticus, finalizing the translation of those books into Hamtai. They contain God’s desire to be with His people and to make Himself known to them, as in “Let my people go, that they may worship Me.” And, in the Tabernacle at the Mercy Seat, he said to Moses, “This is where we will meet.”
And now on this side of Calvary He is Emmanuel, God with us! We are told to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Beholding the Glory of the Lord, “we are changed into the same image.” 2 Cor. 3:18. We have a fresh desire to know Him better and to spend the time for it in the busy life we live here in the NTM Homes retirement center.
Did I say retirement? Sometimes we laugh at that word, we are so busy. And as they say, growing old is not for wimps. Recently, we looked at our calendar for the next month after that, and it was clean and blank. However, once we reached the first week of that month below are the kinds of entries we saw.
** Chapel, every weekday, play piano for a week. Tom only does that every couple of months.
** Prepare for ministry in church and chapel.
** Attend church Sunday AM, alternate between being Song Leader or Organist.
** Phone calls – innumerable are predicted ?
** Medical Appointments, for the 2 of us – 9 entries
** Therapy in a rehab center for Tom’s knee – 7
** Ministry activity or appointments – 13, mainly Tom’s
** OT Translation – Aiming for 4-6 hours a day.
** Business matters in our small online project with my Sister – Aiming for 2-3 hrs. a week.
We did take time for a party! Last week, with help from friends, I put on a party for Corinne on her 90th birthday! About 40-45 former coworkers and present co-residents joined us and heard her tell of God’s faithfulness in her life’s story. We haven’t sorted the many photos, but they will be posted here soon. Video recording was taken of her story, but the operator forgot to push record for a few minutes at the start. So, I’ll try to record her and add it to it on a DVD and add it here.
PNG NEWS – Recently the National Department of Labor has become stricter in issuing work permits to foreign missionaries. They are requiring the missionaries to give more formal training to citizens who work for them so that the citizens can replace them. Of course, we already do this in the church planting side of the ministry. But it will affect many of our missionaries, especially those in what we call support ministries – supply, mechanics, carpenters, pilots, managers etc. Their concern is that a missionary might be given a position that could be a job for a citizen. It will be hard to get work permits for new missionaries coming to work in those important positions unless our leaders prove that they are regularly training citizens to take their place. Our mission leaders and leaders of other missions met recently with members of the Dept. of Labor to negotiate for exemption from this rule for religious workers.
The government seemed favorable to the appeals of our leaders. For one thing they were impressed by some of our citizen workers whom they interviewed and by the informal training many of them are receiving. Please join us in praying that the door will remain open for needed workers. By the way, teachers and medical workers are two categories of workers who will be exempt from these rules. This means that our granddaughter Heather Burdett will be able to stay in her position as teacher in the school. She will be there at least another year.
We want to praise the Lord for the way He has provided for specific current needs that were outside our budget. During the past few months three people have raised the amount they give us, and two people have started to send to us. Then there have been some special gifts, and these were very timely indeed. Living by faith is exciting in that God blesses us with provision of our needs in His way at the right time. It seemed that July and August were the months for things breaking down or wearing out. Examples: Corinne’s computer, our joint printer, carpet sweeper, car insurance and repair. And there were other unusual needs that were met.
Then the washing machine broke down. One of our knowledgeable staff members came to try to fix it. The machine washed the clothes but would not spin them dry. He finally found two parts that needed to be ordered and replaced. Two weeks later he assembled the new parts and the machine is like new again. We are sorry to see him and his wife leaving the staff here. They will be hard to replace.
We presently are in urgent need of many different new staff in many of the departments here in NTM Homes. We are a large community and need more staff to maintain the grounds. Two of our cooks just left to join their missionary daughter in Mexico. We know of one man who likes to cook but can’t begin work until he raises his support. All the staff function like they did when they served overseas, being supported by churches or individuals. Because the staff are not paid wages here, we are blessed with a low rent, though the rents are being raised gradually as the cost of everything increases. We are now paying $10 more a month to go into a fund to pay outside laborers that we hire to do certain jobs. All the staff here are a tremendous blessing.
Our general health is pretty good. But we are still dealing with Corinne’s eye with blurry vision (not much improvement), and Tom’s knee replacement (good progress, but one side of the knee has what feels like something that is not healing. He was going for therapy twice a week but has cut that to 3-4 times a month. He will soon see the surgeon to discuss possible replacement of the the other knee, the left one. It bothers him sometimes. That knee cannot take the rough therapy given for the new knee, so it has been a problem. We will try to avoid getting it replaced.
Please pray about our Old Testament translation project in the Hamtai language. Jim Jora, Hamtai helper who lives is Lae on the coast is faithfully editing and correcting the rough translation that Malcolm wrote some years ago. I go over it and edit a few chapters and then send it to him. After he works on it I enter his corrections and pass it on to Jerry Fitzgerald, who does a content check on each chapter. She and Ted were gone from Hamtai land for 20+ years, but she remembers Hamtai remarkably well. We are thankful for her help. Pray for accelerated progress in September, through Numbers and on to completion of the 5,500 verses involved. I’ve asked Jim to please limit his accepting invitations to teach in his Hamtai villages (3-6 hrs. journey by road to the south.) And I will be cutting down on some outside ministry activities myself, like our NTM Homes Gospel Band, Homes Quartet, Song leading and elders board membership at our church, and some other outside activities.
But do pray for Jim Jora’s ministry. He is in great demand for teaching. We asked him to make this next month a restart of solid progress in the translation. There is a real interest in the new generation to grow in the Lord and in church function and outreach; and Jim is among the leaders in that movement. Can’t complain about that, can we?
We have asked for prayer before for Linen, Jim’s 17-year-old daughter who has Optic Nerve Atrophy. Corinne has purchased and mailed off 3 months’ worth of special supplements for her to try. Please pray for her, too.
Our daughter, Judy, and Jim Burdett arrived back in July for Home Assignment. We want to have a family reunion here in Florida. After considering something soon, we decided on June next year. Everyone is excited at the thought anyway. It will be quite an undertaking for everyone, travelling to this corner of the country this time. We are praying that a house or even two houses will be available to rent at that time, so that we can have some grandkids join us. Son Duane is looking into these possibilities. This area is full of resorts and attractions, but we are praying that God will lead by supplying for the high-priced ones or lead us to those more in our class.
Well, he was heading this way; we prayed “till the storm passes by” and then he passed by. We waited, and Dorian decided to go another route, praise the Lord. Today we’re staying inside, out of the outer bands of rain and wind gusting now and then, even at 115 miles from the eye of the hurricane. Now we are praying for those upon whom he wreaked havoc in the Bahamas, and now our friends farther north are feeling it.
Tom & Corinne