Greetings to All!
It has been awhile since you heard from us, but it has been even longer since we have heard from many of you. Maybe we will hear news from you during this time, though everyone is busy. We do pray you are rejoicing together with family or friends over Christmas, giving thanks unto our God for His priceless, unspeakable, indescribable, inexpressible Gift, which is too wonderful for words, as various English versions have tried to express it in 2 Cor. 9:15:
ESV: “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
KJV: “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”
NASB: “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
We also wish everyone a blessed and prosperous New Year, in spite of the circumstances and changes we find ourselves in. What an encouragement it is to read again and meditate on Psalm 1:1-6.
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Well, this year has certainly been a year of change for us. Of course, the chaotic arrival of Covid-19 Pandemic has meant a change for everyone. We trust you are all well. Many people in Florida now have it and quite a few of them are dying with it. So far all of us here at The Homes of Ethnos360 have avoided being infected, and at our headquarters, which is about 2 miles from us, only one couple have contracted the virus, and sad to say, the husband passed away. Though we are getting a little tired of the self-isolation, we are thankful no one is ill. Being the tight-knit fellowship that we are, we miss not being free to have visitors in or even to visit each other, except for contact with family members.
So, we are blessed with another change. We’re so glad to have our daughter Judy and husband Jim Burdett living in Sanford now, only about 2 miles from us. We have been able to visit them and have a meal every Sunday with them. Their daughter Heather is now living with them, and all three of them are helping out on staff in the assisted living part of The Homes. Heather hopes to return to PNG after she gets her health needs met and her counseling training completed. Recently, Judy’s second son Brian and his two young boys moved here to live with them. And Ilai, their first son has made it “home for Christmas” for the first time in years, coming from NY State. And Tom’s brother Ed hopes to spend a few days with us in our apartment. So we look forward to some good times together!
Our little church building, Sanford Bible Church, has seen tremendous change because of the hard work of the board of elders, especially Ken Frost. We recently sold some extra lots that we did not need and with the income from that sale have done a lot of needed repairs. Our church was shut down for quite a few weeks, but we are now allowed to meet if we practice social distancing. Also, we have restarted our Wednesday night prayer meeting, formerly held here at the Homes, but suspended long before Covid-19 because of some moving away and some being taken to Glory. And better still, twice now we have enjoyed semi-virtual Communion together. It is so nice that at least our small church group are able to worship together again, enjoying fellowship and good expository teaching. And any new members would be welcome. Y’all come, you local people.
Schools must have reopened here, as the school buses are running. Maybe life will return to normal now that the election is past. We must all pray that the vaccine will be what is needed to curb the advance of Covid-19. But we can all be at peace that God is in control, placing or replacing leaders of governments, depending on how they fit into His plan for our beloved country. So we must trust Him. The only good thing about that is that Jesus’ coming for us may be sooner than we think.
We changed insurances at the start of the year, and for the coming year we may change to yet another one. Also our doctor retired, so an-other from the same office became our primary.
In January we totaled our car and had to buy another second hand one. The Lord spared us by a few seconds from what could have been very bad. No one hurt, but Tom did turn his ankle slightly, and that is being checked out since it is swollen. We used the $2,500 that our auto insurance gave us to help us buy a 2003 Toyota Camry. Sadly, no more long trips. Our driving to visit any of you is over. The car will get us to our doctor appointments, shopping, church meetings, etc. without our being dependent on others.
Those of you who get our email know about the three hospitalizations Tom had to have this year. On February 5th Tom was weak from losing blood and went to the ER. A colonoscopy revealed a bleeding tumor at the same spot as the one he suffered in 2015, and it, too, proved to be cancerous. Complications kept him in the hospital for 17 days. In April he was in the hospital for 3 days with gastroenteritis. In May, because of an arrhythmia, or uneven heartbeat, he had a pacemaker implanted. It has been a great help, praise the Lord! However, it has been a year now since the cancer was removed. The doctors said they would be checking after 6 months in order to prevent cancer occurring again. We will appreciate your prayers for the 3 specialists involved (cancer, heart, and gastro) as they decide whether or not Tom is able to undergo another colonoscopy and/or other tests, during the first months of 2021.
So, Tom is finding it hard to keep up the momentum in the translation project he is undertaking with the Hamtai Translation Team in Papua New Guinea. As they work in the book of Numbers, which is mainly narrative text, they hope to move faster than they did in the portions with detailed description of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and the various offerings and feasts that were required in their worship of Yawe, the Holy God of Israel. We appreciate our former Hamtai church planting team member, Jerry Fitzgerald, helping us by doing a content check of all that Jim Jora and I worked on. And her input as a translation consultant is valuable.
Jim Jora has been a blessing. He realizes the great need for getting these Old Testament portions to his people in clear Hamtai. He is willing to work with little support from the various Hamtai local churches. He said to Tom recently, “I do get discouraged sometimes, but with God’s power and provision, I want to help you finish the work. I am thankful for the privilege I have of studying and learning God’s Talk more deeply than most believers. It is really helping me to know God better and to grow.” Thus he feels responsible to share the truth with others, and so he makes many trips from Lae back to his tribal area to minister in many of the village churches. I think he receives financial help from those he is teaching. That is what they are told to do in the Bible. In our last letter we asked prayer for funds for Jim to buy a new computer to replace his well worn machine. God has provided $800 to send to him to buy one locally in Lae.
Back to our health. Corinne, at 91 years, brags to Tom that she has had no hospital stays. Seriously, we praise the Lord for that. However, just keeping well for the years God chooses to give us each, keeps us plenty busy. On a recent routine visit with our primary, Corinne’s blood pressure was very high. But it was mainly because of a mix-up that caused her to be without her blood pressure medicine for a time. So he referred her to a cardiologist for a series of tests. Also, because of a problem on one toe, she sees a foot & ankle specialist every 3 months. Some friends bought her some special shoes. Then next week she has an appointment with her retina specialist. He is now giving her regular shots in both eyes. The shots do not really heal the Wet Macular Degeneration. They only prevent new veins from forming. She finds it harder to read now, and even when reading large print she can’t read very long. She bought some new eye supplements she hopes will heal them. Also she bought some “Hear Clear” that have the nutrients needed to restore hearing.
We are sharing at length about ourselves because most of you want to know about our health, and many of you are praying for us. Thank you.
This year is our 64th year together as husband and wife. As we age we find we lean more and more on each other. We thank the Lord that He has preserved us for each other. Here in the Homes there are many widows and widowers. We keep saying “We’ll go together.” If the Lord returns, we’ll all go together. That will be a glorious day! We thank the Lord for supplying our living expenses, and we thank Him for those of you who are standing with us, helping to meet our every need.
Underlined words are things you may want to pray for. Look for more prayer requests and pictures on our web site. Maybe on our upcoming vacation we can add some of our latest ones.
Sincerely in Christ,
Tom and Corinne Palmer