Dear Friends and Family,
Well, we have moved! Yes, we’ve moved, but only a couple hundred yards from the duplex apartment we occupied for 9 years. We are still on the “campus” of our lovely retirement facility, The Homes of Ethnos360. Let me explain.
Our mission, formerly known as New Tribes Mission, built The Homes in the Nineties in preparation for many of us who were retiring or about to retire. It is in three stages. The very adequate duplexes are for those who can live completely independently. What a place it has been for us, one that we could call “home” for a while, when no other place was available to us, or was out of reach financially. Of course, we missionaries have learned what the writer of Hebrews meant when he said “we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”
Corinne and I knew that eventually we would be moving to the “Latham Center, for Independent Living” which consists of rooms for those who can care for themselves, but would enjoy the provided meals and housekeeping. This means we would have more freedom and time to look after our health and personal affairs.
In our cases we were getting to the stage that two major requirements for keeping “safe and sound” were letting us down, my sweet wife more than myself, namely our memory and balance. We knew that the time would come, but we did little to prepare for such a drastic move. “Paring down” is an expression often heard on these premises, and we learned that it cannot start too early.
By the way, the next phase here is called ALF, Assisted Living Facility. There, folk are moved into a different wing where extra care is provided to assist them as they cope with decreasing ability to keep up with their medical regimen and attend to their own particular physical needs.
So, you get the picture. Meanwhile, along comes our daughter, Judy. We were surprised to learn that she and Jim decided to leave the field ministry they were involved in among the Dom people, and they are buying a house here in Sanford, about two miles from here. This was done in order to be with some of their children and to be close to Judy’s parents, that’s us! They have not yet retired, as they are working with the staff here and Jim is working part time on Dom translation materials. We are pleased that they are near and available to help
us. To top it off, Heather, on Home Assignment from Papua New Guinea for training and medical reasons, is helping out in the Homes as well. About a month ago now, they told us there are rooms available in the Latham Center, and that now might be a good time to make the inevitable move.
We started that life-long process of moving again, this time from a 5-room flat to 2 small rooms. We are used to doing it, but this one is the hardest. How did we ever gather so much in 10 years of retirement? So, we have been sorting, throwing away, giving away things, all involved in paring down our belongings to the bare minimum. The staff moved our furniture, etc. over to here two weeks ago, and arranged the room so we could sleep here that evening. So, we’re here, but not completely moved in and settled. We are allowed a month in which to get the apartment cleared out. Judy is helping us sort and they will store at their house things that we want to keep, but cannot have in the rooms. We will soon hold a yard “sale” in which a few things will actually be sold; most things will be free for the taking.
The staff suggested we take two rooms – no, not one room each, as we were asked by some people. One room is for sleeping and relaxing, along with TV viewing, etc., and the other one is office space that we need to work in as I continue my translation project – checking and editing the Hamtai Old Testament Scripture portions. It will also be music and sewing room, and a place for guests to visit to have a snack together. And we are right next door to Jerry Fitzgerald, our former co-worker, who is doing a content check for us in the Hamtai Scripture
portions. I am eager to get settled and get back to work. Corinne is already enjoying the freedom from cooking, shopping and housekeeping. “I felt that was about all I was accomplishing,” she says. “Couldn’t get much more done because I move so slowly to avoid falling. At least I was able to keep Tom free to do his language work. Recently, though, he has spent more time helping running the house.” So now, hopefully, she can help more with certain other language goals, AND people keep urging us on to write a book about our family and missionary experiences. They are right. We want to perhaps add a little bit of info daily on the computer and start developing something. My computer is getting old and has needed updating. We pray that it will last the duration. Corinne has a special computer she is still learning to operate.
Occupying two rooms is going to be hard on our budget – each room costs $482 per month, a little more than what we were paying in the duplex apartment. So double that amount and that is what we will be paying each month for the rooms. Then there is $375 due for food. These are real bargains, offered to us who have served with the mission. We do feel that God is leading us, so He will provide for us in every way. Having two rooms gives us plenty of room for our large desks, etc. The extra space also gives us the opportunity to further minimize our belongings, of which we brought some extra things to sort and get rid of. As time goes on, maybe we will get by with occupying one room. Now it is a matter of settling in and enjoying this wonderful provision God has led our leadership to invest in. We praise Him and thank Him every day for it; and the staff really are wonderful. By the way, please pray for additional staff. We are not in a nursing home. We are not “retiring,” but just slowing down; officially retired, but practically, still occupied. We are really grateful for those who have stood by us, believing that this work of God must continue as long as we are able to make progress. Jim Jora, our translation checker in PNG has a new computer now, and is eager to continue helping us give his Hamtai people the Old Testament Scriptures.
Our situation among our fellow residents is unique, in that we are being served meals in the dining room at times by Jim, sometimes by Heather. And Judy takes her turn as receptionist at the front desk and also helping folks in the ALF.
You might have heard this, but Florida has a good record in controlling Covid-19. This is partly because they have held caretaking facilities to especially tighter precautions. We have joined our fellow residents in not being able to attend church services and other public gatherings. Most of them have been isolated for more than a year. We are praying that that will change in a few weeks when our good governor lessens some restrictions. Before we came here we were enjoying an evening meal every Sunday with Jim and Judy, Heather, and Brian and his
two boys. We will miss that usual fellowship with our family, and Jim’s good cooking.
We are doing all right health wise. There are a few medical needs we will attend to as soon as we get settled in here. Right now, we are just tired from this extra activity of brain and body, and will be glad when we can get away on some sort of holiday or vacation or whatever you want to call it.
Please take note of our new mailing address. Keep watching our web page for photos and prayer requests.
Joyfully in Christ,
Tom & Corinne Palmer