Dear Friends and Family,
Here is a short update on the matters I wrote about in our last letter.
By the way, why am writing to you on this particular day? Well, thanks for asking. I am in the mood to share something with you first about the start of my journey as a missionary. I just wanted to let you praise God with me for His faithfulness to me, and that includes my wonderful life partner as we served together, by God’s grace, for 57 years in Papua New Guinea.
I was in a chapel service in our former missionary training center in Fouts Springs, California in 1952. During testimony time I shared a few verses that I had come to when reading the book of Psalms. God seemed to impress those words on my heart, even though I took it out of its original context. God used it to impress further on me his plan of using even people like me to take the Gospel to some people of our generation. I was a young man seeking assurance that God would guide and teach me and provide for every need I had if I stepped out by faith.
So, I stood up and read Psalm 71:14-18 from the King James Version, the only version most of us had in those days:
But I will praise thee more and more.
My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day: for I know not the numbers thereof.
I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.
O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.
Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O god, forsake me not until I have showed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.
Now, God used THIS wording to strengthen my vision of what He wanted to do with me, but the later versions changed the translation of a couple of words.
Anyhow, when I finished expressing thanks to God for what I was learning in the course and how He seemed to apply truth to me in this portion, one of our elders, Homer Hancock remarked, kiddingly, “Say Tommy, the last verse of that portion doesn’t apply to you, but to us oldies, don’t you think?” “Yeah, I know,” I said, “but that verse will apply someday because I’ll get old, and I’m sure I will find that he has always blessed me. And I hope I can say that He used me as he promised.”
Well, I went and joined the NTM team in New Guinea. Time really flies when you’re having fun, as they say, and now I have reached that stage. I gave you the first 4 verses last month and promised the 5th verse this month. Here is the rest of the story. Actually, it was David’s prayer for God’s undertaking in his distressful situation caused by his enemies. I made it my prayer as we were reminded by our leader, Ken Finney, “You are headed to the field for battle.” Now Corinne and I thank the Lord, like David did in his generation, for the privilege of having declared His wondrous works, His righteousness, His strength and mercy and love to some New Guineans in our generation. Our missionary team accomplished that in spite of our real enemy’s tactics.
I could go on, but just wanted to share this so that in your prayers, as you thank him for His faithfulness in your own life that you might think of us and thank Him for His enabling grace and faithfulness to us through the years. Some of you have prayed for us for many years. May you receive your reward. And some of you have supported us for a long time and some started more recently. But thank you all for sticking with us even now that we are greyheaded and in semi-retirement. We are rejoicing in the Lord’s goodness and telling stories because on this very date of the year 1953, yes, 70 YEARS AGO TODAY, I along with Dale and Arvalee Palmer (not related to me, but good friends,) boarded the M/S Parrakoola for the voyage to Sydney Australia. and later from there I flew on to New Guinea, arriving on Sept. 16, 1953. Corinne came a year later, and we married in 1956.
Now for the updates.
- Praise God with us that 2 MRIs, one CT scan, one PT scan, and a colonoscopy have not shown signs of any cancer developing in the areas analyzed. In July I am scheduled for an endoscopy and also an ultrasound appointment on another part of my body.
- Corinne is in much better shape than she was when she came, 6 months ago. Being with us here has made a lot of difference. Pray for our caretakers too, though, because they have their own infirmities to deal with.
- Corinne is in need of dental surgery to extract 3 teeth that our regular dentist cannot do.
- Praise that the Hamtai church elders now consider Jim to be in fellowship, but they have not answered our plea to allow him to resume working on translation with me. Pray for a positive answer.
I have set up our new computer, with help, but I find it hard to adjust to Windows 11. I lost some data when a backup CD was mistakenly formatted, or erased. I may find more recent material elsewhere. More later.
Also, here’s a link to a video that was made about our lives and ministry:
Love in Christ,
Tom and Corinne