What a ride! Emotions ran high. We were on top of the world, being able to be “home” again and to see some or our believer friends in the Kapau area of the Hamtai nation; to see their love expressed to us, and to hear so many thank you’s for bringing the Good News and God’s written Word to them. We kept reminding them of all the other members of our team through the years who had a part. But we being the last ones brought tears of joy and thanks, but also tears of sadness that some of them would not see us again until we meet in Glory.
I told Corinne I would just as soon stay put in the house we called home for over 14 years. (We had moved our house interior from the original base of operations in the Watut Valley called Yaiwa Hawa.) Our Hamtai friends had fixed the steps and got the doors to open without sticking and made a new stand for the gas bottle outside the house. They also piped water from the main tank into the house with a hose in place of the header tank which had fallen down in an earthquake.
In spite of problems in their churches (do you know of any church which has none?), it was a joy to hear reports of reconciliation between believers, reports of evangelistic outreach and especially good to hear of people from as far away as Kamea, brand new Christians eager to come to the dedication and get their copy of the newly revised Hamtai New Testament. Then as we came through the line for handshakes and hugs there were some tears, but there were many expressions of thanks for bringing their revised Hamtai New Testament and promises to pray for each other.
Oh yes, and then there was the spectacular ride in the NTM helicopter in the steady hands of Mike McGregor. It seemed so unbelievable how that twirly-bird can carry so much cargo and keep us above the mountains, darting through holes in the clouds and flying through mountain passes down low between cloud layers. These are God’s mountains and He is reclaiming people who have been living in these isolated places under Satan’s control. God is moving in PNG and we are glad that includes Hamtai.
We will see many of our folk again at the dedication back out in Yaiwa Hawa on the 29th. We will go early to hear a day or so of evangelistic meetings just before the dedication ceremonies. We will go there the slow way on terra firma. It will be our last trip in our vehicle before we try to sell it before our departure in late November. After the dedication we will stay at Yaiwa Hawa and teach for up to two weeks – reading from the new New Testament, finally!
Soon, we have to take things over to the SIL/Wycliffe centre to send in their container to the U.S.
It has been a very difficult task sorting through lots of memories, deciding what we really need in the home country and what can be left behind.
This morning after prayer, we are reconsidering our plan to stay on after the New Testament dedication for a Bible teaching session with hundreds of people who want to hear from us for perhaps the last time. We would be staying with a Hamtai family with very little privacy and no conveniences. Bless their hearts, this couple always invite us to be with them when we are there. We have always been willing and able to “rough it” during our ministry, but now with elderly weaknesses that have crept up on us, we are not sure we can endure very much for two weeks. Also, Corinne has developed a nagging cough, and I am fighting off a cold. We put out this prayer request to ask you to pray for wisdom as to what the Lord would have us do after the dedication. It may be that I should bring Corinne back to NTM headquarters and I go on with the teaching on my own. Thanks for thinking of us and praying for us, and some of you have sent messages of praise and encouragement. More news after the dedication trip.
Rejoicing in His Service,
Tom and Corinne Palmer