In our November Update we shared with you about our trip to Papua New Guinea for the dedication of the revised Hamtai New Testament. We extended our 2-month visitors’ visas to 3 months and were able to spend time at our village house in Hipaku to sort out our belongings, have a time of teaching and bid farewell to the believers there. As we considered the trip, Tom thought he would have to face the terrible road over the mountain to get there, but at our missionary conference our area leaders suggested we go instead by helicopter, and so they made our fare the project for the conference. The generosity of the missionaries covered the cost. What a blessing it was to have a one-hour flight, landing on the basketball court by our front door rather than having to drive five hours to overnight in Lae and then 6 or 7 hours the next day to our house.
The ship with the 6,000 New Testaments finally arrived in Lae Sept. 5th and they were only a week being cleared by customs. Then the church leaders were able to set the date for the dedication on October 29th, giving them time to prepare for the big event. With bamboo they made long Quonset type houses covered with bright colored tarpaulins. They covered one whole hillside with latrines. We do not know how many people attended. It could have been a couple thousand.
The people eagerly bought up almost all of the copies of the New Testament and the church leaders have ordered 4,000 more! It was thrilling to see their eagerness to receive their New Testaments and their reception of Tom’s teaching from it for the week following the dedication.
Then we returned to our headquarters and continued sorting and getting rid of some things. We did pack a few of our belongings to be sent in an SIL. container to the U.S. That ship may be on its way now. Our daughter Judy and her husband Jim Burdett again joined us to help us wind up things and to take us to the plane for our departure from PNG on the 19th of November on Air Niugini. It was wonderful having them with us, and we really appreciated their help. Jim has completed his translation of the New Testament into the Dom language and is checking and formatting it for printing in 2014.
The night of the 19th we slept at the YMCA in Hong Kong. The next day we flew United Airlines to San Francisco and were met by friends from the church in Brentwood that supports us. As usual we enjoyed the hospitality of Carol Widman, the secretary of the church, who makes her home our home whenever we are there. Again we borrowed James Froisland’s truck and drove to Winnemucca, NV, to see family and friends. We attended First Baptist Church again and were able to join them in their Thanksgiving dinner after the church service.
We somehow hadn’t thought of Thanksgiving when we planned our itinerary, so our stay with Carol happened to include Thanksgiving Day. However, Carol had plans to be with family later so she cooked a lovely Thanksgiving dinner even though we were her only guests. Then the next day she drove us to San Francisco to get our flight to Orlando, Florida. Meals were supplied on all our international flights, but on domestic flights one has to buy his food. However, one has to pay only with a credit card. We had cancelled ours because in our absence someone had stolen our identity and was shopping with our card. A kind man across the aisle offered Tom the use of his card. So Tom used it and paid him with cash.
Friends from the Homes met us in Orlando about 11 p.m. We arrived home safe and sound about midnight. Our neighbor, Harold Piovesan, collected our mail while we were gone. We had given him 2 big boxes, which he filled, plus about 6 bags more! We stayed up much of the night looking at some of the mail. Then this week we bought a shredder and are still trying to dispose of all the unwanted letters, shredding the parts containing any of our ID. We can’t be too careful these days, as we had learned with our credit card!
The trip was a blessing in so many ways, but it is good to be home in the NTM Homes. We have had the opportunity to share in chapel time here and at church this past Sunday. Tom still has a lot of work to do to get all the pictures in order to make a good presentation. But people enjoyed the short clips that our friend Matthias Mueller of the NTM PNG Information Department, had put together with video he had taken at the Dedication. Please keep watching our web page for more details and photos, coming soon.
Christmas season is here. May it be a time of blessing for each of you. We have not made any plans yet or done any shopping. We are still just trying to catch up after being away for 3 months. We would appreciate prayer that we will know how to prioritize and not let the urgent displace the important. Tom wants to give quality time to editing Old Testament portions and I want to type up Bible stories all of which were translated years ago into Hamtai but never printed. On this trip I again saw the need for more books in Hamtai for children to read. I want to make some available to all the churches.
WE WISH YOU ALL A JOYFUL CHRISTMAS AND A NEW YEAR OF BLESSINGS.
Tom and Corinne Palmer