In February I returned to the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL). It felt good to be back. This time I took, Discourse Analysis and Translation Theory & Principles. Both classes were very challenging, I am pleased that I was able to do as well as I did. As I started classes and did not know how I would pay for them, but God has provided everything from scholarships our mission here in Papua New Guinea and a large gift from one supporting church, First Presbyterian of Schenectady, NY. That was an unexpected blessing.
A few weeks before starting classes at GIAL and stopped by to visit some friends at Dallas Seminary. As I was there I asked if I would be able to work there again. To my amazement I was offered job back. This was an unexpected blessing. This help us with added expenses of living at in the U.S. as well as helping us to pay off some of our debt from our airline tickets.
On November 1, we flew to Cairns, Australia, to start our furlough with a week’s vacation. This is a tourist spot in Australia closet to PNG. Most of the time we spent there was to rest.After the business of the last few weeks and the travel it was great to have our own schedule. We did spend a couple of days doing tourist stuff. One day we went into town to look around a do a little shopping. We even were able to learn a little about playing a Didgerido. (If you like to hear what it should sound like you can follow this link. Didgeridoo Australia.)
We are very pleased that Gertrude was able to share about the work of Literacy and Bible translation that is happening through NITI. The translators for the Notsi-Madak were bringing together a group of people to review the translation that has recently been completed. They had planned a meeting to encourage the involvement of the different churches in the area. There were able 100 people who attended. Gertrude shared some highlights from the Scripture in Use conference where many church leaders for the province gave their support for Bible translation.
It was very encouraging to speak with some of the people. They are so appreciative that the work of Bible translation has started. One old man was to the point of tears of joy as he mentioned that he has been praying for years that the Word of God would be translated into his language.
The month of March we spent time at Ukarumpa in the highlands. As always en enjoyed the cooler weather. We were kept busy with meetings most of the time. The first group of meetings were at a conference called Interact. We heard field reports from colleagues about the progress of translation and literacy work going on throughout Papua New Guinea. Gertrude gave a report on the Scripture In Ministry Conference we coordinated last September in Kavieng. At Interact, my role was setting up and running the PowerPoint presentations. I was glad to be a service in this way. We also gave regional reports at the SIL Biennial Conference later in March.
As we were there we visited with other African American members that are serving in Ukarumpa. A number of times we got together to share meals. A couple of times, Gertrude cooked some collard greens (a little taste of home) which was enjoyed by everyone. In the picture (from left to right) is Yolanda Finney, Deborah Bryant (one of Gertrude’s recruits), Estella Trostle, Gertrude, and myself. –Kevin
We praise God for bringing us safely across the beautiful and not too choppy waters of St. George’s Channel by 60 hp speed boat from Kokopo, East New Britain Province to the west coast of New Ireland Province (~2 hours). From there we traveled safely by truck over partially sealed roads to our north east coast village for about 3 hours (120 miles).
We were warmly welcomed back by the Notsi people as we drove through the village to the house we call ‘home.’ A few more posts under the house had been replaced with a clear commitment from our ‘son’ Obed and his team to finish the task. The sawn timber under his house was an encouraging sight representing half of what we need to replace the bat-infested outer walls of our house. It was evening and we were too tired to do more than minor cleaning, eat something, dust the beds off and put on clean bed linen. Read more…
The fact that I was home from mid October to the first of December 2010 seems all but a blur. But I do recall how good it was to just be home with immediate family and to participate in the care of my Mama, Murilyne Garrett. She suffered an aphasic stroke back in April and began the long recovery process; after rehab she desired to return to her home in Longview. To honor her wishes, my siblings and I agreed upon different times for care giving and my time came in October. Although Mama is not paralyzed physically, she struggles daily with the loss of certain abilities which allow her to manage life on her own such as control emotions, to speak properly and to decode what she hears resulting from an aphasic stroke. I learned a lot about care giving with my Mama but I treasure the sweet times of laughter that we shared, along with hearty conversations and Bible readings, prayer, even singing together at one point. The time was also special in that it provided an opportunity for me to step back from literacy work and the cross-cultural stress that goes with it. For these special times, I am grateful. Over-all, it was a blessed opportunity to focus mostly on my mother‘s needs. What a blessing to have seven other siblings to help in times like these.
Earnestine my sister came across this old picture of our parents.
I remained in Papua New Guinea while Gertrude visited with her mom. I finished some projects in Lossu village, and left for Kokopo, East New Britain Province. As you might expect, interaction with guesthouse staff and staff of local businesses in Kokopo was still cross-cultural. I enjoyed managing the Kokopo Center Guesthouse: bookkeeping, buyer for missionaries, public relations, building and equipment maintenance, and supervision of guesthouse staff but I realized that I would much rather be involved in Bible translation. The whole experience refreshed my memory of how badly our teams in the New Guinea Islands need a full-time missionary manager in Kokopo. Gertrude was a sight for sore eyes when she arrived back from the USA. Her welcomed presence gave me a break from household jobs and help with shopping for other missionaries. When she wasn’t helping me, she was able to do some editing on Notsi, Nalik, and Notsi-Madak literacy books.
I was grateful that I was able to assist Lisbeth & Robyn as they their team come in to work on Old Testament translation. They were able to finish a number of chapters from the book of Ester. As they returned to Duke of York Island Gertrude and I did shopping for them. It was so dry in the village as they were there we were sending produce once a week since it was limited where they were.
One highlight of our stay was opportunity to fellowship with Jerry Penie and family, a Papua New Guinean missionaries who were home on leave from full-time ministry to aboriginals in Western Australia. Another highlight came when I was invited to preach on Christmas Day at the Kokopo United Church. By the grace of God, I preached from Matthew and Luke about Different Responses to the Good News of Jesus Birth. Also, Gertrude and I enjoyed fellowship with a couple of families from Kokopo Urban United Church with whom we sang Christmas Carrols for the Christmas service. On our last Sunday in Kokopo, the church sponsored a farewell lunch where we enjoyed fellowship and fine Tolai cuisine. Grateful to be of service as managers but glad to return to the Notsi.