Full-time Missionary Employee Again

It is 2012 and we are staring off the year with me becoming reinstated as a full-time employed missionary. It has been an interesting three years of learning more about what I can do in spite of my muscle disease, and I’m so excited as I prepare to leave for my longest trip to Papua New Guinea since we lived there ten years ago.

In the next few months, I will be busy doing the consultant check on Matthew for a Southeast Asia project, the Gospel of John for two PNG projects, and then the book of Daniel for another project in PNG. Before heading ‘down under’, I have had the joy of teaching part of a week-long intensive training course in Dallas interacting with 16 students who are considering future work with Pioneer Bible Translators.

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My trip to PNG starts on January 15th, and after a few days of rest from the journey, I will work with a team checking the second half of the Gospel of John at a mission base up in the highlands. On Feb. 14th, I will fly down from the highlands, and Jill will fly from the capital of PNG so that we end up meeting in Madang where our PBT mission office is located. (How romantic don’t you think, to meet on Valentine’s Day after being apart for six weeks?)

Then, after a few days of rest, I will begin my work of helping as an Advisor to a group of national men to get their rough draft of the Gospel of John into a much clearer and accurate text. It will take up to six weeks to do that, but once it is finished, then they are ready to have a consultant come and check it. After Easter in April, I will work once more as a consultant to help the third language group check their translation of Daniel. It will be the end of April when I finally return to Canada.

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When I requested employment status with PBT Canada, it was a leap of faith in many ways. My struggles with fatigue and pain have prevented me in the past from being able to do full-time work. The S.E. Asia project (which I can work on remotely through Internet connection) allows me to work when I can and rest when I need to and there is plenty of work with just that alone to keep me busy when I am not on a trip to PNG. And it looks like there is a strong possibility that I will also become attached to one of the language projects of PNG as a remote consultant.

We have found that warmer climates make a big difference positively in my daily pain level, and so we were thankful for the opportunity that arose for me to be in Dallas from August until December, and now for the rest of the winter to be in Papua New Guinea. Recently on Facebook, I wrote my status as “I am no longer a disabled missionary; I am a Holy Spirit enabled missionary.” Whatever it takes to get around and do the task, I want to continue working to help others in whatever way I can to know about the wonderful love of Jesus in the language that speaks best to their heart! What a privilege to serve God in this way.

This most recent chapter of my life is now just about to close.  Except for being apart from Jill and the boys for most of the four months, from August until December, it has been good for me to be here in Dallas.  With the heat, my muscles and my body in general have been doing well.  Remember when people were upset during last Summer because it was above 110 F for almost 100 days?  Well, when I went outside, it was like a giant warm blanket was wrapping around me.  And now that it is in the 40’s F here in Dallas, I am eager to get back to PNG where it is always hot and humid.

But that is not the only reason I am looking forward to going back to PNG.  In every language project, we have a group of national men and women to work with.  This helps us to check for fluency and naturalness of the text, as well as the accuracy.  The real joy comes when we get to the last verse of the last chapter and we breath a sigh of relief that all the tedious, day-by-day checking of every work and phrase and sentence of each verse is completed and now we all have one more book of Scripture ready to be published and put into the hands of the people.

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Someone recently asked me this question, “Besides the warm weather, which is good for your muscles, what are you looking forward to the most as you head back to PNG?”  Without even pausing to think about it, I immediately blurted out, “It is seeing the joy, the awe, the reverence and the excitement in the eyes of the national men and women when they get to hold a copy of the corrected Scripture.

Even though it is one of the manuscript copies of the Scripture book, with all the pen and pencil corrections added into the text, and bunches of words and sections have been struck through until new words were found, to them, the manuscript is still the Word of God to them.  They have such high respect for God’s Word, it often puts us to shame.  But as they hold the old beaten up manuscript, they are able to envision the day when they will hold the completed, real copy of the Bible in their language.  Wow!  What an experience.  I thank God that I can be a part of this ministry.

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