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A New Director for PBT in Papua New Guinea

At the Annual General Meeting of The Pioneer Bible Translators Association of Papua New Guinea, Incorporated my wife, Eunice Messersmith was unanimously elected as the Director of the association.Eunice has been my boss at the office for many years, since she was elected as the Director of Support Services a long time ago. As for who is boss at home, I’ll just say that we don’t have one. It’s been a partnership for forty-five years and that’s not going to change.

Eunice now holds three positions in the organization: Administrator of Finance, Director of Support Services and Director. She seems somehow to be able to juggle all of that, especially as she is learning that she can’t do it all herself and needs to delegate many tasks to others. This goes a little against her grain, but it leverages her management skills perfectly.

I can’t let this go without making a couple of personal remarks.

First, I wish that I could sit down and have a conversation with all of the people, mostly financial supporters, who have told us that we’re getting too old and need to “come home and retire”. Here in Papua New Guinea we live in a culture in which age is greatly respected and many people don’t really hit their peaks until they are well into their seventies and eighties. My question has always been, “Retire to do what?” Eunice and I have never been in better health, both mentally and physically. She does a gruelling aquarobics routine three day a week. I go SCUBA diving every Saturday and get plenty of exercise during the week. We are both working at least two jobs. Our lives are full, productive and interesting.  Why should we possibly want to retire?

Second, who gets to control when you want to stop working, if you’re financially able to do so? I’ve seen too many people killed by retirement. Our culture here in PNG is a much better atmosphere for promoting a long, healthy and productive life.

Please, stop telling us to quit when we’re just hitting our stride.

God will tell us when it’s time. Some people may not want to spend their mission dollars to keep “old people” productive, but I’ve got news for them. God hasn’t told us to quit yet and we like what we’re doing. We’ll make it somehow, with God’s help, if even some no longer appreciate our contributions to the work.

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