The Palmers have served the Lord with NTM in PNG for over one hundred years between them. Single at the time he arrived in PNG in the early fifties, Tom lived in villages to learn languages. Corrine came in 1954, and was in charge of linguistics, in the formation of an alphabet. They served in the Hamtai tribe. Their official retirement date was January, 2009, but they stayed as volunteers for another year, returning to the States in 2010. Tom was born in Pennsylvania in 1934 and Corrine in Washington State in 1929.
Corrine recalls her salvation moment came through an older brother who had accepted the Lord years earlier at a Bible camp. Life took a decided change; no longer was she interested in her former life.
Tom’s parents were saved through a Bible study in their home led by a believer who reached out to them. He recalls listening while the adults talked, and he saw his parents develop a burden for the unsaved. His Dad read the Bible everyday to his family. It was when Tom was caught in a lie that the Lord used his father to bring him to Himself.
Corrine’s outreach included witnessing and spreading tracts, along with two Bible camp experiences in two summers, one in Idaho, the other in British Columbia. Tom attended youth activities which did evangelism.
Both Tom and Corrine were introduced to NTM through relatives. Corrine’s brother served with the mission, and Tom’s parents were aware of the mission. When the tragic fire occurred at Fout Springs, Tom answered the call for carpenters to rebuild the camp. There he was able to see the operation first hand and knew this was God’s call on his life. After viewing movies of the various fields NTM was located in, PNG seemed to be where the Lord was leading. For Corinne it seemed a logical next step.
Ministry challenges came in the form of no regular support until later in their ministry, Tom’s difficulty with the language (this was a time before language schools), opposition from tribal people and another mission organization, and death threats. Corrine, while finding adjustment to the field no problem, faced long times of separation from Tom when he traveled to the interior as then only men were allowed to go due to tribal unrest. There were house invasions and robberies, but they put their trust in the Lord knowing it was the He who had called them to His work.
Individuals, and only later, churches, were their means of support. Fellow New Tribers generously helped meet their needs as well. In 2006, a church in California took on their support which continues into their retirement.
Would they do it all again? “Yes. God never failed.”