“We’re ready to go where we are needed most.”
This has always been one of Joe and Heather Patrick’s guiding principles in decision making.
The couple served in PNG from 1980-2007 as office equipment technician/trainer and national translation training administrator, and raised their four children in Ukarumpa. When their third son had completed high school and was ready to start university, they returned to England to work at the Wycliffe centre there. Some people thought they would spend the rest of their days in England.
But in 2013, God made it clear that they should prepare to return to Papua New Guinea to serve as regional centre managers. Once again they said, “We’re ready to go where we are needed most.” They already knew the language and culture, and had friends all over the country – it seemed a perfect fit for them to return to PNG to fill this need.
SIL and BTA translators are working in languages scattered through every province of Papua New Guinea. Most areas have regional centres to serve the translators working in that part of the country. These are used not only as a local base for translators as they work in their villages, but also as a gathering place for many types of training workshops.
The roles of the regional centre manager include booking transient housing, cooking meals, finding supplies as needed and sending them out, managing finances, making repairs, and being flexible to meet whatever need arises. Their role as support workers helps the translators to concentrate on their language work in the village. The Patricks want the language teams to function well in their villages, feeling equipped to meet whatever challenges may come.
The Patricks explained, “As soon as we arrived in the country, we immediately noticed the huge personnel shortage in SIL, and not the least in the regional centres. We are thankful to be here to meet this need, and we are confident this was God’s perfect timing for our return to Papua New Guinea.”