Category: Reflections/ Messages (page 3 of 12)

A Note about Gifts



“Where gifts be given freely—east, west, north or south—
No man ought to look a given horse in the mouth.”
(Attributed to John Heywood, 1497-1580}

We don’t have horses given to  us very often, so the meaning of the phrase is probably quite obsolete. Its central idea was not to spend time inspecting a gift, but to be grateful for it.

However, if you can take the time to look a “gift horse in the mouth”, you may notice that some teeth are missing. Or the teeth may be there, but the gums are bleeding. So, in truth, perhaps you should look into the mouth of a gift horse.

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Remembering Bob Brown


I first got to know Bob at a Semantics Workshop that I directed in 1981. Bob was a participant and wrote an article that was later published, called “Semantic aspects of some Waris predications.” Over the next several years I often saw Bob and we would chat about his work with the Waris. He had an interest in many subjects and disciplines, but I remember especially his attention to astronomy and his detailed knowledge about orchids.

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A Beautiful Event


Yesterday, Sunday afternoon, we had an ordination service at our church. I don’t remember ever having attended one before and I have been in and around churches of all shapes and sizes for a long time.

Cody Creel, who had been a pastoral assistant at our church for a couple of years, was getting ordained. He and his new wife had accepted the position of pastor at a church in Missouri and members from that church came down for the occasion.

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Remembering Ed Bentley


Ed Bentley was 99 years old and it was a magnificent life he lived—a true servant of Christ. We first met him in Papua New Guinea in the “old days”, when it was The Territory of New Guinea and Papua. He and his wife Laurel had come from Australia, where Ed had served, as I remember, as a chaplain in the army.

Ed was an artist and worked in the print shop during the week, but on Sundays he was across the Ba’e River to play his violin and help out at the Ukarumpa village Gadsup church. He did that for years. He had a heart that enjoyed helping others.

We have a painting hanging in our bedroom that Ed did for us. It is a picture of the main building at the Wycliffe Kangaroo Ground Center, complete with gum trees and two magpies in the foreground. It is a water color image of the place where we worked for three years. I often look at it and am reminded of our years there and of Ed.

Not far up the road from the center is a little Presbyterian Church, a small dignified building, where we once attended. We have a painting of it that Ed made.

In his earlier days at Ukarumpa, Ed would play tennis and I can remember playing with and against him at a function at the Aiyura agricultural station. He was the perfect picture of the Aussie tennis player: white shorts and shirt, white knee socks and white tennis shoes. And he was good, although a bit sneaky with his short soft hits.

Ed would sometimes accompany Phil Staalsen in skits—Phil droning on with some obscure pseudo-philosophical meanderings and Ed sawing away on his violin in the background. We all enjoyed it immensely.

Our grandson Sam has artistic talent and he was mentored by Ed. Sundays, immediately after church, Ed and Sam were together, he and Sam going over some painting styles and tips. Sam is also a great painter now and much of his interest and technique are because of Ed’s help.

When we were teaching at the Australian linguistic school at Kangaroo Ground we visited Ed and Laurel in their retirement setting at Judge Book in Eltham. He was helping as an unofficial chaplain. We also met them when we visited Kangaroo Ground—the last time was in 2010. Ed prayed with us. We weren’t surprised—that is the kind of man he was.

Karl and Joice Franklin
October 16, Waco, Texas

Remembering William Edoni


You had to look into William’s eyes and hear him laugh to know the man.  He had clear, penetrating eyes and an infectious laugh. That was the side of William that we saw when he celebrated his 50th birthday party, actually a wake, when all of his invited friends brought baby presents as William was ushered into his “second childhood.” He got back at one couple when he had their picture painted as the American Gothic and presented it to them at a formal function.

SIL members got to know William well when he was hired to work for SIL in 1982. At that time he was living well outside of Moresby, having left the Public Service, praying and contemplating his next step.  A woman from his church told him that in her dream he was to work for SIL. He took this seriously, so when I, as the SIL director, came looking for him, William was not surprised.

Over the years at Ukarumpa William often stopped by to visit members. Sometimes they might not know exactly why until a couple of hours later, for William was not a man to come to the point quickly or without deliberation. He understood the problems of a large, predominantly white, organization working in his country and wanted to help SIL be the kind of servant that it claimed to be. Consequently, he never stopped asking questions: probing, consulting, preaching and praying. He would eventually and quietly get to the point, then continue talking more about what was important—the country and people of PNG and how SIL could help them.

William loved to preach and teach and to serve. He taught the symbolic meaning of servanthood when he washed the feet of SIL members at an Easter Camp.

He died suddenly at the Ukarumpa Center in 200

Karl Franklin

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