From 2005 to 2015, the Papua New Guinea Mission Society (PNGMS) sponsored Rev. Harvey and Norita Kath for multiple short-term volunteer visits to Martin Luther Seminary in Lae, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and to Timothy Lutheran Seminary (TLS) in the Enga Province of PNG during their retirement. The work they did involved teaching, preaching, mentoring, translation, library work, book distribution and curriculum revision. Norita summarizes the story of these visits in the following submission. (The banner picture above shows the 2017 graduation service at TLS.)
Terry Borchardt visited us in the early 2000’s and began a conversation about having Harvey return to PNG to teach at Martin Luther Seminary (MLS) in Lae. As this idea evolved and solidified, PNGMS made the decision to support our return to serve and teach.
Our first trip to Lae was in 2005. At that time there were at least six Enga students from the Gutnius Lutheran Church of PNG (GLCPNG) attending MLS including one woman, Nispel Was. Nispel was important to Harvey as she assisted him with translation work, and they continued to work together in the years that followed. Harvey also mentored the students that attended his classes at the seminary. We returned to teach in 2007, 2009 and 2011. Harvey taught Isaiah, Matthew and Preparing to Preach. During these stays in Lae Harvey also preached at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Lae and at the Enga congregation that met at MLS.
While at MLS, I worked with Walter Yamalu in the MLS library. I cataloged donated books, straightened and organized shelves, and did general library work. After Mr. Yamalu died, I worked with Dakis who was in charge of the library at that time.
In addition to teaching, we distributed Bibles and the Books of Concord to the students. We also worked with Greg Schiller, an Australian missionary instructor at MLS, to start a small bookstore for the students.
From time to time during these visits to MLS, we had the opportunity to travel to Enga to serve the GLCPNG by conducting a variety of workshops and distributing books to various circuits.
In 2012, 2013 and 2015 we went to Timothy Lutheran Seminary at Birip (TLS). There Harvey taught Isaiah, Matthew, and Preparing to Preach, as he had at MLS. and he preached at different congregations each week and conducted workshops for the pastors in various circuits. We, along with the Borchards, also participated in an anniversary celebration in the Porgera.
In 2013, the faculty at TLS determined a review of their theological curriculum was needed, so Harvey participated in many meetings to help evaluate what changes needed to be made. This study continued into 2015. In 2015 we realized that we would probably not be returning to PNG so Harvey turned over all of the curriculum review information and recommendations to Larry Matro so that the study could be continued and completed. A further report of our visits for curriculum revision is linked below.
In 2015, Harvey, John Nathan, and I also spent a day visiting the Evangelical Lutheran Church Seminary at Ogelbeng near Mount Hagen. There, we were able to purchase textbooks for TLS students as well as some books for the TLS library.
While at TLS, I worked at the library helping to clean and organize the space and material.
Harvey continued to do translation work after 2015.
This is a brief summary (as memory recalls!) of our time spent in PNG as retirees. It was an honor to return and work with the GLC.
We are grateful to PNGMS for supporting us in our efforts to work both at MLS and with the church in Enga.
God is good, God is faithful.