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In early 1997 Rosemary Painter began preparing to go to Papua New Guinea with her husband Keith to re-open a church printery at Tari in the Southern Highlands Province (now in the Hela Province).
Part of the preparation was the building of a team of supporters who committed to pray for and financially support them.
At last in July 1998 they arrived in PNG. It was a very different scene for them, although they had previously worked with other church printeries in Australia and Solomon Islands.
By September 2001 they had trained two local men to share the leadership of Evangelical Printers and were coming back to Australia for some significant family events with a plan to return to PNG the following year to see how the printshop leadership was functioning and to assist them with any problem areas.
When they had arrived in Tari in 1998 there were in the area fifteen other missionaries connected with our team. By the time they left they were the last. This created some interesting challenges for both of them!
In mid-2001 they drove to the nearby Dauli Teachers College to participate in the farewell service for the last missionary staff member.
On the return trip the vehicle hit a large pothole and Rosemary struck her head on the frame of the open window. Some weeks later she began experiencing symptoms that were thought to be thyroid-related.
However, several weeks after returning to Australia in September 2001 further symptoms developed. At the time they were engaged in visiting supporters. Their doctor immediately ordered scans and arranged an appointment with a neurologist. An MRI scan and a visit to a neurosurgeon quickly followed.
The results showed that Rosemary had a malformation of blood vessels which had haemorrhaged and put pressure on her brain. They called it a “cavernous angioma”.
They cancelled their itinerary and moved back into their house at Leura. In the following months Rosemary underwent three sessions of neurosurgery. She was left with stroke-like deficits on her right side, including loss of her right field of vision, a few memory issues, weakness of her right arm, and walking difficulties.
Through it all her faith in her Lord has remained strong — but she no longer writes poetry.
Now, eighteen years on, a new edition has been published of the book of poems which Rosemary put together just weeks before her health problems developed.
A5 portrait, 52 pages, stapled booklet, full-colour celloglazed cover