Resthaven Bellevue Heights residents, Mr Doug Parrington (91) and Mrs Margaret Parrington (92), have a unique story to tell of their life in Papua New Guinea, and it all began with ‘the young lady on the swing’.
Mr Parrington, who had been a school teacher for 17 years, explains, ‘Our paths had crossed in Christian circles before, at a wedding where she was the bridesmaid and I was the best man. But on this day, at Colebrook Home in the Adelaide Hills, a team of young people from various churches were to present a programme of song and story – and there she was again.’
‘Margaret was swaying gently back and forth on the swing, the rays of the setting sun turning her dark brown hair golden. She looked absolutely stunning.’
It was then that Margaret and Doug became inseparable.
In 1969, both Mr and Mrs Parrington’s fathers passed away, and they felt free to pursue their growing interest in the work of the Wycliffe Bible Translators in Papua New Guinea.
The married couple began studying a Summer Institute of Linguistics course, and the science of translation at St Lucia University in Brisbane. Upon completion, they were both accepted to be translators in Papua New Guinea.
‘During an assignment in the Summer Institute of Linguistics Lae Office, I surveyed the Ewage-Notu language area in Oro Province. Anglican Bishop Ambo, a Gona man, says to me, “I have prayed for many years for a Summer Institute of Linguistics person to come and do my language.”’
‘We began Ewage language learning while building housing in the village and started to record stories to help us later in working out how the language structures are put together.’
‘I did the research, Margaret did the typing! Her hearing of the language has always been a lot better than mine – she has tested my knowledge many times over the years. She is the most intelligent woman I know.’
Fifteen years later, Mr and Mrs Parrington published the first-ever translation of the New Testament into the Notu-Ewage language, selling 1500 copies.
‘It was so popular, Bishop Ambo requested 1000 more copies be printed. Our hard work had paid off.’
Mr Parrington finished his service in Papua New Guinea as SIL Regional Director in the Central Province and translation consultant, having completed his master’s degree in Cross-Cultural Communication.
Mr and Mrs Parrington went on to live as Resthaven Bellevue Heights Independent Retirement Living residents for 18 years, only recently moving into residential care.
‘Since being here, I have kept busy on my work laptop. I have since written the first of five books, a series of inductive Bible studies, in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, ‘Rising Smoke: The Levitical Offerings’.
‘With the assistance of my daughter’s husband, who so happens to have his own publishing company, I aim to publish all five books in good time.’
Professional accomplishments aside, there has always been something far more important to Mr Parrington.
‘Here we are today – six children, 14 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. The young lady on the swing is still as beautiful as ever, but with the accumulated wisdom of the years, the golden-brown has turned to silver.’
‘And now we see her, not on the swing, but pushing a great-grandchild on it.’
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