Story and Photo by Susan Frey
Sylvester would leave home for weeks at a time, traveling to another village hours away to work with the other Baruga translators. When he returned home at the end of each work session empty-handed, he would see his wife’s frown. Ann Rose was not pleased that her husband spent so much time working on translation without any material gain to show for it. She was not a Christian, and did not understand why her husband could not spend his time working for money. Because of her constant criticism, Sylvester found that he was not able to work on the translation in his own home.
This continued for more than two decades, until a group of Baruga traveled to Ukarumpa in late February 2017 to do an audio recording of the Baruga New Testament. This time Sylvester brought Ann Rose with him because he wanted her to witness firsthand the work that he had been so dedicated to for so many years.
While at Ukarumpa, Ann Rose began to feel an intense pain in her stomach. She was rushed to the Ukarumpa clinic, where Dr. Carl Luther diagnosed her with inflammation of the gall bladder. He recommended that they go immediately to the hospital in the capital city of Port Moresby for emergency surgery. Sylvester and Ann Rose did not have the money to travel to the city, nor did they know anyone there who could help them out, and so they returned to their village in a remote part of Oro Province instead.
Months of sleepless nights followed as Sylvester dutifully cared for his wife – feeding her, carrying her to the toilet, and tending to her every need. “She was in so much pain. All my hope was gone, and I thought she would die,” Sylvester recounted with obvious pain at the memory. “But on the night of October 5th, she received God’s healing. Early in the morning, she woke up and said ‘I’m hungry.’” Sylvester found some sago in the house, boiled it, and brought it to her to eat. Much to his surprise, Ann Rose greeted him this time with a warm smile. His astonishment only grew when she said, “We will thank the Lord before I eat.”
From that day forward, Ann Rose has been healthy and pain-free. The change is not only in her body, but also in her heart. Instead of criticizing her husband’s work, she has come to believe in it as passionately as he, and they now work together as a team to promote the translation work among the Baruga people.