The Day Ann Rose Smiled

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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.

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Oro

Adventure at Sea

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Written by Janeen Michie, photo by Janeen Michie

At first the sea seemed calm and peaceful but, as they continued on the waves grew larger and larger. One large wave crashed into the boat and threw Mitchell into the bottom of the boat. Mitchell Michie, a translation adviser for the Kala language group, was travelling by public motor boat filled with other passengers and cargo out to a Kala village. He prayed that the boat would not capsize. If the boat did capsize he would lose his computer, hand written language notes, and valuable time for helping the Kala people translate portions of the Gospel of Mark. When they finally arrived safely to the village, his national companion told him that he believed the Lord had protected them from disaster. Later, they heard that three boats that were following behind them on their way to other villages did capsize. Thankfully no lives were lost.

Broken Radios and Mended Hearts

story by Steve Geis

My Thursday morning started with a request for a medevac flight from a bush clinic to the capital, Port Moresby (POM). A lady experiencing shortness of breath and heart problems needed urgent care. We readied an aircraft and I was dispatched on the flight. Forty minutes later we loaded the patient, accompanied by a doctor and nurse, and departed for the capital. En route, the aircraft experienced a transponder failure.

Entry into Port Moresby’s busy airspace requires a functioning transponder, the device that allows Air Traffic Control (ATC) to monitor an aircraft’s position on radar. When I explained to ATC the urgency of our flight, they granted us special permission to enter their airspace with the failed transponder. We landed without further incident, and the patient was delivered to the hospital.

Since we couldn’t continue our flight with the failed transponder, we arranged for a technician to be flown down from our aviation base early the next morning with a new transponder to swap out the faulty one. Fixing it was supposed to be a simple, one-hour job. However, the technician ran into difficulties getting the new transponder to fit properly into the mount in the aircraft. We realized we had to request another special permission and fly the aircraft back to its base for further repairs.

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This was extremely frustrating for the technician and me as we had planned to pick up Zacc in a small village outside of POM after the transponder replacement and fly him to his home village. Zacc had just lost his wife and newborn child to birth complications a few weeks earlier in POM. Even as a follower of Jesus, he was finding it understandably difficult to talk to God since his loss. He had decided to visit his home village to mourn with his own Bariai people.
The delays and revised flight schedule meant Zacc would now have to remain in the village over the weekend until we could arrange another flight on Monday. What was God trying to do?

On Saturday, the day after we had originally planned to pick Zacc up, the mother of a member of his family came to his house, frantic with worry. Her daughter had been trying to give birth for three days and was physically fading. There was no medical help in the village. When the family went to pray over their relative, Zacc said he wanted to pray too. His father remarked to him that he had not seen Zacc pray since Maria’s death. (Although his faith in God had endured, Zacc had not yet come to a point where he felt like praying.) He asked the Lord to show his grace and allow the mother and child to live, praying that he did not want to see anyone else in his family die in this manner. When he finished his prayer, the baby immediately came right out! The umbilical cord had been wrapped around the head of the nine-pound baby, preventing the mother from delivering. Both of them survived! As you can imagine, this has greatly encouraged Zacc and has strengthened his faith.

So the frustration of the faulty radio and the canceled flight was all part of the Master’s plan to show his power in a very personal way to Zacc. Sometimes I get a glimpse into why God orders events differently to carry out his plans. It’s nice to know that he’s in control when it appears there is chaos all around.

God’s Light Shining

God's light shining-IMG_6630Written by Mitchell and Janeen Michie, photo by Janeen Michie

Imagine living in a house with no windows; no light. How would you find the door in the dark? Your shoes? It would be difficult. Ngasinom a retired school teacher and church leader has been preaching to his congregation in Kala. He told me, “When I preach in Kala rather than the trade language, the people sit up straight and listen very carefully.” He says, “Our village has been in darkness and darkness has been holding it. It’s like we’ve been in a house with no windows, but now through the translation God’s light has shone on us.”

John 8:12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Every Tribe, Language, People and Nation

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Story and photographs by Stephanie Ernandes

I received an email a couple of months ago asking me if I would photograph and video an upcoming partial Bible dedication for the Odoodee people group in Western Province, Papua New Guinea. I am a support worker here in Papua New Guinea. I live here to provide support for the work of Bible Translation throughout this country. One of the ways I do this is by writing. This was my first opportunity to offer my services of photography and videography. Very excited, I accepted.

As the time for the dedication grew closer and this being the first time I’d done anything like this, I grew more and more intimidated by the task before me. What had I gotten myself into? It was an incredible opportunity, but could I pull it off? Then I remembered that Papa God loves to work through His people! It’s through our weaknesses that He is shown strong. I prayed. A lot. Then jumped. God carried me through the rest.

When I stepped off the little ten-seater plane with translator Darrell Hays and the other attendees into this tiny village it was like stepping into a live National Geographic magazine. We were greeted by women elaborately decorated with paint, beads, and striking feathers, their grass skirts gracefully swishing in the wind as they surrounded the plane singing and dancing. Men equally as decorated in war paint danced with bows and spears, some beating drums – a deep base beat resonated. The movement of colors and sound, the smells and the heat overwhelmed my senses. I stood stunned, shakily trying to point the videorecorder and camera in every direction at once.

In the midst all of the chaotic beauty surrounding me, the most amazing part – the part I will never forget – was the moment during the dedication when I heard, out of the mouth of a Papua New Guinean man speaking over a loud speaker, the verse from Revelations 5:9 describing representatives from every tribe, language, people and nation standing before the Lord in worship. I have heard that verse many times and imagined and rejoiced at the thought. I have even shared that passage as I stood in front of churches describing the importance of Bible Translation. But to hear it out of the mouth of a Papua New Guinean man from a small tribe in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, it came alive. As I watched and listened, that prophesy was coming to fruition before my very eyes.

Much like a translator discovers the first time he or she steps into a village planning to spend the next years of their life translating the Bible into a language needing one, I experienced that God shows up. He works in and through us in spectacular ways. What I witnessed was just that, God accomplishing His purposes through us, his weak but fervent children, trying our best to follow Him.

“I have spoken and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed and I will do it.” Isa 46:11b (ESV)