Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mrs. Dubert

One of the greatest problems, I fear, of my generation is that we are often too isolated. Certainly we are a community driven generation, but we like to stay within our own niches. It is rare to see, anymore, a twenty-something in a willing conversation, let alone relationship, with an older member of society. And sadly, this is not foreign to the evangelical church. There is much to learn from the Baby Boomer and Senior Citizen in our congregations, and many times we aren’t even in churches where that could be an option.

A great joy of mine has been to get to know Mrs. Marjorie Dubert. She is the mother of my mom’s best friend, Sonja. In 1960, Mr. and Mrs. Dubert were accepted for translation work with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Papua New Guinea. They were there until 2002, when they retired and returned back to the States. For 42 years they labored in translation work and raised 7 children. It was not without trials, though. Their first translation work was for a tribe with a dying language. They realized once they had begun the work that this was a language that after the current generation passed away would no longer be in existence. Yet they stayed for the few people who would be impacted by the Gospel and completed the New Testament. Upon completion of this work, they could have returned to the United States to enjoy their grandchildren and retire, like many in their generation were doing. Instead, they chose to begin another translation work for a tribe where many were hungry for the Word.

When they did retire, Mrs. Dubert began having problems with her eyesight. The doctors soon realized that years of taking malaria medicine had affected her eyesight to the point of blindness. It was only a matter of time before she would be legally blind. In spite of all of this, she still serves in many ways, including penning a story of her time in New Guinea. I hope that this is a blessing to you, as it has been to me. Reading the words of a woman, who despite losing her own sight so the eyes of the spiritually blind may be opened, is an encouragement to be faithful no matter the cost.

by Marjorie Dubert

“Whatever Jehovah pleased, that hath he done.”
—Psalm 135:6

“He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.”
—1 Timothy 6:15

A very vivid object lesson, showing me that God is Sovereign, occurred during my years of serving him in Papua New Guinea with Wycliffe Bible Translators/Summer Institute of Linguistics.

LaVonne Scherers was a fellow graduate student at Columbia Bible College. In the summer of 1954 she sang in my wedding. The next time I saw her in early 1962, she was Mrs. Walt Steinkraus doing Bible translation with her husband and children for the Tifalmin people in Papua New Guinea. They welcomed my husband and me with our children as fellow translators.

In March of 1971, Vonnie came by our home at Ukarumpa to say good-by. She and the 2 girls, Kerry 12 and Katherine 2, were off to the village to join Walt. She could have left Kerry in the Children’s Home to attend the International Primary School, but Kerry chose to go to the village. Vonnie told me, “We want to Glorify God as a family.”

Vonnie and the girls arrived in the village March 19, and 2 days later, on a beautiful sunny Sunday, the Steinkraus family attended church in a nearby village, returned home and lay down to rest while many in the village took the opportunity to go work in their gardens or gather firewood. At 3pm, a freak landslide, ½ mile long, 300’ high and 100’ deep with terrific force crossed the river and covered the village, instantaneous death for the 10 victims remaining in the village. An envelope found in the debris had this verse written on it, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:6).

Other translators, Al and Susan Boush with their children, took up the translation project and the Tifamin people now have the New Testament in their language.

However on another occasion July 17, 1998, when an earthquake occurred a few miles off the shore of Arop, Papua New Guinea, it caused three 33 ft high Tsunamis to come ashore. All the houses and people in Arop village at the time, including the home of the Nystroms doing Bible Translation for the Arop people, were swept out to sea. In the Sovereignty of God, John and Bonnie Nystrom with their two children and all their translation materials were safely at Ukarumpa Center.

God used the Nystrom family to give the remaining people hope, to choose more translation helpers, and to set up a training center where they now train and work with translators from eleven other languages as well as the Arop.

I marvel at the mysterious hand of our Sovereign Lord and King. His ways are indeed, higher than my ways. He chose to take the Steinkraus family yet allow the Nystrom family to remain, all the while furthering his Kingdom and glorifying himself.

No comments: