Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Sing Praise To God Who Reigns Above"1 (Lyrics)
Acts 4:20 – We cannot possibly give up speaking of things we have seen and heard. (NEB)
Far out in the Pacific Ocean, away to the north of Papua New Guinea's mainland, just before 9:30 a.m. on the beautiful morning of February 26, 2014, six persons, John and Marjo Brownie (Wycliffe Bible Translators), one of their co-translators, the skipper, and two other men, all in an open 15-foot dingy, were upset into the ocean by a combination of waves. The craft sank in seconds. The six were about halfway between two islands, about 28 km apart, Mussau, and Emira to which they had been headed. Only Marjo and John had life jackets, but — due to an error in the way they had been assembled — they could not be inflated. All could swim, and all were able to grab onto something inflatable. They set off an emergency flare.
The current was flowing in the direction of Emira. The husband and wife Bible-translating team soon were separated, the husband now with the oldest man (the co-translator), and the wife with the other three men. They could not even see one another. The husband went into shock for hours and came out at 2:00 p.m. to realize that he needed to start kicking to get to land with his companion, who seemed rather weak. It became known later that it was at 2:00 p.m. that people at the mission headquarters at Ukarumpa on the mainland had been informed of the beacon and had begun praying.
At about 3:00 p.m., Marjo and the three men came up onto a tiny island very close to Emira. John and the older man came up in a bay on Emira at about 5:00 p.m. At no place had the ocean been shallow enough for anyone to touch feet down until they were over the reef near Emira.
It was not until 7:00 p.m., when they met at the health center on Emira, that Marjo knew that her husband and the older man had survived. Both the husband's and the wife's computers were in the ocean — John's containing all of the translated 2nd Corinthians of the Bible, Marjo's containing historical Mussau stories. A search and rescue plane arrived after all six were on land. All had some cuts and scrapes but no serious injuries. The light-skinned Brownie couple suffered severe burn from the equatorial sun, plus shock that caused some insomnia for a few days.
During a work-stay in Ukarumpa, John and Marjo heard via an Emira policeman that some things, including a computer, had washed up on Emira, but they did not know which computer.
A few months afterwards — when enroute to Mussau for the planned celebration of the dedication of the newly published Mussau language hymnbook the next day — John and Marjo stopped over in Emira May 6. There they viewed articles that the current had carried up onto the shore during a few days after the February accident. Among other things, they saw John's travelling bag, four large plastic buckets of supplies — and John's computer! In its water-tight computer case, no data had been lost of the translation of the entire book of 2nd Corinthians!
Marjo emailed that they, and especially their co-translator, connected with the words of the Apostle Paul in their recently-translated verse, 2 Corinthians 11:25 – "Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea." (CJB) Marjo noted that this was the third time this co-translator had survived shipwreck.
Let us praise God.
- God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
– William Cowper
Prayer: O Lord our God, we praise You for the wonders You have done for these six persons. We pray for them and for all who learn of this miracle, that we will keep in mind that You are mighty to save, both physically and spiritually. Spur us on to trust more and more in Your infinite might and power, and to tell forth Your great goodness. Keep us praying. Amen.