Cliff and Martie Hellar have been in PNG for 47 1/2 yrs serving as missionaries. Martie flew in on the helicopter this past weekend, which gave us, here, an opportunity to get to know them. This afternoon I went to visit them and found myself drawn to them and their stories. At one point they asked about my story, but I just wanted to hear more about what they have and continue to do for the Lord.
They serve the Keyagan people in the Eastern Highlands Province (a 7.5 hour drive from here). When they first got to the region, there wasn't anyone who knew of Christ. In their 47+ years, many have heard the truth of the gospel and have come into the family of Christ. They shared a story of a young believer from their area, who traveled to Banz (about 10 minutes from here) and saw a bunch of his people not going to church on Sunday. He told the people that Sunday was the Lord's day and that they should be in church. When he got back to his place, he shared with the Hellars that he was feeling God calling him to start this church. So he did, and now 20yrs later, that indigenous church is still flourishing.
Cliff is fluent in the Keyagan tok ples (language of the village) and now works to translate the Bible into their language. He has finished the New Testament, and after 15 years is about 40% finished with the Old Testament. They have given their lives to the people of the Eastern Highlands Province, and want to continue to serve until the Lord calls them home. They originated in New Jersey, but now consider PNG their home and have made arrangements to be buried here. They raised 4 kids, 2 of which are also missionaries in PNG - one in the Gulf Province and the other in the Morobe Province.
As a young missionary just starting out, it was truly an honor to meet the Hellars and to gain a glimpse of what their service to the Lord has looked like. I trust God will continue to provide for them and help them finish the work He wants them to while they are on this earth.