Monday, January 23, 2012

Dear Praying Friends,

It was a success!! We put forth a great effort in Prayer and Perspiration and finished several great tasks to secure the house in Kaintiba for our family to move and live full time in this Gulf Province government station. We were able to book a charter flight from Goroka for the 9th of January. We set forth to purchase the supplies for the roof (about $2,500) in Lae. This was then shipped by road to Goroka to the Adventist Aviation Services on Saturday, January 7. This was then flown down to Kaintiba on January 9. After it was offloaded, the pilot continued to Kerema to fly us (Mark, Titus and another young man-Kevin) and about a ton of other supplies back to Kaintiba. The pilot was able to get a ton of coffee beans from there to Goroka to complete his round trip flight, so this reduced my overall cost to only $2,750 for the flight.

After arriving on this Monday (January 9) we carried the supplies to the house (others helping us). We organized/inventoried all the tools and supplies and found to be all there and no damage...a miracle! Tuesday was the first full day of work: installing two solid core entry doors, putting screens and glass louvers in the windows as well as putting in some new window sills. This and other minor interior repairs were completed throughout the rest of the week.

Sunday we had service there at the house, with a total of 14 persons in attendance! I was able to use a new set of Betty Lukins flannel-graph set sent to us from Word For The World Baptist ministries. We had got it all cut out as a family the week before to have it ready to take up with us to Kaintiba.

Monday (January 16) was the first day to begin removing the old roof and replacing it with the new "copper" roofing. We thank those of you that prayed for good weather for this project. It was all replaced by the end of Wednesday and last screws were put in place on Thursday. It would have been done in 2 days, but the rain came by 2:00pm everyday, so this slowed the overall progress. But we do thank God for HIS care for us and allowing it to be completed by Thursday morning. This included new gutter to collect rain water for our household water supply.

The next answer to prayer was the flight home. Because of PNG logistical problems, the only commercial airlines company (North Coast Aviation) was our way out "if" they came on their Friday flight and "if" they had room. The next flight with them would maybe be on Wednesday or the following Friday "if" they came and "if" they had room..... You get the picture. Well long story short they had "room" for two (Titus and Me), but not Kevin. Well, with some persuading of the pilot, we were able to squeeze Kevin in. The loading was at its MAX for this well worn aircraft, but a good head wind was what was a major factor for the pilot to allow Kevin to slip in, as also this is one of the steepest airstrips in PNG. This makes for good spite of it being one of the bumpiest airstrips in PNG! Using up 80% of the grass airstrip we were airborne and within 25 minutes we arrived back to Kerema and our family. The "road" back to Kerema is a 3 day WALK, so praise be to God for this wonderful flight, sustained by the hand of God. Those that know NCA aircraft understand what I am talking about.

We look to do this arrangement (Adventist Aviation Services) one more time to get some more building materials to the house and the whole family next time. We are shooting for the date of April 17, so please be in prayer about this. The supplies must be bought, shipped, flown and secured for the task at hand. The next 3 months will be busy doing these things as well our every day ministry labor here in the Gulf of Papua New Guinea. We covet your prayer as we continue to enlarge and expand the reach of the old, old Gospel Story. There are many yet to hear of all the good things our God hath done.

Mark Helzerman and Family

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mountain Anniversary Trip

What better way to celebrate your anniversary than to go to a remote area just the two of us….well sort of. We left on Monday, 29 August 2011. We first carried a load of cargo via Matt Allen's plane to Kaintiba (our future home). We then were able to go to Kanabea where Matt's airstrip is and then ride a 45 min. mule ride (Kawasaki mule that is, not the animal but the vehicle). We stayed two nights in the Allen honeymoon suite J. (Thanks to John and Selina Allen who didn't even know we were using their house while on furlough!) It was a refreshing time to be with the Matt Allen family! They are so hospitable! We are very grateful to them for allowing us to come and feeding us and providing for us for 2 days.

Besides the Allens fellowship, the most rewarding part of being there was the preacher boy, Jorim, who believes God wants him to help us in Kaintiba got married to Tabitha (not our daughter, just to clarify). It was on our anniversary! It was the first Church wedding in the bush area of Kotidanga. They were able to set an example of getting married God's way and the Lord worked it out for Mark and I to be there! AWESOME!

That was the more comfortable (from America's standards) part of the trip. The next part was exciting because we were working on our new home. We do not have running water or electricity, yet. It was challenging to fix food on an open fire. I had the blessing of having Jorim and Tabitha there to help me with this. We are not used to this but they are. One morning I sat for a half an hour trying to light a fire. L Jorim came and had it lit in a minute or less J. This white lady doesn't know everything that's for sure J.

I was telling Tabitha that we can learn from each other. I know I learned from her and hope she was able to learn from me. I was able to start working on my hamtai language learning. That is the language spoken in the area we are going. Mark did more work than me though as he put in a sink, tub and countertop, plus a door and sealed off another opening.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

August 19

I flew into Atlanta ok and then onto Rochester. The flight actually arrived early (about 40 minutes), and I sure was glad to be home. Pastor and Mrs. Folk, along with Mrs. Tom Smith and Joshua, came for my arrival. But the greatest joy that I received was to see Christi my wife and all the children. I know many others were planning to come as well, but all the changes caused conflicts in their schedules. We are thankful for all of you that prayed for the trip and my safe return. Our God did many great things for me during this time in PNG and I am looking unto Him for greater things yet.

August 19

A man from this church in Brisbane took me to the airport. Upon arrival, I found the lines for Virgin Blue very long, causing me to get bumped to the 7:00 a.m. flight, one hour later than the original schedule. The flight was OK, but because of the delay, I missed my connecting flight to LA, California. Delta “refused” my boarding, and in exchange, put me on a flight with Qantas, along with a $600 voucher toward any future flights I may have with them (Delta).

The flight with Qantas was really nice and had the best food and the jet was the most comfortable. It is the largest jet (airbus A380) in the commercial world and the newest. This flight was a none-stop 13.5 hour flight and I was able to get a little bit of sleep.

Upon arrival into LA, California, I found out that the next flight had been canceled due to mechanical problems on the jet. This caused another change, so now I am headed to Rochester via Atlanta, Georgia. This flight is to leave at midnight and the time is 11:30 in the morning….what was I going to do for the next 12 hours in LA?! I remembered the last time I flew to PNG, we (Cliff Taylor and I) had a similar layover in LA and he had a contact there that came to the airport and entertained us for several hours. I was able to contact him (Mr. Carl Shriver) and he came out and picked me up and took me to his house. I was able to rest a little and get a shower. We had some really good fellowship and went to Spanish restaurant, also. He and his wife were a great blessing to me and it was good to see them again.

I arrived back at the airport with about 2 hours to spare because I really did not want to miss any more connections…I was already about 17 hours behind my original flight schedule. Detroit was the original way I was to go through to Rochester, but now I was going through Atlanta. Delta was able to secure an Alaska Airlines jet to help with their flight problem for this leg of the journey. I am almost home!

August 18

I was packed before breakfast, and en route to the airport, I made my 9:00 a.m. appointment with Greta in the work permit office. She said she had done more checking but found nothing in regards to my application. I gave her Bro. John Grays contact information, as well as mine, in case she was able to find out anything. Something wrong is happening here, and I am not sure what it is. It may be corruption or just carelessness, but we must be in urgent prayer for this matter. I now realize it is my responsibility to be vigilant to see this through for those that have been faithfully supporting us to be in the field. There must be some creative ways to pursue this without causing too many hard feelings. Oh, Father, please give me wisdom to do my part in all of this.

The 2:05 p.m. flight to Brisbane, Australia left on time and I made it in around 5:30 p.m. The Grays picked me up at the airport and drove to Good Shepherd Baptist Church. After the prayer meeting I spent the (short) night with them, waking up at 4:00 a.m. Thursday morning to get to the airport.

August 17

I started making enquiries via the phone around 8:45 this morning. There is a Holiday Inn about a 15 minute walk away from the Lutheran Transit House where I have set up a make-shift office in the VIP room. After several phone calls, I was able to speak with a lady in the Labor Dept. Her name is Greta and she is willing to meet with me tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. when her office opens. She did some checking while I was on the phone with her, but she was not able to find anything in the computer system regarding my application. It is possible it was rejected, and no one was notified.

Since I was not able to go any further in my search today, I used my computer to get online and did some office work. This is a real nice Hotel and has pretty much all that a “high dollar” hotel would have. To use the wireless internet, they sell prepaid cards with certain amounts of MB usage. For what I needed it for, it worked OK.

August 16

Bro. Matt Allen flew in around 7:00 a.m. this morning to take me to Port Moresby. We arrived safely and Bro. Jason Russell was able to take me to the Lutheran Transit House. Before we went, though, he took Bro. Matt and me to a supermarket to pick up some supplies (for Bro. Matt) for him to take back to his family on the return flight.

At the guest house I got settled in for my 2 night stay. I will be flying to Brisbane on Wednesday afternoon and plan to attend the Good Sheppard Baptist Church with the Grays in the evening. Until then, I am praying for the Lord to lead me in seeking out (by phone, at first) a person at the work permit office for an appointment to find out more about our submitted application. Bro. Brad Wells has been giving me some advice on who to talk to and how to conduct myself as I pursue in this endeavor.

August 15

This is my last day in Kerema and I am preaching for the last time in PNG until I bring the family back. I preached from the text in II Corinthians 4:1-7 (a treasure in earthen vessels). We have this Treasure that the Glory of God can and will be manifested in us. As we are broken and out of the way, the light can shine forth as we see in the illustration of Gideon and the 300 that broke the pitchers and blew the trumpets. The light was in these earthen vessels, but the only way for the light to be seen was to break the pitchers.

After the 30 minute break the afternoon service started with a few songs and then I was once again to finish the time with a last message. I only gave a 10 minute challenge and then allowed those who wanted to, to ask me questions or make some comments/concerns in relation to the Helzerman family coming to work in Kaintiba (and K-town). This was a sweet time, as I and they were able to speak freely about the ministry Father has laid out for me there.

Bro. John Gray is still in Brisbane and I am in preparation to head back to the USA. Please pray for both John and Mary Gray about their health and the ministry that is at times overwhelming for them (esp. Bro. John).

August 14

We started out doing visits, but soon found that most everyone we were going to see were down at the “center square” for the Governors speech. When Bro. Jerry, Bro. Joshua, and I got up to where the event was we found several persons we had planned to meet up with. I was able to talk to a few of the high-school students that had accepted Christ as their Saviour last Saturday. About half of the high school students (boys and girls) were there in uniform for the singing of the National Anthem.

PNG time again: it was scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m. but it was about 1:00 when the honored guest arrived and the speeches commenced. These guests were the crew and staff of a Mercy Ship (medical or hospital ship) from Australia. There were 15 different countries represented among them, including a married couple from Rode Island. I met them afterwards in passing, and when I told them where I was from, they told me that they had lived in Lima, New York for 3 years. This town is only about 25 miles from where we live.

I was able to meet the Governor as he came off the stage. Bro. Matt Allen had called me near the end of the ceremony, and I told him what was going on in K-town (as he calls it). Bro. Matt asked me to get a message to the Governor inviting him to a meeting they were having up in Koditanga. I wrote the message down and gave it to the Governor. In doing so, I was able to introduce myself and tell him what I was there for. Since he had much to do in entertaining his guest, he was not able to visit with me long, but asked to have an audience with me on Sunday afternoon. God has once again opened a door that I did not even know was there!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Mount Church Congregation

Mark Teaching at School

Inside House

Front Porch

August 13

Immediately after breakfast I was on my way to the government office. I enquired of the time of the start of their work day. The “office” is open at 8:30 a.m. and they are to start work at 8:45 a.m. While I waited, a man struck up a conversation with me. His name is Tamusi and when he is in town, he shares the same office with Mr. Marc Avai (the man I had come to talk to). By the time 9:00 a.m. came, Tamusi said he would go the Mr. Avai’s house to see what time he would be coming to the office. Tamusi came back in about 15 minutes and said he was not home. I found out later that he had gone down to the wharf to see his wife off. She had to go do her part for a funeral…the death of a close relative of hers.

I went back home without the letter, but went back in the early afternoon and found that he was at his house. As I mentioned before, the electric company had not been paid by the person in charge of paying the bills, so his office complex it without power to run his computer and printer. He was at the house typing out the speech the governor is going to give tomorrow. He took a minute to tell me about this and that he would make sure he completed my letter, even if it took him past closing time (4:06 p.m.).

I stopped off at the hospital to see if I could use the computer to send out an E-mail. Kaddie, a secretary for the nurses’ station uses a computer to do her work that has dial-up connection. It is as slow as a turtle, but if I have enough time it gets the job done.

Just as I was finishing, I got a call from Mr. Avai. He said he was finished with the letter! Only one hour after I had left his house, and now he is done. He told me he was in the office and would be there for another 20 minutes. It was now 4:00 in the afternoon: men’s prayer meeting. I quickly went to the church and told them of the answered prayer and asked if I could go and get the letter, for time was of the essence to conclude this answered prayer. Bro. Jerry rejoiced with me and sent me on my way while they commenced the prayer time.

Upon reaching the office at 4:15 p.m. Mr. Avia said he had looked once again at the letter I had submitted to him last week. He saw that I had stated in it that I was leaving on Monday, and realized the urgency of the matter. Setting aside the speech for the governor (he was 3 quarters through), he drafted the letter with his signature giving us the unconditional use of this old European built house for the Baptist Church in the “hinterlands of the province”. The letter states that he “recognizes the good works of the Baptist Mission” because of the example Matt Allen has been in the Gulf Province. Mr. Avai concludes his letter like this: “I trust that you [Mark Helzerman] will do greater works through the leadership of our God Almighty.” This is the first “house” Father has given to us. Now He will allow us to bring our family over to this “land of the unexpected” as we expect greater things that He will do through us.

The praying part of the prayer meeting was just about to start when I returned to the church building. Bro. Jerry allowed me to read it out loud to them all. They rejoiced with me again, for it was an answer to prayer. We concluded the prayer meeting and then went out to visit a few people. As we were walking along, I thought of the spiritual and physical blessings I have been given by Father on this journey. Although it has been a hard time of being away from the family, God has begun to fulfill His promises to me.

August 12

Not knowing the need to be persistent, I allowed a day of rest of inquiring about the letter of approval for the house in Kaintiba. Later in the day Brad wells called me to see if I had talked to Bro. John. Earlier (I think on Saturday) I had called Brad to seek his advise on the situation I am in with getting our work permits completed in Port Moresby. Brad is willing to help me, but wants to make sure he is not overstepping his bounds, since Bro. John submitted the original documentations. I see now I must be more persistent in all my dealings here in PNG. Tomorrow I have planned to go early to the government office and seek this letter; for it will mark the completion of one goal of God’s working here with me for the Baptist Mission in Kaintiba.

August 11

At 8:30 this morning, I was teaching in chapel again with the students at Charity Baptist Academy. The first thing we did was sing a few songs, including a psalm I had put to music a few years back. I plan to teach it more perfectly to them on Friday during the music class that has been given to me to teach. I then set out to preach a short message before they went off to school. This time my subject was Grace; 3 points:
  1. Grace
  2. race
  3. ace
As you can see, all 3 of these words are within the word “grace”. Without the grace of God, we will never “ace” the “race” that is set before us.

Once again I preached at 5:00 p.m. to the faithful members at Charity Baptist Church. The men’s presence was down again. Please pray that God would do a working in the men here to commit their lives to the work of the ministry and to mature spiritually.

August 9

One more week to go here in Kerema and I am looking to see what Father has in store for me these last few days. There is so much I would like to get done and much work that needs to be done. I am seeking God’s face to ask Him for His wisdom in doing all that Father would have me to finish.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…” as I reiterate the words of our dear brother Paul to my wife. She has been the one I have missed the most. Bro. John Gray bought a Digicel phone (like a trac-phone?) and so we have been able to talk regularly except for the week I was in the mountains. There is no cell phone service there yet, so I did not even take the phone with me. Since we have had this form of communication, it has helped me to know how to pray for her and also comfort her in the times that she has needed it. It will be a sweet time of reuniting with her and the 7 precious children Father has given us to prepare for His workmanship. Christi has been strengthened by God to bear the burden and unusual grace through this time. I remember one comment she made to the children: “We are sharing daddy with others…” What a precious thought she conveyed to them and it has rung in my ears since she told me of it. I thank my God for blessing me with a Godly wife.

This morning (Monday) was another R.I. class with the government high school. Ilava and I went up again and the class is larger yet. We had 12 that came and they were more attentive this time. Maybe the worksheets I gave them to fill in and follow along with helped. The theme was the same as I had taught in the Christian School on Wednesday. It was more age appropriate, as they are closer to marriage and should be making both physical and spiritual preparation. It will be help to them some day (if not right now), as it was for me when I was their age. My notes were a combination of several mentors I have had in days gone by. God brought many things back to mind as I prepared the message.

This afternoon I combined the two classes that are working on learning the song “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” They are really picking up the song well and learning some of the music theory that corresponds with the words. It is a joy to me to teach this and also to lead the singing. This reminds me of the first time I led singing. Mr. John Green (my school principle during high school days) got laryngitis and during a chapel service asked me, of all the students, to come and take his place in leading the song “I am His and He is Mine”. This song has been dear to my heart ever since, and from this life changing event I fell in love with song leading.