Highlands News

Oldest Hela United Church Parishioner Shares her Story

Anita Haja Tebua was the oldest Hela United Church parishioner to participate at the 7th Women’s Convention in Kerema.

She has been in this ministry for almost her entire life.

85 year old Anita hails from Hoiebia village in Tari, Hela Province, Papua New Guinea.

She has a family of three generations which include 5 children, 20 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

Anita is one of the many church members who will be participating at the church National Women convention, to convene on Sunday in Miaru village in Kerema, Gulf Province.

Her first contact with the missionaries dated back to the period before the Second World War, when the United Church Missionaries arrived in her village in Tari.

Having grown up in a remote village, education was always a great challenge for her to date, and for this reason Esther Mavelare has helped in the translation.

The arrival of the missionaries brought about changes, particularly a new way of life to the people who have been in isolation.

Upon arrival, they thought the missionaries were spirits of death, returning to bring fortune, while almost having the cargo cult concept.

Many obstacles, like the language barrier, was also a challenge for the first three years.

The missionaries used salt, biscuits and oil to rally them for help. And this, she says, has brought Anita as a servant to them.

Anita describes her assistance in healthcare services like trashing leprosy patients waste with her bare hands.

On reflection, her close association with the missionaries in the healthcare service delivery is a blessing and tireless contribution in her village.

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