Helen Mildred Marten Profile Photo

Helen Mildred Marten

d. August 6, 2023

Helen was born in Chicago, Illinois on April 28, 1935 to Eric and Johanna Marten. She and her brother Gene, born a year later, grew up in neighboring Maywood. There the family attended St. John Lutheran Church; and it was there in Sunday School at the age of 7 that Helen came to know Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. And at 12 she committed her life to the Lord for missionary work. Many years would pass before that vision became reality.

   She began college locally at the U of Illinois in Chicago, and finished in Urbana-Champaign. She would soon come back there for a very meaningful conference. After college she learned that IVCF (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) would hold a week long conference at U of Illinois right there in Urbana. That was where she learned about Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Lord encouraged her to join that organization. Her degree was in PE, and she taught PE at Washington Grade School for 3 years at the urging of the mission.

   Then for 2 summers she attended the U of OK at Norman, OK in preparation for work in PNG (Papua New Guinea). During these courses Helen met Velma Foreman, a Canadian also studying to be a Bible translator and they decided to make a team and work together. Velma preceded Helen to PNG, while Helen went to Moody Bible Institute, following which she was accepted  by Wycliffe and could join Velma on the field.

   A new work was beginning in the Sepik Province, with 4 teams, of which Helen and Velma were one. They were assigned to the Yessan-Mayo language group 20 miles up the Sepik River from Ambunti, a government station in the middle of the 700 mile long Sepik River. Helen writes that it took 5 years of learning and writing the language and getting to know the people to actually begin translating the New Testament and having classes teaching the people to read their own language. Eighteen years later the Yessan-Mayo New Testament was completed and they moved on to a neighboring language. They also oversaw the work of helping 30 other teams in the area with their language work.

    Many testimonies are surfacing about the inspiration Helen has been to friends and colleagues alike. One such testimony is that Helen and Velma maintained a home at the mission base in Ukarumpa, PNG. When the time came for them to leave their beloved second homeland, they gave their home to the mission for use as a place for Prayer.

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