2age 0003Veteran mission partner Kay Liddle was recently honoured by the Papua New Guinea government with an MBE for his services to the Christian Brethren Churches, Bible Society and PNG community. Because Kay and Gwen were unable to attend the investiture ceremony held in Port Moresby, a separate ceremony was held in Auckland and the PNG High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr William Dihm o ciated on behalf of the PNG Governor General.

The awarding of the MBE this year marks 60 years of involvement in wideranging mission service in the largest South Paci c nation. Kay arrived in what is now Papua New Guinea in 1952, joining forces with  ve Australians and a couple from the USA, to form the mission group "Christian Missions in Many Lands" CMML – e ectively the Brethren mission in the country. Gwen Clark followed Kay and they were married at Lumi Government Station in 1954, the  rst European marriage in the area.
Kay and Gwen pioneered the evangelisation of Green River and villages up and down the mighty middle Sepik, and north into the Amanab area. In 1961, Kay and Gwen along with Ivor and Marjorie Pethybridge pioneered for CMML the establishment of a mission station at Guala in the NW of the Southern Highlands (now part of the newly created Hela Province). This strategic move spearheaded the advance into the Yuna (Duna) tribe to the north-west. Kay and Gwen remained there until 1970 and in 1971 Kay became Principal of the Christian Leaders Training College for one year before returning to New Zealand with their three children.

Kay's extensive mission interests involved participation in translating the New Testament into Tok Pisin with the Bible Society, encouraging Bible training for potential church leaders, English education, Tok Pisin literacy, Christian broadcasting, primary health care for remote villagers, agricultural development and participation in local government. After returning to New Zealand, Kay played a major role in the leadership of Mission Aviation Fellowship and the Christian Leaders Training College. The list could go on. Kay has played a very signi cant role in the transition from Mission to Church, from expatriate control to PNG national leadership, not only of the 460 CBC churches in the country, but also of a number of key ministries in the nation.

Kay and Gwen promoted the need for missionaries to assist the expansion of the work. For me and Jenny, this couple were always mentors, encouragers and advisors. Kay played a large part in recruiting me to complete MA studies in Geography in a village near Anguganak, then to recruit us as high school teachers, and  nally to invite us to leave high school teaching to follow in his and Gwen's footsteps at Guala in the highlands.

The MBE came as an initiative of Papua New Guinea church leaders whom he has mentored and encouraged over the years, especially Mr Kos Umion, former General Secretary of CBC, whose parents were the  rst couple to follow Christ at Green River. The award is a  tting recognition of 60 years of strategic involvement in mission. Kay and Gwen want all the glory to go to God who enabled them all along the way.

Kay has written a book of these experiences which is soon to be published. It should be of profound interest to all readers of this article.

Written by Ossie Fountain
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