THE Methodist Missions Society (MMS), in partnership with Transformation Alliance a Singapore church grouping, is starting to extend care and love to the people of East Timor. It is reaching out to the people in Emera District. There are 498 villages (known as “sucos”) spread out in 13 districts. Each village comprises 10 to 15 smaller clusters called “aldeias”. Emera District consists of five Sub-Districts with Gleno as its new capital (a region famous for the production of coffee).
The MMS plans to adopt these strategies:
1. To adopt a holistic approach to missions in an underdeveloped country. It aims to help relieve poverty, hardship and build capacity for livelihood that runs alongside the preaching of the Gospel, making disciples and planting church.
2. To take a long-term commitment in community development and focus on training the youth and young adults, who constitute at least 50 per cent of the population.
3. To form a strategic alliance with mission agencies which have already established holistic ministries in East Timor.
4. It is only in a partnership approach with the Timorese right from the beginning of any community project that the community’s sense of ownership, responsibility, self-reliance, and capacity can be developed.
5. It is important and beneficial for us to establish communication and understanding with the Catholic Church to share the love of Jesus.
By anchoring Emera District, the MMS hopes to bring more churches to adopt one of the villages and to start work mainly with the children, youth and women.
It will initially focus on Gleno (suco), capital of Emera District, located in Talimaro, a Sub-District of Emera Kota. In addition, it will adopt two villages at the outskirts of Gleno:
a. Moris Foun or “ New Birth/ Life”, which will be adopted by Living Hope Methodist Church, and
b. Nunusua, named after a “gum tree”, which Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church will consider adopting.
Another village, Morobo Village in Railako, is under consideration for adoption by Mar Thoma Church. In the meanwhile, Mar Thoma Church will assist us in educational and medical ventures.
In the short term, the MMS will focus on:
■ Conducting English language teaching via the Radio Station ministry for the whole Emera District;
■ Conducting English classes in the two villages of Talimaro via teams of teachers from Singapore (twice a year). The target: school-going children and youths;
■ The formation of a Youth Centre for teaching English, computer classes, etc. There will also be the Sports Outreach and reaching out through The Girls’ Brigade and the Boys’ Brigade; and
■ The launching of medical and dental services in the two villages of Talmaro and Gleno (twice a year).
Let us be Good Samaritans to East Timor
Provide the care the country needs so desperately
In the long term, it will:
■ Plan a Vocational Mission School offering technical courses e.g., electrical, plumbing, machinery tools, and book-keeping, to equip the youth with technical skills relevant to the economy of the nation;
■ Start village/cottage industries to help the women with incomegenerating work, e.g., mushroom-farming, FAITH
garden, weaving-cotton etc; and
■ Make Christ-like disciples via evangelisation activities.
East Timor needs an encounter with Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life. Hence, a critical need is to saturate East Timor with Great Commission churches.
It is God’s nature to care for the afflicted, poor and oppressed. In Psalm 68:5, it says of God: “A father of the atherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.” That is the character of God. He is a father to the
fatherless and a defender to the widows.”
Then in Psalm 103:6, it says: “The Lord executes righteousness. And justice for all who are oppressed.”
Come and join the MMS in this exciting journey. What does it mean to love people who are in need? Good intentions alone are not enough!
We need to put love into action and that means to love your neighbour, East Timor. Putting love into action is giving to the Lord so that we can make a difference.
Christian giving is the grace of God at work. God wants to express His character through us (1 Chronicles 29:11). Christian giving is a choice of faith that is not manipulated by emotion or the need for social approval. Giving is an expression of a Christian’s thanksgiving to God for His surpassing grace and a means of supplying the needs of God’s people so that they in turn will be encouraged and will praise God (2 Corinthians 9:12-13).
As God’s stewards and His church, we are accountable for every talent, time and treasure that God has entrusted to us – which we are to use to serve others faithfully (1 Peter 4:10).
We must first offer ourselves to the Lord and then to others in keeping with God’s will (2 Corinthians 8:5).
No matter where we may already be involved in regional missions, we can do more. We can go the extra mile and be East Timor’s Good Samaritan to give the country the attention it deserves and the care it so desperately needs.
To “sow” in biblical times was to take some seeds in one’s hands, to “let them go” so that they could scatter in the places where they might grow. The growing of the seeds and the harvesting is not our business – that’s God’s. Our business is to take the seeds that are in our hands and simply let go of that which we know belong to God.
Will you begin “sowing” in partnership with MMS for God’s people in East Timor? Col (Ret) Quek Koh Eng is the Home Director of the Methodist Missions Society.
He made two exploratory field visits to East Timor in May and October last year, and subsequently a trip to confirm the adoption of the villages and ministry work in the first week of May this year. These field trips have left him a deep impression and understanding of the challenges in relation to the country’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and problems facing the Government and the people of East Timor.