timor-leste – a lesson in christianity

… for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

We, my husband and I, have just returned from seventeen days in Timor-Leste. Those days were some of the best I have experienced.

Our little church in Western Australia heeded the call of some of our fellow Christians in Timor-Leste to help with resources. Les went to Timor-Leste in October last year with another Christian group and met with some of those who had made the call for help.

In response to the call for help, we saw a chapel being built in the mountainous area of Bazartete, the renovation of a church in Liquica and the extensive restoration of a church in Loes. The people who benefitted from our provisions were extremely grateful and showed their gratitude in so many different ways.

But our team of nine who went to Timor-Leste were impressed upon much more than the people to whom we went to minister.

We found a people who are rich in so many ways that we the ‘rich’ in Australia know little of. We found the Timor-Leste people generous, humble and resourceful. And in spite of what many have suffered over the last several decades, we found them more content with their lot. As one woman stated to me, ‘ I don’t have much, and I don’t want much. I just want to live for Jesus.’

The Timor-Leste Christians are more open to the leading of Christ, more tender-hearted in their response to the call of God on their lives, more willing to sacrifice and share what little they have. Most of the time, souls are won for Christ through their righteous, and sacrificial living.

Many of the Timor-Leste people live in what we in the wealthy west would call less than healthy, comfortable conditions. Some practices we found difficult to handle: throwing rubbish onto the ground, spitting and grey water being allowed to freely flow across paths where adults and barefoot children walk, all of which we find unhealthy and unsightly.

Other practices such as bathing with cold water and squat toilets are typical of Asian countries. And more could be said about the dusty two hour rides in the back of a truck, the poor condition of the roads, the beautiful food and scenery.

But, all that said, we westerners are the richer for having shared in their little.


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I am a Christian and my purpose in life is to give honour to the Lord Jesus Christ in all I do and say.

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