Missions, Outreach

MMS to help foster culture of peace in Timor Leste



Missionaries creating ripples of impact: More village chiefs want to invite them to conduct English lessons

THE Methodist Missions Society (MMS), together with Transformation Alliance (TA), is committed to helping to foster a culture of reconciliation and peace in Timor Leste.

We must continue to serve with joyful patience filled with hope.

The Lord has laid upon our hearts a simple community-based action plan, aimed at building relationship through communication and personal skills, sports, dialogue and simple activities.

My recent trip in March revealed that the people of Timor Leste are desperately seeking reconciliation and peace. There was no more domestic, political and communal violence and I pray it will be a thing of the past for the country.

In its long struggle for freedom, the people of Timor Leste have lived through great suffering, trauma and violence. The civil unrest of 2006 and the assassination attempts on both the President and the Prime Minister were tell-tale signs that all is not well for the nation.

However, from 2008 onwards, there were signs that the country was heading towards national peace and reconciliation.

Let us pray and declare God’s word over Timor Leste: “I will bring health and healing … and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security … Then this country will bring Me renown, joy, praise and honour before all nations on earth that hear all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide it.” – Jeremiah 33: 6-9 (NIV).

Our missionary, Ms Julia Sin from Living Hope Methodist Church, left for Timor Leste in July 2008 and was seconded to the TA office in Dili in transition to learn the Tetun language and understand the local culture and custom of the people. In early February this year, together with Ms Wendy Wee, also from Living Hope MC, they went to establish their ministry base and mission house in Gleno, Ermera District.

Ms Sin, who had served faithfully for more than 10 years as a missionary in Argentina, speaks fluent Spanish, which is similar to Portuguese. Her ability to communicate effectively in Spanish, besides Tetun, fits in well with the local people, government officials and many Brazilian missionaries in Timor. Ms Wee, on the other hand, speaks good Bahasa.

In their short stay in Gleno, God’s favour was evidently upon them. The Lord opened doors for them to teach two classes a week in the Hope Kindergarten for children, whose ages range from four to seven. The classes are taught according to the curriculum of the Ministry of Education.

As a result, many children in the neighbourhood have approached them to teach English. They started to teach the children Basic Interactive English in March. The classes are conducted at their mission house’s front porch. Ms Wee is teaching a class of 24 children every Saturday. The children are aged from nine to 15. As the numbers are increasing there may be a need to split the class or find a bigger location.

On Feb 24, the chief of Talimoro Village in Gleno, Mr Martinho Soares Martins, invited them to teach English to his youths. He opened the village Community Hall to allow Ms Sin to conduct English classes twice a week. About 20 youths are in the class.

She is also conducting English lessons at the Government Ministry classroom on Tuesdays and Fridays. Twenty-two students from various ministries are attending.

In addition, she is teaching 19 staff members from Gleno Hospital, including its director, twice a week.

Ms Sin and Ms Wee have created ripples of impact in Gleno, and now more village chiefs want to invite them to teach English.

Our missionaries’ primary work for now is to build lasting relationships and help to restore peace in Gleno, Ermera. This is done through the conduct of English classes, sports and youth activities.

Pray that in the months to come, the Lord will open new opportunities to see discipling groups formed from the various English teaching classes.

The MMS plans to rent or build a Ministry/English Learning Centre in Gleno which will enable it to conduct English courses with certification. The centre will also be a platform to launch the MMS’ ministry activities and start a Youth Hub to expand the Children’s Interactive classes and conduct Bible Study classes.

Pray with us that God will provide us the necessary resources and manpower to implement the extension of His work in Timor Leste.

Col (Retd) Quek Koh Eng is an Area Director of the Methodist Missions Society.