St Paul Methodist School

St Paul Methodist School
St Paul Methodist School
Artist's impression of new school

The work of renewing minds, awakening hearts and transforming lives

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.” (Lamentations 3:21, NIV)

Minds renewed
I call to mind the love of God that compelled Methodist Missions Society (MMS) to start St Paul Methodist School (SPMS) in Timor-Leste in 2016. In a country with a predominantly Catholic population and whose future hinges on the quality of its education, Timor-Leste was seen as an opportunity to do good (Galatians 6:10) by starting an English-medium school to bring holistic education to Timor-Leste children and youth. From a humble beginning of only 18 students in Grade 7 (Secondary 1 equivalent), SPMS now has 500 students and staff across Grades 1 to 12.

Therefore, I have hope that God will use SPMS to renew the minds of the students with the mind of Christ. Why? Because the steadfast love of God never ceases and his love will continue to establish SPMS’ work.

Hearts awakened
I call to mind the compassion of God that has drawn the Timorese children and youth to experience the Father heart of God through SPMS. Through daily devotions, Christian-based curriculum, and weekly Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade programmes at the school, God’s compassion for his people has indeed caused hearts to be awakened, as their minds are renewed.

John (not his real name) joined SPMS in Grade 7. He was disruptive in school and constantly challenging authority. Teachers and classmates would avoid confrontations with him if possible and let him have his way.

John’s attitude and behaviour often got him into trouble and he was brought to my attention. However, every time I rebuked and corrected him, I saw a broken spirit within him crying out, “Help me! Show me! Love me for who I am.” As I meted out punishment, I would see a young man longing for a father to believe in him and to discipline him to walk in the path of righteousness.

One day, after I had punished him, he turned to say, “I have never felt my parents care for me like you do. I know you care; that is why you punish me.” That brought tears to my eyes. I am thankful for being able to carry the compassion of God the Father into John’s life.

Therefore, I have hope that God will use SPMS to open the eyes of every student’s heart to see him. Why? Because God’s compassions never fail. They are new every morning.

Lives transformed
I call to mind the faithfulness of God that never fails to meet the school’s every need. With the exponential increase in student enrolment each year, God has provided SPMS two temporary physical locations and seven buses so that we are able to provide education to all 475 students (of whom 200 are new students for the year). Though the school walls are bursting because of the increase, God has promised that he himself will be the “wall of fire” around it (Zechariah 2:4-5).

God’s faithfulness is further seen when he finally gave MMS a three-hectare piece of land in Metinaro, Dili this year for building SPMS’ permanent home. The acquisition of land took three years to finalise.

When the SPMS building project is completed in 2023, I believe the in-dwelling presence and glory of God within SPMS will transform the lives of all students whom he calls to have their minds renewed and hearts awakened through SPMS education.

Therefore, I have hope that God will use SPMS to transform the students’ lives to serve His purpose for each generation in Timor-Leste and the nations beyond. Why? Because great is God’s faithfulness—he will establish SPMS forever for his faithfulness endures to all generations.

As you call these to mind, may you abound in hope together with us by

  • Helping to share with others God’s goodness seen in SPMS’ development
  • Offering your God-given gifts and talents to support the work of SPMS
  • Praying for SPMS
  • Encouraging students to get an education in SPMS through your financial support

David Chan is the Director of St Paul Methodist School (Timor-Leste). He is a member of Aldersgate Methodist Church. / Photos courtesy of David Chan and St Paul Methodist School