by Delphne Tan
The team comprised of 13 members: five children and eight adults. Three of the adults were GKidz leaders and the others, members of FCBC. Our preparation for the trip included five pre-trip sessions, where we planned and rehearsed the carnival and Christmas programme. This team included two members who had already been to Timor Leste before, and could provide insight to the locations and the people.
Two weeks before the trip, we were informed that Viqueque had to host local government officials, and we could not stay there. Pastor Catherine Foo had to find alternative lodging for the team in Viqueque. As such, we stayed at Motel Borala for the five nights that we were in Viqueque.
Dinner was cooked by Pastor Catherine’s landlady, and every night we were very well fed. Breakfast was eaten in the hotel, consisting of bread and fried eggs. Lunch was at a small café near Dream Centre.
We arrived in Dili, and stayed at the Hotel Colmera. The night was spent preparing for the Christmas skit.
After a very scrumptious breakfast, we left for Viqueque at 8.00am. We passed through the district of Manatuto, and visited the home of a missionary couple from Singapore. We stopped for lunch at Baucau. We then passed through the sub-district of Ossu in the district of Viqueque, which had beautiful scenery. We arrived at Viqueque in the afternoon. After settling into Motel Borala, we proceeded to Dream Centre to pack for the next day. That night the Lord sent rain to Viqueque and there was a thunderstorm. The power in the area went off. It was an answered prayer because it had not rained in Viqueque for six months, but that night it poured for hours.
That morning’s word was that the Lord wants to give hope to the people we will encounter. God was also preparing the ground, with the rain that poured the night before. We set off for the furthest village of Lugasa. The carnival and Christmas programme happened as planned, but there was an issue with the translation because we could not rehearse in advance. The village also spoke the dialect of Makasai, and took longer to translate from English due to the lack of specific vocabulary. The teenage boys of the village stood at the back of the shelter commenting and shouting, without participating. There was a language barrier because of the translation. The atmosphere also felt hostile. We felt like we were not really welcomed in the village.
That afternoon we went back to Dream Centre for the English Camp held for older teens (12 – 18 years old). That afternoon, many teens were late, and we only began the programme at 4.00pm. The programme had to be changed to fit into one hour. The focus of the camp was on the Fruits of the Spirit, and that afternoon we discussed “Joy”. We had a time of prayer after the session and we saw God ministering to a few of the teens. Many of these teenagers prayed to receive Jesus before, but they do not attend church. It was a powerful time with the teens as we could sense them opening up to us.
We went to the village of Bibileo. On the way there, we stopped by to pray for the sister church that was being built by the Christian Vision Church in the village of Luca. While praying for the church, Joshua, one of the children, saw the number “3” and Joni prayed and received the words “Faith, Hope and Love”, which were also the words written on Denise’s shirt. The word was affirmed, that the church will be built on Faith, Hope and Love of Christ. At Bibileo we were met with many school children from the nearby school, who were on their break. After the carnival, the children were called back to school, and we were afraid we might not have time to put on the skit for them. But thank God, their teachers released them and they came back. The children were very receptive to the programme and were visibly more engaged than the previous village.
After Bibileo, we proceeded to the village of Luca to conduct the same programme. The children were very engaged, and excited about our programme. The older teens were helpful, and would help to give instructions to the younger ones too.
In the afternoon, the English Camp’s focus was on “Kindness”. We taught the students phrases of kindness and ways to show kindness to their family and friends. It was lovely to see the teenagers thanking one another and learning to apologise. Apparently in their local language there is no word for “sorry”. It is a word borrowed from Portugese. After the lesson, we managed to have a short time of prayer ministry for the teens and saw many of them open up about their problems. After that, everyone stayed in Dream Centre and we sang songs of praises for another hour. It was amazing that despite the language difference, we were able to be so comfortable with one another.
We went to the village of Fatudere. This village was by far, the most receptive to our team. Parents and older teens would gather around the shelter to watch the children play. They were welcoming, and smiled at us. The children were very excited to see us. After the programme, we went to the nearby beach to play. We were warned against going into the water. A week before we arrived, a girl from another nearby village was killed by a big crocodile while fishing.
In the afternoon, we taught the teenagers “Peace”. How to have peace, and to make peace with one another. We felt that this generation needs to know God’s peace, and how to live peacefully. With their horrific past as a young nation, they tend to be more suspicious of others, and are aggressive. As we taught them about peace, we could see that many of them needed to know that God has a perfect plan for them. We taught them to memorise Jeremiah 29:11 in English, and in Tetum.
In the morning, we went to the local church. We conducted the children’s programme for the church. The children were very different from the children at the villages. They were a tad slower in understanding the lesson, and less energetic. When the church was discussing their Christmas programme, it somehow felt like a family discussion.
We stopped by the convent after church to meet the orphans that the church sponsors. While most of them are still underweight, they are eating enough and are well taken care of. These children joined us in the afternoon for the programme.
In the afternoon, we conducted the Christmas programme at Dream Centre, with all the children whom we had met over the last few days. They were so excited to finally play the games they saw us preparing. After the programme, we had a lot of fun playing outside Dream Centre, some played football, others jumped rope. It was amazing to just amongst the children and have fun.
Day 7 & 8
We drove back from Viqueque to Dili, stopping by for lunch at Manatuto with the other missionaries and their friends. We spent the evening walking up to the statue of Jesus at Cristo Rei and had dinner by the ocean. We then went for some shopping, and then flew home to Singapore.