Our team of seven members from different backgrounds and cell groups came together with a shared purpose – to make a difference in the lives of the Timorese. This shared purpose drew us together and kept us united in the intensive planning and preparations that started a month before the trip.
At one of the sessions, we shared our reasons for going on the trip to understand and support each other better.
Beyond the team building sessions organised by the church, we also had an additional session held at our team leader Lydia’s place.
13 June – We were ready to embark on our journey with the well wishes of many, including Pastor Sor Kim who came down in the early hours of the morning to send us off.
Upon reaching Dili Airport, we were warmly welcomed by Pastor Catherine and Ai Kit and made our way to Faith House, which would be our accommodation for the trip. After settling down, we had our first dinner in Timor Leste before getting ready to run our first Sports Day the following day!
We ran our first Sports Day for the lower primary students in one of the public schools. To ensure the children understood the instructions, our team members would perform a demonstration after Pastor Catherine’s instructions in Tetum. The children participated enthusiastically and those whose team came in first or second went back beaming with achievement.
In the evening, after our successful run of Sports Day, we went to a local night market to try some of the local snacks. Evening was usually a time when we would get ready for the next day’s programme, and ensure that all required items were packed and everyone was ready.
We held a children’s programme at one of the villages and it was quite an eye-opening experience to see the children gather spontaneously to participate in the games and songs. With very simple props, we performed a skit on the life of Joseph, focusing on the forgiveness he released to his brothers who harmed him (Genesis 37-46). After the skit, we invited the children to follow the example of Joseph to forgive their friends or siblings whom they had been angry or upset with.
We ran our first Sunday School programme at New Community Church. It was complete with mass ice-breakers, songs, a skit on the parable of the lost sheep and a related craft activity, where the children could make a paper sheep and be reminded of God’s care for them. What surprised us was that we need not buy cotton as it could be found in the wild, and we had much fun preparing the organic cotton.
The most intense preparations of the trip was for the Youth Outreach Programme, which involved a two-hour Amazing Race as well as training Christian youths to serve as leaders. These youths ran sections of the Amazing Race for their invited friends. Through the race, we hope we managed to impress upon the youths the value of unity and appreciation.
Day 6 & 7
We ran three more sessions of Sports Day at two different schools. Though the children and settings changed, the values of effort and fair play, which we wanted to inculcate, remained. Pastor Catherine would share about these values before we bid the children goodbye.
As the trip drew to a close, we took time out for some recreational activities. We had lunch at Proema – an organisation that seeks to empower vulnerable young women in underdeveloped communities, before heading up to Cristo Rei.
20 June – As we started on our journey home, we exchanged notes of appreciation and our reflections on the plane.
It was amazing to see the goodness, provision and work of God not only in Timor, but in each of the members as we shared our lives with each other during this trip. We are thankful for Pastor Catherine and Ai Kit who taught us what it means to be faithful stewards of God and to prioritise our relationship with Him during the time we spent together. May God continue to raise up many to advance His Kingdom’s cause and transform the nation of Timor Leste.