Missionary Stories

Settling in to Our New Normal in Lospalos

Well, America has a new president, and it’s a new year.  Here in East Timor, we have settled in to our new normal here in Lospalos, none too soon.  It has been a more painful than usual transition period for us, despite returning to a familiar place.  We did expect a rocky path back to Timor.  But as you know, when you are actually experiencing things, not just imagining how they might be, well, reality sometimes hurts.

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Wait with Anticipation

Wait with anticipation is the age-old theme of Advent. As a child I (Karen) remember waiting with anticipation for Christmas morning when my brother, sister, and I would fly downstairs to piles of bright gifts beneath a spruce covered in glitter and glass ornaments. Sunday School had taught me there was a connection between God’s gift of love in the birth of Jesus and our giving gifts to one another. But in a youngster’s imagination, that meaning became murky—there was always a disconnect between the message of a baby born in a stinky manger (notice how the stink is never mentioned; surely it stank as any livestock owner knows) and the glitter of toys.

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It's Christmas

It's Christmas, O Holy One. We give thanks that the season and the day are here. For two thousand years the birth day of Jesus has been a time to remember - celebrate and remember your gifts of love and hope, peace and joy.  We remember also what our world is like now - wars, natural disasters, climate change, greed and poverty, food enough for all people but not enough desire to send it where it is needed.

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Advent Poem for Timor

based on Isa. 2:1-5

In days to come,
     Children in Timor shall have enough to eat,
     Because no longer shall there be a “hungry season”
     Or fear of scarcity…

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Adventures in Hospitality

East_Timor_-_Liddle_Oct_2016_pic1.jpgWell, it’s late October and it appears that the rainy season is upon us.  Normally it starts sometime in November or December but people around Lospalos are already planting corn, so there seems to be a sense that the rains have come to stay.

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International Day of Peace at the Institute of Religion, Culture & Peace

Thailand_-_Peace_Story_2016_Pic1.jpgOn September 21, 2016 the Institute of Religion, Culture & Peace hosted a large event celebrating the International Day of Peace established by the UN in 2002. As the program facilitator, it was my job to organize the event and see that it ran smoothly. The day began with 2 peacebuilding workshops facilitated by PhD in Peace Studies students Eva Mazharenko and Qamaruzzaman Amir. Eva’s workshop was for adults in the Chiang Mai community including 21 monks from Wat Suan Dok English Center and Qamaruzzaman’s workshop included groups from 4 local international high schools. Both workshops were centered on creating cultures of inclusive communities.

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Coming to Thailand Again!

Thailand_-_RB_IMG_2616.JPGI came to Thailand about two weeks ago to work at Christian University of Thailand (C.U.T.) It is a campus located 31 kilometers west of the big city of Bangkok and has around 3,000 students in bachelor, masters and doctoral programs. My assignment is to teach English, Psychology, and Religious Studies in the Multidisciplinary College of C.U.T. Years ago, I taught at Thammasat University, a prestigious public university in Bangkok, so I knew a little of what to expect.

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Praise and Worship

Williams__Sarah_Sept_2016_pic1_resized.jpgPraise and Worship can be practiced in many different ways and in many different places.  It can make you feel a wide range of emotions from rejuvenation and joy, to deep sorrow.  In India I have had the opportunity to experience many types of praise and worship.  Most services I have attended in churches involve around 30 minutes of prayer and song.  One person is on the microphone praying to God and giving thanks while a keyboardist, or sometimes a full band, provide musical support while others sing in the background.  Usually during this portion of the service people are standing, deep in prayer with hands lifted to the sky praying to and thanking the Lord.

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Getting Settled

East_Timor_Liddles_Aug_2016_pic1.jpgIt’s been a busy two months in Timor!  We go back and forth between feeling totally at home, like we never left Lospalos, and wondering where on earth we are.  It’s a confusing but natural part of making the transition to living in a culture so different from our own.

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Running Away, part 2

Sri_Lanka_-_JK_Sept_2016_pic1.jpgAfter the trip to Colombo with the school group was over but for going back to Karainagar, we didn’t.  We took an early train headed for the interior of Sri Lanka – and mountains!  We were excited to be heading for mountains – the area we live in is hot, humid and flat, and we wanted to spend time in the mountains to see if there are any real lumps and bumps in Sri Lanka.

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