East Timor

In September we had visitors from our home church, Peace UCC, in Duluth, Minnesota. Pastor Paul VanAntwerp and Tom and Linda Curran spent one full week with us in East Timor, taking time out of their busy lives to travel half way around the world to see life on the other side of the globe on this tiny half-island nation.

In September we had visitors from our home church, Peace UCC, in Duluth, Minnesota.  Pastor Paul VanAntwerp and Tom and Linda Curran spent one full week with us in East Timor, taking time out of their busy lives to travel half way around the world to see life on the other side of the globe on this tiny half-island nation.

During the visit, Tom and Monica carried on life as usual.  Monica worked in the clinic each day, seeing the usual cases of coughs, diarrhea, worms and other assorted aches and pains.  Tom worked on the clinic rehabilitation that he has undertaken in earnest this fall, and also attended worship services in church members' homes.  Our Peace friends sat with us, observing, assisting, painting, teaching English to the clinic staff.  Pastor Paul led several home worship services and Tom Curran even computerized our clinic accounting system. 

Each day, we ate together, prayed together, and took walks around the village.  We shared stories about home in Duluth, and stories of life in Lospalos, East Timor.  It was an opportunity for us to recognize the privilege of serving in mission and remember with joy the importance of a supportive church community at home.  We also discussed the give and take of mission.  We spend less time on the phone and more time talking with our neighbors face to face.  We are less aware of global news but acutely tuned in to the hardships and successes of our local community. 

The reality that most people in the world live preoccupied with survival is not lost on us in East Timor, reflected Tom and Linda upon their return to Minnesota. 

Indeed, as we write, we greet the beginning of the hot, humid season and we anxiously await the rain.  As Americans prepare for the holidays and see snow in places like northern Minnesota, Timorese people have been preparing their fields and planting corn.  All is dependent on the weather.  Planting too soon, before the rains begin in earnest, can mean crop failure.  This can mean a hungry season, with not enough food to last throughout the year.  In a country where most people's livelihoods depend on growing their own food, where most “jobs” are farming one's own land, survival is indeed a preoccupation.

We hope and we pray that this season is better than the last.

In the meantime, with temperatures reaching at least 32 degrees Celsius and the usual accompanying tropical humidity, Tom has put his carpenters' belt back on.  Enlisting four local men to assist, Tom has re-roofed the clinic, painted the clinic exterior, replaced rotten framing, and upgraded an assortment of windows, doors and shelves.  The local workers have enthusiastically engaged in the projects.  Certainly, too, they must feel thankful for the work.

We ask for your prayers for East Timor this season.  May the rains be plentiful, the crops  abundant, and the land and people healthy and strong. 

Monica and Tom Liddle
Lospalos, East Timor

Tom and Monica Liddle serve with the Protestant Church of East Timor.  Tom serves as a facilitator for church programs; teaching English and helping with worship leadership in village churches.  Monica works as a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) in Immanuel Clinic Lospalos, which is run by the FUSONA, the relief and development wing of the IPTL. Monica's appointment is supported by One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS).

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