What does an air-conditioned room with power-point presentations in an urban center have in common with a rural, dirt-floor church and a circle of plastic chairs? The two are both venues for grassroots theological education in Timor-Leste.Read more
“No os olvidéis de la hospitalidad, porque por ella algunos, sin saberlo, hospedaron ángeles.” Hebreos 13:2
Una tarde lluviosa, Alberto, el pastor interino local, y yo compartimos la Biblia con los pocos jóvenes que vinieron. De repente, dos desconocidos se acercaron a la puerta de la iglesia. Greg, brasileño, y Joyce, de Malasia, viajaban por todo el sudeste asiático. Los dos viajaban con poco equipaje; cada uno con sólo una pequeña mochila.Read more
…we walk by faith and not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7
On Tuesday I was at one of the weekly home worship gatherings that form a core part of the pastoral ministry for the Protestant Church in Timor Leste(IPTL). The house where we were was typical of many in Timor Leste: a simple corrugated iron shack with a rock foundation and a dirt floor. Such houses don’t have windows so the host had left both the back and front doors open to allow light to shine on our gathering. Out the back door I could see the neighbor processing food gathered from the surrounding forest. Through the front door I could see inside our host’s kitchen. A mound of earth with a fire on top was cooking something in a smoke-stained kettle. Our gathering included two moms and ten children, ages 5 to 17. Alberto, the pastoral intern, was sharing a reflection on Matthew 5:13-14. He proclaimed to the gathered community: “…You are the salt of the earth…you are the light of the world.” As I heard that, I was reminded how often the Bible draws our attention away from the rich and powerful and toward the poor, the meek and those who mourn (Matt. 5:3-5). And that is where our attention has been as we settle back into our ministry in Lospalos.Read more
Last week I was talking with a pastor friend in Minnesota who I check in with occasionally for support and reflection. I asked him what it was like being a pastor in America these days. He said, “…Actually, the task of the church has never been more clear.” He went on to talk about how he sees that task amidst the current events unfolding in the United States. Here in Timor-Leste, I feel a similar clarity in terms of the task before our partner church, the Protestant Church of Timor-Leste (IPTL) and by extension, our role as Global Ministries mission personnel.Read more
Lectionary Selection: John 9:1-41
Prayers for East Timor:
A Man Blind from Birth Receives Sight
“The disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s work might be revealed in him.”
Each day in Clinic Immanuel Lospalos, as we address people’s health concerns, continue to help us provide any physical healing that we can. But people also come to our clinic seeking spiritual healing. God, continue to help us provide patients with another way of “seeing” illness, helping them understand that illness is not just something that someone else, living or passed, makes happen to them.
This way of seeing also holds people accountable, and so help us as we teach people each day how their behaviors directly affect health.
For the mind-body-spirit medicine that is reaching people every day in our clinic in Lospalos, we pray. For the possibility to continue the teaching and healing that happens here, we pray. And for the vision of our partners, the Protestant Church in East Timor, to see how best to support the continued work of Clinic Immanuel, we pray.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
One rainy afternoon, Alberto, the local pastoral intern, and I were Bible sharing with the few youth who came. Suddenly, two strangers walked up to the church door. Greg, a Brazilian, and Joyce, from Malaysia, were traveling all over Southeast Asia. The two traveled light; each with just a small backpack.Read more
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.Read more
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…
Well, 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.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Luke 18:9-14
Prayers for East Timor:
This is a prayer in the time of transitions.
God, be with us as we walk through this world, doing the best we can, wherever we are. Help us to see ourselves for who we are. Help us to take off the blinders we wear that keep us from seeing our arrogance, our insensitivity, our self-righteousness. Help us to see ourselves in the way that YOU see us: with compassionate eyes. Remind us not to be ashamed of who we are, ever.
For our partners in the Protestant Church of East Timor, in a time of transition, we pray for the synod, for guidance in leading the Church forward. For Fusona, the Church’s mission branch, we pray for good leadership. And for us, help us to always be compassionate and humble as we accompany our partners in the daily walk of life. God, hear our prayers.Read more