What a great blessing it has been to share in the ministry of our partners in the Igreja Protestante Timor Loro'sae these past three years!
What a great blessing it has been to share in the ministry of our partners in the Igreja Protestante Timor Loro'sae these past three years! Although far from easy, our time here has been rich with mutual ministries of healthcare, education and proclamation. We give thanks for the many friends we have made here. Our partners walked with us through good times and bad, times of joy and times of sadness.
Last week we reflected on Paul's relationship with the church in Philippi as we thought about our own experience here. Paul planted the church in Philippi and the people in turn supported his ministry all over the Roman Empire. They helped him when he was sick, in prison and in need. He taught them the gospel. They lived it in return. In short, they “shared in the gospel,” embodying in their ministry together the Good News of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen for the salvation of the world.
As we come to the end of our time here in Lospalos, we reflect on the many ways we have been sustained by God's grace and built up, taught and supported by our partners here. We reflect on the ways we've been able to take part in the ministry of Immanuel Clinic and Immanuel Church. Monica has been consulting patients and teaching the staff daily for three years. Over 40,000 patients all together. New programs in malnutrition and outreach, HIV awareness and prenatal care have been started. Working together with local carpenters, Tom finished a renovation of the clinic and worked with local pastors on strengthening rural ministry in IPTL's struggling local churches.
And yet we believe the most important thing we have done is simply living here as a family alongside our Timorese friends. Hannah went to public school for two years. Simon was born in Lospalos and lived the first 2 ½ years of his life here. We learned the Tetum language (and Hannah learned Indonesian too!). We shared countless meals, trips to the market, afternoon teas, evening chats, games with kids. The value of those things is simply immeasurable. By God's grace we formed relationships with people across many boundaries: race, class, education and language to name just a few. That people can become so close despite what seem to be so many differences is quite simply nothing less than the Holy Spirit working among us – and the greatest reason for hope.
Thank you for your support and prayers during these years. And thanks be to God!
Tom, Monica, Hannah and Simon
Tom and Monica Liddle served with the Protestant Church of East Timor. Tom served as a facilitator for church programs; teaching English and helping with worship leadership in village churches. Monica worked 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 was supported by One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS).