Over the next week and a half, three ministers of the Presbyterian Church of Australia are responding to an invitation to visit the Congregations of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Timor Leste.
As an introduction and background brief here are some words from Rev. Robert Benn, the Moderator General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia:
BACK TO EAST TIMOR
Beginning in 2000 the Australian Presbyterian World Mission began to form relationships with the Protestant Church of East Timor.
This church commenced at a local level in the 60s, but it was hard going until the Portuguese departed, and amidst considerable bloodshed, Indonesia became the colonial authority. The Indonesians gave a confession, a structure and credence to the young church. It grew rapidly.
In 1999 the East Timorese folk were given the opportunity of a referendum – integration with Indonesia or Independence. Independence was chosen, and again, amidst much bloodshed the world’s newest independent state was born. As a result, the church rapidly grew smaller as many members of the church were in fact Indonesian. Now the leadership is in the hands of young and inexperienced East Timorese folk. There was much tension.
APWM found cooperation and partnership with them very difficult, and that partnership was discontinued several years ago.
But it was difficult also for the East Timor Protestant Church.
Ultimately in August last year the decision was made that the old church would continue to minister in the ‘Eastern Kingdom’ and that a new church would minister to the ‘Southern and Western Kingdoms’. The new church is called The Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
The Moderator of the EPC is Rev Arlindo Marcal, who is also Rector of the Dili University and has been Ambassador from East Timor to Indonesia.
As soon as the new church was born in August 2008, the Moderator sent me the Macedonian Call, ‘Come over and help us.’
On Thursday this week Rob Duncanson (minister of the Darwin congregation and convener of the PIM committee), Gary Ware (minister of Mt Gambier and moderator of the SA church) and I will depart for East Timor.
There we will meet with church leaders, and enter into discussions with them regarding this Macedonian Call, and will visit the 17 congregations that have become part of the EPC during the past 9 months. Accommodation in the country areas?? It will certainly be interesting.
So now, how to pray?
* that all discussions concerning the proposed partnership will be
* that the results of the Pauline Macedonian Call will be seen in this
visit too, that the hearts of people will be turned to the Lord
* that foundations that will be laid for building partnership which will
be sturdy, wise and Biblically appropriate
* that our ministry side by side with local leadership will glorify God,
and will be a clarion call to repentance, faith, and lives lived in such a
way that others will be drawn to Christ (local mission)
* that we will stay well as we will be eating and drinking everything local
Thank you dear friends for your support in prayer.
More tomorrow. Perhaps our initial itinerary to further direct your prayers.