Those of you who have been following our itinerary will have noticed that today was ‘wrap up’ day. If you haven’t known what you’ve been praying for in anticipation of this day, well neither have we.
We knew we would be meeting with some of the leadership of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Timor Leste and considering some directions that our relationship might take. You will remember that our purpose in visiting has been to: encourage a newly emerging Presbyterian church; respond to a call to help from the nearest Presbyterian church to our shores; and investigate the possibility of entering into partnership with the EPC-TL.
As we are carrying out this work on behalf of mission partners/APWM, you will understand that our findings and recommendation will appear in a report which they will consider and act upon in due course. Mission partners/APWM will not first read those details in this blog.
The day began with breakfast and some consideration of the issues we wanted to raise at our meeting. Gary Ware was able to finish the details of yesterday’s activity and head around to the Xanana Gusmao reading room in order to post a bumper amount of information on the blog. We had arrived back last night and we walked past the center at around 9.20 with Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s entries only to find the attendant had gone home well before the 10.00pm advertised closing time. Oh well. Flexibility.
By the time I walked out of the centre Daniel Marcel drove past, already having picked up Robert Benn and Rob Duncanson. The four of drove to the office of the agency for which Daniel works as Director. It is a branch of the Church World Service, an ecumenical aid body. Daniel’s branch in Dili is charged with HIV/Aids education. None of the ministers of the EPC-TL have been full time in church work since their formation. They all work other jobs to provide a wage.
Daniel has invited us to meet with some of the members of his staff so that we can learn of the work they carry out. This is a dimension of life in Timor Leste with which we have had little contact. The CWS carry out a dual role: education and support. Education attempts to minimize the spread of HIV/Aids and the support role seeks to carry out advocacy for those who are ill or are affected by the illness of others. Of course the work is under funded.
As we eat a lunch that Daniel has provided, pastors of the EPC-TL arrive. Our meeting starts about 1.00pm. By 4.00pm we are finished. The following comments are meant to be general and not policy statements. Please pray that the desire of the leaders of the EPC-TL to nurture a church that can take its place among the other faithful churches of the worldwide Presbyterian family can be honoured. Please pray that they and the people of the church will remain faithful to the narrow path they have chosen and resist temptation to return to the less faithful way. Please pray that a future of useful partnership with Christians of other nations will serve the Gospel cause in Timor Leste.
After our meeting we try to do some shopping. As mentioned some days ago, most foreigners seem to be in Timor Leste as workers, not tourists. Shopping is very dull. I imagine in time the retail opportunities will grow. That will carry problems of its own. As we continue to walk we meet a young man who seems affected by something, hopefully nothing worse that alcohol. He seems happy enough and eventually loses interest in escorting us.
We return to the Turismo for a little time of refreshment. Tonight we will have a final dinner, it is sure to be a happy time now that our minds are clear of agendas and things to be done.
Our flight is due to leave at 9.00am tomorrow morning. That will leave us time for one more very special activity. If all goes according to plan we will join some of the Australian Defence Forces for their Dawn Service at 5.45am. This is GW’s one willing early morning of the year. Perhaps we will encounter RD’s Darwin friend Dave on this special day.
Thanks for your interest, prayers and encouragement.
The next post you read will be lodged from Darwin.

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