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Another Load Of Knitted Items Loaded And Ready For Dispatch

20140410-084551.jpgMGPC Coffee & Craft filled all these bags with knitted items and have sent them to the transport company that will take them to Sydney where they’ll be put to use by APWM.
There’s still plenty left, though.

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A Report On The Visit Of Two Davids To Timor Leste (via Bondia Timor Leste)

Bondia Timor Leste reports on:

David Jones (Moderator General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia) and David Burke (lecturer at Presbyterian Theological Centre Sydney) visited Timor Leste in June 2013. Their visit was part of the ongoing partnership between IETPL and APWM and was for the purpose of conducting ministry training at Liquica for local church workers.

Read about everything at Bondia Timor Leste.
You’ll even see a pic of a Moderator-General on a motor bike.

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Presbyterians From Australian & East Timor Sign Partnership Agreement

Post and all images copied from Bondia Timor Leste with thanks to Rob Duncanson:

Partnership Certificate

Partnership Certificate

On Friday 20th July Robert Benn, Rob Duncanson, Daniel Marcal (Moderator) and three other members of the Synod Executive of IEPTL  spent over five hours writing out an
agreement and translating it into Indonesian. This was a great way to get to the real meaning of the partnership and also to ensure that every detail was from the hearts of both parties.

Before signing off on the agreement we paused to recount the history of our relationship, and our aspirations for the advance of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus in our neighbouring countries.  Robert B recounted his first visit to Timor Leste in early 2000 when the whole country was in turmoil with militia rampant, the church in tatters and very real concerns as to whether or not the country would survive the pangs of its re-birth as an independent nation. He then spoke of the birth of the church, and our delight in our partnership with them, which gives us such great encouragement in serving the Lord Jesus together.

After this time of recollection of the Lord’s hand upon us, we signed the document and prayed, giving thanks for the Lord’s goodness and committing the future and each other into His hands.

We rejoice in this “Marker Point” in our history together, and pray that under the Lord’s good hand, that there may be glory brought to His Name and strength brought to His church.


Robert Benn & Daniel Marcal


Below is the text of the agreement:-




Partnership Agreement (2012 – 2017)

with God’s help we will seek to:

pray for each other’s welfare, witness and growth in grace as Paul did for the Thessalonian church (1 Thessalonians 1:2,3),

communicate openly with each other concerning the life of our church (both joys and hardships) so that we can better understand each other as Paul sought to do with the Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 1:13,14),

encourage, where practicable, good-will visits to each other, and use such face-to-face contact in order to develop mutual friendships for the glory of God, for the benefit of each church, and for the edification of church members, as is reflected in the John’s desire for the congregation which he loved (2 John 12).

Areas of ministry partnership:

In consultation with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Timor Leste (EPCTL), the Presbyterian Church of Australia (PCA), seeks to express this partnership in practical ways as set out below:

  • Sending servants of the Lord whose theological understanding and teaching is in conformity with the standards of both churches as taught in the Westminster Confession of Faith, for the ongoing development and strengthening of the congregations.
  • Sending volunteer missionaries at suitable times as required, to work under the direction of EPCTL Synod.
  • Promote local church (PCA) to local church (EPCTL) relationships for mutual support and encouragement.
  • Systematically inform PCA congregations and individuals of the need of resources for East Timor for use in the congregations, and other gospel causes as agreed by the Synod and the relevant body of the PCA.

The PCA will direct resources for ministry to the EPCTL as outlined above, but only as sufficient funds are available.

Working on the Translation

In consultation with the Presbyterian Church of Australia (PCA), the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Timor Leste (EPCTL), seeks to express this partnership in practical ways as set out below:

  • Prayer for the witness of the gospel in the land of Australia, and in particular prayer for the Presbyterian Church of Australia (PCA).
  • Providing regular and comprehensive reports to Robert Duncanson (current representative) of the Australian Presbyterian World Mission.  These reports relate to the allocation and distribution of material and financial support received from the PCA, and also to provide prayer and praise information for members of the PCA.
  • Welcoming visitors, short-term and long-term workers, and missionaries from the PCA, who have been approved by both churches, to strengthen the work of the ministry in East Timor.
  • As situations allow, and resources become available, the PCA will invite representatives from the EPCTL to inform the Australian churches generally of the situation in East Timor, and specifically of the EPCTL, and to minister in Australia as opportunity arises.

……………………………………………………………………… (Representing and on behalf of EPCTL Synod)

……………………………………………………………………… (Representing and on behalf of EPCTL Synod)

…………………………………………………………………….. (Representing and on behalf of the PCA)

…………………………………………………………………….. (Representing and on behalf of the PCA)

……………………………………………… date

L to R: Krisensio de Oliviera, Robert Benn, Daniel Marcal, Rob Duncanson, Saturnino Fereira, Mario de Jesus.

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Bible Translation In East Timor (via Bondia Timor Leste)

Someone asked me just the other day about translation work in Timor Leste.
I think it was Tim.
So, this post from Rob at Bondia Timor Leste is very timely.

Some of you have been asking about the Bible Translation and distribution in Timor Leste.
You will be pleased to know that work is progressing very well in many different directions.
Some highlights include:

  • We have recently heard the very encouraging news that the Gospel of Mark, which had a print run of over 20,000 copies is almost all sold out and will need a re-print very soon.
  • Some other parts of the Bible are also low on stocks, so likewise, will need reprinting.
  • Translation into Tetun of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Luke are progressing well and will be ready for a consultant check in May. When these books are printed (along with The Revelation and Philemon) it will take the tally up to 15 books translated (I think), plus a small number of other Bible booklets, materials and DVD’s etc.
  • Catharina Williams-van Klinken, the linguistic expert who leads the translation team in Dili, has been able to re-arrange her various responsibilities to allow her to spend more time with the translation work.
  • There is now a larger team consisting of around seven people working on various aspects of the translation which should expedite the task enormously.
  • The translation into the second largest language group (Mambae) has begun.
  • A retail outlet has been set up in Dili where people can shop for Tetun Scriptures.
Manura, artub too suli i lalai leom-leom rae id kala. Uri dega, rae too nei sidadi sagul. Ura tuir nambae ke Jesus fun sob la ura. Artub met-met ke flik nambae ke ura konta too, rom kauk ulu dega Dolo didi! – Mark 5:20.

Stuart Cameron (AuSIL), speaking at Darwin Pressies about Bible translation in SE Indonesia, Timor Leste and Australia.

These are the first draft of some of the first words to be translated in Mambae (So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.)

The Mambae translation is a wonderful advance in the work. Mambae is the heart language of about 80,000 people in Timor Leste and is the second largest local language. So far only Mark Chapter 5 and a few verses from Chapter 6 have been translated (in first draft) – but it is a great start.
The priority will still remain with the Tetun translation as this is official language, and the most widely understood throughout the country. In fact only one person will be working on Mambae, and he will be also working on the Tetun translation with the rest of the team.
We are very grateful that the PresAid Easter Appeal provided just under $21,000 for translation work. So far some of it has been used for computer equipment, and to support the salary of one of the translators and some other minor expenses. We expect that in due course, as AuSIL / Wycliffe need money for printing and reprinting scripture portions, and consultant workers, and other projects that this money will be very well used for a significant advance of the gospel of the Lord Jesus in Timor Leste.
Please pray with us, that the people of Timor Leste will read the Word of God, be amazed at what Jesus has done for them, and tell the message throughout all of the towns of Timor Leste and beyond.

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Paulus Congregation Gives Thanks For A New Church Building (via Bondia Timor Leste)

Through the circumstance of human generosity and God’s provision mgpc possess a building in which we meet and from which we carry out our ministries. We know what it’s like to be reminded to be thankful every time we turn the key on the front door.
Turns out that one more thing we have in common with our partner church in East Timor.
Rob Duncanson tells the story:

Some of you may remember the wonderful story of Evangelist Manuel, the tiny man who stared down the militia forces and saved his people.

To briefly recap that story…

In 1999, militia forces were roaming the countryside, causing havoc. Their purpose was intimidation by theft, murder, rape and destruction. News came that some militia groups were heading towards the remote parts of the district of Aileu where Manuel is the evangelist. He gathered about 600 people into the church building, where they met in fear and prayer. This tiny man (who is probably less than five feet tall) stood in the doorway. When the militia arrived, he told them that if they wanted to come in, they would have to kill him first, and his people would bury him right there, and that they were answerable to God for whatever decision they should come to.

Incredibly, the militia men backed down and went away.

Yesterday, Sunday 1st April, saw a new landmark in the life of this congregation, and Alex Ralston and I (Rob Duncanson) were privileged to be a part of it.

In planning our trip to TL, we did not know of the celebrations which were going to happen, so this was a real bonus blessing for us.

We started out from Dili at around 8am, having several detours around the streets due to Palm Sunday parades blocking our way, and eventually wound and bounced our way up to Dare (“Darrrr – ay”). From there, we turned onto a smaller road at an intersection marked by a couple of pot-holes which were the size of some small European countries. (OK – I suppose they were only about 5m x 3m and 0.5m deep, but there wasn’t much road left on this tight corner). The road had continued to deteriorate in the 18 months since I last travelled it, and the next 12km took us an hour to traverse.

Our arrival was marked by a last slosh, slip and slide through a mud hole before powering up the short “driveway” to the church building where there were crowds of people awaiting our arrival. (40km took us 2 hours, and went from sea level up to over 1400m ASL before descending slightly to the church)

The church building had been in poor condition, and when they had started to make renovations to it, they found that the walls themselves were crumbling and that repair was not an economical option so that they had to demolish it and start again. Fortunately the government has money set aside for the rebuilding of community infrastructure, and negotiations were entered into which lead to a government grant covering the entire cost of re-building.

Today was the day for handing over the keys, and for the people to worship together in this building for the first time.

I estimate that there were over 200 people who gathered to give thanks to God, and commit themselves to living as His people under His provision. We heard a rousing sermon from Pastor Daniel Marcal, the Moderator of the Igreja Evangelica Presbyteriana iha Timor Leste from Romans 12:9ff in which we were urged to love the Lord Jesus, to love each other, and persevere when times are difficult.

After many prayers, songs and speeches, we were ushered into the “manse” for lunch.

Paulus Manse

This small house with its dirt floors and palm-stem and corrugated iron walls used to have three rooms, but to accommodate church meetings while the building project was in process they had knocked out one room and put a small lean-to onto the side of the house. It didn’t matter to them that the floor was uneven and the lean-to part sloped down the hill – they are used to that. Without their second room, Evangelist Manuel, his wife and seven children had one bedroom of about 4m x 3m to share.

The entire furnishings of this humble home were; some chairs, one table, a clock (!), a calendar, a small framed picture, and on the wall there was pinned a copy of the Mission Partner’s Magazine, Partnership!

Pastor Mario & Ev. Manuel
(with “Partnership” behind them)

The church builder had lived in New Zealand for four years so he had good English language skills (a rarity in TL). He said that while he was in NZ he went to a school to speak about Timor Leste. The children asked him about the differences between the two countries, and he replied that one big difference is that in TL, the children are very skinny without much to eat, and in NZ you spend a lot of money trying to lose weight. A telling comment!

After a wonderful day we mounted our vehicles again to travel back through the magnificently beautiful and rugged mountains down to Dili.

In Dili we stopped for a moment to see the block of land which the local church hopes to buy so that they can build a church building in Dili ….  but that is a story for another post on another day.

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Rob Duncanson posts about changes to the way in which the Australian Presbyterian Church will be providing financial support to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Timor Leste.