Christmas in Timor

img_2983

Great trip to Maubisse, a “cold” mountain area.  Note the long sleeves and flip flops.

Things have been a bit of a whirlwind lately; hence the lack of blogging or facebook posts. Here’s a quick update!  Sorry if it’s lacking in stories…  Believe me, there are plenty!

Christmas around Igreja Immanuel Lospalos lasted at least a full week with kids rehearsing everyday, crews cleaning the grounds and doing food preparation. This year of course there were two services, both Christmas eve and the following day. I made visits to rural congregations and did services there as well.

img_2937

IPTL General Secretary Juliana Temparaja led Christmas Eve worship at Immanuel Church.

After Christmas the Liddles headed off to the mountain village of Maubisse for a few days rest with American friends Pam, Curt and their two kids. We hiked, played games, watched movies and ate simple food. Now we’re back in Lospalos gearing up for a new year and doing laundry.

2016 was a year of transition for our family. Hannah finished 6th grade, Simon finished kindergarten and half way through the year we packed up and moved back to East Timor! It’s been a difficult but meaningful 6 months. Getting re-engaged with our ministry in Lospalos has been filled with joy and – predictably — challenges. Neither Monica or I really know what to say about this. It’s sort of beyond words but I’ll try anyway: It’s beautiful… It’s hard… It’s hopeful… It’s discouraging… It’s inspiring… It’s aggravating… I could go on but I think you get the point.

We continue to be struck by how difficult life is for many of our Timorese friends. Basic things like accessing health care, medicine and education is complicated at best. Economic prospects in Timor are shaky and youth seem to be picking up on this. Hope seems more important and more lacking than ever. Walter Brueggemann says “the pastoral task of the prophet is to restore hope.” Somewhere else he writes that all ministry is about helping people imagine a different future – one with hope. We’re trying to do that; for ourselves and those we serve. But it’s a challenge here as I know it is in the U.S. right now. We think of all of you and the ambiguity, fear and unease that seems to characterize American life right now.

Anyway….

Hannah says she wants to learn at least one new language this year. That gives me hope. Simon is learning Tetun and when we share what we’re thankful for in the evening he always says the same thing: “everything.” That gives me hope. We’ve had a huge turn out of people in church the past few weeks and that gives me hope. The congregation here has been torn apart over various conflicts and lack of leadership over the past 4 years. Things seem to be looking up. That gives me hope as well.

img_0178

Hannah helped me make some improvements on the chicken pen

What does 2017 hold for us? Who knows!  Monica will continue her work in the clinic. That is unfolding in new directions as Uniting World of Australia, the main funder, wants to shift to more of a health education model.  I’ve been appointed to serve as a regional pastor for all the congregations in Lautem District so I’m going to be busy with pastoral ministry locally as well as coordinating with Synod leadership on some continuing education stuff for IPTL pastors and lay leaders.

Simon is starting at the Portuguese school in January. Hannah is continuing her studies at home and loving the freedom and creativity that comes with homeschooling. We’re all looking forward to our upcoming visit to Atauru Island, part of East Timor, in February to celebrate the kids birthdays.

img_2938

Simon is thankful for “everything” — especially his new camo pants with side pockets

Well, I hope that gives you a bit of a sense of how things are for the Liddles! We continue to be grateful for your support and prayers.

Love to all,

Tom

Advertisements

7 comments

  1. Your ministries (each of you, your work, your witness, your willingness to live and serve among the Timorese, to receive the gift you have been given, with all its glories and challenges) gives me hope and vision for what my ministry might be and become here. Thank you for what you continue to teach me, across these miles. My prayers for you will deepen in these days ahead, as this new year begins. May I be bold to ask you to pray for me, that a new sense of ministry, boldly pastoral and truly prophetic, might be awakened in me.

    Like

    1. Thank you Glen for your prayers and support. Blessings to you as well as you start the new year and discerning God’s call for your ministry. I have every confidence that whatever you do it will be both pastoral and prophetic.

      Like

  2. Sounds a lot like life, and a good one at that. About the problems and frustrations, I always found trips between Timor and the US made me grateful for the set of problems I got to deal with in Timor– they were almost always so basic that you didn’t waste much time wondering “Is this really important?”

    So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you over on the eastern side. I’m really grateful you are there.

    Like

  3. Thank you Tom and Monica. I am very happy for you and family. Your everyday joys and struggles of mission are an inspiration. I thank you for allowing us to have a glimsp of what life is for you — to feel we are sharing some of it with you!

    Like

  4. I’m so grateful for your family’s presence and ministries there and all you are learning in relationship with the East Timor else. Blessings to all in the new year!

    Like

  5. Tom, thank you for the wonderful update on your activities in East Timor. We certainly missed you and family over the holidays but sounds like you had a busy and joyful time in ET. And your comments about spreading Hope were encouraging and so important for all of us. Best wishes for the new year!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s