Sunday, August 21, 2016

Return to Oz

Dear friends,
It is with great excitement and a touch of sadness that we let you know that we are about to head back to Oz. Its been a great 8 years here in TL but the time has come ...
Before it does though, what have we been up to over the last few weeks?

A big event was having a team from the Salvation Army Australia come and visit us here in Timor-Leste. This team was led by Lucas Cairns and the main objective was to set up the recording studio in the training centre and run a sound system workshop. This actually means that the training centre is functional (partly)!

Some of the crew recording in the Kadi Studio (after they lined it with carpet and set up the sound equipment). Later they helped us record a combined churches CD with 11 songs from 9 different churches.

Soldering some sound cables - Lucas was able to teach the locals how to do their own maintenance.

Later the team got out to a local ministry centre and, among other things, assisted with some hose to bring water to the centre - they got a hands on lesson on what it takes to survive without water on tap.

Thanks so much, guys for all the encouragement you brought to us from Oz!

Our new organisation, Kadi Kapasidade, is now off and running. It is registered in Timor-Leste and is managed by Nino with Emmy as assistant manager. We will be running training for the churches in Timor-Leste with a focus on Bible teaching and preparing church leaders for ministry. Kadi will also be doing some women's ministry and agriculture development. For more info, check out the site at

Out the back of the training centre - waiting for a veggie patch.

Some other training includes Old Testament Course (a one day cram covering the Old Testament)

Women's sewing workshop led by Lauren in Bele Kria which now operates in Kadi's training centre.

Chicken raising workshop - which was run on the back of our chicken vaccination program. In July, we coordinated the vaccination of 240 chickens in the local village to protect them from Newcastles Disease.

As part of our chicken project, we sent another roll of chicken wire out with Pastor Tom to Los Palos to assist the IPTL church, Immanuel, out there. (Thanks to CVCC!)

We also got a visit from my bro and his wife, Kylie, and got to show him some of our activities on the island of Atauro (the good, the bad and the ugly)

Very nice whatsies hanging off the reef - ok, I need to brush up on my marine biology.

We got a visit from Sipri, who has now graduated and is a Lieutenant at Kupang.

Cynthia organised a mini-Olympics event with the home school group which was a great success - it included javelin (tooth pics), shot put (coconuts), and high jump (throwing army men) to name a few of the challenging events.

Today, we did the First Lady's Cup Fun Run - Serenity sets a cracking pace to finish the 10km in 1hr 6 minutes.

These are just a few of the things we've been up to - for those who've visited, they know a couple of pics probably doesn't cut it. In the end, we thank God for good health and good opportunities to work with the locals here.

Cynthia's parents have come to help us pack and move out. On Wednesday, the crew will leave Timor-Leste with Serenity and Samuel staying to finish up over 3 more weeks. Many ask what will happen with all that we've been involved in. I say, stay tuned ...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

On the home run

Building of the training centre continues with many thanks to Rob who came and helped out with internal walls and plastering. For the Timorese crew this was their first major attempt at installing stud frame walls with plaster board (drywall). 

Setting up the steel frame - and checking for plumb

We went for steel framing since timber doesn’t come straight or in standard sizes here. It was a challenge for the guys but they took to it well. The whole concept of plaster board was brand new to them. Rob’s guiding hand was great in attacking the job piece by piece starting with the ceiling for 2 large rooms and 2 units. That means a lot of sore arms heaving sheets and drilling screws. Rob was very patient in showing them how to get a smooth finish with the plaster which takes a good eye and a steady hand. 

Rob teaches Amau the finer arts of plastering

We Aussies are shooting for a completely smooth finish which I sometimes feel is a bit much to ask of guys born in grass huts. But I think they really like doing a professional job which they can feel proud of. I think they’re one of the best building teams in the country. Thanks Rob, for all your help!

Another challenge was getting large and very heavy solar hot water systems onto the two story roof and into position. It takes 6 guys to pick one up and I think the whole team thought getting it onto the roof was not going to be possible. But then I busted out my pulleys and ropes with an old cart from a mate. We rolled the system onto the curved roof and then up a ramp with pulleys. Then we rolled it along tracks into position. All very safe of course. Amazing what you can achieve with simple machines.
Solar hot water - a faith building exercise

On the roof, secured and covered up.

Now we're getting to the end of the main building work. There's still plenty to do in finishing off. We've come to the part of laying tiles which is another big expense. This baby has around 500m2 of flooring. At around $15/m2 laid that'll cost us $7500USD. Long ago I went into red figures so if anyone would like to contribute, now would be much appreciated.

Plastering the main training room

Amau and me start tiling - a momentus occasion that marks the beginning of the end.

This week the new manager - Nino Xavier will begin work with our first job to get ready for the Salvation Army team from NSW, Australia, to set up sound and run a sound system workshop for church sound guys. Hopefully the above mentioned training room will be operational in a few weeks.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Family Fun

We recently did a trip to Ossu staying at a hotel at Loihuno. On the way are old Japanese caves built in World War 2 and rice fields being planted. 

There is a very nice river running through the limestone hills with cool rock formations. 

The highlight was climbing up through a tunnel in the rock and jumping off a 5 m cliff back down to the water. 
Serenity flying through the air.

On the way back we explored the slopes of Manatuto where there are interesting gypsum crystal formations.

Fossicking in Manatuto.

Strange crystal formations sparkle in the sunlight.

Kaiyil is beefing up and growing quickly. He has 4 teeth and enjoys standing up.

Israel got a bunch of nits and conceded to cutting off his locks to reveal a handsome young man.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Annual Report 2015

I’ve completed an annual report for 2015.

 Go to Folder of All Annual Reports

This report outlines our activities and the budget used to implement them. The report also includes some thoughts on how Timor-Leste is progressing and the interaction between faith and culture. The overall income for activities was $43, 695 and the expenditure $66, 542. The main reason for the negative balance is my headlong plunge into building the training centre. Hmmm … I hope its worth it.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thank you, Amy!

Amy with 2 budding scientists: Israel and Xakira

Over the last three months we have had assistance from Amy. Amy came over to assist with Serenity and Israel’s schooling while Cynthia managed the house and cared for Kaiyil. We appreciated her joyful and peaceful approach. There are few like her who have the courage to come to a country like this in order to help. We encourage other young people not to forget that God sends us to love and care for others wherever people may be across this planet. Lift your eyes and look beyond the horizon of the world you know to other worlds that are not so far away.

Amy got to go on some cool trips to places like this waterfall in Ermera

Monday, March 21, 2016

Putting on the Roof

It was a big week for the Beto Training Centre. This week we received delivery of a high quality roof from East Timor Roofing.

Ian and crew unloading the roof.

We also had a visit from a couple of guys from Gold Coast & Kingscliff in Australia to help install the roof. I’d like to thank the person who made a major contribution for the purchase of the roof.
I’d also like to thank Rob who organised things in Australia (but took a fall and couldn’t make it). Also a big thanks to Ian, a talented man, who was brave enough to come and try his hand at roofing. And also thanks to Shaun from NewLine Creations who volunteered his time and expertise to guide us all on the job. Everyday I was thankful to God that there were no major accidents or falls through this stage of the work. In fact the biggest battle we had was with the heat and glare from the roof. We drank gallons of water spiked with a variety of salts, sugars and apple cider vinegar.

Shaun preparing the valley.

Roof taking shape

It is simply incredible the difference it makes to have a roof on this place. Somehow it makes the end look achievable and it means that we can all work in the shade and out of the rain. Next week, Anen and the crew will finish off the roof with the skills they learnt and then focus on getting the women’s sewing group into the training centre.

Drinking iced tea from a plastic bag!

Apoli really appreciated learning new skills

Roof nearly done.

Some of the crew - thanks guys!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Progress of the 2nd Floor

The guys here are doing a great job with laying block on the second floor. They continue to use the new skills they learnt from the Darwin crew that came up a few weeks ago and their block laying keeps improving. If fact, many of their skills are improving as they think ahead to the next stages of construction.
View of the front - how very dull.

All the blocks on the second floor are now laid and they have fitted in most of the window timber work. This week they’ll be setting up to pour a beam of concrete around the top. 

Upstairs the loo is keen to be installed. 
A couple of Solar HWS I picked up for $15 each are in the background. Will they work?

Apoli and Benito install window timbers

The challenge is to get it all done by March 14th when another team of 3-4 Australians plan to come and put on the roof. This will be a metal kit roof from East Timor Roofing. With thanks to a kind donation we need only another $4000-$5000 AUD to complete the payment for the roof. If you have building skills and would like to join the team it would be greatly appreciated.

I also had “fun” putting up the curved ceiling in the main training centre. This is an experiment in curves which I like. Each curved sheet is 8m long and curved at 12m radius. 

It takes about 4 guys huffing and puffing to hold the sheet up to the ceiling and then I get around and screw it off as quickly and accurately as I can. The whole roof is feeling very strong and looking great. Next we put in holes for lights, fans and a data projector. Insulation will go on top and then another sheet of roofing. Very exciting and we like the cool echoes it makes from underneath. Anen would like to make his own curved roof when he gets a chance.

Anen worn out after putting up the ceiling.

A man and his cathedral.