Monday, April 26, 2010

After 2 Weeks

The video here shows Nilda in the pink shirt being introduced to a washing machine for the first time.  It was given by a UN worker.  Sometimes her hands hurt from washing the family's clothes with the harsh powder. 

We have been in East Timor for a little over two weeks. This last week has been very difficult for us – probably more emotionally than anything. It is very hard to live in this place. There are many demands, the culture is different and we are finding the climate stiflingly hot. Sometimes it can be very depressing as I feel a little lost and aimless. But God gives us encouragement.

We returned to Atabai (the famed landslide road). This road presents a whole story in itself. On the way, they are working on the road and we have to stop. This is not a 10 minute “sorry for any inconvenience” sort of stop. Its more like a “turn the engine off, put a rock under the wheel, take a drink and a snack and watch them roll rocks down the hill for an hour or so” sort of a stop! After filling the road with several tonnes of rock they tell the excavators above to stop working so the machines below can clear the road. With half a million dollars worth of machinery they have installed a somewhat less than sophisticated communication system comprising of a young man resting under a tree. When he feels the urge he blows loudly on a plastic whistle which is the signal for the guys above to stop. Now it appears that there is one notorious excavator operator above who does not really know what “stop” means. Even when the road was cleared and we were motioned to drive through there were still rocks rolling down. I think I missed the driving lesson about driving through landslides but I’m learning on the go. You approach, wait for a gap in the rolling rocks, say a prayer and then floor it. There’s no other way really. So, after 4 ½ hours we made it to the job. I figured we might as well eat lunch and go home again but we had to put water on the house first. We dropped a 3/4in pipe into a nearby well and ran the line to the house, installed a pump, hand basin and pipes to the “shower”, toilet and sink. We need to return sometime to finish it off. Our little truck went well carrying 20 sacks of cement, 40 sheets of roofing iron, 20 lengths of timber, pipes and other gear – even the kitchen sink! What else does a missionary need?

Cynthia has gone for a couple of drives but is finding the whole truck thing a little daunting. Gear changes are harder and the whole thing is just bigger.

I really want to see lots of water getting to the poor villages. But with each job costing around $2000 how could this possibly be achieved? 500 villages would cost $1,000, 000 and that is just for water to one tap. Then there’s the water for animals, toilets, showers, clothes washing, waste water, irrigation for gardens etc etc And there’s far more than 500 villages. Enter God. I went to a small church today (Sunday). The sermon was about, among other things, justice. I think in my spirit I was moved. The leader asked if I would close in prayer. I thought, stuff it, I’m gonna pray. So I let loose a little and asked that God would find a way to get the millions of dollars moving around Dili somehow to the poor to provide them with water and to find a way for them to receive the Bible. I prayed for justice for the poor. So at the end this guy approaches me from a very large aid organisation saying that they have a bit of a problem in that they cannot spend their budget – they have heaps of money but are having a very difficult time in spending it to do water projects. He asked if I could go and see him at work and indicated that the money is basically endless (millions) if it could be spent appropriately. Just imagine me smiling and getting a little excited if you wish. But, my zeal has been tempered over the years and I am not sure how this will pan out but if nothing else it raises my hopes.

Later today, while picking up Cynthia from Bible study, a young Timorese man who remembered me from 2008 stopped me in the street and asked for Bibles so he could take them to Los Palos (far eastern district) to give to the people as they are all asking for Bibles. I invited him to our house and after a chat, I set him up with contacts and $40 to purchase Bibles. This is very exciting for me and we hope to do a 3 day trip with him in a couple of weeks.

I am still working on setting up a Timorese water business but it is a very frustrating process.

We went to Hera to measure up for shelves and went for a lovely swim on an idyllic tropical beach. All of us put on goggles and swam out to look at the fish and the coral. It was a very nice family time.

Poor Israel does not yet use a snorkel so he takes a big breath and plonks his face in the water to see as much as he can before running out of breath – it is very funny to watch the poor little fella. Cynthia is also getting quite comfortable with snorkelling and Serenity enjoys going out to the deeper water for the bigger fish. We also checked out the water project at Beraka. Darryll and I installed it a year ago very quickly and I am very happy to say it still works. The water still flows and they say it comes out of the tap all year – even through the dry season. Thanks to those who supported that project. I will send some photos sometime. We wanted to check a water project at Sidara which was supported by Grafton Salvos about 5 years ago but the river was up and there is no bridge. They say that with the big rains a section was washed away so we’ll have to check it out later.

We'll put up some pictures later - internet is really slow in Dili at the moment and it seems hotmail has not been working in this country for the last 2 days.

May God bless you all, don’t forget to pray for us if you do that sort of thing. Write us a note if you want as we don’t hear from many folks.

1 comment:

mogman said...

Hi Samuel & Cynthia. Thanks for all your news. Great blog site! Really exciting stuff about the offer of money for your water projects.

You mention about setting up a water business over there. What does that involve - supplying of pipes and tanks, etc for water projects?

Our friends from Africa are settling in well. They attend Riverside Church and someone from there has lent them a car - wonderful! For a photo of the family checkout my blogspot at

God bless you all.
Graeme & Di Goldrick