So Samuel had been asked to build a new home for the Timorese pastors of the Nazarene church in Los Palos. The American Nazarene missionary (Pastor Warren just turned 63, and leaving Timor in July after 10 years service here) has some money for the materials, but not much to help us with living costs. We would have to live there for 2-3 months if Samuel was building it, as it takes a full day to drive there, and commuting just would'nt work. On top of that the housing options are very limited. There used to be a "motel" of sorts. But it cost $20/person /night and would work out too expensive, and then word is it has closed down. A dry suitable living spot would be hard to find.
We really loved the whole vision of the place as they plan to develop it with some dorms for young people to study.
And our hearts were very touched by the difficult living conditions of the pastor and his family. Leaking house, sometimes hungry as they only recieve a wage of $50/month. (A days wages is around $6/day, but an average monthly wage might be $80.) Pastor Samuel is a softly spoken gentle man originally from Atauro Island. His wife is also very kind and gentle. As we were leaving their house she asked me if Samuel would be returning. I said yes, thinking that she meant back from across the road. She proceeded to offer great thanks and praise to God, and I realised that she was meaning "Will Samuel be returning to help us?
In the same week World vision asked Samuel to assist with a major water project for the whole district of Baucau. This would also be for around 3 months, and we would need to be based at Baucau - 3-4hrs drive from Dili. (~halfway to Los Palos)
This position would be a paid one, with the possibility that they may assist us in finding/paying for short term accommodation. (oh for our little yellow caravan! How many times have i dreamed it over here...)
So we came to Monday morning. Samuel explained the whole decision to me. He felt that as a family we could not manage both, and he wanted me to decide, as I have been struggling with our long term difficult living situations. Oh my heart was torn. The world vision project seemed to be the wiser, easier choice, and the house at Los Palos the more spiritually acceptable and emotionally touching one. I quickly headed upstairs to pray. I read the bible using my usual "random-page-crying-out-to-God" technique. The page happened to be in acts about whether Gentiles needed to be circumcised, and how God led them to decide that no, it was not required. I prayed hard, hoping that God was encouraging me not to be so hard on myself - well I am a Gentile after all!
I tearfully expressed my various emotions to Samuel before biting the bullet and saying I would prefer the World Vision project. He then went outside to let the American missionary know that we felt we couldn’t commit to building the whole house at this time. But he said he could help with design and preparation. The missionary was very understanding and took it very well expressing that it didn’t have to be done straight away, and there was a rumour about an American carpenter coming for a while.
About 2 hours later Samuel received a phone call back from this man. He had just been told that the carpenter was definitely coming over in June for 3-4 weeks. What a miracle!
So, Samuel thinks he can organise the foundations, and prepare supplies for this American carpenter. We will leave Dili about 3 days after he arrives, so Samuel will be able to meet him and give him tools etc, and hopefully this guy can help construct the walls, and maybe we will be able to help with the roof later on.
God has provided.