We have been in East Timor now for nearly 8 weeks. On Wednesday the 9th we return to Oz for a family reunion and work and then come back to East Timor with a group of 8 Salvos. We have been trying to fix the loo for this team which involved painting a makeshift plywood cistern lid with paint. Serenity was keen to help so I gave her the oil based paint and away she went. She then dutifully cleaned the brush in the kitchen sink with water which was a disaster. Her hands were completely covered with oily paint that needed thinners to get off (a painful experience). Now she knows there are two paints in this world – one of which deserves a little more respect.
Cynthia has been very busy on a sewing project. She has found some very suitable material but had some trouble last week just trying to get enough thread especially since Samuel takes off to remote locations leaving her stranded with the kids. But she is nearly finished and ready to trial her product with the Timorese women.
We are all feeling much better with only Serenity and Israel having a lingering eye infection and various other minor and mysterious tropical ailments. Thanks for those who pray for us.
Samuel’s big job in this last week was to prepare supplies to load a truck to go to Los Palos. The Los Palos project is to make a building which will house a pastor’s family as well as provide a training centre for the youth. It takes about 6-7 hours to get to Los Palos from where we live in the capital of Dili. The price of a delivery truck varied from between $200-$500. At these prices we wanted to make sure the truck was full and actually got there. Of course, any attempt at being organised and efficient in this country is like trying to catch the wind. Aaah, but I may as well try. So we began stock piling steel mesh, reo, heaps of roofing timber, plywood (ceiling), roofing iron and besser blocks. In the meantime we haggled around for a truck and found a young man to return with his 4 tonne rock truck the next morning at 2 am! Well being in Timor, you are not really sure whether that means 2 am or somewhere before or just after sunrise. I stayed up until 11pm trying to sort out all the receipts for the project (as well as 2 other building projects running simultaneously with this one). I was planning to sleep in the truck. It turns out the truck driver decided to just stay up and play cards, got bored and arrived at our house – honk, honk!- at 1.30am! After 1 ½ hours of loading we came to the realisation that over $4000 worth of gear just wasn’t going to fit. So we loaded up our small truck as well and by 4am we were ready to go – no breakfast. Down the road we met up with the American missionary who currently directs the Nazarenes. We had previously loaded his ute with as much iron as we could, plus a water tank and drum. Things were going reasonably well apart from reo continually sliding off the truck and then a little disaster – a bearing got so hot on the big truck that grease and steam spewed out of the bearing cap and the tube burst. Changing this and another 2 flats set us back 3 hours. There was no attempt to back off the bearing on the wheel.
Convoy to Los Palos
At last our little convoy set off again and we eventually made it to Los Palos. (Add in another flat on arrival at Los Palos – brings it to 4 again, you might be beginning to think that the roads are a bit rough around here). I was very sleepy by the time I rolled in but there was heaps of construction work, planning, checking and training to do before crashing to bed. The next morning I did the waste water plumbing and finished off the windows and doors with the boys. My Timorese mate did most of the drive home that day which was a little exciting. We passed a rolled car and another accident. So I thank God for a successful mission and getting back home safely.
Nazarene Youth Centre
Pastor Samuel and wife, Pastor Uli, and bub very excited - about their new home
Another highlight of the week was meeting with Carlos the Bible translator and buying over 1000 scriptures to distribute for about $420.