Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thanks God for Friends

Geoff, Lynne, Chloe and Hannah have returned back to Darwin.  Their line was “use and abuse us.”  We hope that we accommodated their wish to some extent
They got involved in heaps of things that we were doing as well as doing their own stuff.  In our office we have a whiteboard with an eclectic mix of various jobs.  They were happy to check out the list and attempt to cross some off.  Here’s a few of the other things they got up to not including the last post:100_0905
    Inaugurating the new table tennis set – Thanks heaps to Michelle for bringing it and Pastor Steve and others from the CRC church in Darwin.
  100_1067Going snorkelling, Geoff gets his first crayfish! 100_1120 
One of Lynne’s tasks was to try to get my accounting all in order which turned out to be quite difficult as most of it exists in that mysterious grey matter between my ears. However, with great perseverance she managed to pull together a very snappy looking excel file on our Bible distribution accounting. I am very grateful for this work and have enjoyed entering figures into it and seeing how the finances are also travelling in this area. Just for your info (and hopefully trying not to boast) we have distributed around 1600 scriptures since August. I’m still yet to enter the data for previous months.
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Helping out at Atabae with Celia and Polyanna in a minsitry with WEC.  They got involved in kids activities as well as posed as professional plumbers.
 DSCF3004 Assessing the big catch, which unfortunately was not on Geoff’s line.  This was a decent looking Marlin hauled in by a local guy in a tiny dugout canoe with a timber paddle.  Impressive feat!
DSCF3051Geoff was called upon to take our neighbour through the hairy streets of Dili to hospital.  She unexpectedly went into labour after some complications.  Both mother and bub survived (despite Geoff’s driving ;)  ) to deliver a beautiful baby boy.
DSCF3022being friends
    P1040963having fun at the markets
   P1050225sharing sunsets on our beach
 P1050063Geoff saw everything as a potential lure for those illusive Timor fish.
One of Geoff’s main goals was getting that little fishing business off the ground. It could be described as a dismal failure if you’re feeling dismal but I’d rather see it as one of those learning failures. Its like what you just have to try in order to realise its not going to work. I think one of the difficult things for Geoff was the lack of application coming from the main Timorese man he was trying to help. Most times we had to go and get him up out of bed to go out fishing. Financially it was a bit of a loss. So Geoff and I did a lot of talking about how to go forward and how to make the most of the cool things such as the sounder that was donated. Lets just say that the challenge is still out there for a keen fisherman to come and find the fish!
P1050168Assisting in agricultural development on the island of Atauro
P1050075Getting close and personal travelling in our 2 seater suzuki – 8 bodies!  (Truck is on the blink again)
P1050296Making 5 cupboards for the Kids Ark school – a massive job.
In their last week, Michelle, a friend from Darwin, also came to see life in Timor and lend a hand.  We thank Michelle for the goodies brought from the Darwin CRC church.  We also thank her for organising our keys, lending a hand in the kitchen, looking after the kids and getting involved in many of our activities.
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Thanks heaps guys!        

Some other friends…
During all this mayhem we had another two visitors from Brisbane – Rod and Rob.  This made a fairly full house of 12 people for a little while.  Rod is a physio and was able to get around to a number of different institutions to talk about the possibility of bringing teams over next year.  Rob is a chippy (carpenter) and I sincerely appreciated his help in making shelving for Bible and medicine storage and an awesome desk in our office.  They also donated a printer to replace our last one that died.  Its big job is to print resources for our Bible distribution and in the last two weeks has printed around 100 kids activity books to go with the gospel of Mark.
Thanks guys, your visit and your prayers were very encouraging.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Click on the little film here to download while you read (3Mb)
Last week we went to a mountain village called Liquidoe (Lick-i-doy) where a young Timorese man, called Mateus, is trying to build a school.  It is about a two hour drive up into the mountains behind Dili into some fairly rugged country.  Up there we found that the community had given Mateus a mountain top to build his school.  The school has been running for around 6 years using a small building at the back of a church.  We had no money to give him but we were able to lend him $1000 as he was very keen to get his building going.  With this money he put most of the roof sheeting on and constructed the foundations.  He has almost payed back the money using his own wages.  It is a DSCF3052touching story of vision, dedication and love for his own people.  He receives funding from an organisation called Serving Our World for his school feeding program and also some money for teachers wages.  What we like about this project is that it is uniquely Timorese.  If there is someone out there who would be interested in assisting with this project then please let us know. 

The automatic car got a flat battery so we tried jump starting using some odd bits of metal – it didn’t work.
While at the school we also distributed some scriptures to them and the local church along with a school activity book we have produced to go with the gospel of Mark to assist the kids in literacy and help them to know the story of Jesus.  P1050073Our inverter doesn’t run lights as well as the printer so we folded the books by candlelight.

Other things we’ve been up to…
Cynth got to deliver some women’s washable sanitary pads to the ladies.  Thanks for tDSCF3099hose kind women in Melbourne who donated funds for this.  These have gone to Liquidoe and to a birthing clinic in Sidara as part of a maternity pack to assist women especially with bleeding after the birth.
The sewing group received a new donation from NSW.  Thanks so much to the Grafton Salvos (our home church) and the kind folks in Maclean, family and friends.  It was great to receive all the material and sewing supplies and the women were very surprised and happy.
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The Beckitt family, Geoff, Lynne, Chloe and Hannah have been working very hard trying to cross jobs off our very random looking job list.  They are very loving and kind and supportive and its been a great boost to us.  A few examples are shown below – Geoff fixing a gas leak with a washer he made from his old croc shoes, the girls laying some paving in the veggie garden, making 3 new sewing tables for the sewing group and Lynne assisting in the sewing room.  The old singer she is using here is an early electric model powered by pushing a lever sideways with your right knee.  They are launching into building some more cupboards for new classrooms being built at Kids Ark.
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Catch

Geoff and his Timorese fishing buddies came back! Now that’s a good thing. The boat came back as well which is a bonus. Now we’ve got to look on the bright side of things because, well, they didn’t catch a staggering amount of fish. The 3 day voyage cost $115 in fuel, bait, tackle and ice and they came back and sold the fish on the beach for $65. Hmmm...the maths doesn’t quite work in our favour. We got one free fish out of it too. I suppose that's something. Geoff had a great time experiencing island culture but it was very tiring trying to sleep out on the boat in the water. So what should we do? The Timorese man, Gomez, has asked to keep the $65 to plough into the next trip – fuel, ice etc (He still has the tackle and he caught his own bait). The seas are good, probably the best they’ll get all year. If he comes back with $65 worth this time you’d think it was hardly worth it. But perhaps there’s a bigger catch – where Gomez sees the love and concern we have for his life to go to this extent to raise him out of poverty. Who knows? The big man upstairs. I can just hear him bellow now – “Throw your nets on the right side of the boat!!!” May God give us wisdom in this difficult case.
Other things that have been plugging along are the women’s sewing group bellekria. They have been going to the weekly markets in Dili. Our construction team got some Australian investor to put up money for another building. Bible distribution is rising up from a sleepy period and looking exciting. We are working with a small Catholic team and they sold around 150 scriptures at a recent youth conference.  I just bought another 180 New Testaments. We hope to go up into the mountains tomorrow to distribute Bibles in a school and help them in a few other ways. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

To Teach a Man to Fish

DSCF2900 The title to this blog seems a little sexist in this post, post modern world but that’s the way the saying goes. You only ever see men here in East Timor fishing. Have you heard the saying before? “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a life time.” Generally we nod and say true, true – I never thought I would become embroiled in the literal application of the meaning. Its a lot more involved than a one liner. First we got a boat which just happened to come our way on a very good deal. Then it turned out the Timorese guy didn’t really catch a lot of fish with it. Then I worked with him to put a roof on the boat, print business cards (diversifying) and appoint a marketing manager. Still no luck. Now we have Geoff to save the day! He has come from Darwin with his wife and two kids. Geoff is a keen fishermen and is eager to go fishing with our Timorese fisherman, Gomez. More than that, he has brought a sounder and a GPS! This means we can identify good fishing locations by looking at underwater formations and mark the position with a GPS. It might sound like cheating to some people and perhaps a bit of a leap from dugout canoes to the 21st century. We’re not saying we’re doing the right thing but we’re just having a go at helping a guy put food on his table. So the boat is rigged up with the sounder, GPS, lifejackets, old fridge for icing the catch, a 12V light and some pretty good tackle. Geoff has switched his thinking from fishing for sport to fishing for survival and they are off on a three day journey to the island to catch as much fish as possible. They’ve been out of phone range for 2 days now so I hope it is all ok. Thanks heaps to those people who have put in to support this venture. Lets see how many fish they catch and then ultimately whether Geoff can “teach a man to fish.” (Even if they don’t speak a common language – minor detail).DSCF0011