Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lest We Forget

We attended the ANZAC Day dawn service here in Dili on Saturday.  This was a special occasion of the 100th anniversary of Australian and New Zealand troops landing at Gallipoli, Turkey, in World War 1.  We were invading Turkey at the command of Britain and after 9 months and 140,000 deaths we pulled out.  Dismal failure really.  But we Aussies look back on it as a defining moment in our national identity.  If we think too deeply about the politics of it all we start to get a bit prickly.  Strange really, on the face of it.  Its like our other “national anthem”, Waltzing Matilda – a shearer steals a sheep and when the cops come down to get him he drowns himself by jumping in a nearby water hole.  Yep, that would be our most famous song.  If you look beyond the surface of these events though, you’ll find courage in the face of insurmountable odds.  You’ll hear statements like, “She’ll be right, mate!” and “I’ll have a crack at it!”.  You’ll see a spirit that is prepared to fight for a fair go for everyone.  That’s what we Aussies like to celebrate even if we don’t really understand it ourselves. 

So why ANZAC Day in Dili?   Because their are Aussies and Kiwis here, still serving and assisting the security forces.  And even better, we have some folks from Turkey still here, left over from the UN connection.  Its a time to look back and remember the involvement that Australia and NZ has played in TL from World War 2, 1999 and 2006.  The Timorese are grateful for the most part and the beach and steep hills around Dili are not unlike the beach of Gallipoli – or so they tell me.

Lest we forget.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Salvo Delegation

I got to go to Australia again a couple of weeks ago – that place of unlimited fresh vegies and balmy weather.  I took Israel and Serenity for a little sortie out on the beautiful Lake Woolooweyah, Yamba, NSW.


Thanks to our good friend, Philippa, who lent us her stylish rainbow canoe.


Thanks to Mr Goanna who posed along the lake’s edge for some internet fame.

P4010657 No thanks to those un-sympathetic fish who simply refused to nibble our bait.



Our makeshift camp with tarp and canoe – the mosquitos were very thankful for our humble offerings.


We returned to Timor-Leste with Cynthia and all the kids to have another round in the ring.  Cynthia is so brave.


This week I had the pleasure of receiving delegation from The Salvation Army to consider future involvement in Timor-Leste.


The crew with Mr Peter Doyle, Australian Ambassador in Timor-Leste (centre)


The team consisted of Major Barry Casey (from IHQ South Pacific East Asia region, London), Lieutenant Colonel Made Petrus (Secretary for Program, Indonesia), Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Rigley (Southern Territory, Australia) and Cadet Supriyono Da Lopes (Indonesia, originally from Timor-Leste) and myself.


Emmy explains the work of Bele Kria to Graeme and Barry

They stayed for a week and got to look around Dili, meet with some fancy folks and do a trip out to Maubisse where Cadet Supriyono (Sipri) comes from. 


Sipri’s spiritual home high in the mountains of Timor.  The large spirit house on the left is where traditional ceremonies take place.  There is a cob of corn for every male in the village hung from its rafters.


Traditional homes in Sipri’s village.


I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take some Bibles.  These were given to the school director to use for class readings.

Supriyono is a great young man who left Timor-Leste during the 1999 crisis as a 12 year old.  Through a very difficult journey he was eventually picked up and cared for by The Salvation Army.  He is now studying to become an Officer (Pastor/Minister) and one day dreams of beginning the work of the Salvos in Timor-Leste.  For me this is an incredible miracle – I had some hazy dream of finding someone like this but as the good book says, God “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, … to him be glory.” Eph 3:20

Ofcourse, I ought not to get my hopes up as the future is unknown, but it is fun to wallow in the possibilities for a day or two. 


Sipri, me and Timor-Leste

While this was happening, we were also starting on the foundations of the Beto Training Centre (finally!).  The boys have most of the trenches dug and are keen to get started on laying the rock foundations. 


Digging the trenches for the training centre.


Emmy and the girls are also keen to move out of their present work space so we’ll focus on getting that section built.  I wish we’d started it last year since we could really use it now.  Its a bit like planting a fruit tree.  You should have done it 5 years ago, but you’ll think the same in 5 years if you don’t plant it now.


Rojina, a neighbour, who cooks for the boys digging the trenches. She works very hard, is usually smiling and always friendly.  She is one of those rare & great souls who walk this planet.