Prior to the trip, the team had about five team-building and planning sessions. At last, we were set to go, with 102kgs of stationery!
We touched down at noon. Thank God for the smooth journey! We met Pastor Catherine Foo and she brought us for lunch at New 88 Restaurant before checking into Hotel Colmera.
Hotel Colmera is nestled in the heart of the Colmera shopping district and surrounded by Dili’s mountainous landscape. To our delight, we awoke to such a view:
Joy comes in a bundle, and breakfast was another delightful surprise. It was sumptuous.
We set off eastward for Manatuto and Baucau along the northern edge of Timor Leste.
Pastor Catherine and Edmund drove, while the rest of us spent the next six hours gazing at the endless coasts and the vast countrysides zooming past us. The earth and sky were saturated with rich colours, from the crystalline blue sea to the neon green padi fields. Mountains rose and fell, occasionally interrupted by the meandering rivers. Timor Leste is truly God’s beautiful handiwork.
We reached Viqueque after a scenic six-hour drive. This is FCBC’s mission base, known as Dream Centre in Viqueque. It aims to shine the light of Christ in the dark areas of the remote southeastern edge of the country.
The Dream Centre was also where we would run activities for the children over the next four days. To break the ice, we played some games with our little neighbours. Games like “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?” really got them excited.
At the Borala Motel we stayed at, the team gathered outside Quek’s room every night to plan and run through the next day’s programme.
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’” (Mark 10:27, NIV)
The Lord does not withhold His blessings. He enables us to do His work, despite unfavourable weather forecasts and our inexperience.
We arrived in the village of Bibileo and hurriedly set up the parameters of the games. The slight hiccups during the first race enabled us to review and make improvements along the way. Just as we were beginning to pick up some words like diak (good) and halai lalais (run fast), and ease comfortably into running the games, it was over. The drizzle came after everything was over.
The joy shown on the children’s faces lingered on our minds during the drive back to Dream Centre. If there was one thing we took away from the morning, it was that the communication of God’s love is not marred by language barriers.
In the afternoon, we conducted English lessons in Dream Centre. Our team was blessed to have Eileen, who works as a teacher in a primary school. She anchored the first lesson on cooking meals.
Breakfast at Borala was always a delight. We shared our daily devotion over coffee and freshly baked buns.
The village of Fatudere is about 1km from the southern coast of Viqueque. The journey there was the longest and bumpiest. But for going the extra mile, we were rewarded with the brightest smiles – from the children in Fatudere who were most lively and enthusiastic. The games proceeded smoothly, and like yesterday, we were blessed with great weather.
Back at Dream Centre, we continued with the lessons on cooking. We also played “Heart Attack” which also served as a test to gauge their recollection and recognition of the names of various food.
Day 5 & 6
The road to the village of Lugasa was difficult, but nothing could soil our enthusiasm.
There, we conducted the last run of our sports event.
In Timor Leste, we received more than we could give. We were blessed by Pastor Catherine and the children, and daily, we accumulated deposits of faith in our spiritual bank accounts.
We drew the interest and smiles of the children with old-school juggling tricks.
It was time for us to head back to Dili.
Timor Leste may be war-scarred, but in this land, the glory of God is hard to miss. Just look at the towering Cristo Rei of Dili (Christ the King of Dili) which overlooks the land and waters. We climbed some 500 steps to catch a glimpse of the statue and the beautiful colours of sunset.
We were most fortunate to catch God’s marvelous painting of the evening skies.
Along the waterfront, restaurants like Saigon and Early Sun serve the freshest seafood. We enjoyed our last meal and some final moments in Timor Leste.