Church planting in East Timor

WEC’s vision is ‘to see Christ known, loved and worshiped by the unreached peoples of the world.’ In a nutshell … to reach people & plant churches.

Today I want to share a powerful story with you about a family who is doing just that – despite pressures and criticism from the world. This family are helped and supported by a church that WEC helped plant.

The story begins on a day during my East Timor trip, one that became a favourite as we got to see a new national church that had been established with WEC’s help.
We had to drive 2 and half hours out of the city along some very bumpy roads, suitable only for 4WDs. I’m told that this was previously a 4-6 hour trip, and the roads are much better now (makes me wonder what they were like before!) When we arrived I noticed straight away how different it was to the city. Life is much slower paced and far more relaxed.

The pastor of the local church hosted us for lunch, which was cooked in their outside kitchen. He showed us where his small congregation meets each week, in the local school that adjoins his property. Although we weren’t there for a church service I could imagine families coming here to this building each week to hear life giving messages in their own language, by their own people. What a beautiful illustration of the church.

Then we drove about ten minutes further out of town and walked another fifteen minutes up a hill to meet a young family from this small church. As we listened to their story and their testimony I was so encouraged by their faith and perseverance. Despite great pressure from their family and home community, they are choosing to live their lives for Christ and reject the ways of their ancestors, which is a mix of Catholicism and animism.

As a majority Catholic nation, with animistic practices, the East Timorese know of Jesus, but very few know Him personally.

Praying with this young family and reading scripture together was definitely a highlight of the trip. By worldly standards this family had very little, but they understood what Jesus said when he said ‘What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?’ (Matthew 16:26). The things of this world, the practices of their family and the relatively easy life they could live if they moved back to their village would seem enticing. And yet, here they are, living away from everyone they know. I don’t even understand how they have water or food on the table. But despite all this their smiles were contagious, and their joy and faithfulness in Christ continue to inspire me.

How beautiful is her smile!

Less than 3% of East Timorese are evangelical Christians. The majority of this people group are living in spiritual darkness and don’t even know it. Years of bondage to the spiritual world has left them vulnerable and they so desperately need the light of Christ to break through into their lives.

Whilst there are more Christians in the world today than ever before, the Joshua Project states that “81% of all Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists do not know a Christian“. That’s crazy! It can be so overwhelming that at times I want to put my head in the sand and not think about it. It can be so scary, but it’s also so important to step out of our comfort zone into the space God wants us to move.

There are so many people around the world who are in desperate need for the hope of the gospel. Perhaps that’s your neighbour, friend, colleague, family member or a people group abroad. Time is precious, but people are more precious. A moment of awkwardness is worth it if someone’s life is changed for eternity as a result.

My prayer is that each of us would be willing to share the gospel with those around us who need to hear. I know it’s scary, but it’s worth it!

Please join with me in praying for those who are facing the challenge of being Christ followers in difficult situations of persecution and hardship around the world.

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

With love,

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