Abundant Life in Timor Leste

Welcome, we are so glad you found us! We want to share with you all the incredible things God is doing in Timor-Leste. We will be adding God stories when internet connectivity allows and archiving our newsletters to catch you up on our adventures here. Please click above on “about love4timor” for more info. about us.

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A Seven Day Fast?! Who Does That??

I recently completed a 7 day, only water fast…I know, crazy, right? Especially on my 125 lbs. frame! I didn’t measure my weight prior, but I probably lost 10 lbs. (losing weight was not one of my goals, ha). I also would not have done it if I didn’t sense a strong direction from the Lord. On March 1st, my family was praying together when I heard God speak to my spirit about this…otherwise I LIKELY would not have gone through with it. I said I would do it and here is some of what happened:

Physical experience: Day one wasn’t bad; fasting for one day is easy, and when you know you have 6 more days to go, it’s even easier. I was pretty hungry on day two. Day three I experienced some slight leg cramping and a low grade headache (both probably from detoxing). Days 4-7 were pretty good despite having low energy; I didn’t really feel hungry and had a general sense of wellbeing.

Emotional experience: Actually, I was a lot nicer (ask my kids)! I was surprisingly less irritable and felt pretty good for the majority of the time. The Lord provides!

Spiritual experience: I did spend more time reading the Bible, praying, and resting in the Lord…good things to do on a fast, right?! On day three, when fatigue started setting in, I had made a plan to with a friend and talk to some people about Jesus at a local park. Only one girl showed up, and it was great. We talked for over an hour about the Lord and encouraged her with how much God loved her and what He wanted to do in her life. Afterwards, I was VERY energized and felt great for pretty much the rest of the day! It reminded me of Jesus and the woman at the well when he told his disciples “I have bread you don’t know about.” Before he spoke with her he was hungry, and when the disciples returned with food he was already good to go!

As I spent time resting in the Lord alone, I envisioned myself in a garden sitting with Jesus. We had conversations and when I talked about being hungry he would give me something to eat, ha. I ate all sorts of things with him during that 7 days! It is amazing what the Lord accomplishes in our lives when we just rest in him.

One of the most significant things which happened to me occurred on my “break fast” day. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling weird feelings of frustration and anger. I did not have these before going to bed, they were seemingly out of no where. My wife and I prayed and I felt the Holy Spirit in a strong way. The only sensation I can describe it as was like being “downloaded with faith.” It was powerful as I received it and lasted about 15 minutes. Afterwards I felt a great sense of peace as well.

I believe one of the reasons God asked me to do this fast was regarding a certain request I had been asking to receive from Him. The request related to His will (so you know I wasn’t asking for a car!), and would grow my faith. At the time He asked me to do this fast, I didn’t even link it to my recent request (I’m pretty slow, I know); I don’t even think I linked the two until after my fast was over! I would have been the slowest of the disciples to catch on to what Jesus was teaching. God did show me how he linked the two, so that was pretty awesome.

There are other things which happened during my fast, but I wanted to keep this short. Oh, and I’m pretty sure I gained the weight back *smile*. I would love to hear any comments or questions!

Why Have I Chosen to Fast?

The main reason I decided to start fasting was to, of course, draw closer to God. People may say one can draw close without fasting, and that may be true. But there is something about fasting (like I said, it’s got some mystery to it) I have experienced, and read about, that acts as a “fast forward” to spiritual growth. The Holy Spirit does something inside us, whether it’s tearing down strongholds in our mind or growing faith in our spirit, he is doing something powerful when we submit to certain disciplines. Things people have struggled with for years tend to fall by the wayside (they may not even realize it) as they fast, pray, and focus on the Lord.

Fasting heals! If you have a physical, emotional, or spiritual “condition” God may lead you to a fast. This happened to my wife with a crazy physical condition she suffered with for years. She couldn’t eat many things without having extreme joint pain and fatigue. God lead her to fast and she was completely healed! She can eat everything which once made her ill. I am not suffering from anything I am aware of, but I just felt lead to throw this paragraph in here for anyone who is.

I also think fasting prepares us for future opportunities to act out on faith; I think of the story about the disciples being unable to cast out a demon and Jesus says “this kind only comes out with prayer and fasting.” Does this mean the disciples had not been fasting? Probably, since they had been chastised by the Pharisees for not fasting. Does it mean Jesus was fasting? I guess so, but was he fasting that day, or was he regularly fasting, or was this residual from his 40 day fast? All we know is, in some way, Jesus was fasting. If fasting regularly prepares me for something like casting out a demon…awesome! I’ll let you know if anything like that happens!

I have started to regularly fast every Monday. The last couple weeks I ate dinner after sundown since it was about 24 hours since my previous meal. Sometimes I will fast until Tuesday morning. I’m not going to be religious about when I break fast because that would just be silly.

Please comment and share thoughts/experiences. Thanks! Next post: Observations from my recent 7 day water fast.

Is Fasting the Bane of Christian Living?

I’ll face this one head on…fasting is NOT a popular topic, even more than that, it’s not a popular practice among Christians because, well, being hungry sucks. Fasting is something I have done on and off for many years…like, I’ll do it once and then not again for many years! I want to commit to it, see what happens, and blog about my experience. Fasting is a biblical practice, but I’m not here to prove all that, this is mostly experiential. I’ll try to keep my posts short…

First thoughts:

Fasting gets a bad wrap because its not fully understood (and likely will never be). In Western culture, if you can’t completely understand something, it’s bad or not worth doing. Does that prevent us from loving and pursuing God? After all, He will never be completely knowable, and that’s just amazing. It also gets a bad wrap because, of course, people love food…none more than me (i know, it doesn’t show…not yet anyway)! And how about the common misconception about fasting being used as a manipulation tactic to get what we want?

Fasting is multifaceted and mysterious, which makes it fun in a way; you don’t always know what you’re going to get. I am, more and more, growing comfortable with ideas that I will never fully comprehend. I have had some interesting experiences with fasting I will share in future posts. Many more thoughts swimming around right now, but I’ll keep ‘em for later.

In the mean time, please leave a comment with your initial reaction to fasting, ideas, experiences.

Funny Timor Leste Tidbits

After four months in a foreign nation, you will usually find some things quite different and sometimes amusing. Here are a few from Timor-Leste regarding the language:

1. “Besi Asu” literally translates “metal dog.” I know what you might be thinking…Cool! Timor has dog robots!?! Well, think again…this name was given to “magnets.” I know, like, whaaat? It took us a couple months to learn dogs were used to sniff out mines during WWII; the Japanese brought metal detectors and the locals just called them “besi asu.”

2. Many things are followed by the word “been” (sounds like: “bane”), meaning “juice.” However! It also follows words like “matan” (eye) to describe tears, inus (nose) to describe snot, and “teen” (sounds like: “tane” which means “poop”) to describe diarrhea…yes, “poop juice,” and it even rhymes…say it with me, “teen been!”

3. One of our favorites is the word for “chest” which is “hirus matan” (sounds like: heeroos matan); it literally translates “angry eyes” and still more funnily, it really means “angry eyes.”

4. Here is a cute one: fire is “ahi” and baby is “oan,” so a flashlight is an “ahi oan,” or “baby fire.”

Stay tuned for more funny tidbits, leave a comment, and follow our blog to check out other things we are doing here in TL.

Oh, and here is a sweet picture of a flying lizard we found in our backyard…he was about 8 inches long and his wings were about 4 inches wide.

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He is Risen!

Happy Resurrection Day
Praise God for His ways are so good. Life here is often very challenging in many ways, but God’s goodness is magnified by the contrast between His ways and the ways of the world. It takes a Holy Spirit fueled faith to trust and obey because it will look foolish to the world and even to our own earthly worldview. We often pray that God will renew our minds so we can see things, with spiritual eyes, for what they really are. “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” (Col 3:2). As we approach Resurrection Day we recall what Jesus has done: we are now free from sin and the fear of death, and we have risen to new life with Him. Now we are truly free as we live in Him as He lives in us. We are free to be who God created us to be, and free to live in radical trust of our Father.

Lately God has been giving us words for people, ie; taxi driver with leg problems, person at visa office with a headache, neighbor with arthritis. Sometimes it can be a bit awkward or intimidating to ask someone if they have something going on with them, but as we go with Gods prompting we see that he is working in them. We have been going with it and every time people have been open to letting us pray for them on the spot. Although we cannot always see what God is doing in someone we do know when someone opens up to the work of the Holy Spirit, He always accepts the invitation to come. We couldn’t see what was going on in the tomb either, but sure enough God was creating life out of death. So for our loved ones who have yet to experience the Father’s touch and for those of us who are still coming to realize the truth of who we are in Him, let’s remember His good news that calls us to trust Him alone, not work harder and try to get it right. Invite his work in you and you will not be disappointed. He gives himself freely to those who ask.

Have a blessed Resurrection week!

Blessed are the Poor

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The way the world works is very different from the way of God’s Kingdom. We got a fresh glimpse of this as we read the beatitudes, in Matthew 5, with a dear brother here. Megan asked him at one point, after reading, if anything came to mind. He told us a story about something which happened to him last week. He was on his way home, and he was a long way off, with no money and he was very hungry. A man asked him what he was doing and offered to give him a ride home. Our brother said he would like that and told the man he would pray for him once they arrived at his house. The man said that would not be necessary, so our brother offered to pray for him right then instead. Again, the man refused and then began giving our friend a hard time. The man left soon after. Our friend then began to pray. When he finished praying he noticed he no longer felt hungry, though now he felt thirsty. Soon, another man approached our brother and asked, “Are you thirsty?” and gave him some money for water. Eventually, another man gave our brother a ride home. This is a clear and encouraging example of Matthew 5:3 “God blesses those who are poor and recognize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of heaven is theirs.” Isn’t He a wonderful God who meets the needs of those who recognize their need for Him?

As we recognize our need for God, He is able to meet our needs allowing us to walk in the fullness of who He has already made us. We are already new creations. The old has gone and the new has come. Do we believe this? Or, do we have the mindset that we are only mostly new? Are we only 98% new creations and we have to work at making the other 2% new? How does that fit into the belief that we receive everything through God’s grace so that we have nothing to boast about? God can also meet our needs by renewing our minds in order for us to believe and live out the truth of what He has already done in us. Amen.

Why I like the hospital in Timor-Leste

I’m the only one in Timor-Leste who probably does, as far as I can tell. Medical care in Timor-Leste is lacking as I’m sure it is in most third world countries, but that is exactly what I like about it. When there is little hope and even less bedside manner, people are at their end. So when all else fails us and we realize we are lost, there is one hope that never fails. Some of us are blessed to find it sooner in life but others find it at the end and they are still blessed indeed. The robber on the cross next to Jesus comes to mind. When all pretension is gone and precious life is quickly fading people see Jesus and how He has always pursued relationship with them, all the way to the end. It’s sweet and heartbreaking all in the same moment. I went today to pray for one young mother who had lost her child late in pregnancy, and moments later found myself in another part of the hospital. The hopelessness was thick in the air. There, my Timorese friends and I, prayed with a young mother of four who misses her children and longs to be back with them. She was very weak and thin and didn’t look like she would be going home soon. As I prayed with her the other occupants in the room silently watched us. When we had finished praying and visiting, we got up to leave the room; a man and his very ill wife beckoned us over to pray. We did, and spent a good deal of time telling her about Jesus’ love for her. As we got ready to leave this time, again we were beckoned over to another bed where a woman labored to breath and couldn’t speak for the coughing. There was nothing formulaic about these encounters, and as I prayed for the Holy Spirit to come upon each women the Lord had something unique to say to each, and even some words I didn’t recognize. Later I asked Adam what a word meant in Tetun, “kona,” and he said it means “touch.” I can’t remember now when and why it came out of my mouth, but perhaps it is the way in which Jesus transforms death to life, with a touch. No one hopped out of bed and danced a jig today, I had expected something of the sort, but maybe tomorrow. As for today, I feel that we are all just robbers on the cross with one hope and nothing to lose.