Bringing joy to the children of East Timor. Photo by Felicia Wee
SINGAPORE – ‘Jesus sent out 29 and they returned full of joy’
Twenty-five youths from Singapore and Portugal, led by four Verbum Dei Missionaries from the respective countries, set out on God’s mission to Timor Leste from 24th July to 21st August 2010.
The mission involved conducting catechesis for the children in the orphanage, restoring parts of a school building, helping out at the village clinic and making home visits to the local people in the nearby villages to spend time with them and to be a part of their daily lives.
Our mission was based in the village of Venilale, which is about five hours from the capital city, Dili. We were warmly accepted into the Salesian community and it fast became our home away from home for the next month.
Everyday, we would go out amongst the local people and sit, talk and pray with them. We would spend much time with the children in prayer and play. We conducted a daily rosary session with an open invitation and it was heartwarming to see the group grow in size each day. It soon became one of our favourite times of the day with everyone praying and singing together in our own languages. We would also work hard on the restoration works for the school, helping to create a place where education can one day be given freely to the people.
In our first week there, we were able to spend some time at the girls’ orphanage dramatising parables from the Bible and spreading hope and love through song and dance. A two-day formation was also conducted by Verbum Dei Portugal for the youth and young couples of Venilale. The formation was focused around prayer and family life, using the Lord’s Prayer as the main theme.
During our time with the people at the home visits, we were able to really experience and hear their needs. It was heartwrenching to hear stories of young children who died from common ailments such as diarrhoea mostly because of the lack of medical assistance. We were able to provide some basic home remedies to aid them, but more still needs to be done for these people.
We went to Timor just as common people and they welcomed us into their homes and hearts. There is so much we can do for them and it is not just a matter of donating money, but to bring love, hope and peace can sometimes mean so much more.
Growing up in a city like Singapore, we have everything yet sometimes find ourselves complaining about everything. Perhaps if we look beyond our beautiful homes and possessions, we will see that there are many others who have nothing. God calls us every day to give of ourselves, even if it is just five loaves of bread and two fishes. If we give, He will multiply.
By Felicia Rebecca Wee