2017 Dental Team Working Visit
After the 2016 visit to Timor Leste where the children in Marcelo 02 School were assessed for dental needs, Dr John and Rev Gwen Fisher worked tirelessly to organise a ‘dental project trip’ back to Ekaristi Church to follow up with some dental treatment. Fundraising was undertaken at the Boonah Dental Clinic where they held a ‘Clean for Timor’ day. All staff donated their time and services and the money from that day was used to purchase dental and medical requirements for the project. John and Gwen were accompanied by Peter and Jill Case who were keen to facilitate and teach some oral hygiene lessons with the children and teachers of the school.
The Glebe Rd team joined forces with Timor Children’s Foundation (TCF) Dental team to provide not only treatment at Marcelo 02 school but also travelled to work in the UnitingWorld Fusona clinic in Lospalos, a small town about 250km east of Dili.
Our friends Domingos and Orasio from Ekaristi Church in Dili were crucial in getting us through customs. We were all very thankful for our partnership and friendship with these generous people.
When we arrived in Dili, we were warmly welcomed by the church council of Ekaristi at a dinner at the church. We were again reminded of the love, care and exceeding generosity of our friends in Timor and the great hope and faith that they have. The next morning, the real work began as we transformed the church into two dental surgeries. One was set up with a full mobile clinic including a dental chair and drill unit supplied by Dr Malcolm and TCF. The second area was set up in the vestry and was used for examinations, extractions and the sterilising unit.
Post-operative instructions were handed out to the parents/guardians of the school children to ensure the correct care continued as the patients went home.
After two days at Ekaristi Church, we packed all the dental equipment into two 4-wheel drive vehicles and travelled for eight hours to a clinic in Los Palos with TCF’s dental project. In the two days at Lospalos clinic the team did 110 extractions, including 12 full surgical procedures, 10 fillings, some cosmetic corrections and other treatment as well. We then spent another full drive on the return trip to Dili.
The team participated in worship for Pentecost Sunday at Ekaristi Church. Rev Gwen gave the message and this was translated by Rev Albino.
Rev Gwen and Dr Malcolm were invited to visit the First Secretary for Health at the Australian Embassy and made some very helpful connections for future visits. Rev Gwen also visited the Synod for discussions with the Moderator, Vice Moderator, General Secretary and Treasurer of IPTL Timor Leste.
July 2017 Trip to Timor – Reflections
In early July, 2017, three members of GRUC travelled to Timor Leste to visit our friends and partners at Ekaristi Church in Dili. Noel Rothery, Paul de Sauty and David Hunter were warmly welcomed and hosted by members of Ekaristi Church for their nine day visit.
As well as meeting with the Church Council and other groups in the church, the team also visited the Marcelo 02 school where a dental project had just been completed. Good reports of this project were conveyed to our team. The hosts in Timor Leste also took the visitors to meet the people at four smaller churches in their beautiful country. These were Zeboath IPTL at Becora, Alpa-Bikiar church, the church at Batugede near the Indonesian border and the church at Loes. Because of the partnership with Ekaristi, the people in these churches welcomed the team as friends and openly trusted us to share their lives with them.
Even though the standard of living is very basic in Timor Leste, these generous people teach us a lot about living in community and being dependent upon God for all their needs.
BACKGROUND TO PARTNERSHIP
Our partnership with Timor Leste churches commenced in 2009 with a first visit to Glebe Road Uniting Church (GRUC) by Rev Moeses da Silva, Moderator of Protestant Church in Timor-Leste (IPTL). This partnership was with the IPTL churches in Timor Leste and facilitated by Uniting World.
Following this first contact two members of the Ekaristi Church in Dili visited GRUC during 2010 and in the following year, members of Glebe Rd travelled to Ekaristi Church to begin considering a partnership with that specific church. In December 2011, a formal Memorandum of Understanding was forged with Ekaristi Church and Uniting World.
PURPOSE OF PARTNERSHIP
The purpose of the partnership is to build a relationship between Ekaristi IPTL church and the Comoro community and GRUC members and the wider Ipswich community. The relationship is to be expressed by:
Introducing GRUC members and the Ipswich community to the dynamic faith and hope of a thriving church, community and school in a neighbouring developing country which provided significant support in the defence of Australia during the second world war
Offering exchange opportunities to Ekaristi members and the Comoro District community to experience life in Australia
Offering self-funded trips for GRUC members to experience life, faith and community in Timor Leste
Under the banner of the Uniting World outreach programme supporting developing churches, communities and nations with specific projects aimed at building capacity in the developing countries
Fundraising for this partnership has been through holding Trivia Mornings, Sausage selling stalls at local retail stores, and generous donations from our church members and the wider community.
As of July 2017, a total of 24 GRUC members have visited Ekaristi Church, many returning again and again as our partnership and friendships grow. A total of 41 visits have been made. These have all been self-funded as people see the value in developing relationships with our East Timorese friends. We in return have funded 15 visits from 12 members of the Ekaristi Church during the period of our partnership and intend to continue to host visitors every year as this is vital to our continuing partnership and friendship with Ekaristi Church.
Ekaristi Church in Comoro District, Dili (our partner church) currently operates the Marcelo 02 Eskola, a kindergarten and elementary (primary) school. This school is very well respected in the local Dili community and is experiencing strong growth. In 2013 it was determined by the Church Council and the School Principal that there was a requirement to establish more classroom space in order to supplement the existing classrooms. GRUC, under the Uniting World banner, gladly accepted the challenge to raise the required $40 000 to meet this goal. The work on the school classrooms was carried out in 2014 by a professional Dili builder who is a member of the Ekaristi Church. Three new classrooms were added to the school and provision was made in this build for additional rooms to be built on a second level in the future if needed. The new classrooms were put into use at the beginning of the school year in 2015 but the official opening was planned for September of that year when visitors from Glebe Rd Uniting Church could be in attendance. It has been wonderful for members of GRUC to travel to Dili to see the difference these classrooms have made to the education provided by the school and the subsequent growth of the church community.
Footings for the new classrooms 2014
New classrooms completed January 2015
Official Opening, Sept 2015
If you would like to donate to our Partnership with Ekaristi Church please see the Church ‘Giving’ page here – simply reference the transaction with the Project Name – e.g. Ref: ‘Team Timor” or ‘Timor Dental Project’.
If you have interest in joining with us on a trip to Timor Leste, being part of the dental team or if your church is considering a partnership with a Timor Leste IPTL church, contact Noel Rothery using the contact form on this page.