Welcome to our first blog post for Para Marcia. It has been an interesting journey setting up our new organisation. If you are wondering where we come from and who we are that is not an easy question to answer and I can only give you part of the answer. My name is Christine and I became involved with this work when I met Lucinda and when she told me about some chickens. You will find all of our profiles in the “Team” section (not the chickens). I was impressed the first time I met Lucinda and learned about her work in East Timor. One thing that amazed me is that she co-ordinated her work among a diverse and interesting group of organisations and churches. The work Lucinda was involved with officially comes under a friendship agreement between Weberek, East Timor, and the City of Parkes, who were invited by the Chief of Weberek to take over the work of YWAM in Weberek. However Lucinda is also supported by groups of different congregations and formal and informal groups and individuals from various walks of life, all with a heart to help the people of Timore Leste. Then there is the work of the people of Parkes and particularly the Peak Hill Uniting Church and their pastor Geoff who have had an amazing impact on the people of Weberek. Lucinda is a midwife and her work consists mostly of midwifery and health care, but also includes developmental work which you can find out about as we gradually upload all of the past projects. Lucinda is also connected with a variety of aid workers around Timor who are loosely connected but united in their heart for the people of that nation.
Now back to the chickens. Lucinda told me about how people in Timor rarely eat meat, and if they do they eat chicken. Some of the major health issues come from malnutrition. But if a household owns a chicken they won’t necessarily eat it, as it is effective currency and they can sell it to pay for school fees etc. I am a business person so I though the idea that having a currency that you could literally grow in your backyard wasn’t such a bad idea. So I said, “why not get a rooster and start to print some money”. Well, she tells me that the chickens are not penned, they roam wild and every chicken knows where it lives (this I found impressive). Well there is a simple solution to that I say, “get some timber, find yourself a rooster and bang a money printing system and a chicken economy right there”. Lucinda persists in politely addressing my naïvety, “But what would they feed them?”. “Ahh scraps.. pellets, you know the stuff chickens eat”. “People don’t have any food scraps, they eat everything they have, some of the grain falls to the ground and the chickens eat that but not enough to keep them alive (so the chickens roam in the village and bush to get food). Also the people couldn’t afford to buy the chickens special food even if it was available to buy”. Lucinda told me that sometimes the people are so grateful for the work she does delivering babies that they will sometimes offer her a chicken. Lucinda doesn’t like to take their food, but she also doesn’t want to insult them, so she says to them that they can invite her for dinner when they cook the chicken and they can share. She then tells me the chickens are so malnourished that they are in fact not much of a meal anyway.
After hearing about the chickens of Timore Lest I looked at my fat little dog and felt so regretful that we have people living in such a state, right there on our doorstep. I decided I can not be content to live in a world where an Apple executive can earn 73 million dollars a year and a Timorese family cannot feed a chicken. I was so convicted of the love of God for the Timorese and that we were really not obeying the “Love your Neighbour” command, that I started bossing Lucinda around about setting up and organisation to bring together this bunch of people that supported the work she was involved with. Together surely we could bring together our commitment to a self sufficient Timor Leste and see it roll into to a greater movement. It is after all not the Timorese doing that they are not able to feed themselves, having been almost crushed under the weight of oppression. Join us in witnessing this nation emerge from the ashes of oppression to a powerful people living out Gods purpose for them on this earth.
I will leave you with the words of Jesus, and my conviction that we have to either take these words seriously or we should just stop calling ourselves Christian;
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
Luke 4:18 (NKJV)