We will be leaving Timor Leste in 4 days! FOUR days!!! Oh my.
It has been five years since hubby (at that time, BF-turned-fiance-on-the-airplane-ride-over) and I agreed to go on mission for our community. A lot has happened since then.
On the plane going to Brunei which was our first stopover before Timor, hubby proposed to me. (This deserves a blog post of its own hahaha). We started our mission as an engaged couple serving the kids, youth and singles, and occasionally helping out my dad and mom with the couples. We learned a lot about each other, fought a lot, made up a lot, prayed a lot, served a lot. Our term as a missionary engaged couple helped prepare us for our life as a married couple.
After we got married in the Philippines on January 7, 2006, we left again for Timor Leste, excited to serve as a “legitimate” missionary couple. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that I was pregnant a mere 2 months after arriving (can anyone say “honeymoon baby”? hehehe).
2006 was a year of crisis for Timor. In the heat of the crisis, it was decided that the female members of the mission team, at that time composed of my 5-month pregnant self, my mother and our single co-missionary were to be evacuated via Philippine military aircraft along with other Filipinos who had chosen to leave the conflict-torn country. (Again, I should probably blog separately about this!) Despite ongoing sporadic violence in Timor, after spending about 2 months in the Philippines, hubby and I, along with my parents, another missionary couple, and four single missionaries, returned to Dili to continue the mission. We were armed with our faith in God, hope for a better future for our Timorese brethren, and love for God’s people and Church.
On October 10, 2006, I gave birth to our son, Timothy Alan, named after St. Timothy, one of the youngest missionaries and St. Paul’s “protege.” Incidentally, we also call him “Tim” to remind us that he was born on mission here.
Fast forward to July 5, 2009. After our community’s pro-life rally, the first of its kind in Timor Leste, and an afternoon of walking back and forth to check on things, being the Pro-Life Ministry Head, I aptly gave birth to our daughter, Alyssa Therese, whom we had nicknamed “Rysse” (pronounced “Reese”), even long before she was conceived! After giving birth to Tim, and upon contemplating on having a second baby, hubby and I had decided that if our second child were to be a girl (and oh did we claim it! Thank God for NFP-BOM! It worked!) her nickname would be “Reese” or something similar-sounding, so that when you put their names together, it would sound like “Timorese.”
Amazing how God answered our prayers and made all this come true. So with “Tim ho Rysse” (Tim and Rysse in Tetun) we had our missionary “fruit.” No wonder then that our Timorese family here consider our kids as their own. Indeed, it has been a privilege, joy and blessing to raise our kids on mission. Challenging yes, but very inspiring and uplifting. Since we have the kids with us wherever we go, we are blessed to be a family witnessing to God’s immense love. I even got to “homepreschool” Tim! How TRULY RICH we are!
And now.. in a few days’ time, we will be LEAVING. Our mission in Timor is ending. We will be going home to Manila. We don’t have our new mission assignments as of now. There are a lot of challenges facing us. Yet despite these, my heart is at peace. It doesn’t matter now where we will be based or what we will be doing.
Our mission has taught me that what matters MOST is that we will be together, as a family. Hubby and I as partners in life, parenting and mission, together with our adorable “TimhoRysse” angels. No matter what happens in the coming days, weeks or months, we know that we will always strive to live up to our family’s life verse:
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
May God be praised forever and ever! Thank you Timor Leste! Your people, especially our members here, will always have a special place in our hearts and family!