Earlier in the month I was able visit East Timor and our team working there.I noticed considerable improvement in the situation in the capital Dili since my last visit. Some of the main roads there have been widened and resurfaced and the renewing of curbing and footpaths is continuing. However traffic has increased considerably and with many traffic lights no longer working the problem of traffic management has escalated dramatically.
The country's first shopping mall/centre is now open although not all of the shops have been tenanted yet. Beachside parks have been renovated, Government buildings been painted and some new ones have been built thanks to the Chinese.
Water and electricity supplies are much more reliable, and with the current peaceful climate small businesses are on the increase. The number of travelers to and from the country has significantly increased
However a recent report on the 10th anniversary of its independence says:
While considerable improvements have been made since independence, the challenges still facing this nation of 1.1 million are vast. Only 2 in 5 homes have electricity, more than 40 percent of the country lives on less than $1 a day, youth unemployment is a staggeringly high 70 percent, and domestic violence is rampant, affecting nearly one-third of women older than 15, according to government statistics. More than 1 in 2 women suffer from domestic abuse in the capital alone.
“The new law which has been passed is a great step forward and there is a greater awareness among the public, that domestic violence is a crime – and a barrier to development, and to women’s health and well-being,” Sword Gusmao says. “But we still have a long way to go in terms of providing our law-enforcement agencies with the tools to be able deal with it adequately, and we need more and better women’s shelters, and legal and other services for women who have survived domestic violence.”
Our team faces many challenges in ministering in such an environment especially when it is realised that a large majority of the people still follow traditional religion and claim to members of the Catholic church that still actively campaigns against evangelical witness.
July 7th is the date for the parliamentary elections that will elect the next Prime Minister and Government.
Pray that this will continue to be a peaceful process, and that with the withdrawal of UN personnel later in the year, stability and peace will continue.
Pray that our team will be protected and have unity in the midst of Satan's territory where he likes to cause division.
More workers are needed to take up the opportunities. Could you be one of them?