Serving in a remote community during Timor-Leste’s struggle for independence, Rev Albino da Costa stood beside people who grew up without an education, healthcare or enough to eat. Hundreds of thousands of civilians like Rev Albino, a young minister at the time, died during similar interrogations and encounters at the hands of occupation forces.
Determined to live out his call to ministry, Rev Albino has gone on to become the Director of the Protestant Church of Timor-Leste’s Social Services Foundation, Fusona.
“Matthew 5:16 tells us to let our light shine before others, so that people will see our work and give praise to God,” Albino says. “I strongly believe our church’s mission is not just about preaching and teaching
"I strongly believe our Church’s mission is not just about preaching and teaching God’s word, but living it out to help our whole nation develop."
God’s word, but living it out to help our whole nation develop.” For Rev Albino and the Protestant Church of Timor-Leste, that commitment means a particular investment in children. This generation of adults had their childhood stolen, suffered deprivation and missed out on education. Now, they work hard for children’s education and health care, nurturing them through the church and teaching the community about the importance of child protection in a context where family violence is too common.
The church also trains leaders for communities in remote and regional areas, and is working hard to implement policies that care for and empower women and people with disabilities.
“Australia has always been a friend to our country, and your Uniting Church has really stood by us in the struggle, in prayer and in practical ways,” Albino says. “And my message to you all in Australia is this: God is not asleep – always he is alive, always awake, always with us. Thank you for all we do together.”
Health & Education
The church holds governance for more than 10 schools and
dental programs. Their health clinics provide education on
sanitation and hygiene; nutritional supplements for children
and assist families to build toilets.
They are funded by global partners to plant trees and
have trained all their Sunday school teachers and school
staff in child protection.
1. Leaders and Teachers
Pray for Moderator Rev Dominggus Alves, Director of Fusona Rev Albino da Costa and Treasurer and Project Coordinator Rev Nelyana (Nely) Santo Nope. Many leaders live with the ongoing trauma of their conflict experiences but continue to speak against family violence, advocate for victims and support rural health.
60% of children in Timor-Leste don’t have enough to eat and are chronically undernourished. Education and healthcare are an ongoing challenge.
Pray for their safety, education and health, and for the hope of a nation that rests on their courage and resilience.
We can all do simple things to stand with our Partners and show support:
- Pick one child that you know – yours, your extended family, neighbours or friends – and do something to encourage them, to help them feel safe and cared for. (Make sure that you have the consent of their parents/guardians and act responsibly).
- Ask your church leadership about things you have in place to keep children safe.