General Conference President Visits East Timor

Edward Rodriguez, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review
General Conference President Visits East Timor
[Photo: courtesy of Pastor Chris Anderson]

Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is visiting East Timor (known officially as the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste), where the Adventist faith was planted in 2009 and has since grown to 655 members. More than 1.3 million people live in the small Asian nation. Most of its citizens are Christians of other faiths, with minorities of Muslims and Hindus. It is the first time a president of the General Conference has visited the country.

Coming from a short visit to Australia, Wilson and his wife, Nancy, spent the first part of their visit at the Timor-Leste Adventist International School (TAIS) in Dili, to attend the inauguration of the 13th Sabbath offering-funded project in the area. Administrators from the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, TAIS faculty and staff, and the leadership of the Adventist Church in Timor-Leste welcomed Wilson. Representatives from the Timor-Leste government and the ministry of education were also present at the ceremony. 

“We appreciate the establishment of the Timor-Leste Adventist International School for its contribution to improving the educational system in the country and for equipping our students to be holistically competent,” general administrative director Antoninho Pires said.

Shortly after Wilson’s arrival at TAIS, leaders honored several individuals who played a significant role in the establishment of the school. Peter Koolik, development and construction consulting service volunteer coordinator; David Stafford, volunteer missionary architect from Australia; and the whole team of contractors were recognized and appreciated for their dedication and hard work in completing the project.

On Sabbath, October 29, more than 300 church members attended Wilson’s sermon at TAIS. Wilson encouraged the church and called members to be involved in the mission. He also reminded everyone about the gift of education and how it can be an avenue to reach out to many people searching for hope and healing. 

“Seventh-day Adventist education is quality education,” Wilson said. “We focus on scholastics, being socially responsible to others, and being physically equipped to perform tasks efficiently.” 

The Sabbath program was filled with testimonies and stories of encouragement shared by people who have been a part of TAIS’s development through the years. 

The following day, Wilson and his group were cordially welcomed for the inauguration and dedication of a TAIS branch in Los Palos and the newly established church in the same city. The new church in Los Palos is the second church establishment in the city and will be home to more than 30 members in that area.

Adventist church members said they appreciate Wilson’s visit, the prayers offered on their behalf, and the opportunity to hear God’s message from the General Conference president. 

There are several Adventist institutions in Timor-Leste, including an Adventist radio station known as Hope Channel Timor-Leste 92.3. Originally launched as Radio Novo Tempo, it was relaunched as Hope Channel Timor-Leste in 2013 at the mission headquarters. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Timor-Leste was also established in 2010 to support humanitarian efforts across the country.

“Please include our school in Timor-Leste in your prayers,” regional church leaders said. “Pray for the school and the influence it will impart on its students, the parents, and the community they are in.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.

Edward Rodriguez, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review