Francisco returned to his home village in Timor-Leste in 2016 after spending almost ten years studying theology in Indonesia. He is pastoring in the Baptist church where he first came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is also helping to plant and pastor two other churches in the same region.
Testimony of Conversion
I was born in a tiny village in Timor-Leste; my extended family was devoted Catholics who raised me in strict adherence to their beliefs. My ancestral custom was to respect and honor the traditions that my ancestors held. So my extended family taught me their traditions and beliefs, and how they worshiped other gods. Because these traditions were the center of our family life, both of my parents kept me far from the education that I needed and desired. Since living in the village was so primitive, I was unable to receive the training that I should have received. Since I couldn’t read, I failed to understand the word of God. For more than six years, I was unable to get even an elementary school level education. Even when I was fifteen years old, I was still unable to read. I felt sad to see others going to school, and many times people underestimated my abilities because of my lack of education. At that time, it was impossible for me to read and understand the Bible.
However, God’s miraculous plan in my life was extraordinary. At that time, a believer named Pak Abilio asked me to join a fellowship that he led. There were only three people in that fellowship. He shared about Jesus Christ to me, and it made me believe the good news. Ephesians 2:8-9 assured my faith. After I knew that truth, I longed to learn more and grow in Christ. But my problem was that I could not read the word of God, because I did not go to school. However, by God’s abundant grace, He used Pak Abilio and all those in the fellowship to teach me how to read and write. They were so patient and faithful to me to inform me about the Bible. Since that time, I can read and write to learn more from the word of God.
Praise the Lord, one of the friends from the fellowship pointed me towards getting an education from a junior high school. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I was able to follow all the lessons well. When I became a believer, my longing to learn the word of God was daily upon me, and the commitment to serve the Lord grew stronger. Finally, Pak Abilio and I, along with the other believers, became diligent in sharing the good news. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, many people came to faith in Jesus Christ. We planted a Baptist church in Timor-Leste. The church went through many hardships, including the resistance from my own family, who were still devout Catholics. They tried to stop the plans to plant more churches and to disciple more people. However, the good news of Jesus Christ continued to be spread, and many more came to faith in Jesus.
Ten years ago, Pak Abilio and other servants of God longed for other leaders to be raised. They prayed for me to go to seminary, and I was soon equipped at the seminary named STTBJ (Sekolah Tinggi Theologia Baptist) in Jakarta. The Lord gave a vision in my heart to continue reaching the lost and to continue to proclaim the Good News to the people in Timor-Leste. Since many souls are thirsty for God’s word, but there are very few laborers in this field (Matt. 9:37). There are no institutions or Christian foundations (seminaries) in Timor-Leste, yet. Therefore, we do need support from many groups to help us. We hope our partnership with HeartCry will bring glory to God in Timor-Leste. Praise and glory to Jesus Christ. Amen.
Call to Ministry
Since I converted from devout Catholicism to be a true believer of Jesus Christ, the Lord continued to reveal his power in my life. My passion is growing and is abundant for the Word of God. Prayer and pursuing Christ has genuinely become an essential part of my growth in the faith. After growing as a believer, my passion for sharing the gospel and evangelism has also increased. Some of my family members became followers of Jesus Christ, and those that used to be obstacles to the ministry, they came to faith. At this moment, God gave me the grace to be able to pray for the sick to be healed. My faith made me respond to God’s call into full-time ministry, surrendering myself to serve on a full-time basis. When my parents were converted, they urged me to go to seminary. So faith brought me to be equipped for the ministry in Jakarta. Even though there were struggles were living in Jakarta, God used that as a part of the process in growing my faith in Him. The more opposition and hardship, the stronger God’s voice became in affirming my call into the ministry. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I committed my family to serve the Lord full-time.