Dr. Monica and Rev. Tom Liddle can’t wait to leave home, to go home.
As Monica was completing her doctoral program in naturopathic medicine, she needed a place for an internship. Having traveled lightly (backpack-style) in Africa some years earlier, she was eager to do her work someplace where her skills could make a real difference. Tom, working then as a carpenter, mentioned it to a co-worker, who suggested East Timor, where he had a personal connection with a doctor. When Tom mentioned it to Monica that evening, they both wondered, “Where is East Timor?” Their inquiry about serving at the Bairo Pite Clinic in the capitol city Dili was met with an immediate, “Sure, we can use you; come on over.”
This experience in 2003 stayed with them in a deep place. In 2008, they did a short term mission as volunteers through Global Ministries (United Church of Christ and Christian Church, Disciples of Christ) in rural East Timor. And with that, they were hooked. They returned in 2009 for a three-year stay, Monica serving in the same rural health clinic and Tom leading a major renovation of the clinic and providing assistance to local pastors of the Protestant Church in East Timor in visitation, education, and other programming. Leaving East Timor to return home to Minnesota was heart-breaking.
How is it that someplace you’ve never heard of can become your true home? In her visit with us on October 25, Monica described the people of Los Palos and the clinic staff and local pastor who have all become family. Despite their poverty, these people opened their homes, tables, and hearts to them from the very first day. They shared what little they had. They work side by side in difficult conditions with scant supplies for little pay. But every day they begin together with prayer, and they end with prayer. Worship is held in homes because of the great distances to travel to get to a church building. Lives are shared deeply and honestly. And the work that Monica and Tom do really matters; it changes lives, literally saves lives, and contributes to building hope for this small, fairly new, emerging nation.
People who love you deeply, whom you love; meaningful work to do; these are the things that call to the heart, that make a place home. To learn more, click here, and if you think you might like to help underwrite the Liddles’ next venture back “home” in East Timor, go to the donation site for Global Ministries.
Where are you called to give your best, your all, sacrificing the usual “trophies” of comfortable living in order to serve, and receiving the deep gifts of that place, those people? Where is your truest “home”?