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IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD

by Manuel Noronha, Former student of St Paul Methodist School, Timor-Leste.


I joined St Paul Methodist School in Timor-Leste in Grade 7. Despite not knowing much English, I topped the Grade 7 cohort. My teachers and Principal recognised my hard work and capacity to learn, and recommended that I skip a grade to be promoted to Grade 9. Later, I was amongst the top students in my Grade 9 class. Thank God, I became the first and only student to qualify for a place in St Francis Methodist School in Singapore.


I came to Singapore for a three-year programme at St Francis Methodist School in 2020 when we were all severely affected by COVID-19. Studying abroad was then new to me, hence life was very challenging. My lack of knowledge about English and international cultures made me very anxious and I had self-doubt about the new school environment. I vividly remember during break times, Mrs Gina would approach the loneliest student at the corner of the canteen and chat with me. However, those moments did not last long. Through the help of the teachers and classmates, I was able to gradually progress in my English skills and get to know many St Francians who were from different cultures and had unique characteristics. Other than my teacher and friends, the school activities and programmes were also a big part of my growth in St Francis. One of them was being able to serve in the student councillor committee. After I was chosen to be a student councillor, I gained a huge amount of confidence to approach new people and teachers to start conversations and ask for help. Three years later, in November 2022, I graduated as the valedictorian of my cohort and I was in the top 12% of students who sat for the international Western Australian Certificate of Education. I am grateful for the wholesome environment where I could develop strong leadership skills and forge close friendships.



It had been a wonderful and extraordinary learning journey in St Francis and I am grateful for it from the bottom of my heart. I would like to thank all my subject teachers who had dedicated their time and effort in helping me to become the best person I could ever be. I was a naive boy with a lack of English skills but later, I was able to represent my class to give a speech in fluent English. I had grown a lot - thanks to my dearest and caring teachers, who nurtured me from an immature boy into an independent adult. I am now capable of taking responsibility of my own behaviours and decisions. The knowledge and skills that I learnt will never be forgotten.


I also want to appreciate my Aldersgate Methodist Church (AMC) family. The church provided a community for me in Singapore. I was 17 when I arrived in Singapore. I did not really know anyone. Many people told me I was brave. Later, I realised that I was not scared because I knew I was surrounded by God's people, the AMC community. I want to especially thank the Loo Family who took me in to live with them. Thank you for being a family to me; they took care of me and treated me like their own son. I was really blessed by them. Lastly, I want to thank the group of people who had been praying for me. I did not really know who the people in that group are but I knew their faithful prayers had helped me to be where I am today. Thank you and thank God.


I had dreamt of becoming a pilot when I first joined St Paul Methodist School. Divinely, soon after my return to Timor-Leste, I qualified for a scholarship to study aviation engineering in Australia. If I complete this university degree, I will return to Timor-Leste to serve in the Mission Aviation Fellowship (International). I believe God has charted my path. I hope that I will make a positive impact on my community and nation in the years to come.


It takes a village to raise a child. Thank God that our village is not defined by geographical boundaries. It is a kingdom village; one where different members of God’s kingdom come together with resources of time, finances, and expertise to raise the next generation of young people. I have benefitted from being in God’s village, and I pray I will be a blessing to many others in Timor-Leste and wherever I go.



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1 Comment


Dear Manuel, Thank you for sharing your incredible journey at St Paul and St Francis. Glad you have had a profitable and meaningful time of learning and growing. May the Lord continue to bless and direct your path as you continue your studies and prepare for your service in the coming years. Shalom.

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