Six Months Today

A spring day in Perth. There is a mixture of excitement, anticipation and concern. There may even be fear. Have I done enough? Will I make it?

Looking back there are hundreds, even thousands of hours in preparation. Looking ahead there are 33 days, over 4,200 kilometres, pain, exhilaration, good times and bad.

On that spring day I’ll begin the Ride for Compassion Coast to Coast, a huge cycling event that will make a major impact for children living in extreme poverty. Today marks six months from the first turn of the pedals on the journey.

The ride will start in Perth, Western Australia on Saturday the 18th of September. We will arrive at Compassion’s head office in Newcastle, New South Wales on Wednesday the 20th of October. There’ll be 28 riding days and 5 rest days. The average riding distance for those riding days will be just over 150 kilometres. Our longest days will be just under 200 kilometres. There’ll be around 35 cyclists and a support team of around 12.

Six Months Today

That spring day will come so very quickly. Planning for this ride began some years ago and yet here we are, six months out, working towards that first day on the bike, then the second, then the third and so on all the way to the other side of the country.

So much has already been done in planning and preparation but there’s so much still to be organised and completed.

More than 4,200 kilometres from west to east won’t happen unless there are thousands of kilometres in training beforehand. That training will require a change in my routines, my calendar, what I eat, how I think and so many other areas of life. There’s no doubt that this ride will require sacrifice.

I can’t afford to take the path of least resistance. It’s autumn now but winter is around the corner. I won’t have the luxury of leaving my bike in the garage on wet days. If I’m to make the distance I need to step up today and every other day until this ride is over.

It’s Too Important

The cause behind the ride is too important to treat lightly. Hundreds of children living in extreme poverty are depending on those of us making this journey and making it count. They don’t know we’ll be riding across the continent, they’ll probably never know, but it’s an important cause all the same.

There are children, through no fault of their own, who are living in the most unacceptable circumstances. We plan to make a difference for as many of them as we can by offering them a hope more powerful than poverty.

The World Bank is estimating that the current pandemic will force around 150 million people into extreme poverty this year. I can’t stand by and see that happen.

If you’d like to support my ride you can do so in two ways.

I am personally seeking to raise $25,000. I really need your help to make that a reality.

You can make a direct donation to my fundraising page. Your donation will touch the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our world, children living in extreme poverty.

So far, I received donations from $10 to over $1,000 from some generous friends. All donations above $2 are tax-deductible in Australia. Your contribution, of any amount, will put me closer to my target of $15,000.

The other way you can help to boost my total is to sponsor a child living in poverty. By visiting my fundraising page and clicking the yellow SPONSOR A CHILD button, your sponsorship will count towards my fundraising goal while releasing a child from poverty in Jesus’ name. Every child sponsored through my fundraising page counts as $1,000 towards my fundraising goal.

Sponsorship gives kids safe places to play, the chance to see a doctor when they’re sick, education, and the opportunity to discover Jesus’ incredible love for them.

Sponsor a child. Give them a brighter future so they, and eventually their own children, can live free from poverty.

Whichever way you choose to support me and however much you choose to give, your contribution will not only help push me closer to reaching my target, you’ll also change the life of a child or children living with the devastating effects of extreme poverty.

The Long and Winding Road

So there is quite literally a long road ahead for me beginning six months from today but the journey starts now. I’ll be doing my best to fulfil my responsibilities in training, fundraising and then riding. Will you support me in this massive venture?

It’s unacceptable that millions of children are living in extreme poverty so I’m putting my body on the line to do whatever I can to make a difference for as many of those children as I can.

Will you help me give more children a chance to live, dream and hope?



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Want to do something amazing?

Have you got a few minutes for me to ask you a slightly odd question?

Have you ever stared evil in the face and thought, “this is unacceptable, this can’t go on”?

I have. I’ve been face to face with extreme poverty and its shocking human consequences in several countries, and while it’s been my job at Compassion Australia for over seven years to speak up for the people I’ve met and share what I’ve experienced, it’s not always easy.

I’ve seen horrors that will haunt me for the rest of my life; things I’ve never shared, even with those closest to me.

How can I stop those things becoming a burden too great to bear? I have resolved to be an agent of change and healing and you can too. If I can make even a small difference, I’ll know that I’ve spent my life well.

That’s why I’m taking part in Ride for Compassion Coast to Coast in September and October this year. I’ll be cycling 4,200 kilometres across Australia from Perth to Newcastle to provide desperately needed assistance for children and their families who live in extreme poverty.

Of course, I can train hard, and I’ll certainly have to do that, and I can ride all those kilometres, but it won’t bring worthwhile change without your help.

You are the key to my success.

It’s when you join me in saying no to the evil of poverty and stand with me to say that it’s unacceptable that together we can start transforming lives.

While we all face the very real effects of the current pandemic, the World Bank has estimated that COVID-19 will push 150 million people into extreme poverty this year. It’s the first rise in global extreme poverty in over 20 years. That’s unacceptable.

Your generous donation will touch the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our world through Compassion’s work around the world, including those ravaged by the pandemic.

I am personally seeking to raise $25,000. I really need your help to make that a reality.

I don’t know if you can manage to give $50, $500 or $5,000 but I do know that your contribution, of any amount, will put me closer to my target of $25,000.

Please don’t delay. While the ride is still some months away, your donation today will go straight to work against the unacceptable.

To donate securely go to my fundraising page now.

Another way you can help me reach my target is by sponsoring a child through Compassion. Every child that is sponsored via my fundraising page will be counted as $1,000 towards my $25,000 target. There is a button on my fundraising page that will allow you to meet your new sponsored child today.

Sponsorship gives kids safe places to play, the chance to see a doctor when they’re sick, education, and the opportunity to be known, loved and protected.

If you want to know more about donating to Compassion, or about Compassion Child Sponsorship, please get in touch. You can leave me a message in the comments section of this post or head to my contact page.

Thank you for joining me in telling poverty that we won’t let it win.



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Defeating the Overwhelming

It’s too big. I can’t do it. I can’t cope.

If you haven’t said it out loud, you’ve probably heard your internal voice whisper those words or something similar a number of times over the years. I know I have.

Is there something overwhelming waiting for you in 2021? Does it all seem too much?

We talk about having mountains to climb and I have a couple of giant mountains ahead of me this year. My biggest problem with climbing mountains is that I have a fear of heights. As well as the herculean task of climbing, I have to deal with all the doubts and fears along the way.

How did we get here?

While 2020 seemed to last for years, we’ve finally left it in the past and arrived on the shores of 2021. That’s scary because I can no longer put off the urgency of what I’ll be doing ths year by saying, ‘next year’.

This is where reality bites. In just 37 weeks I hope to begin cycling right across Australia. I am currently in no shape to take on such a challenge.

Ride for Compassion Coast to Coast will start on Saturday the 18th of September. Together with around 30 other cyclists I’ll arrive at Compassion’s head office in Newcastle, NSW on Wednesday the 20th of October, having cycled over 4,200 km. There’ll be 28 riding days and 5 rest days. The average riding distance for those riding days will be just over 150 km. Our longest days will be just under 200 km.

I have quite some experience with the ride aspect of the trip having cycled across Australia six times previously but fond memories won’t get me there.

I’ve continued to age since my last crossing and I know that the distances will feel longer. The training will be harder. The aches will last longer.

This year’s ride is a huge mountain.

So, what’s getting me back on my bike if it’s really that hard?

That’s the other mountain.

For just over seven years I’ve been working for Compassion Australia, a Christian international holistic child development organisation.

I’ve visited Compassion’s work in 7 of the 25 developing countries we serve and I’ve met hundreds of children and their families who are being released from poverty in Jesus’ name.

The task of turning the tide on global poverty has been hard enough, but the current pandemic is estimated to push around 150 million more people into extreme poverty. There is an urgent need to raise and direct funds to those who have been most affected. A colossal mountain.

Time to start climbing.

It’s the start of 2021. We’re at base camp. Time to begin the climb … the arduous, at times seemingly impossible, climb.

I’ll begin by reminding myself that I’ve cycled those distances before and that despite my ageing body, for the sake of the most vulnerable, children living in poverty, I can do it again. It’ll take a lot of training and persistence but I can reach that peak.

Of course, all that work will be wasted if it doesn’t produce resources to help those in most need.

Hand me the harness.

I won’t ask you to join me on a bike but I do need your help to overcome these challenges.

Your encouragement as I train is vital. There’ll be days when it’ll be ‘too windy’, ‘too hot’, ‘too wet’ to train. On those days it’ll be easier to stay in bed so I’ll need your encouragement to keep me motivated.

I’ll also need you to donate whatever you can to help me reach my $25,000 target. I don’t know how I’ll get there without you.

You can sponsor a child living in poverty or make a straight donation.

Sponsorship gives kids safe places to play, the chance to see a doctor when they’re sick, education, and the opportunity to discover Jesus’ incredible love for them.

A donation will be put to immediate use in helping those affected by the pandemic.

Will you help me climb a couple of mountains this year by giving more children a chance to live, dream and hope? Sponsor a child today or donate now through my fundraising page.



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Rusty

Just before COVID-19 shut down the world, I was in the Philippines with Compassion Australia.

Simply by the fact that I was born in Australia, I have had more opportunities than I deserve and I live a very ‘comfortable’ life. The same can’t be said for Rusty, a young boy who lives with his parents in a shanty owned by his grandmother.

When we met the family, Rusty’s dad Ricky was working as a farmer and earning around 300 pesos per week. That’s just 20 Australian dollars for an entire week’s work.

Rusty’s mum, Thelma, cares for her five children in their small makeshift home. The family often struggle to meet their basic needs and they often go into the forest to gather edible plants to eat.

The children lug heavy buckets of water to their shanty from a nearby creek. They don’t have the luxury of just turning on a tap. While many of us have more than one toilet in our homes, Rusty’s family shares a toilet with another family.

One day, a heavy storm was battering the roof and the walls of their home. Rusty’s family decided to move to his uncle’s house where they thought they’d be safe. But on the way, Rusty slipped and fell, hitting his head on a rock. To stop the bleeding, Thelma rushed him to the hospital where he had to have stitches.

When Rusty and his family were evacuating their home for the relative safety of his uncles’ house during a storm, Rusty fell and gashed his head on a rock. His parents borrowed the money to pay for his medical needs. They’re still paying back the debt.

Things will get better because Rusty has been registered with Compassion and is waiting for a sponsor.

Please take a couple of minutes to watch this video of the day I visited Rusty’s home.

I know that life would have become even harder for this family since the pandemic. Can I ask you to consider sponsoring a child like Rusty and bring hope into their life? Please sponsor a child today.



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Faith

Just before COVID-19 shut down the world, I was in the Philippines with Compassion Australia.

One of the families that grabbed my heart was that of Ferdinand and Lorielyn.

Their daughter Faith was almost three when we visited and was registered to be sponsored through Compassion.

Ferdinand is a farm labourer when he can find work. Lorielyn is a full-time mum.

The family lives in the home you can see behind them in the photo above. It’s made of scrap galvanised iron. It’s dark and sparse inside. They don’t own the land and so the owner could ask for the land back at any time if he wants to sell the lot.

Their 18-year-old daughter, Lhean, seen next to Ferdinand, has cerebral palsy. The love, care, and gentleness that Ferdinand shows Lhean is amazing and inspiring.

Unfortunately, they don’t have the money needed for the regular medical check-ups that Lhean requires or the ongoing medication she needs to manage the condition. They simply do the best they can. They are facing a major medical issue without the means to care for their daughter.

To me, that’s unacceptable.

In a world of iPhone 12s, Airbus A380s, millionaire sports stars, and musicians, how can we not be caring for each other? How can we not be ensuring that everyone has enough?

Thankfully, Faith was recently sponsored but there are many others just like her that still need to find a sponsor.

Please take a couple of minutes to watch this video about their story.

I know that life would have become even harder for this family since the pandemic. Can I ask you to consider sponsoring a child like Faith and bring hope into their life? Please sponsor a child today.



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