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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John Miguel

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

I met a number of beautiful families who are facing incredible hardship due to extreme poverty.

The first family I met was that of Marinessa and Joey, a young couple, both 25 years of age, who have 4 children. The family of six live in a small shanty made of rusted iron sheets, about 2 metres by 2 metres. Their home is next to a pile of rubbish in the shadow of the local cemetery. The landlord keeps threatening to raise the cost of the land they use which would essentially see them losing everything.

Their 3-year-old son, John Miguel, had just been registered with Compassion. I knew that finding John a sponsor would make an incredible difference for the whole family.

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 John and bring hope into their life? Please sponsor a child today.



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One Year Today

On this day next year, the 18th of September 2021, I’ll start pedaling from Perth, Western Australia towards Newcastle, New South Wales. Ride for Compassion Coast to Coast will be my second time cycling across Australia for Compassion and my seventh crossing overall. I’ll be riding with around 30 other riders for a common cause.

We will arrive at Compassion’s head office in Newcastle, NSW on Wednesday the 20th of October, having cycled around 4,200 km. There’ll be 28 riding days and 5 rest days. The average riding distance for those riding days will be 150 km. Our longest day will be just under 200 km.

Why would I do such a crazy thing?

For decades, the number of people living in extreme poverty has been falling. There have been huge leaps forward in consigning poverty to the history books. There was still a long way to go but the trajectory was promising.

Then …. 2020. While COVID-19 has affected us all, it has hit the most vulnerable the hardest. The World Bank has estimated that between 71 million and 100 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty due to the pandemic. I find that absolutely heartbreaking but it also motivates me to step in and do something about it. I need to be part of the solution.

This ride is part of my efforts to bring a solution.

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

You can sponsor a child living in poverty.

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.

The other way you can support my ride is by making a direct donation. Your donation will touch the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our world through Compassion’s work.

Every child in poverty is vulnerable, but some children are at risk of the most deplorable situations in the world.

Children whose parents who have left, died, or are unable to provide for them, children exposed to exploitation and children with special needs are highly vulnerable. They often find themselves on the edge of extremely dangerous situations like child labour, gang violence, trafficking, and life on the street.

In the midst of these ongoing difficulties, COVID-19 has had a massive effect on children and their families. Now, more than ever, they need people like you and me to step in and play our part in showing them love, kindness and practical care.

Whether you want to sponsor a child or make a donation, just head to my fundraising page

Registrations for the ride close soon but if you’re interested in joining me on a bike or as part of the support team, head to the Ride for Compassion website.

I need to get fit. Really fit.

Over the next twelve months, I need to get myself into better shape than I have ever been. I’m going to have to be strategic and focused if I’m to drop a bunch of kilograms and put plenty of kilometres into my legs. I’ll need to be able to ride around a thousand kilometres a week for just over four weeks.

Taking part in the ride will take a huge effort.

But every effort I make to be part of the ride will be worth it because some things are unacceptable. It’s unacceptable that millions of children are living in extreme poverty. Next year I’ll put 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? Please sponsor a child today or donate through my fundraising page.



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