12 Things You’ve Never Done

twelve

Let’s get the conversation going. I want to know about some of the things you’ve experienced that most others haven’t. What are the unique moments of your life?

I thought I’d try to spark things by listing a few things I’ve done that you probably haven’t.

While you may find one or two things on the list that you’ve done I sincerely doubt that you’ve done all twelve. 🙂

I’m hoping that you’ll come up with a few of your own in the comments section of this post. If you’ve done any of the things on my list let me know.

I’ll just list the twelve things and leave it to you. If you have questions about any of the items in the list, feel free to ask.

12 Things You’ve ‘Probably’ Never Done

1. Spent six weeks in court.

gavel

It was some years ago and it was quite a high profile case. I had been called on for jury duty for a case that was set down for two to three weeks. Within the first week the judge suggested that things were going really well and we’d probably be all wrapped up in less than two weeks. Then things got complicated.

Six weeks later we finally returned our verdict and our lives could return to normal.

2. Cycled across Australia five times.

nullarbor

It’s been way too long since my last Nullarbor crossing in 2003 when I rode from Perth to Hobart. It seems almost a lifetime away from my first of five crossings back in 1987.

I’ve cycled across Australia in my twenties, my thirties and my forties. I’m now in my fifties and while nothing’s in concrete, I’m making plans for another crossing. Probably in 2018.

1987 – Perth to Canberra
1988 – Perth to Canberra
1990 – Perth to Adelaide
2000 – Perth to Sydney
2003 – Perth to Hobart

3. Escaped a country when rioting and looting in the capital became widespread.

haitiriot

I was introduced to the work of Compassion when I was invited to travel to Haiti back in April 2008. We were meant to be there for a little over a week but it was the time of the global financial crisis and subsequently the global food crisis. Families couldn’t afford even the most basic food so after their criesd for help to the government fell on deaf ears, they began to demonstrate in the streets.

Roads were barricaded, shops were looted and there were fires across the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Several people died in the riots.

Our small team managed to get out of Haiti under some extremely trying circumstances. It was very difficult getting to the airport and at times we were in very real danger. We finally hooked up with some armed police who escorted us to the airport so that we could leave the country.

4. Hand fed an orangutan.

orangutan

I also got fairly close to a lion, patted a penguin, fed a rhinoceros, had a 1.5 metre snake draped across my shoulders and much more as part of a behind the scenes Zoo experience back in late 2008.

5. Shared a stage with Mikhail Gorbachev.

mikhail-gorbachev

When I say ‘shared a stage’ what I really mean is that we were both on the same stage at the same time. Gorbachev was speaking to an audience and I was carrying his cup of tea.

It was May 1999 and the World Masters of Business was at the Burswood Dome in Perth. Some friends were staging the event and so I not only recorded all the voice overs to introduce the guests, I got to be stage manager on the day.

One of the things Mr Gorbachev requested was that he would have a very hot cup of tea placed on a table off to the side of his lectern. To ensure it was as hot as possible I carried it on just after he had made his way onto the stage.

6. Had my travel documents confiscated in a foreign country.

passport

It was 1992 and I was traveling to Canada to cycle through The Rockies for a week or so. Our flights had been overbooked so instead of going a fairly direct route we had to visit a few extra airports.

It was back in the day that Australians required a visa to enter the US. When we flew into San Francisco and had to clear US Customs, my passport and other travel documents were confiscated. I didn’t have a visa.

I explained the situation and so it wasn’t really a big deal but I did get a big red ‘TWOV’ stamped in the passport. (Transit Without Visa).

All my documents were finally returned a couple of flights later when I stepped off the plane in Canada.

7. Cycled from Agra to Delhi in India.

agra-to-delhi

On my first of three trips to India I traveled to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, by van before starting the ride back to Delhi.

Cycling in India is an amazing experience. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone with a heart condition but if you’re interested in adventure, start pedaling.

8. Met General ‘Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf.

Stormin Norman was another of the speakers at World Masters of Business at the Burswood Dome in Perth. Unlike the other speakers, Norman was back stage well before time. He wanted to hang out with the crew and made sure he introduced himself to everyone. For someone who played such a significant part in the history of our world he was amazingly ‘normal’. He was extremely friendly and seemed to be a genuinely nice guy.

When it was finally time for him to speak, he focused a lot on leading alongside others and having real care for those you lead. From my interactions with him earlier in the day it was obvious that he practiced what he preached.

9. Interviewed 2011 Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans.

cadel

I had the honour of interviewing hundreds of people during my years working in radio. I spoke to the famous through to the not so famous and lots in between but some interviews will always be highlights for me. Like the day in 2009 when I had twenty minutes with a cycling hero.

Cadel had just published his biography, Cadel Evans: Close To Flying, and was traveling around Australia on a promotional tour. As soon as I heard he was coming I contacted his publisher and was thrilled when I was told he would be coming to the studio for an interview.

He was quietly spoken and it was obvious that media interviews weren’t his favourite part of the job, but he was gracious and interesting and I got to hang out with a hero.

10. Preached at Cathedral Church of the Redemption in New Delhi, India.

During my first trip to India I found that a number of engagements had been arranged for me. One of those engagements was preaching on the Sunday morning at the Cathedral. I was so glad that I’d packed my suit.

The cathedral is impressive, inside and out, and is known as among the most beautiful and magnificent churches in India. It’s a part of the Church of North India which is a province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

11. Been mentioned in Australia’s Federal Parliament.

hansard

It was September 2007 when Stephen Smith delivered a speech regarding the Millennium Development Goals. I was part of a small group representing the Make Poverty History campaign which visited Mr Smith’s office some time beforehand to raise concerns with him.

Our group, gathered from several local churches in Mr Smith’s electorate, were all mentioned by name. Mr Smith finished his short speech to the parliament with this paragraph.

We had a very fruitful conversation, and it was so pleasing to see so many people in the local community in my electorate committed to wanting to see Australia act as a good international citizen, committed from a personal point of view to always trying to ensure that someone who is not as well off as you are gets a helping hand up, and as far as Australia being a good international citizen is concerned, ensuring that Australia is committed to overseas development aid, is committed to the Millennium Development Goals and committed in an international sense to making poverty history for so many developing nations around the globe at the moment.

12. Cycled up and down an aisle at K-Mart in Miami, Florida.

kmart

In 2008, on the way to visiting Compassion’s work in Haiti, we stopped in Miami for a night. On the way to the airport we stopped at the local K-Mart so that one of the group could buy some extra shirts.

As we wandered around I noticed the bikes at the very back of the store. I figured that I wouldn’t get another chance like this so I handed my camera to one of the team and then started riding around. I wanted to say that I have cycled in the US. I got the photographic proof and so it’s official.

So there you are. Now it’s over to you.

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Choose Your Anger

fist

I was getting my Saturday off to a good start, waiting for the coffee to kick in, and scrolling through Facebook when I saw a headline.

Anger consumes iPhone 7 queues at Apple stores as phones sell out around the world.

I must admit it made me feel a little bit angry myself. I wondered if the anger of those missing out on their preferred model of iPhone 7 was anything like the anger I saw first hand in Haiti in April 2008, when horrendous price increases put basic food items beyond the reach of most people, forcing them to eat dirt. It was the time of the global financial crisis which resulted in the global food crisis.

After begging the government to help them put food on their families’ tables and getting an indifferent response, people began rioting. Their anger resulted from the frustration of seeing those they loved starve. At least five people were killed in the riots and many were injured.

Haitians were comparing their hunger pains to “eating bleach” because of the burning feeling in their stomachs.

In March, people began complaining of a hunger so torturous that it felt like their stomachs were being eaten away by bleach or battery acid.

In a matter of days, “Clorox hunger”, named after a brand of bleach, was being talked about in slums and villages across the country. – Aljazeera

I’ve seen plenty of other situations over the years where anger is a justified response but I thought of Haiti today because that was a turning point in my life. Being caught up in the riots and facing very real danger as we were evacuated from the country at that time is one of the milestone events that have shaped me into the person I am today. I was there with Compassion Australia and it was that trip in 2008 that started my journey towards beginning full time work with Compassion in 2013.

Yes, I know that we can all get angry about a range of things that don’t really matter but getting angry about not being able to spend over $1000 is probably just wasted energy.

Anger can be a powerful motivator to bring about positive change. So why would we waste it on simply not getting our own way?

When I get angry in traffic I have to remind myself that I’m just being childish and that I should just get over myself. While others’ driving habits may be annoying from time to time I’m not achieving anything by wasting my emotional energy over their misdemeanors.

I want to save my anger for the injustices I see around the world. Poverty, racism, abuses of various kinds, exploitation of the vulnerable, these are the things that should be making us angry and causing us to act. We need to choose our anger. We need to stop stomping our feet like a two year old who doesn’t get their own way and look outside ourselves.

Maybe I’m just overthinking a simple headline about a phone but hearing about people getting angry over not being able to spend what would be more than three years wages for many people on this planet makes me …. angry.

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If you want a few more details on my time in Haiti with some other Australian broadcasters, check out this video. It contains clips showing just a glimpse of the situation outside the Port-au-Prince Compassion office just before a rock came through the window we were standing near. The video, while still fairly rough, shows a little of the scene before the rock attack.

You can see the beginnings of the crowd heading down the street, some armed with crude weapons.

The next thing you see is the shattered glass in the room where it all happened and then a bit of a debrief between members of the team. Several of us, including me, had a chance to talk over the situation. This was really only the beginning of the danger we faced. Things got a lot more intense later that day and the following morning.

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Where Have You Been?

Where Have You Been?

This year is almost at an end and as with most years it’s had it’s ups and downs. One of the big ‘ups’ is that I had my first ever overseas holiday. Together with my family I visited Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

I’ve been overseas a number of times in the past but it’s always been for work or for some other cause. This time it was all about enjoyment. That’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed all my other trips but there’s something different about travelling purely for enjoyment and especially travelling with people you love.

Including my home country of Australia, I’ve actually been in 17 countries so far. I’ve been able to spend significant time in some countries with others only visited while in transit or for a very short time. The places I’ve been include Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, USA, Canada, India, Haiti, Dominican Republic, PNG, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Africa, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Thailand, Myanmar and Hong Kong. You can see them all plotted out on the map below.


I wonder how many countries you’ve visited? Let me know your favourite (and maybe not so favourite) places in this wonderful world of ours.

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An Incredible Year

rwanda

On this day last year I began a new chapter in the journey of my life. I began working at Compassion Australia so that I could do more to see children released from poverty in Jesus’ name. It’s a move I’m so glad I made and I’m looking forward to what the year ahead and hopefully many others ahead will bring.

In the past twelve months I’ve spoken to hundreds of people about Compassion’s work and the huge difference it is making in 26 nations around our world. I’ve sat in the homes of people who are living in extreme poverty. I’ve prayed with them, heard their stories and discovered the changes that Compassion has been able to bring through partnership with their local church.

In February I visited Indonesia. In July I traveled to Ethiopia and Rwanda. Back in 2008 I visited Compassion’s work in Haiti and Dominican Republic. Each of the places I visited in those countries revealed a different kind of poverty. Each was bursting with the hope of a brighter future.

The following is something I’ve said before and is just as true today as it was when I began working for Compassion on this day in 2013.

I don’t work for Compassion because it’s a job. I work for Compassion because I am convinced that there is no more effective organisation serving the world’s poor. I have seen no other method of working with those in poverty that even comes close to the way that Compassion is working.

If you’d like to help me celebrate my one year work anniversary please consider sponsoring a child through Compassion today. I can absolutely assure you it will make all the difference for a child as you help release them from poverty in Jesus’ name.

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Pedalling Hope

Hope

Every year since 2009 I’ve travelled between Albany and Perth, a distance of over 500 kilometres, by bicycle. I’ve taken on the challenge to raise funds for some very worthy causes but this year I’m looking forward to the ride even more as I support what I consider to be the best cause of all.

Back in the saddle

This October I’ll once again be taking part in the Ride for Hope. The ride will involve more than 30 cyclists, our biggest group ever, riding over 500 kilometres from Albany to Perth. As part of the event this year I’m raising money for Compassion.

If you’ve been following my blog for any time you’ll know that I work for Compassion, but I’m not supporting Compassion simply because it’s my job to do so.

I work for Compassion because I am convinced that there is no more effective organisation serving the world’s poor. I have seen no other method of working with those in poverty that even comes close to the way that Compassion is working.

I’ve seen Compassion’s work first hand in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Every time I visit another church that is partnering with Compassion I am amazed at the change it is making in the lives of the most vulnerable members of our world, children.

My fund raising target is $2000. To reach that goal I need 20 people who are prepared to donate $100. Can you please consider being one of those people?

Of course I understand that not everyone can afford to be so generous so please consider giving whatever you can. The need is desperate and any donation of $2 or more is tax deductible in Australia. (Donations are still welcome from anywhere in the world.)

If you’d like to make a difference in the lives of children who desperately need your support, simply visit my fundraising page.

I can assure you that your money will be well spent in releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

For the 13th consecutive year, Compassion International has earned the highest rating for U.S. charities from Charity Navigator—the nation’s largest charity evaluator. The 4-out-of-4 stars rating places Compassion International in the top one-percent of non-profits reviewed by Charity Navigator. – PR Web

Let me thank you in anticipation of your support for children in poverty.

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