Dreaming Again

perth-to-canberra-1987

Last night I had that same old dream, it rocked me in my sleep, and left me the impression that the sandman plays for keeps. – Larry Norman

I did indeed have the same old dream last night. It’s a dream that comes around now and then.

I dreamed about preparing to cycle across Australia.

Let me assure you it was a good dream. It wasn’t a panicked nightmare that had me waking up in a cold sweat. It was a happy dream. A very happy dream.

The dream was another reminder that 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. The picture above is me looking a bit nervous in Kings Park as I was about to begin a ride from Perth to Canberra. (Click on the photo to get a better look at my worried face.)

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.

While my heart remembers endless days of cycling, battling wind, rain and hills, and the thrill of overcoming, my body keeps trying to remind me it’s not as young as it once was. Even the gap between my 1990 ride to Adelaide and my 2000 ride to Sydney let me know that body parts wear out and a lot more training is needed to go the distance. I can’t even imagine the amount of preparation my body would need to get ready for another crossing.

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

I’ve taken part in dozens of rides throughout Western Australia and even a couple on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, but none of them compare to pushing the pedals for thousands of kilometres to cross our wide, brown land.

So … are you interested in taking a month to ride across Australia? Let me know and I’ll keep you informed if anything comes together. 🙂

In the mean time, I’m only a couple of weeks away from my annual ride from Albany to Perth, the Ride for Compassion. If you want to support children in poverty through Compassion, you can donate via this link.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to ride across the Nullarbor again, but I can certainly keep dreaming …. and planning.

Do you have any big dreams you’d like to fulfill? Are you making plans towards those dreams? Take a first step and share that dream in the comments section of this post.

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Keys for Ministry Longevity

Ministry Longevity

For some it may just be a season, but for others it becomes a long term issue that can even end their ministries. We might not like to admit it, but most ministry leaders go through times where they lose their passion and energy for the things they used to love.

Over time, many pastors and others working in full time ministry suffer from burnout, mental breakdown or serious illness. Other causes, such as moral failings or loss of faith, see leaders leaving the ministry or even walking away from God.

How can you ensure that you remain passionate and effective over a life time of Christian ministry? What are you doing to give your ministry team the best opportunity to go the distance and finish well?

Compassion Australia is partnering with 98five to present a one day seminar for a range of Christian ministry leaders. If you know any ministry leaders or pastors in the Perth area, please feel free to pass on the details. You could even just use the sharing buttons at the bottom of this post to share the details through Facebook, email or whatever.

Keys for Ministry Longevity is a one day seminar with Keith Farmer, Peter Brain and Rob Furlong. It’s an opportunity for you and your team to benefit from many decades of ministry experience and learn practical ways to continue serving God and others over the long term.

Date: Thursday 16th June 2016
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Venue: The Rocks, 26 Cecil Avenue, Cannington
Cost: $60 including morning tea and light lunch. Group bookings of 10+ $50pp.

Click this link to register.

You can click on the photo below to see a larger version and to read more about the three speakers.

MinistryLongevityDetails

This seminar is a valuable opportunity to support you and your team as you seek to engage your community. We hope that you’ll join us.

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Lest We Forget – ANZAC Day 2016

Olsens-in-Uniform

ANZAC Day, the 25th of April, has been described as Australia’s most important national occasion. While many public holidays are just about getting an extra day off, ANZAC Day has real significance for many Australians.

It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. While the date is aligned with that event in the First World War, the day is a remembrance of all those who have been to war to protect our freedom.

ANZAC Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day we remember all Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of ANZAC, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity. On ANZAC day, ceremonies are held in towns and cities across the nation to acknowledge the service of our veterans.

Sadie OlsenMy parents served in the Royal Australian Air Force during the Second World War. (You can click on any of the photos for a closer look. As well as the individual photos of my parents, the top picture shows my dad on the far right with his father and two of his brothers.)

I’ve watched television coverage of many ANZAC ceremonies over many years. After all these years the support for these commemorations continues to grow as the stories of heroism are remembered. As I look at the faces of those who served our country I see the pain as they remember their service during the dawn services as well as the joy of being remembered as they travel the route of the marches along city streets.

When they see the faces in the crowds and hear the cheering as they pass, they know that this country is grateful for their sacrifice and the sacrifice of those who didn’t make it home.
Tom Olsen
This year will be the second time that, together with my wife and my son, I’ll be volunteering to help at today’s ANZAC March through Perth. It’ll just be a small way for us to say thank you to those who have risked it all on behalf of others. Our small task of helping along the march route won’t even begin to show our gratitude for those who have given their lives.

War is a terrible thing, and I’m glad that I’ve never had to fight, but I am grateful for the courage and sacrifice of those who fought for our country. I shudder when I imagine what it would be like to face a hostile enemy, knowing that any moment could be my last.

I would hate to have to go to war. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to say goodbye to my loved ones, not knowing if I’d ever see them again. Having kids of my own, I don’t even want to think about the parents that have seen their children go to war. My hope is that we will continue to work towards finding better, peaceful ways to overcome conflict. War should never be the answer.

ANZAC Day isn’t about glorifying war, it’s about paying our respects to those who put their lives on the line for their countrymen and the generations to come.

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Ride for Compassion 2015

ethiopia

What’s your image of Ethiopia? Are your ideas about the country still shaped by the famine that filled our television screens around 30 years ago in the mid-eighties? Thankfully much has changed since that time. Ethiopia is not a totally dry wasteland. In fact, it’s a land of rolling green hills where improved infrastructure and living conditions are driving the country forward. Everywhere you look in the capital city of Addis Ababa you see cranes and construction machinery as new buildings take shape. This hardly seems like the country that sparked Band Aid back in 1984.

Unfortunately though, not everyone is enjoying the benefits of the developments. There are still many battling poverty.

I was in Ethiopia in July last year and I saw conditions that confirmed that there is still much to be done there. Thankfully Compassion is there and is serving the poorest of the poor. That’s why I’m so glad that the Ride for Compassion is supporting a project in Ethiopia this year that will see thousands have access to hygienic toilet and showering facilities, dramatically reducing the risk of disease and illness.

Ride for Compassion 2015

Every year since 2009 I’ve traveled between Albany and Perth, a distance of over 500 kilometres, by bicycle. Next week I’ll be out there again. The ride will involve over 20 cyclists riding around 520 kilometres from Albany to Perth.

If you’ve been reading 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, Rwanda and Thailand. 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.

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 14th 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.

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

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A Long Way to Ride a Bike

breakmeneck

Earlier this week I posted a video of my first trip to India in February 2003. That’s now got me thinking of later that same year when I cycled in a team from Perth, Western Australia, to Hobart, Tasmania. 4233.77km in 32 days.

I’ve cycled the Nullarbor five times in all. My first trip was a ride from Perth to Canberra in 1987. I did the same journey with a different route the following year. In 1990 I was part of team that cycled from Perth to Adelaide. It was a decade before my next crossing in 2000 when a large group cycled from Perth to Sydney, arriving just before the start of the Sydney Olympics.

The ride from Perth to Hobart in 2003 is my most recent Nullarbor crossing and I reckon it’s about time I went for number six.

Each of the rides was with The Bible Society as part of their Bike for Bibles program.

Check out the video to see 32 days of riding reduced to three and a half minutes.

So … 2016? Do you want to come for a ride? I’m looking at the possibility of Perth to Newcastle, raising money for Compassion.

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