What a Funny Old Fellow

What a funny old fellow is Humphrey
He gets in all manner of strife
He leads a very exciting life
And honey’s his favourite fare

It was hard for mum to get anything done when I was a small boy. Even when she would entrust my care to “the babysitter”, a large, old black and white television, I would be constantly calling her back into the lounge room to see what Humphrey B. Bear was doing, which window we were looking through on Play School or to share the wisdom of Romper Room’s ‘Do Bee’.

I’ve always had a burning desire to share the things I find interesting or exciting with others. I guess that goes part way to explaining my many years of work in radio and the fact that I’ve been writing this blog for so many years.

These days my attention has shifted to more interesting and important things than a bear in a waistcoat (though I’m still concerned that he never wore any pants).

Tomorrow morning, while most people will still be sound asleep, I’ll be at the airport, heading off to Thailand with a group of people, so that I can share something of great significance, the work of Compassion.

Since I first saw Compassion’s work in Haiti in 2008, I’ve had a burning desire to let other people know how this holistic child development agency works. I find it amazing that since the end of 2013 I’ve been able to make that passion my work.

Over the coming week, we’ll hear stories of lives transformed, of hurts that have been healed and we’ll struggle with the messiness of the effects of poverty. We’ll meet children created in the image of God who, through no fault of their own, are living in unacceptable circumstances. We’ll also experience the difference that can be made when a local church steps in and says, “This stops here”.

I love the difference that can be made when a local church, with the care and encouragement of a sponsor, brings a child a hope more powerful than poverty. I love the fact that I get to see that life-giving reality up close again this week. Even more than that, I love that I get to share that with others so that they can capture some of the passion I have for the children Compassion serves.

No doubt I’ll share some of the stories of the week with you here on this blog.

And please remember, that you can be part of this life transformation. As I’ve mentioned many times before, on the 15th of September this year I’ll start cycling across Australia so that even more children receive the care they need and that we can ensure they are known, loved and protected.

Will you support me on 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? Sponsor a child today or donate through my fundraising page.

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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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A Mother’s Decision

ThaiHouse

One of the greatest honours in my work is sitting in the homes of those living in poverty and hearing their stories. It’s impossible in the short time I have with them to really enter into their world but sometimes there are glimpses that give me a new respect for the courage they show in facing the kinds of struggles so very many people in our world meet each day just to survive.

A few days ago I travelled on winding mountain roads a few hours out of Chiang Mai, Thailand, with a number of fellow Australians. We arrived at a small village and it was there that we met an amazing woman. She welcomed a small group of us into her home. We sat together and she started telling us her story.

We asked a lot of questions about her home, which her husband had built from timbers he sourced in the surrounding jungle areas. It took around five years to gather the materials and a similar time to construct their dwelling. Her husband is a farmer, working at little more than a subsistence level.

It wasn’t long before she started telling us about the eldest of her four sons, who is currently about eighteen, and the brain tumour that he is battling. How do you cope with something like that when you’re already living in poverty? Thankfully Thailand’s health system has paid a significant amount of his treatment costs but the remaining amount is still a struggle.

Her youngest son is almost three. He seemed to be a happy and healthy little boy. In his old, worn grey t-shirt and red shorts he lay on the concrete floor, leaning his head on his mother’s lap. At the time of his birth his mother was suffering from a kidney disease. After breast feeding her new baby for just fourteen days the doctors told her she would have to stop as they needed to give her medication which would affect her milk.

Not being able to breast feed meant buying formula for her son. The problem was, their family couldn’t afford the ongoing cost. Having to regularly buy formula was simply beyond their means.

The solution was almost unthinkable. They would have to find someone else in their village to take their baby. To simply ensure that he could live, they would need to give him up to someone who could afford to look after him.

No mother should ever have to face that kind of decision. The most precious of all gifts, their brand new baby boy, would have to grow up in someone else’s family, calling someone else mum. Poverty is a thief and a destroyer.

Thankfully, that’s when the local church, partnering with Compassion, stepped in. Mother and son were registered in Compassion’s Child Survival Program at the church, meaning that the family would have the essential support they needed to stay together.

Mum’s kidney disease is now improving too. Instead of the 90 tablets she was taking each day, she’s down to just three.

In a few months that precious little boy will turn three and he will ‘graduate’ into Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program, meaning that he’ll get the opportunity of being released from spiritual, socio-emotional, physical and economic poverty in Jesusโ€™ name. A sponsor, thousands of kilometres away from his village, will pay a modest monthly amount to secure his future and to let him know that he is loved.

As we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow, let me encourage you to consider making the burden for a mother living in poverty a little lighter by sponsoring a child through Compassion. Let’s together honour the mothers in our own lives as well as those mothers who, through no fault of their own, are facing the kinds of struggles and decisions no one should ever face. (If you’re reading this after Mother’s Day it’s not too late to make a lifetime of difference for a child and relieving some of the burden for their mother through child sponsorship.)

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A new day in Thailand

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(Click the photo for a closer look.)

They might have million dollar views but the family we met yesterday are certainly not ‘living the dream’. Some might even say they’re facing a nightmare.

It started years ago when the husband of this small family in Thailand started cheating on his wife with other women. Then there was the drinking and the gambling. Part of that dangerous mix was also the physical abuse he handed out to his wife.

On Saturday afternoon the whole situation escalated when the husband and father to four children gathered his belongings and left to live with another woman. How does a family living in poverty cope in that kind of situation? Where do you turn when there’s no social security or safety net?

Sunday was a new day.

Thankfully two of the young children in this family, a ten year old boy and his four year old sister, have already been recieving care from the local church. That local church is partnering with Compassion to see children released from poverty in Jesus’ name. Because those children are reigistered with Compassion, there are benefits for the whole family.

Sunday was a new day because while the children were registered with Compassion, they hadn’t yet found sponsors. Yesterday, when one of the group I’m traveling with in Thailand heard that these children needed a sponsor he agreed to sponsor both. At that point he had no idea of the trauma the family had been facing.

We visited the family’s modest home and the little shop that provides a small income for them to tell them that the children were being sponsored. When their story poured out so did the tears. We had opportunity to pray with the family and assure the mother of ongoing support. It was a powerful moment and it pointed to God’s perfect timing.

Of course this is not the story of someone from the western world flying in to make all things right for a family in poverty. This is a story of the local church being there for a family in deep need. That church is partnering with Compassion. Now, on the other side of the world, a man from a local church in Perth is also partnering with Compassion. Through that chain there will be a brighter future for a mother and her children. It’s about partnership and it’s a big part of why I love working for Compassion.

Today you have the opportunity to be a link in another chain, bringing hope and healing to another family. Will you consider sponsoring a child through Compassion?

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Through Their Eyes

throughtheireyes.jpgAndrew Frazer is a full time volunteer staff member at Youth With A Mission, Perth.

Iย spoke to him last when heโ€™d just returned from a two week documentary trip through Thailand. The focus for the trip was to highlight the horrific practice of Child Trafficking and the circumstances that allow such an industry to exist.

Since then heโ€™s traveled to India and Nepal.

Andrew joined me a couple of days ago on The Morning Programme on 98.5 Sonshine FM to talk about a new exhibition titled Through Their Eyes.

Thousands of children continue to be bought and sold across our world. Some are forced into child labour, some are used as child soldiers and many are sold into the sex trade. It’s a horrific situation that makes millions of dollars for those who trade children while many thousands of lives are destroyed.

The Through Their Eyes exhibition will be held at the Moores Building, Henry Street, Fremantle from the 2nd to the 10th February. There’ll also be an official opening from 6:30 tomorrow evening.

The photographic display highlights the increasing problem of child-trafficking in South Asia.

All sales or donations will go directly towards protecting children at risk in South Asia.

[audio:http://mpegmedia.sonshinefm.ws/feeds/MOR290108_1556.mp3] Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Through Their Eyes? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚