Fourteen Years


Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve written, but time is short. How short? Well maybe fourteen years, maybe less.

A week ago I had another one of those celebrations that happen once every 365 days, or in this case, 366. It dawned on me that based on the retirement age here in Australia of 67, I have just fourteen years of gainful employment left. (Wow … I am getting old, aren’t I?)

But what does that really mean for me?

Let’s face it, I could be hit by a bus tomorrow. (It always amazes me that we so often think that an early demise will come at the hands of a negligent bus driver. I think they get a bad rap. Surely bus deaths aren’t that high.) However, if the good Lord decides to keep me on this earth for a while longer, I have fourteen more years of contributing to the task of seeing children released from poverty in Jesus’ name. Fourteen more years of speaking for those who have no voice. Fourteen more years of encouraging others to get on board to do what they can to end extreme poverty.

Well, that’s not quite true.

At this point, I can imagine myself working with Compassion until I retire, but I don’t know if God might direct me somewhere else in the meantime. On the other hand, even if I do continue working with Compassion until I retire, I won’t stop advocating for children in extreme poverty when I finally hand back the office keys and drive out of the Compassion car park for the final time. Whatever years I’m given, whether a few or many, I hope I’ll still be speaking up for others.

You see, my job isn’t just a job.

I’ve heard it said that if you “find something you love to do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Nice idea but not quite true. I love what I do but I really do have to work at it … and that’s OK. I’m happy to work hard at what I do because there’s a lot to be done. Did you know around 300 million children in our world will go to bed hungry tonight? Did you know that according to the most recent figures 17 000 children under the age of five die every day from preventable causes? And let that word sink in for a while. Preventable. That means it doesn’t have to be this way.

It’s unacceptable.

I believe that extreme poverty is unacceptable. I believe the corrupt systems that keep people in extreme poverty are unacceptable. The fact that a child can grow up believing that they are worthless is unacceptable. Most of all, knowing that our world has the resources and know how to halt extreme poverty right now, yet chooses not to, is unacceptable.

So whether it’s fourteen or forty years I have left on this planet, with God’s help, I’ll still be speaking up for those who need to know that they are precious. Whatever time I have I’ll be highlighting the imbalance of those of us who have too much and those who have literally nothing. Whether it be days or decades I’ll be pointing to the injustice of a world that turns its back on children in poverty. For the days I have left I’ll be doing my best to ensure that children everywhere are known, loved and protected.

Will you join me in changing our world? Please sponsor a child today through Compassion and release them from poverty in Jesus’ name.

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Mac, Rome and Cole

Mac Rome Cole

While I’m in Manila seeing the work of Compassion, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the homes of a number of children who are living in extreme poverty. Their homes are small, dark and are in the middle of overcrowded slums. Yet despite their living conditions, the children and their families who are being supported buy the local church, partnering with Compassion, have an amazing hope for the future.

Today I met three young boys, Mac, Rome and Cole. They have all been registered with Compassion for almost a year but they still don’t have a sponsor to help them reach their full, God given potential.

If you’ve ever considered sponsoring a child can I ask you to check out the three short videos below? These three boys are full of life and I gave them my word that I would seek sponsors for them in Australia.

If you’d like to sponsor any of these boys (or perhaps all three) please get in touch with me. I can arrange to sort out the details when I return to Australia at the end of this week. Please think seriously about your part in releasing these children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

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We’re Better Than This


Over 700 children are currently detained indefinitely by the Australian government and there’s a rising number of people who are standing up and saying we’re better than this.

We’re better than this Australia is a movement to draw people’s attention to the reality of life for children in detention camps at the behest of the Australian Government. The people behind We’re Better Than This is an alliance of informed Australians who – no longer able to say, “I didn’t know there were so many children in mandatory detention being treated so inhumanely by our Government”- find themselves now no longer able to stay silent.

This isn’t a political movement as both sides of politics have been part of the problem. Now it’s time to find a solution and release children from detention. It breaks my heart to know that for many children, life behind razor wire is all they know.

No other country in the world holds children in the way we do, and the United Nations is very, very concerned about Australia’s policies. – Professor Gillian Triggs, president of the Australian Human Rights Commission

As a country we have stood up and pointed the finger at human rights abuses in other countries and I believe we need to keep doing that, but our protests don’t carry much weight when we continue to lock children away when they’ve committed no crime.

On Christmas Island, visiting doctors found children showing serious signs of both physical and mental deterioration. On the island of Nauru, UN inspectors deemed the conditions inhumane and unsuitable for children, while a Transfield Services intelligence report detailed several cases of child abuse and self-harm. – The Guardian

If you want your voice to be heard, there’s more information and a bunch of resources at the We’re Better Than This website.

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Party Peer Pressure


I really don’t remember having birthday parties when I was young. That’s not to say that I didn’t. I just don’t remember them.

I know I had at least one party during my primary school days because I still recall mum wondering why I had invited Murray Lorimer. She knew all my friends and she’d never heard of Murray before. I know I invited him but I can’t even remember whether he was at the party because I don’t remember the party. It was a long time ago.

Parties these days are a little different. They’re a major event. If your five year old doesn’t remember the $4000 you spent on their birthday I guess you’d make sure that there were enough photos of the day so that they could never forget. Yep … that’s right … $4000 for a five year old’s birthday party.

Parents are going to great lengths to pull off large-scale events, some worth thousands of dollars, for their beloved children, says director of Bash Events Alison Chibnall.

“We did a party that cost about $4000; that one was for a five-year-old,” she says.

“I think the cheapest one we’ve done was about $1200.

”It is almost like parents feel they need to outdo the other parents. Each party needs to be bigger, better and have more.” –

I do wonder if it’s about providing something wonderful for their children or more about how the parents are perceived by others. Have you felt pressured to put on a big party for your children?

Peer pressure doesn’t end when you reach a certain age. It’s always there.

Maybe you’ve felt pressured in other ways to live up to the expectation of others. You may not even have children but there are still lots of ways that we feel we have to live up to the standards that others are setting.

I’d love to hear about how you feel pressured to do things a certain way or focus your attention on certain things. When have you been swayed to go down a certain road because it was an expectation from peers, parents, children, co-workers or someone else?

Do you regret actions you took at some stage because you felt pressured?

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Mum’s iPhone Contract for Son


Most of us have had to deal with phone contracts but most contracts come from our telecommunications company, not our mothers.

Janell Burley Hoffman has made news around the world by issuing her 13 year old son with an 18 point contract along with his Christmas gift of a new iPhone.

Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

The contract is full of rules to govern the use of the phone, including a reminder that it’s mum who pays the bills and she will control the phone.

Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

Most of the rules are just good common sense and would be useful for everyone who owns a smart phone. In fact, many of the rules apply to a range of areas in life and remind us that people are more important than ‘things’.

Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.

Rapid advances in technology often mean that good guidelines for using new technology lag behind their availability. However, this mum has reminded us that manners and simple common sense go a long way in whatever new situation we find ourselves.

No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask a person — preferably me or your father.

Parents around the world are hailing the contract as a return to common sense. It’s a reminder that when we hand over a new responsibility we, as parents, still get to decide how far that responsibility stretches. Just because a smart phone is full of features, it doesn’t mean that every feature should become immediately available to a young person. The contract is a great mix of compulsory rules and an encouragement to develop self-discipline.

Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

A lot of parents have been asking if they can use the contract for their own children. Janell Burley Hoffman has responded via her Twitter account, “To all that have messaged about using “the contract” in your home for your family, go for it!”

Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.

What do you think of the contract? Would you hand someone a contract like that?

Do you think that there are guidelines in the contract that we could all do well to follow? What other rules do you think should govern the use of smart phones for everyone, not just children?

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