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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Sandy Phillips Kirkham – Innocence Betrayed

Sandy Phillips Kirkham is the author of the book Let Me Prey Upon You. It details how a youth pastor preyed upon her, a betrayal that left her broken, with a shattered faith, and the ultimate shame of being blamed and forced from the church she loved.

From their very first meeting, the new youth minister slowly and methodically turned the sacred relationship of a trusted spiritual leader to one of abuse: sexual, emotional, and physical. When his actions were discovered, he was simply moved to another church, leaving Sandy to pay for his deeds. She was not his first victim, nor would she be his last.

Despite a successful and happy life as a wife, mother, and friend, Sandy successfully concealed her abuse for twenty-seven years until a trigger forced her to face the truth. Sandy’s story will take you on her journey of healing which began in 2004, first by seeking justice and closure from both the pastor and the church. Her strength and courage will inspire you.

It’s a story of sexual abuse which may be confronting for some people. It’s also a story of hope and healing.

Sandy spoke to me for this week’s episode of my podcast, Bleeding Daylight.

You can hear Sandy’s story by searching for Bleeding Daylight wherever you find podcasts or simply click play on the player below.

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Shea Watson – Tragedy into Testimony

Many of us face difficulties, but how do you hold out hope when life continues to push you back down, leaving you broken?

Shea Watson has seen some of the worst that life can bring. From times of brokenness and not being able to see any hope at all, he’s now able to offer lasting hope to others, a hope that transcends it all.

“This is a message that heals people, and that healing … I can’t even describe the healing but I know that it’s there and I know that it’s real and it hasn’t gone away.” – Shea Watson

He co-hosts The Pantry Podcast with his wife, Michelle.

Shea shared his inspiring story with me on my podcast, Bleeding Daylight. You can listen wherever you find podcasts, or click play on the audio player below.

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Jane’alam Sheikh – Potential Unlocked

Jane’alam Sheikh grew up in Kolkata, India. As a young boy, he saw people starving and suffering in the slums of that city.

The experiences of his youth gave him a heart to make a difference for people living in poverty.

He studied in the UK, graduating from Manchester University with a Masters in Business Administration. He then co-founded Pursuit International, an organization working to empower people restricted by physical and spiritual poverty to pursue a life of hope and purpose.

Jane’ and I spoke about his early life and what has happened since on my podcast, Bleeding Daylight.

You can hear our conversation wherever you listen to podcasts or click the play button on the player below.

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A Transforming Hope

Beyond the countless palm trees and green fields, amongst the sounds of jeepneys and motorbikes, there are lives marked by heartbreak and lost hope.

Many of the people I’ll meet over the next few days have heard the voice of poverty saying, you are worthless. You don’t matter. Your situation is settled and unchangeable. Things will never get better.

I’m in the Philippines with a handful of others, once again seeing the work of Compassion, releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

Thankfully there is a hope more powerful than the lies of poverty and I’ll be hearing about how that hope has invaded their lives, bringing transformation and the promise of a very different future to the one they were facing.

As I sit in a sparse hotel room with its peeling wallpaper, looking out the window at a Philippines flag fluttering proudly atop a tall flag pole, my mind goes back to another moment, thousands of kilometres and many years from here.

I remember gazing out an aeroplane window as we gathered speed and eventually took to the skies above Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. It was April 2008 and we had to leave hurriedly as riots took over the city.

It was the time of the Global Financial Crisis, resulting in the Global Food Crisis. Parents had no way to feed their families and in their frustration took to the streets.

“We’re safe.” I thought to myself as the buildings below grew smaller, while at the same time wondering about the millions left behind. That’s when I knew that I had to be a voice for those who have no voice.

If I were a better man I might be helping those in poverty in other ways, but I know that stories are powerful and so I will tell the stories of those I meet. I’ll tell their stories, hoping to connect the need of these incredible children and families with those who have the capacity to share a voice of hope.

In the coming days, I’ll share some stories of courage amidst hardship with you. I hope and pray that you’ll have the courage to respond by reaching across the oceans to let a child know that there is a hope more powerful than poverty.

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