MARCH 2014 MAGAZINE
Right now, all around the world, there are thousands of people contributing to Compassion’s ministry in some form or fashion. From a Queensland couple picking fruit to sell at their church, to volunteers serving Child Survival mothers in Sri Lanka, to school fundraising days and more. Compassion’s ministry can’t happen without these people—without you!—who work tirelessly and give faithfully so children can be released from poverty in Jesus’ name. This edition of Compassion Magazine is dedicated to you: every single person, school, church and business that is fundraising, giving, praying, serving and sharing Compassion’s ministry. Whether you live at home or abroad, you are the true heroes of Compassion’s ministry—
Photo: Nicholas Sim
And thank you from me!
A message from the Chief Executive Officer
life-changing message of Jesus through their local church.
I never cease to be amazed by the vision, commitment, passion and generosity of Compassion sponsors and supporters. In this edition of Compassion Magazine, you will read some stories that reaffirm that time and time again. Stories like that of Bob and Christine who, from their farm in Queensland, grow and sell fresh produce to support children caught in the blight of poverty (read their story on page two). Like the “beard guys” (yes, you read it right, check out page 10) who have a novel way of supporting Compassion’s ministry. And like some of our amazing sponsored children themselves, who have shown amazing mercy to their peers (page 22). Plus many more stories to inspire you. When I hear and read these stories— not just the stories in this magazine, but also many, many others—and when I meet the faithful people behind them, the one response that seems so appropriate is GRATITUDE. I am extremely thankful that so many people all over this country and beyond want to make a difference—and do.
So that is the thrust of this magazine— to say a huge thanks to you, the ones who are making an eternal difference in children’s lives worldwide. Thanks for helping provide children with education to enable future opportunities that would have otherwise been a faint hope for them. Thanks for allowing children to receive regular health checks—which are out of reach for most families—as well as the assurance of help for more serious health problems. Thanks for providing food security to children and their families, who now know that someone on the other side of the world cares enough to give. Thanks for giving children the opportunity to meet a God who loves them. Because of you, almost 1.5 million children get to hear the
Thank you for being one of more than 76,000 Compassion supporters here in Australia, and for bringing your own unique form of support to Compassion’s ministry, whether it’s growing beards or vegetables or sponsoring a child. Every Compassion supporter has a personal and practical way to take up Jesus’ mandate to reach out to the poor—the most vulnerable of whom are children. Most of all, thanks to God, whose strength, compassion and grace make it all possible. So read on and enjoy the stories in this edition, giving thanks that your story, and those of thousands of others, is making a remarkable difference to children in poverty. Blessings,
Tim Hanna CEO Compassion Australia
6 SETTING A TREND
Australian fashion boutique Kookai proves that compassion never goes out of style.
AN EARLY START
Janice shares her experiences of being a mum, grandma and teacher in her North Queensland community.
2 FROM THE GROUND UP The Kilpatricks use their passion and grit to grow a thriving ministry in their own backyard.
Pictured on front cover. Photo: A.Meier
HERE COMES THE BRIDE Kay and Gilbert share photos from their former sponsored child’s wedding in Indonesia.
10 A YEAR OF BEARDING DANGEROUSLY Two brave Aussie guys let their (facial) hair down in the name of charity.
READY FOR THE CHALLENGE
BLESSED TO GIVE
FACES OF COMPASSION
Bishop Tyrrell’s Year Five class shows age is irrelevant when it comes to caring for others.
Sponsored children help their community recover from dangerous flooding in India.
Three inspiring women work with Compassion to transform the lives of children in Sri Lanka.
20 RESCUED BY A COMMUNITY A close-knit community in Nicaragua becomes a hero for a little girl in need.
26 NOTICEBOARD All the latest news, including details of upcoming trips with Compassion.
There are more than 100,000 heroes of Compassion’s ministry right here in Australia. And guess what? You’re one of them! Compassion’s heroes are using whatever is within their means and talents to speak up for kids—yes, that includes their facial hair (see page 10).
MARCH 2014 1 Compassion fundraisers Aaron Gallagher (left) and Chris Justice. Photo: Hannah Allen
2 MARCH 2014
Words | Jacqui Henderson
Photography | Kym Basoka
Between rolling hills in Cairns, QLD, sits a modest backyard veggie garden. Christine and Bob Kilpatrick dug the small plot as a hobby, but it quickly grew into much more—a ministry. Using organic veggies, fruit, flowers and honey, Bob and Christine are raising much-needed support for children living in poverty.
Bob and Christine Kilpatrick are used to getting their hands dirty—in fact, they love it. That’s why, after years of living a nomadic lifestyle, they decided to settle in sunny Cairns, on an acreage that would allow them to start the little vegetable garden they’d always dreamed of. HOME
“When we came back to Australia we wanted some acreage, and some peace and quiet, to do our hobby,” says Christine. “We decided to plant fruit trees and a veggie garden. We never really thought that it would turn into a ministry.” But soon it was obvious that God had big plans for the Kilpatricks’ modest garden. One lazy afternoon, after picking basketsful of fruit from their passionfruit vine—it had been particularly generous that season—Bob and Christine decided to take the surplus to their church, sell it and raise money for Compassion. This was the beginning of a new season for the hardworking couple; a seed was
planted in their hearts to use their garden to serve others—not that the idea of service was new to the Kilpatricks.
children and their families living in poverty. As farmers, they truly understood the value and life-giving power of such a simple resource.
From 1999 to 2008 they had travelled around the globe, building homes, creating gardens and doing maintenance work for communities in need. Bob had a background in building and Christine had become just as handy with a hammer under his guidance. Their travelling adventures started right after they came to Christ, when they realised there was so much they could do to help others.
“It’s the dry season at the moment and everybody’s wanting rain,” says Christine. “We had our first rain for about two months last night. But fortunately we’ve all got a constant supply here—we don’t have to worry about not having clean water to drink like they do in other parts of the world.”
“We got saved in 1999 and by the October of that year we were heading overseas doing missionary work,” explains Christine. “Life used to be about how much we could collect to make our lives easier, but it all changed after we were saved.” Now retired, Bob and Christine decided to donate the money they raised from selling their fresh, organic produce to help give clean water to
Knowing they were truly blessed, Christine and Bob were determined to use what they had to help others. They dug and planted and watered and nurtured. And as their garden produced a healthy variety of colourful fruit and vegetables, they stocked up the car each week for the one-and-a-half hour drive along the familiar coastal road to their local church. From their now regular spot at the back of their church, Bob and Christine shared about Compassion’s work as they sold their organic produce to their friends and neighbours. cont.
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“We would have liked to have used the money to sponsor more kids— we currently sponsor nine with Compassion—but not knowing how many veggies we would grow each week, or how much money we would get, we thought we’d get the whole church involved with providing water instead,” explains Christine. And get involved they did. One customer quickly turned into many as word of their organic produce, and its worthy cause, spread throughout the congregation. The Kilpatricks’ church family began bringing their spare change to church each Sunday, ready to purchase their fruit and vegetables for the week, and even lent a hand where needed. “We had ladies from church come up to the farm one day last year, and then we had all the blokes come up for a bit of a working bee,” says Christine. What started as a few passionfruits has become an overflowing garden of fruits and vegetables, flowers and organic
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honey from their own bee hive. And just as the Kilpatricks’ garden has grown, so has their impact in the developing world. “We’ve raised $30,000 in three years and, just last week, our pastor announced that our church was going to be partnering with Compassion.” The Kilpatricks’ infectious enthusiasm for others has seen their church family give more and more to their blossoming ministry. Initially raising $40 or $50 a week, their stall now brings in enough money to provide water filters to around 200 families every year. Just one water filter can provide a whole family with clean, safe water for a lifetime. “Our stall is becoming so popular … we’ve extended the veggie garden three times now, just to cope with demand! We’ve built a rose garden so we can get roses for church and planted fruit trees—about 150 of them now—so it’s just gone from strength to strength. The little sort of
farm that we thought we were going to retire on has become enormous.” But for all their success, the Kilpatricks remain humble; rather than take praise for their efforts, they instead marvel at how God has used their simple willingness to bless hundreds. “Only God could have made this story for us,” says Bob. “We didn’t do it ourselves, it was all through Jesus.”
Prayer points: • Praise God that over 2 billion people have gained access to drinking water over the past 21 years, due to the actions of people like the Kilpatricks. • Eighty-three per cent of the world’s population without access to drinking water live in rural areas. Please pray that children worldwide—regardless of where they live—will gain access to clean, safe water.
Watch Bob and Christineâ€™s inspirational story. Scan the QR code with your smartphone or visit compassionsundaystories.com.au
Compassion fundraisers Bob and Christine Kilpatrick
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Words | Zoe Noakes
Photography | Berlinda Fortin
In each of Kookai’s clothing stores across Australia and New Zealand, there’s something surprising. Somewhere in the midst of the bright colours, vibrant patterns and lush fabrics is a framed photo of a Compassion child.
The fashion world is not typically known for its kindness towards those living in poverty. Robert Cromb, co-founder of Kookai Australia, is changing this. Rob uses his successful women’s fashion label to fund his philanthropic endeavours. With Kookai sponsoring a staggering 53 children, each store also holds an annual Christmas fundraiser for Compassion. And after speaking with him, it’s clear that Rob is just getting started.
members of the Kookai family. “One of the most poignant things that I’ve learnt in donating to things like this is the amount of personal satisfaction people get— not only myself, but people in the company,” Rob says. “It’s a rewarding experience for staff to be involved with.”
Growing up in Bua on the northern island of Vanua Levu, Fiji, Rob saw people in need every day. The province, made up of a remote group of scattered villages, is one of the poorest in Fiji. His life changed when he swapped the simple island life for the big city, moving to Melbourne as a 12-year-old. He was an ocean apart from his old life, but Rob says his early childhood influenced his desire to help people. He didn’t know it at the time, but the key to this ambition would be realised when, as a 6 MARCH 2014
22-year-old on holiday in Paris, Rob took a chance and bought the Australian and New Zealand rights of French fashion label, Kookai. Twenty years later, the brand has flourished. “The company [Kookai] has been very lucky, very blessed, in its ability to operate successfully,” Rob says. “I give thanks to that blessing by trying to give back to people that certainly need help and assistance.” By pouring Kookai’s earnings into his not-for-profit organisation, Katalyst Foundation, Rob initially sponsored 34 children—one for each Kookai store. Staff members welcomed the new
As well as sponsoring children, Kookai has also run an annual fundraiser for Compassion for the past two years. Walk in to any Kookai store in the lead-up to Christmas and, for a small donation, you can get your purchase wrapped in a blue box and tied with cream ribbon. Rob describes the gift-wrapping as Kookai’s effort to remind people of those living in poverty. “It was really the small attempt that we made in arousing the consciousness of people about the needs of people who aren’t in as fortunate a situation as themselves,” Rob says. “Even the smallest donation can make a big difference to someone’s life.”
Kookai staff members Georgia Facchin (left) and Ashley Ryall
Based on the public’s enthusiastic response, the initiative was a success. “It’s a gold coin donation for gift wrapping, but people don’t mind giving five dollars or even ten dollars, because they want to help out,” says retail store team member Farah Shams. In doing so, Kookai has raised almost $12,000 for Compassion. Rob was first introduced to Compassion’s work at his church. Hearing about an orphaned boy in India who had to work, at 10 years of age, to support a younger sibling was a confronting moment for Rob. “When you’re sitting in a place like Melbourne, surrounded by the lifestyle we’re lucky enough to have, something like that was a bit of a revelation to me,” Rob says. “I thought, hey, I can do something about this. And so I did.” Rob’s desire to “do something” has only gotten stronger with time. Four years ago, Rob heard that a close childhood friend in Fiji had died from typhoid, a preventable water-borne disease. The devastating blow further fuelled Rob’s
resolve to make a difference. Expanding his philanthropic projects both at home and abroad, Rob also increased the number of children Kookai sponsors. “Kookai is a business; our job is to make money,” Rob says. “But it’s how we spend that money that, hopefully, makes us a better company.” With this in mind, Kookai sponsored an additional 19 children. “Any one of those 53 kids, and hopefully all of those 53 kids that we’re sponsoring at the moment, will go on to have an incredible impact on their community,” Rob says.
Prayer points: • Praise God for passionate individuals, like Rob, who are determined to raise awareness and support for children living in poverty. • Please pray that more businesses nationwide will follow in Kookai’s footsteps by using their success to help those in need.
Through Compassion and his own not-for-profit organisation, Rob is involved with a number of charitable endeavours. But he says that ultimately, it always comes back to impacting one person’s life. “The best thing for people to be able to say is well, I can’t make a difference for the entire planet but I can make a difference to one person’s life.” It’s an idea that, unlike fashion, will never go out of style.
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Words | Kay Williams and Elissa Webster
Photography | Gilbert and Kay Williams
Two decades and hundreds of letters after they first chose Endah’s photo from the rows of faces, Gilbert and Kay Williams finally got to meet face-to-face the girl they had sponsored for so many years—on her wedding day.
When we first started sponsoring Endah 20 years ago, we never dreamed that one day we would see her walk down the aisle on her wedding day. We were so delighted when she called at the end of 2012 to tell us that Adreng, the young man she had spoken of in her emails, had proposed and that we were invited to attend their wedding. We prayed about it much—we aren’t young and we didn’t know what the circumstances in Java would be. But gradually God opened the doors and in 2013 we were so privileged to be there when Endah married the man God had chosen for her. HOME
8 MARCH 2014
Endah has always been quick to speak of her love for Jesus and her trust in Him, so it was very special to stand with her, her bridesmaids and her parents on the morning of the wedding and commit Endah and Adreng’s marriage ceremony to the Lord in prayer. When Endah was little she would write to us of her struggles, and we would encourage her to persevere and trust in Jesus who loves her dearly. It was a great thrill for us the first time that we received a letter written in her own beautiful neat handwriting in English. Our relationship really began to deepen then. Even after she graduated from the Child Sponsorship Program to take up a role caring for kindergarten children, we stayed in contact with her. We always reassured her that we were praying for her and she was always praying for us too—what a blessing!
It was a day of deep emotion for Endah and Adreng’s parents—and Endah’s sponsor parents too! The tears began flowing on the day we arrived at the airport, greeted by a very excited Endah and her brother, and the excitement continued as we met her parents, friends, relatives and pastor over the next few days and were welcomed into their homes and lives. As for the ceremony itself, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Endah walked down the aisle with her father and sang to Adreng, who was waiting at the front of the church, and he replied in song. The service was an absolute inspiration. For Endah’s mother, the emotion of the occasion was heightened by the fact that their daughter was leaving the family home to build a home of her own—like sponsorship graduation, it’s a proud moment but a poignant one too.
Endah looked radiant that day. With her elaborate hair and beautiful dress, I hardly recognised her—the serious little six-year-old we chose to sponsor so many years ago, all grown up. When we picked Endah’s photo out of the rows of dear little faces, we hoped sponsorship would help her break the cycle of poverty through education, help her know the love of Jesus, and pass that love on to others. Seeing that Endah has grown into a mature, confident, capable young woman taking responsibility and leadership in her church was an absolute delight for us. She has fulfilled all our hopes in serving the Lord faithfully.
Endah and Adreng are proud of their Indonesian culture and it was a vibrant and important part of the wedding. The bride and groom arrived at the reception that followed the ceremony in brightly coloured and very elaborate traditional Indonesian dress and performed several traditional acts for their guests. Endah and Adreng’s love for their nation and people is evident in their lives. A day after the wedding, we travelled with the newlyweds to join their church family camp in the mountains around Surabaya. About 70 children who are part of the church’s Compassion programs were also there and Endah and Adreng are both dedicated to caring for these children, who clearly love them dearly.
We have sponsored a number of children but God in His Grace has given us the wonderful privilege of seeing the results in Endah’s life. We believe the Lord gave us this privilege so that we can share it with others to know a little of the fruit that is born in the lives of children through sponsorship. Giving what is really a small amount to us makes an enormous difference to the lives and prospects of the children. Sharing our life with them and encouraging them to share with you is vitally important, but it takes time and openness. We must never underestimate the value of helping children get an education and be taught about Jesus. Even if you never know the results of your sponsorship you can be guaranteed it is going to make an enormous difference in the life of one young person and will probably extend to more.
Prayer points: • Please pray for all Compassion assisted children who are graduating this year from Compassion’s programs. Pray they will seek God’s wisdom as they plan their future. • Pray that former Compassion sponsored children can be agents of change in their families, communities and nations.
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Words | Richard Miller
Photography | Hannah Allen
Two men, 12 months, one epic adventure of beardiness: Aaron Gallagher and Chris Justice put away their razors for an entire year to make a difference for children living in poverty.
It began as a joke between mates but quickly morphed into much more. A year without razors; a year of untamed, unchecked, free-form beard. In short: a Yeard. As with all creatures of legend, their Yeard’s origins are disputed. HOME
“Chris had been going on for ages about doing a Yeard,” Aaron says. “He’s probably half putting the blame on me for the fact it started on his wedding day so he doesn’t get in trouble. He was keen,” Chris counters. Leaving aside the question of blame, it’s clear that both of these hirsute young men are passionate about standing up against poverty and supporting the children they sponsor with Compassion. “Neither of us had [much] money, but we both had a heart to do something [for children living in poverty],” Aaron, a carpenter’s apprentice at the time, says. “Both of us could grow a pretty mean beard, so we put two and two together— the Yeard and Compassion.” The rules were simple: no trimming, shaving, styling or grooming. Every hair for itself. All funds raised to go to Compassion. The “brothers with beards” got started on 10 MARCH 2014
the fundraising website Everyday Hero and regularly uploaded photos to their Facebook page, explaining what they were doing and why. Their churches and their mates quickly climbed aboard the beard express, offering encouragement and giving generously to support three child development centres in Indonesia.
of pie and stuff [in there]… If I worked anywhere really dirty or dusty or hot it was like a giant sponge on my face, soaking all the dust and rubbish up.”
“We realised this is going to be a burden; this is going to make us suffer in a lot of ways,” Chris says, and laughs. “But we were doing it for a cause. Sometimes we As their beards grew, so did the questions; were like, ‘Oh, I miss my face’ but we were they were often stopped in the street by always driven by a greater cause: to raise curious passers-by. “I never had to worry awareness, to raise funds and do it all for about conversation topics,” Chris says. Jesus and the little kids.” “New people, friends, anything, the topic An auction to shave their beards drew a was always the beard: How’s the beard? huge crowd to their church in the Yeard’s How much have you raised? We were a final days. It was a fitting way to see things walking endorsement for Compassion!” off, and when their faces were again fresh And there were unexpected perks. They and smooth, Aaron and Chris had raised were living in crazy times; days when more than $5000 for Compassion. the summer sun shone bright and beards “We wouldn’t have been able to see were flourishing everywhere they looked. it through if we didn’t have everyone They gained entry into the mysterious supporting us along the way. The amount secret brotherhood of bearded men. of encouragement we got was inspiring “There was mutual beard respect,” Aaron and definitely motivated us to keep going,” explains. “You’d walk around and … see Chris says. [other bearded men] and give each other a bit of a head nod. We felt pretty hipster. It was the year that hundreds of children were blessed by two men’s commitment It was good.” to facial hair. It was a year of momenDespite their social prowess, the year tous challenges, of glorious highs and wasn’t all sunshine and love; along the character-building lows. It was the year of way, they faced trials. “Eating was [diffibearding dangerously. cult],” Aaron says. “I’d be finding bits
Prayer points: • Pray for fundraisers and Advocates as they inspire others to help children in need. • Pray for all children attending local churches and Compassion’s programs across Indonesia. MARCH 2014 11 Compassion fundraisers Aaron Gallagher (left) and Chris Justice
12 MARCH 2014 Janice Walker with children from her playgroup
Words | Amy Lanham
Photography | Andy Meier
The tranquil air is already humid as a solitary figure slides open the classroom doors and prepares for the day. Paint pots are filled, craft tables are colourfully kitted out, and food platters are arranged. Soon the room is buzzing with parents and children, each greeted upon arrival. This unassuming playgroup is the embodiment of one woman’s incredible dream to reach out to children and families in her community. Heroes AT
Janice Walker is more than the playgroup leader. She is a mother, grandmother, community pastor, proud member of the Kuku Yalangi (rainforest) people—and a humble, courageous visionary. Her hope for her students and their families in her community is simple: “I want them to be proud of who they are, proud of being Indigenous [Australians] … not ashamed but very, very proud of who they are.” MARCH 2014 13
Taylor and Symelia (mum)
Power in a playgroup Nestled at the base of rainforest-covered hills, the small North Queensland community looks idyllic. But as Janice discovered after years of working in the local primary and high schools, life for the Indigenous young people living there is not always as picturesque. The community faces the same challenges as other Indigenous communities throughout Australia, including a life expectancy below the Australian average and limited access to early childhood development input, which has resulted in children having difficulty learning and contributing effectively at school. “[I saw that] our children found it hard to learn the basics of education,” says Janice. “Also, there is a lot of truancy. Parents didn’t see the importance of education … We had children who left school at a very early age … who are not employed. And if they’re not employed then you’ll find there’s a lot of crime …” 14 MARCH 2014
A firm believer in education as an effective force for change, Janice began to toy with the idea of improving development in very young children by running her own playgroup. “I used to work with older students but always at the back of my mind I thought ‘It’s too late’. I always thought that playgroup was the answer to a lot of the education problems we have.” These problems included difficulty knowing how to hold a pencil or a paintbrush, and a lack of social development to help interaction in a classroom setting. By incorporating teaching activities into the playgroup Janice helps develop these skills to prepare children for school. Janice also promotes the importance of including Indigenous cultural teaching as part of activities. “It’s good for them to learn about the local Aboriginal culture here.” Although the playgroup only commenced in 2009, children have already successfully transitioned
into school. Allan Sands and his wife Symelia can see this success in the lives of their children. “[My son] Brodie is only three; he can count to 20. He gave me a fright!” says Allan. “Little Taylor [my daughter] is good. She can count to 10. She’s only two. The playgroup helps them for when they go to school … handwriting, copying dotted lines.” Each success story is an encouragement for Janice whose journey hasn’t always been easy. “We had a lot of work to do at the beginning,” Janice recalls. “All I wanted to do was start a playgroup but I didn’t realise it was going to involve [so many] things. Compassion (donor, Gloria Jean’s Coffees) came and decided that they would [be able to] help with the playgroup … The transport was hard until Compassion bought us the bus. Compassion helped a lot because they sent all the resources and materials we needed because we didn’t have money or funding to start off a playgroup.”
Janice today, Janice as a child (insert)
Forging of a leader Rising above challenges has been part of Janice’s life. Her early years were spent at the Daintree mission, separated from her parents. “I was put in the dormitories at two years of age and then stayed there until I was about eight. Even though my parents lived on the mission, I could only see them when we were given permission,” says Janice. After the mission closed, Janice was moved with two of her nine siblings to Townsville where she completed her education. “I don’t know how I did it, but I survived,” she recalls. “I came back [north] and went nursing, and then I got married and had children. But I think it was my father, the way he insisted we get an education … I know that’s why we’ve done well. My dad would be the one who taught all my children and my nieces and nephews the ABCs, 123s … all that is important, you know.”
As well as running the playgroup, Janice also leads her local Indigenous church congregation. “God made me to be an Aboriginal and an Aboriginal woman at that!” she says. “He’s the one who gives me strength and I encourage women in our fellowship to be proud of who they are.”
Prayer points: • Praise God that Janice’s playgroup has grown to 30 children and their parents. While most of these children are from Indigenous families, many non-Indigenous families in the community have also chosen to join.
• “And I pray about the playgroup. I do that every morning, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to run the playgroup. I wouldn’t • be able to run anything in my life.” When asked if she considers herself a hero, Janice just laughs. “Oh no, I’m not a hero,” she says softly, “I’m not a hero.”
Please pray that children’s lives would be changed, especially as they transition into school. The Queensland Department of Education has identified the playgroup as a case study for similar strategies in the future. Please pray that more people would be inspired to be leaders in their own communities through Janice’s example.
You can help Compassion support this initiative. Visit compassion.com.au/ indigenous to make a donation.
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Words | Monique Fischle
Photography | Andy Meier
Being a hero isn’t about age or wealth—just ask the Year Five class from Bishop Tyrrell. Using what they had—some pens, paper and a desire to help—these kids have made a life-changing impact on their peers halfway around the world. 16 MARCH 2014
Teachers Luke Youman and Amy Bibby with their Year Five class
Challenges and competitions are fun, especially when you’re a kid. There’s something exciting about working together with your friends to achieve something great. Two teachers—equipped with the knowledge that a great way to engage children in learning is through active involvement—created the ultimate competition: Challenge Week. HOME
Challenge Week wasn’t just an ordinary activity week at school. It was all about helping children living in poverty. Two Year Five teachers, Luke Youman
and Amy Bibby from Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College in Maryland, NSW, dreamt up the idea of Challenge Week after one of their teaching units raised questions among the students. “The enquiry unit we did in term three was global connections, where we looked at how Australia is connected to the rest of the world,” says Luke. “We talked about human rights and lots of big questions came up. The kids felt really moved to actually do something in regard to [what they had learned].”
Luke, a long-time Compassion supporter, thought that raising money through Gifts of Compassion would be a good opportunity for the Year Five class to tangibly help fellow students across the world who are less fortunate than themselves. The class was divided into five groups and asked to look through the Gifts of Compassion catalogue to choose something to fundraise for. The groups chose vaccinations, chickens, clean water units, mosquito nets and goats. cont. MARCH 2014 17
Zackary Marsden and Jenya Gowda
Each group dedicated one day of Challenge Week to fundraising for their gift of choice from a specific year group. “As teachers, it was really good to see the kids be able to have a target audience and actually modify their activities for that target audience,” says Luke. “From an educational point of view, that was awesome.” The groups held a variety of activities throughout the week, including window washing, raffles, coconut bowling and a chicken fun fair. They sold lollies, popcorn, lemonade, glitter tattoos and coloured hairspray. The groups decorated their stalls with posters and brochures they had made about the gifts they were raising money for. Alongside their fundraising efforts, the students set themselves challenges on four school days during the week with the thought of “going with less so others can have more” at the front of their minds. The challenges were to go a day without shelter (they had class outside), without food (they were only allowed to eat rice), without technology (they couldn’t use the smart board, lights or air-conditioner) and without talking.
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The favourite challenge among the children was quite surprising. “My favourite challenge was no talking because you can get all of your work done,” says one child. “It was easier to communicate with people because you had to concentrate on what you were saying.” Though they helped the kids print their fundraising brochures and signs, Luke and Amy made a point of stepping back and letting the children own their activities and successes. “I think most of them have come to the realisation that if change is going to happen [in our world], it’s going to have to be up to them, they’re the next generation,” says Luke. The whole school was on board with Challenge Week and looked forward to what different activities each day would bring. Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College is not new to helping those less fortunate. They recently introduced an annual immersion project where teams of students from their high school classes visit Cambodia to work with villages. The students are encouraged to raise money and then build huts for those needing accommodation.
Alicha Dyer, Head of Primary at Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College was very impressed with what the students were able to accomplish through the encouragement of their teachers. “These teachers are quite special, Amy and Luke, and what I’ve seen the children produce and how they have grown as people through this whole experience has been quite impressive,” says Alicha. The children’s hard work and creativity made Challenge Week a great success. Enough money was raised to buy three mosquito nets, two chickens, two vaccinations, one goat and one clean water unit. Together, Year Five made a significant difference to the lives of children living in poverty—and showed us adults a thing or two about caring for others.
Prayer points: •
Praise God for all Compassion’s passionate fundraisers who are using their time and skills to make a difference for children living in poverty.
• Pray for school teachers—both here in Australia and around the world—as they teach the next generation about God, poverty and loving one another.
Compassion’s global ministry requires a network of passionate individuals—staff, volunteers and even the children and families we serve who are now giving back to their communities (see page 22). These heroes of Compassion’s ministry are united in a single cause: to see children released
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Photo: Ben Adams
from poverty in Jesus’ name.
Words | Orfa Cerrato and Jacqui Henderson
Photography | Orfa Cerrato
When Sarai began attending the local Compassion centre in Nicaragua, her already large family doubled in size. The church community lavished her with love and prayers and, when she became severely ill, demonstrated heroic support.
Nine-year-old Sarai has always had a large family. For as long as she can remember, her little home in Tipitapa, Nicaragua, has been filled with the chatter of cousins, aunties and grandparents. Sarai lives with six family members, but she doesn’t mind. Family is important to her, which is why her mother’s decision to leave the family hurt so much. Though her mum visits sporadically, Sarai has been raised by her grandmother, Paula. ABROAD
To support her grandchildren, Paula sells water, soft drink, bread and coffee at the local bus stop—just as she has done since she was a child. Her income is minimal; it barely covers the family’s needs. Two years ago, when the pressure of bills was too much, Paula turned to the local church for help. Sarai was immediately registered in Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program and began attending the Compassion centre. There, she formed life-long friendships, received guidance from Compassion staff and became known and loved by the church community. 20 MARCH 2014
For a time, the support of Compassion and the local church was enough. Paula and Sarai were happy and, though life was not always perfect, they felt they could get through anything with their family by their side. But that was before the headaches started. Sarai’s headaches, mild at first, quickly became crippling. They caused her to feel dizzy and faint, and sometimes even made her physically sick. And as the weeks passed, they only seemed to worsen. “I lay down, I took medicine, but the pain was always there,” says Sarai. “Sometimes, I could not sleep. At first, the headache was there once a week, but later it was almost every day.”
vomiting and saliva would come out of her mouth. She stared and responded to no one who talked to her.” With the support of Compassion, Paula went back to the doctors, desperately seeking answers. This time, a tomography was conducted and Sarai received her diagnosis: two tumours in the right side of her head. “The diagnosis was serious,” says Paula. “Sarai required immediate surgery. But for the surgery, we needed someone to donate blood.” While Sarai and Paula had been busy seeing doctors, having tests and receiving results, Sarai’s church family had been praying and fasting. They were determined to help in any way they could, so when they heard Sarai needed blood, they were the first to volunteer.
Initially, the doctors were baffled by Sarai’s illness. It could be epilepsy, they said, but without further examination they couldn’t be certain. A neurologist “The pastor and some church members prescribed Sarai a heavy dose of medicavolunteered to donate their own blood tion, but to no avail. for Sarai,” says Paula, tears running “A year passed and I saw no improvedown her face. ment,” says Paula. “Sarai continued
Sarai (left); Sarai with friends and staff from her Compassion centre
The church’s sacrifice meant Sarai could receive the necessary surgery to remove the tumours. The operation lasted six hours; the first tumour was as large as an orange, the second was the size of an egg. The whole community held their breath as they waited to hear the results. “Right after the surgery, the doctor did a tomography,” says Paula. “It showed that everything was fine. The tumours were benign and were formed from birth.” Sarai’s courage and strength through the terrible ordeal made her family even more proud of their little girl. She gave in to tears just once—when she saw her hair shaved, ready for the operation, reflected back to her in the hospital mirror. In times like these, Sarai turned to the Scriptures for comfort. “I felt no fear when I found out I was going to have a surgery,” says Sarai, “because I’d already decided I would be strong like Samson. He was strong
for God—just as I wanted to be.”
As Sarai recovered in hospital, her family—cousins, aunties, Compassion staff, friends and church members— continued to show their love and concern. They became Sarai’s heroes at a time when she needed them most.
• Praise God for Sarai’s successful recovery, and ask that He provides comfort and strength to all children who are receiving medical treatment through Compassion’s programs.
“I was happy when Compassion staff visited me at hospital,” says Sarai, beaming. “My classmates sent me letters saying they love me. I thank them a lot.”
• Pray for children who don’t have access to critical health care worldwide. Around 270 million children—just over 14 per cent of all children in developing countries—have no access to health care services.
One month after her surgery, Sarai returned home. It took a few months before Sarai started feeling like herself again, but today she is just as active as her classmates and the doctor’s checkups show she is recovering well. “I thank God, and all the people that prayed for her and those who donated blood,” says Paula. “Compassion staff have not stopped helping her; they have been so good to us.”
MARCH 2014 21
Compassion sponsored children help their local community
22 MARCH 2014
Words | Brynn Paine and Jacqui Henderson
In August 2013, residents could do nothing but watch as the Ganga River swelled far above what they call the danger mark, overflowing into their city of Varanasi, in north-east India. Locals hadn’t seen flooding like it for 10 years. They fled their homes, leaving behind personal belongings, businesses and livelihoods. Some families, trapped by the water, slept on the roofs of their homes and surrounding buildings.
The water was relentless, engulfing buildings up to six metres high. The constant heavy rain made transportation nearly impossible. Damaged infrastructure cut off electricity, and caused days to appear as night. ABROAD
When the water finally subsided, more than 100,000 people had been affected by the flooding. Debris was everywhere, transforming whole communities into danger zones for little children with bare feet. Miraculously, Compassion assisted children in the area were unharmed. When Compassion staff and sponsored children gathered to assess the damage, they realised they’d been exceptionally fortunate. But tragically, there were other families nearby who had lost everything—whole lives had been swept away. The children wanted to help, and started forming a plan. Each child decided to bring in one food item from home that could be donated to their neighbours. Though the children came from families living in severe poverty, they sacrificed what they had. Between them, they
how much they truly have to offer their collected bags of wheat and oil, and a hotchpotch of vegetables. They also spent communities and nations—both now and a whole day cooking puri, a type of fried in the years to come. bread, using the kitchen at their local In everything I did, I showed Compassion centre.
you that by this kind of hard
With everything they had donated, the work we must help the weak, kids were able to package 500 food parcels for families affected by the remembering the words the Lord floods in their area. Church members Jesus himself said: “It is more and Compassion staff helped distribute blessed to give than to receive.” the parcels, offering prayers and encour– Acts 20:35, NIV aging words to families as they went. To the affected families, the parcels were not only a solution to their next meal, but showed how much the community and Prayer points: the local church—led by the children— • Praise God for the generosity of the cared about their plight. Church when disaster strikes. In November The children were overjoyed to find that 2013, following Typhoon Haiyan, their actions could impact others. The Australians donated more than $400,000 love they have received through their through Compassion to help provide sponsors and Compassion teachers has emergency aid to thousands affected by taught them the power of generosity— the super storm. and being able to bless others the way they have been blessed through sponsor- • Pray for families worldwide who have been affected by a natural disaster this ship has been a powerful experience. year, whether it was a typhoon, floods As one child said, “I never thought that or bushfires. Please ask for God to give I could help those who live a better them comfort and courage in the midst of life than us”. But with Compassion’s tragedy and loss. help, sponsored children are realising MARCH 2014 23
Words | Ruwanthi Sarjeevram and Jacqui Henderson
Photography |Ruwanthi Sarjeevram
If you’ve had the chance to visit Compassion’s programs in the developing world, you’ll know what we mean when we say Compassion’s volunteers and workers are remarkable. They’re passionate, dedicated, selfless and, most of all, they love the children they serve like their own.
When we opened our doors in Sri Lanka in 2010, the country had 26 years’ worth of battle scars left by civil war. The conflict had caused extensive bloodshed and, even though the war had officially ended, life in Sri Lanka was still dangerous and uncertain. To help the country and its people heal, we knew we would need to find passionate individuals to get our child development programs off the ground. And plenty of passion we found. Individuals like Chathurika, Shanika and Ushani jumped at the chance to serve their country through Compassion’s ministry. They began reaching out to children living in poverty, learning their names, hopes and fears, and helping them work towards their dreams. To the children they serve, they’ve become like family. To parents, they’ve become lifesavers. And to us here in Australia? Well, perhaps we’d best let you decide that for yourself.
In her role with the Child Survival Program, Chathurika is responsible for helping choose the mothers and babies who are most in need of Compassion’s support. It’s a difficult and often heartbreaking responsibility and one that Chathurika takes very seriously. Her genuine desire to help others has made her well-respected in her tight-knit community. She is regarded as a strong woman of God and her regular visits are appreciated beyond words.
Chathurika: The nurturer When Chathurika visits the mums and babies in Compassion’s Child Survival Program—which she does often as the Child Survival Program Implementer— she hardly ever leaves on time. A quick visit can easily take up a whole afternoon, as hours fly by in a whirl of conversation, prayer, tears and laughter. “Some days I go home very late after visiting the mothers and the children, but I don’t mind—I find a joy in it,” says Chathurika. “I am serving God through this; that brings me so much happiness.”
24 MARCH 2014
“The mothers wait by the roadside, looking to see if I am coming to see them,” says Chathurika with a smile. “When I go to their houses, they won’t let me leave!” But according to Chathurika, what she gives to her community is not nearly as much as what she receives in return— the chance to impact lives for Christ and to be part of a large, loving family.
“Because of this program, I have many sisters and brothers and many children. What a blessing!”
Shanika: The teacher
Ushani: The warrior
Shanika can often be found at the front of a classroom, surrounded by the little balls of energy otherwise known as her students, aged between six and eight. As part of Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program, Shanika teaches the children basic skills that set them in good stead for primary school and beyond.
Having experienced hardship firsthand as a child, Ushani can identify all too well with the circumstances of the children she serves as Child Development Associate with Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program. Growing up amidst the destruction and chaos of the civil war, Ushani is determined to change children’s lives, and help build a healthy and safe present and a better future for Sri Lanka’s children.
• Compassion has thousands of volunteers and staff members working around the world, as well as right here in Australia. Praise God for their generosity and selflessness, and ask that He blesses them abundantly in their work.
“I do it all for the Lord, and because I love my children,” says Shanika. It is evident that this love is joyfully returned. The children squirm and vie for their teacher’s attention and Shanika responds with kindness, love and endless patience—even when mischief is the order of the day.
“It’s a challenge to teach children!” says Shanika with a laugh. “But it’s a challenge I take on gladly.” When Shanika began serving in Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program, the child development centre was brand new. Shanika played an important part in shaping the program’s outreach in the community and setting a high standard for teaching. The children, and their parents, responded immediately to Shanika’s warmth and enthusiasm for learning. Though new to the workforce, Shanika has clearly won the high regard, and the hearts, of the neighbourhood families. “It’s a joy to spend the best years of your life serving children. That’s how I see it,” Shanika says.
• Please pray for God’s protection over volunteers and staff who are working in difficult and sometimes dangerous situations as they serve children living in poverty.
“I know what these children are going through and I can’t just stand by and watch,” says Ushani. “That is why I am serving God through this program. I can help these children.” When Ushani started serving with Compassion, she knew the ministry’s vision could only be achieved through prayer. On their first day of work together, Compassion volunteers and workers bent their heads together in prayer, asking for God’s blessing to be over their work and words as they responded to His call on their lives. “I’m humbled that God chose me to serve,” says Ushani. “I’m proud to be a part of my church and Compassion.” Ushani is now standing up for children’s rights in her neighbourhood, mentoring children and sharing God’s Word with families living in poverty. Her actions are a blessing to many, including Ushani herself. “I am blessed to serve the Lord among children.” MARCH 2014 25
Travel with Compassion
Got a fantastic fundraising idea?
Compassion’s website has a face-lift!
Always wanted to travel with Compassion, to see firsthand how your support is making a difference? In 2014/15, we’re running Insight Trips to countries in Africa and Asia—and you’re invited! This is your chance to see Compassion’s work in action, and meet the children you support face to face. To find out more about Compassion Insight Trips, call us on 1300 22 44 53 or visit www.compassion.com.au/insighttrip
Are you ready for a Yeard (check out page 10!), or a less hairy way of helping children living in poverty? Email email@example.com to find out more about raising funds with Compassion.
If you haven’t checked out Compassion’s website in a while, now’s the perfect time to get reacquainted! Jump online to manage your donations, write letters to your sponsored children and more: www.compassion.com.au
Want to write online?
Help for the Philippines
Thank you for your Christmas gifts
Not only can you write to your sponsored child online, you can choose a letter template, upload photos and even get some fun letter-writing tips to help beat writer’s block. We know your sponsored child will love hearing from you! You can write to your sponsored children online at www.compassion.com.au/myaccount
Thank you to everyone who gave generously to help children and families affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Your donations —more than $400,000 so far— are being used to provide families with emergency relief, as well as ongoing support as the country begins to recover and rebuild. If you still want to give, you can. Simply visit www.compassion.com.au/ philippinestyphoon
Your generous donations to Compassion’s Christmas Appeal, totalling over $2 million, meant every Compassion assisted child was blessed with a gift over Christmas—from dresses and shoes, to school backpacks and more.
26 MARCH 2014
Photo: Ben Adams
Over the past three years, we’ve seen:
1795 children sponsored
427 churches run Compassion Sunday events
Join us this Compassion Sunday.
$13,775 funds raised
All thanks to supporters like you!
COMPASSION MAGAZINE Compassion Magazine is a publication of Compassion Australia. All articles and images are © of Compassion Australia unless otherwise stated and may be reproduced with permission from the editor. All scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version unless otherwise stated.
Find out more by scanning the QR code with your smartphone, or register your event at
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Dr Tim Hanna MARKETING DIRECTOR: Andrew Streat CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Andy Meier
Editorial permission, story ideas or feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org ABN 67 001 692 566
EDITORIAL: Amy Lanham, Jacqui Henderson, Richard Miller, Monique Fischle, Elissa Webster and Zoe Noakes
Contact us at: Compassion Australia PO Box 1, Hunter Region MC NSW 2310
THE COMPASSION DIFFERENCE Compassion’s ministry to children is uniquely: Christ-centred, Child-focused, Church-based
DESIGN: Nicole Spier and Daniel Cummings
Fax: 02 4935 5099 Email: email@example.com
Compassion Australia is part of a global network of both funding countries and 26 developing countries that is Compassion International. Together, we are a Christian child development ministry that partners with local churches to release children from all forms of poverty in Jesus’ name.
WEB/SOCIAL MEDIA: Matt Spier, Benjamin Webb and Tristen Klum
VIDEO: Tom Anlezark and Kym Basoka
PHOTOGRAPHY: Ben Adams, Jake Thomas, Berlinda Fortin, Kym Basoka, Andy Meier, Nicholas Sim, Chuck Bigger, Hannah Allen, Ruwanthi Sarjeevram and Orfa Cerrato.
Tel: 1300 22 44 53
Website: www.compassion.com.au Compassion Magazine is printed using processes and practices that help to minimise environmental impact.
COMPASSION AUSTRALIA PO Box 1, Hunter Region MC NSW 2310 Phone: 1300 22 44 53 Fax: 02 4935 5099 ABN 67 001 692 566
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