Movement to Help

Today I received my first piece of snail mail addressed to Living Child. The ABN number. Living Child with official Government stamps and coat of arms. It’s really happening.

I posted on the facebook page that I wasn’t complaining, but setting up a not for profit organisation takes lots of hard work and perseverance. It’s true. Tonight my head is spinning with all the facts, documents, things to do churning away in my grey matter. I thought perhaps writing the blog may release some of the energy so that I can sleep tonight.

I suppose meeting up with a guy today who told me that PNG is a country renowned for violence and corruption hasn’t helped matters. It’s good to know the facts and be clear about what I’m getting myself into. Again I go over the ‘other facts’ that I know:

  1. Women and babies are dying at an alarming rate
  2. We’ve been invited to help by the local men – church and village leaders
  3. The women want us to help them
  4. I know that God is sovereign
  5. Between us all I believe we can make a difference

So, with my eyes a little wider, a lot more knowledge in my head, I keep walking along this path, one that links Perth (the remotest city in the world) to the remote villages of Papua New Guinea. Deep in the jungles of a tropical paradise that veils so much heartache and loss. Since being back in Australia I’ve wondered whether my estimation of the degree of sickness and suffering has been exaggerated and then I remember the photos and graphs that a medical colleague showed me recently from his trip to the same region last month, which shows a death rate of babies in the hospital at 48%! That’s the death rate in the hospital. Imagine what it is in the bush… He affirms my analysis of the situation for the women and babies in this part of the world. He describes his own horror at the dire state of health for the people there.

They need some help. They want some help. My hope is that Living Child can be part of that movement to help.

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A Living Baby

As I write this I am overcome with emotion. I have just finished a yummy dinner and while watching TV the phone rang – it was Vivien. For those who haven’t met Vivien yet, she is a Village Birth Attendant from the village of Kumbarumba, near the town of Angoram. Vivien came to the training that I was part of providing in the remote village of Yamen. Vivien is a striking looking woman, different to the others. She is married to Isaac, a church of Christ pastor in the village – a lovely man. She told us that her father was an Australian, Norman Liddle, who died in 1986 when she was just 10yrs old. I’ve since managed to track down some people who knew her Father in Angoram, but I haven’t found her Australian family, yet. Vivien had had an education so spoke very good English. She helped us a lot as we taught the women about how to have a safe village birth.

Vivien told me very excitedly that she gave mouth to mouth to a newborn baby that was not breathing and, “He came alive Sara. He came alive. I remember what you taught me and he came alive.”

I have to say that these words have just brought me to my knees. Simple things taught can make a big difference between life and death.

I feel so privileged to be able to work with these women. I am so glad that I have made a start on the organisation Living Child. Just one short week in the village of Yamen has made a difference. Who knows how the other VBAs are going, but from what Vivien has reported to us so far, then we can assume the training has made a difference for their villages too.

Bring on July when we plan to visit next!!!

I did manage to tell her that we are making plans and things are coming together for us to visit in July. Then the phone went dead, again…

God is my CEO

This morning I read this prayer: “O Father, how expertly You put your finger on my need. I am often afraid to do what You ask me to do – afraid that it might not be in my best interests or that I might make a fool of myself. Help me see how foolish that is. Amen.” Quoted from Everyday with Jesus, March/April 2013 by Selwyn Hughes.

This is exactly how I have been feeling this weekend. You see we had our first ‘committee’ meeting for the organisation Living Child Inc. on Friday.

My last blog post was in early December and I decided to take a break over Christmas and just reflect and see where God was leading me; what to do in PNG. In the middle of January I had a very clear vision to start a stand-alone Not For Profit organisation, whose aim will be to reduce the maternal and newborn mortality rate in villages of remote PNG. As I shared this with my friend Deb she then got started on designing a website and recruited a friend of a friend to design a logo. Things were happening around me that affirmed that I was heading in the right direction.

Someone else contacted me and said that she and a group of women want to assist by raising funds for the work in PNG and make birthing kits. More encouragement. Yes, this is it…but then I’d feel scared and overwhelmed. “What if I’ve got it all wrong? What if I fail? What if this is just a ridiculous pipe dream to stroke my ego?”

All quiet again. But then the website was ready and the logo was taking shape, even a name for the organisation was developing. I had to go with the flow, keep up with developments, it was as if the organisation had a life of its own and was just waiting for me to catch up now. “Oh God, help me. I’m not good enough to be able to do this work, I’m weak and scared of what you are asking me to do.”

The reassuring voice in my head replied: You can only do what you can do. One foot in front of the other. Trust in the Lord. He has gone before you, He will equip you, He will provide for you.

And then I remembered the experiences in my past where God had given me a vision for something and then slowly but surely it became reality. Slowly but surely, sometimes over many years. Success. “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord God Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6). How much that verse has been an anchor to my wavering soul. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41) – oh how I know that verse too.

And then I took the plunge and sent an email to friends and associates informing them of my decision to start the organisation. It was so encouraging to get some warm feedback and assurance. Ok, this is going to be ok, I thought. There are some people who believe in me and think that this is a good thing to do. Enough to propel me forward and discount the silence from others.

Constitution, ATO, GST, charity registration, fundraising registration etc etc. Oh dear there are so many things to think through. “I have provided for you a team of people, all with different skills and talents to help you along the way.” Slowly but surely things have been falling into place. Dion has designed a beautiful logo. The website is 99% ready to go. The advertisement of intention to begin a not for profit organisation has been placed. And now I wait the 4 weeks before applying for registration.

On Friday we held the first committee meeting to discuss the constitution, nominate office bearers and record our decision to open a bank account. I was surrounded by my favourite people who have all caught the vision for this work. As we discussed the constitution my brother began doodling on his page and came up with the diagram pasted below. God is the CEO and He has propelled an arrow in the direction of PNG. The head of the arrow is made up of the committee, at the tip of the arrow is me, and in the ‘wings’ of the arrow are the members and friends of Living Child Inc, all assisting to propel the arrow towards its goal: alleviate the suffering of the women and babies in remote villages of PNG.

That’s what it is all about. Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the wedding in Capernaum where the hosts had run out of wine, said to the group of interested but hesitant people, “Do whatever he [Jesus] tells you”. That’s how I want to live my life and how I’d like Living Child Inc. to be. Let’s see where this journey takes us…