My blog has been quiet for a while, but I certainly haven’t been quiet. I can’t believe it’s May already. I’m meant to be planning a trip to PNG for early July, that’s literally only 8 weeks away! Yikes.
It’s been a tough few weeks, but in there too have been the most amazing things happen. There has been joy in amongst the angst, frustration and struggling.
The first bit of amazing news is to say that Debbie Butters, a midwife from Queensland, but now based in Geraldton, is going to join me on this next trip to PNG. I am so thankful for her company and expertise. There are many who have said they’d be interested, but to actually say ‘yes’ to this sort of adventure does take courage and an ability to embrace the discomforts. Debbie has a real heart for PNG, she spent a couple of weeks in the Gulf with the YWAM Medical ship, providing midwifery care and education to women in the villages. So she understands a little bit of what it’s like out there. We will be travelling a bit more remote than what she has experienced, but is keen to use her midwifery skills in whatever way is needed. From the moment I first spoke with Debbie and then finally met her in person I have felt excited to work with her.
The second bit of great news is that Living Child Inc. has been granted charity status by the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission. This is reassuring and helps us to get income tax exemption. The process of getting Deductible Gift Recipient DGR status (where donations to Living Child are tax deductible for the donor) is a little more involved and will take time (and money). I’ve had some advice from an accounting expert and he suggests it’s better to wait until at least a year before applying for DGR status as we need to prove where our work and finances are being carried out.
The other bit of good news is that our website www.livingchildinc.com has been successfully launched and we have had very good feedback from people about its ease of use and the information it contains. I’d like to thank my dear friend Deb Badger for all her hard work in setting this site up and she will continue to be the website manager which is a great help. Please can I encourage you to fill out a “Friends of Living Child” form, that way we can keep you informed as to what we are up to.
The facebook page is a huge hit and a great way of communicating to a large audience. We have nearly 90 likes so hopefully we’ll hit the 100 mark soon. One of the things I have noticed is that there are so many organisations raising money and doing good work out in developing countries. I really want to make sure we don’t become ‘just another NGO’ which creates donor fatigue. At the end of the day, Living Child exists because I wanted to be a legitimate, accountable entity that is doing voluntary work in PNG. I wanted to be open and transparent about how money is used so that people know they can trust us to spend it wisely. Actually, a small amount of money can go a very long way. On that note I want to reassure people that any donations will go directly to purchasing resources, making birthing kits and posting kits to the Village Birth Attendants in remote villages in East Sepik and Madang Provinces. As other needs arise, we will advertise those and put requests out.
I am gearing up to start fundraising for airfares and transport costs for the trip in July, so keep your eyes open for those opportunities to support us.
On a difficult note, my husband will be working a Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) job for 6 months beginning very soon. This has been a real spanner in the works for me who likes to control things and have neat boxes of tasks set out before me. It has meant that finalising a date for our trip in July has been put on hold until I hear from Richard exactly what his roster will be. To be honest, I have spat the dummy and cried “Woe is me” a few times as I try and get my head around ‘waiting’, while the days tick by and July looms closer. Today I’m trying to practise letting go of the need for control and just rest in the moment, trusting that God is sovereign and all will fall into place at the right time. Easier to say than to actually do! Richard reminded me last night that I need to maintain perspective, keep on track planning and preparing for the trip. As soon as the dates are finalised we’ll be able to book flights and go knowing that we are prepared and ready to go.
When I think too much about the trip I get a bit fearful – the distances, the heat and humidity, being sick on return last time! When I look at the photos of last time I remember names and people, their stories and the sense of hopelessness they had because ‘many, many’ women and babies were dying in their villages – that’s what motivates me and causes me to lift my eyes above my own state of comfort and step out in faith.