published in Australian GovernmentChildrenChristmas ActionClimate changeCOVID-19DisabilityEducationEmergencyFamilyFarmerFarming / AgricultureFood SecurityGifts of GraceHealth / HealthcareHousesHuman RightsLivelihoods / Small Business / New SkillsPovertyRefugeesSocial JusticeSustainable DevelopmentTake ActionToilets / SanitationWASHWaterWomen / GirlsYour Love At Work on September 30, 2020

HOPE Spots!

As the world hurts, through ALWS you bring healing and hope. HOPE Spots show you what happens when your love comes to life!

HOPE Spot #52: Your SIX TIMES Christmas kindness for Taban

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Meet Taban.

He’s four years old, and lives with cerebral palsy in a Displaced Persons Camp in Somalia.

When Taban was diagnosed, his dad disowned him.

       Then abandoned the family.

              Tragically, this happens too often …

                    … and children with disabilities are left behind and forgotten.

That’s why, this Christmas I’m calling on your kindness

to help make sure no child is left behind.

 Donate now


You already live out the values of Christmas in your kindness and generosity …

… and that gives me confidence to share a challenge with you.


Earlier this year, the ALWS family gathered together to use an 18:1 grant to support 8,080 children in Somalia to go to school for the next three years.

           School kits.



                                     Daily porridge…

Children like Taban need something more.

They need trained Special Needs teachers. Ramps. Disability-friendly toilets. Braille books. Crutches. White canes. Understanding. Patience. Care.

This costs more.

ALWS is stepping out in faith to support 3,500 children in Somalia like Taban to receive the treatment and care they need … and then be supported to go to school.

On average, it costs $52 per child to provide complete care (see 7 Step Plan below).

Donate now


The good news is that while we have not been able to get an 18:1 Grant for these special children, the Australian Government has provided: 

The Government explains the 5:1 Grant this way:

Every donation you make to this project will be combined with funding from the Australian Government to reach more people. ALWS has committed to contribute $1 for every $5 received from the Australian government.

Your donation will allow us to extend our programs.


I explain it this way:

Donate 5:1 now

Your Christmas donation (tax-deductible) will help a child like Taban through:

  1. Enrol 2,500 Learners with Disabilities into school:
  • Provide uniform
  • Assistive devices
  • Disability-friendly teaching and learning
  • Teachers
  1. Renovate one school as model for Inclusive Education:
  • Widen doors for learners with wheelchairs and crutches
  • Install more windows to increase lighting for learners with low vision
  • Install ramps and rails for access
  • Install disability-friendly latrines
  • Clear signage to latrines / office / classrooms
  1. Support 1,000 Children with Disabilities through Educational Assessment and Resource Centre:
  • Technical assessment of disability and support required
  • Rehabilitation program
  • Physiotherapy and treatment
  • Dry ration porridge (proven effective in encouraging parents to bring children for assessment & support)
  1. Awareness and advocacy for inclusion:
  • Community members
  • School parents
  • Local and national Government
  1. Train local carpenters to build assistive devices:
  • Crutches
  • White canes
  • Assistive rails
  1. Build engagement with families:
  • Home visits
  • Outreach services
  • Transport
  1. Train teachers in disability-friendly techniques:
  • Braille
  • Sign-languages
  • Individual Education Plans
  • Special Needs Education

You can provide all this for a child like Taban for $52.


PLUS the 5:1 Australian Government Grant means your impact is SIX TIMES your personal donation!

Donate 5:1 NOW!


Dreams achieved

Our ALWS ‘dream’ – step of faith – Christmas ‘wish’ – is to support 3,500 children with disabilities like Taban.

Taban’s mum, Shamsa, has a dream too:

“Taban is a brilliant boy and he’s getting better by the day.


I hope for a day when our world is adapted to be inclusive

for everyone with different abilities. Society should be mindful

of people living with disabilities by giving them equal chances

in life, as this will help them achieve their dreams.


All that these children want is to be included.”


… if you share Shamsa’s dream for her little boy …

… you are welcome to use the 5:1 Grant, at $52 per child, tax-deductible

… to support a child with disability like Taban to be included, just like every other child.

Donate 5:1 now

Thank you for helping make sure no child is forgotten or left behind.

That’s why you are a blessing at Christmas … and ALWayS!



HOPE Spot #51: 😊 😊 😊 😊 😊

Friday 24 November 2023

See these sunny smiles …

Photo: LWF Burundi

… they’re thanks to you!

These ladies are a Women’s Group Forum in Burundi that received your support through ALWS, and our partner LWF, to build a better life for their families – and themselves.

As you know, through ALWS you help people in danger of being forgotten by the world.

Your care goes to people living with disability, those who are elderly or sick, those rejected by the community …

… and girls and women, who too often suffer in ways that mean they need focused support.

Just being born female may mean:

…  you have to labour in the fields all day + fetch water

+ cook food + run the household + care for the children

… while missing out on education + your rights

+ being able to make your own decisions


… and too often being forced to marry someone

you don’t choose, or too early, or older than you,

or before your body is ready to have children


… while also suffering threats and violence and abuse.


That’s why this year we have a special focus on girls and women in Gifts of Grace.

The good news is this helps you have a real and lasting impact. Not just protecting women from violence, but also supporting change that enables all women’s gifts to bless their community.

You’ll see this for yourself when you listen to these ladies from Burundi:


Before, when there was conflict in a family, say when a man beat his wife and she goes back to her own family, they would say ‘that’s just the way it is’ and send them back to that man.

But now it is different. When we see family conflict happening and see fight coming, we
know how to stop it – by talking and sorting.

If the husband is misusing the family money for gambling or drinking, the wife can go and ask the employer to send back the money to her.

The men also appreciate this Women’s Forum Group and even some men come and ask for help!

Before we came together in this forum, many women were having problems in their families. They had no rights, no power to make decisions or participate in family decisions about money and other matters.


Then LWF training began changing this for us. They trained us about family law and some procedures for how a household could run with different roles and duties.

We learnt about peace conflict resolution – how to try and solve family problems peacefully. No one can make decisions for the family without talking to the other.

The village community was undermining women’s ability to participate in meetings. Women had no way to express themselves.

We are happy to have this Group and to be members of it. We feel honoured among the other women as they have chosen us to serve in this program. They have confidence in us.

Before, people having problems would have to go to the Government Administrators far away.

Now we can help solve problems here. Even the Elected Administrators have confidence in this Group and when they hear of problems, they send them to us!

We feel proud when we have solved a problem peacefully and then the family tell others. They often come and say thank you to us. This makes us feel good about our work. We like to help.”

Because the challenges facing girls and women are so great …

… ALWS supports the UN program 16 Days of Activism that aims to make sure girls and women receive the extra support they need, and that their rights are upheld.

You can take simple practical action for girls and women through ALWS Gifts of Grace:

  • Provide a farmer like Tara in Nepal with Veggie Seeds for a home garden ($11)
  • Help a women’s group in Indonesia set up a Banana Chip Business ($154)
  • Supply 3 chooks and a start-up kit so a mum can start a Chicken Farm ($23)
  • Give a Goat to a grandma in Burundi, plus training in livestock-raising ($75)
  • Support a girl in Somalia to go to school with a School Set ($5)

The bonus good news is that investing in girls and women has a double benefit because it also directly helps children:

  • extra income is spent on children’s needs
  • children have more food to eat, and are healthier
  • girls are more likely to be encouraged to go to school

Thank you for all you do through ALWS to support girls and women build better lives for themselves and their families. To them, you are a blessing ALWayS …

… so, please share in their sunny smiles!

PS: You can watch short videos from Nepal, Burundi and refugee camps in Kenya here (total time – 5 minutes) to hear direct from projects about your ALWS action for girls and women – drinking water taps, soap-making, hairdressing – watch now! The videos are at the bottom of the page.



HOPE Spot #50: Cold as Ice… Warm as Kindness

Wednesday 22 November

At ALWS staff devotion last week, team member Julie talked to us about ice.

Julie shared how if someone is treating us coldly, it doesn’t do much good to respond coldly. It just makes everything worse.

As Australia wrestles with challenging issues like the outcome of the Voice Referendum … the Israel Gaza Crisis … and so many other things on which people have different opinions, Julie suggested a different approach …

… responding with the warmth of kindness, that can melt cold hearts.

The next two weeks in Ukraine, the forecast is for temperatures down to minus 5 degrees.

Can you imagine facing that, when your ‘home’ has been reduced to this:

Photo: LWF / Anatoli Nazarenko

The building you see is in Kharkiv,
where you work through ALWS and our partner LWF,
aiming to renovate 525 apartments before Christmas!

It’s not a full renovation, but doors and windows are replaced, water and sanitation restored, and electricity reconnected. The aim is to make the apartments warm and habitable again.

According to Mark Mullan (photo), leader of the LWF team in Ukraine:

Photo: LWF/Anatolyi Nazarenko

“Our commitment is to put displaced families at the very centre of our program, and provide a range of integrated services to support the families.

With this people-centric approach, we have a better chance of allowing people to return successfully to their homes of origin with dignity.”

The LWF team also engages community mobilisers who know the local context. They have been trained to offer support to vulnerable and traumatised people.



One of the people who will benefit from your help is Mykola Tisheninov.

When his apartment was bombed, the 73 year old had nowhere to go. Returning to his renovated apartment will be a cause for celebration:

“We are looking forward to returning to our own place.

 For us, it is not just a home.

 It’s a place of inspiration, a place where our family stories were born, and a place of our strength.”

Thank you very much for being part of the ALWS family working hard together to bring help and hope to people in danger of being forgotten.


The people of Ukraine remain a priority for ALWS:

  • this week, ALWS was able to commit a further $329,331 to this ministry
  • you can see more details of your work in Ukraine in Update 9
  • ALWS is planning a Walk My Way Ukraine for central Brisbane on Saturday 11 May next year
  • you can see your ALWS impact through Australia’s Emergency Action Alliance here
  • you can donate here to keep helping the people of Ukraine – both inside Ukraine, and in Poland


Now, I don’t know what the temperature is where you live …

… but I’m pretty sure it won’t be minus 5 like it is in Ukraine.

Thank you for the warmth of your kindness and generosity that is such a blessing to people in danger of being forgotten by the world.

You are a blessing ALWayS!




HOPE Spot #49: Truckloads of Kindness

Thursday 16 November

I didn’t get the full rego of the truck that hit me last week …

… but it started with COV-1D.

Health is one of those things you can take for granted, until you don’t have it.

Like food on the table.

Clean water.


As I lay in bed last week feeling sorry for myself, I realised what’s special about you is you don’t take these things for granted.

In fact, you see them missing in the lives of other people, and through ALWS you help.

Whether it’s through giving goats and school kits and Long Drop Loos in Gifts of Grace

… or supporting the work of August Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem in response to the Israel Gaza Crisis

… or simply faithfully reading these HOPE Spots to stay updated, or find personal prayer points

… your kindness and generosity are a blessing ALWayS!

You are especially important for people in danger of being forgotten by the world, and that’s why I want to update you today.

This information is quite ‘heavy’ and detailed, so I understand if you don’t have time or wish to read it all …

… but I do want you to be fully informed about what you do for people through ALWS.



As you know, the coup in 2021 has made life awful for the people, and also challenging for aid agencies like ALWS to get your help to where you are needed.

The good news is your ALWS action is still getting through, and making an impact.

At the same time, ALWS has added our support to a submission to a Senate Standing Committee on how Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) can do more to help agencies like ALWS support the people of Myanmar.

The submission comes from ACFID Myanmar Community of Practice (ACFID = Australian Council for International Development) and proposes:

  1. Flexible and contextually appropriate approach to risk management that enables strengthening of local civil society.
  2. Continued and strengthened Australian advocacy and diplomacy to address in-country barriers to delivery of assistance in Myanmar. 
  3. Increase and target Australia’s overall ODA (Official Development Assistance) to Myanmar to meet urgent needs and enable greater localisation of assistance.

You likely won’t have seen Ethiopia in Australian media reports …

… but the news from LWF (Lutheran World Federation) Country Representative, Sophie Gebreyes, continues to be very disturbing. Sophie shares:

I am coming to you to give you an update on the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia at a time when most of you are preoccupied by the Israel-Gaza, Ukraine and Sudan crises among many.

As a country that has seen many violent conflicts over the years, our hearts go out to all who are caught up in these conflicts and express our solidarity with all humanitarian workers who are struggling to provide assistance under very difficult circumstances with overstretched aid capacity and resources.

Meanwhile in Ethiopia, away from the media glare, the situation in the north is going from dire to catastrophic:



Food distribution, suspended to Internally Displaced People (IDP) in March, has still not resumed. The number of IDPs has topped 4.38 million as of end of August 2023, exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation.

Many of the 1.8 million forcibly displaced Tigrayans believed that they will be returning home, but a year on that remains an unattainable dream as parts of the region are still occupied by Eritrean forces to the north and Amhara militias in the West.  

This means that many schools that had to become IDP sites have not returned to being schools, condemning many children in Tigray to yet another year without formal education.  

Last month, the Tigray Interim Government made the official announcements of veterans lost in the Tigray War, plunging the entire region in a deep sense of mourning, an event that resurfaced the trauma from the past two years in many.    Besides inability to return, and limited aid, many are waiting for justice.



Amhara, where the Tigray conflict spilled into in 2021, has been beset by a fresh conflict that started in April 2023. The violent conflict is continuing unabated, killing, maiming and displacing hundreds of thousands, although exact figures are hard to obtain due to access restrictions.

Many areas are not accessible for humanitarian assistance or for regular travel. LWF is facing challenges in continuing/starting operation in Amhara (Kumer Refugee camp in Gondar, and in Lalibela in North Wello) due to the insecurity.

Just today, sources have confirmed an ongoing conflict between government security forces and Fano in Lalibela Town, situated in the North Wollo Zone of the Amhara Region. The fighting is currently intense and has resulted in disruptions to daily activities and transportation services within the town. Additionally, there have been reports of fluctuating phone communication in Lalibela Town since the morning.  

LWF has no relocatable staff in Lalibela and have instructed all of our local staff to hibernate and advised newly recruited staff to postpone travel to the zone.  

There is also a huge concern over the fate of the famous rock hewn Lalibela churches as the fighting with heavy artillery intensifies.


Droughts and floods

In addition to violent conflicts, heavy rain and drought in different parts of the country are conspiring to complete the disastrous outlook for Ethiopia in 2024. 

After fourth consecutive failed rains and droughts in the Southern Belt, the same areas are experiencing heavy floods displacing many and destroying livelihoods. In the highlands, there are indications of El Niño-induced droughts in the cereal growing areas like in the Amhara Region where the conflict has already impeded farmers to plant during the long kremt rains.

Thank you for your continued support, understanding and for holding Ethiopia up in your prayers.


Photo: LWF Somalia

Earlier this year, ALWS accessed an 18:1 grant to support 8,080 children in Displaced Persons Camps in Somalia to go to school.

The response from the ALWS family was amazing – the full 3 years program is now totally funded!

The good news is ALWS has now secured a new 5:1 Grant from the Australian Government to help make sure other children – those  – in these camps don’t miss out on school.

I plan to give you more information in the next two weeks, in plenty of time for Christmas.

You’ll meet children like Taban and be amazed how our Christmas kindness can be life-transforming.

Our goal is to help 2,500 children with disabilities go to school next year, and support 1,000 younger children with disabilities receive the support they need to achieve their potential. 



Thank you that I can share these opportunities and challenges with you.

While some people feel helpless in the face of the hurt happening in so many parts of the world …

… your kindness and compassion through ALWS literally bring truckloads of help where you are needed most. Food. Water. Shelter. Medical care.

You don’t take people’s needs for granted, and that’s why you are a blessing ALWayS! Thank you! 

(I pray you stay safe and well and aren’t hit by the same ‘truck’ that hit me!)


PS: I have now recovered from being run over by the COVID truck – but it took me back to March 2020, when COVID first hit hard. That’s when I started writing these HOPE Spots, as an antidote of encouragement to COVID HOT Spots. Today’s HOPE Spot is my 187th – I pray they may be a blessing to you.  Jonathan



Photo: LWF/M. Khatri

When I wrote to you last week about the Magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Nepal, that took more than 150 lives, I told you that our partner LWF Nepal was not working in the area.

Since then, LWF has told us that 12,000 of the most affected people are Dalit – among the poorest and most marginalised people in the community.

Therefore, LWF has been called in to respond. The team you support is working to provide Emergency Shelter Kits, food, Hygiene Kits, warm clothes, blankets to withstand the cold, and psychosocial support. Priority is given to children, the elderly, and people with disabilities – those who are too often forgotten. If you have any questions, please call 1300 763 407. Thank you! 




HOPE Spot #48: Your ALWS action for Israel Gaza Crisis

Wednesday 8 November
Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Each day the news from the Israel Gaza Crisis seems worse. 

It can make you feel deeply sad and hopelessly helpless.

After the abhorrent acts of terrorist group Hamas against Israel, there seems no end to the loss of innocent lives.


Today I have a small glimmer of good news.


In the days immediately after the terror attack, ALWS committed $50,000 to the emergency response of our partner Lutheran World Federation (LWF) at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem.

The Hospital provides cancer treatment and kidney dialysis services to Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza (see photo).

The good news is the generosity of people like you,
means ALWS can DOUBLE our commitment to $100,000!


This enables your care to extend beyond the Augusta Victoria Hospital, and provide crisis care through ACT Alliance partner, Middle Eastern Council of Churches.

The Council’s Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) has long experience working in Gaza, and will now target care to:

PEOPLEUnder 55-1718-5960+


Key aid activities you will support through ALWS include:

  • Health
  • Shelter
  • Food security
  • Job creation
  • Psychosocial support
  • Cash grants




I have prepared a full Update 3 for you of your expanded ALWS action, which you can read here.

ALWS has also joined with other international aid agencies based in Australia with a letter to our Prime Minister, calling for further action – ACFID Letter to Prime Minister

Meanwhile, of course, your ALWS action continues to help child victims of other wars, in places like South Sudan and Somalia, and in refugee camps at Kakuma and Dadaab – places and people forgotten by the world.


Through Gifts of Grace you can give practical help this Christmas, like:

  • Porridge meal each school day for 6 months for a Somali refugee child: $6
  • Set up a School Kitchen Garden at Kakuma Refugee Camp: $756
  • School set of books and stationery for a child from Somalia: $5
  • Support a mum in South Sudan to start a business: $150

Thank you again for all the help you give people through ALWS, especially in these deeply disturbing times.


Please take heart knowing that your kindness brings help and hope where people hurt the most. That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS. Thank you!





HOPE Spot #47: Gumboots

Friday 3 November

The second last time I wore a pair of gumboots was 50 years ago in my uncle’s cowshed.

I was a smart-alecky city-slicker kid on school holidays so my main job was on the end of a shovel, running from one south end of a cow facing north, to another.

Slippery business indeed.

The next time I wore gumboots was last weekend when we visited an old school friend on their family farm.

As you can see from the photo, it’s not quite so easy for me to slip on a pair of gumbies these days.

(I think they must make them different from what I remember??)

I wasn’t quite sure why I needed gumboots for a pleasant stroll in the sunshine …

… until 30 minutes later when I was sliding to the bottom of a gulley, radar on full alert for snakes upset at being woken, dodging ankle-breaker wombat holes and fresh splatty deposits of what my uncle had introduced me to in his cow shed.


Gumboots may not be the most fashionable footwear around …

… but they get you where you want to go, and keep you safe along the way.


Humble and hard-working.


A lot like the help you give people through ALWS:

• building bomb shelters in basements of schools in Ukraine

• supplying Dignity Kits at Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem to patients left stranded by the Israel Gaza crisis

• helping families construct Long Drop Loos for their homes in Indonesia

• teaching farmers how to turn goat droppings into organic fertiliser

• standing knee-deep in water to plant mangroves or plant-out rice paddies

• offering crutches and physio to someone struggling to walk another step

… the kind of behind-the-scenes, hands-on, ‘dirty’ work that won’t ever win a headline – but is essential to protect the lives of people most at risk, and in danger of being forgotten.


That’s you.


Where you’re needed.

Just getting on with it.

Like gumboots.


Which is why I’m happy to put my foot in it, and risk you getting offended at me calling you a gumboot. For me, it’s yet another reason you are a blessing ALWayS.


PS: ALWS volunteers are ready to pack your Gifts of Grace order to beat the Christmas rush, and the mail system’s non-rush (sigh). First 500 orders receive a special handmade gift from Indonesia, (see below) and each Grace Card has a Seed Diamond that blossoms into forget-me-not flowers, so your message of the true heart of Christmas can keep on growing. Order now

PPS: Early next week I will update you on your ALWS action in response to the Israel Gaza Crisis. You are welcome to donate here to provide help at Augusta Victoria Hospital.



HOPE Spot #46: Rapt or Wrapped?

Friday 27 October 2023

Last Friday I wrapped the Principal of a Lutheran school head to toe in Christmas wrapping paper, in front of her 150 students.

This was after I had tried to stuff her into a shoebox.

I had told the students the stories of three girls I met the last time I was at a Refugee Camp in Kenya – Diana, Joy and Judith.

Photo: ALWS

The cousins’ parents had been killed in the war in South  , and the girls had to flee on foot. After three days, they finally found safety supported by people like you at Kakuma.

The challenge was getting the kind of education every child deserves, when a typical class in a refugee camp may have 95 students in it.

They need more teachers.

That’s why I ‘volunteered’ the Principal of the Lutheran school to go! 😊

It was soon clear to her students that it made no sense to try to pack a shoebox here in Australia with a teacher (or school-desk, or schoolbooks, or disability-friendly toilet).

That’s when I introduced this year’s Gifts of Grace.

The students (and teachers) saw how they could support a teacher like Zainab in a refugee camp – $110 for one month, or $1100 to provide a teacher for all next year!

Photo: LWF Kenya

For $6 even the youngest students in Australia could provide a daily school meal of nutritional porridge for a child in a refugee camp every school day for 6 months!

$5 provides a School Kit.

The Aussie students were rapt … or is it wrapped?

I hope you will be too when you look through your Gifts of Grace catalogue and choose gifts to give your friends and family this year.

NEW this year are Grace Cards that can be hung on the Christmas Tree …

… then planted in the ground to produce Forget-Me-Not flowers!

(I wanted to give the Principal who ‘volunteered’ a bunch of Forget-Me-Nots to say thank you for being a good sport …
… but had to make do with some plastic fakes from the $2 shop.)

PLUS a ‘Thank you’ for you!

First 500 orders Gifts of Grace orders this year receive a unique Christmas Tree ornament gift, designed and handmade from recycled CDs, by people with disability in a Lutheran Centre you support in Indonesia.

My hope and prayer, in this world that seems so messed up right now, is that your ALWS Gifts of Grace will brighten the Christmas of those you love …

… as you bless those you help, like  and Zainab. What a priceless Christmas gift to unwrap – two Doctors, a Pilot and a Teacher.

That’s why you are a blessing not just at Christmas – but ALWayS!

PS: I will keep you updated on your ALWS support of the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem, in response to the Israel Gaza crisis. You can read UPDATE 2 here.


HOPE Spot #45: How does your garden grow?

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Don’t you just love spring?

The first bursts of warmth in the air. Shrubs and flowers waking up from winter snooze. Veggies fresh and bursting to be planted.

Birds seem to sing louder (and earlier!). Butterflies flit.

Love it.

Here are three more people who love Spring.

Between them, Paul, Rex and Claire have more than 280 years of life experience …

… and for the last 20+ of those years, these wonderful ALWS supporters have been planting and propagating … loading and unloading … smiling and selling … through chilly mornings and windy afternoons … at weekend markets and local shows

… to sell plants to raise money to help people through ALWS!

(Paul’s wife, Annette, was a key part of the team until she was taken to walk the heavenly garden last year.)

If I told you how many dollars these green thumbs had grown with their hard work, you wouldn’t believe it.

So instead, let me just take you from one of Paul’s hothouses on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia …

… to a hothouse at Kakuma in Kenya, supported by people like Paul and Rex and Claire and you through ALWS

… where Ayenai is now growing capsicum, kale, spinach and tomatoes

… and outside growing maize, pumpkin, butternuts, onions, watermelon and sorghum

… selling surplus to local cafes and supermarkets, after she has made sure her children have enough to be healthy and strong and fit for school.

This is how your garden grows
through ALWS.

That’s why I think you will enjoy your brand new ALWS Gifts of Grace!

Our theme this year is See your love grow!

And you’ll be able to do exactly that with gifts like:

That’s not all that’s growing …

… your Grace Cards this year each have a Seed Diamond that can be planted (after being hung on the family Christmas Tree) to produce Forget-Me-Not flowers!

I have much more to tell you about your Gifts of Grace

… today I just hope I have planted a seed that puts a ‘spring’ in your step! 😊

Thank you for the seeds you sow, and everything you grow, in people’s lives through ALWS. You are a blessing ALWayS!

PS: Our theme Bible Verse for Gifts of Grace has a beautiful promise of what we can grow together:

God will provide rain for the seeds you sow.
The grain that GROWS will be abundant.
Isaiah 30:23

PPS: In my HOPE Spot on Friday, I mentioned statements re Israel Gaza Crisis from LWF and ACFID – but I forgot to activate the link. Sorry!

You can read our partner in Jerusalem, LWF’s, statement here.

ALWS is also one of more than 130 members of ACFID – Australian Council for International Development – that has released this statement.


HOPE Spot #44: Israel Gaza Crisis – inside the hospital

The Israel Gaza Crisis brings new horrors every day.

Today I can take you inside the Augusta Victoria Hospital you support in East Jerusalem through ALWS.                                                                             

The hospital is owned and operated by ALWS partner, Lutheran World Federation (LWF), and serves 5 million Palestinians.


The hospital specialises in care for cancer patients and providing haemodialysis for kidney patients.


Children also receive critical care.




Photo: LWF / Albin Hillert

Dr Fadi Atrash, heads the hospital, and shares the impact of the Israel Gaza Crisis:


Dr Fadi, can you give us an update on the situation at the hospital?


We are in an emergency, and we do not know how things will develop. I have set up an emergency team to coordinate our work. We have enough staff on board 24 hours a day to guarantee the operation of the hospital.


Our mission is humanitarian – we are on the side of our patients and those affected by war and conflict.


Most of your cancer patients come from the West Bank and Gaza. How is the crisis affecting them?


40% of our patients come from Gaza. We have a total of 71 people from Gaza in the hospital right now. They cannot return home, so we are finding accommodation for them here.


Since the war started last Saturday, 44 patients from Gaza were scheduled for chemotherapy and 28 for radiation. They cannot go home. We have another 60 patients scheduled for chemotherapy and 20 for radiation this week, but now they cannot come.


If the treatment for cancer is interrupted, it will of course affect the prognosis negatively.


What about kidney patients?


We keep the patients for haemodialysis in the hospital, because they need a session every other day. If they miss it, they will die. It’s a life-saving treatment.


We are keeping almost all of the children from the West Bank who receive haemodialysis here in the hospital, to guarantee the continuity of their treatment, and the safety of them and their families.


How are patients from Gaza dealing with the news they receive?


It is very, very sad and very difficult for them. On top of their very painful journey of cancer treatment, they are losing family members and their homes. They watch the news all day, trying to get in contact with their families. They see all the destruction, and they are far from their loved ones. They are suffering. Our nurses and psychosocial teams are trying to be with them all the time. It’s not easy to support them in this situation.


In previous years, the hospital has sent medical teams to Gaza to care for the wounded after air strikes. Is that possible now?


No, it is not possible. This time is different. Yesterday morning I called a friend who is in a UN shelter in Gaza. He told me: “There is no electricity, no water, and no humanitarian access, not even for blood transfusions. The hospitals are overwhelmed with injured and casualties. Lightly injured people die because there is no medicine, no blood products, or they cannot get to the hospital in time.”


People are very afraid in Gaza. Their voices are not heard. They are worried about tomorrow and what will happen to them.


What is your message to the world?


Everyone here is against killing of all civilians.


There is no doubt about this, whatever your origin, your race, your religion, as a human being. The human response should be equal on both sides.


Most important now is a ceasefire, and to open a humanitarian corridor for injured and sick people to be treated, and for fuel, water and food to enter. Guarantee the safety of children, women and innocent people, in Israel and Palestine, and allow for humanitarian and medical aid to reach those who need it.


Dr Fadi Atrash. Photo: LWF S. Gallay

ALWS has committed in faith $50,000 to the work of the Augusta Victoria Hospital at this time of crisis.


You are welcome to donate now.


Together, we pray for peace, for comfort for all those hurt or suffering loss, and safety for the staff of Augusta Victoria Hospital and all others providing medical and humanitarian aid.


Thank you for everything you do for people through ALWS, here in response to the Israel Gaza Crisis, and in other places in danger of being forgotten by the world.


Now, more than ever, you are a blessing ALWayS!

* Dr Fadi was interviewed by Cornelia Kastner-Meyer, Lutheran World Federation


PS: LWF has issued a statement on the Israel Gaza Crisis. You can read it here.

ALWS is also one of more than 130 members of ACFID – Australian Council for International Development – that has released this statement.



HOPE Spot #43: Israel Gaza Crisis – your ALWS action

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Yesterday ALWS received a plea from the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem for help in response to the Israel Gaza crisis…

The hospital is owned and operated by our ALWS partner, Lutheran World Federation, with strong links to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land.

Located on the Mount of Olives, just above the Garden of Gethsemane, and 20 kilometres north of Bethlehem, the hospital needs support to provide:

  • Medical supplies
  • Meals for patients
  • Dignity Kits
  • Patient transport

While no one knows what coming days will hold …

… sadly, we can expect that many more people will suffer loss, pain and injury. That’s why:

On your behalf, ALWS has committed $50,000
to help people hurt by the Israel Gaza crisis.

You are welcome to join this emergency response: DONATE NOW

  • $500 can support patient transport
  • $50 can supply meals for patients
  • $100 can provide critical medical supplies
  • Any gift is precious and tax-deductible

The Augusta Victoria Hospital provides services to 5 million Palestinians, with 40% of patients coming from Gaza. Most come for cancer treatments. 15% of patients are children.

There are currently 71 people from Gaza at the hospital, unable to return home.

Your ALWS action is part of the response of churches worldwide through the ACT Alliance, that through other partners also includes:

  • Nutritional support with Food Vouchers
  • Emergency cash support
  • Hygiene Kits
  • Health support services
  • Psychosocial support
  • Potentially rehabilitate damaged homes

Thank you for all your kindness that means ALWS can step out in faith with this $50,000 emergency commitment …

… while still taking your care to victims of other emergencies – Ethiopia, Myanmar, Ukraine – who are in danger of being forgotten.

Wherever you help people through ALWS, please know your care focuses on those most at risk – children, the elderly, people with disabilities, those who are marginalised – and welcomes all, no strings attached.

On behalf of each person you help, thank you. Truly, you are a blessing ALWayS.

PS: Even as we respond together to this Israel Gaza crisis, it’s vital we maintain support for your ALWS work in other areas. That’s why in the next 10 days you will still receive your new ALWS Gifts of Grace – sneak peek here!

HOPE Spot #42: Sunflowers in the sadness

Thursday 12 October 2023

Keep your face to the sunshine

and you cannot see the shadow.

It’s what sunflowers do.

Helen Keller


Yesterday I went to the funeral of a member of our extended family.

The loss was expected, yet still it hurts. Not so much because I was close to the person we farewelled …

… but because I could see up-close the impact that loss had on so many people.


Today, yesterday, tomorrow,

there are too many people in our world

crying for loved ones lost suddenly,

without warning, in horrible ways.


You and I can look at the world, especially now in Israel and Gaza, and despair.

The horror we see in today’s headlines …

… and the pain in places it seems the world has forgotten. Places where you work through ALWS. Ethiopia. Myanmar. Even Ukraine.


What’s special about you is that what you see is not countries – but people.

And not masses of people – but individuals.

A mum. A grandpa. A pre-schooler.

You see someone who needs you, and you reach out your hand in kindness and love.

You supply seeds. Give goats. Train teachers.

Even more, you say: “You are precious. Your pain matters to me.”


In a world where there is so much hurt and horror, where hopelessness and helplessness can threaten to overwhelm, your kindness and compassion plant seeds of hope.

Seeds that can flourish and grow like …

… sunflowers

At the funeral yesterday, the church was adorned with sunflowers, and we were each given a sunflower seed to take home and plant.

Sunflowers hold special meaning for the family because sunflowers always turn to face the sun.

As they do, they delight all those who see them with their colour and life and energy.

The sunflowers reminded me of a child I met in Burundi many years ago. You can see by his clothes the poverty in which he lived then …

… yet in his smile amid the sunflowers, I see the seeds of hope you plant in people’s lives through ALWS.

As the world grieves the hurt we see around us, and prays for all those crying in the wake of the terror attacks in Israel on Saturday …

… ALWS will keep taking your care to people suffering pain, but who may feel forgotten by the world.

Your care is the seed of hope that reassures them they are not alone, not forgotten – that they matter.

Today, if the world feels dark to you, please know your love shines sunflower bright. ALWayS.


God will provide rain for the seeds you sow.

The grain that grows will be abundant.

Isaiah 30:23


PS: You might not know, but one of the ways you help people is supporting ALWS to inspire young people in Australia to care for others the same way you do.

 In a junior class recently was Charlie, who didn’t like being at school very much.

 The class did an ALWS exercise where students look at the world through the eyes of a child living in a poor country like Burundi. The children talk about things like food, clean water, houses, clothes and school, and compare it to how we live in Australia. The students then collect items that represent these things and stick them on a paper plate. They are encouraged to take their plate home and share what they learned with their family.

 At the end of the day, when Charlie’s mum came to pick him up, he took out his paper plate, and explained to her what all the items meant, and how he couldn’t believe there were children in the world who did not have the chance to go to school like he did.

 Charlie’s teachers were amazed at all he had remembered, how he shared it with his mum, and how a child like him, who doesn’t really like school all that much, could see how unfair and hard it is that some children don’t even get a chance.

 Another sunflower planted.


HOPE Spot #41: Side by Side

Friday 6 October 2023

So, you thought you’d got through the week after AFL Grand Final …

… without hearing from me as a Collingwood supporter????

Sorry! 😊

(We Collingwood supporters lose twice as many Grand Finals as we win, so when we can finally celebrate, we do!)

Seriously though…

… there’s a line in the Collingwood theme song, that relates to what you do for people through ALWS:

Side by side they stick together

This is exactly what you are doing for the LWF team you support on the front line in Ethiopia.

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about the Messages of Hope eBook we sent to the team, with messages of encouragement from people like you.

Let me share with you a few of the messages the team has sent back for you:

Thanks for sharing the thoughts and prayers from our ALWS colleagues. Indeed, very encouraging words and thank them all for their continued support to the LWF Ethiopia.

Senior Program Officer
Food Security and Livelihoods


THANK YOU ALWS and Australians for your warm thoughts. Kind regards, Miina


Dear Respected,

Thanks for sharing the e-book message link, I have got the opportunity to read all such a heart-touched, encourages messages from the ALWS families, that shall help me throughout my life to serve the disadvantaged communities everywhere around the world with all what I have/will originate from the true conscience and from the depth of my heart believing in humanity alone without making any distinction in favor of worldly and fleeting things. A Message of Goodness and Unforgettable for me. Man proposes what he/would like to have, God Executes.



Dear ALWS, ​

I am speechless. This is just so thoughtful, so touching and so beautifully done. Knowing that people far away from Ethiopia, are thinking of us at these difficult times means so much. ​

​This is even more special, because during such crises, we forget that staff are also affected, and we push them to the brink, pushing them to respond to this crisis and that crisis ad infinitum, putting the affected populations first.

These are not only words of encouragement, but they are also THERAPY! ​

​I will share with all staff. Please convey our deepest thanks to all. ​

​Thank you for supporting us morally, spiritually and financially. Thank you for your great sense of partnership. ​

​On behalf of LWF Ethiopia Team, Sophie ​ 

 I hope this encourages you as you work side by side with Miina and Fithalew and Abdelkadar and Sophie in Ethiopia …

… as we stick together to serve the people of Ethiopia, who can feel so forgotten by the world. Your commitment, lived out in your kindness, is why you are a blessing ALWayS!

PS: If you’d like to join me in singing the rest of the Collingwood theme song, you are most welcome:

Good old Collingwood forever
They know how to play the game.
Side by side they stick together,
To uphold The Magpies name.
See the barrackers are shouting,
As all barrackers should.
For the premiership’s a cakewalk,
For the good old Collingwood!

One more time? No? OK! 😊



HOPE Spot #40: Despite everything…

Thursday 28 September 2023

I have a message for you from the Dad of one of the families you help in Ethiopia through ALWS and our partner LWF.

When Takele’s house was burned down, his cattle killed, and all the family’s property destroyed, the family was forced to flee. Takele says:

“It was a nightmarish scene of screaming, and crying of children, of cattle in distress, too sad to remember.

My youngest still suffers from trauma.

What is most painful is that my children do not have access to education because of lack of materials.

I tried to engage in daily labour in order to buy food, and pay rent, but I can’t afford to keep sending my two children to school.

It was all too distressing.”

It can be easy to lose hope when you see people suffering as much as Takele’s family has, and when the security situation is still challenging (see below) …


… yet I have two messages of hope to share with you that I pray lift your spirits.



First, in August when I shared with ALWS supporters like you, the crisis in Ethiopia …

… I invited people to send a message of encouragement to the front-line LWF team.

We received more than 100 messages,

filled with words of kindness and compassion!

These have been turned into an e-Book so each member of the LWF team can be inspired and encouraged. You can enjoy it here!



People like you supported Takele with three months of food + support for children to go to school + cash-for-rent assistance + support to grow a vegetable garden + training in environmental sanitation…

… and you can see how hope can be restored when you hear Takele say:

“Currently we are receiving aid … what we really wish

is to get additional support so we could

work on a small business and garden farming,

so we can rebuild our shattered lives.


Despite everything, as Christians

we forgive what was done to us.”


Hold on to that hope as you read the latest report (22/9) from Sophie Gebreyes, who heads the LWF team in Ethiopia. Things are tough …


The security situation in the North has severely deteriorated. There is a partial blackout with communications. Violent conflicts occur daily in almost all zones, with mounting casualties from heavy drone strikes and artillery fire.  

Civilians caught in the cross-fire are fleeing en masse, adding to already high displacement caseloads in the country since 2016 from conflict, droughts, and floods.

Humanitarian access is heavily restricted, and most operations are dramatically reduced or suspended. For LWF, this has meant the suspension of projects in the Kumer Refugee Camp for Sudanese and other refugees fleeing the war in neighbouring Sudan.

The Climate Resilience Project in Lalibela is also suspended, and staff have had to continually relocate due to the high volatility of the security situation.


Malnutrition rates are skyrocketing, especially amongst children under five. 

1.7 million of school children have been out of school for the past three academic years, representing 77% of the total 2.3 million school children in Tigray.

90% of school infrastructure have been damaged. 80% of the regional health system is incapacitated. Health staff have gone unpaid for 20 months.


35,770 people have entered Ethiopia so far, mostly Sudanese (71%), Eritreans and Ethiopian returnees. The majority (over 52.4%) are entering Ethiopia via the Metema Entry Point, which unfortunately is located in the conflict zone. Restrictions mean services cannot be met in the refugee camp and reception centres. A cholera outbreak has killed 9 people among 400 detected cases.


Ethiopia is facing above average rainfall in the south and west, causing heavy floods. In the cereal-growing central highlands, rainfall is below normal. There is major concern on food security as we approach the meher harvest season starting in October.  

Making a bad situation worse, in August, small immature swarms of locusts were sighted, and a total of 395 hectares of land required treatment.


Amnesty International this week stated that Ethiopia is at a dangerous precipice. It called for the second renewal of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia’s mandate, concluding that ‘it is not the time to lower the accountability bar on Ethiopia’.

The Ethiopian Humanitarian Response Plan targets more than 20 million people for food aid, and close to 5 million people for non-food assistance.

Only 27% of the total plan requested is currently funded, leaving a huge funding gap and mounting needs.  

The little visibility of this devastating conflict in international media – and in the halls of humanitarian decision-making – is of great concern to us.



Thank you for taking the time to read that tough update.

ALWS is continuing to support the LWF team in Ethiopia, so as soon as it is safe to get aid into the danger areas, the team can.

You are welcome to donate here to reach out to the people who so desperately need us …

… or to be inspired by the Messages of Hope e-Book we are sending to the team, filled with messages of kindness and compassion like this one:

Thank you – you are a blessing ALWayS!

PS: I just received this message back from Sophie in Ethiopia, after we sent her the e-Book of Messages of Hope: 

Dear ALWS, 

I am speechless. This is just so thoughtful, so touching and so beautifully done. Knowing that people far away from Ethiopia, are thinking of us at these difficult times means so much. 

This is even more special because during such crises we can forget that staff are also affected, and push them to the brink, pushing them to respond to this crisis and that crisis ad infinitum, putting the affected populations first. These are not only words of encouragement, but they are also THERAPY! 

I will share with all staff. Please convey our deepest thanks to all. 

Thank you for supporting us morally, spiritually and financially. Thank you for your great sense of partnership. 

On behalf of LWF Ethiopia Team,



 All photos: LWF / 2023

HOPE Spot #39: When the earth quakes …

Friday 15 September 2023

in this last fortnight we’ve seen tragedies:

• the flooding from the dam collapse in Libya, that has left 11,300 people dead

• earthquake in Morocco that killed 2,900 people, injured 2,500, and left thousands homeless

You may wonder why ALWS has not launched appeals to respond to these disasters. There are two reasons:

1. We are not confident we could get your aid safely to either region.

2. Our focus is getting your help into areas in danger of being forgotten by the world:
– conflict in Ethiopia
– Displaced Persons Camps in Myanmar
– refugees fleeing the crisis in Sudan


Your ALWS action does continue to help survivors of the Turkiye / Syria earthquake in February.

Your help has a special focus in Za’atari Refugee Camp, where you work through our partner LWF Jordan.

You support supply of household essentials to the most needy families, as you can see in the photo.

You also play a special role in helping children recover from trauma, by supporting dedicated caregivers in LWF community centres to provide early childhood development services:

Photos: LWF Jordan


You provide special support to women survivors by raising their awareness on

critical issues around safety and recovery:



You even support recreational activities to keep up spirits inside the camp.

The LWF Women’s Soccer Team you see here aren’t quite the Matildas, but they did win their final:


You and I know the earth will continue to ‘quake’ …

… whether through natural disasters, or human conflict, or simply a world that turns its eyes away from those in need.

That’s why your kindness and compassion are such precious gifts to the people you see here. Each day of care they receive from the LWF team you support is another day they know they are loved, and not forgotten. That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS. Thank you!





PS: The earth ‘quaked’ for us in a deeply sad way here at ALWS last week.

Our friend and colleague, Russell Noske, passed away suddenly, and went in faith to his heavenly home.

Russell worked quietly and steadfastly behind the scenes in ensuring safe financial transfers of your ALWS support, running our Farmers for Farmers program, and taking care of finances.

We miss Russell deeply and will celebrate his life with his family at a Memorial Service on Monday.


HOPE Spot #38: Friday 15 September 2023

Kicking on with Aliir Aliir at ABC

It’s AFL footy finals, and Aliir Aliir is one of the league’s stars, leading the backline of Port Power.

ALWS was blessed to have Aliir join our Ambassador Boot Camp (ABC).

Aliir shared the story of his journey from Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, where you work through ALWS, to the big league.

Let me share some of those stories with you:



 “When you’re born in a refugee camp, it’s all you know. My strongest memory is of always being with family.

Because I was just a kid then, I actually have great memories of the camp – I just played sport all day with my cousins and friends. I was a kid, man, I enjoyed life!

When I was in the camp, sometimes I’d sit in a tree and imagine I had a bike. There were other times we got lost, we were so busy running around having fun!

We’d make our own soccer ball in the camp. We’d get a medic’s glove, and blow it up, then wrap clothes around it. We had to make spares because someone would always kick it in the bushes and we’d lose it.

We didn’t have much, but we had family.”



 “Coming to Australia, everything was different. Everyone had a different skin colour. I thought where are we? Are we on a new planet?

For you as a migrant, you just want to feel welcomed.

I’d see kids playing soccer, and I’d go over to them, step by step, until I could join in. They’d invite me to their house, and that made me want to learn English so I could join in their jokes.

All the kids who come, the goal is to study, to get a good job, so you can help the parents who got you here.

We were kicked out of our home in South Sudan, so essentially we’re looking for a new home.”



“My mum used to say she didn’t bring me here to play sport, but to study. Now she knows you can make a living from sport.

I was inspired to take up AFL by Nic Nat. I just wanted to take speccies like him.

I had to learn to be professional, rather than just go with the flow. I needed to learn you had to work hard, you couldn’t just rely on natural talent. I was hard on myself when I was young, but I know now it’s all about trying to get better.

When I joined the Swans, Adam Goodes was my mentor. He taught me to pull my head in. He’d say I needed to create my own legacy – but not forget who you are, and the people who got you here, your family, your culture.

I think sport has the ability to connect people, in ways you don’t always understand.

We play it for fun, but there’s a bigger purpose, to bring people together. That’s why I want to set up a sports academy to help kids who might otherwise miss out.”



“Sometimes I feel I’m not supposed to be here, doing what I’m doing. I’m one of the lucky ones. 

I want to live my life to do whatever I can for my mum.

You’ve always got to look after your family, no matter what. Now I have my own child, I really know what I’m here for. You may only get two hours sleep a night, but it’s worth it.

If someone makes you feel welcome, I know what it means. I don’t see people as refugees. I don’t use that word. These are simply people who don’t have a home.

My favourite word is gratitude. I’ve always been the one to be grateful for the life I have.”


Thank you for all you do through ALWS to support children to go to school at Kakuma Refugee Camp, where Aliir was born and grew up.

Along with the children you support at Dadaab Refugee Camp.

And in Somalia.

Even inside Displaced Persons Camps in Myanmar.

Making sure children with disabilities aren’t forgotten.

Who knows what the child you help today will ‘kick on’ to do tomorrow!

PS: Of course, after Aliir shared so generously with the teachers and Principals at ABC

… I felt I should offer to share with Aliir some of my best footy tips.

Basically, you can beat anyone, but don’t beat Collingwood. 

I don’t think he listened.





HOPE Spot #37: Monday 11 September 2023

Sudan Crisis – your update from front line

Today I bring you updates from South Sudan and Ethiopia, where your ALWS action is welcoming people fleeing the crisis in Sudan. 

The world may have forgotten these people … 

… but through ALWS, and our partner Lutheran World Federation (LWF), you are right there where you are needed most.   

While the challenges remain, there is good news on the impact being made! 


SOUTH SUDAN – Mika Jokivuori, Program Coordinator  

Dear ALWS, 

Greetings from Renk, South Sudan. 

I have just returned from visiting Renk, where I saw with my own eyes how dire the situation is. The good news is work continues to provide community-based support for returning South Sudanese, and transport to Juba for the most vulnerable households. 

More than 200,000 people have come to South Sudan and it is expected to continue as no sign of holding peace in Sudan.  

LWF is committed to continue to provide our much-needed service. We have been requested by both the government and UN to provide flight service for the most vulnerable households, as living conditions in Renk is not suitable for them, especially during the rainy season that is starting soon. 

I would like to thank you all of you for your support, and would like to request you continue your help as needs are still here. 




I’ve put together an update of your front-line work in Renk last week. I think you will be especially interested in the activities that focus on children: UPDATE 8 

You are also welcome to donate to support the in-faith commitment of $100,000 ALWS has made to support this life-saving action. DONATE NOW 


ETHIOPIA – Endeshaw Mulatu, Program Coordinator  

Dear ALWS, 

I am writing this to give you updates about the security situation in the project location of Lasta and Lalibela woredas in the Amhara region.  

After the last update we shared, the good news is the security situation looks calm, as there is no fighting at the moment. The government has announced it is taking all the necessary measures to control the situation fully.  

Government offices are open and services such as banks are operating in Lalibela.  

Ethiopian Airlines has resumed the daily flight to Lalibela.  

The only uncertainty at the moment is travelling to the rural areas located far from Lalibela which are still regarded as unsafe.  

Despite the existing security situation, LWF has been carrying out all the preparatory activities, such as recruitment of staff, anticipating start of project implementation on 1 September 2023.  

Kind regards.  


This improvement in the security situation in Amhara in Ethiopia is an answer to prayer! 

You can support this lifesaving work here. 



Through ALWS, you work in some of the toughest places on earth.

We can never expect it will be easy, nor that all dangers can be removed. However, please know that the safety of the front-line staff you support is prioritised.

Your kindness and generosity are the reason ALWS can step out in faith to help people the world has forgotten. That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS! Thank you! 

PS: Last week ALWS held our first-ever Ambassadors Boot Camp – ABC – to equip leaders from Lutheran schools in South Australia to inspire their students to join in ALWS action, just like you. I will give you a full report in my next HOPE Spot. (I may even share some of the football tips I gave our guest speaker, Aliir Aliir, as his team Port Power start their finals campaign!!! 😊) 

Important Information

You help with practical care

Your donation will support the 23/24 ALWS commitment of $100,000 to South Sudan, and $100,000 to Ethiopia, to care for refugees fleeing Sudan. Should ALWS receive income beyond what is needed for this project, any extra will be used for ALWS development work in Ethiopia – commitment $365,000.  

Information in this communication is based on data correct at time of writing, and may change. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party, or to support welfare activities as defined by DFAT. For more information, call: 1300 763 407

Being careful with your care

In 2022, ALWS ‘overheads’ (fundraising and administration costs as defined by ACFID Code of Conduct) were 15.4%. The 5 year average is also 15.4%. A copy of the 2022 ALWS Annual Report can be viewed at or requested: 1300 763 407

Your privacy is important to us

ALWS collects personal information about you in order to process your gift. A copy of the ALWS Privacy Policy is available at If you don’t wish to receive further news from ALWS, simply call 1300 763 407 or write to

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is The Overseas Aid & Development Agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia – ABN 36 660 551 871


HOPE Spot #36: Tuesday 5 September 2023

The ABC of Aliir Aliir

September is a very hard time of year for me.

As I have shared with you (six or seven hundred times!), I support Collingwood in the AFL.

This season we finished top of the ladder …

… which you may think is a good thing.

However, all Collingwood supporters know that this simply means we have further to fall. Sigh ☹.

Also in the Finals are Port Adelaide, along with star defender, Aliir Aliir.

While no doubt Aliir’s coach would like him

to be fully focused on finals, this Thursday morning he won’t be.

Instead, Aliir will be busy with ABC.

No, not the TV station.

And no, not the alphabet.

This ABC is the first ever ALWS Ambassadors Boot Camp!

39 teachers and Principals from across South Australia …

       … representing 18 Lutheran schools

       … and nearly 8,000 students

       … and the 16,000 parents of those students

       … will gather for two days of being equipped, inspired and challenged to be Ambassadors for ALWS in their schools

       … working to recruit young people and teachers to join you in the life-changing work you already do through ALWS!

Aliir Aliir is one of our keynote speakers.

He will share about life growing up at Kakuma Refugee Camp, where he was born and where he developed his natural sporting talent and skills …

… and where you play such an active role supporting children to go to school, welcoming new arrivals, making sure people with extra needs aren’t forgotten …

… and even running activities like basketball, volleyball and soccer to help give young people a purpose and outlet for their energy!

Photo: LWF Kenya

You can find out more about our Adelaide ALWS ABC here

… and, if prayer is a ministry of yours, that support is welcomed too!

Our aim is that ALWS ABC will lead many young people to join you, as you…

help people fleeing the crisis in Sudan to Ethiopia and South Sudan donate now

support refugee children to go to school through ALWS Walk My Way:

  • Victory & Wodonga – Bonegilla Migrant Centre, Saturday 14 October Find out more
  • Melbourne – Luther College, Croydon, Saturday 21 October Find out more
  • North Adelaide – led by LLL, Saturday 21 October Find out more

 bring kindness and love where you are needed most.

When we do this together, even Collingwood supporters like me can be a winner!

(If only finals games were as simple as ABC 😊!)

That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS! Thank you!

PS: ALWS is very thankful to the generous sponsors whose commitment to Lutheran education and ALWS service has enabled ALWS to offer ABC free!




Important Information

You help with practical care

Your donation will support the 23/24 ALWS commitment to Ethiopia of $365,000, plus $100,000 to care for refugees fleeing Sudan. Should ALWS receive income beyond what is needed for this project, any extra will be used for other ALWS-supported development projects.

Information in this communication is based on data correct at time of writing, and may change. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party, or to support welfare activities as defined by DFAT. For more information, call: 1300 763 407

Being careful with your care

In 2022, ALWS ‘overheads’ (fundraising and administration costs as defined by ACFID Code of Conduct) were 15.4%. The 5 year average is also 15.4%. A copy of the 2022 ALWS Annual Report can be viewed at or requested: 1300 763 407

Your privacy is important to us

ALWS collects personal information about you in order to process your gift. A copy of the ALWS Privacy Policy is available at If you don’t wish to receive further news from ALWS, simply call 1300 763 407 or write to

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is The Overseas Aid & Development Agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia – ABN 36 660 551 871


HOPE Spot #35: Wednesday 30 August 2023

Working for you here at ALWS, I sometimes feel like I am in two worlds.

There is the world of life-threatening challenges, as we face now taking your ALWS action into Ethiopia, where families in Amhara Region are threatened by conflict.

At the same time, there is the world of kindness and compassion I’m privileged to see in the generosity of people like you …

… and the actions of communities in events like ALWS Walk My Way (more on that later).

Working to bridge the gap between those two worlds, ALWS strives to meet the highest standards of professional action. That’s why I want to share good news from ACFID (Australian Council for International Development) about your ALWS action:

This simply means that you can be confident your generosity is in safe hands, reaches the people you want to help, and provides the help needed most.

At the same time, ALWS also works hard to make your donations work hard – the ‘overheads’ rate over the last 5 years averages just 15.4%.

(‘Overheads’ are fundraising and administration costs according to the ACFID Code of Conduct.)

Please know you are always welcome to ask questions:

  • Reply to this email, or call 1300 763 407
  • Check the Annual Report
  • Invite an ALWS Guest Speaker

UPDATE: CAN DO meeting with Australian Government

You might remember a couple of weeks back I asked for prayer support for a meeting that ALWS, along with a team from CAN DO (Church Agency Network Disaster Operations), was having with the Australian Government.

Leah Odongo, our ALWS Programs Director, was part of a larger delegation that met with 43 politicians, including Senator David Pocock. (See photo below – Leah is on the right.)

The team also met with the Honourable Pat Conroy, Minister for International Development and the Pacific.

Leah said she felt there was a real open door from all the politicians, across all sides of the Parliament, and that it was a wonderful opportunity to show them the unity of the church.

Leah felt this openness in a way she had not experienced before, and puts this down to the power of prayer support. She also told us:

“There are many ordinary people

planted in different places

who have a passion for compassion.”

And that included in Parliament in Canberra!

You’re one of those people with a passion for compassion …

… and your ALWS team are humbled to work with you in bringing your compassion to people who are vulnerable, and feel forgotten by the world.

That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS!

PS: Your ALWS action is precious for people in the Amhara Region in Ethiopia donate here

 … and you are also welcome to join ALWS Walk My Way to help children in refugee camps go to school:

  • Aberfoyle Park (SA) – Saturday 2 September Find out more
  • Victory & Wodonga – Bonegilla Migrant Centre, Saturday 14 October Find out more
  • Melbourne – Luther College, Croydon, Saturday 21 October Find out more
  • North Adelaide – led by LLL, Saturday 21 October Find out more

Important Information

You help with practical care

Your donation will support the 23/24 ALWS commitment to Ethiopia of $365,000, plus $100,000 to care for refugees fleeing Sudan. Should ALWS receive income beyond what is needed for this project, any extra will be used for other ALWS-supported development projects.

Information in this communication is based on data correct at time of writing, and may change. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party, or to support welfare activities as defined by DFAT. For more information, call: 1300 763 407

Being careful with your care

In 2022, ALWS ‘overheads’ (fundraising and administration costs as defined by ACFID Code of Conduct) were 15.4%. The 5 year average is also 15.4%. A copy of the 2022 ALWS Annual Report can be viewed at or requested: 1300 763 407

Your privacy is important to us

ALWS collects personal information about you in order to process your gift. A copy of the ALWS Privacy Policy is available at If you don’t wish to receive further news from ALWS, simply call 1300 763 407 or write to

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is The Overseas Aid & Development Agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia – ABN 36 660 551 871


HOPE Spot #34: Thursday 24 August 2023

What you sow …


A couple of weeks ago ALWS held an Asante* event at Loxton in the Riverland of South Australia.

In the main street was a procession of signs sharing the history of the region. That’s where I came across the sign you see above. The photo is from 1914.

What struck me is that what you see there – a farmer scattering seed by hand in soil ploughed by a horse-drawn team …


… is exactly how farmers in Ethiopia plant their land now. 


More than a century later. 

(The only difference is they use oxen instead of horses.)


What makes things worse is they have suffered five years of drought … and now floods. 

No wonder farmers struggle to grow enough to feed their families and suffer a ‘Hunger Gap’ of up to six months each year. 

In times past, wheat could be imported from Ukraine and Russia, but Russia’s blockades have stopped that.

All this is why ALWS is now taking your support into Ethiopia.

Donate Now


Our plan is to equip 223 farming families in Amhara Region with improved grain varieties, irrigation and training in modern farming methods …

… so they can achieve the same success farmer Amare Mulaw has achieved with a new corn seed variety called ‘Lutheran’. True!

Photo: LWF / OCS


“The ‘Lutheran’ changed my life,” says Amare Mulaw. 

The Ethiopian farmer is speaking about the benefits of a new crop variety introduced by the LWF team you support in Ethiopia.
Amare is happy to explain why the ‘Lutheran’ seed has become popular:

“To start with, it has a superior taste. Secondly, the corn stalk holds three large cobs, whereas previous varieties only hold one or two small ones, maximum. 

“Furthermore, due to the leafiness and thickness of the cob cover, it does not get attacked by birds and pests. I now get twice the amount for one cob.

“Finally, the extra two months that Lutheran takes to grow is worth the wait due to the size, yield, taste, overall quality and potential for commercialisation.”

Amare says he has tripled
his income by using ‘Lutheran’!

Amare has used his increased income to improve his house and send his children to school. He now plans to buy a bajaj, Amharic for tuk-tuk – the most affordable transport here.

This is the benefit you can bring to a farming family in Ethiopia too.

Donate now


Just like the Loxton farmer in 1914, and the Ethiopian farmers, this will be hard work. Conflict in the Amhara region is bringing challenges for the LWF team you support …

… however, it is precisely when things are hard that your help matters most!


It reminds me of Jesus talking to His followers:

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, 
to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Luke 10:2 (NIV)


The map below shows the ‘harvest field’ where ALWS has committed to helping farmers …

You can find out more about the project here. You’re also welcome to donate to help a farming family. 

Amare sums up very simply the impact of your help through ALWS and the LWF team you support in Ethiopia:

“My life has changed!”


Thank you for sowing the seeds of hope for farmers and families struggling to survive in places where they can easily feel forgotten. That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS!


* Asante is Swahili for ‘Thank you’. An ALWS Asante Event is where we come to your community and share with you stories and facts about the work you do through ALWS – with some hospitality afterwards! You’re welcome to invite ALWS – simply call 1300 763 407


HOPE Spot #33: Friday 18 August 2023

When little steps are a big step…

10 kilometres is a long way to walk when your legs are little.

Yet 18 months old Zuri was very keen to join the ALWS Walk My Way at his family’s church – Redeemer Lutheran in Rochedale Queensland.

Zuri stepped out with 80 others – 18 months to 80 years – walking from church to Daisy Hill Conservation Park …

… so children in Myanmar could step in to school

… and find hope inside the Displaced Persons Camp where they’d been forced to live.

Thanks to the efforts of the Redeemer team, a school washed away by Cyclone Mocha can be rebuilt and fitted out with learning materials.

That’s a big step to a better future.

Meanwhile, 1,825 kilometres south-west (two million steps!!!), the 170 students and their teachers at Loxton Lutheran Primary School turned their ALWS Walk My Way into a whole day!

Their goal?

To raise enough money to support 170 children in Myanmar to go to school to match the number of children in school at Loxton. ($32 supports one child)

The fun kicked off with chapel, then the walking began:

  • the littlies walked for 32 minutes
  • Years 1 – 4 walked four kilometres
  • Years 5 – 6 walked eight kilometres

Then it was time to do activities to learn more about the children they were helping in Myanmar (see ALWS School Resources):

The activities included making animals representing those that would help families in Myanmar. What do you recognise:

(Cow, pig, chicken.)

Then it was everyone on their feet for a 32 minute Dance-athon …

After all that, it was time for a snack …

… with everything donated by local Loxton businesses!

Tummies full, students spent their pocket-money at stalls where students sold items they made  …

… from Jelly Cakes to Christmas Cards to Beaded Goods

… along with the chance to have some fun tossing bean bags at teachers, whose passion and energy and enthusiasm and care for their students led them to jump in feet-first:


More ALWS Walk My Way‘s are happening across Australia:

… and other walks from Wodonga to Queensland. you can donate, join, sponsor a walker or volunteer to help, have a look on the Walk My Way website…

Plans are also underway for an ALWS Walk My Way in Brisbane on 20 April 2024!

Thank you for all the steps you take to help people through ALWS. Whether your steps are big or little, every step we take together brings us closer to these smiles from Loxton in South Australia and Rakhine State in Myanmar …

… that’s why you are a blessing ALWayS! Thank you!

Photos: ALWS


HOPE Spot #32: Wednesday 9 August 2023

What are you doing at 11am tomorrow (AEST)?

I’ve shared with you before how ALWS works to s t r e t c h the impact of your kindness by accessing matching grants.

Already this year we’ve had 18:1 for Somalia from partners in Europe and the US …

… and 5:1 from the Australian Government for your ALWS work in Myanmar.

The Australian Government also provides money to aid agencies for emergency responses after disasters – like the Turkiye Syria earthquake earlier this year.

This is called the Australian Humanitarian Program (AHP).

ALWS has joined with other church aid agencies in a partnership called CAN-DO (Church Agencies Network – Disaster Operations).

Together we ‘bid’ for grants from the AHP, so we can extend your impact through ALWS.

CAN DO has strong trusted networks through local churches in hard-to-reach places – like highland villages of PNG, challenging places like Afghanistan, dangerous places like Myanmar.

AHP grants to CAN DO can build on the wonderful support ALWS already has from the Australian Government through their 5:1 Grant Program.

(ALWS 5:1 grants increased by 12% this year, thanks to the generosity of people like you.)



A good example of the impact you and I can have with AHP Grants through the CAN DO Network is what we have achieved together in Bangladesh for Rohingya refugees.

Last year alone, 115,828 people were helped, through work that included:

  • 2,935 families received blankets for winter
  • employing refugees with disability to plant 103,870 tree seedlings to restore the environment, and provide families with an income (see photo below)
  • 2,445 people supported to start small businesses
  • drains cleaned and sprayed to protect people from disease and malaria

Photo: LWF / RDRS Bangladesh

All this is why I ask what you’re doing at 11am tomorrow (Thursday) AEST.

That’s when a delegation from CAN DO, will be meeting Sophie Wilkinson, the Chair of DFAT’s Submission Appraisal Panel, to discuss how the CAN DO Network can do more with the Australian Government and AHP. (DFAT: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

Leah Odongo (photo), our Program Director here at ALWS, will be part of that delegation as they:

  • present the unique impact CAN DO has in reaching people in danger of being forgotten
  • offer evidence of the quality of CAN DO work from activation results analysis
  • share the passion and commitment of churches to serve the poor, despite the challenges

Photo: ALWS

We truly believe there is more we can do together to serve the poor.

(If Australia’s wealth is represented as a $100 note,
our overseas aid is a 20 cents piece!)

That’s why, when 11am AEST comes around tomorrow, I’m going to stop work on the computer …

… and go to work in prayer that the delegation has a successful meeting with Sophie.

If prayer is one of your personal ministries …

… please add your voice, wherever you are.

If you prefer, you can raise your voice …

… by contacting your local Federal MP
and telling them you believe Australia
can afford to be more generous. This will
support DFAT efforts to do the same!

Whatever you CAN DO as you set your alarm for 11am, don’t be ‘alarmed’ – you are a blessing ALWayS. Thank you!

PS: I know this is different to a normal HOPE Spot, so feel free to email back if you have a question or a comment. I’ll do my best to help you.


HOPE Spot #31: Friday 4 August 2023

You don’t have to kick a goal to be a winner

How good has it been watching the Matildas boot in goals in the Women’s World Cup!

(If only the Collingwood forward line could be as accurate!)

You might be surprised to know that football / soccer is one of the ways you care for children forced to flee the crisis in Sudan!

As you’d expect, children can suffer worst in a crisis like this.

There is the physical hurt of malnutrition, exhaustion and currently a Measles outbreak.

Just as damaging is the psychosocial pain of seeing people hurt and killed, houses burned, military attacking.

Through ALWS, you provide specialised care for children at Renk in South Sudan, where refugees cross the border out of Sudan.

Your help includes games like:

  • Playing football
  • Skipping rope
  • Colouring-in
  • Playing Ludo
  • Dancing
  • Singing


In the photo, you can see the smiling welcome the LWF team you support gives children!


You provide a range of other specialised care for child refugees, including: 

  • Facilitated psychosocial activities (indoor and outdoor games) for a total number of 849 children (450 girls, 399 Boys) at the Transit Centre
  • Shelter-to-shelter child protection awareness-raising this week reached 883 people, including 307 girls, 228 women, 237 boys and 111 men
  • Key messages on dangers of harmful practices like physical abuse, child neglect and available services for children and care-givers
  • Focus group psychosocial support sessions for 15 female-headed households:

– identify psychological problem in children during emergency

– how to support children with psychological problem

– where to get support

– importance of positive disciplining to the caregivers’ mental well-being

You can see an extended report on your work at Renk in South Sudan in your Update 7.


ALWS has committed in-faith $100,000 to this emergency action here in South Sudan, and a further $100,000 to work on the border in Ethiopia, also welcoming refugees from the Sudan crisis. You are welcome to donate here.

As Australia welcomes the world to our home for the Women’s World Cup …

… I thank you for what you do through ALWS to welcome refugees fleeing the crisis in Sudan. You are kicking goals. That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS! Go Matildas!

PS: You’re always welcome to invite an ALWS Guest Speaker to your church, fellowship group, school, Probus, Rotary – just reply to this email or call Amanda on 1300 763 407, and we’ll do our best to make it happen! Don’t forget Update 7!

Photo: LWF South Sudan

HOPE Spot #30: Friday 28 July 2023

This is something I never thought I’d talk to you about.

What’s less than 2mm long? Lays two eggs every 3 days?

And causes fast weight loss in sheep?


Commonly known as ‘Chewing Lice’.

Such a tiny thing … but it’s estimated to cost Australia’s sheep industry more than $120 million each year.

You may (I hope) know as little about this subject as I do.

But last week, driving to Melbourne to present at an ALWS Asante*, I was lucky enough to hunt down a city-style coffee in a trying-not-to-die country town.

Inside the café was a crowd of farmers.

Lots of flanny shirts. Scuffed elastic-sided boots. And the best collection of beanies and battered hats you’d find anywhere.

The farmers were there for a seminar on … wait for it …

The first ever oral
lice treatment
for sheep

If you’re city like me, you might go ‘Huh?’

Yet, when I listened in on the farmers talking, I learned how important this new product could be. For the health of the sheep. For family profits. For stopping the spread of lice.

But that’s not what I wanted to share with you.

What really struck me was how clear and direct the title of the seminar was.

No fancy advertising. No clever gimmicks. No tricky ways to get you in.


               Here’s the problem …
                   … and here’s how you can fix it.

That’s exactly what I try to do for you here at ALWS.

Show you a need in the world that you can help fix. Give you the facts. Explain why you are needed, and exactly what you can do.

As much as I can, I try to step back and let the person you can help tell you why you are important.

That’s what we did early this year when the devastating earthquake hit Turkiye and Syria.

You saw the need on the TV news, and the information I sent you …

… and then people like you gave lifesaving aid with amazing generosity through ALWS.

Today, I’m pleased to share with you the 3 month report of your ALWS action alongside other Australian aid agencies through the Emergency Action Alliance. See attached report below.

Your ALWS action is delivered through our partner LWF Jordan, working in a coalition of churches of many denominations from around the world through the ACT Alliance.

As you read the report, you’ll see there is work still to be done …

… but you’ll also see that while the world’s media may have forgotten the people hurt by this crisis

… you are still there, humbly helping those who are hurting.

On behalf of each person who benefits from your kindness through ALWS, thank you!

Whether you help after natural disasters like the Turkiye / Syria earthquake …

… or use Matching Grants, like our 18:1 for Somalia, or 5:1 for Myanmar

… or dedicate a gift in your Will through Lives you touch

… you are a blessing. ALWayS.

And that’s no ‘lice’. Thank you!

PS: * Asante is the Swahili word for ‘Thank you’. It’s the name we give our events when we come to your community and show you your ALWS work. You’re welcome to invite us – just give us a call  1300 763 407. You can see more reports of your work through ALWS:

2022 Annual Report

2023 Mid-Year Report Back

EAA Turkiye Syria 3 Month Report

Turkiye Syria 3 Month Report Final


HOPE Spot #29: Friday 21 July 2023

If you’ve been watching the Tour de France, you’ll see carloads of bicycle mechanics chasing after the cyclists flying across the stunning French countryside. 

Abdulaziz is a bicycle mechanic … 

… but the only thing he is chasing, is safety. 

Abdulaziz is one of the people fleeing conflict in Sudan, who you help through ALWS. 

Abdulaziz has no family, but before the conflict he lived an independent life, with his own business as a bicycle mechanic. He never had formal training, but simply used his natural skills and learned on the job. 

He laughs when he shares that he earns more than people without disability! 

Abdulaziz had to flee Khartoum a month ago, on 18 June. 

It took him five days to travel 569 kilometres to the border town of Metema in Ethiopia. (This is where the LWF team you support through ALWS meets and welcomes refugees.) 

Normally this trip would only take a day, but Abdulaziz and other refugees faced many challenges: 

  • multiple armed checkpoints 
  • soldiers confiscating items from refugees 
  • refugees having to pay bribes to be allowed to cross 
  • people killed 
  • others giving up everything, and still being turned back 

Abdulaziz was not spared. 

All his belongings were taken. He showed your LWF team scars on his face and his hands. He does not know what happened to his relatives. He has nothing. 

“The war in my country has done  

what disability did not do in my life.  

I cannot imagine sitting here  

and waiting for food from someone else.” 

Abdulaziz spent four days at the entry point to Ethiopia before he could be relocated to Kumer Refugee Camp, 70 kilometres away in Amhara region in Ethiopia. 

Like all the other refugees, he is totally dependent on help from others for food, shelter and other basic needs. 

Because he has an impairment, Abdulaziz is even more vulnerable. 

“I have never depended on anyone  

since I was an adult. 

I must now say that I am unable,  

and need help.” 

That’s where you step in.

The kindness and generosity of people like you means ALWS has been able to commit in-faith $100,000 to the emergency aid effort here in Ethiopia.

(A further $100,000 has been provided to support the LWF team in South Sudan to also care for refugees fleeing the crisis in Sudan.) 

You are welcome to donate to support this emergency effort. 

You will provide cash grants and the practical essentials that refugees like Abdulaziz need most … 

… along with the love and care you see here as Charles Masanga, LWF Senior Humanitarian Manager in Ethiopia, welcomes Abdulaziz. 

Thank you for helping make sure refugees like Abdulaziz are not forgotten … 

… and offering support with the ‘mechanics’ that will help them rebuild their lives. 

That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS! 

Photos: LWF Ethiopia, July 2023.  

Interview and story: Charles Masanga, Sophie Gebrayes, LWF Ethiopia 



HOPE Spot #28: Friday 14 July 2023

It’s my birthday today …

… and to celebrate I’m seeing the latest Mission Impossible movie.

Sometimes the work you and I do here together at ALWS feels like ‘Mission Impossible’ too.

War in Ukraine. Military junta in Myanmar. Terror groups in Somalia.

Climate crisis in Horn of Africa.

Earthquake in Turkiye / Syria.

The good thing about your ALWS action is you don’t to have to be a Tom Cruise, performing your own stunts.

(In fact, it’s fine to be an 80 year-old, like Harrison Ford in the latest ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ movies.)

Photos like this of Daryna (in Ukrainian this means ‘God’s gift’), being cared for in a Lutheran Church Crisis Centre in Poland …

… show the impact you make on people’s lives simply through your love and kindness.

Thanks to people like you, working through ALWS, Daryna is safe and secure and being supported to build skills and find joy, as she waits for whatever happens next in her life.

(Its hard to see in the picture but Daryna drew her smiling flower with braces on its teeth. That’s because the LWF team member helping her had braces!)

You can see more of your ALWS action impact here:

You will see the people you help, the aid you provided, the hope you restored.

Importantly, your help continues for people hurt by disasters the world seems to have forgotten – like the Turkiye/Syria earthquake.

Thanks to ALWS membership in alliances like ACT Alliance (churches of many denominations from around the world) and Emergency Action Alliance (Australian aid agencies), your ALWS action continues long after the world’s media attention has moved on.

In the photo below, you see our ALWS partner LWF at work in Aleppo in Syria …

Photo: LWF Syria

You may not think of yourself as an Action Hero like Tom Cruise or Harrison Ford or an Aid Worker on the front-line…

… but for the people you help through ALWS, that’s exactly what you are.

Can we bring love to life for vulnerable people, in danger of being forgotten by the world?

Thanks to you, that is most definitely Mission POSSIBLE! ALWayS!

NB: Photo ALWS / LWF Poland – Daryna’s name has been changed to protect her safety


HOPE Spot #27: Friday 7 July 2023

Sometimes it’s hard work stopping myself being naughty.

I was working in the Lutheran Church office this week, and in the lunch-room I saw this …

The naughty part of me wanted to slip a piece into my pocket.

Can you imagine it? After weeks of person after person adding a piece at a time …

… they’d get to the end of the jigsaw, and there would be one piece missing.

The whole picture would be spoiled.

Naughty? More like nasty.

So, of course, I didn’t do it.

(Though I may have had a little fun pretending that I did 😊)

This puzzle was 1000 pieces, and maybe too big a task for just one person.

(Certainly for me. Especially as I’m colour-blind.)

But when you get lots of people working together, each doing their bit, piece by piece something amazing can be created!

Sometimes the challenges you and I take on through ALWS

 seem overwhelming. The big picture a puzzle.

Helping children go to school deep inside Myanmar, in Displaced Persons Camps, where a military junta puts up all kinds of barriers.

Supporting girls in Somalia stay in school, even when famine threatens … and they face the danger of being forced into early marriage to an old man … so the family can receive a dowry of livestock so they have a chance to survive.

Welcoming families in Ethiopia and South Sudan as they flee conflict in Sudan. Providing food and shelter so they can be embraced as guests.

That’s when something else I saw at the Lutheran Church office inspired me:

Churches from right across Australia have made a strip 50cm long with their name on it.

These have been sewn together into a big beautiful banner.

For me, it’s a powerful reminder that even though we are all different and individual …

… when we come together, we can do something far greater than we can do on our own.

That’s why I’m so thankful for what you do through ALWS.

Whether it’s a donation of money, the gift of prayer, giving Gifts of Grace at Christmas, joining a Walk My Way , leaving a gift in your Will through Lives you touch

… you are a vital piece of the puzzle, and the picture wouldn’t be complete without you.

So, thank you! You are a blessing ALWayS!

HOPE Spot #26: Friday 30 June 2023

Last week my wife Julie had cataract surgery.

In just a few minutes she went from someone who had worn glasses all her life …

(and was legally blind without them)

… to being someone set free to see!

Julie was a little uncertain at first. It took some getting used to. 

But as each day passes, and the soreness decreases, Julie’s joy increases.

This reminds me of Jesus healing a man who had been blind since birth (John 9).

To heal the man, Jesus spat in the dirt to make a little mud. He rubbed the mud on the man’s eyes. Then told the man to go wash it off.

When he did, the man’s sight was restored! 

You can imagine his joy – joy like that you bring into people’s lives with the work you do through ALWS.

Your work too is hands-on. 


Face to face.

Person to person.

Your ‘healing’ may be porridge for a child in Somalia, and support to go to school. 

You help rebuild a Temporary Learning Space inside a Displaced Persons Camp in Myanmar, washed away by last month’s Cyclone Mocha. You re-stock books and pencils.

Your hands-on work may be getting knee-deep in mud planting mangroves in Indonesia. Growing veggie gardens and banana plantations in Burundi. Supporting people with disabilities to start a business. Empowering a woman in Nepal to lead her community.

You may kneel alongside Julie (in her pre-surgery days) as she meets 14 year old Meron at Kakuma Refugee Camp, using the braille-writer you provided, who shared:

“I became blind when I was very young because of disease. 

It is good to be here and have the machine 
because I can write like other learners. 

I feel good to learn 
and I can get more knowledge from school.

My teacher helps me a lot.”

As we reach the end of the Financial Year, you will likely see lots of ads shouting out about  ‘tax time’ and ‘claiming benefits’ and ‘checking receipts’*.

What I hope you also see is the joy you bring
into people’s lives through your love and kindness.

Joy that looks like this:

Smiles like these are a sight for sore eyes in our confused and challenging world!

As these children in Somalia go to school for the first time, with uniforms and books and teachers and school lunches you provide …

… I thank you for bringing love to life to so many like them through ALWS, and pray you see you are a blessing ALWayS!

* PS: Yes, I need to give you a message about Tax Time too! 😊 

You are welcome to give a donation before 4pm today (Friday 30 June) so you can claim any tax benefit you are due this financial year

In mid-July, we will send your Annual Donation Statement, so you can easily claim your tax benefit. You also receive a Report Back on what you have achieved in people’s lives through ALWS over the last year. If you have any special requests for your Donation Statement (eg couples may wish to split their Statement), simply call us on 1300 763 407 or reply to this email. Thank you!

Photos: ALWS


How your donation is used wisely

[] You help with practical care

Your donation will be used to match the 5:1 Australian Government Grant for Myanmar. The ALWS match required is $84,500. Should ALWS receive income beyond what is needed for the ALWS match, any extra will be used to support other critical work inside Myanmar – including a $100,000 commitment of emergency aid. Any surplus beyond this supports other critical life protecting ALWS projects. Information in this communication is based on data correct at time of writing and may change. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party, or to support welfare activities as defined by DFAT. For more information, call: 1300 763 407

[] Being careful with your care

 In 2022, ALWS ‘overheads’ (fundraising and administration costs as defined by ACFID Code of Conduct) were 15.4%. The 5 year average is also 15.4%. A copy of the most current ALWS Annual Report can be viewed at or requested: 1300 763 407.

[]  Your privacy is important to us

ALWS collects personal information about you in order to process your gift. A copy of the ALWS Privacy Policy is available at If you don’t wish to receive further news from ALWS, simply call 1300 763 407 or write to us at

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is The Overseas Aid & Development Agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia – ABN 36 660 551 871


HOPE Spot #25: Friday 23 June 2023

The theme of Refugee Week this week was ‘Finding Freedom’.

Sadly, for children like Ma Med XXX forced to live inside Displaced Persons Camps inside Myanmar, there is little freedom.


The current ‘political crisis’ brings new challenges, and the danger is these vulnerable children will be forgotten.

That’s why the new 5:1 Australian Government Grant
to ALWS for Myanmar is such great news!

It means your impact to support children like Ma Med XXX to go to school is SIX TIMES your donation!

School-books. Writing materials. Learning aids.

Backpack. Water bottle. Mini solar lamp.

Raincoat. Crayons. Pencil case. A complete Student Kit: $32!

The 5:1 Matching Grant means your impact is SIX TIMES your $32 donation!

You may like to donate $176 to provide a complete Teacher Kit, or support a teacher inside the camp with a wage of $131 per month.

You can even help repair a damaged Temporary Learning Space for $4,500.

The new 5:1 Australian Government Grant kicks off on 1 July, so please donate by next Friday 30 June if you can. (You can then also claim your tax benefit this financial year.)

Your open-armed kindness and compassion …

… and smart use of the Australian Government 5:1 Grant

… offers a child like Asi XXX the best chance of the freedom only education can give.

“I am in Grade 2,
and I want to be a teacher!”

Thank you for helping make sure these children in Myanmar are not forgotten.

While for now they may be forced to live behind a fence, your investment in their education today will be a blessing to them ALWayS!

Jonathan Krause

Community Action Manager, ALWS


PS: The 5:1 Australian Government Grant means your impact is SIX TIMES your personal donation. The new Grant starts 1 July 2023, so please donate by Friday 30 June if you can. Your donation is tax-deductible, and donations by 30 June are tax-deductible this financial year.  Donate 5:1 here. 


All photos: ALWS / Magdalena Vogt   NB: Children’s names redacted to protect their safety


HOPE Spot #24: Monday 19th June 2023

This week is Refugee Week. 






You are part of Refugee Week because you are part of the ALWS family that last year …

…  helped 531,687 people, displaced from their homes by conflict and crisis.  


If those 531,687 people stood COVID 1.5 metres apart … 

     … the line of people would stretch from Adelaide to Melbourne! 

Alongside ALWS partners, you were there …

     … in countries around Ukraine, for people fleeing Russian attacks 

     … in Bangladesh, and inside Myanmar, for displaced Rohingya people 

     … in Kenya, for people displaced by drought and conflict in the Horn of Africa 

     … inside South Sudan and Somalia, for displaced people returning home 

Each one of those 531,687 people was met with a warm welcome. Their names learned. Their story shared. 

That’s what’s special about your support  for people forced from their homes. 

The people you help are welcomed as individuals, not as statistics. 

I saw this at Nadapal, at the Transit Centre on the border between South Sudan and Kenya. There, Isaac (photo) shared how he had been given responsibility by his family to take the extended family’s children to the border to try to find safety. 

Isaac told me: 

“I came because I believe there is a lot of crisis.  

People are killing. They are putting people inside the hut and killing them. My father has died. He was killed in the conflict, for independence. My mother is too old to come.  

We had nothing there, so I have to bring the children. 

I came with six. We had no food. The children were frightened. Now I have six children to take care of. It is very hard. My hope is you can help the children get education and life.” 

Another time, in the south of Ethiopia, in a camp on the border of Somalia, I saw this sign that greeted every refugee as they arrived: 

I really like that ‘spelling’ of welcome. You come, and we want you to be well. 

Once people had seen that sign, the first words they heard as they sat down to rest and recover were: 

“Welcome. You are safe now. 

This is your new home. 

We will look after you.” 

At Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, where you help welcome new arrivals at the Reception Centre, there is this sign:


In Poland, there are 1.5 million people officially registered as refugees from Ukraine. Through ALWS, you support Lutheran churches as they care for those they can.   

The churches don’t call those they serve ‘refugees’. They call them ‘guests’. 

The local Lutheran vicar explains: 

          “The word refugee creates a distance. 

          There is no distance in the word guests.” 

That makes a world of difference for people like Nataliia, and her son Antin, whose hometown was Chernihic, close to the Russian border: 

          “The route of the invading army led through our town. 


At first, I was not sure  

it was the right decision to leave, 

but when we arrived here, my son said: 

‘Mama, I can look outside the window. 

It is no longer dangerous.’ 

Then I knew I had done the right thing. 

My son is safe here.” 



Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert*  


As Nataliia and Antin are welcomed guests of the Lutheran Church in Poland … 

… the LWF (Lutheran World Federation) teams you support inside Ukraine are helping communities by rehabilitating critical infrastructure in hard-hit places, including Nataliia and Antin’s hometown. 

My hope is that next week in Refugee Week, the media will feature stories to remind the world the needs of refugees cannot be forgotten. 

I doubt you will see any mention of you or ALWS or LWF in helping the 531,687 people we did together… 

… but that’s OK.  

You understand we’re here simply to serve.  

Heads humble. Hearts open. Hands on. 

Following the example of Jesus. (Himself a child refugee.) 

Thank you for being there last year for people like Nataliia and Antin and Isaac.  

Thank you for being there now too, as we commit $100,000 for aid to help people fleeing the crisis in Sudan. See your Update 5. 

Thank you too for any support you can give to the people of Myanmar, where so many people have been forced from their homes. You are welcome to increase your impact by using the 5:1 Grant from the Australian Government. Donate 5:1 here. 

During Refugee Week, the most important number is not 531,687 … 

… but 1 – the fact you welcome each person as an individual, and treat them as Number 1.  

That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS! 



Jonathan Krause 

Community Action Manager, ALWS 





Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine 


Displaced by Russia’s brutal attempted invasion of Ukraine 

Kakuma, Kenya 


People fleeing conflict and drought in Horn of Africa, especially South Sudan 

Dadaab, Kenya 


People fleeing conflict and drought in Horn of Africa, especially Somalia 

Magwi, South Sudan 


People returning home after fleeing to Uganda to escape conflict in South Sudan 

Rakhine State, Myanmar 


Rohingya children forced to live inside Displaced Persons Camps 

Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh 


Rohingya people forced to flee Myanmar to find safety in Bangladesh 

Tigray, Ethiopia 


People whose lives were disrupted by the war in Tigray 




People displaced by the ‘political crisis’ that started in February 2021 

Where you were needed 




“I was a stranger and you invited me in …” 

Jesus, Matthew 25:35 (NIV)


* Other photos: ALWS 


HOPE Spot #23: Monday 5th June 2023

What if this was your house?


In some ways, it is.

It’s what’s left of the home of one of the team members you support in Myanmar through ALWS, after Cyclone Mocha hit on Sunday 14 May:


“Everything in my house was destroyed!

So, we’ll have to buy everything

to rebuild my house.

I wish I could get some tarpaulin …”


Kyaw XXX, Education & Training Team


The full force of the cyclone hit Rakhine State, the area you support children in Displaced Persons Camps go to school. Damage was devastating.


While we in Australia have networks of Emergency Services to help during crises, the people of Myanmar are on their own.

That’s why ALWS has already committed $100,000 to the emergency response for those most in need. We also have a new 5:1 Grant from the Australian Government for your ALWS work here.

(I have snail-mailed you full details.)




Your ALWS action for the most needy will also include help for our Partner’s* frontline team, so they can continue taking your help to the communities you serve.


The team suffered damage as follows:


Roof lost / damaged


No access to water


Lost entire house



* I can’t mention our Partner’s name for security reasons.


A further 500+ Rohingya staff of our Partner – displaced themselves – live inside the camps, and most have lost everything.

You get a sense of the scale of the disaster when you hear the Team talk about what happened:


“… it was as if our home

had been hit by a nuclear bomb.

Except for the foundation and a few posts,

my entire house was destroyed.

I was so relieved to find

that my sister is still alive.”


Hla XXX, Assistant Field Officer


Our Partner is still working to contact each of these people individually, to see what support they need, and help them deal with trauma, so they can then help others.


“Listening to their voices makes me so sad.

Some colleagues are desperate for help,

and some were devastated.

They had just lost their houses

and everything else,

but they are still going to work

to help the needy.”


Zaw XXX, Communications


You are welcome to donate now to support the ALWS emergency response, and provide ongoing help using the Australian Government 5:1 Grant.


As you can see in the photo below, the Team are doing all they can to keep on helping…


(Electricity comes from a generator to a dry spot in the office in Partner HQ.)


Thank you for your kindness and compassion through ALWS to help make sure the people of Myanmar are not forgotten.

As they face so many challenges, you are right there with them – a blessing ALWayS.


PS: Just a reminder of how the Australian Government explains the new 5:1 Grant for your action through ALWS:

Every donation you make to this project will be combined with funding

from the Australian Government  to reach more people.

ALWS has committed to contribute $1 for every $5

received from the Australian government.  Your donation will allow us to extend our programs.






PPS: In my last email, I said the Australian Government had increased their support through ALWS by 9.1%.

It’s actually even better – 12.3%! What a credit to the generosity of people like you. Thank you!


HOPE Spot #22: Wednesday 31st May 2023

Great news you can count on

How are you with numbers ?

This HOPE Spot will have quite a few (sorry) …

… but it’s worth it because you will hear great news you can count on (5:1 !!!!).

I’ll admit that when I look at a financial spreadsheet, sometimes all I see is:


(NB: It’s actually a school lesson on a blackboard I found in a Temporary Learning Space you support through ALWS inside Internally Displaced Persons Camps in Myanmar.)


You’ll be excited when you hear what the Australian Government sees when it looks at your ALWS action inside a challenging country like Myanmar:
• they see your success in supporting children go to school
• they also see your generosity.


Those two things add up to make great news for your ALWS work:

The Australian Government has INCREASED
their aid through ALWS by 9.1% for 2023/4!

In fact, the total grant is now a massive $2,342,026!

The Australian Government allocates its ANCP Grants (Australian Non-Government Cooperation Program) based on the percentage people like you donate to ALWS, compared to other Australian aid agencies.

The ALWS family’s donations were so generous last financial year
that ALWS qualified for this wonderful increase.


Of course, these grants are only awarded if the aid agency meets all the Australian Government compliance requirements – which ALWS does!


OK, now some more numbers (sorry again!) …

The $2,342,026 Grant is dependent on ALWS matching it with $1 for every $5 granted.

That means we have to raise $468,000 over the next 12 months.

The Government explains it this way:

Every donation you make to this project will be combined with funding

from the Australian Government to reach more people.

ALWS has committed to contribute $1 for every $5 received from the Australian government.

Your donation will allow us to extend our programs.


One of the countries where ALWS can use this 5:1 Grant so you can have an impact SIX TIMES your donation is Myanmar.

As you know, this country is very challenging to work in because of the political crisis. Then, three weeks ago it was hit by devastating Cyclone Mocha.

Tragically, Myanmar is too often forgotten by the rest of the world.


What I know is that the children of Myanmar can count on the fact that ALWS and you won’t forget them.

Photos: ALWS / Magdalena Vogt

That’s why it’s such good news that you can now use the new 5:1 Government Grant to help children go to school …

… where they will make much more sense of the writing on the blackboard than I was able to do! 😊

I will mail you a pack of information this week, so you can see exactly what your 5:1 donation can do for children like this young girl…

… and how your personal impact is now SIX TIMES whatever donation you give.

You are welcome to Donate 5:1 NOW to provide school supplies, teaching materials and even build more Temporary Learning Spaces for children.


As you do, your kindness and compassion add up to make you Number One!

A blessing ALWayS – thank you!




PS: if you can handle more numbers, then here’s more good news. This week the Australian Government announced an allocation of $29 million to alleviate the impact of famine and conflict in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. This includes $15 million for Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia … three countries where through ALWS you have been helping fight famine over the last 9 months, and caring for people for many years before that! Thank you for leading the way in helping make sure these people aren’t forgotten!





HOPE Spot #21: Friday 26th May 2023

the power of one

This week I had a couple of meetings in town.

Between meetings, I had a moment to walk through a beautiful autumn-leaved park.

I found this plaque on a seat …


I have no idea who Ralph and Jennifer were …

… but I was really struck by the last line:

Too dearly loved to be forgotten


That message is at the heart of all you do for people through ALWS.

These days, media attention lasts a moment.


The devastating Cyclone Mocha in Myanmar two weeks ago: forgotten.

The crisis in Sudan forcing millions of people to flee: forgotten.


But not by you.

The compassion and generosity of people like you means ALWS has been able to commit $100,000 of emergency aid to help people hurt by those disasters.

Food. Shelter. Hygiene Kits.

Welcome. Care. Kindness.


You can see new updates on your life-transforming help here:


Which brings me back to my meetings in town this week.

I’d been invited to share at Comunet (a hi-tech digital company in Adelaide) about ALWS work in Somalia.

(I was more nervous than normal, because technology and I get on about as well as Collingwood and Carlton supporters do!)

The company was having a Porridge Party to raise money to help children in Somalia go to school, and be protected from famine, using our ALWS 18:1 Grant.

As you can see below, the company really got hold of the porridge idea and offered all kinds of varieties (though I was far too nervous to try any):

What made me smile was that the company is mostly young people, and they had to look up a recipe on the internet to know how to make the porridge!

Yet, look at what they achieved!



Dozens of children in Somalia can now go to school and have a cup of fortified porridge at school each day

What’s most amazing though is this all started with one person in the company.

Michelle organised a Team for our Barossa Valley ALWS Walk My Way a couple years back.

That led to this Porridge Party

… and the chance for me to share with staff the extraordinary things ‘ordinary’ people can do for others through ALWS.


That is the power of one.

That power starts with people like you who say about people in Somalia, Sudan and Myanmar:


Too dearly loved to be forgotten


Thank you – you are a blessing ALWayS!


Don’t forget those who are suffering,

but imagine you are there with them.

Hebrews 13:3b



HOPE Spot #20: Tuesday 23rd May 2023

Your name in the newspaper…


I wrote to the Weekend Australian about you yesterday.


On the weekend, the newspaper had a big story about the efforts of our Government and Defence Forces evacuating Australian-connected families from Sudan.

While I didn’t mention you by name in my letter, and I doubt it will be published …

… I wanted to highlight how people like you are also heroes in crises like Sudan.


(You can see my Letter to Editor below.)


Your kindness and generosity through ALWS are the reason families like this one …

Photo: Colin Delfosse

… can be welcomed with food and water, and love and care.

Treated not as refugees, but as guests.


When you hear Ashta’s story, you see what a blessing such a welcome would be. She’s 32, and fled her home in Darfur with her husband and six children:

 “At home I was growing onions. When a member of our community was killed, we decided to leave town …

We took our children and left. The older ones walked, the smaller ones were on the back of our donkey, and the baby was on my back.

 I’m relieved now, but I still think about what happened. I haven’t received any help yet, but I’m still happy.”


When I saw the photo of Ashti and her children on the donkey, I was reminded of Jesus’ story of The Good Samaritan:


… who, when he saw a man beaten and bleeding on the side of a dangerous road

… did not cross to the other side to stay safe

… but came close, kneeling down to patch up the wounds

… then loaded the injured man onto a donkey to carry him to proper care.


This is what you are doing now for families fleeing Sudan.


These are families it seems the world has forgotten …

… yet your compassion means ALWS can commit $100,000 to the relief effort of the LWF teams caring for Sudanese families fleeing to the Ethiopia and South Sudan borders.


It’s a big challenge, as you can see here on the border with Chad …


Photo: Colin Delfosse

… yet the power of love that comes to life is bigger. You’ll see this as you read Update 3 of your ALWS action.


If this touches your heart, you’re welcome to donate here.

I doubt your ALWS action will make a Letter to the Editor in a newspaper, let alone a headline to give you public glory.


So, let me thank you here, privately. You are a blessing – ALWayS.


PS:  the people of Sudan are not the only ones forgotten by the world. So are the people of Myanmar, hit by Cyclone Mocha last week, and struggling through a political crisis.

Through ALWS, you support them with food, shelter and Hygiene Kits, and rebuilding schools inside Displaced Persons Camps. You can see your ALWS action in Myanmar here in Update 2.

Thank you!


Dear Editor,

Thank you for Ellen Whinnett’s piece in The Weekend Australian (May 20-21), highlighting the heroic RAAF and DFAT effort evacuating Australian-connected families from Sudan. There are other Australian heroes responding to this crisis whose story won’t ever get a headline. These heroes are the Australians who donate through aid agencies to care for the people left behind. Already $100,000 worth of aid is being mobilised through the small aid agency where I serve – ALWS. The quiet generosity of these kind and compassionate Aussies means aid teams can welcome families at the borders of Sudan with South Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia. Here, people are welcomed not as refugees, but as guests. In that spirit, the food, fresh water and shelter they receive means much more than life-saving aid. It shows people they have not been forgotten, and that gives them reason to hold on to hope. On their behalf, thank you to every Australian who humbly helps the best they can.

Jonathan Krause


HOPE Spot #19: Thursday 18th May 2023

Your ALWS-supported team safe after Myanmar Cyclone


Through ALWS you help thousands of people hurt by conflict in Myanmar.

On Sunday, the areas you work in Rakhine State were hit by the devastating Cyclone Mocha.

Villagers saw a huge wave 10 metres high wash huts and whole villages out to sea.

460 people are reported killed, and fears are held for many more.


On-site volunteers and community leaders report:

• Family shelters, made of bamboo and tarpaulin, destroyed
• Latrines and bathing stations damaged
• Very limited phone connection

Communications have been challenging, but ALWS has received this update from the Head of our Partner’s team in Myanmar.

(For security reasons, I cannot mention our Partner’s name.)


Dear All,

All full-time staff are safe and accounted for, as are our camp and community-based incentive workers and volunteers.

The communications remain a challenge as power is still out and cell phone are running out of batteries in the more remote camps, etc.

We have succeeded in getting the generator at the office running so phones can be charged by staff.

We are working on Travel Authorizations for staff to access camps.

They returned to Sittwe yesterday and will be undertaking rapid needs assessments in coordination with OCHA and the UN Clusters starting today, access permitting, as some areas are still flooded.

Camp and communities in high-risk areas were also relocated to safer evacuation centres.

We lost communications for a day, but phone, internet and flights are all operational again as of yesterday evening. Electricity is still out.

We want to assure you that despite the challenges we have good working relations with the authorities and can informally access those in need through our camp and community- based staff.

Thank you again for your goodwill and to respond to all those in need after Cyclone Mocha and beyond.



There has been damage to our partner’s office in Sittwe, as you can see below:


On your behalf, ALWS has committed an immediate $100,000 for the emergency response.

Critical needs are likely to include:
• temporary shelter
• water and sanitation
• emergency food supplies
• clothing


The families you are helping already had very little.

Some have been living in Displaced Persons Camps for 10 years. The current political crisis increases the challenge.

That’s why our Partner’s network of community-based workers is so important.

They are trusted by both the authorities and the communities, and this is vital to getting your ALWS help through to where you are most needed.


The Australian Government also has confidence to support your ALWS work in Myanmar …

… and I have high hopes that very soon I can share news with you of a new 5:1 Grant!


You are a blessing ALWayS – especially at times of emergency!


PS: As soon as I have confirmation of the potential 5:1 Australian Government Grant for Myanmar, I will let you know.

I hope this will be within the next two weeks, so our 5:1 donations can be claimed as a tax benefit this financial year. Thank you!

HOPE Spot #18a: Thursday 11th May 2023

I made a mistake yesterday…


… so instead of eating Cornerstone Cake, today I’m eating humble pie!

When I told you about the amount of Development Aid in Tuesday’s budget, I wrote:


                   For 23/24, this is: $4,768 billion.


Of course, it should be: $4.768 billion.


A full stop instead of a comma.

But a factor of 1000. Sigh. Sorry.


In correcting my mistake, let me add one extra detail to my graphic from yesterday. It’s at the end:


  Imagine our total income

Gross National Income

       as one of these:










What we give to people

      in poor countries

         is one of these:








in fact, it’s less

– just 19 cents.




PS: Thank you to Neil for pointing out my error!


HOPE Spot #18: Wednesday 10th May 2023


Did you get your slice?

Last week I told you how students at Cornerstone College in SA created 52 cakes in their Annual Bake-Off …

… and sold them slice-by-slice to support children in Somalia to go to school.


As I’ve watched the media Budget talk …

… I thought about those cakes.


It seems everybody wants their slice of the Budget Cake …

… and for it to be bigger.


That’s for others to comment on.


I’ll just share the facts about Australia’s aid for people in poor countries. Our:

Official Development Assistance.


For 23/24, this is: $4,768 billion.


Which sounds like a lot of money. And is …


… until you look at Australia’s total income.


Imagine our total income

Gross National Income

as one of these:



What we give to people

in poor countries

is one of these:



In fact, it’s less

– just 19 cents.


That makes us 27Th out of 30 rich countries (OECD) in our generosity. (Sweden gives FIVE TIMES what Australia does.)

I don’t know how that makes you feel  …

… but it makes me feel a little ‘crumby’.


I don’t blame the Government. Whatever Government we have.


It is us as an Australian community who tell our leaders what is important to us …

… which is why ALWS does welcome the Budget commitment to increase the amount Australia gives by 2.5% per year from 26/27 forward.


If we want a larger slice of the cake for those who only get crumbs swept from our table …

… then we need to speak up, LOUD, so those who are most vulnerable are not forgotten.


Is that having my cake, and eating it too?


Thank you for being a blessing ALWayS.



 ALWS works with networks like MICAH to speak up for those who don’t get heard. I hope this info today is helpful when you talk with people. 😊






HOPE Spot #17: Tuesday 9th May 2023



When the kids at Kingaroy decided to help kids in Somalia through ALWS … 

… they really put their foot in it. 

Not just with the Crazy Socks Day you see above … 

… but stepping out on their own ALWS Walk My Way too. 


Meanwhile, in SA’s Barossa Valley … 

… you needed to be very careful not to put your foot in it. 

There, the local Lutheran Parish held Cockroach Races and Yabby Races outside a century-old shearing shed …  



… as they raised money to support children in Somalia at their annual ‘Blessing of Seeds, Soils and Waters’! 

What’s exciting about my role here at ALWS is that I get to see first-hand all the wonderful ways people like you bring love to life … 



… like St Paul’s Lutheran Church in Sydney, right near the heart of Kings Cross, who on Sunday served up porridge to raise money for children in Somalia. 


Today, I just want to thank you for all you do for others through ALWS … 

… and encourage you that you are not alone in having a heart of kindness in this world where so many people need our help. 


Tonight, when the Budget is delivered, media will encourage us to ask:  

‘What’s In It for Me?’ 

Meanwhile, people like you ask:  

What’s In Me that I can do for Others?’  


That’s why together we can support children in Somalia … 

… and respond straightaway to help people fleeing the Sudan crisis*.  

Crazy socks.  






This is why you are a blessing ALWayS. Thank you! 



* Please see Update 2 on your ALWS response to the crisis in Sudan. 



HOPE Spot #16: Friday 28th April 2023




These luscious creations weren’t lovingly handcrafted by a local Ladies Group for a church stall. 

Or made by me.  

(My first job was 5 years as a 5am pastry-chef in a Czech bakery in inner Melbourne.) 

 In fact, the amazing cakes you see here were created by students of Naturi House at Cornerstone Lutheran College in Mt Barker South Australia … 



… and are just 3 out of a total 52 cakes the students made!  

The best cakes are judged to find a winner … 



… and then sold off slice-by-slice to raise money to use the ALWS 18:1 Grant  



… to support children in Somalia to go to school 



… with a hot meal of porridge each day for the whole school year 



… prepared in a kitchen perhaps ‘slightly’ different to yours 

 No matter what kitchen you have, or what quality cook you might be … 

… if you’re kind and caring, they’re the only ingredients you need to make a difference in a child’s life. 

As the students at Cornerstone did … 

… with the $2217.60 they raised in their Bake-Off, to support 220 Somali children at school. (Proving you can have your cake and eat it too!) 


And as you do … 

… with everything you do to bring love to life for people through ALWS. 


That’s why you’re a blessing ALWayS – thank you! 



PS: See how I resisted making any bad Dad jokes about cakes?   


Until now.  

What do you call your Dad when he’s eaten so much cake he’s about to explode? 


Sorry – that was crumby. 😊 



HOPE Spot #15: Tuesday 25th April 2023


Today, on ANZAC Day, we take time out from our everyday to reflect on those who gave their lives, their health, their youth, their sons and daughters … 

… that we might live in a world of peace. 

Sadly, for millions of people that world of peace seems a world away. 

Ukraine. Myanmar. Ethiopia. Somalia. Afghanistan.  

Sadder still, is when those of us who are blessed with comfort, forget those who are hurting.



   That’s why today, as I huddle in the cold with the crowd gathered around our town’s war memorial … 

… waiting for dawn to break and the bugle’s mournful cry to call the past into the now  

… I’ll also take time to think on those people hurt by war and conflict who, through ALWS, you work so hard to make sure are not forgotten.    

 Lest we forget, let’s remember… 



I remember Jacob …




… who quietly kept me out of trouble’s way at Dadaab Refugee Camp on the border with Somalia 

… who saw friends killed by the Improvised Explosive Devices of terrorists Al Shabaab 

… who had to live behind a 3 metre high dirt-packed wall, designed by the US Army to stop the shred of shrapnel 

… who wanted to be an Accountant in Nairobi  

… but told me God had called him to serve here 

and so serve he would. 






I remember Ma Med …



forced to live in a Displaced Persons Camp just five kilometres from his home in Myanmar 

… who saw his house burned 

… his neighbours attacked with ‘long knives’ … 


… who told me: 

“At this time the children are crying. They cannot eat for three days. The children saw everything that happened, and after they see, they hold on to us, and are crying.” 

… a Dad, who could find it in his heart to say: 

“I still love the people who did these things.” 







I remember Concepta



… whose husband was killed in the war in South Sudan 

 … who fled with a child on her back, another held by the hand, another in her belly 

 … whose two teen daughters were kidnapped to be ‘wives’ to commanders  

 … who became a leader in education for children at Kakuma Refugee Camp, working with your Lutheran-supported team to give other children what she could not give her own 

 … telling me: 

 “Since the beginning of this pre-school, the people of Australia have been supporting us, and we are very much appreciating it. Without them, we thought the pre-school would close down. Tell them we are still working hard, and we welcome them helping us very much. They are the top people in the world assisting us. We are really thankful.” 



Today I also remember you … 

… and how blessed ALWS is that you do not forget those who are suffering 

… and through your kindness and caring bring love to life in their lives. 

Thank you for saying, and living, ‘Lest we forget’.  


Today, and ALWayS. 




Don’t forget those who are suffering, 

but imagine you are there with them. 

Hebrews 13:3b 


HOPE Spot #14: Tuesday 18th April 2023


I had hoped to be writing this HOPE Spot to you from Tigray in northern Ethiopia.

I wanted to show you where the food and support you supplied through ALWS was transforming lives.

However, last Wednesday we received an urgent email from Sophie Gebrayes, who leads the LWF team you support in Ethiopia.



(That’s Sophie in the photo, at the opening of a borehole you supported through ALWS.)


Conflict has broken out. Two aid workers have been killed. The Australian Government has issued a ‘Do Not Travel’.

That means instead of seeing first-hand the food you provide for people threatened by famine in the Horn of Africa …

… I’ll be in my office at home south of Adelaide.

Selfishly, I was feeling a bit disappointed for myself, until two messages arrived in my In-Box:


Photo: LWF Ethiopia




Subject: Porridge


Dear Jonathan,

This is in response to an email I have just received regarding the 18:1 giving.

I am involved in a small Bible Study group and recently I invited the ladies to bring to our study $10, in lieu of the regular morning tea we usually share before study.

I then served them porridge for morning tea. They were allowed a choice of maple syrup or brown sugar with it. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take any photos but we discussed the plight of children in Somalia and especially that of girls and requested that our donation went to help girls if possible. The ladies all agreed it was the most unusual morning tea they had ever been served!




(I know at least two churches are also holding a Power Porridge Party to help provide food and school for children in Somalia using our 18:1 Grant.)


That brings me to the second email that arrived in my In-Box, from the front-line team you support in Somalia. They wanted to show you the children receiving the porridge you provide: 


Photo: LWF Somalia


This is your work, what happens when your kindness brings love to life!

After the children have finished their porridge, they’ll go into the classrooms you see behind them (which you also helped build through ALWS).

There they will receive the schooling you provide through the 18:1 Grant


Photo: LWF Somalia


… where your $10 donation can support a child in school for the rest of this year with teachers, desks, uniform, support for children with disabilities

… along with a cup of fortified porridge each day (200+ meals this year).


So, when I see the joy you bring these children in Somalia, then I happily say:

 ‘No, I am not sick of porridge yet!’


Thank you for being a blessing to these children – ALWayS!



PS: If prayer is one of the ways you care for people, I know Sophie’s LWF team in Ethiopia would appreciate your prayer support at this time. Thank you!


PPS: And if you’d like to hold your own Power Porridge Party, check out the details below!




HOPE Spot #13: Wednesday 12th April 2023



$2 for 1.8kg. 

That’s how much the rolled oats cost for the Power Porridge Party I cooked for ALWS Staff and Board Members before Easter. 

Add a litre of milk, and total cost was under $5 … to produce 40 serves. 

Which we offered for a $10 donation.  

($10 with the 18:1 Somalia Matching Grant can support a child in school for a year with a School Meal each day – around 200+ meals.) 


Our Guest Speaker, the Reverend Tim Costello, who leads the Help Fight Famine campaign of Australian churches through the Micah Foundation, got stuck in … 



… though I didn’t have the same success encouraging people to ‘go commando’  

(having the porridge plain, to feel even closer to the children they help in Somalia). 

Instead, people donated extra for access to this table … 




Which brings us to the school renamed ‘Jacinta’ in Somalia. 

I can’t show you a photo of the school, because that kind of exposure makes it a target for terrorist group Al Shabaab. (The same reason the school has no name on it anywhere.) 

Yurub, a front-line LWF worker you support in Somalia, explained why the community renamed the school Jacinta – the name of your ALWS Program Coordinator for Somalia: 



When I read all these things you achieve for the children through ALWS … 

… the school could just as well have been renamed <<MARTHA>> SCHOOL! 

I don’t know what kind of day you’re having today … 

… or what you had for breakfast  

… but I hope this message from Somalia brings you a smile as big as these: 



That’s your work <<Martha>> … and why you’re a blessing. ALWayS! Thank you! 

PS: You might consider having your own Power Porridge Party? Maybe for the first day of winter? If you do, take a photo and tell me about it!  JK 



HOPE Spot #12: Tuesday 4th April 2023

What do you remember about 2018? 

For me, it seems a lifetime ago. 

My clearest memory is my wife Julie beginning the 18-months planning and production process for our 70s-themed 60th birthday.  

Which turned out like what you see in the photo (check out the shoes!)



















Back in 2018 … 

… who could have imagined some of the things that have happened since then: 





… 761,402,282 cases worldwide  

… 6,887,000 lives lost 



Russia invading Ukraine… 

… up to 60,000 Russian soldiers killed 

… 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers 

… 7,200 civilians 

… 8 million Ukrainians become refugees 

… another 5.3 million displaced inside Ukraine 




… five years ago Australia was in the grip of the horror 2018 – 2019 drought 




… 8 submarines 

… up to $368 billion 

… (Australia’s foreign aid budget 2022/23:  $4.549 billion) 



AI … 

… did a computer write this HOPE Spot? 

… no – but apparently now it can. 


All this happened in just five years. 

Few could have predicted any of it. 

Which makes it really hard to know what might happen during the next five years.  

(Apart from Julie starting planning for our next ‘big’ birthday!) 


This is the challenge we all sometimes face. Finding the balance between … 

looking forward to responsibly plan for what may be 

looking back to learn from what has happened. 

What’s really important is we don’t overlook what is happening now … 

… like the famine threatening the Horn of Africa, which the world seems to have forgotten. 


That’s why ALWS is so thankful for people like you. 

You see what people need now, and you act.  

We’ve seen that in the wonderfully generous response to the 18:1 Somalia Grant to help children in Somalia go to school and have food to eat … 

… and how the ALWS family is providing shelter and support through our partner LWF to survivors of the Turkiye / Syria Earthquake. 


Your kindness last year … 

… we’re preparing your 2022 Annual Report. When you receive it, you’ll see: 


In 2022, working with other caring people like you, 

 together we impacted the lives of 343,267 people! 

(PLUS the tens of thousands of Ukrainian people that continue to benefit from our ALWS support through ACT Alliance.) 


For me, this demonstrates that no matter what the world (and the next five years) bring … 

… when we work together to bring love to life, each one of us can do extraordinary things! 


Thank you for all you do – you are a blessing ALWayS! 


PS: One of the ways I am looking to the future is updating the gift Julie and I leave in our Wills to ALWS – though hopefully that’s still a few birthdays away yet!  

If you’d like a copy of our Lives You Touch brochure to show how you can do that too, simply give us a call on 1300 763 407. Thank you! 





HOPE Spot #11: Tuesday 28th March 2023


Last year, Australia had a record winter grain crop.

Our farmers harvested 67.3 million tonnes.

(That’s despite the floods that hurt so many.)


If you loaded that grain into a B-Double like this …



… you’d need 1.5 million trucks to transport all that grain!

Put those B-Doubles end-to-end, and there’d be a line of trucks 30,000 kilometres long …



… that’s TWICE around Australia on Highway #1!

That’s something our country can be thankful for, and proud of …

… but doesn’t come close to the pride and thanks that farmer Amare Mulawa feels about four cobs of corn he’s grown in Ethiopia.


Photo: LWF Ethiopia


You know already about the five years of drought that threatens famine in  Ethiopia and Somalia.


What you might not know is that a new corn seed variety

– called ‘Lutheran’! –

 is transforming life for families like Amare’s.


Amare is a role-model farmer, supported by the LWF team in Ethiopia, now successfully growing ‘Lutheran’ corn.


“For the first time, I was able to earn almost ETB 9,000 ($600) from the sale of ‘Lutheran’ grown on my land.”


Amare is happy to explain why he prefers the new grain.

“To start with, it has a superior taste.

Secondly, the corn stalk holds three or four large cobs, whereas the old kind only holds one or two small ones, maximum.

Furthermore, due to the leafiness and thickness of the cob cover, it does not get attacked by birds and pests.

I now get 6 ETB (30 cents) for one cob, whereas before I used to get half the amount.”

“Finally, even if Lutheran takes two extra months to grow, it’s worth the wait due to the size, yield, taste, overall quality and potential for commercialisation.”


Amare concludes: “If you want to triple your income, get Lutheran!”


 I’m not sure if you watched Foreign Correspondent last week, with its feature on Somalia. (You can still watch it on ABC iView.)

What’s happening with the drought there, and in Ethiopia, threatens famine.


ALWS action like the 18:1 Grant to provide Daily School Meals of fortified porridge, and a year of schooling, to 8,080 children in Somalia …

… along with agricultural innovations like Amare’s ‘Lutheran’ corn

… and the fact ALWS supporters like you continue to reach out with care and kindness to help people far away, people you’ve never met

… means for families like Amare’s, you deliver a B-Double load of blessing. ALWayS.


Thank you!



PS: I will be heading off to Ethiopia straight after Easter to look at how ALWS can grow our action here as we work together to help fight famine. If you’d like me to visit your church / school / Fellowship Group / Probus etc, just reply to this email, or call 1300 763 407. I’d love to share with you (and promise not to tell too many of my ‘corny’ Dad jokes! 😊



HOPE Spot #10: Thursday 23rd March 2023

Tonight (urgent) … and yesterday 


 Can I urge you to watch Foreign Correspondent tonight.

 It’s on at 8pm on ABC (or catch up on iView). 

 The 30-minute program is focused on Somalia, where you work through ALWS. 

 I only saw the promo on TV this morning, but you will see scenes like this:




What you may not see is the food you are already delivering through ALWS and our partner LWF Somalia:

















The photo shows one of your ALWS-supported food distributions in Somalia.  

Each pack you see is a monthly food ration for a family of six.  

($105 can supply that 80kg pack of rice, wheat flour, sugar, vegetable oil and dates.) 


Foreign Correspondent tonight also interviews a young Somali mum, 7 months pregnant, who walked 30 kilometres a day, for many days, to find safety … 

… exactly the safety and support you offer in Displaced Persons Camps to families in Somalia who have lost everything. 

Later, the reporter looks fearfully into the camera, as the crew has received word that terrorist group Al Shabaab knows where they are. 


I vividly recall that same fear when I was talking with a Somali mum in a refugee camp, and we received word that Al Shabaab knew we were there. (That kind of challenge is why we at ALWS always welcome your prayers!) 


While I’m not sure what else will be in the Foreign Correspondent story tonight … 

… you can take heart knowing that through our 18:1 Matching Grant, you are supporting Somali children, like those you see on the TV, to go to school: 




Thanks to the 18:1 Grant, just $10 can provide a Daily Meal of fortified porridge (200+ meals in a year) plus everything a child needs to go to school. 


That brings us to another school, back here in Australia, yesterday. 


Celia, who leads our ALWS work in schools inspiring students to action, shared what happened after she’d delivered a chapel to the school about Somalia: 

Delivered a chapel this morning and then a big Year 12 lad, Muhammad, came up to me afterwards with his phone in hand and asked how he can make a donation.  

He wanted to donate $20. 10 each for him and his brother. 

I helped him get onto our website on his phone, and showed him how, and he did it then and there. When I asked him what moved him to do this he said: 


“We have so much… I wish I could give more,  

but I want to do this for two people like me and my brother.” 

Thank you for your love and care and kindness. 


Please watch Foreign Correspondent tonight at 8pm on the ABC, and see first-hand the people for whom you are a blessing – ALWayS. 



PS: Something else happened yesterday … ALWS Team Member, Julie, was calling supporters to say thank you for their generosity. A very senior lady, who’d been faithfully giving donations of $20, was grateful for the call, and even had Julie pray for her as she was feeling unwell. It was only when Julie finished the call that she realised the lady hadn’t given $20 … but $20,000! 





HOPE Spot #9: Tuesday 21st March 2023

Bless our guest

Last Friday I went to the funeral of a family member – ‘Uncle’ Keith.

It was a small funeral. 

Just 12 people. 11 of us family. 

Up back, on his own, sat a gentleman no one knew.


It was only at the graveside, when

he shared a few words, that we

learnt he had been the hairdresser

for Uncle Keith for many years.


He’d quietly made the journey from

citysalon to country town for the

funeral farewell.

That sort of extra effort made me

think of you,

our supporters….

… and what you do for people

through ALWS. 

You give quiet humble care.

Happy to sit in the ‘back row’, yet ready to help make sure no one is forgotten or overlooked.


On the same day as Uncle Keith’s funeral, I received an update from the

LWF team you support in Poland, caring for people fleeing the war in Ukraine.


NB: Poland hosts 1.5 million people forced to flee Ukraine.


The LWF team don’t refer to the people they serve as ‘refugees’.

Instead, they call them ‘guests’.

That says a lot.

The people aren’t numbers to be processed. They are guests to be welcomed. 

Made to feel at home. Delighted with hospitality, and little acts of kindness.

The vicar of the Lutheran Church welcoming guests from Ukraine, Adam Bujok, explained:

“The word refugee creates a distance. There is no distance in the word guests.”

You can see that approach come to life in the care the LWF team, and volunteers from

Lutheran churches, give their guests, on behalf of people like you whose kindness

helps make it possible:


Volunteers help children make handcrafts.

Others bake cakes … then listen.

Some serve up spaghetti.

New friends manicure the nails of mums who survived bombings

You can see why this hands-on personal care is precious when you hear stories from

survivors – like 10 year-old Fedir, who escaped from a town close-by a nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

One day Fedir rode his

bicycle to get milk:

“I heard explosions and

rode my bike very fast. 

I saw a crowd of people. I

came closer, and I saw a

person lying in blood. 


People cried, and there was broken glass everywhere. 

A tree was burning in the city centre. The explosion had thrown a man’s dog away.

An ambulance came and took the person that was lying there. 

He was a power plant worker, and people said he died.”

That happened six months ago, and Fedir still recalls every detail.

Children carry trauma with them …

… as you can see when children playing with Lego build army checkpoints with their

plastic bricks.

That’s why kindness is so critical.

         Reading storybooks.

                    Manicuring nails.

                             Cooking food.

                                       Cutting Uncle Keith’s hair.

Thank you for all you do through ALWS to bring your love to life for guests like …

… Fedir, now safe in Poland 

… children going to school in Somalia thanks to 18:1 Grant donations 

… earthquake survivors in Aleppo in Syria, who now have shelter.

Your kindness and care help make sure no one is forgotten.

That’s why you are a blessing to your guests – ALWayS.


Jonathan Krause,
Community Action Manager, ALWS


Photos: LWF Poland

HOPE Spot #8: Wednesday 8th March 2023

Someone is stealing my future – International Women’s Day


Sometimes you don’t know what’s hiding behind a smile …

… like Istahil, a young woman I met in a refugee camp after she fled Somalia.


“When I came here, I was very young.

I remember my home in Somalia is very beautiful, and everything is correct, except the war.

I am hearing the guns. I remember the bombs.

The advice was to stay at home, and not go out. I felt so afraid. When I saw the guns were going, I felt so afraid, and went crying to my mother.

After that, we had to leave our home. I don’t remember a lot, but I do know I came from a good home to nothing.

I had to leave school in Grade 3. My mother asked me to stay at home and look after my brothers. I had to leave school so my brothers could go.

I wish I could have stayed at school.”


The good news is that through ALWS you are supporting girls from Somalia, like Istahil, to go to school.

As you can see below, the buildings may be basic …


… but it’s what you’re building inside the classroom that’s important.


Istahil was very clear about your impact on her life:

“Now, I would like to learn everything, so I can help the children I will have. If they come to me with homework, now I cannot help them.

The reason girls miss out on school is often economic problems.

Some don’t have anyone to assist them, and they may leave home because there is no work. They don’t have any help, so they must go clean houses. They divide the money they earn by two. One half they use for themselves, the other half they give to their mother to help care for the children.

The mother, she is happy, and says continue working to assist my children.

“I am disappointed I did not finish school.
I feel like someone is stealing my future.”

I see people working for my community, but when they ask questions, I cannot answer. But now I want to work for my development.

I am disappointed that girls miss out on school.

We feel shame.

Most of us cannot even write our own name.

Some are disappointed they got married early and stopped education.

Today I know the value of knowledge.

If I was the leader of this community, the first thing I would do is build education for girls like me.

Then I would find out what is happening in each home, so I can help them. I will make females strong, even help them have a small business.

We need work and education together.”


Today is International Women’s Day. The call to action is to embrace equity.


Through ALWS, you can do this in a very practical way by supporting girls in Somalia to go to school, using our 18:1 Matching Grant.


Tragically, too often girls in countries like Somalia are left behind, and their needs overlooked or forgotten. That’s why, out of the 8,080 children we aim to support in Somalia to go to school, more than 5,000 are girls.


Your kindness can help protect them from the hurt-filled future they face:


FACT 1: 99% of girls and women suffer Female Genital Mutilation
FACT 2: 45% of girls are married off before age 18
FACT 3: 75% of women aged 15 – 49 have no education


Your gift of just $10, using the 18:1 Matching Grant, can support a girl in school for a whole year, providing:

[x]  daily School Meal

[x]  school uniform

[x]  school desk

[x]  renovated classrooms

[x]  facilities and assistive devices for children with special needs

[x]  training for teachers

[x]  Dignity Kits for girls


That daily School Meal is vital, as Somalia is facing the threat of famine, and more than 500,000 children are in deadly danger from hunger.


Your $10 donation, over a year, with the 18:1 Matching Grant, provides 200+ meals for the girl you help!


Your kindness and compassion take girls in Somalia like Istahil from life like this (‘home’ in the refugee camp)…


… into a classroom, where the future that’s been stolen, can start again.

This is what lies behind Istahil’s smile.

That’s equity we can all embrace.


Thank you for being a blessing today …

… and ALWayS!


Jonathan Krause,
Community Action Manager, ALWS


HOPE Spot #6: Friday 24th February

What a life is worth…



Today it is one year since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.


8 million Ukrainian people were forced to flee.

180,000 Russian soldiers are estimated killed or wounded.

100,000 Ukrainian soldiers too.
















Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert


40,000 Ukrainian civilians killed.

At least 400 children.


What’s a life worth?


The death toll from the earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria is now more than 46,000 people.

A million people homeless.

26 million people needing aid.



















Photo: GOPA– DERD / ACT Alliance


What’s a life worth?


When you read those numbers, you can feel overwhelmed.

Wonder what you can do.

That’s why I want to tell you about Christian… 
















(That’s Christian being a funny fella as he and I worked the barbie at an ALWS Walk My Way.)


Christian was a highly-valued colleague here at ALWS.

A good friend.

A loving husband.

A fun-filled dad.

On Wednesday, it was the second anniversary of cancer taking Christian’s life.

















Photo: ALWS


When I think about how much we miss Christian:
•    his big ever-present smile 
•    his over-the-top generosity – especially with lollies!
•    his heart full of passion to help others, as a Primary teacher … advocate for the poor through ALWS … worker of wood

… it reminds me how precious each person is who you help through ALWS. 


How loved they are … 

… how much love they give

… and how worthy they are of the love you bring to their life:

In Ukraine, building bomb-shelters in basements of schools so children are safe to learn.

In Syria, serving meals and putting up emergency shelters for families left homeless by the earthquake.













Photo: GOPA- DERD / ACT Alliance


In Somalia, sending children to school, with a meal of porridge each day to protect them against the deadly threat of famine.


So, what’s a life worth?


Your kindness and generosity tell the people you help they are valuable, and valued.

For people in danger of being forgotten by the world, that’s a priceless gift.

So today, on these anniversaries that bring so much pain …

… I thank you for bringing love to life.


It is worth it.




Jonathan Krause – Community Action manager

PS: Just a reminder about the 18:1 Matching Grantto support children in Somalia to go to school. Thanks to the Grant, your impact is 18 TIMES your personal donation … so, just $10 can provide support for one year – school uniform + school desk + daily school meal (200+ meals of porridge) + renovated classrooms + Dignity Kits for girls + training for teachers. Donate 18:1 now!


HOPE Spot #5: Tuesday 21st February

Porridge – how do you like it?

I’m not sure if you think much about porridge.


It’s been on my mind because of the new 18:1 Grant you can use to provide porridge to children threatened by famine in Somalia.


Back when I was a kid, we had two versions of porridge – Dad’s was boiled in water, Mum’s in milk.


Dad’s was thin, Mum’s thick.



I’m not brave enough to say which I liked best … but neither matched the Froot Loops I craved, but our family couldn’t afford.


Instead, porridge was a cheap easy way to fill the tummies of four hungry kids – Porridge isn’t cheap and easy anymore.


Go to a café, and they add fancy this, and healthy that, and colourful something else.

For me, the only fancy thing to put on top of porridge is Milo! Two spoons.


But whatever porridge you prefer …


… I’m sure none will taste quite like the porridge you serve up as a School Meal for children in Somalia, using the new ALWS 18:1 Matching Grant.


The School Porridge you provide is mixed cereal food (rice, wheat, sorghum, millet) and protein (beans) blended to porridge.


Not so delicious, but super nutritious!


The porridge is delivered as a dry ration to parents, up to 10kg per family per month.


This has two benefits – it saves cost plus engages parents in the process.


There is a special focus on ensuring children with disabilities receive all the nutritional support they need.


What’s amazing is the 18:1 Grant means your donation of just $10 can support a child in Somalia in school for one year ($184 value) – school uniform + learning materials + renovated classrooms + training for teachers +


… 200 School Meals of fortified porridge!


Your gift of porridge keeps children strong and healthy now …

… while the schooling you provide builds children for the future.


This really came home to me when I talked to Regina, a refugee cook at the Reception Centre at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Here, you support new arrivals from countries like Somalia to be welcomed with food and shelter …


             “My biggest priority is education

              for my children. I will do whatever

              I have to do, go wherever I have

                   to go, so they can have

                       a stable education.”


Photo: ALWS


“I have nobody here at Kakuma, but I know that education is the biggest gift I can give my children.


That is why we are here, and why I work in this kitchen.


After we arrived, I was one year without a job.


I was praying very hard God will bring me a job because I did not have any money to help my children. I kept coming here in the Reception Centre asking for a job. They kept saying no. But I kept asking and asking.


I begged the Officer, even if you don’t pay me, let me work here for just a little extra food I can give my children.


I worked for one month without pay, and then I got this official job. They had seen my efforts, and my good work, and so they gave me a job.


On the days I must cook porridge, I wake up at 5am. I come here and I build the fire. In the pot I put water until it boils. I put in the porridge, and stir this for 15 minutes. Then it goes in the serving pot.


Some days I cook for 2,000 people. Today it is more than 1,000.


There are four cooks working with me. One person is at the pot, stirring. Another is collecting wood to put in the fire. The other is washing the utensils. Two remain for serving.


I want to say thank you very much to the people who give. You really help us so much.


There are children here who have lost their parents, but at the end of each day they have a plate of food because of you.

God bless you.”


I think you can see now why your porridge is so precious!


Our ALWS aim is to use the 18:1 Grant to support 8,080 Somali children to go to school, and have the porridge each day that can protect them from the threat of famine.


If you’d like to help serve up porridge, you’re welcome to donate 18:1 now!


Jonathan Krause,
Community Action Manager, ALWS


PS: Earthquake Update Yet again, the kindness and generosity of the ALWS family is shining through, and we have now met our in-faith ALWS commitment of $80,000 to support earthquake survivors. Your help will go to work in Aleppo in Syria, through our partner LWF and Caritas Syria, aiming to provide shelter, meals and support for children to return to school. Thank you!

 Spot #4: Wednesday 15th February

GOOD NEWS – new 18:1 Grant to support Somali children to go to school


Each day seems to bring more bad news from Turkiye and Syria, where more than 35,000 people have lost their lives to the earthquakes.

Through ALWS, you have a special focus on helping children, including with education…


















Photo: GOPA- DERD / ACT Alliance


School is one of the most effective ways to help children recover from trauma, as they see life can be ‘normal’ again.

Children learn. Have fun. Make friends. Play.


Right now, as the world is focused on Turkiye and Syria, it’s vital that families threatened by famine in Somalia and Ethiopia aren’t forgotten – especially the children.


That’s why I’m excited to bring you good news today:


A new 18:1 Grant means you can protect children

in Somalia from deadly hunger…

… plus support them to go to school!












Look at what you do for each child you help:










The cost to give this support to one child for one whole year averages $184.


The 18:1 Grant means you can do

all this for a child for just $10!


(Includes 200+ School Meals of fortified porridge

– one per day for the whole school year –

vital to protect children against hunger!)


Why the children need you – especially the girls!


Our aim is to support 8,080 Somali children to go to school …

… of whom 5,300 are girls – about the same ratio as the photo above.


The reason is only 3% of girls and women in Somalia have completed primary education …

… and 99% have suffered the trauma of Female Genital Mutilation.


Supporting girls to go to school is a very practical effective way you can help girls overcome this disadvantage they suffer simply because they are girls.

Your 18:1 donation even includes Dignity Kits for girls with female-only hygiene essentials!


Here’s how your 18:1 Grant works

I have sent out a Mail Pack with all the details of the 18:1 Grant from ALWS partners in Europe and the US, but this simple diagram summarises what it means for you:









The 18:1 Grant you give help 18 TIMES your personal donation 

Plus, your donation is tax-deductible.

So, if you’d like to support a child in Somalia to go to school, and be safe from hunger, simply DONATE 18:1 NOW!


The table below is a guide to how many children you can support:





Thank you from Hani

Let me leave you with Hani, a girl in Somalia who has already benefitted from the schooling people like you have provided through ALWS:


“I missed my chance for education because my parents couldn’t afford the school fees. This had disappointed me a lot.

In fact, it was very painful. When you get discouraged, your future remains in the dark, but I always wished that better chances would arrive.


I never had such opportunities before, and now there is great difference.

I am very happy. Thanks for giving me such a wonderful support.”

Thank you for your wonderful support. You are a blessing ALWayS!




PS: Our ALWS aim is to support 8,080 children in Somalia to go to school, and be safe from hunger. Using the 18:1 Grant, your donation of $10 can support a child in school for one year – including 200+ daily School Means. Please donate 18:1 now to give more Somali children like Hani ‘better chances’ and ‘opportunities’!



HOPE Spot #3: Tuesday 14th February

You did it for me …



Thanks to the kindness of people like you for victims of the Türkiye Syria earthquake:


ALWS can DOUBLE AGAIN our in-faith commitment

for the emergency relief effort – to $80,000!


Already, as of 8 am Tuesday 14 February, $75 901 has been donated … 

thank you!  




Our ALWS commitment will support the work of Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Aleppo in Syria. LWF will work with Caritas Syria to: 


  • support 8,250 children with education 
  • supply shelter and householder essentials to 5,000 people 
  • deliver food for 27,500 people 
  • give health support to 2,600 people 
  • implement water and sanitation for 8,800 people 
  • provide psycho-social first aid 


While there are challenges helping when so many are hurt … 

… you can take hope seeing the impact of your generosity, as these photos from another ACT Alliance partner, GOPA-DERD (from Greek Orthodox church) will show you:  


“When I was hungry …













… you gave me something to eat 













When I was thirsty …












… you gave me something to drink 

















When I was a stranger … 












… you welcomed me 















When I was naked … 












… you gave me  something to wear 


















When I was sick … 












… you took care of me 


















When I was in jail … 















… you visited me 













“Whenever you did it for any of my people … 














… no matter how unimportant they seemed 












… that was me,  you did it for me.” 


Inspired by Matthew 25:34-40 


Today, Valentine’s Day, celebrates romantic love. 

I thank you for the generous selfless humble love you bring to life for people who have lost everything. You are a blessing ALWayS! 



Jonathan Krause
Community Action Manager


PS: Even as ALWS responds to this earthquake emergency in Türkiye and Syria, we have today mailed good news of an 18:1 Matching Grant to support 8,080 Somali children to go to school. This includes a daily school meal of fortified porridge to protect them from hunger.  Donate 18:1 for Somalia  to help make sure children threatened by famine aren’t forgotten. Thank you! 


All photos supplied by: GOPA-DERD, MECC -ACT Alliance


HOPE Spot #3: Thursday 9th February

Hope where it’s hardest – your ALWS Earthquake Action DOUBLES!



Yesterday my son sent me a photo from the Turkiye earthquake.


It is too heartbreaking to show you here …

… a father was holding the hand of his daughter, who lay crushed under the concrete.


My son is a 19 year-old tradie.

Tough as nails.













Yet he said the photo brought him to tears.

It did me too.


The photo reminds us that when we see the horrifying death toll of more than 11,000 people …

… that each of those 11,000 people has a family and friends, who will now have to bear a loss that lasts a lifetime.

That’s why your help through ALWS is so precious, and why I’m thankful I can tell you:


Your generosity means we can now DOUBLE

our in-faith ALWS emergency support to $40,000!


Photos like the one my son sent me, and the one below from an ACT Alliance partner,  remind us that every single life is precious…















Photos: GOPA-DERD / ACT Alliance

… worth clawing away with bare hands in the rubble of a collapsed building, even as darkness falls and the temperature drops to freezing.


Your ALWS action is precious not just here in Turkiye and Syria …

… but in crises the world seems to have forgotten:


  •      threat of famine in Somalia and Ethiopia
  •      families displaced and in danger in Myanmar
  •      world’s poorest communities in South Sudan and Burundi.


Thank you for bringing hope where it’s hardest.


You can see this in a report I received overnight, outlining what ACT Alliance church partners are already doing in Turkiye / Syria:


  •     provide hot cooked meals
  •     distribute blankets and winterization items
  •     deliver shelter items



On-the-ground teams in Syria are also carrying out needs assessments.

This work is challenging because of the impact of the 12 year civil war. It is planned that Christian Aid will lead response in non-government-controlled areas, while MECC (Middle East Council of Churches) will lead in government-controlled areas.

Your prayers are welcomed for the ACT Alliance teams you support here.


How else can you and I find hope where there is so much hurt?

I see flickers of hope in the humanity of:


  • 45 nations sending aid and rescue workers
  • churches of the world responding together through ACT Alliance
  • Australian Government committing $10 million of aid
  • Australian aid agencies working through Emergency Action Alliance
  • Russia and Ukraine offering to help
  • China making a contribution
  • and, of course, people like you who care, and act


I pray that even as you see the hurt and pain in Syria and Türkiye …

… and think of the photo of the father holding the hand of his lost daughter

… you can take heart knowing your actions of love shine through the darkness, and show a way out of misery.

Thank you for being such a blessing. ALWayS.



Jonathan Krause – Community Action manager

PS: As ALWS responds to this earthquake emergency in Türkiye and Syria, we will maintain our efforts to help families of Ethiopia and Somalia threatened by looming famine.It is our commitment they will not be forgotten. The good news is we have locked in an 18:1 Matching Grant to support 8,080 Somali children to go to school – where they will receive daily school meals. The 18:1 Matching Grant means your personal impact is 18 TIMES your donation. 


Donate 18:1 for Somalia


PHOTOS: *GOPA-DERD is Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development



HOPE Spot #2: Tuesday 7th February

Your ALWS action for Türkiye / Syria Earthquake


You will have seen the news today of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Türkiye / Syria.

ALWS has committed $20,000 from our Emergency Fund to the response of churches worldwide through ACT Alliance.

The fact we can do this so quickly is because of the kindness and commitment of people like you – thank you!

If you would like to be part of this emergency response, simply…




  •        Monday 6 February, two powerful earthquakes
  •        key impact: south-east Turkey and northern Syria
  •        first quake 7.8, epicentre in south near Gaziantep city
  •        second quake 7.5, epicentre Central Turkey
  •        24 hours after earthquake, death toll reported as 3,800+
  •        officials from WHO warn this toll could increase 8-fold
  •       13,293 people reported injured in Turkey alone
  •        temperatures dropped to freezing overnight



Our plan is that your ALWS aid will be channelled through on-ground ACT Alliance partner, Christian Aid.

While damage assessments are still in process, our experience in responding to previous earthquake disasters indicates likely needs may include:

  •      shelter
  •      clean water
  •      sanitation
  •      household essentials
  •      warm clothes


Thank you for any emergency response you may like to give – donate now



Jonathan Krause – Community Action Manager







HOPE Spot #1: Friday 3rd February

What ABC listeners got wrong at Christmas


Lovely to talk with you. I hope you had a blessed Christmas.

If you got to have holidays too, I trust they went well. (Mine did – family, food, fun!)

One of the things I like most about summer is listening to the cricket on ABC radio.




Such a summer thing to do. The voices so smooth and soothing you soon slip into a nap.

(Not a good idea though if you’re wielding a power tool at the time!)

This year, the Australian team was so strong, the games all seemed to finish early, and I’d have to listen to ‘normal’ radio.


In one such session, the radio host asked listeners for three words to describe the season of Christmas.

(As you’d expect these days, Jesus didn’t get a mention. ☹)

What encouraged me though was that the three top words were:






As I thought about that, I realised I’m blessed to experience those three things year-round.

They are what you do for people through ALWS.

My only change would be to re-order the words:


      Your KINDNESS …

                                    … brings HOPE

                                                              … which creates JOY


The world can use all the kindness it can get.

The famine threatening in Ethiopia and Somalia.

Violence in Myanmar, and hurt for Rohingya refugees who fled.

The cold-blooded attacks on Ukraine.


When you see all the hurt …

… you may wonder if what you and I do together through ALWS makes a difference.

When I feel like that, I lift my eyes and see:


•      300 families in Somalia with 80kg of food per month,

because of you

•      thousands of displaced children in Myanmar with a school to go to,

because of you

•      schools in Ukraine with bomb-shelters in their basement to keep children safe,

because of you

Going back to the ABC listeners’ list of Christmas words, I reckon there’s one missing.

The most important word of all.



The love we receive.

The love we then offer others.

The kind of love that never gives up …


… despite the fifth year of failed rains in Somalia and Ethiopia

… despite the unrelenting missile attacks of the Russians on Ukraine

… despite it being a full two years of brutal military junta in Myanmar


Love that is patient, kind, supportive, loyal, hopeful, trusting,

(1 Corinthians 13)




You can see what this means to these children, and their parents, at a Learning Space you helped build inside a Displaced Persons Camp in Myanmar.

Thank you for bringing your love to life through ALWS – you are a blessing ALWayS!




PS: Next week I can share news of an 18:1 Matching Grant that will vastly increase your ministry through ALWS for the children of Somalia!




HOPE Spot #46: Friday 16 December

When Frankenstein came to Christmas 


How’s your Christmas prep going? Busy, isn’t it.

I haven’t started yet …

… apart from sharing about your ALWS work at the Christmas & Carols service of two churches in the Barossa Valley last Sunday.

I wasn’t sure how to link together Christmas in Bethlehem 2,000+ years ago … to us here in Australia today … to the famine that’s been looming Somalia over the last few months.


It’s so easy for those worlds to seem so far apart.



That’s when Frankenstein came calling.


I was thinking about the Three Wise Men who came to welcome and worship the baby Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh …

… which led to my wife’s story of her uncle who managed in the Christmas reading at church to include Frankenstein among the gifts the Wise Men brought!


You can see in the photo the ‘gifts’ I used to symbolise the gifts of the wise men …

… but when children from the congregation opened the ‘Ho Ho’ gift boxes, they found something very different:




This is the food ration you deliver to families threatened by famine in Somalia.


What you see here is food for a family of six for one week:
•    6kg of wheat flour
•    6 kg of rice
•    6 kg of sugar
•    a litre of vegetable oil
•    250 gms of dates
(Cost: $25. Value: priceless.)


The children placed the food in the manger the church had made for their ‘Live Nativity’ Christmas presentation to their community.

This is a little different to how your food aid in Somalia is actually delivered …


Photo: LWF Somalia


… but it’s a way of showing that while you may not bring actual gold, frankincense and myrrh 

… your gift of food to hungry families in Somalia is just as precious!




I know people like you help others through ALWS for all kinds of reasons. 

For me, as a Christian, it’s a way to live my faith and bring love to life. 


Whatever reason you have for helping …

… at Christmas I feel especially blessed to witness your kindness and generosity, and see your humble selfless love for others.


In a world that is so crazy and commercial,
you are the true spirit of Christmas.

That’s why I want to thank you for everything you have done for others through ALWS in 2022:

  * people of Ukraine, under attack from the failed Russian invasion

  * child victims of conflicts forgotten by the world – Ethiopia and Myanmar

  * people with disabilities in the world’s poorest communities

  * girls and women in Nepal suffering simply because of their gender

  * farming families in countries like Burundi hurt by changing climate


Right now, I especially thank you for the help you give to mums and dads and kids and grandies and aunties and uncles threatened by famine in the Horn of Africa.

You are extra important here because the world seems to have forgotten these people.

We haven’t though.


That’s why, heading into the new year, ALWS is working on a partnership to increase the number of lives you can save and children you can protect.

The partnership aims to bring you together through ALWS with …

… the Church of Sweden and the American Friends Service Committee 

… to access a large matching grant from Bread for the World in Germany 

… delivered by LWF (Lutheran World Federation) in Somalia!


That sounds complex …

… but what it will mean for you is simply that any donation you give will be multiplied many times over!

Together, we hope to help 25,000 of the hardest-hit families.

(We’ll need a very big Christmas manger to fit in all that help!)


As we work on that partnership …

… can I leave you with a message from another partnership you have in Africa through ALWS, in Burundi.  

Pablo Lo Moro, who oversees the program for LWF, wrote to me this week:


I take advantage of this opportunity to thank everyone at ALWS for their unwavering support.

Without ALWS, there would literally be no LWF in Burundi, ranked as the world “hungriest” country by some measures. 

My gratitude to the Australian taxpayers as well. We do strive to make a difference with these hard-earned funds.


This is how precious you are in the lives of the people you help.

You live the spirit of Christmas with every gift you give, every prayer you bring.


That’s why I pray you have a blessed Christmas season with those you love …

… and thank you for the love you bring to life for people at risk from hunger and poverty and injustice and discrimination and the danger of being forgotten.

Truly, you are a blessing ALWayS!




PS: Just a reminder that I (and all the team here at ALWS) welcome invitations to visit your church, school, Probus, Rotary or Social Group, to share stories of what you do in people’s lives through ALWS. Just call 1300 763 407 or reply to this email.

Thank you, and may God bless you with a very happy Christmas!


HOPE Spot #45: Monday 5 December

Simple things, small help, smiling faces


One of the special joys of working for you at ALWS is hearing from people like you!

Whether that’s a two-line email after a HOPE Spot … a quick chat over dodgy coffee when I’ve presented at a church … or a note like this one from Rosemary about Gifts of Grace:

I appreciated the little write-ups about how each donation gets used in the ‘Gifts of Grace’ catalogue. I wanted to add why I chose some.


When I turned the page to the ‘Assistive Devices’, the girl in the picture is Irene. My dear mother’s name was Irene, and although she died nearly 20 years ago, I still think of her every day. She was a kind and lovely lady who helped others, so this is in memory for her.


Then I saw ‘Irrigation’ and that made me think of my dear Dad who died just a few months ago. He always ate vegetables, so I thought those veggies are in memory for him.

The ‘School Sets’ are because my grandchildren are still in their school.


 It saddens me to think of how hard it is for these people. But these simple things seem to help them so much and they seem to appreciate the help so very much. 


I hope our small help can help them very much. Their smiling faces help me.




When I read this note, I got a tear in my eye.

In just a few lines, Rosemary has summed up what your help through ALWS is all about.

You might think that ‘simple things’ like giving someone a Mosquito net … or teaching them how to use Drip Irrigation … or providing pencils and paper with a School Set are ‘small help’ …

… yet ‘smiling faces’ like these children at Kakuma Refugee Camp show you just how precious you are:



Now, as you and I look forward to Christmas …


(when the greatest gift in history

came in the smallest of packages

in the simplest of places!)


… I pray you will know in a special way, just like Rosemary, that you are a blessing ALWayS!


PS: If you haven’t yet ordered your Gifts of Grace or want to order more, you can still do so here. Be quick though, as the mail through December can be quite slow to receive your Grace Cards in time for Christmas. Thank you!


Photos: ALWS


HOPE Spot #44: Tuesday 22 November

Your starting role in tomorrow morning’s Socceroos World Cup campaign


I’m not sure what your foot skills are like with a soccer ball.

Or if you can direct a header into the back of the net. 

But when Australia takes on France at 6am tomorrow morning (Wednesday 23/11) …

… you’ll be there.

Not just in the stands, or on the bench, but right there on the pitch.




Because Awer Mabil, Australia’s winger and goal-scoring sensation, was born and grew up at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya …

… where, through ALWS, you support refugee children (like he was) to go to school

















… and play sport (soccer, volleyball, basketball, girls comps too)

… and even join in Kakuma’s Got Talent! as dancers, rappers, singers

… while making sure children with disabilities are not forgotten and left behind!


That’s not Awer Mabil in the photo …

… but one day, with your support, he might be.


Awer’s mother fled the war in South Sudan in 1994. Awer was born a year later. In 2006, the family were accepted into Australia as humanitarian refugees.

Last week, the Weekend Australian newspaper featured an interview by journalist Cameron Stewart, where Awer talked about going back to Kakuma for the first time in 2014.


“It was very emotional for me going back … When I left, I was only a boy, but coming back as a young man I saw it from a completely different perspective to when I was a carefree kid…

“I saw how it was such a difficult place and a difficult situation and a difficult environment.

“We lived in a mud hut the size of a one-bedroom house and we cooked outside … every second week we got a kilo of rice and we had to make that last until next time.”


Awer was inspired to start a charity ‘Barefoot to Boots’ to provide sporting equipment to children and young people at Kakuma.

You do too, through ALWS.


Whether it’s through Walk My Way where caring Aussies like you step out so refugee children can step in to school …

… or a $7 Gifts of Grace to help provide assistive devices to children with disabilities at Kakuma Refugee Camp

… you can see from the photo below just how precious your support of sport and children and young people at Kakuma is:














Without your support, days with no school or sport can drag into boredom (the word ‘Kakuma’ means ‘nowhere’).

Without your kindness, months can become years and decades as people at Kakuma wait for the chance to start a new life in a country like Australia (only 1% of refugees are granted visas to anywhere each year) …

… or to return to their home country when peace makes it safe.

Right now, the fifth year of drought in the Horn of Africa is forcing more people to become refugees, as famine looms in Ethiopia and Somalia.

Even if you don’t get up to barrack for Australia tomorrow morning …

… or you have read my email too late and missed it

… you can support another very special soccer team – Kakuma United:














Kakuma United won’t be at the World Cup, but they do play in the Kenya Premier League.

What’s special about Kakuma United is the players are all refugees.

They come from many different nations, and many tribes within nations. In times past, this may have been a cause of conflict …

… but football (soccer) has brought them together as brothers.


There is also a girls’ league, with the team known as Kakuma Divas! 

The 200,000 people living at Kakuma come together too, to cheer on their team. They know the players by name, as they have graduated to Kakuma United after playing in local Premier League-style competitions set up inside the camp by our ALWS partner, LWF.


So, when the World Cup match against France starts tomorrow …

… look for Awer Mabil – playing for Australia, and for all the people still at Kakuma.


You can feel a special pride knowing your ‘starting role’ through ALWS is supporting other young refugees to ‘kick on’ and begin ‘heading’ for a better life.

That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS.




PS: It’s not just Awer Mabil to look out for in the Socceroos jersey. Also in the Australian World Cup Squad are:


Garang was born in Egypt, to parents from South Sudan. The family moved to Shepparton in Victoria, where the local Lutheran Church flourishes as it welcomes refugees from across the world. Garang is set to be the youngest-ever player to represent Australia at the World Cup.


Thomas comes from South Sudan, and grew up in refugee camps in Kenya. He captained the Olyroos at the Olympics, and was Player of the Match in the win against Argentina.


All photos: ALWS      

Awer Mabil quotes: The Weekend Australian, Cameron Stewart, 12 – 13 November 2022


HOPE Spot #43: Friday 11 November

How your Long Drop Loo is a lifesaver

HOPE Spot #42: Wednesday 2 November



HOPE Spot #41: Tuesday 25 October 

Mozzies, Aussies, becozzee …


I live in SA, and last week the Government passed a law that shops could open Sunday mornings from 9am. 

(Before this change, it was 11am. No jokes please, 11am was perfect, keeping Sunday mornings special.) 


In the same news bulletin, it talked about the flood waters pushing down the Murray.  


Here in SA, the biggest concern seems to be the extra mozzies that might disturb campers.

Which brings me to your brand new ALWS Gifts of Grace catalogue, hitting mailboxes from today.


Our world seems to be in so much turmoil right now … 


  • floods hurting so many people in NSW and northern Victoria 
  • brutal war in Ukraine 
  • looming famine in the Horn of Africa … 


… not to mention the cost-of-living pressures hitting all of us. 

It can feel hard to know where to start in getting through all that. 


May I suggest with a $4 Mosquito Net. 


Not for those campers on the Murray, but for a family in Bangladesh, forced from their home in Myanmar, and now refugees. 


You already support these families through ALWS … 


… but this Christmas you could add a Gifts of Grace Mosquito Net that for just $4 can help protect the family’s children from deadly malaria. 



Mum Habiba told your front-line team: 


“The mosquito net is useful,  because there is a drain here infested with mosquitoes, and my family are not sleeping due to mosquito bites.” 


The $4 Mosquito Net is one of 6 gifts under $10 in this year’s Gifts of Grace. 


You can also give: 

School Set for a child in Myanmar (including solar-powered lamp) – $9 

Drip Irrigation to support ladies in Nepal to grow veggies – $6 

Tree Saplings to restore environment in Bangladesh – $8 


Our hope is these ‘priced less, but priceless’ gifts will help make sure no one needs miss out on Gifts of Grace this year – either giving them or receiving them.  




You receive a Grace Card for each gift you buy …  


… and this becomes your gift, or a special ‘extra’ to the gifts you ordinarily give.  


Each Grace Card has a press-out bauble, as you can see Diana showing you above – and these can add an extra special layer of meaning to a Christmas Tree. 


First 500 orders also receive a FREE tea-towel printed with a design created by Omera … 

Photo: ALWS / Daniel Bury 


… a young girl from Indonesia, whose drawing shows the impact on her family because of the love you shine into their lives through ALWS. 

(When you see the challenges caused by the disability in Omera’s hands, you will marvel at what she’s made for you!) 




The good news about Gifts of Grace is you don’t need that extra two hours of shopping on a Sunday morning we South Australians now have …

… ‘becozzee’ you can do your Christmas shopping from home (or wherever you are), right now, or any time you like – just click here! 


Of course, you can also use the Order Form in the printed catalogue …  

… or simply call 1300 763 407! 


Once you work through your Christ List, and make sure you haven’t forgotten anyone, it really helps our ALWS volunteers if you can order early 



… this also helps make sure your Grace Cards don’t get caught in mailing delays. 


As Aussies, we like to get in and lend a hand when we can … as we have seen in the wonderful community spirit of people of all ages filling sand-bags to protect other people’s homes from floods. 


Thank you for all you do to shine love into the lives of others through ALWS. Your kindness and generosity and Gifts of Grace are a blessing ALWayS!


PS: If you – or friends or family – have been affected by floods, please know our thoughts are with you. We will Express Post your Grace Cards and tea-towel if, and when, you are ready to order. Thank you! 

HOPE Spot #40: Tuesday 18 October 

Walk which way? 


What do you see when you look at this photo?

Photo: St Mark’s


Yes, they are paper dolls stuck on a wall …

… but what I see is this:

Photo: ALWS


I met these three children – Irakoze, Alongi, Badinabi – at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. They attend a primary school supported by people like you through ALWS …

… just like the refugee children who will step in to school because caring Aussies step out in ALWS Walk My Way.

The paper dolls are how St Mark’s Lutheran Primary School in Mt Barker SA are inspiring each other to help more children …

… and it’s working! Look at what they have achieved together:

Meanwhile, in Darwin, Good Shepherd Lutheran College did a Walk My Way between their two campuses at Howard Springs and Leanyer:



Photo: GSLC Darwin


No, that’s not a mistake (putting the same photo in twice) 

… Good Shepherd was so excited about the success of their first Walk My Way 

… and some students so disappointed at missing out 

… they did a second Walk!!!

Meanwhile at another Good Shepherd Lutheran College – this time on the Sunshine Coast – the Year 12 Spiritual Senior Leader Group showed you don’t need a big number to make a big difference:

Photo: GSLC Noosa


(I hope you’re smiling at the fact the ‘Sunshine’ Coast still did their Walk in the rain!)

Down south, in the Adelaide Hills, the Jones family aim to walk their 26 kms through October, and are already quarter way there …

Photo: Jones family


Mum, Michelle, says what’s incredible is seeing how the area you see above – the Lobethal Bushland Park – has recovered from the December 2019 bushfires that devastated this area. Life renewed – exactly as you do for people in need through ALWS!

Also doing Walk My Way is the Verrall Family:

Photo: Verrall Family


They shared why they are stepping out:


“We always look for ways to challenge our place of privilege here in Australia, and we came across the “Walk my Way”. 

We took up the challenge to do 26kms each over the month of September – so, in total, walking 104kms as a family, and then getting those around us to sponsor us.

We have our own challenge spreadsheet set up to make sure that we all (4 family members) complete this challenge in the month of Sept (for a busy family it is actually a good distance to walk to be challenged on!)

I feel it is important to share that so many people said what a great way to do the challenge and that they would definitely consider doing it too.”

Already, across Australia, Walkers have raised enough money to support 4,812 refugee children to go to school!

It’s not too late for you to be part of Walk My Way this year. Register HERE

You can go to the website and set up your own Walk wherever you are, whenever you want, however you want to do it – just click here.

If you’re anywhere near Victor Harbor in SA this Friday, 21 October, you can:

  • come down and join the Walk (with 500 students from Lutheran schools!)
  • Sign up to volunteer: to sizzle snags, be a road marshal, hand out drinks   
  • meet the Pastor Penguin waddle-walking the Causeway to Granite Island!!!!
  • Welcome Walkers at the Finish Line while you sip a Latte, or munch a Taco!

Whatever way you walk … or whichever way you help … you’re a blessing ALWayS!





HOPE Spot #39: Friday 14 October 

Lame Bora


HOPE Spot #38: Monday 10 October 

The bomb shelters you build in schools in Ukraine

I expect you heard Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ask Australia last week to increase our military support as Ukrainians defend their homeland.

Your ALWS action for the people of Ukraine is also increasing.

The generosity and kindness of people like you means last week ALWS was able to commit an extra $100,000 of aid. 

The total of our life-restoring help together is now $300,000

– SIX TIMES our March commitment of $50,000. THANK YOU!


A key part of your ALWS action now is building bomb shelters in schools inside Ukraine. 

You can see below the basement of the school at Dorogin. You support the LWF team to have toilets and amenities installed, to protect 100 students and teachers during air raids.



Bhoj Raj Khanal is the Interim Leader of the LWF team you support in Ukraine. He emailed me on Monday, and shared:

“The most urgent needs are repair of houses, 

renovation of schools including bomb shelters, 

protection-related community activities and preparing for winter.”

Bhoj explained that schools in Ukraine cannot open unless they have a bomb shelter. 

Your support through ALWS will help ensure children and young people can safely return to school after months of interrupted school and on-line learning.



Natalia Mykolaivna Greben, who you see above, is Deputy Director of the Dorogin school where a basement is being converted to a bomb shelter. Natalia recalls:

“I saw the Russian troops march through our community, 

and shoot at everything around.”

Natalia was forced to hide in her own basement for many days, then sneak out to try to find food for her and her elderly neighbours. On the last day of the occupation, the retreating soldiers shot at Natalia’s home, which burned down. 

“I lost everything on that last day.”



Your continuing ALWS action in Ukraine is even more critical now as winter approaches. 

Temperatures in Ukraine over Christmas can drop to minus 10. With so many buildings and so much infrastructure damaged by bombing, these freezing temperatures are a real threat.

Your work is focused in the Chernihiv region, between the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and the Russion border. This area was under Russian occupation for three months, and it was only a fortnight ago that it was safe for your LWF team to enter and plan the school renovation work you support.

The plan is to gradually increase support to the Kharkiv and Sumy regions.






HOPE Spot #37: Tuesday 4 October 

Your Cash Food Vouchers arrive to help fight famine

There have been very few headlines about the famine looming in the Horn of Africa.


Photo: WFP


Four years of extreme drought have killed millions of livestock – a family’s wealth, and crops have been decimated as you can see in the photo above from Ethiopia.

In Somalia, Reuters news agency has declared:

‘Half a million Somali children face hunger

in the world’s worst famine this century’.

Through ALWS, you are already taking lifesaving action. 

In the photo below, you see the LWF (Lutheran World Federation team you support handing out Cash Food Vouchers in an Internally Displaced Persons Camp in Somalia.


Photo: LWF/A. Mahdi


The Cash Food Vouchers you provide through ALWS are vital to protect children from hunger.

That’s because wheat is a staple food here. 

Not only are locally-grown crops destroyed, but with 40% – 90% of supply coming from Ukraine and Russia, the shipping blockades and delays have hit hard.


One of the families you help with Cash Food Vouchers is Mr Abdullahi’s. He is a farmer in Somalia, and when drought killed 60 of the family’s cows and two donkeys, he despaired:

‘‘Our priority at the moment is to find food to eat.

In the process, we often find ourselves facing other risks 

– such as having to leave behind the weak amongst our families, 

including persons living with disability, children and women.

It’s so heartbreaking for us to be separated from our loved ones.”


Photo: LWF Somalia



HOPE Spot #36: Monday 12 September 

A life of service

I wrote this HOPE Spot the day before the passing of Queen Elizabeth 2.

I wondered whether I should change what I’d written …

… but when I hear the words used to describe Her Majesty – a life of service, commitment to duty, humility, genuine care for people – I realised I didn’t have to change a word.

          *                            *                            *                            *

Last week I attended the Memorial Service for Annette, a wonderful friend of ALWS.

Before her health intervened, Annette worked alongside her husband Paul, and friends Rex and Claire, to raise money to help people through ALWS.


They propagated plants. Tended them until they were beautiful and strong. Then got up super-early on Saturday mornings to sell the plants at Community Markets. Markets that were often wet, windy and wintry.



Between them, Paul, Annette (on right), Rex and Claire (on left) have graced our planet for more than 350 years.

Time for a rest, you might think.

Yet, meet them at one of their market stalls, and straightaway you’d see a smile as big and bright as a daisy in full flower!

At Annette’s memorial, we were all invited to have a candle lit from the Christ Light Candle, and then place it in a bed of sand.


Photos: ALWS


I found this simple act very moving. 

What a blessing you and I can be when we choose to shine the light of kindness into a world that so often feels so gloomy.


Those flickering candles made me think of you …

… as right now I’m putting together your new Gifts of Grace catalogue for this year. 

(You’ll receive it in second half of October.)

Our Gifts of Grace theme is shine*, and my hope is the joy you see in the smiles of the people you help, will also bring smiles to those who receive your Grace Cards,

You’ll see smiles like this …


Photo: ALWS – Daniel Bury


… as Filifo and Niaman’s family in Indonesia propagate and grow a Kitchen Garden, one of this year’s Gifts of Grace.

Just like Paul and Annette, (and Queen Elizabeth 2 and Prince Philip), Niaman and Filifo work as a partnership. Mum, Niaman, says:

“I love my garden. 

I grow chillies, beans, mustard leaves, corn, eggplant, tomatoes and water spinach – my favourite! 

My husband helps too. 

Filifo often hangs out the clothes, and does the sweeping around the house. He has this spirit within him and wants to help his wife with the family work. 

If other men laugh at him, he just laughs back. 

I feel so very happy, because when I want to use vegetables in my cooking, it is already there! We can have a variety of vegetables and not the same every day! 

I don’t need to go and buy, especially when we have not much money. 

The children get nutrition from the vegetables. 

I thank the people of Australia for helping my family to make the garden.”

If the world is feeling gloomy to you, or to people you care about …

… I pray the day is brightened by the light that a life of service shines, from people like you and Paul and Annette and Rex and Claire, to people like Filifo and Niaman.

You bloom a bright beautiful blessing ALWayS. Thank you!

* Our theme shine is inspired by the prophet Isaiah in the Bible: 

Give your food to the hungry

 and care for the homeless.

Then your light 

will shine in the dark.

Isaiah 58:10



HOPE Spot #35: Friday 19 August

Slow-roasted pulled pork, Olivia Newton John … and you


Last Saturday night, the blokes of our church put on a dinner for the ladies, and their friends from the community.

Our organiser and Chief Chef Pete came up with a menu that offered:

  • creamy pea & ham soup OR oxtail broth (complete with garlic croutons)
  • slow-roasted pulled pork OR shredded chicken (both with vegies & gravy)
  • chocolate brownie & berry jus OR scorched lemon tart (adorned by cream quenelles)

There were six of us blokes out back in aprons, and three up front in bow-ties.



(That’s me, fourth from right. Our Pastor, Kevin, is on the right in the Longest Lutheran Lunch apron, and Chief Chef Pete is on the left holding the bottle of ‘secret ingredient’!)

Photo: Addi Stark


Now, maybe there’s someone somewhere who might find something wrong with this ‘gender divide’…

… but it was a simple act of service, out of love, to make life better for others.

And judging by the laughter from the ladies’ tables, it was a night enjoyed by all.

There might not have been quite so much laughter in the kitchen when the gravy refused to thicken and then threatened to go lumpy … or when the vegetables seemed certain to run out … and the stream of dirty dishes to be washed seemed endless …

… yet, when the last dish was packed away, there was a quiet sense of satisfaction.

It made me think about you and your service to others through ALWS.

Instead of slow-roasting pulled pork … 

… you stir up vast vats of porridge and beans at Kakuma Refugee Camp to welcome new arrivals fleeing war and drought and hunger.



Instead of taking tickets at the door …

… you welcome people in countries like Nepal marginalised by their communities because of disability or gender or ethnic origin, with your smile telling them they are precious, and loved, and safe.




Instead of sinks full of dirty dishes …

… well, there are dishes and cutlery and saucepans and wash basins and detergent you provide to people made homeless by floods and other natural disasters in places like Tonga, Kenya and South Sudan.



Like our team of blokes last Saturday night, you offer your service humbly and graciously, simply to make life better for others … so, thank you!

Which brings me to Olivia Newton-John.

I’m not sure if you are a fan of her music …

… but all of us must admire her life of service to people diagnosed with cancer, even as she struggled herself with breast cancer.

I was privileged to be part of the team that worked with Olivia on raising the funds for her Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne. 

My job was to shape Olivia’s thoughts and words into messages for the public. In one big project, we organised dozens of celebrities to walk the Great Wall of China with Olivia, each celebrity seeking sponsors. (An early version of Walk My Way 😊)

What always struck me about Olivia was the way she looked past the cancer, to the person.

Olivia’s focus was on helping people have the best life they could, despite the challenges cancer had brought.

That’s what I see in you too.

You look past poverty, and disability, and age, and gender … and simply see a person you can support to have a better life. 

That’s a special gift. 

Just as precious as the dollars you donate. 

Your kindness and generosity bring love to life as you show the most vulnerable people in the world they’re not forgotten, that someone cares, that they are worthy of support.

That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS. Thank you!



PS: The pulled pork was sensational. Not that I sampled it more than 27 times, just to make sure it was OK. 😊 (One of the blokes at church makes his own spicy sweet rub, and it made the pork perfect.)



HOPE Spot #34: Monday 8 August

Your priceless gift


If you lined up all the students in Lutheran schools you helped learn about ALWS last year …

… at a socially-distanced 1.5 metres apart …

… you’d have a line more than 30 kilometres long! 




My son, AJ, was one of them. 

AJ is in Year 12 at Tatachilla Lutheran College (TLC), where he is Vice School Captain. Not only is this AJ’s last Semester at school … 

 … it’s my last Semester supporting one of my children to go to a Lutheran school.  


After 72 semesters! 


I started adding up my $ investment … 

 … but stopped, knowing a good education is a priceless gift. 

(I feel very blessed by the Lutheran education my parents made such sacrifices to give me, at Luther College, back in 1971 to 1976*.) 




Your work in Lutheran schools through ALWS is a vital part of inspiring more people to join you in taking action to care. 

It’s not just the students, but their families and teachers too.  

We are blessed that Lutheran schools share your passion for caring and service, and work in partnership with ALWS to inspire and equip their students to help others. 


We saw this last month at ACLE – the Australian Conference for Lutheran Education – where instead of providing gift bags to registrants, the organisers donated $10 per registration. 

Each person received two stars, each representing $5, and chose an ALWS Gifts of Grace they wanted to support … 



All these stars now represent teachers  

sharing your ALWS work in their classroom! 


You can see by the board above how teachers in Australia regard school as vital for the children in education-challenged countries like South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia. 

That’s why School Kits will feature in this year’s ALWS Gifts of Grace (open for you in late October), when once again you can let your light shine … 



For now, thank you for all you do to bring education to children who would otherwise miss out because of poverty, disaster or displacement … 

 … including in this school you helped build at Ali Addeh Displaced Persons Camp in Djibouti. Check out the school’s motto below: 



Thank you for shining the light of education – you are a blessing ALWayS! 



* It was at Luther College in 1976 that I first worked to raise money to help people hurt by hunger and poverty. We closed down the school tuckshop (including the 10 cents long sausage rolls, my once-a-term special treat), and sold cups of boiled rice instead. The aim was to raise money to provide food to the hungry … encourage students to feel a little of what it’s like to have to go without … and demonstrate authentic Christian love through service. That was 47 years ago, and it’s still my mission in life! 😊 


All photos: ALWS 



HOPE Spot #33: Tuesday 2 August

Fire and flood…and the people you rescue


Here in Australia it seems we have had an endless run of natural disasters.

Floods. Bushfires. COVID.

The photo you see below is from a fire a fortnight ago in a community you support in Nepal through ALWS …



The fire destroyed 6 houses, and left 38 people homeless, including 19 children.

Tragically, the fire happened at a time when the community faces severe threat of flooding.

Ms Suhagi Bibi, who you see sitting in the photo, shared:


“It is very hard to live in open spaces during this rainy season, and to keep our children safe.”


This is where you stepped in. Through ALWS, you provided Dignity Kits for people who have lost everything:


· 3 pieces of bathing soap

· 1 piece of laundry soap

· 3 sanitary napkins

· 3 items of underwear

· toothbrush and toothpaste

· comb

· nail-cutter

· torch

· plastic bucket with cover

· 10 metres of rope


You also provided corrugated iron sheeting, so families could build temporary shelters:



Ms Bibi is grateful for your ALWS help, delivered through LWF in Nepal:


“The CGI sheeting we received enabled us to rebuild our house immediately after the fire, and we are very thankful for this support.

The Dignity Kits were also very useful for us during the transition to maintain our health and hygiene.”



The local government in this community is supporting your ALWS work by providing each homeless family with a gas stove and cylinder to do their cooking.

Your ALWS action is also supported by the Australian Government.

This includes providing flood rescue equipment, as you see below:



This Disaster Preparedness Kit includes:


· 125 metres of static rope

· 2 x searchlights

· 2 x Rescue Kits (chest harness, seat harness, auto-lock carabiner)

· 2 x Throw Bags


Your help is especially important in communities like this one because people already living in poverty have no way of recovering from disaster without support.

The fire, and its 38 victims, made no headlines in Australia.

If not for your kindness and commitment through ALWS, these people could have been forgotten.

You made sure they weren’t.


That’s why your generosity is so precious – a blessing ALWayS. Thank you!





HOPE Spot #32: Wednesday 20 July

Why a homemade sausage roll beats a $3.50 Bunnings sausage…


Photo: ALWS


As you can see, there are cakes and biscuits and fruit and plants and jams and preserves and, of course, the most important item of all – homemade sausage rolls!

While everything was very friendly-priced – no $3.50 Bunnings sausage here – the Trading Table raised more than $200*!

It was part of an Ecumenical Ladies Fellowship, put together by the ladies of the Mid North Lutheran Parish. I was invited to share about the work they (and you) do through ALWS in places like Ukraine and Ethiopia.

Afterwards, it struck me that the photo you see above is a lot like the photo you see below:


Photo: LWF/Albin Hibbert


The produce on the table may be a little different …

… but the smile of the lady at Nyagati Railway Station serving refugees newly arrived from Ukraine is the same, don’t you think!

Whether we are in Clare at a Trading Table, or on the border of Ukraine at an Emergency Centre, each of us has something to give. Time. Money. Skills.

What’s amazing is that when we give, we are also given – a joy we find nowhere else.


This week we have mailed out ALWS Annual Donation Statements for FY 21/22. That shows $s. With the Statement, there’s a Report Back on what you have achieved for others through ALWS in the last 6 months. That shows the people.

On behalf of those people, I say thank you for your kindness and generosity …

… and pray you are blessed with the same beaming smile of service you see in the ladies of Clare and on the border of Ukraine

… (the same sauce-smeared smile I get from home-made sausage rolls – and Bunnings sausages, even at $3.50)!



PS: If you’d like an ALWS speaker to visit,  call 1300 763 407 or email Sneak-peek your Report Back here and keep an eye out for your Annual Donation Statement! Thank you! 😊


* The Trading table proceeds was part of $1307 donated by the 43 people who attend the Fellowship Morning. Thank you Mid North!

HOPE Spot #31: Monday 11 July

What floods cannot drown

Our hearts go out to the people of NSW, facing floods yet again.

For many, this is the fourth time they have seen their homes and livelihoods and hopes washed away. The people of Queensland have suffered too.

As Australia rallies to support our community, I offer you 8 words from my Bible reading this morning:

Love cannot be drowned
by oceans or floods.

Song of Solomon 8:7a


When I think of what people like you do for others through ALWS…

… despite the ‘floods’ of challenges that threaten to overwhelm us

… I see the power of your love making life better for others.



Just last week, thanks to your kindness and compassion, ALWS was able to rush $30,000 worth of your help to the people of Bangladesh as they faced their own floods.


You provide Emergency Family Food Packs to 1,150 of the most vulnerable families.

You focus on families in danger of being forgotten:

  • displaced by flood
  • no regular income
  • female-headed families (including widows)
  • people with disabilities
  • pregnant or lactating mothers
  • elderly people
  • socially excluded people

Your help is delivered by ALWS partner RDRS Bangladesh.

Your Emergency Family Food Packs contain:

  • 10kg rice
  • 1kg lentils
  • Kg soyabean oil
  • 2kg potatoes
  • 2kg salt
  • 1kg sugar
  • 5 packets Oral Rehydration Salts
  • 1kg detergent powder
  • 1 pack of sanitary napkins

The cost per pack is $24 … but the impact for a family who has lost everything – priceless!

Photos: RDRS Bangladesh



I don’t know if you follow ‘real’ football (AFL – go Pies!) …

… but the June Collingwood vs Melbourne game features the ‘Big Freeze’. Celebrities slip down a slide into a pool of ice water, to raise money to fight Motor Neurone Disease.

The people of St Peter’s Lutheran Church in Loxton SA did their own ‘Big Freeze’ to raise money for the village in Cambodia they partner through ALWS.

Instead of a pool of ice water …


… they jumped into the River Murray and floated downstream. As you can see, even the water temperature – 11 degrees – could not ‘dampen’ their enthusiasm!

This is the kind of love that floods cannot drown.

The kind of love that sacrifices for others.

The love you bring to life through ALWS.

Thank you – you are a blessing ALWayS!


HOPE Spot #30: Thursday 30 June

Playing piano to change a child’s world

You are likely much more musical than me.

(I was a teenager in the 70s, and my music tastes have never moved on, much to my children’s disgust!)

So, you might understand what the music chart below means. What might surprise you is how an enterprising music teacher from Victoria is using this Circle of Fifths Chart …

… to help child victims of war in Ethiopia through ALWS.


Rachel Cheesman is teaching her students to play key signatures and scales on the piano.

Rachel had the idea that for every scale the students could play, they collected a special donation for the ALWS Children of War Appeal.

(You can see the students’ names in coloured texta on the chart.)


The students practiced hard, made posters, even sold cookies.

Last Friday, they came together to play around the whole Circle of Fifths. (Whatever that means!)

Rachel says it was a real treat to see the children perform with technical awareness, and show their developing knowledge…

… and even more exciting was seeing the amount they raised to help children their own age, who had been hurt by war – $834!!!


What a brilliant hard-working effort from the students, and their sponsors …

… and their passionate, caring, creative music teacher!


Rachel explains why she came up with the idea:

 “When we hear of tragedy happening around the world, we can feel helpless and far away.

 But we can find comfort and hope through action.

 Music can be a useful tool in many ways!”


Today is EOFY – End of Financial Year – and there will be businesses everywhere urging you to get a bargain for yourself.

What Rachel and her students show us is that the best bargain comes not from what we get … but what we give.

Thank you for all you give to others through ALWS. You are a blessing ALWayS!


PS: ALWS 21/22 Annual Donation Statements will be posted Monday 18 July, to help you claim any tax benefit you are due. It includes a report back on what you have achieved for others through ALWS so far this year. You can also explore the full ALWS Annual Report for 2021 here. Thank you!

HOPE Spot #29: Monday 27 June

5 minutes for 5 moments for your 5:1 Burundi

I first went to Burundi nearly 15 years ago.

To my shame, I didn’t even know where it was. Let alone understand the pain the people suffered as one of the five least-developed countries in the world.

I saw horrors that I won’t share here …

… but I was also blessed with moments that will live with me forever.

Can I take 5 of your minutes to share them with you too?


Moment 1: What are you building?

Each Saturday morning in Burundi, the people stop whatever they are doing and give a morning’s work to a community project. Young and old. Men and women. Rich and poor. City and country.

The people of Burundi are renowned for making mud bricks.

We passed through one little village, just a handful of houses, and I saw a group of people working in a field with a large pile of bricks.

I asked what they were building …

… they replied: “A university.”


Moment 2: Why are you still here?

Through ALWS, you work in the poorest provinces of Burundi – Cankuzo and Ruyigi, on the eastern border with Tanzania.

When I went there, LWF – Lutheran World Federation, known in Burundi as FLM (Federacione Lutheran Mondiale) – was the only aid agency working there.

I asked why, and was told there had been violence in the streets, leftover battles from tribal conflicts. An aid worker’s body had been left on a road.

All the other aid agencies left.

Your Lutheran-supported team stayed.


Moment 3: Why do you sing?

One Sunday morning, I went to church.

The church building was in the middle of a slum. It had no walls apart from some UNHCR plastic. Dirt floor. The chairs a motley collection scavenged from anywhere.

We were the only white faces in a crowd of hundreds packed body to body.

Many people were barefoot.

Some wore clothes so old they barely held together.

Yet when worship started it seemed the roof would lift.

There was a ladies’ choir. A younger ladies choir. A children’s choir. A mixed choir. A drummer hammering out ‘a joyful noise’ on a cracked and clattery old drum. A keyboardist all hip-hop and elbows.

Joy poured out of the people. Too much joy just for song. Dancing. Clapping. Ululating.

A basket was set up at the front of the church. One by one people came out and left an offering. The poorest of the poor, yet each had something to give.

After four hours, the worship ended.

We tumbled outside … where we were gathered up into a large circle, all holding hands, so the lady Pastor could pray for us as went back into our worlds.

My hand was taken by an lady, one of the Batwa tribe (formerly known as pygmy). The Batwa are landless, homeless, shockingly poor people, mistreated and pushed to the edge of the community.

When the prayer ended, the lady spoke to me through the translator.

She said, “I am sorry our church today went so long. Normally we finish in three hours.”

I asked why church went so long.

She smiled and said, “There is so much to thank God for.”


Moment 4: What is this?

Burundi has a trade in carved wooden crucifixes.

I travelled with Pastor Peter who bought a bagful of tiny crucifixes, one for each member of his congregation back home.

He also had one very large crucifix, more than a metre long.

At the raggedy airport, a man in uniform and sunglasses sat at a desk with a hand-scrawled sign saying CUSTOMS.

He took one look at Peter’s crucifix and said in a stern voice: “What is this?”

Pastor Peter, a little worried, but also always on the lookout for a chance to witness to his faith, declared in a proud voice: “This is Jesus.”

Sunglasses man listened. Was quiet. Then slowly shook his head. “No, this is not Jesus.”

Pastor Peter got excited. A crowd had gathered. A sermon beckoned.

Sunglasses man listened for a while, then put up his hand.


Peter paused mid-proclamation.

I sighed, fearful we may not get our passports stamped to get home.

Sunglasses man said again: “No, this is not Jesus.”


“The Jesus I know, He is alive!”


Moment 5: Why don’t you eat?

We stopped for lunch on a back road in the middle of nowhere.

A lady at the hostel had made us an egg and salad sandwich.

I was hungry, and just about to hoe in, when I saw a young boy on the side of the road.

He was dressed in faling-apart clothes. Ribs pressed through his skin. His eyes were faraway.

I gave the boy my sandwich.

But he just held it. Didn’t take a bite, even though he was days hungrier than me.

I asked the translator why the boy didn’t eat.

The boy said: “I will share this with my family.”



Five years ago it was feared the Lutheran-supported program in Burundi would have to close down.

The Government was planning new laws that threatened the work of aid agencies.

There was conflict and confusion in the streets.

Donor countries pulled out.

The world looked away.

Here at ALWS, we had to decide what to do. We had long discussions. Times of prayer. We looked at lots of papers. Then we looked at you.

People like you are kind and generous and faithful in your caring.

The people of Burundi are brave and hard-working and holding on to hope.

So, stepping out in faith …

… instead of pulling out of Burundi, we increased our ALWS commitment, trusting in you.

God has blessed that step of faith, working through people like you.

Today …

… the Australian Government is matching 5:1 your ALWS support for Burundi

… other countries have committed to helping

… your LWF program is growing and strong.

Of course, there are still challenges, and no one can say for certain what lies ahead …

… but, this coming year 2,571 of the poorest families in Burundi will receive your ALWS care. Their lives will be better because of people like you.

That’s momentous.

These are the moments that matter. Thank you.


PS: You are still welcome to use the new 5:1 Government Grant to help the people of Burundi. Your donation is tax-deductible. If you donate by 5pm this Thursday 30 June, you can claim your tax benefit in this financial year. If you have any questions about your ALWS action, simply call: 1300 763 407. Thank you!



How your donation is used wisely

You help with practical care

Your donation supports the ALWS program in Burundi, aiming to support 2,571 of the most vulnerable families. Your donation is matched 5:1 with an Australian Government Grant, as follows:

Every donation you make to this project will be combined with funding
from the Australian Government to reach more people.
ALWS has committed to contribute $1 for every $5
received from the Australian government.
Your donation will allow us to extend our programs.

Should ALWS receive income beyond what is needed in the Burundi project, your donation will be used in other ALWS-supported development projects.

Information in this communication is based on data correct at time of writing, and may change. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party, or to support welfare activities as defined by DFAT. For more information, call: 1300 763 407


Your donation is used carefully

In 2021, ALWS ‘overheads’ (fundraising and administration costs as defined by ACFID Code of Conduct) were 16.7%. The 5 years average is 15.4%.

A copy of the most current ALWS Annual Report can be viewed at or requested: 1300 763 407


Your privacy is important to us

ALWS collects personal information about you in order to process your gift. A copy of the ALWS Privacy Policy is available at If you don’t wish to receive further news from ALWS, simply call 1300 763 407 or write to

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is the Aid & Development Agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia – ABN 36 660 551 871

HOPE Spot #28: Tuesday 21 June

Your 5:1 basketful of goodness in Burundi

Do you have 3 minutes to meet 3 farmers? 

Or watch on vimeo here

Jacqueline, Perina and Gisela will show you how your 5:1 donation for farm families facing a hunger crisis in Burundi can be life-transforming.



When Jacqueline learned how to mix fertiliser and animal manure to improve her harvest yield, her life changed:

“Now I harvest a lot from small land.

I eat 3 times a day, whereas before I used to eat once a day.”

Meet Jacqueline here




Through ALWS, and the 5:1 Grant from the Australian Government, you support people to learn new income-generating activities.

Perina took up basket-weaving, alongside her farming.

She also joined a Village Savings and Loan Group.

Perina worked hard, and saved hard, and was able to buy a pig and a bicycle. She says:

“I appreciate this project because it makes me valuable.”





Gisela sums up the help you give people like her through ALWS very simply:

“Before this project, I had a joyless life.

I was always wondering how I will survive.

LWF taught me how to read and write.

As you can see, I have written on my basket: ‘God is good.’ ”




Take 3 minutes now to meet these brave, hard-working farm ladies face to face, and see the hope you give. Watch video

Now multiply out their success to the 2,571 families ALWS aims to support using the new 5:1 Government Grant in Burundi over the next 12 months!

If you have already used the 5:1 grant – thank you!

If not, donate 5:1 by 30 June to claim your tax benefit in this financial year.

From ‘a joyless life’ …

… through a project that ‘makes me valuable’

… to where ‘I eat 3 times a day’

… yes indeed, as Gisela says, ‘God is good’.


Thank you for the basketful of goodness you bring to the families of people like Jacqueline, Perina and Gisela in Burundi.

Your kindness and compassion show them they are not forgotten.

That is why you are a blessing ALWayS!


PS: The new 5:1 Government Grant is still available for you to support families in Burundi, and help children survive the looming hunger crisis. Donate 5:1 here. Your impact is increased FIVE TIMES, and your donation is tax-deductible. Donate by 5pm Thursday 30 June to claim your tax benefit in this financial year. Watch inspiring 3 minute video here. Thank you!

Images & Video: LWF Burundi



How your donation is used wisely

You help with practical care

Your donation supports the ALWS program in Burundi, aiming to support 2,571 of the most vulnerable families. Your donation is matched 5:1 with an Australian Government Grant, as follows:

Every donation you make to this project will be combined with funding
from the Australian Government to reach more people.
ALWS has committed to contribute $1 for every $5
received from the Australian government.
Your donation will allow us to extend our programs.

Should ALWS receive income beyond what is needed in the Burundi project, your donation will be used in other ALWS-supported development projects.

Information in this communication is based on data correct at time of writing, and may change. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party, or to support welfare activities as defined by DFAT. For more information, call: 1300 763 407


Your donation is used carefully

In 2021, ALWS ‘overheads’ (fundraising and administration costs as defined by ACFID Code of Conduct) were 16.7%. The 5 years average is 15.4%.

A copy of the most current ALWS Annual Report can be viewed at or requested: 1300 763 407


Your privacy is important to us

ALWS collects personal information about you in order to process your gift. A copy of the ALWS Privacy Policy is available at If you don’t wish to receive further news from ALWS, simply call 1300 763 407 or write to

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is the Aid & Development Agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia – ABN 36 660 551 871

HOPE Spot #27: Friday 10 June

Your kindness to children, the forgotten victims of war

Last Sunday I jumped in the car and drove 730 kilometres to see my 12 weeks old granddaughter Maya.

36 hours later I drove 730 kilometres home again.

Maya melts my heart with every chuckle and cuddle, and a single moment with her is worth every hour of that drive.

I feel so blessed to be both a Dad and a Grandpa.

And PoPo for two other granddaughters.

That’s why my heart breaks and my stomach knots and my fists clench when I see innocent children hurt by war.

Ukraine is in the headlines… and the wars the world has forgotten – Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Myanmar.

What lifts my spirits is the kindness and compassion of people like you, reaching out in humble generosity to help the people of Ukraine and the child victims of other wars.

You do so much life-saving work, I can’t fit it all in one post 😊.

So, just click on the links below to see more of what you are doing through ALWS in some of the toughest places on earth.

I especially urge you to click on the Ethiopia link,
to read the story from Sophie Gebrayes on the front line.

I will talk to you again at the bottom of this HOPE Spot …


Photo: LWF Ethiopia


War broke out in Ethiopia on 4 November 2020, with conflict between the Tigray region and the Ethiopian Government. Up to 495,000 people were internally displaced in Tigray. The ongoing impact of COVID, drought and locust plagues threaten a hunger crisis for children, with children showing visible signs of wasting. Sophie Gebrayes, leading the LWF team you support, reports: “The thing that strikes you are the number of mothers with babies and toddlers in back-carriers.”

GOOD NEWS: 46,789 people reached with support for food security and nutrition, Multi-Purpose Cash Grants, water and sanitation and hygiene.   READ MORE


Photo: ALWS / Magda Vogt


A new study reports the number of children out of school has DOUBLED in the last two years. Since the military coup, 260 schools have suffered attacks, and children are scared to return. Through ALWS, you support Temporary Learning Spaces in 8 Displaced Persons Camps. 7 year old Zaw Ri Na Ha Tu is a student you support, as is her volunteer teacher you see here. Zaw says: “My favourite subjects are English and Maths. I am in Grade 2. I want to be a Teacher so I can help students.” 

GOOD NEWS: In Displaced Persons Camps, you support 9,737 children from Kindergarten to Grade 4 to go to school.   READ MORE



Fouzia is 14. She says life in Afghanistan was peaceful until her mum died two years ago. Fouzia went to live with her aunt and uncle. When the humanitarian crisis happened, they fled to Pakistan. Here the family received a Multipurpose Grant from the partner delivering your ALWS support in Afghanistan. Fouzia says: “My aunt bought food items so that we have sufficient meals every day as we barely had enough food for all of us in the family. She also bought my medicines for my migraines.”

GOOD NEWS: 525 families reached with Multi-Purpose Cash Grants   READ MORE


Photo: LWF


As the war in Ukraine continues, women and children flee to safety in neighbouring countries like Poland. Through ALWS, and our partner LWF, you support Lutheran churches to welcome and care for these refugees. The aim is to provide care to 60,000 people with cash grants to buy essentials. The LWF centres you support in Poland also provide counselling for children experiencing post-traumatic stress, and referral services for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

GOOD NEWS: Anglican Overseas Aid and Emergency Action Alliance have added more than $80,000 to your ALWS support for people of Ukraine.  READ MORE


Photo: LWF Burundi


The war in Ukraine has disrupted grain exports to Africa. These children in Burundi lost their mother to a heart attack a year ago. Now, Dad Leonidas does his best to support his four children. But no matter how hard he works, he cannot afford for the children to go to school. Often there is not even enough food. Through ALWS, you train Leonidas in modern farming methods. He is looking forward to teaching his new skills to others, and having his children return to school.

GOOD NEWS: 5:1 Australian Government Grant increases your impact to help 2,571 families increase local food production.   READ MORE    DONATE 5:1       



Thank you for all you do through ALWS to help child victims of war.

My prayer is your heart will be filled with joy at the hope your hands-on help brings to children and families in these dangerous places, especially to those who feel forgotten..

Truly, you are living out the verse from the Bible that inspires us here at ALWS:

Don’t forget those who are suffering,
but imagine you are there with them.
Hebrews 13:3b (CEV)

Even though you are far more than 730 kilometres away, you are there with them.

Thank you for being a blessing ALWayS!


PS: The new 5:1 Government Grant is still available for you to support families in Burundi, and help children survive the looming hunger crisis. Donate 5:1 here. Your impact is increased FIVE TIMES, and your donation is tax-deductible. Donate by 5pm Thursday 30 June to claim your tax benefit in this financial year. Thank you!



How your donation is used wisely

You help with practical care

Your donation supports the ALWS program in Burundi, aiming to support 2,571 of the most vulnerable families. Your donation is matched 5:1 with an Australian Government Grant, as follows:

Every donation you make to this project will be combined with funding
from the Australian Government to reach more people.
ALWS has committed to contribute $1 for every $5
received from the Australian government.
Your donation will allow us to extend our programs.

Should ALWS receive income beyond what is needed in the Burundi project, your donation will be used in other ALWS-supported development projects.

Information in this communication is based on data correct at time of writing, and may change. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party, or to support welfare activities as defined by DFAT. For more information, call: 1300 763 407


Your donation is used carefully

In 2021, ALWS ‘overheads’ (fundraising and administration costs as defined by ACFID Code of Conduct) were 16.7%. The 5 years average is 15.4%.

A copy of the most current ALWS Annual Report can be viewed at or requested: 1300 763 407


Your privacy is important to us

ALWS collects personal information about you in order to process your gift. A copy of the ALWS Privacy Policy is available at If you don’t wish to receive further news from ALWS, simply call 1300 763 407 or write to

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is the Aid & Development Agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia – ABN 36 660 551 871

HOPE Spot #26: Monday 6 June

13 x 5 x 705 =

I’m not sure if you recall …

… but each 2022 ALWS Supporter Survey sent back by 13 May attracted a $5 donation from a Lutheran couple in Adelaide.

We were overwhelmed with 705 surveys by that date – and received a $3,525 donation!

(If you didn’t get to complete your Survey, no worries. You can still do it here. It will take you around 5 minutes. I’m really keen to hear your thoughts and ideas. If you can complete by this Friday 10 June, your survey will qualify for the $5 donation too!)



As I read through the 2022 ALWS Supporter Surveys, over and over people said they didn’t want any praise or fuss made about them.

They just wanted to get on with quietly doing what they can, when they can, as God had blessed them to bless. Like Shirley, who wrote:

“Due to my life and health,
my finances are very limited.

Therefore, I can only give when possible.

I would love to do more if I could.”

What I say to Shirley, and to you, is that whatever you do is a blessing.



Another thought struck me from the Supporter Surveys …

… the humble way you help others through ALWS is exactly how Jesus explained we should bring love to life:

“When you do something for someone else,
don’t call attention to yourself…

When you help someone out,
don’t think about how it looks.

Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively.”

from Matthew 6: 2 – 4 (The Message)

That’s you! Thank you!

(And sorry Nike, Jesus beat you to ‘Just do it’! 😊)



Just a reminder that the new 5:1 Government Grant is open now to help families in Burundi, in danger from poverty …

… and facing the new threat of hunger caused by the war in Ukraine disrupting grain and fertiliser suppliers, pushing up prices beyond what families can afford.


Your 5:1 donation will focus on increasing local food production for these families in danger of being forgotten. You help provide:

  • goats, chickens and cows for food, extra income and manure for fertiliser
  • training in modern farming methods
  • kitchen gardens
  • farm tools: hoes, wheelbarrows and shovels


Our aim is to support 2,571 families, at an average investment of $29 per person. If you feel called to use the 5:1 Grant, simply donate here.

Thank you for always thinking of others.

I don’t need a survey to tell me your kindness and generosity – it’s proven. That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS!


PS: If you didn’t get to complete your 2022 ALWS Supporter Survey, it’s easy and quick to do it here. Please do so by this Friday 10 June to attract the $5 donation for each survey completed. Thank you!


How your donation is used wisely

You help with practical care

Your donation supports the ALWS program in Burundi, aiming to support 2,571 of the most vulnerable families. Your donation is matched 5:1 with an Australian Government Grant, as follows:

Every donation you make to this project will be combined with funding
from the Australian Government to reach more people.
ALWS has committed to contribute $1 for every $5
received from the Australian government.
Your donation will allow us to extend our programs.

Should ALWS receive income beyond what is needed in the Burundi project, your donation will be used in other ALWS-supported development projects.

Information in this communication is based on data correct at time of writing, and may change. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party, or to support welfare activities as defined by DFAT. For more information, call: 1300 763 407


Your donation is used carefully

In 2021, ALWS ‘overheads’ (fundraising and administration costs as defined by ACFID Code of Conduct) were 16.7%. The 5 years average is 15.4%.

A copy of the most current ALWS Annual Report can be viewed at or requested: 1300 763 407


Your privacy is important to us

ALWS collects personal information about you in order to process your gift. A copy of the ALWS Privacy Policy is available at If you don’t wish to receive further news from ALWS, simply call 1300 763 407 or write to

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is the Aid & Development Agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia – ABN 36 660 551 871

HOPE Spot #25: Wednesday 1 June

New 5:1 Matching Grant you can use!

I’ve got good news for you!

In my HOPE Spot last week, I flagged a new 5:1 Grant from the Australian Government for ALWS.

What’s exciting is the Government has approved a 12.2% increase in ANCP* 5:1 grants for ALWS!

This is directly due to your hard work and generosity, as I’ll explain at the bottom of this email.

Speaking of people who work hard, let me introduce you to Sylvie, a young mum in Burundi. Sylvie’s is one of 2,571 families you can using the new 5:1 Grant.  Donate 5:1 now!



Sylvie is a young woman of faith and courage.

When you see her smile, it’s hard to believe she lives extreme poverty.

Her country, Burundi, is one of the five least-developed countries in the world …

… and her life is made even more challenging by the fact she has a severe disability – her foot is twisted almost backwards.

No matter how hard Sylvie works, the family is so poor the children had to stop going to school. Many days there is little to eat.

That’s where you can step in with the new 5:1 Government Grant.

Donate 5:1 NOW to help a family like Sylvie’s.



A new danger facing families like Sylvie’s is a hunger crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. If you’ve been following the news reports, you’ll know:

  • Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s largest exporters of grain
  • many countries in Africa rely on this grain to feed their people
  • the war has disrupted grain harvest and pushed up prices
  • shipping routes have been blockaded
  • Russia and Ukraine also manufacture and supply fertiliser
  • supplies are cut, and prices increased
  • families who can’t afford fertiliser see their crop yield go down

This is the hidden tragedy faced by countries like Burundi.

 The danger is vulnerable families like Sylvie’s will be forgotten by the world.



Thanks to people like you, ALWS has been able to increase our commitment to help the people of Ukraine from $50,000 to more than $200,000 – thank you!

Now, as the war in Ukraine threatens a hunger crisis in Africa, ALWS is responding by increasing your support for local food production.

Your 5:1 life-protecting action in Burundi can:

  • set up agricultural groups to teach modern farming methods
  • supply livestock to diversify family income sources …

    … and provide extra food:

    • cows for milk
    • chickens for eggs
    • goats for meat
  • show how animal manure can produce no-cost fertiliser to increase yield
  • grow kitchen gardens for vegetables
  • introduce improved seed varieties like beans and maize + training in seed multiplication and harvest conservation
  • equip farmers with vital tools like wheelbarrows, hoes and shovels


As you can see, this Food Production Plan relies on the hard work of the people you support with your 5:1 donation. Your help is a hand-up, not a hand-out.

(Look at the joy the chickens you supply bring Sylvie’s son! More photos here.)



Because the new 5:1 Government Grant is so vital to protect families from hunger, I have snail-mailed ALWS supporters with all the details. Keep an eye out for this pack:


Our aim is to support 2,571 families like Sylvie’s.

This is a step of faith, but a step taken with confidence, knowing:

  • the proven kindness and generosity of people like you
  • the family you help will work hard to help themselves
  • the matching grant increases your impact FIVE TIMES

Donate 5:1 NOW!


The result of our work together is that someone like Sylvie can dare to dream:

“I dream of being able to build a decent home so my children and I can live in dignity.

I want us to be self-sufficient in nutrition.

 If these two needs can be met, I can find the strength to work harder so my children can stay in school.”


You are welcome to use the 5:1 Grant to support other families in Burundi to overcome poverty and protect themselves from the hunger crisis that threatens.

On a practical level, your 5:1 donation is tax-deductible. If you donate by Thursday 30 June, you can claim any tax benefit this financial year.

Thank you for everything you already do to bring hope to vulnerable people, in danger of being forgotten.

As I said to you in last week’s HOPE Spot, you ‘make ordinary people feel special’. I think you can see in Sylvie’s and her son’s smiles the joy being made to ‘feel special’ brings.

That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS! Thank you!


Photos: ALWS



The new 5:1 Grant is part of the Australian Government’s ANCP Program – Australian NGO Cooperation Program. (NGO = Non-Government Organisation) 

The official wording the Australian Government uses to describe these grants is:

Every donation you make to this project will be combined with funding
from the Australian Government to reach more people.
ALWS has committed to contribute $1 for every $5
received from the Australian government.
Your donation will allow us to extend our programs.

What it means for you and me is:

$          +         $$$$$       =         $$$$$$

Your gift                    Government Grant                            Your total help!


The total the Australian Government has offered to ALWS for FY 22/23 is $2,084,567.

This is a 12.2% increase on the current financial year – a tribute to the generosity of people like you …

… because the amount ALWS receives is based on a formula that takes into account the public donations (you) ALWS received compared to what other agencies have achieved.

So, thank you – and the Australian Government!



How your donation is used wisely

You help with practical care

Your donation supports the ALWS program in Burundi, aiming to support 2,571 of the most vulnerable families. Your donation is matched 5:1 with an Australian Government Grant, as follows:

Every donation you make to this project will be combined with funding
from the Australian Government to reach more people.
ALWS has committed to contribute $1 for every $5
received from the Australian government.
Your donation will allow us to extend our programs.

Should ALWS receive income beyond what is needed in the Burundi project, your donation will be used in other ALWS-supported development projects.

Information in this communication is based on data correct at time of writing, and may change. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party, or to support welfare activities as defined by DFAT. For more information, call: 1300 763 407


Your donation is used carefully

In 2021, ALWS ‘overheads’ (fundraising and administration costs as defined by ACFID Code of Conduct) were 16.7%. The 5 years average is 15.4%.

A copy of the most current ALWS Annual Report can be viewed at or requested: 1300 763 407


Your privacy is important to us

ALWS collects personal information about you in order to process your gift. A copy of the ALWS Privacy Policy is available at If you don’t wish to receive further news from ALWS, simply call 1300 763 407 or write to

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is the Aid & Development Agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia – ABN 36 660 551 871



HOPE Spot #24: Friday 27 May

When what is ordinary is special

Two weeks ago I was driving through central Victoria, and something happened that made me think of you.

My wife Julie and I were doing a road trip.

We like to get off the main highways and explore old towns – Julie for cheap and crazy clothes in Op Shops, me for sausage rolls in bakeries.

Anyway, we came to a town from gold rush days that looked like life had passed it by. A bit battered and grey and worn-out. (No, that’s not what made me think of you!!! 😊)

I spotted both a bakery and what looked like an Op Shop.

However, the ‘Op Shop’ was something completely different.

Inside were racks of women’s clothes. But not just any old clothes – beautifully-tailored one-off high-end fashion labels. Pre-loved, but still in perfect condition.

Normally these clothes would cost hundreds of dollars, but here they were $10 to $20!

It took me about 20 seconds to find 20 things for Julie to try on, meaning a two hour wait for me.


And this is where I get to you. 

We asked the lady running the store why she had all these amazing clothes at such amazing prices in such an out-of-the-way place.

She said:

“I want to make ordinary people feel special.”


That’s exactly what you do through ALWS. 

The ‘dress’ you provide to the ‘ordinary people’ you help may be a goat in Burundi, a school kit in Myanmar, a Farmer Field School in South Sudan …

… but whatever practical aid you give, you also make the person you help ‘feel special’.

Your kindness and generosity tell them that someone cares about them. That they haven’t been forgotten. That they are precious.

That’s why you see smiles like this:

Photo: ALWS/LWF Burundi


This is Sylvie and her family.

Sylvie has a disability (a twisted foot) and her family live in one of the poorest villages in Burundi, one of the 5 least-developed countries in the world.

Through ALWS, you support Sylvie to receive training in modern farming methods, plus help to buy chickens and feed to start a little business.

Sylvie told us your encouragement gives her the strength to work harder, so she can feed her children and send them to school.

While the family’s clothes are very different to those in the dress shop we found, I think you can see from the smiles how special you make Sylvie’s whole family feel.

As Julie tried on dress number 17, I realised something else too.

What you do for families like Sylvie’s is exactly what Jesus did as He reached out to people living in poverty and feeling forgotten.

For me as a Christian, I see Jesus helping people with their physical needs …

… and by bringing His love to their life, showing them they are special. They go away smiling and filled with new hope for life!

Which brings me to one last thought.

As we left the dress shop, we asked the lady why she did what she did. She simply smiled and said:

“It makes me happy.”

I pray that what you do through ALWS to ‘make ordinary people feel special’ makes you happy too!



PS: Next week I’ll tell you about a new 5:1 Government Grant that can increase your ALWS help to families in Burundi FIVE TIMES, to make many more smiles like Sylvie’s family’s. You can take a sneak peek here.

PPS: If you want to know the town to find that dress shop, just reply to this email! (NB: The sausage rolls at the bakery are good too!) 😊

HOPE Spot #23: Wednesday 11 May

You and Ukraine – a step of faith becomes a leap!

The war in Ukraine continues to shock the world.

Each day brings more stories that break your heart.

At the same time, stories of courage and kindness inspire us.

You’ll see both those sides of the war in the story of the children in the photo, which I will share with you in a moment.

First, let me talk about you.

Within days of the tanks rolling in to Ukraine, churches in countries on the border set up to welcome refugees, and provide food, shelter and comfort.

You were, and are, part of that effort through our ALWS partner LWF supporting Lutheran churches in Romania, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia …

… and through the ACT Alliance of churches of many denominations.

ALWS stepped out in faith, trusting in the generosity of people like you, and committed $50,000 to the Ukraine response.

Your generosity has been overwhelming, and enabled ALWS to DOUBLE our original commitment!



… that total amount has DOUBLED AGAIN, thanks to funds received by ALWS through the Emergency Action Alliance, supported by the Australian Government and a concert by Ed Sheeran broadcast on the ABC.



… the ALWS family has matched all of that with the same generosity for victims of wars the world has forgotten, in places like Afghanistan and Myanmar!


When you meet Irina, and hear her story, you can see straightaway how important your help is:

“During the first days of the war we tried to tell the children it was thunder.

But when the active bombing started, and the missiles fell near the house, the children started screaming, and didn’t want to leave the shelter.”


The ‘shelter’ Irina describes is not what you think. Her house did not have a basement, so she built a ‘shelter’ out of sofas and furniture.

“They ate there. They went to the toilet there. They were really very, very scared. That is why I realised that there was no time to wait, and it was time to evacuate somewhere.”


Irina’s parents didn’t want to leave, even when a bomb exploded in their neighbourhood. So, Irina and the children started walking on their own. That’s when the shelling started even closer.

“We saw a convoy of cars with white flags passing. One car had three spare places, so we decided to go with them. We did not know where it was going. There was no time to decide.”


That car run out of fuel in a village only a few kilometres away. Irina and the children stayed there for five days until the Russian army came, and they had to flee again. They found a train, but there were 12 people for every seat. Irina’s children (aged 5 and 8) slept on the floor.

Finally, the little family reached safety in a community shelter, which is where the kind of help you support through ALWS is being provided by front-line teams and volunteers from the ACT Alliance of churches.


You can see below the room that 12 people share:

It’s crowded, but it’s safe. Irina says:

“We receive meals three times a day. It’s not the same food as at home. When we ask for something, people try to give us what we need. I understand that it is difficult to feed one hundred people.”


Irina is a trained nurse, and longs to be able to go home to join her husband, her sister and her parents:

“If, in five minutes, someone calls me and tells me the Ukrainian flag is flying in the cities, I will be at the train station in half an hour.”


But for now, her priority is to keep the children safe, as they huddle together in the tiny space that is ‘home’ for now …

… at least here it is safe for the children to play outside

… and that’s thanks to the kindness and generosity of people like who reach out to help others in their time of need.


Thank you – you are a blessing ALWayS!



PS: The war in Europe is now starting to impact the Horn of Africa. Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of grain to Africa, and the disruption to food supplies threatens a hunger crisis in countries where you work through ALWS – Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan. Our plan is to now increase support for local food production. In Burundi this will include training for farmers, livestock like goats and chickens, Harvest Stores. I will keep you updated over the next few weeks about what you can do to help, and a 5:1 Australian Government Grant that will increase your impact. Thank you again!


Photos: ACT Alliance / HIA: Fekete Dániel
Interview: Hungarian Interchurch Aid

HOPE Spot #22: Wednesday 4 May

Fighting fraud so your donations ‘get there’

A colleague at ALWS ‘dared’ me to write this HOPE Spot for you.

She thought the subject ‘Fighting Fraud’ might be too boring to interest you.

I took on the challenge …

… because what I hear when I visit churches, and read emails from supporters, is that people like you want to know your donations to ALWS ‘get there’. (As do I!)

Through ALWS, you work in some very challenging places, where government systems are still developing, and the way things work can be different to what we expect in Australia.

That’s why training staff to fight fraud is critical.

So, here goes.

NB: If you’re not interested in making sure your money ‘gets there’, you can stop reading now 😊


Pennies in PNG

As you know, ALWS is accredited by the Australian Government. This requires ALWS to meet the highest standards of audit and accountability.

In 2019, the Australian Government granted ALWS $900,895 to support the aid work of the Lutheran Church in PNG.

It was found an amount of $1,500 could not be properly accounted for. This is 0.2% – 1/500th.

A full investigation was undertaken, and it was finally found that the amount unaccounted for was $22. That is: 0.002%.

You might wonder about the value of that investigation into ‘pennies’ …

… but it unlocked new ways to improve practices that take into account local situations

… plus showed partners again how seriously ALWS takes the care of funds entrusted to us.

Still with me? Good on you 😊

Let me take you now to Nepal …


52+ in Nepal

During April, you supported a 3-day training workshop in Nepal with the catchy title:

Training on Fighting Fraud in NGOs, Financial Management and Procurement Management.


The training was run by our ALWS partner LWF Nepal, supported by the Australian Government and ALWS … and attracted 52 participants, with 75% from the local partners delivering your ALWS aid at grassroots level.

I won’t go through the full curriculum with you, but the aims were:

  1. enhance knowledge and capacity to fight fraud
  2. have sound financial management systems
  3. ensure efficient procurement

Ms Asha Wod, a Finance Officer from a front-line partner delivering your aid, declared:

“We learned many useful things about financial documentation and procurement management … which we can use on a day-to-day basis in our work.

I would like to thank LWF Nepal and the trainers for making us clear on these subjects.

I assure you that what we have learned from this training we will share with our friends and colleagues in our respective organisations.”


Pastor Joseph Soren is Chairperson of the Lutheran Church Welfare Society, that also helps deliver your ALWS aid in Nepal. Pastor Joseph reflected:

“We have been asking for this training for a long time to help us develop proper policies and enhance our capacity … for financial and procurement management.

I do believe we must create the opportunity, and not just run after it.

… and we are hopeful and committed to improve our systems and documents with the learnings from this training.”


This is all part of your action through ALWS.

I trust these two examples show you how committed ALWS is to make sure your donations ‘get there’ and are used efficiently and effectively to transform lives.

If you have any questions, please ask!

Just email or call 1300 763 407

Thank you for all you do to help people through ALWS …

… including the remote villages of PNG and far-off communities in Nepal, where too often people who are the most vulnerable can be forgotten by the world.

You are a blessing ALWayS!



PS: This is a little cheeky, but seeing you made it this far in today’s HOPE Spot, can you send me a message – even just a 😊 – so I can show my colleague who challenged me to write about this subject for you! Thank you!


HOPE Spot #21: Friday 29 April

What COVID taught me…

A couple weeks back, our family came down with COVID.

For the boys, it was a day of symptoms and then 6 days of movies in bed. My wife, Julie, was knocked around a fair bit. For me, mostly weariness.

I don’t know if you’ve had COVID yet – and if you haven’t, I pray you don’t …

… but those days isolated from the world taught me a lesson I didn’t expect.

My job, working for you here at ALWS is to:

Help more people help more people.

Suddenly, COVID put me on the receiving end of help.

Casseroles appeared on the doorstep.

The weekend newspaper.

Medical supplies – Cold & Flu tablets, paracetamol, Cure-All chocolate.

Emails of encouragement.

And, of course, our church’s 50 persons prayer chain swung into action.

It was very humbling.

The practical help was helpful when we were helpless (especially the chocolate 😊).

Even more precious though was knowing that people cared about us.

Enough that they went out of their way to look after us. Give up their time and their money to make our lives a little bit better when we were doing it tough.

I didn’t realise how good it would feel to know that we meant that much to people.

What I felt is exactly what the people you help
through ALWS feel when they receive your care.

Yes, the practical ALWS help you give is important – the schoolbooks, the goat, the welcome at the refugee camp, the training in improved farming methods …

… but even more precious is the fact the person you help knows someone cares about them.

Your kindness tells them they matter.

That they are valued.

As you know, here at ALWS we seek to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and reach out to people who are the most vulnerable, and in danger of being forgotten by the world.

For these people, your kindness matters even more.

For some, it’s the first time in their life that anyone has said they are important.

That’s why they do whatever they can to thank you. If you were in their village, they’d invite you to a meal. Prepare a speech. Introduce you to the whole family. Sing a song. Gather you up in dance.

While distance and circumstance mean you can’t have that experience physically …

… I hope the stories I share with you through these HOPE Spots give you a taste of what your kindness means to each person you help.

Your kindness is precious, a gift beyond words.

That’s what COVID taught me.


HOPE Spot #20: Wednesday 20 April


That’s how many lives were touched by people like you through ALWS last year! Absolutely amazing. Thank you!

Those 509,873 people live in countries from Afghanistan to South Sudan, and received support from agricultural training to COVID supplies to education, and much more …

… which is why this week I have mailed you our 2022 ALWS Supporter Survey.

The Supporter Survey lets you tell us the areas of your ALWS work that most interest you, so we can update you more directly on all you achieve for others.

As you complete your survey, consider that each of those 509,873 people  …

… is an individual, like Mr Yam Narayan Adhikari from Chitwan in Nepal.

If you look closely, you’ll see
Mr Yam has only one hand.

This has not stopped him becoming Chair of his community’s Disaster Management Committee, which you supported to receive training through our ALWS partner LWF Nepal.  Mr Yam says:

“The training was very beneficial to me as physically I can properly work only with one hand, and people like me face difficulties and are more vulnerable during the time of flood.”

One of the key life-saving measures the community learned in the training was manufacturing homemade ‘flood protective swimming gear’.

They recycle local products like bottles and water pots to create flotation devices, as you see in the photo below …

The aim is to use local knowledge, local resources and local energy to help people protect themselves and others in this disaster-prone region. Mr Yam reports:

“This training has given me the abilities and self-confidence to make and use the swimming gear to try to protect myself, and support others too.”

“In the coming days, if the flood comes or not, we will practice
 making this swimming gear, and store it ready.”

You also trained people to:

  • make ropes from local resources
  • build stretchers
  • use effective ways to control fires
  • recycle plastic products to make life-jackets

The 3 days training reached 50 people, delivered in partnership with the Nepal Army and local Chitwan District leadership, supported by the Australian Government.

Together, the 50 people you see here are now equipped to protect themselves and others during time of disaster …

Multiply the people in this photo 10,000 TIMES …

 … and you have the 509,873 LIVES touched
by people like you through ALWS in 2021!


Thank you for bringing hope into so many lives – you truly are a blessing ALWayS.

Photos: LWF Nepal

HOPE Spot #19: Wednesday 14 April

Your daily bread …

My first job as a 17 year old was pastry-chef.

The Wednesday night before Easter was our busiest.

We’d work all night hand-rolling the best Hot Cross Buns in all of Melbourne. People would start queuing from 5.30.

I thought of that when I saw this photo from South Sudan …

… the only difference is people aren’t queuing.


The price of flour in Africa has increased dramatically, and people can’t afford to buy the goods Ring Majok (above) is baking.

And why have prices gone up?

The war in Ukraine.

18 countries in Africa import more than half their grain from Ukraine and Russia. So, as the war destroys crops, pushes up prices, cuts off reliable supply …

… families in poor communities in Africa struggle to afford their daily bread.

This bakery’s owner says:

“People just walk past my bakery.
Before, there was a queue here.

Now, children go to school
on an empty stomach.”


Through ALWS, you help protect families from hunger in places like South Sudan and Burundi by supporting farmers with:

  • new drought-resistant seed varieties
  • training in mulching, weeding and compost
  • animal manure fertiliser*
  • water supply and irrigation
  • home vegetable gardens
  • pineapple and banana plantations in Burundi
  • marketing skills to increase profit
  • co-operatives to share the benefits

* Ukraine and Russia also produce much of the world’s fertiliser


‘What’s the price of a loaf of bread?’…


… here in Australia, it’s a journalist’s ‘gotcha’ question during the election campaign

… but in the places where you help people through ALWS, it’s a real question for families about what they can feed their children.

Through ALWS, as you support Lutheran churches in Poland, Hungary and Romania to provide basics like bread for people fleeing the war in Ukraine …

… you also support families in places like Burundi and South Sudan, making sure they are not forgotten as they battle to feed their children.

Thank you for all you do through ALWS to put bread on the tables of people who, without you, would be hungry. You are a blessing ALWayS.



PS: Tonight, those of us who are Christians celebrate Jesus instituting the Lord’s Supper through the breaking of bread for his friends. I’ll miss our church’s worship (I’m at home with COVID), but I pray Easter is a special blessing for you.


All photos: Anette Torjusen, Norwegian Church Aid

HOPE Spot #18: Friday 8 April

What care is all about

Can I take you to the border of Ukraine …

… to give you a first-hand insight into your ALWS action for refugees from Ukraine.

Your ALWS action is part of the LWF plan to serve 170,000 refugees from Ukraine.


Chey Mattner (an Aussie from the Barossa Valley) is Head of Operations for LWF (Lutheran World Federation).

On Wednesday, via Zoom, Chey shared his experiences supporting Lutheran churches in Romania, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia as they care for refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Nearly 100 people attended the 30 minutes Zoom briefing …

… but if you missed it, you can watch it here


Chey shares eyewitness stories and expert insights that will show you how important and effective your action through ALWS is for refugees who have lost everything.

One of those refugees is Maria …

… who you can meet here in this two minute video from an Emergency Centre in Hungary.

Maria is one of the thousands of refugees receiving care from people like you through the ACT Alliance of churches worldwide, of which ALWS is a member. Maria shares:

“We come here to Hungary. We go to the volunteers and now we know what care is about…

… we have very thanks for the help because when you must go out from your home where you have friends and work and school, you have all these things, and then you are homeless, with just a bag …

 To be safe is the one thing. You go step by step.

 That’s why the help of other people is very, very important.”

‘Now we know what care is about.’

That’s your impact.

That’s what you do through ALWS – not just for the people fleeing Ukraine, like Maria

… but also for victims of other wars in places like Ethiopia, Myanmar, Afghanistan, far from media attention and in danger of being forgotten.

Your kindness and care bring these people the life-saving help they need, and encourages them they are not alone. That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS. Thank you!


Maria video
(2 minutes)

Chey briefing
(30 minutes)

PS: you are also welcome to join Ed Sheeran leading the ‘Concert for Ukraine’ on ABC iView. Proceeds go to the Emergency Action Alliance, of which ALWS is a founding member. If you’d like to donate to help victims of war from Ukraine to Ethiopia and Myanmar, simply donate here. Thank you!


How your donation is used wisely

You help with practical care: Your donation helps survivors of war in Ukraine and Ethiopia, and in other humanitarian emergencies where you are needed most urgently. Should ALWS receive income beyond what is needed in these projects, those funds will be used in ALWS-supported development projects. Information in this communication is based on data correct at time of writing, and may change. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party, or to support welfare activities as defined by DFAT. For more information, call: 1300 763 407

Being careful with your care: In 2021, ALWS ‘overheads’ (fundraising and administration costs as defined by ACFID Code of Conduct) were 16.7%. The 5 year average is 15.4%. A copy of the most current ALWS Annual Report can be viewed at or requested: 1300 763 407. [ACFID logo]

Your privacy is important to us: ALWS collects personal information about you in order to process your gift. A copy of the ALWS Privacy Policy is available at If you don’t wish to receive further news from ALWS, simply call 1300 763 407 or write to

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is The Overseas Aid & Resettlement Agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia – ABN 36 660 551 871

HOPE Spot #17: Tuesday 5 April

‘Live’ from Ukraine frontline this Wednesday

As each day brings more disturbing news from Ukraine …

… this Wednesday, at 6pm AEST, you have the chance to hear encouraging news.

You are invited to a 30 minutes Zoom session with Aussie,

Chey Mattner, back from the front line in Poland.

Chey is a key member of the LWF operation supporting Lutheran churches in Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia to welcome and care for refugees fleeing Ukraine.


Through ALWS, you support this vital work ensuring churches can efficiently and effectively provide the care refugees need most – food, shelter, warm clothes.

You are welcome to join a Zoom briefing live with Chey:

Wednesday 6 April

* 6pm – Qld / NSW / Vic

* 5.30pm – SA / NT

* 4pm – WA

* 8pm – NZ 

Zoom Link


Your briefing is hosted by Leah Odongo, Acting Executive Director of ALWS.

Leah has 8 years of experience working on the front line of your ALWS work with refugees at Kakuma and Dadaab in Kenya. As Leah interviews Chey, she can bring you the benefit of her experience as well.


The briefing is open to all ALWS supporters. Simply use this link:

You are welcome to ask questions about the Ukraine work you support.

Simply send an email here with your questions for Leah and Chey.


You may remember Chey is an Aussie, and former Executive Director of ALWS. He now serves from Geneva as Head of Operations for LWF.

Chey continues the long history of Australians playing critical roles in LWF:

  • Pastor Bruno Muetzelfeldt – began ALWS work at Bonegilla Migrant Centre (near Albury), then led Operations for LWF in Geneva
  • Brian Neldner – served for 40 years, including 15 years in Director roles, and in the 1980s won UN support for specialised care for women in refugee situations
  • Shirley Golding – gave more than 15 years of service in LWF finances, including in Zimbabwe and in the wake of the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake

Thank you for the service you give through your kindness and generosity. Together we can be a blessing ALWayS!



PS: Tomorrow – Wednesday 6 April – use this Zoom link to join the 30 minutes briefing on your ALWS work supporting the people of Ukraine, and refugees from other crises in danger of being forgotten. If you can’t make it on Wednesday, we’ll record the session so you can watch it later. 

HOPE Spot #16: Wednesday 30 March

Ed Sheeran joins you for Ukraine (tonight!)

Our ALWS community has already responded with overwhelming generosity to help the people of Ukraine through Lutheran churches serving on the front line.

Now, Ed Sheeran and other musical stars are adding their talents to your kindness, through a two hour Concert for Ukraine on ABC TV Plus, tonight at 8.30 AEDT.

(If you don’t know who Ed Sheeran is, he has album sales of around 23 million!)

Proceeds from the concert go to the Emergency Action Alliance, of which ALWS is a foundation member – thus boosting our ALWS action.

Other performers at the concert include:

  • Camila Cabello
  • Nile Rodgers & Chic
  • Snow Patrol
  • Becky Hill
  • The Kingdom Choir
  • Manic Street Preachers
  • Tom Odell

Viewers will be able to donate money to help the people of Ukraine through the concert, and for the following 30 days that it is available on ABC iView.

I know this is very late notice – the event only came together yesterday – but I hope you are as excited as I am at the way people are coming together for the people of Ukraine.

You are welcome to donate here for the kind of work you see here…

Photo: Finn Church Aid – photographer Antti Yrjonen


… working through our ALWS partner, Lutheran World Federation, and churches of many denominations from around the world through the ACT Alliance.

Your ALWS action focuses on supporting Lutheran churches in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia to welcome refugees, and to also support the aid efforts of the Lutheran church inside Ukraine.

Hot meals. A place to sleep. Soap and toothpaste.

Even incontinence pads for elderly people in distress.

Most of all, a warmth of welcome that tells people they are not alone or forgotten, and that there are people of kindness and generosity willing to stand with them.

Together, we pray for an end to the suffering, and a swift return to peace and justice.

Your donation now will be a blessing ALWayS.

Thank you for all you do for others, and I hope that if you can watch the Concert for Ukraine tonight you will feel encouraged that world class performers of the calibre of Ed Sheeran share your deep concern for the people of Ukraine.


PS: As we support this action for the people of Ukraine, ALWS continues to take your care to the victims of other wars at risk of being forgotten – Afghanistan, Myanmar, Ethiopia. Thank you for caring here too. Donate now


     ACT Alliance logo     


HOPE Spot #15: Friday 25 March

How you help get girls to school in danger zones

Did you hear the overnight news from Afghanistan?

The Taliban are banning girls from going past Grade 6 at school.

This broken promise hurts girls now and for the future.

No matter how much courage girls and young women have in Afghanistan, without education they are condemned to a life that completely ignores their human rights.

While you and I cannot take on the Taliban face to face, through ALWS we can continue supporting careful work inside Afghanistan …

… and to Afghan families who have managed to escape to Pakistan.

At the moment, we cannot provide education directly to girls, but we can:

  • target vocational training at women
  • aim to ensure females are at least half the people you help
  • use trainers who are women
  • ensure female-headed households are a priority
  • train communities against gender-based violence
  • model having women in leadership roles

Clearly, this is not as direct as we’d like it to be, but I am sure you understand the challenges. You are welcome to support this work for the girls and women of Afghanistan through our Children of War appeal here.

Meanwhile, you continue helping girls in danger zones like Somalia…

Photo: LWF Somalia

In Somalia, girls face the danger of being forced into early marriage, and having children before they want, or before their bodies are ready.

Through ALWS, you support Somali girls in Displaced Persons Camps to go to school.

You provide education essentials like:

  • school uniforms – as you see in the photo
  • clean water
  • support and supplies for Menstrual Health
  • gender-segregated toilets

Donate here


In countries bordering Ukraine, our ALWS partner Lutheran World Federation (LWF) aims to provide more than one million Euros worth of education to children fleeing the war.

You can see the challenge when existing classrooms have had to be turned into refugee centres…

Photo: LWF / Filip Błażejowski

As you will know from news reports, men aged 18 – 60 must remain in Ukraine to help resist the attacks on their country. This means the majority of refugees are women and children – something we see in other refugee situations in other places.

That’s why children’s education and female-targeted programs are a critical part of your ALWS care for refugees.

Rebekka Meissner, from LWF, last week visited border crossings between Ukraine and Poland to look at how best to support the Lutheran churches delivering your care.

Photo: LWF / Filip Błażejowski

Rebekka noted there will be a longer-term need for education and child-care provided by Ukrainian language speakers.

“Those who have already found a place to stay in Poland
could be trained as educators, providing a sense of purpose
and preventing negative coping mechanisms.”

I have given you a lot of information today.

I hope this gives you a deeper insight into what you do through ALWS in the world’s danger zones, especially making sure the particular needs of girls and women are not forgotten.

You can support your ALWS work in these danger zones through our Children of War campaign, which has a special focus on education. Donate here

Thank you for continuing to care even when we face challenges like the Taliban’s banning of girls having education beyond Grade 6. You are a blessing ALWayS!



How your donation is used wisely

You help with practical care: Your donation helps victims of wars where you are needed most – including Afghanistan, Myanmar, Ukraine and Ethiopia. Should ALWS receive income beyond what is needed in these projects, those funds will be used in ALWS-supported development projects. Information in this communication is based on data correct at time of writing, and may change. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party, or to support welfare activities as defined by DFAT. For more information, call: 1300 763 407

Being careful with your care: In 2021, ALWS ‘overheads’ (fundraising and administration costs as defined by ACFID Code of Conduct) were 16.7%. The 5 year average is 15.4%. A copy of the most current ALWS Annual Report can be viewed at or requested: 1300 763 407. [ACFID logo]

Your privacy is important to us: ALWS collects personal information about you in order to process your gift. A copy of the ALWS Privacy Policy is available at If you don’t wish to receive further news from ALWS, simply call 1300 763 407 or write to

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is The Overseas Aid & Resettlement Agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia – ABN 36 660 551 871

HOPE Spot #14: Wednesday 23 March

Baby steps


Two weeks ago, my daughter had a baby girl.

This is not her.

My granddaughter Maya has her own room in a lovely house by a beautiful Australian beach.

This baby girl is two months old Nastia.

She is with her mum and big brother in a room in a church outside of Lviv in Ukraine, after the family fled the bombing on their home.

The church has opened its doors to refugees, prioritising women and children so they don’t have to sleep out in the open and cold at the railway station. (Minus 5 on Sunday night.)

The priest says they have 150 people each night.

Most stay only a day or two, before moving on to seek safety outside of Ukraine.

It’s this kind of front-line hands-on help by churches that you support through ALWS and our ACT Alliance partners, including LWF and Hungarian Interchurch Aid.

If you would like to give your help too, simply donate here.





·     Toothpaste

·     Soap (x 3)

·     400ml Shampoo

·     500ml Cleansing gel

·     Toilet paper

·     Dishwashing liquid

·     Disinfectant

·     3kg Washing powder


·     2 litres Sunflower oil

·     Canned stewed meat

·     Biscuits

·     900gm Sugar

·     Condensed milk

·     2kg Pasta

·     1kg Semolina

·     1kg Peas

·     2kg Rice

·     2kg Flour

·     2 x Tinned fish

·     Incontinence pads






This is the kind of action ACT Alliance partners are working to deliver to families like baby Nastia’s – mum Natalia, and Nastia’s big brother Igor, who is 9.



What really touched my heart in this photo, (apart from the look on Igor’s face), is the painting on the wall above Natalia’s head …


It reminded me that Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus were also refugees. They were forced to flee their home for Egypt after being threatened with death by Israel’s king, Herod.

Right from the earliest months of His life, Jesus knew the trauma of those who lost everything.

Perhaps that’s why, in His ministry, Jesus always had a special heart for those who were hurt – people who were poor, rejected by others, lived with a disability, were forgotten by those who should care for them.

Here at ALWS, we seek to follow in the footsteps of Jesus in taking your care and kindness to people who are in need.

Like Natalia, Nastia and Igor.

In places like Ukraine, whose suffering fills our TV screens …

… and in other places where war hasn’t made headlines, and whose victims are in danger of being forgotten.

See latest Ukraine update here or donate now.

Thank you for your lifesaving ALWS help to the innocent victims of war … and poverty … and injustice. The challenges are huge, and you may think your care and kindness are only baby steps toward bringing peace and hope …

… but I pray that when you look at baby Nastia, you see that every step is precious, and that you are a blessing ALWayS.



People were also bringing babies to Jesus

for him to place his hands on them.

When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 

But Jesus called the children to him and said, 

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,

for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Luke 18:15,16 (The Bible – NIV)


Photos: Finn Church Aid / Antti Yrjonen. The children’s parents gave permission for their photo to be taken. Their names have been changed to protect their safety.

HOPE Spot #13: Friday 18 March

Embrace your style

As our TV screens are filled with the horror of children suffering from war …

… let me fill your screen today with a child doing her part to end the suffering.

Meet Hannah, from eastern Melbourne:

“I first heard about ALWS through my school – a Lutheran Primary School in Melbourne.  I was captivated by ALWS’s efforts to support refugee children’s education all over the world.

I believe we are so lucky to be in Australia
where we children don’t have to worry about wars.

In Australia most of the things we take as granted, such as education and basic human needs, are a privilege for the children in war-torn countries.

Ever since I heard about ALWS, I was determined to find a way to support their work.

During the school holidays I brainstormed fundraising ideas with my friends. I came up with an idea to make and sell bracelets and stickers to collect donations.

My parents agreed to buy raw material so I can make these items.

Initially I was going to sell these items via a booth in my street. However, to reach larger audience I’ve decided to sell these items online by creating my own website – Embrace Your Style

Anyone can purchase bracelets and stickers via this website and the buyers have to donate the value of what they bought to ALWS – Walk My Way.

My website has been active since January 2022.

I have a goal of donating $520 and I am nearly half-way there. I am grateful to ALWS, my parents and friends for their support to achieve this goal.”

If Hannah can achieve her goal, she will support 20 refugee children to go to school.


Photo: LWFKenya

These are children who have fled war, and found safety at places like the refugee camp at Kakuma in Kenya you support through ALWS.

Hannah shows it doesn’t matter what age you are, or what resources you have … if you have a heart for helping, you can make a life-transforming difference!

That’s a ‘style’ we can all ‘embrace’ …

… and you already do in what you do for others through ALWS. Thank you!

Jonathan – and Hannah

PS: Last year, the ALWS team presented to over 20,000 students like Hannah in 60 Lutheran schools across Australia. You support this work too – thank you!

HOPE Spot #12: Friday 11 March

Down in the mud to lift up the heart

See today’s Ukraine update

Photo: LCAQ

As the world works to support the victims of the war in Ukraine …

… back here at home, the people of Queensland and NSW are dealing with devastating floods that have destroyed homes and businesses and livelihoods.

In the photo, you see Mark Vainikka at work cleaning-up the Brisbane office of the Lutheran Church.

You can see by Mark’s T-shirt that he has also been part of ALWS Walk My Way to help refugees.

In fact, Mark RAN the first Queensland Walk in 2019 …

… and then in 2020, during COVID, ran a MARATHON on a treadmill, raising enough money to support 36 refugee children to go to school!

Mark’s example shows how we can care for those close to home and those far away, opening our hearts to where we can each make our own personal contribution …

… something so critical now as we deal with the war in Ukraine, victims of other wars in danger of being forgotten, and flood-hit communities in Queensland and NSW.

(By the way, Mark is also a Pastor, and now Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Queensland.)


When I saw this photo of Bishop Mark mopping up the mud, it reminded me of work you support through ALWS in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Photo: RDRS Bangladesh / LWF

The Rohingya refugees fled here from war in Myanmar three years ago.

One of the critical actions you support through ALWS is a Cash-for-Work program for refugees to clean drains around the camp.

This maintains cleanliness to help prevent diseases, and stops polluted wastewater flooding into people’s huts.

The aim is to clean 34 kilometres of drains this year …

…  plus spray 5 kilometres of drains
to control mosquito larvae
that cause deadly malaria.

Refugees use the money they earn to buy essentials for their families. 

Just like cleaning up the mud from the Queensland and NSW floods …

… and supplying Hygiene Kits to refugees from the war in Ukraine

… this is hard humble hands-on work.

It takes people with courage, and commitment to their communities, ready to do whatever it takes, whatever they can, to make a difference.

People who aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty to help.

Which sounds just like you.

Your kindness and compassion for people in some of the toughest places on earth bring hope, and lift the hearts of those you help.

Thank you for all you do for others through ALWS, especially now in this time of such crisis.

For those in danger of being forgotten, you are a blessing ALWayS!


PS: Click here for today’s update from Ukraine, which focuses on the work of churches, and the coordinating role of our ALWS partner LWF. You can support the work in Ukraine, and for victims of other wars like the one in Myanmar that forced people to flee to Bangladesh as refugees – donate now!

HOPE Spot #11: Monday 7 March

Ukraine – how precious can a colouring book be?

This is Antonia (10) and her little sister Galyna (3).

They fled Ukraine to safety in a village in Hungary.

They fled Ukraine to safety in a village in Hungary.

There they were welcomed by Hungarian Interchurch Aid, part of the ACT Alliance taking your ALWS support to children and families hurt by the war in Ukraine.

Antonia could only bring one toy and one colouring book with her.

At the rescue centre, she saw another girl who had nothing.

Antonia gave this girl her colouring book.

You can see a crisis like the war in Ukraine … the floods in NSW and Queensland … and feel so small, as if you have nothing worthwhile to give.

You do.

Your love and kindness are precious.


Thank you.


PS: ALWS has stepped out in faith and committed $50,000 to support the work of churches around Ukraine welcoming and caring for refugees fleeing the war. You are welcome to help ensure the children of war are not forgotten. Donate here

See a 2 minutes video of aid being delivered by ACT Alliance partner, Hungarian Interchurch Aid, here

Hungarian Interchurch Aid are delivering:




·     Toothpaste

·     Soap (x 3)

·     400ml Shampoo

·     500ml Cleansing gel

·     Toilet paper

·     Dishwashing liquid

·     Disinfectant

·     3kg Washing powder


·     2 litres Sunflower oil

·     Canned stewed meat

·     Biscuits

·     900gm Sugar

·     Condensed milk

·     2kg Pasta

·     1kg Semolina

·     1kg Peas

·     2kg Rice

·     2kg Flour

·     2 x Tinned fish


·    Incontinence pads





Photo: Antti Yrjonen / FCA   The children’s parents gave permission for their photo to be taken. Their names have been changed to protect their safety.


HOPE Spot #10: Thursday 3 March

Your ALWS action for Ukraine

I bring you updated news of how you can help the people of Ukraine through ALWS.




Ukraine is not an area where ALWS normally works.

However, given the crisis faced by its people, we are working with partners on how best to provide support from Australia …

…and unite with the world in standing up against the madness and aggression that is hurting so many innocent people.

ALWS has stepped out in faith and committed
a minimum $50,000 of emergency support.




Our partner, Lutheran World Federation (LWF), is working with local churches in countries neighbouring Ukraine to find the best way to welcome and care for refugees.



ALWS is also part of a coalition of churches of many denominations from all around the world – ACT Alliance – working together to bring help and hope.

The Alliance is already having an impact through congregations of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Rostov region of Russia. These generous Christians have welcomed 4,500 refugees with hot meals, clothes, hygiene items, baby supplies and shelter.

The ACT Alliance aims to grow action through Hungarian Interchurch Aid, working in Berehove and Lviv in west Ukraine.

The focus is on 1,500 children who need shelter, food and medicine. They are among 30,000 refugees seeking safety here.


DONATE NOW * CALL 1300 763 407



As the world focuses on the crisis in Ukraine, there is danger that victims of other wars may be forgotten – particularly the 1.2 million people displaced by the war in Tigray, Ethiopia.

Children and families here are suffering the same agony as you see on your TV screen as happening in Ukraine.

Bombs dropping. Children bleeding. Families fleeing.

That’s why ALWS will immediately increase by $50,000
your emergency aid to these victims of war.


A LWF colleague who just returned from the front line shared how she met a young couple who were so grateful for the support they received from ‘the Lutheran’…

… that they nick-named their new baby, born in the heart of war, as ‘Luther’.

This is the impact you make . It’s proof you are a blessing ALWayS!

Thank you!                               



CALL 1300 763 407 OR DONATE NOW



ALWS has recommitted your support for the girls and women of Afghanistan under threat from the Taliban. You help those who have made it to safety in Pakistan, and those still in such great danger inside Afghanistan.

Through ALWS, you also work inside Myanmar, despite the challenges posed after the military coup one year ago. Your emergency aid is being carried into the jungle by local church members … along tracks only locals know … in small quantities to spread the risk of loss should military intercept.

You also provide school inside Temporary Learning Spaces for Rohingya children forced to live in Displaced Persons Camps in Rakhine State in Myanmar …

… and to children who have found safety from war at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.

Thank you!

HOPE Spot #9: Friday 25 February

When we wake up to war

I had a different HOPE Spot written for you today …

… but the invasion of Ukraine has shattered what made sense yesterday.

As we wake up today to TV screens filled with war, and as the world grapples with what to do next …

… you and I as individuals can feel helpless, anxious, uncertain about what we can or should do.

I don’t have any easy answers.

The only thing I can think of is to encourage you by showing you what you are doing for victims of another war, one the world seems to have forgotten, in northern Ethiopia.

Your kindness here is offering practical aid to those who are most vulnerable – people forced from their homes, little children, the elderly, mums, people with disabilities …

The people you help find hope in knowing they are not forgotten.

While none of us know yet what we might be called to do to support the people of Ukraine under threat from war…

… I pray you find comfort in knowing that through ALWS you already bring life-protecting care to:

  • people displaced by drone and on-ground attacks in Tigray, Ethiopia
  • the girls and women of Afghanistan under threat from the Taliban
  • Rohingya families forced by conflict into Displaced Persons Camps in Myanmar and refugee camps in Bangladesh
  • victims of war who have fled to safety at Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya.

As we await what happens next in Ukraine, I thank you on behalf of each person hurt by war who you already help. Your kindness gives them hope and is a blessing ALWayS.


HOPE Spot #8: Tuesday 22 February

When lives are touched by kindness

It’s a year ago today that our ALWS rep for Queensland, Christian Stern, passed away from cancer.


We miss the Big Fella so much …

… but take hope from Christian’s certain confidence he was going home to be with his Lord.

Christian was passionate about inspiring people to help those in need.

He saw it as a very practical way each of us can bring love to life, building a more just and fairer world as we live out our values in acts of service.

Even in his last few weeks of life, Christian would encourage us in our ALWS ministry, reminding us of our privilege to work for you, taking your care to where you are most needed.



Our thoughts are with Christian’s wife Tanya, and son Jasper.


We can see the impact of Christian in the fact that when he passed, friends and family and ALWS supporters donated $9,300 to help his legacy live on in the ALWS projects he was passionate about in Nepal.

I thought you might like to see the lives touched by this generosity …

Kitchen gardens

Christian loved growing a wide range of veggies. Now, poor families in Nepal will be taught how to grow vegetables, receive seeds to plant, and shown how to make the most of their nutritional value so children will grow stronger.

What matters isn’t those who planted or watered,
but God who made the plants grow.

1 Corinthians 3:7


Teaching teachers

Christian was a teacher, loved and respected by all. In his ALWS career, Christian continued teaching in a different way, inspiring students to action to help others. In many communities – in Australia, as well as the countries where ALWS works – people with disabilities can be overlooked. This gift trains teachers in Nepal to engage students with disabilities in inclusive education.

Now go; I will help you speak
and teach you what to say.

Exodus 4:12

Banana plantations

Born ‘im Deutschland jah’, as he would pronounce with a smile, Christian worked in around Australia. With wife Tanya, he created an exciting home in Hervey Bay in Queensland for their son Jasper. And what would Queensland be without bananas? That’s why this gift supports farmers in Nepal to develop their own banana plantations.

They are like trees growing beside a stream,
trees that produce fruit in season and always have leaves.
Those people succeed in everything they do.

Psalm 1:3


Anyone who visited Christian at home would know straightaway his love for animals – big booming dogs, tanks full of fish – life flourishing under his care. This gift celebrates Christian by providing piglets to poor families in Nepal, so they can breed their own litters, and gradually build up a bank of pigs to breed and sell.

The LORD cares for his nation,
just as shepherds care for their flocks.

He carries the lambs in his arms,
while gently leading the mother sheep.

Psalm 1:3

Thank you for your grace in allowing me to share this personal reflection with you on this special day for your ALWS team.

As we think of what our brother Christian offered for others through ALWS, we also think of you and all you do to touch the lives of people in need, and in danger of being forgotten.

Thank you for the lives you touch. You are a blessing ALWayS.


PS: ALWS is keen to find someone who feels called to carry on the work of Christian in passionately inspiring Queenslanders to bring love to life through ALWS. Might this be you? Or someone you know? Find out more here

HOPE Spot #7: Wednesday 16 February

What is it about ducks?

There must be something special about ducks.

If you’re out driving, ducks seem to have right of way.

No matter how busy a road is, if there is a duck family wanting to cross the road, suddenly there is a traffic jam.

Cars have hazard lights on.

A bloke in terry-towelling shorts has jumped out of his car and is doing his best traffic cop impression, sternly holding his hand up as a STOP sign, before waving the ducks across the road with a big flourish.

While ducks matter here in Australia …

… they are even more precious for the families you support through ALWS at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh – the world’s largest refugee camp.

The refugees are Rohingya people, who lost everything when they were forced to flee from their homes in Rakhine State in Myanmar.

(Last week I shared with you about your ALWS work inside Myanmar, supporting women to start their own businesses, like soap-making. Watch 2 minutes video here)


Thanks to generous caring people like you, the ducks you see in this photo aren’t just ducks …

… they are a new business for a refugee family!


Jannatul Ferdous, a refugee Rohingya widow who supports two children and her mother-in-law, received a grant of $115 (7,000 Taka – BDT) to buy 10 pairs of ducks.

Jannatul is very happy to explain what your ducks mean for her …

“I have a pond with my rented property, so I planned to rear ducks.

I approached RDRS Bangladesh for help, and they supported me to get training. I am grateful to them.

My ducks have already started to lay eggs. Some of the eggs are consumed at home, and some are sold at the village market at BDT10 each (15 cents).

I plan to bring in more ducks as they support my family’s food needs, and other household expenses, and school materials for my children.”

RDRS Bangladesh is the ALWS partner delivering your care inside the Rohingya refugee camps at Cox’s Bazar. Your ALWS action also supports the Bangladesh communities generously welcoming and hosting the refugees.

Your ALWS support here is not just for ducks. Other refugees are supported in poultry-rearing … growing vegetables … planting trees to restore the environment …

… even drain-cleaning, as you can see in the photo below.

This hard humble work is part of a Cash-for-Work program. It provides income for refugees PLUS helps protect the health of families inside the camp! You have a double impact!

While the world might have forgotten the people of Myanmar, including Rohingya refugee families forced to flee to Bangladesh …

… through ALWS you are right there with them!

You are helping those who are most vulnerable – widows like Jannatul, people with disabilities, women and girls, the elderly.

On their behalf – thank you for your compassion and generosity. You are a blessing ALWayS!


PS: So, what is it about ducks?

Maybe it’s because we see an innocent family … with potential to be something wonderful in our world … vulnerable and in danger … through no fault of their own … and we want to protect them from hurt … so they can flourish.

 On that note, let’s ‘get quacking’! 😊

 PPS: Your work in Bangladesh is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP).


 All photos: LWF RDRS Emergency Program (LREP) – thank you!

HOPE Spot #6: Friday 11 February

When life is a Soap Opera(tion)

COVID seems to have made life way more complex and confusing than it used to be.

Good news is in short supply. Challenges keep growing. You can feel like you are in a high drama soap opera.

That’s why today I am taking you to a real-life Soap Opera(tion).

My hope is you will be inspired by these people you’ve never met, in a place you’d never expect …

… women from poor communities in Myanmar, who you support through ALWS.


Last week made it one year since the military coup in Myanmar. While much of the world has forgotten the needs of the people here …

… through ALWS, and our local partners in Myanmar, you are now giving direct development support to more than 19,000 of the country’s most vulnerable people!

Exciting change is already happening, through creative ideas like this Soap Opera(tion) …


Watch 2 minute video now!


The ‘Moon’ Women’s Group’s Soap-making Business is proof of what can be achieved as you empower women to:

  • develop business skills
  • build co-operatives
  • set up small livelihood enterprises
  • gain confidence to seek their human rights


The video will soon have you smiling at the ladies’ suds-cess …

… as you admire their determination, creativity, hard work, talent, care for each other:

“We are all united
and this is one of our strengths.”

You are united with groups like this one through ALWS. The strength you bring is your kindness and care.

The result of this Soap Opera(tion)?

The ladies have profits they can use to pay school fees. They say they are able to “donate to help others”. Just as important is the fact the ladies are confident to declare:

“Now I am not afraid to speak.”


Watch video – 2 minutes of soap, success and smiles!


At a time when there is so much bad news coming out of Myanmar …

… you deserve to hear this good news of how your quiet humble hard work is supporting people with so many challenges to transform their lives.

In Myanmar, you are a blessing ALWayS! Thank you!



PS: Your ALWS work in Myanmar is supported by the Australian Government with a 5:1 Matching Grant*. You are welcome to use this grant to donate.

Together, our plan is that 19,296 people are helped directly, and a further 48,000 people receive flow-on benefits. 57% of people supported are women. 446 are people with disabilities. All are the most vulnerable, in danger of being forgotten.

*Every donation you make to this project will be combined with funding from the Australian Government to reach more people. ALWS has committed to contribute $1 for every $5 received from the Australian Government.

HOPE Spot #5: Wednesday 2 February

Tonga – here is what hope looks like …

As soon as the HOPE Spot about the Tonga tsunami went out last week, the phone at ALWS office in Albury started ringing!

People like you saw the needs of our neighbour and wanted to help.

At a time when Australia is struggling with all the challenges of COVID, what a joy it is that kindness and compassion and generosity can flourish!

The good news is aid supported by churches in Australia is already flowing into Tonga …

… here you see supplies being loaded in Suva, Fiji, bound for Tonga through our ALWS partner, Anglican Missions.

As I told you last week, ALWS has stepped out in faith and committed $20,000 (minimum) to the relief effort on your behalf.

Your ALWS support is delivered through CAN-DO (Church Agencies Network – Disaster Operation) from here in Australia …

… working directly with local churches in Tonga.

These churches live and serve among the people, and so are in the best position to identify who needs help most, and what support will help most.

Clean water is a critical priority.

Another CAN-DO partner, Caritas, is already distributing:

·     Hygiene kits

·     Buckets

·     Jerry-cans

·     Water bladders

Water-purifying tablets can also be critical.

You are welcome to add your personal support to the relief effort of ALWS through CAN-DO:



We all know how quickly the world moves onto the next headline.

The danger is people hurt by disasters like the tsunami in Tonga are forgotten. That’s why your work at ALWS is guided by these words from the Bible:

Don’t forget those who are suffering,
but imagine you are there with them.
Hebrews 13:3b

Thank you for everything you do through ALWS to be with people who are suffering.

No matter what aid is needed, it all begins with loving caring people like you. Your generosity drives action. Your kindness restores hope.

As we work together, I pray you are encouraged by the smiles of the team bringing your love to life for the people of Tonga…

God bless you!


HOPE Spot #4: Friday 28 January

Hair, hair for Australian of the Year

Did you get a lump in your throat when Dylan Alcott was named Australian of the Year?

Dylan is the first person with a visible disability to be recognised in this way. In his acceptance speech, he talked about his purpose in life:

“… it’s not to win tennis tournaments, it’s to change perceptions
so people with disability live the lives that they deserve to live.”

What you may not know is that through ALWS you already do exactly what Dylan describes …

… as you can see when you enter the hairdressing salon of Bhakta Bahadur in Nepal:

Bhakta was a young man when he was paralysed in an accident.

When Bhakta’s wife saw his disability, she left him.

Sadly, in Nepal (just as in Australia) the needs of people with a disability can be regarded as too challenging to support … or the person may suffer discrimination … or simply be forgotten and left behind by the rest of the community.

What makes life even harder for people with disabilities in Nepal is simply the poverty.

Bhakta’s family owned only 0.2 hectares of land, not enough to grow a family’s food. Bhakta’s parents are senior citizens, unable to work and needing support.

Bhakta said life was miserable …

… until people like you stepped in through ALWS and our partner LWF Nepal.

Bhakta was supported to use his hairdressing skills to open his own salon. You helped make sure he had essentials including:

  • Scissors
  • Hair straightener
  • Hair gel
  • Hair dryer
  • Shaving kit
  • Spray bottles

Bhakta says his specialties are styling clients’ beards and dying their hair!

What’s exciting is that Bhakta’s business is bringing in 6,000 Rupees per month. This is about $70 AUD, which may not sound much to you and me …

… but is TRIPLE the poverty line in Nepal, and enough for Bhakta to support his whole family – an achievement of which he is very proud.

Bhakta has also been trained in human rights, and public speaking …

… and now, just like Dylan Alcott, he can speak out to change perceptions of people with a disability, so they can live the life they deserve to live, just as he is.

While you may not be Australian of the Year …

… you do deserve a cheer – ‘Hair, Hair! – for your support through ALWS of people with a disability in some of the world’s poorest communities. You are a blessing ALWayS!


Photo: LWF Nepal

Did you know …

… ALWS is taking the lead across the LWF partnership in supporting projects to have world best practice in Disability Inclusion?



HOPE Spot #3: Friday 21 January

Tonga – your ALWS action

Sorry for not updating you sooner on your ALWS response to the crisis in Tonga.

The underwater volcano eruption and tsunami on Saturday (15 January) caused severe damage, and we have been waiting to get detailed information through for you …

… but as you may know, an undersea cable was damaged, cutting communications. Even satellite phones were dropping out after 3 or 4 minutes.

The good news is ALWS can take your love and care to Tonga through our membership of the Church Agencies Network* here in Australia.

The capacity of churches in Tonga to be delivery centres for aid is already being assessed.

ALWS is stepping out in faith and committing $20,000
to the combined churches relief effort.

It seems clear that priority needs will be in water, food and shelter:

  • majority of people rely on rainwater and boreholes, and these sources have been contaminated
  • 80% – 90% of people depend on farming and fishing: root crops are heavily hit by ash
  • a tropical cyclone looks to be forming and approaching, putting people without shelter at further risk

Once communications are more reliable, I hope to have more details I can share with you about your response through ALWS.

If you would like to help already now, you can donate here.

We pray for the people of Tonga, as we are inspired by their immense faith that enables them to hold on to hope in this time of crisis.



Did you know …

  • the population of Tonga is an MCG AFL Grand Final crowd – 105,000 people (pre-COVID!)
  • 99% of the population are Christian, and Sunday is by law a ‘day of rest’
  • Tonga is 50 times more crowded than Australia (147 people per km2 compared to 3.2)
  • Tonga has had only 1 case of COVID


* Church Agencies Network partners able to directly deliver aid in Tonga include:

  • Act for Peace
  • Adventist Development and relief Agency
  • Anglican Overseas Aid
  • Australian Baptist Mission
  • Caritas
  • Transform Aid
  • Uniting World

HOPE Spot #2: Tuesday 18 January

Wedding and watering and weeping

10 days ago, my daughter got married.

I was a blubbering mess all day.

Especially at the moment you see here, waiting to walk her down the aisle.

And again when I handed her over to her husband.

And when I made my Father-of-the-Bride speech.

And had our Daddy / Daughter Dance.

You get the idea.

(Darn, it’s happening again now!)


As a parent, you do all you can to equip your children to build a safe and secure and happy life for themselves.

You work hard to give them an education. You share what you have learned. Offer comfort and care when needed, and advice when sought. You help out when things go wrong.

Your child’s wedding highlights their life is their own.

While it made me weep (half with joy, half with an emotion I can’t put a name to) to see my daughter take this step …

… I struggle to think what it must be like for parents too poor to be able to give their children the start in life they desperately want to.

To be so poor, they can barely feed their children – let alone put them through school, or find medical care when they are sick.

Too often, the needs of these most vulnerable families are forgotten by the world, and the danger is poverty is then passed on from parent to child.

Through ALWS, you reach out to help parents like Mrs Vorn Rem from Cambodia.

Mrs Vorn Rem is just a few years older than my daughter. She has three children, and struggled to support them, no matter how hard she worked. Before your help, she grew vegetables in old and inefficient ways on a plot of land just 20 metres x 25 metres.

At best, she earned little more than $2 a day.

When floods came, and insects attacked, she earned just about nothing.


What grows when you water

Your help through ALWS, matched 5:1 by the Australian Government, supported Mrs Vorn Rem to find a way out.

 She received three days of training in drip irrigation techniques, and other climate-friendly agricultural techniques.

The training was provided through our ALWS Cambodian partner, Life with Dignity, and included new integrated farming systems, agriculture kits, and material support like tools.

Mrs Vorn Rem then started growing diverse types of vegetables – string beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, chilli and sweet corn. She has big plans:

“I have saved money from vegetables and had bought a water pump.

“I have also bought more agricultural materials and seeds. I am going to scale up my farms to be as big as commercial medium vegetable farms.

“I will generate more income from my farming fields to commercial horticulture through applying new technology. I am confident to apply this because I have learnt from LWD and have used my new skills in practice”.

The work is still very hard, but you can see by Mrs Vorn Rem’s produce and smile the success she is achieving.

In fact, her family’s income has DOUBLED!

What’s most important is the future Mrs Vorn Rem sees for her children:

“I have spent my new income for food and for my children’s education.

My family condition has increased through this support. I am free from debt, and have stable food all year round. I have saved for health treatment and my children’s schooling in the future!”

When I see what your support, and Mrs Vorn Rem’s hard work, have helped her achieve for her children …

… I realise it’s exactly the same as what I have worked to achieve for my children.

No wonder I’m weeping again now.

(It’s your ‘fault’ for being so kind and generous – thank you!)



HOPE Spot #1: Tuesday 4 January

Archbishop Tutu, Samosas from heaven … and you

When Archbishop Desmond Tutu passed away last week, I thought of you.

You might wonder why.

Nobel Peace Prize winner. Worked alongside Nelson Mandela to end apartheid in South Africa. An example of love and compassion and forgiveness for 90 years.

So why did Archbishop Tutu make me think of you?

I once had the privilege of spending an hour one-on-one with Archbishop Tutu.

It was 20 years ago, in Capetown in South Africa. The Archbishop had agreed to launch a book I had written called Miracles for Life, as part of a campaign to raise money for 100,000 cataract operations across the world.

What an amazing man.

We had set up a big media conference and had a choir of children who were blind to welcome the Archbishop. We were running around like headless chooks trying to get things ready, when in walked Archbishop Tutu.

While we stammered and tried to put on brave faces, the Archbishop saw our chaos and got a big grin on his face, and said “I’m early, aren’t I?”

He saw our worried faces, and said he’d go wait in the kitchen until we were ready. A Nobel Peace Prize winner so humble and so gracious.

When it came time to talk to the media, Archbishop Tutu opened by saying “God is weak!”

That got everyone sitting on the edge of their seats. The media thought they had the scoop of the century – and the Christians in the crowd wondered what on earth he could mean.

Then the Archbishop explained.

“When God looks down and sees people hungry, he doesn’t send samosas raining down from heaven. No! God sends you. You and I are God’s hands and feet in service to the poor.

“If we say no, and refuse to act, we make God weak!”

It’s those words that made me think of you.

Your kindness and generosity through ALWS bring help and hope to those who are hurting in our world. You don’t rain samosas down from heaven …

… but you provide tools for farmers in South Sudan to grow crops to feed their families.

… you provide chickens and goats and pigs that support families in Nepal and Burundi to earn new income to pay for school and healthcare and extra food.

… you help children in refugee camps in East Africa go to school so that one day they can build a career.

As we go into 2022, our world still feels full of confusion and uncertainty and fear.

COVID continues to turn things upside down. There is argument about how we should respond. Worry about loved ones who are vulnerable. Failing trust in those who lead. Conflict between those who hold different views.

That is our reality.

Yet no matter what 2022 brings, what challenges we face …

… we can be certain that love and compassion and kindness will be needed more than ever

… to bring healing and hope to those at risk from poverty and injustice and natural disaster, and in danger of being forgotten by the world.

That’s why I wanted to start the year by thanking you.

For all you have done for others through ALWS, and all you will do.

In the words of Archbishop Tutu, you are God’s hands and feet. Thank you.


PS: After my hour interviewing Archbishop Tutu, and walking with him around the hospital in Capetown greeting people who could now see after having cataract operations, I handed him a copy of my book…

Archbishop Tutu got a stern look on his face and said, I’m sorry Jonathan, I cannot take this.”

I broke into a sweat thinking I had upset some Nobel Peace Prize protocol.

I asked what I had done wrong.

Archbishop Tutu smiled and said, “I cannot take this Jonathan because you have not autographed it!”

HOPE Spot #50: Friday 31 December

Your flood of kindness for South Sudan

This is you at work delivering aid to flood victims in South Sudan.

CNN reports the floods here are of Biblical proportions.

In Twic East, where you work through ALWS, 48,000 people are living on 12 islands surrounded by flood water. 90% lost their homes to the floods, and try to survive in shelters like this:

Disease is a deadly danger as there is nowhere to dig pit latrines, and people must go to the toilet in the same water they use for their household (washing, cooking).

While much of the world seems to have forgotten the people of South Sudan, through ALWS you are here, up to your waist in mud, helping people start over.


You repair dykes

At Panyagor, you helped pay 200 workers $3 a day for 20 days in a Cash-for-Work program. to repair dykes, as you see in the photo.  

The work is hard, and the wage basic, but it enables these workers to support more than 1,000 people in their families, as they also protect their villages from further flooding.

A further 100 people received two days of training in Disaster Risk Reduction, focusing on flooding, so they can better protect their families and communities in the future.

You also supported 50 families with a grant of $210 to build safer temporary shelters.


You provide food

The only food people trapped on the islands have, is fish they catch from the floodwater.

This lack of a balanced diet leaves children under 5 years old at risk from permanent stunting. Elderly people, pregnant women and lactating mothers are also at risk.

Your generosity supported 150 families (more than 900 people) with a cash grant of $180 to buy survival rations. 60% of the families you helped are headed by women.

You get children back to school

Flooding is so severe (as you can see in the photo below) that 40 out of 47 schools in the area where you work through ALWS have had to be relocated.

Through ALWS, you have already supported the building of a Temporary Learning Space for Early Childhood Development in Bor South county. Thanks to you, 75 boys and 55 girls have started learning again.

Two more Temporary Learning Spaces of four classrooms each, are planned to be built at Payaom and Wuchung. Pit latrines – gender-segregated, and disability-friendly – will be constructed here next month.


‘Hope-y’ New Year?

This is probably not the kind of New Year greeting you expected.

For many, this is a time of parties and fireworks and people wishing each other the hope of a ‘prosperous’ new year, and here I am talking about the hurt in South Sudan.

I guess I simply want to encourage you that the help you give through ALWS is hands-on and hard-working, and so offers a hope that is real and lasting.

As we go into 2022, where there will continue to be so many challenges, you can be certain that for the flood-survivors of South Sudan right now … and all those you have helped in 2021 through ALWS … you are a blessing ALWayS. Thank you!



PS: Help is still needed for flood survivors in South Sudan. You can have your donation for $111 Family Flood Kits matched dollar for dollar by a Lutheran couple from Queensland. (Your gift is also tax-deductible.) Donate now

HOPE Spot #49: Friday 24 December

Sour milk, seniors, and super-size smiles

Tonight, I’m doing the Christmas Eve message at our church.

I’m talking about smelly cows, a grumpy donkey and all those creepy-crawly things that run around an old farmyard shed.

It seems to me our world has made Christmas a little too safe and shiny …

… and forgotten the fact that Jesus was born in the rough and raw and real of everyday life.

Here at ALWS, I’m constantly humbled by people like you, sleeves rolled-up, getting stuck in to do what you can to help people hurt by poverty or disaster or discrimination.

That’s why I want to tell you about leftover milk
gone sour & stinky in the Queensland sun.

Meet the kids from Kingaroy!

Emily, Giaan, Megan and Ruby are Year 4 students at St John’s Lutheran School.

Throughout 2021, they and their classmates have spent lunchtimes collecting and sorting drink containers from around the school.

Look at those ones on the left – they’re flavoured milk containers. Imagine what they smell like after the drops in the bottom have been in the sun all day!

The students’ recycle the containers through the ALWS Containers for Change program to support refugee children at Kakuma in Kenya to go to school.

The 20 children in Kingaroy Grade 4, supported by their teacher Naomi, aimed to raise enough money to support 20 refugee children. At $26 per child for a year’s school, and 10 cents per container, that’s 5,200 containers that needed collecting, cleaning and recycling.

When they achieved their target, one 9-year-old explained:

“A little bit of effort on our part
can change another child’s whole future!”

Meanwhile, at Zion Aged Care, also in Queensland, seniors have found a wonderful way to bless others through ALWS – a Gifts of Grace Christmas Giving Tree!

Chaplain Heidi first encourages residents to set up a Christmas Tree in the foyer, and residents are encouraged to give with the theme:

Show that you care by not letting
our Christmas Giving tree remain bare!

 Residents can choose any Gifts of Grace they like. They receive a Grace Card as their memento …

… and then hang a bauble on the Christmas Giving Tree, as an example to other residents and staff of the blessing that comes from caring with kindness at Christmas!

So, this Christmas, whether you’re a youngster like the Kingaroy Kids …

… or a senior like Betty, Cecile and Joan (supported by fellow residents David and Kevin) at Zion

… or any age, anywhere

… thank you for your kindness and care,
and humble hard work through ALWS

… to help people who are vulnerable,
and at risk of being forgotten.

I pray you are blessed with smiles (and no sour milk)
as you shine the light of hope this Christmas!


Give your food to the hungry
and care for the homeless.

Then your light will shine in the dark …

Isaiah 58:10 (CEV)


HOPE Spot #48: Monday 20 December

A message from Juba for you

Last week I received this video from the LWF team you support on the front line of the floods in South Sudan.

It’s only two minutes long, but you’ll see why your kindness is so precious in South Sudan this Christmas.

The speaker is Lino Angok, LWF Project Coordinator, based in Juba. Watch now

Two things jumped out to me. The first is when Lino thanks you for:

“… always carrying the needy people.”

Straightaway I thought of the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28:

“If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens,
come to me and I will give you rest.”

Think about that word ‘rest’.

‘Rest’ doesn’t mean the burdens will disappear, or never have to be carried again, or that we will no longer be tired.

No, we take a rest so, that when we are refreshed, we can pick up the burden again, and carry on.

That’s what Lino says you do
for the people of South Sudan.

Lino highlights the burdens his people carry now:

* livelihood-destroying floods

* refugees returning home

* ongoing conflict

* COVID-19

Through ALWS, you help people carry the load.

You support them as they recover strength, so they can get back to work rebuilding their lives.

The good news is when you help the people of South Sudan, your donation is matched dollar for dollar by a Lutheran couple from Queensland, up to $250,000. DONATE NOW



The second thing that stood out to me from Lino’s two minute message to you, is that he says you help the people of South Sudan ‘gain life’.

In this Christmas week, when we celebrate the birth of the One who promised:

“I came so that everyone would have life,
and have it in its fullest”

(John 10:10b) …

… I pray you feel a real sense of joy that the hands-on help you give through ALWS with Family Flood Kits and repair of damaged buildings actually helps people rebuild life.

This is your true gift this Christmas, through ALWS, to the people of South Sudan. Thank you!


PS: You are still welcome to have your donation DOUBLED to help the people of South Sudan carry their burdens as they rebuild life. Thank you!


HOPE Spot #47: Wednesday 15 December

Confused about COVID for Christmas?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost track of how many …

… interstate trips I’ve had to change because of COVID

… times my nostrils have hosted metre-long probes from people in masks

… QR check-in apps I have accumulated on my phone!

Whatever you think about the COVID response in Australia …

… one thing you don’t need to be confused about is your ALWS impact in supporting some of the poorest communities in the world to protect themselves against COVID

… (and drought, and disaster, and poverty).

This photo shows ICU beds and critical medical supplies in the Emergency Ward of Bir Hospital in Kathmandu in Nepal. These supplies, worth $50,000, came from the Australian Government, delivered through the LWF team you support in Nepal through ALWS.

What’s exciting is LWF Nepal have partnered directly with the Australian Government,
through the Embassy in Kathmandu, for this grant!

This is exactly the kind of self-sufficiency you and I work for through ALWS – at a local organisation level, community level, and at individual and household level … and proves the power of partnership!

Whether it’s a single dad in a refugee camp learning dress-making skills so he can start his own tailoring business …

… or a farmer in South Sudan learning new agricultural and marketing techniques so she can boost her harvest, and increase the price her produce demands

… or a child with a disability in a poor community, now able to go to school so one day they can serve as a teacher or engineer

… or LWF Nepal winning support from sources outside of ALWS, as you see below with Australia’s Ambassador to Nepal, Her Excellency Felicity Volk, at the handover ceremony for the medical equipment

… I thank you for everything you do to support the long-term sustainable development that brings success like this!


At the handover ceremony, the Ambassador noted 60 years of friendship between Australia and Nepal, and the Australian Government’s $7 million support in May to Nepal’s COVID response, including through LWF.

You’ll see below I have highlighted a couple of points from the Ambassador’s remarks:

“As the COVID-19 vaccination campaign continues in Nepal, the Australian Government is committed to supporting health security under our COVID-19 Development Response Plan. The plan focuses on providing assistance for the most vulnerable. With Nepal responding to multiple challenges simultaneously, the needs of marginalised communities are more evident than ever.”

Your work through ALWS is focused on the people Ambassador Volk highlights – those who are most vulnerable, and marginalised, and facing multiple challenges.

Too often, these people are forgotten, and their needs overlooked or ignored.

Yet, when I look at the example of Jesus, these are the very people he specially seeks out, welcomes, heals and upholds.

That’s why, as we look toward Christmas, and the special meaning it has for us in these times of COVID confusion, I think of all those you help …

… and tell you, from them, that you are a blessing ALWayS! Thank you!


PS: Ambassador Volk is a graduate of a Lutheran college here in Australia. Her dad, Noel, taught at the Lutheran College I attended back in the 70s!

HOPE Spot #46: Friday 10 December

How does your garden grow?

This is what courage looks like…

When you are a woman in South Sudan, you face all kinds of challenges.

If you’re a girl, school is a bonus, not a right.

When there’s work to be done, it’s you the family turns to.

It’s not just South Sudan.

In parts of Nepal, if you’re a woman or girl each month when your period comes, you are banished from the family. To sleep with the animals. Banned from using the same water source as everyone else.

In Somalia, 98% of women aged 15–49 have suffered some form of Female Genital Mutilation.

That’s why the courage of a woman like Yar Riak Mantel is so inspiring.

Despite everything she has suffered – because of poverty, and because she is a woman – she keeps picking herself up, and pushing herself forward, working to be the best she can be, despite never having the chance to go to school.

Washed out by floods once before, threatened by floods again now, Yar shows how your kindness invested in her courage can change the life of a family forever.

These last 16 days, there has been a worldwide campaign to make sure women and girls aren’t forgotten as countries like South Sudan and Nepal and Somalia seek to develop.

You can see why this is important when you listen to a woman like Yar Riak Mantel:

“I did not ever go to school.

I did not know anything about farming or growing vegetables.  I had no skills for doing it. 

I would fetch firewood and collect grasses to sell to get a little bit of food for the children.  I would walk for three hours or more to do this.  I could only buy maize or sorghum and then pound and grind it to feed them once a day.

It was very hard to get food for the children.  This means the children are always getting sick because they do not have enough food. 

I felt frustrated when I could see my children starving.  It affects how you feel as a mother. 

I felt bad.

Life was hard. 

I heard about a group who were learning about farming and I was interested in joining, but they said their group was full. I came back and spoke to others near where I live, and we formed our own group and asked LWF to help us.

I came three times a week, for three to four hours each time. 

I learnt how to produce quality seeds and how it is important to have a clean farm – no weeds. LWF taught us about line planting, spacing of the seeds and about fertiliser.   We made a group garden together. 

From what I was learning I made a small garden at my house too.

From this garden at my house, I had some vegetables that I could feed the children and then even sell some at the market.  From the savings, I was able to buy a goat!

But then the flood came and destroyed all the crop our group had planted, so now we have no harvest and no seed.

We are hoping we can plant some vegetables in the dry season. But I am worried that I won’t have good food to eat, and I won’t have enough milk for the new baby and it will get sick easily.

Our country has had problems for a long time, but you have helped. 

I appreciate your help and I have learnt many things.  I have enjoyed the group because it has helped me with knowledge and I can use this and be able to care for my family hopefully, even after the Group. 

I still hope that you can help as the crops have failed. 

Please continue to help us grow as a country. Your help encourages us to send our children to school so that they can change the future of our living.

We can keep going forward.”

Today is International Human Rights Day.

Thank you for all you do through ALWS to support the Human Rights of girls and women like Yar Riak Mantel … standing with them to restore hope, and build a life where they are free to achieve all that God has made them to be.


PS: As you know, South Sudan where Yar Riak Mantel lives, has been devastated by floods. Next season’s harvest has been washed away. You can provide a Family Food Kit for someone like Yar for $111 PLUS you donation is matched dollar for dollar by a Lutheran couple from Queensland! Simply donate here.

HOPE Spot #45: Monday 6 December

Start your summer with a smile …

Summer is here! Sun and sand and sea are in sight!

Yet, it’s not all smiles.



Omicron COVID threatens to mess up plans for our families to get together at Christmas. Farmers still have crops to be harvested.

Floods attack the east coast of Australia (and South Sudan).

If that uncertainty is making you feel bad …

… the children you help at Kakuma Refugee Camp have a message for you:



Need more encouragement? See another 60 seconds of smiles right here.

You can still use Gifts of Grace to give your ALWS help to these children in refugee camps this Christmas:

  • $6 provides porridge, beans and green vegetables for children when they reach safety at Kakuma
  • $8 can supply a School Kit for children in Somalia – exercise books, pencils, sharpener, eraser and pen
  • $120 means refugee children left as orphans, or lost and on their own, can be taken in by a foster family at Kakuma

When you give ALWS Gifts of Grace you give smiles to the children you help … to the people who receive your Grace Cards … and to you too!

What a special way to start your summer! I echo what the children of Kakuma say:

“You are good people!”

Watch 60 seconds of smiles now!


PS: There is still time to order your Gifts of Grace – but please do it now! Our ALWS volunteers will pack your Grace Cards in an ExpressPost Pack, and then it’s over to Australia Post to get it to you before Christmas!

Drawings and photos supplied by: LWF Kenya/D. Akun/students

Spot #44: Friday 3 December

Watch what you are doing…

Do you wear a watch?

Many think it’s a bit old-fashioned these days …

… and use mobile phones to run their life

… but a phone can never look as good as these:

Yes, I probably need to be an octopus to have enough wrists to make full use of my collection …

… but my watches would make me very popular with Mr Rajkumar Sah, a watch-repairer whose business you helped build in Morang in Nepal.

Rajkumar is one of 4,866 people with disabilities who people like you supported through ALWS last year.

Today – International Day for People with Disabilities – is the perfect time to watch what people like Rajkumar are now doing with their lives.

“I used to repair watches moving around the community and market

with my repairman box hanging on my neck.

 I did not have sufficient money to rent a permanent place before.

 I got support from Lutheran and rented a shutter to establish

a shop in a permanent place and started this business.”

“Now, my repair shop has been extended

with more tools and equipment and electronic items.

I sell electronic items, do printing, upload songs and movies

as per the request of customers, and provide

printing services as well for my additional income.”

Through ALWS, you focus your care on people at risk of being forgotten – people with disabilities, the elderly, the sick, those pushed aside simply because they are women.

Your support helps people turn their skills and energy and ideas into flourishing businesses, so they can be independent, and win respect in their community.

4,866 people. What a gift you give!

Rajkumar is excited to explain how the practical support you provide through LWF Nepal and Lutheran Community Welfare Services builds hope in people like him:

“Lutheran is supporting us for capacity development training,

logistics support for social events, and activities for disability rights advocacy.”

“Many persons with disabilities obtained disability ID cards, allowances,

vocational and skill-based training programs, business start-up support like me.”


Now, more than 900 people with disabilities in just Morang have been registered to receive the same kind of support you gave Rajkumar through ALWS.

Rajkumar now serves as volunteer secretary of an organisation for people with disabilities:

“On behalf of myself and my organisation,

we would like to thank Lutheran

for their generous support for people with disabilities.”

I pass that ‘thank you’ on to you.

I hope you have enjoyed being ble to watch what you are doing here in Morang where, for people with a disability, you are a blessing ALWayS!


PS: With his business thriving, I just hope Rajkumar keeps a careful ‘watch’ on what he is doing, so he has enough ‘time on his hands’, to repair my watch collection before ‘time runs out’! (I think I should ‘clock off’ now!)

Photos: LWF Nepal / LCWS



HOPE Spot #43: Friday 26 November

When spring is sprung

How did that happen?

5 minutes ago it was winter. Now in 5 days it will be summer.

I’m not sure we actually had a spring. My poor little tomato plants were so busy shivering from the cool and wet, they have forgotten to grow.

I may need gardening advice from Widow Maksuda, who you care for in the refugee camp for Rohingya people in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh …

… because if I could get my tomatoes growing like Maksuda’s chillies, I could open a homemade tomato sauce business!

Yet, before your help through ALWS, Maksuda and her daughter Dhola and Dhola’s 5 year old son, struggled to have enough to eat … and had no money to buy extra.

Through our ALWS partners LWF and RDRS Bangladesh, you make sure at-risk families like Maksuda’s aren’t forgotten in the midst of the 745,000 refugees in camps here.

Maksuda was trained to use plastic boxes as vegetable gardens:

“I was provided with two plastic boxes with some vegetable plants.
Both the eggplants and chillies started fruiting in the last two months.

I was able to consume some of those with my family and I sold
the rest to the local Rohingya market in the camp.”

Two vegetables … two amazing outcomes.

First, an improved diet for the family. Second, a new source of income, to buy fish and household essentials, medical care and even school when grandson is ready!

What’s exciting is your help uses the ‘Nudge’ approach.

You give a little push to get people started, and then their hard work and skills and ideas build momentum. You can see proof this works in Maksuda’s achievements:

 “Growing vegetable in the plastic boxes is a great idea.

 I really like this idea because I can move the plastic boxes anywhere, which means I have a ‘movable vegetable garden’ now. I do not need a fixed place for this. I do not have to get in negotiations and quarrel with my neighbours over the occupation of land, as the camp is so hugely overcrowded.

 I have now planted two bean plants in one of the boxes. I will keep planting different types of vegetables in the boxes and I’ll also purchase more plastic boxes on my own to increase my production.”

Your help here is focused on widows, single mothers, the elderly and women with disabilities. These are the people with extra needs, the most vulnerable, and your kindness through ALWS action like Gifts of Grace is life-transforming.

You can see this in daughter Dhola, who benefits from the $10 Tree Saplings Gift of Grace you can give …

You support Dhola with a small daily wage to plant trees to restore the environment around the refugee camps. (Trees were chopped down as refugees needed firewood for cooking.)

Before this work, Dhola says she felt a burden to the family. Now:

“I contribute a part of my earnings to the family.

This work has made me ‘an important person’ in the family.

I have kept some money for myself and have a plan
 to establish a grocery store in the community.

It will be a permanent income source for me in future.”

I don’t know if YOU grow veggies…

… but you certainly grow hope here in the refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. You can see that in these smiles:

You still have time to order Gifts of Grace for this Christmas …

… but don’t let your spring get sprung. Our ALWS volunteers are ready to pack your order, but mail can be sluggish through December.

(Just thought I’d give you a ‘nudge’ too 😊!)


PS: Your ALWS action joins with churches of many denominations from right across Australia, supported by the Australian Government, to help Rohingya refugee families like Maksuda’s. Thank you for being a blessing ALWayS!

 Photos: RDRS Bangladesh

HOPE Spot #42: Saturday 20 November

90km of children!

Jen, this is you at work at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya…

Today is celebrated as World Children’s Day.

I celebrate the tomorrows you give refugee children by supporting them to go to school.

Whether it’s each $26 raised for a year of school in Walk My Way

… an $8 School Kit from Gifts of Grace

… or simply your prayers

… take heart, knowing smiles of hope like this one started with you. Thank you!



Your kindness through ALWS supports our partner LWF to deliver education to 60,000 children at Kakuma – including children with disabilities. At 1.5 metre COVID-distancing, that’s a school line-up of refugee children 90 kilometres long!

Photos: LWF Kenya/D Akun

HOPE Spot #41: Friday 12 November

What a line-up!

Meet Hyacinth, Rose and Violet …

… the three new chooks in the Krause family!

(Previous chooks? One word. Fox. ☹)

I wanted to call the girls Hop, Skip and Jump, but was outvoted.

The ladies are looking pleased with themselves because they have just produced their first two eggs. Including one double-yolker!

(Smiles quickly turned to frowns though when the girls realised there were no food scraps from our family dinner last night to be their breakfast this morning!)

I marvel at chooks.

They are master recyclers – taking scraps and turning them into eggs for food. And fertiliser for veggie gardens. More food.

That’s why chickens are such a great Gifts of Grace.

Whether it’s a $5 hen or a complete chicken farm (6 hens, 2 roosters, bag of feed, water container, components to build coop) …

… chickens are easy to look after, cheap-cheep to feed, their eggs improve children’s health, they breed readily to produce an ongoing income for families!

I could egg you on forever about the egg-cellence of chooks, but thought I’d let someone else do the crowing for me:

Egg-cited? Get and give your own Hyacinth, Rose and Violet here in Gifts of Grace!




… a chook can recognise 100 different human faces?


HOPE Spot #40: Friday 5 November

Your flood of relief…

As 25,000 high-flying delegates gather in Glasgow for the UN Climate Conference …

… 29 families in this remote village in Nepal are homeless because of floods last month.

The Nepal floods killed more than 100 people, inundated 2,232 houses and destroyed 50,000 hectares of rice paddies.

Yet it’s easy for a world wrestling with global issues like COVID and changing climate 

… to forget the wrestling with daily needs as those issues threaten their lives.

Through ALWS, you help make sure people like these 29 homeless families are not forgotten.

Just 3 days after the peak of the floods, the LWF team you support in Nepal delivered to each family:

  • 15 kg rice        
  • 2 kg salt
  • 2 kg sugar            
  • 2 kg pulses/lentils
  • 2 soaps               
  • 2 litres of cooking oil

Your help was given to the families most at risk …

… the elderly, widows, households headed by women, people with a disability, those who are poorest

… people like this lady who faces all those challenges. (She is blind.)

If you want to know what your kindness means to those you help, listen to Ms. Kaladevi Giri who you see below receiving aid from your LWF team:

“It was very painful to all of us
to manage
our children and old age member,
as we lost all of our household belongings,
swept away in the flood.

These relief items will support me
to manage my family until we can revive our lives.

We really very much thank you for your support.”

Thank you for being willing to get knee-deep in muddy water to help people who had little before the floods …

… and after had nothing

… until you brought hope to their village through ALWS and our partner LWF.

Thank you – you are a blessing ALWayS!


Photos: LWF Nepal

GOOD NEWS: The Australian Government supports your life-restoring ALWS work in Nepal. Thank you!

HOPE Spot #39: Monday 18 October

Kick off!

Meet the Kakuma-Kalobeyei Football Club …

Through ALWS, you support these talented Under 14s players from Kakuma Refugee Camp and the local Turkana community in Kenya, as they kick-off in a big tournament this week!

You support 12 girls teams and 12 boys teams, providing footballs, goalposts and sports uniforms.

Football (soccer) is a passion here. It channels energy into positive action, and offers hope of a better future. Some of these youngsters could end up in the Kakuma All-Stars team, playing in the Kenya National League …

… or even become a Socceroo like Awer Mabil, (a refugee from South Sudan who came to Australia via Kakuma), and last week scored a goal in Australia’s World Cup qualifier!

As the tournament kicks-off …

… so does this year’s ALWS Gifts of Grace, helping make sure people in need aren’t forgotten this Christmas. At Kakuma, for $6, you can provide extra food for refugees who arrive needing special care.

Gifts of Grace catalogues went in the post last Friday.

However, COVID lockdowns have presented challenges to Australia Post, so arrival in letter-boxes may be slower than normal …

… and delivery of your Grace Cards, packed by ALWS volunteers, could be slower too.

That’s why I urge you to ‘score’ early and ORDER NOW (first 500 orders receive a FREE shine Tote Bag) …

… so you can ‘kick a goal’ with your Gifts of Grace gift-giving this Christmas!


PS: If you have any questions about Gifts of Grace, simply call 1300 763 407!


HOPE Spot #38: Friday 8 October

Daisy of our lives

Daisy is in Grade 4 at a Lutheran school in South Australia.

She needed little egging-on to hatch a plan for a rooster to boost the nest egg of a family in Cambodia:

“I raised $30 selling eggs at Dad’s office.

 I used it to buy some chickens in Gifts of Grace, and also a School Kit for some kids that needed it.”

Watch Daisy’s 90 second video here

… and she’ll share with you how egg-citing it was to help someone through ALWS Gifts of Grace.


Someone else egg-cited is Ket Put, who now has a chicken farm, thanks to Gifts of Grace from people like Daisy:

“I used to raise chickens, but was not successful. I was giving up.

I received training and now I know how to use vaccination, seed selection, chicken feeding, and chicken cage construction.

Now I have 100 chickens. I can get a good price  – $7 per kg – because this is a tourist area.”

You can see by Ket Put’s smile how much he enjoys having this new income and independence – though perhaps the chicken he’s holding does not quite share the same opinion!

You can get into the chicken business in Cambodia too with the brand new Gifts of Grace – out now!

Get cracking with a Hen for just $5 …

… or help build a whole Chicken Farm for $270:

6 x Hens
2 x Roosters
1 x Bag of Feed
1 x Water Container
Chicken Coop – nails, wood, roof, iron netting

Your kindness kick-starts a family business, selling surplus eggs and chickens. The income is not poultry 😊 and can pay school fees and health care costs!

When you give Gifts of Grace you shine hope through the gloom of COVID, and Daisy can tell you how that feels:

“It made me feel happy that I could help others in need.

 Before they didn’t have much, but now they have some chickens.

 I feel really happy I helped someone, and that it made them feel better.”

As for Ket Put, he simply says: I give my heartfelt thanks to donors.”

So, stop scratching around!

Give a Gifts of Grace this Christmas that’s definitely not chicken-feed (even though part of it is), and enjoy the happiest Daisy of our lives!


PS: Sorry for all the bad puns! You’re (c)lucky I couldn’t think of any more!

HOPE Spot #37: Friday 24 September

Grand Final? You are kicking goals too …

I don’t know if you care about tomorrow’s AFL footy Grand Final.

Maybe your team isn’t playing. Maybe you follow NRL. Maybe sport does for you what broccoli does for me (screwed up face, push as far away as possible).

Whatever you feel, I’m here to tell you that you are kicking goals – literally – at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Meet Kakuma United

Photo: LWF Kenya

… the first refugee team to play in the Kenyan National Football League! (Football = Soccer)

Kakuma United was set up and is supported by LWF (the front-line team you support through ALWS), working with the UNHCR (the UN body responsible for refugees).

The last time I went to Kakuma Refugee Camp, there were 900 football teams around the camp.

That’s not hard to believe, as 60% of the camp’s 187,000 refugees are youth and children.

Photo: ALWS

Wherever you turn (at least ex-COVID), you see soccer balls* being barefoot-booted in the dust.  Watch 20 second children’s ‘game’ here 😊

* Many ‘balls’ are simply rolled-up rags, or were a ball only in a far distant former life. ‘Goals’ may simply be two rocks or shirts.

Kakuma United is made up of young men from 7 different nationalities living as refugees in the camp, plus Kenyans from the local host community. Each game, thousands of people come out to cheer on their heroes.

Both Gal, one of the team’s first captains, said:

“We come from all different nationalities and have different beliefs and cultural identities,
but we all have one thing in common – a love of football.

It is the only thing that brings us together.”


Kakuma United is drawn from the best players in the 16 team Kakuma Premier League.

There are 10 female teams playing in the Divas League. 40 refugees have also been trained and certified as coaches.

Through ALWS, you provide the football equipment for 12 school-age teams for boys, and the same number for girls.

NB: Aliir Aliir, who stars in the backline for Port Power in the AFL, grew up playing football (soccer) at Kakuma Refugee Camp.

Photo: ALWS

While children dream of one day being good enough to join Kakuma United

… you also make sure young people with talents other than sport aren’t forgotten.

Through Kakuma’s Got Talent, you encourage and celebrate talents like singing, dancing, acrobatics and spoken word …

Photo: J Hoff/ALWS

… and you can see proof of the skills in just 9 seconds – here and here.

Meanwhile, Child Rights Clubs engage children in activities and discussions to increase their awareness of their rights, so abuses can be identified and reported.

All this is your work through ALWS. Thank you!

No matter who you follow (or don’t) in the footy …

… you’re in the Grand Final at Kakuma Refugee Camp, ALWayS kicking goals for thousands of refugee children and young people!


Photo: J Hoff/ALWS

HOPE Spot #36: Friday 10 September

Your COVID kindness isn’t chicken-feed – except sometimes 😊

You can see how proud this Rohingya lady is with the new chicken farm you helped provide through ALWS …  

… yet she can’t see you. She’s blind. 

She is one of the 750,000 Rohingya people forced by conflict in Myanmar to flee as refugees to Bangladesh, where you welcome them with ALWS care at Cox’s Bazar. 

Your kindness is critical here – not just because of what people suffer as refugees, but because only 3% of Bangladesh’s population is vaccinated against COVID-19. 


You care for those most at risk 

Through our ALWS and LWF partner, RDRS Bangladesh, your help is delivered to people who have lost everything.  

As always with your ALWS action, your care is focused on those in danger of being forgotten by the world. 

People with disabilities. The aged. Those who are sick.  

Women and girls who, in many places, face discrimination. 

You can see by this lady’s smile that your kindness isn’t chickenfeed! 

In fact, the chickens + coop + feeders + feed are a real source of hope while she and her family must stay here, in the world’s largest refugee camp.  

The meat and eggs provide an excellent source of protein for a family’s diet.  

Surplus eggs can be sold to create new family income! 

This is only one of the life-restoring activities you support at the refugee camp through ALWS. 


You restore the environment … 

While the local Bangladesh Muslim community generously welcomed the refugees from Myanmar, the sheer number of people put pressure on the environment. 

In many areas, the hillsides were stripped of trees to be used as firewood. 

This left the steep areas as a landslide threat, especially when monsoonal rains arrived – up to 300mm in one da