Year In Review.
It's almost the end of 1991. Our TV screens are full of That Was The Year That Was programs. I wonder how many of their highlights are the same as yours.
Looking back through my diary, here are my highlights:
I had a holiday on the Sunshine Coast. It was hot. In the evening God put on lightning and thunder displays that made man-made fireworks puny.
On location with the film crew for the 7 special. Steve Vizard, Rowena Wallace, the Moneghettis in Ethiopia. Judy was with me - a very rare treat. I have a vague memory of stumbling off the flight from Melbourne in Rome at 5 a.m. only to pile into a taxi to see Rome before our next flight at 2 p.m.
My diary is riddled with meetings about the relocation. We put a lot of work into exploring every avenue.
We held a series of excellent breakfasts with business or media people. Very positive responses. I kept telling audiences all around Australia that World Vision is a serious business.
Our February Partnership meetings included a consultation with the World Vision International Board. A very positive experience.
A brief visit to our (then) beleaguered Irish colleagues included a visit with the (then) Australian Ambassador, Brian Burke. It was a tough year for him later. But it got better for World Vision Ireland.
Steve Levett, JVK and I visited South Africa. One harrowing day in Soweto was enough to use up my entire year's supply of adrenalin.
Our church family camp at Phillip Island (no relation) was fun. Then the Hunt family had an Easter break at a host farm near Anglesea.
Three new Board members joined up. We held a joint meeting with the New Zealand Board. Much learning, much sharing, much sorrow. On May 17 two dear colleagues were gunned to death in Peru.
I took a small part in a couple of Volunteers' Conferences. We are only scratching the surface of the potential.
I played piano most Sundays at my church. It's a ministry that is 100% joy for me. I hope it is at least 50% joy for the congregation.
Did a few bush walks during the year, and went cross-country skiing for the first (but definitely not the last) time.
Richard turned 3. He is now full of conversation. Some of it smart, some of it crazy, all of it cute. David Furniss has all this to look forward to.
I went to Canberra more times than I care to count. Our profile with the government has improved (although Ian's team take more credit than I).
Fifteen year dinners for Kevin, Jill, Linda, Max and Bessie. And me. Geoff did 20!
The amazing, incredible, phenomenal (yet regular) event of the 40 Hour Famine grabbed the nation again.
Charles Clayton from WV Britain visited. So too did Backson Sibanda from Zimbabwe, Ahuma Adodoadji from Zambia. And lots more. sometimes it felt like Visit Australia Year. They were all welcome!
In Canberra the aid portfolio went to Dr Blewett from Senator Evans. As the year finished it went from Blewett to John Kerin. Aid became more marginalised and irrelevant.
We gave “Thank You” awards to two senior people in the television industry for their help over many years. They were both surprised and very moved.
I visited Lebanon. Looking back I see I was rather overwhelmed by the whole experience. Jean Bouchebl knows everyone. I found it hard to come to terms with the horrible history, and the abiding hope.
In China, I saw the floods. The scale of the disaster once again overwhelmed. But here was a situation we could do something about. And we did.
Managed to squeeze in a half dozen Hawthorn games. Saw them win and lose. Went to my first Grand Final. Saw them win!
Launched (through Bert) a serious investigation into improving our service with major donors. An exciting report came from the consultants. Another great opportunity for '92.
The Board agreed with my recommendation to proceed with the new building at Burwood East.
I joined our international President, Graeme Irvine, for high level meetings in Beijing.
I seemed to do a lot of television interviews, and even more radio ones. Seemed like someone said “I heard you this week” every week.
Singapore laws changed, making future fundraising there difficult.
A second visit to Ethiopia with the Canada film crew enabled me to get a better feel for the problems and the possibilities there.
A small staff/board think tank at year end dreamed up some exciting futures for World Vision of Australia. More about that next year.
On Christmas Day we enjoyed the best of being a family together. Relaxed pleasure of one another. Humour. Excellent food. Giving. Receiving. Worship. Thanks. Love.