Reflections of a Compassion Traveller – Day One

Reflections Have you ever embarked on a new venture, perhaps with a plan, only to realise half way (when you’ve gone beyond the point of no return) that the venture is not unfolding the way you’d envisioned?

After all, in the words of wise King Solomon: “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21, NIV). With this wise impartation, I can be assured that I’ll do what I can, according to His purposes. And the rest is in His hands.

In other words, I’m learning to make the most of any situation. After all, God’s plan might just be, well … much better.  So, this is what happened with MY plan. And it began like this:

Chelsea Rule, Compassion Australia’s Partner Artists Coordinator, decided to join the

Compassion field exposure tour after a mission trip in Hyderabad in Jan. 09.

How about we add some salt to that? Her cousin and videographer Caleb Irwin (who also went to Hyderabad with Chelsea) also joined the Compassion team to help record their trip.

Between Chelsea, Caleb and I, we planned to develop a stunning video blog series featuring Chelsea Rule, and it was to be called ‘Chelsea Rule Diaries’.

But that didn’t happen. God had other plans.

To throw some spice into the mix, Mel Carswell, the Supporter Communications Specialist at Compassion Australia, was also on the trip. If I were to describe her role in two words, it is to ‘tell stories’. (And you’ll see that she’s awfully good at it.)

In Feb. 09, Mel visited Compassion in India with some Compassion staff members, donors, artists and other partners. Some would call it a “high-profile” trip. I kid you not – people like Australia’s female TV Week Queen of Pop (1974–75) Debra Byrne were on it!

But it’s no secret that we didn’t end up with Chelsea Rule Diaries, is it?

So let’s fast forward to a bit of a reflection by the narrator of the video you’re about to see – Mel Carswell. (Poor Mel, she never wanted the spotlight, but she stepped up to the plate, and you really ought to congratulate her.) And here’s Mel:

“If Irene had of asked me to be her blogger before we left, I probably would have let out a little smile and carefully provided a better idea that would mean someone else was in front of the camera and I was, in my usual spot, behind it. But flight changes, schedule changes and an extra 25 hours in a bus that no-one expected (the developing world is like that!), we arrived at me attempting to be a video blog extraordinaire.”

Can you piece together what might’ve happened? (Come on, use your imagination!) 😉 Oh, and Mel had other thoughts that really back up my point, aka – unexpected outcomes are absolutely normal when we journey towards God’s purposes …

“No matter how organised you want to be. You can have meeting after meeting after meeting before you go, but in the developing world, our working ways simply don’t translate.

“What seems fine on paper over here doesn’t always work out over there. You just can’t factor in the impact of stopping every five minutes for a herd of sheep to pass or arriving to a child’s home to find that they are a teeny bit shy. They’ll talk to you, but the minute that big camera bag comes out, you can see them breaking into a sweat.

“Alas, Irene’s romantic idea of a video blog through the villages of India didn’t quite come off as it had so eloquently evolved in her head. But 100 takes later, a slight slip into what I think was feces, and too many laughs to count, here are some stories that grabbed our hearts. I hope they do the same to you.”

And here it is: Reflections of a Compassion Traveller – the video journal …

Take one! 

Mel Carswell in India – Day One


Irene Kao

8 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Amy March 24, 2009

    I can tell I’m really going to enjoy these video blogs 🙂

    I also have a boy in India, so it’s nice to see something from that country.

    I’m going to Colombia with Compassion Canada in July, and seeing this video is making me even more excited (if that’s possible)!

  2. Juli Jarvis March 24, 2009

    Mel, this is really wonderful. I appreciate your words and insights so much. I have experienced what you describe as well, and only pray that more sponsors will visit these amazing projects!

  3. Britt March 24, 2009

    “After all, God’s plan might just be, well … much better.”

    I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to figure this out…lol!

  4. Irene Kao March 23, 2009

    Thanks guys,
    There will be more reflective journals for sure – all for of them 🙂

  5. Caitlin March 23, 2009

    I’m with Jill! More, please, more!

  6. Tina March 23, 2009

    I correspond with a child in East India…I think this is the first video I have seen that highlights this region of India. Thanks for posting it!

  7. Jill Foley March 23, 2009

    This was great….will we get to see more?

  8. Michael March 23, 2009

    Irene & Mel-
    This story reflects my Compassion experience so well, and that of countless others I’ve met over the past few years. Once I saw for myself just what Compassion is doing (more accurately, what God is doing through Compassion’s staff and Sponsors), I realized, just like Mel… I want to be involved in this ministry for the rest of my life. Well done Compassion Australia!

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