Saturday 4 January 2014

I want to make a difference with Tearfund

Some might look at this little orphan girl and see poverty, I see spirit and beauty

Right now I feel a spark and a passion that I've not felt for a while and it feels really good. Not just good from a gratuitous sense but good as in right. Since becoming a Christian eleven years ago I've had a strong desire to 'work for God' and to do what He requires of me. Of course I have found that being a Christian is not always easy, life is not full of the big glamorous stuff and much Christian service is the mundane and everyday but of course that is necessary too.

However, there have been times in the last eleven years where God has required me to step outside my comfort zone and to do something that makes a difference. Something that impacts others in a positive way but also allows me to grow and to know Him more. It is in these times when I feel alive and I know that I am in the right place doing the right thing.

Today I'm feeling a sense of anticipation, I'm buzzing with excitement, my husband has said that I should go ahead and apply to be one of three bloggers who will travel to Cambodia with the Christian charity Tearfund in March. He will ensure that our children are looked after while I travel (if I am lucky enough to be chosen) and tell the stories of the people I meet.

Now what I need to do is convince the judges that I am a worthy winner. I wonder what would make Michelle the right choice to send abroad to blog for Tearfund?

I could literally write pages to persuade you why I feel I am right but at the core this is not about me, this is about the people who live in Tonle Batie, Cambodia and how I can possibly help them. This community are working hard to pull themselves out of poverty and along with the local church they are finding innovative and original ways to make a difference to their everyday life. I would be privileged to lend my blogging community and social media power to help Tearfund find another 60 regular donors who are able to give £3 per month ongoing.

Here is what I can offer -

1) A heart to serve our Lord and to be faithful to Him. After much conversation, prayer and contemplation I feel I could do a really good job as a storyteller for Tearfund.
My natural writing style is 'from the heart' and hence the name of my blog. When I travelled with ONE the blogger coordinator told me I had a beautiful writing style which people relate to as it is authentic. I get the kind of joy from my writing which only comes when you are utilising one of God's gifts.

2) Experience of travelling abroad with a charity in the capacity of blogger to tell the stories of the people I meet.
In October 2012 I was privileged to travel with the ONE Campaign to Ethiopia as a #ONEMom blogger and during this eight day trip I wrote, photographed, recorded and shared the stories of the amazing people I met. Our trip was designed to find out if aid works; when our developed and wealthy countries give money to those in need is it used for good or just thrown away by the governments and people in power? I was overjoyed to find that in Ethiopia so much good is being done and I loved being able to tell the stories of the Mums and inspirational people that I met there, people like Mulu and Gebeyehu.

Gebeyehu at the Bright Future project in the Merkato slums, Ethiopia

Then in December 2012 I travelled to Belarus with the Christian charity Operation Christmas Child to host their live web casts and to tell the stories of the children I met on both my blog and the OCC blog too.

I still partner with both organisations and blog for them as well as organising twitter parties, giving advice and on-the-ground volunteering for OCC too by coordinating shoe box collections.

3) My blog is well read and I have a strong social media presence
My blog started (2008) as a personal journey and soon morphed into a parenting blog which has grown beyond my wildest expectations. I have always been very open about my Christian faith and I believe God uses my blog as an evangelistic tool. I have a strong readership and rank highly in all the parenting charts. I believe my readers and blogging community would be happy to support me and to share my content across their own channels. They did this back in 2012 when I travelled and I know I can call on them again.

Another good example of people supporting initiatives I have been involved with is the meme I started with a blogger colleague in September 2011 for the Save the Children Healthworkers campaign, in a weekend we managed to persuade 164 bloggers to post about the cause and I don't have the statistics to hand any longer but the reach on twitter was in the millions.

I currently write for the BritMums blog and I'd happily speak to the other blogging networks that I have affiliations with to see if I could guest post for them about the Tearfund bloggers journey. I feel quite confident I could secure a number of guest posts.

4) I use a variety of media and social media and will share across multi-platforms
As well as posting via words and photos, I'm comfortable on film and audio and will happily share my journey in these ways to ensure that I reach the most people possible. I've embedded one of the soundclips that I made whilst In Ethiopia, people really seemed to enjoy these unedited and raw accounts of my time there. My Instagram feed was also really popular and a great instant way to draw people in and make them feel as if they are there with you.

I'm hoping you can tell that I am on fire about this opportunity and that I would go out of my way to do my part to ensure that new donors are secured and also to tell the stories of the people I meet.

Thanks for your time considering my application. Whether I'm chosen or not I'll happily support those bloggers who go on this journey. I did speak to the representatives at Spring Harvest last year about supporting Tearfund as a blogger and I left my details with them but sadly I did not hear anything back and then of course life got rather busy when we upped and moved to our new home in a Christian prayer and conference centre last summer. Of course this move is a wonderful thing in terms of this opportunity as it no longer means I am in a tied job and I am free to take up opportunities such as these when they present themselves.

Praise the Lord.

Mich x

Disclosure: This is my entry to the Tearfund bloggers challenge. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.
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