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Larapinta Challenge Supporter Stories

All around the world, there are communities burdened by poverty and injustice.

Unfortunately, many of these communities lack the means to transform themselves and overcome this disadvantage. But ABM has made it their mission to change this and they need your help!

In 2021, two teams of enthusiastic adventurers are taking part in an outback trekking adventure to raise funds for ABM. On the adventure, the teams will be challenged to trek Australia’s most renowned walking track, the Larapinta Trail. As they explore the rugged beauty of the Red Centre, they’ll be raising much-needed funds to help overseas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities transform themselves spiritually, materially and socially through holistic, long-lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.

To sponsor a team, please click here  

(Please note: After you have selected 'Click here' and have been taken to the following page, please select either Departure 1 or Departure 2 to find your chosen team)

 

 

Simolyn Delgado and Ailen Wickham

This month we’re focussing on two sisters planning to walk the Larapinta Trail. Simolyn Delgado and her sister, Ailen Wickham. The sisters come from the Philippines, where ABM has two projects that will benefit from their fundraising.

Read more about Simolyn and Ailen and why they’re doing the walk here:

sisters

Simolyn and Ailen, two sisters planning to walk the Larapinta Trail to raise much-needed funds for ABM’s projects


Simolyn says:
As we all know, 2020 was a challenging year. We heard several stories about people struggling worldwide in different ways, which left my sister Ailen and me feeling sad, overwhelmed, and confused. We felt an instinctive desire to help but were not sure where to begin. We started by doing little acts of kindness. When we learned about the Larapinta Challenge, we stepped up as we thought it was an excellent opportunity to worry less about ourselves in the midst of whatever challenges we face and think more about others, especially the poor, the lost and the lonely.

Humanity remains an important message in our world today. Where there is no God, there is no humanity either. We are doing this because, as the Letter of James says (2.26), faith without works is dead. As the world deals with COVID-19, we must not lose our focus on people who are experiencing financial challenges, loneliness, and isolation. We are expressing our faith in action by helping raise funds to support ABM’s projects.

Living in Australia, we realised how blessed we are and that we have the “superpower” to do something good for others. It is up to us whether we will use this superpower or not. We decided to give it a go which is why we have signed up for the Larapinta Trek. We have been training to keep ourselves fit. My sister Ailen has been consistently doing high-intensity interval training at night. I have been running, walking, and hiking and last Saturday, 20th February 2021, my husband and I went with a group and completed a 37 km walk from Circular Quay to Parramatta, which took us 8 hours and 43 minutes, where one-third of the walk was along local roads and two-thirds through parks and river walk. It was not easy, but my unwavering commitment to this great cause helped me stay focused and motivated.

We want to say thank you to everyone who has donated to our fundraising – or any other Larapinta walker – we want you to know that we appreciate it very much. Thank you for helping us raise much-needed funds to support ABM’s projects overseas, including the Philippines, where we came from, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to lift themselves out of poverty and injustice.

Ailen says:
Doing the Larapinta Trail will not only realise one of my bucket-list items – to trek one of the most beautiful landscapes in Australia, in the heart of the Australian outback – in Alice Springs! I will also learn more about the Dreamtime of Western Arrernte Aboriginal people and about their sacred sites, which I am very interested to know more.

I am also here to support my youngest sister, Simolyn. She has been talking about this fundraising initiative for a while before we signed up. She was very keen. She needed a partner and who else can better team up with her but of course, me! Doing this trail gets me to spend quality time with her, a one-on-one sister time, which I am looking forward to.

And above all, I am doing this to help raise funds, with all proceeds going to our brothers and sisters doing it tough here in Australia and overseas including the Philippines where my sister and I came from. I believe, no matter how small or insignificant we think the impact of the help that we give, it does not really matter because you see, if everyone helps in their own little way, when combined, it will make a lot of difference!

Do not hold back, give as much or as little as you can! It makes a lot of difference either way! Thank you!

sisters3

 Simolyn (left) and Ailen enjoy spending “sister time” together


 Sarah Gowty and Tim Gowty

Sister and brother team, Sarah and Tim Gowty are this month’s featured Larapinta Trail walkers. It’s exciting to hear that Sarah and Tim are walking together in memory of their late father, David Gowty, a former ABM Board member and international development expert.

Read more about Sarah and Tim and why they’re doing the walk here:

 Sarah Gowty, and her brother, Tim, plan to walk the Larapinta Trail for ABM.

“We are both excited and daunted by the challenge ahead.

“Trekking the Larapinta Trail is one of those bucket-list things we didn't think we'd be doing so soon but when the opportunity to walk part of the trail to raise money for ABM came along, we jumped at the chance. To spend a week together will be a wonderful treat too - it has been a long time since we've had such quality sibling time. Six days and 64km is a decent amount of quality time! While Tim is on his feet all day as a theatre nurse and father to two energetic children, we are enjoying spending more time together outdoors testing out our legs as our training ramps up in preparation for June.

“We see this as an incredible opportunity to challenge ourselves physically; to take time out from the busyness of daily life to connect with this ancient land; for mental and spiritual renewal as we walk with like-minded people and learn from the traditional owners of the country we are walking; and to raise valuable funds for ABM’s work with overseas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.  

“ABM has been part of our family life for as long as we can remember. Our late father David started his career in international development as a volunteer teacher in Borneo through ABM, an experience that would shape the rest of his life. And ours.

“Growing up we followed Dad around the world and were aware at a young age not only of the injustice and poverty that exists in the world but also of the incredible impact basic things like access to clean water, an opportunity to go to school or financial literacy can have in breaking the poverty cycle.

“In retirement Dad continued to contribute to ABM where he could, including selling honey harvested from hives in his local parish of St Andrew’s Indooroopilly and the Diocese of Brisbane’s Synod under the ‘A-Bee-M’ logo. When in 2013 he lost his short battle with cancer, Dad was an active member on the ABM Board and had only recently returned from Myanmar where he was working to support ABM’s partner, the Anglican Church in Myanmar in ongoing capacity building and partnership development.

“Following in Dad’s footsteps Sarah joined the ABM Development Committee in January 2018 and has recently been appointed onto the ABM Board. We really respect the work of ABM in Australia and overseas, especially the approach to working with partners.

“Walking the trail together in memory of Dad will be particularly special.”

Sarah and Tim’s late father, David Gowty, was a keen ABM supporter and a
Director on the Board. He raised funds for ABM by selling honey from his
Indooripilly parish under a special A-Bee-M label.


Read about two mother and daughter teams who are excited to be participating in ABM’s Larapinta Challenge. Rosemary Gardiner already supports ABM through membership of the ABM Southern Queensland Committee. She is priest-in-charge at Holy Trinity, Woolloongabba. Her mother, Gillian Moses is a school chaplain who has a passion for reconciliation with Australia’s First Peoples. 

Bev Pepper has supported ABM for many years. She is walking with her daughter, Jen McMahon, with whom she has already travelled in Central Australia. Jen will be particularly ready for the Challenge, as she is a long-distance runner. Both wish to use their fundraising to support ABM’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program.

Gillian Moses (L) and her daughter, Rosemary Gardiner are walking the Larapinta Challenge together for ABM © Rosemary Gardiner. Used with permission.
Gillian Moses (L) and her daughter, Rosemary Gardiner are walking the Larapinta
Challenge together for ABM © Rosemary Gardiner. Used with permission.

Rosemary Gardiner

I am the social media office for the ABM Southern Queensland committee. When the committee offered me the opportunity to represent them on this challenge, I was thrilled. This kind of thing is way beyond my comfort zone. In fact, when I sent out an email to friends and family announcing my participation, I felt like I had to reassure them it wasn’t spam! But that is one of the reasons I am so eager to participate.

I have not had the opportunity to visit this part of our country before. Everyone I have heard from who has visited speaks about how beautiful and awe-inspiring it is. As an inner-city girl myself, I feel like it will be great experience to spend some time in the wilderness, and not just as a tourist. 

One of the things I appreciate most about ABM’s involvement with various projects is the priority put on walking with communities and working alongside them. On the Larapinta Trail, I am looking forward to walking with others on the trek and learning about each other. I am looking forward to listening to the stories of those who have a traditional connection with the land. Furthermore, as a representative from the Southern Queensland committee, I am looking forward to being able to bring some stories back to share with others in our community.

I am happy to be sharing the experience with my Mum. Maybe we can even help each other out with training in the meantime!

Gillian Moses

In 2018 I finally made it to Alice Springs and Uluru for the first time in my life.  I was blown away by the sheer age of our country, and the relationship our First Peoples have with a land that looks hostile to me, but is life-giving to those who know it well. I believe our red heart has something profound to say to us spiritually, about abundance and living in harmony, and to hear that voice takes time and attention.

I am walking the Larapinta Trail to make time for that voice and to pay attention to it. I am walking because the Larapinta Trail is one of the great walks of Australia and I want to experience it myself. I am walking with my daughter Rosemary, because our stories have many similarities, I love her company, and I think we bring out different aspects of each other. I am walking it because as a school chaplain I think my experience will enrich my work at school, particularly in the area of reconciliation.

And I am walking the Larapinta Trail to support the work of ABM, especially with First Peoples. I appreciate the model of mutuality that ABM brings to its mission work and I am happy to give my time and financial backing to that mission. 


Jen McMahon (L) and her mother Bev Pepper will also walk the Larapinta Challenge together. © Bev Pepper. Used with permission.

Bev Pepper

I have been a long-term supporter of ABM and am always interested and impressed with the extent of their achievements in supporting communities here in our Australian remote areas.

Having travelled extensively in outback Australia and seen first-hand some of the work that has been done to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal communities as well as areas of the Torres Strait Islands, I am thrilled and honoured to have this opportunity to help raise ever needed funds for ABM’s valuable work.

The outback country has always been an attraction for me after my first trip through Alice Springs and beyond when I was still at College, and I have been so fortunate to have made multiple trips since through many areas of rural and remote Australia. 

I feel a real connection to the land having farmed in regional Victoria for a long time. As my sons are now carrying on the tradition, I am still closely connected.

The Larapinta trail will be quite a challenge; one I am feeling ready and excited to accept, and am very thrilled to have my daughter walking with me.

I know there are many people in remote areas who walk long distances regularly because they have no choice. 

My hope is that the funds raised from this challenge will make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged people both in Australia and overseas.

ABM wishes to thank everyone who has supported Bev’s fundraising efforts and, like us, are deeply saddened by Bev’s sudden and unexpected death in late February 2021. Bev was anticipating her Larapinta adventure with great excitement and her fundraising efforts mirrored that excitement. Bev lived a life committed to God’s love, hope and justice and her efforts will ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and our partner communities overseas will have that same opportunity. Bev was walking Larapinta with her daughter Jen McMahon, and ABM is grateful that Bev’s daughter-in-law, Karen, will now walk in her place alongside Jen and the other participants. This donation page will be held open for anyone wishing to make a donation in Bev’s memory.

Above Picture: Jen McMahon (L) and her mother Bev Pepper will also walk the Larapinta Challenge together. © Bev Pepper.
Used with permission.

Jen McMahon

I feel very fortunate to be travelling in our beautiful Australian outback in 2021 and more importantly helping to raise much needed funds for such a wonderful cause for ABM.

I am thrilled to be experiencing this journey with my Mum as together we have travelled the Australian outback before, and I have witnessed firsthand the hardship communities face on a day to day basis. It will be very rewarding knowing the money raised will help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Having been a long-distance runner all my life and competing at a State level I know how much the body can be pushed; however, this will be a very new challenge for me and something I am really looking forward to.


What happens when two sisters get inspired to raise funds for ABM?
Meagan Schwarz and her sister, Caroline

What happens when two sisters get inspired to raise funds for ABM?

Meagan (left) on her wedding day with sister Caroline © Meagan Schwarz

Meagan Schwarz, ABM’s Committees Support Officer has not only taken on the Larapinta Challenge for ABM next June, but she has also inspired her sister, Caroline, to do likewise.

Meagan says:

Working for ABM has provided me with so many wonderful opportunities to see first-hand the amazing life changing work that is being done through our partners in Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Zambia.

Walking 64km of the Larapinta Trail while raising funds to ensure communities continue to benefit from these programs is a great way for me to ‘give-back’ for the blessings I’ve received and to share with others the inspiring stories of people who have achieved amazing things and the impacts these projects have on individuals and communities.

I’ve also heard lots about the Larapinta Track and never thought it would be something for me to do, so being able to be part of a guided group like this was just too good an opportunity to pass up. And then my sister said she wanted to walk too!

As I walk, I’ll be thinking of those who have to walk long distances to receive health care, fetch drinking water and attend school, knowing the funds I raise will be helping them achieve their dreams. Having a four-year-old daughter has made me even more aware of the blessings we have in our country, and yet we often take so many of these things for granted.

I hope that during my training and fundraising, I’m able to raise awareness of how our partners are working to build up communities in ways that are sustainable, that focus on a community’s strengths to solve their own problems, and give hope and a future to children just like my daughter.

Caroline says:

I saw a post on my sister’s Facebook about her ‘walking’ the Larapinta Trail as a fundraiser for ABM. I initially thought that it was a ‘virtual’ walk of the Larapinta Trail and that she was just going to be walking the equivalent distance around her home in Adelaide. Reading on a bit more though, I realised that she was going to be trekking the ACTUAL Larapinta Trail in Central Australia!

This immediately piqued my interest as I spent ten weeks volunteering in a remote community west of Alice Springs – Kintore (Walungurru) – back in in 2006. The people and the red earth of Central Australia have held a special place in my heart ever since!  The realisation that I could join my sister on this trek (without our kids!!), raise money for ABM and revisit a very special region of Australia made me sign up immediately for more information. After discussing my interest with my hubby and two sons, it was decided that I would join my sister for the Larapinta Trail adventure and here I am, in the midst of fundraising and training to ensure I meet my donation target and be able to survive 5 days of trekking in Central Australia!

There is not a specific project of ABM’s that I feel more passionate about that any other, it is simply the manner in which they work in partnership with local communities, aiming to empower those communities to transform their lives, sustainably coming out of poverty, delivering grassroots, community-driven development, along with programs in adult literacy, improved food security, water and sanitation, gender equality and social inclusion. As my body gets used to trekking up to 20 kilometres a day, the muscle aches, sore feet and blisters are worth every cent that I can help fundraise to support ABM deliver these programs around the world.