Monthly Archives: November 2019

A life of travel leads author to Central Australia and fostering Indigenous children

How does a single mum leave behind a life in the city to become a foster parent to Australia’s indigenous community? Cathleen Hope is a remarkable woman who took up the challenge of travelling to a place that most women would never dream of and she has documented it in her new book, Dare to Try.

For those who reside outside of Australia, it is probably hard to imagine that the central part of the nation is barely liveable. A country the size of America, the population is just a fraction of the US because of how barren so much of the country is.

Central Australia is, by and large, populated by the country’s Aboriginal community, otherwise known as the Indigenous, and for Cathleen Hope, it became her mission field.

“Essentially, my story is also a spiritual story to redemption,” she tells me. “What do you do when you find redemption? You want to tell others. First my family and then ‘the ends of the earth’. Central Australia, in terms of language, culture and distance from any capital city is my ‘ends of the earth’”.

Cathleen’s life changed when she became a Christian. “After becoming a single mum, bringing up three littlies was tremendously daunting,” she stated. “The peace I experienced once I was able to put my faith in God was liberating. I had a heart for fostering children and I initially fostered in Victoria. I have looked after 45 children at various times.

“My biological kids were generally older than my foster kids, which was sensible. My youngest child was five when I started fostering and all three have grown up around other children being in the house. As a family we have grown and been so blessed through having the honour of being part of these foster kids’ lives.”

Looking for a change, Cathleen made the move to the Northern Territory. She started fostering again there after an Indigenous family asked her to look after their four year old.

“Initially, I didn’t realise the child was under the care of the Child Protection Department, a government department that looks after children in child abuse and neglect,” she continues. “Her baby brother was born shortly after and I was asked if I would take him in too. Interestingly, the family only had three stipulations. One, the foster parent had to be a female. Two, they had to be Christian, and three, they had to be white.

“I was floored that this summed me up perfectly. I eventually went to see the baby in hospital and then made the decision to resume fostering so these two could be part of our family and continue to see their own family.”

Cathleen details her experiences of fostering and dealing with the Child Protection Department further in much greater detail, as well as managing her relationship with indigenous people living within their community.

“First and foremost, we are all people and we have our own likes and dislikes,” she tells me. “It is important to find common ground. Indigenous people tend to be incredibly perceptive and they can tell if someone is ‘fair dinkum’. I didn’t try to come into their environment with a ‘saviour complex’. I was genuinely interested in what I could learn from them.

“I have always just tried to be myself. I know they often roll their eyes at some of the things I say and do. We laugh about it, but the respect is mutual. I write about many of my interactions with the First Australians in my book.”

In writing Dare to Try, Cathleen found that it also brought back memories of abuse she received as a child. “I had no intention of writing about child abuse as a personal issue,” she states. “But when I started my book, it was actually the first thing that came out. As I continued the story it continued to creep in. Writing this story was cathartic by forcing me to work through many painful memories.

“The main reason I wanted to tell this story was to help non-Indigenous people understand what it is like living in Central Australia and seeing first-hand the way some of our Indigenous brothers and sisters live. Many people have opinions, but few have actually been here. I can’t speak on behalf of Australia’s first people, but I can share my experiences. And this is what I have tried to do, and let the facts speak for themselves.

“I also wanted to share my story of coming to know the light of the world. Nothing has had a bigger effect on my life than my walk with Yeshua.”

Dare to Try is available now from Amazon and other outlets globally.

Why identity in Christ is at the heart of a successful Christian life

Most Christians, if they were being honest, would tell you that they struggle invariably to understand their identity in Christ. One moment you can be reading the scriptures, which point you to the blessed life and the promises of God that are available for God’s children, and the next, you’re facing a barrage of challenges, many spiritual.

Consequently, maintaining consistency as to who you are in Christ is the challenge so many Christians face. However, a new book has just hit the market that aims to remind Christians globally of their complete identity in Christ.

The Identity Project is the work of Jessica Harper, who has not only watched people struggle with their identity, but has faced the same issue herself.

“I struggled with my own identity growing up, wondering who was I meant to be and how I fit into the world around me,” Jessica stated. “Did my life have purpose? Was I enough the way I was? These are questions that most people ask themselves at some point in life.

“As the years went on, I realized that the places I was looking to for the answers to these questions were quite a mixed bag and often took me on a roller coaster of emotions. When I looked to the people around me for acceptance and to validate who I was, my internal world could be flipped upside down overnight by the words and actions of others.

“When I looked to the perfect and filtered world of social media to define how my life measured up, I was often left feeling inadequate and like my life could never rise to the invisible, yet unattainable standards I saw behind the images and posts.”

Jessica grew up in a Christian family, and she gave her heart to Jesus at a young age, the words and truths of the Bible were always present in her life. “It was during these years of discovery and struggle, however, that I really began to see these truths in a new light,” she stated. “I discovered that while the opinions of others, the approval of friends and the shifting trends of the culture around me could change as quickly as the wind, the words of God were constant and unchanging.

“In Matthew 7:24 Jesus describes His words as ‘foundational words, words to build a life on’.

“I found that the more I paid attention to what He said about me, the less the opinions of others mattered. The more I looked to His word to shape my future, the more purpose my life had. This book is really the result of a desire to share this journey with others, and to invite them to step into the same freedom and confidence in who God has created them to be.”

The challenge for so many Christians is the fact that while the Word is full of scripture that confirms who we are in Christ, the painful and broken experiences in life can spill over and into our worlds, tainting our image of God in the process.

“The truth, however, is that He is a perfect Father who loves us perfectly- no matter how imperfect we are,” she continued. “The more we see Him for who He truly is, the more we see ourselves for who we truly are as people created in His image and welcomed into His family through Jesus.

“I find it so heartbreaking that so many Christians are nervous, sometimes even scared, to ask God about their purpose in life. They feel that He will ask them to go to deepest, darkest Africa or something similar.

“The truth, however, is that God has created each one of us uniquely and individually, with different skills, talents, giftings, passions and abilities, and that His purpose and plan for your life is tailor made to compliment and align with your uniqueness. I believe that if you could glimpse, even for a second the purpose that God has planned for your life, you wouldn’t want to be anyone other than the person He has created you to be.”

The Identity Project is now available globally and can be purchased from Amazon. You can also liaise with the author directly at

New group launches to support Christian women in business

A new group has been launched in an effort to support the growing number of Christian women and stay-at-home moms venturing out into their own businesses.

Christian Woman & Co is the brainchild of Nicole Danswan, who along with her husband, are the owners and founders of the global media group, Initiate Media.

CW&Co has been launched with a vision of connecting mompreneurs and Christian women in business who want to combine work and faith in a new digital era,” Nicole stated.

As the workforce changes dramatically and we are seeing the rise of the gig economy, where more and more jobs are becoming part-time, casual, and in many cases, cut all together, Nicole felt compelled to launch a support group so that Christian women are not left behind.

“As both a Christian woman and a Christian woman in business, I can very clearly see how quickly employment is changing. So many jobs are going offshore, automation is changing so many industries and thus gobbling up many of the part time jobs that were once available for us moms, and so I really felt led to create a product that ensures my Christian sisters are not left behind.

“My vision is to provide content, which will then lead into workshops and retreats, where we can teach women the aspects of running a business. For most, this isn’t something they are doing as a hobby. Many families need additional income to survive, and so a support group that can adequately educate women in starting and running a business is in fact a necessary ministry.”

Initiate Media purchased the Hillsong Business Directory some ten or so years ago and already serves Christian owned businesses with web development, app development, creative services, and much more.

“We already own Christian Woman, and so we have an amazing platform from which to launch with,” Nicole said. “As a company, we already provide a myriad of services for businesses. From web development, to branding, PR and printing, we are already heavily invested in this space.

“Only a very small percentage of people are called into ‘official’ ministry, and so for the rest of us, our businesses and workplaces are one of the best, most influential, ministries we have.

“Doing work with excellence really makes people stand up and take notice. I’m excited to see what Christian women from all around the world are going to achieve in the years to come and feel so honored to lead CW&Co.”

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