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Timor Awakening Update

29 Australians and 20 Timorese Veterans completed a joint rehabilitation experience in Timor from 17-28 July 2016. From touchdown at Dili airport, through 960 km of travel in rural areas, and till takeoff 11 days later, we were overwhelmed by the hospitality of the Timorese. Hundreds of Timorese veterans turned out in every District, and massive community welcoming ceremonies and celebrations every day. Our purpose had been to improve the health of the veterans and their families by having a communal lived experience reflecting on the resilience and rehabilitation demonstrated by the Timorese and shared reflections amongst ourselves. End of […]

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Good News from Veterans Care

As you are reading this, our first Timor immersion is underway! Michael Stone is in Dili working with the Timorese veterans who are hosting us. Kirsten Wells is on her way to Darwin to meet with four Darwin participants and early arrivals from Tasmania, NSW and Rockhampton, and Caitlin Proctor and I will travel with the main body from Brisbane early Sunday morning. We will be farewelled in Darwin by Timorese Ambassador to Australia Abel Guterres, and newly elected Federal Member for Darwin, Army Veteran and good friend of ours, Luke Gosling. In Dili we will be met on the […]

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Caring for the mind

As with the body we need to embrace those things that nurture us and avoid those things which are toxic. The most toxic impact on the mind is stress. Stress is a more significant danger to our health than being 15 kg overweight. Stress hormones increase our blood flow to the muscles for  “fight or flight” and in doing so,  shut down our processes for healing and growth. Stress down regulates our immune system . What happens in our mind affects our body in profound ways. Chronic stress raises cortisol levels which turns off our immune system, keeps us awake, […]

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Caring for the soul

Defence has recently released a DVD called ‘Dents in the Soul”. The title comes from a statement by a veteran commander from our 1992 Somalia deployment who reflected that he had received “Dents in the Soul” from this experience. From a philosophical and spiritual perspective, our soul is different to our mind. The soul can provide the vision and inspiration to direct the mind. The mind is a physical place intimately connected with the chemistry of our brain.  Our soul is a spiritual reality. It is that aspect of our existence where we find true identity and purpose. All animals […]

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July Meeting update

Just a quick update on progress and to advise a slight change to our programme on 2 July . We are delighted to have formally welcomed 28 new participants and reserves this week joining our Timor Awakening program, TA2, who will be heading to Timor-Leste18-28 September 2016.  They join 23 who will be departing for Timor on 18 July.  We have been having numerous pastoral engagements with all these folks and its been a delight to see how much appreciation there is for what we are offering.     This letter was sent to VCA from a veteran on 21 Jun16…….I think your program is […]

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Update from Gary

Just sending a quick update following recent events, and to mention our next gathering is at Kookaburra Cafe on Sat 2 July. All members are welcome especially spouses! Our presentation at the Lords Mayors Prayer breakfast went very well. About $10,000 came up in the collection from the 300 present, but so many people were touched by this ministry of compassion, and grateful for what we are doing . We are certainly now on the Brisbane radar! Click here to read my presentation. . The meeting to brief our Timor Awakening participants attracted 42. I’ll let them tell you about […]

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Rebuilding Veterans’ Lives

DEACON Gary Stone and his son Michael arc both defence veterans and passionate about helping our young soldiers return to their families and civilian life. Together, they took on a new challenge last week — calling for greater public awareness about the plight of returning veterans, and seeking financial assistance for their mission through the Veterans Cam Association. “The association started about one-and-a-half years ago, and our mission is very clear. We am determined to save lives and save families,” Mr. Stone, a former army major, told Church, business and community leaders at the 2016 Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Pray Breakfast. […]

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Lord Mayor Prayer Breakfast

Lord Mayor, distinguished guests , ladies and gentlemen, Good morning.    Its  a delight for some of our Veterans Care team to be here among this wonderful community of people that are concerned for others. It s a great strength of this city that we have so many people who care, and we know from a spiritual perspective, when we come together in unity of purpose,   Gods blessings will flow abundantly, and I certainly hope we all leave feeling blessed. I’ve been invited to share with you on the interface between faith and medicine and health,  in the particular context of […]

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New veterans’ rehabilitation program in Timor

Article originally published in the Catholic Leader 14 April, 2016. Written by Mark Bowling New veterans’ rehabilitation program in Timor to combat “health crisis” and increased suicide rates with spirituality HUNDREDS of Australian veterans are expected to travel to Timor Leste as part of a unique rehabilitation program with spirituality at its core. The 12-month program, called Timor Awakening, is taking aim at a “health crisis” amongst young Australian veterans, who suffer from a frightening suicide rate. RSL Queensland has RSL Qld has agreed to sponsor the first 20 participants in the programme which will eventually expand to 200 veterans and […]

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Timor in hearts and minds

Article originally published in the Townsville Bulletin 14 April, 2016 at 8.33am. IN the years after World War II, Australian Sparrow Force veterans regularly returned to Dili in Timor to help locals who supported them in 1942. It’s about 720km from Darwin, the same distance from Rockhampton to Townsville. Mostly veterans of the 2/2nd Independent Commando Company, gunners, engineers, medics and Tasmania’s 2/40th Infantry Battalion, part of Australia’s tragically doomed 8th Division, these men took part in an annual pilgrimage to return to the gallant Timorese a little of the support given to them at great cost. Around August each […]

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