2024 Mission report

"My wife Chris and I have visited Cambodia once before, and Vietnam several times, so we were very excited to have another opportunity to return in 2024. 

Our plan was to visit again some of the homes and other projects of Giving It Back To Kids (GIBTK) in these 2 countries, and also to spend some treasured time with the children, young people, and also the staff of this unique, and uniquely placed organisation. This time however, we had the added joy of being accompanied by 6 friends from Catalyst (ages from 19 through to 70) who had heard Chris & I talk about our love and appreciation for the work of GIBTK, and decided that they wanted to ‘come and see' for themselves. The stories, like the number of photos we all collected, are countless so I’ll just include here a few highlights below" - Larry and Chris Commins

(Photos above: Bikes for Kids, Stories at Marlene & Vera Girls Home, and Water Filter Distribution)


Our next visit to GIBTK in Cambodia & Vietnam is planned for either the end of 2024, or 2025 – departure date around 29th December, for 2 weeks. (We need to make this scheduling change to better mesh together things like Asian New Year holidays, Australian education calendars, and very importantly, slightly cooler weather in Asia!)

If you are interested, please contact Larry or Chris Commins, or Catalyst Staff at info@catalystchurch.com.au


As part of connecting with the recent history of the country, and the work of GIBTK here, we began with a visit to one of the infamous ‘Killing Fields' near Phnom Penh. I grew more and more quiet in my spirit as I learned of the unspeakable horrors of this holocaust inflicted on the people of Cambodia by a cruel, ruthless dictator in the 1970’s & 80’s. For me the entire tragedy can best be summarised by learning that an estimated 3 million people, of an entire population at the time of around 8 million, were murdered. Oh! ...may we please learn from our past mistakes and always choose the way of love!

(Photo: Prayer for boys at New Hope Boys Home)

Next, we travelled north by road for about 4 hours to the central city of Battambang. The following day we visited GIBTK’s Marlene & Vera Girls Home. The girls and young women of the home had prepared special name posters and greetings for us all. It was very touching to realise that our visit meant so much to them and there were many hugs and tears flowing down our cheeks – even some of the men! During our visit there, the girls shared with us about their dreams and aspirations for the future. Our hearts melted as we listened to them tell of the terribly sad circumstances they had come from, and how GIBTK had given them a safe home to live in, precious opportunity for education, and most importantly of all, a simple yet priceless gift called Love! Most of the beautiful young women there now have clear goals and plans in place for the careers and ambitions they are pursuing; Teaching, Medicine, Arts, Business and others.

In the afternoon we were so blessed to be able to visit the (newly opened) New Hope Boys Home. New Hope is now home to 12 boys and young men ranging in age from 10 through to around 17. Again we learned of the heartbreaking circumstances from which most of them have been rescued, and the new paths their lives have taken since coming to the home provided by generous GIBTK donors. Beautiful young men who, because of their gender, had been sadly sometimes considered of ‘less importance' in the context of the sexual and other abuse they had suffered, now have a safe place to sleep, food and clothing, opportunity for education and as the name at the entrance implies... ‘HOPE' for the future!

One final mention of our next stop in Cambodia. We travelled again by road to the city of Poipet on the Cambodian/Thai border where we saw tragic evidence of the ease with which trafficking

of children can occur in this part of our broken world. Economic and social circumstances of families here left us feeling broken and helpless – imagine how it must feel for them. BUT, here we met a man who works 6 x 12 hour days each week, in a job which pays reasonable money, just so he can spend the rest of his waking hours, and his savings, helping those in need and caring for people as a part-time pastor of a small church! I am humbled and I am speechless!


The work of GIBTK began in Vietnam about 22 years ago and has expanded to cover many areas of aid including… homes for girls and boys; heart surgeries for babies/children from poor families (around 1,900); bicycles for kids from poor families to attend school; wheelchair distributions (approaching 200,000); water filter distributions; a home and assistance programs for abandoned single Mums; schools for supplementary education; housing projects; …etc. https://givingitbacktokids.org/

(Photo: Parents and their Kids approved for heart surgery)

Our Catalyst Team spent 10 days in Vietnam visiting the staff, people and facilities connected with GIBTK and the stories from Cambodia were repeated in kind many times over – with copious quantities of hugs, tears, laughter and inspiration!!! You can read some of the highlights from our Team - currently on the GIBTK Home Page - https://givingitbacktokids.org/ - scroll down to “Recent News”.

I cannot help but be inspired by all of this and remember the often neglected truth that EVERY life, every soul, is precious to our loving God and deserves whatever help can be gifted by those more fortunate. None of this world changing work would happen without the amazing leaders and team of GIBTK (and, it must be said, many other wonderful organisations), and the generosity of people who choose to make a difference by recognising that the opposite of ‘poverty’ is not ‘wealth' – it is simply… ‘enough'.

We must say a huge “Thank You!” to all those at Catalyst who gave so generously to the programs of GIBTK as part of our visit. It was an honour for us to be representatives of your kindness! God Bless You!