Heart to help: CBM Supporter Ant Van Hewsden’s Miracle story

Stories | July 21, 2021

CBM Supporter Ant Van Hewsden has lived a life. 

Ant, preferred name ‘Cobie’, was born in (country?) in 1942 during wartime. She remembers a plane flying over the city, delivering food to those who were starving.

“I had gas (Sulfur mustard) in the eye. I had to put my head down all day for two weeks. Cobie remembers the procedure when she lost sight in one eye. “I was determined not to let it define me,” she says.

Life was still difficult after the war. Cobie experienced whooping cough and rickets in what was a hard childhood. Nonetheless, she was drawn to assist in an orphanage before arriving in Australia. She found work as a nanny but gave it away as it was poorly paid.

“I never knew what love was,” she explains.

She prayed to God and saw a tunnel of light. It was at a Pentecostal church that she found Jesus. Her compassion for others was expressed in aid to those with disability. “You’ve got to let them come to you,” Cobie recalls.

One year, she provided Easter eggs to the churchgoers. Twelve months later, she forgot, and the group were asking about their special treats. She hosted a 21st birthday for one person and provided a space for grieving for one who had passed away.

“When you take them out, you can feel the tension in their hands,” affirms Cobie. “They are still God’s people”.

As a young girl, she remembers kindness being shown to a boy with a disability. “That’s where it all started for me”. 

Cobie has recently returned from Europe for a visit, noting she needs to be careful not to be run over by trams.

Her work with Aboriginal people in Western Australia touched her heart.  She recalls the red sky sunset over the beach. “The water is absolutely beautiful”. 

She has also been preparing books to raise money, including a volume of recipes (about what?)

In dealing with her eye issues from the War, Cobie knows what it is like to face the risk of blindness. With empathy, she befriended and helped another woman with vision impairment (in WA?)

The passion for others rings true in her voice. “If everybody who can afford it, gives a little, people would have more help,” she says.

Despite a difficult start in life and an encounter with vision impairment, Cobie believes she has found, with the grace of God, a genuine perspective to help others.

Thanks, Cobie.

Story by Graeme Turner, CBM Contact Centre.

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