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Q&A with St Bart’s, Toowoomba parishioner, prankster, baker, dancer and plastic bottle recycler, Margaret Abot

Spotlight Q&A

Meet Margaret Abot and find out about her successful recycling fundraiser, what she loves most about church, her thoughts on “Being Together: Embracing Joy” and Reconciliation, and what she does in her free time

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Where do you currently live and where do you worship?

I live in Toowoomba. My family and I worship at St Bart’s, Toowoomba.

How long have you been involved in the Anglican Church?

My whole life. My whole family is Anglican. I was raised believing in God.

The Abot family

Margaret Abot with her siblings and parents, Rachel Jimma and Bishop Daniel Abot, on Christmas Day in 2020

How does your faith inspire you and shape your outlook, life choices and character?

My faith teaches me to care for people. I don’t like seeing people being bullied.

Can you tell us about your bottle collecting initiative?

It started in 2019. My cousin Grace started it. She wanted me to join her. We put both of our ideas in it. We earn 10 cents per bottle. The money goes to South Sudanese orphans in Uganda. We have raised $2,800 so far from the bottles and from people donating money after seeing us being interviewed on the television. We collect the bottles from our families, friends and schools. My mum and dad help collect the bottles at events. The orphanage was started by my dad. We store the bottles at my house. When we collect over one thousand bottles, we make trips in the car to get the refund.

It is also good for the earth, including for the animals. It helps stops pollution on beaches and in schools.

Margaret Abot recycling bottles

“My mum and dad help collect the bottles at events. The orphanage was started by my dad. We store the bottles at my house. When we collect over one thousand bottles, we make trips in the car to get the refund” (Margaret Abot)

What are your plans and goals for the next 12 months?

I am planning to come closer to God and to do better in school. I also plan to keep collecting bottles. Grace and I are also planning to do a sausage sizzle fundraiser with the Dinka community.

Can you tell us a little about your personal faith journey?

I remember when I went to Youth Group at church and there was a guest speaker. He spoke about how he saw a kid going though a lot and how he prayed for the kid. I was confirmed by Bishop Rob Nolan when I was eight. I really enjoy going to church, especially the music.

Margaret Abot with Children's and Families Minister Bettrys Lowe

Margaret Abot enjoys St Bart’s, Toowoomba CHARGE Youth activities (she is pictured with Children’s and Families Minister Bettrys Lowe at St Bart’s, Toowoomba in October 2022)

What is your favourite scripture and why?

“Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3.13) This scripture reminds me that I need to love my neighbour as myself.

What person of faith inspires you the most and why?

My cousin, Grace. She is a very strong Christian. I see her writing Bible scriptures down in books. She is caring, generous and kind.

Margaret Abot and her cousin Grace

Margaret Abot and her cousin Grace at a recycling depot in October 2022

2022’s Diocesan theme is “Being Together: Embracing Joy”. What are some practical ways that we can celebrate the way differences help to make us whole and the importance of diversity in our unity?

Learning about each other. Asking each other questions. Listening to others and hearing what they have to say.

Why is Reconciliation with Australia’s First Peoples important?

It is really important because of what Aboriginal people have been through. They will never get back what they fully deserve. This is their country and we should treat them and their country with respect.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received and who gave you this advice?

To treat someone the way I want to be treated. My religion teachers at primary school talked about this a lot.

What do you do in your free time to recharge and relax?

I like going on walks, dancing and playing ball games with my little brother, Abot.

If you found yourself on a deserted island, what three things would you choose to have with you?

My phone, chips and a blanket.

If you could have a billboard with any text on it, what would it say and why?

“Please give me your bottles” because I am raising money for South Sudanese orphans in Uganda with my cousin, Grace.

Margaret Abot and her cousin Grace

“I am raising money for South Sudanese orphans in Uganda with my cousin, Grace” (Margaret Abot)

What book do you recommend the most as a gift and why?

Wonder, which is about a kid with a rare facial disorder. He was bullied by a lot of kids at school. By the end of the book he had a lot of friends. The main bully apologised to him. The book is inspiring.

Where do you do your best thinking?

In my room.

What is your earliest memory?

I don’t know how old I was. My dad had just came back from Africa, but we didn’t know. It was a surprise. He was in his room. I opened the door and he was there.

If you are having a bad day, what do you do to cheer yourself up?

I eat ice-cream. Mint is the best.

What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?

It did not happen to me, but I did it. It happened just before I started this interview. My little brother really wanted a soft drink. I got a can and filled it with water. He went to the fridge to get it. He drank it. He was not happy. He said he would not never forget it. My parents were laughing.

What is your secret skill?

I like baking vanilla cakes. I can also make people laugh – sometimes by pranking, but mostly by joking.

Margaret Abot baking

Margaret Abot enjoys baking in her family kitchen, especially vanilla cakes

What day would you like to re-live and why?

Maybe my eleventh birthday because I had a lot of my cousins over and it was fun.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would that be?

Pasta, but only if I can eat different types.

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