National Magazine of the Lutheran Church of Australia

Different walks, same goal

May 2020

Thousands of refugee children will be supported to go to school in East African refugee camps, thanks to the commitment and generosity of our Lutheran family and friends.

As of 15 May, more than 2860 children were to be helped to go to school and that number is growing daily, as are the participants and supporters of ALWS Walk My Way. With the postponement of 26-kilometre group walks scheduled for Melbourne in April and South Australia’s Barossa Valley last month due to the coronavirus pandemic, more than 270 people had walked, wheeled, ridden, woofed, or played their own way, in their own time, to raise more than $70,000 for the kids by that date.

It costs just $26 to help a refugee child to go to school by providing teachers, textbooks and tables. The Walk My Way aim for 2020 is to raise $260,000 – enough to support 10,000 children. Go to www.walkmyway.org.au to take part or sponsor walkers.

In the rebadged Walk Your Way, in which participants set themselves a challenge which is to be completed within government COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, those taking part have been innovative and dedicated to the cause.

Here are some of their stories …

My way, not the highway

In February, Peter Renner decided he would do the Walk My Way in Melbourne. Peter says he started walking with the idea of getting fit enough to walk 26 kilometres ‘without embarrassing myself’… and then he just didn’t stop! Since 2 March, Peter’s training walks add up to more than 750 kilometres! Peter says: ‘If you look at it in terms of a return trip from Melbourne to Adelaide, I’m now approaching Murray Bridge on my way back to Melbourne. I haven’t been fitter in the past 20 years. I had planned to ask people to sponsor me, but when COVID-19 happened, I didn’t feel right asking people for money. Instead, I’ll donate a dollar for every kilometre walked from 2 March to Easter.’ Peter hopes to ‘return to Melbourne’ by the end of June.

On your bike …

Dean and Josh (pictured) did a 26-kilometre bike ride from Tanunda to Angaston, in the Barossa, and back. Naturally, a stop at the Barossa Valley Cheese Company in Angaston was included.

Wet my way

Last year Peter Schubert completed Walk My Way in Darwin – this year it was in the cold of southern Adelaide. ‘I just completed my Southern Vales walk. Sharon Jaeschke joined me for the first half. Loved the challenge of 26 kilometres. Squally showers and quite cold (this former Top Ender has still not acclimatised!) especially in the morning. I kept thinking that my trials as a walker were nothing compared to those of the refugees we support.’

A toddle for Hazel

For any struggling walkers, 16-month-old Hazel has been an inspiration. The toddler has received her Walk My Way t-shirt and is now tearing around the block on her way to her target. As of 7 May, she’d raised more than $3000 – enough to support schooling for more than 120 kids! See Hazel go at https://vimeo.com/413428472

Special support

An ALWS supporter couple, with a background in education including in Lutheran schools, donated $12,500 to match dollar-for-dollar what was raised on the scheduled Barossa Valley Walk My Way weekend.

When asked why, they replied: ‘We are very honoured and humbled to be able to donate to ALWS, as the gifts that we have been given have been gifts from our loving God. We know our gifts are to be shared and to be used to bring his kingdom to earth.

‘We have had our hearts grown over the years for people in third-world countries. It is important to our family that our gifts help to educate, support small businesses, and build people and their communities up so that they are empowered. The slogan “teach a man how to fish” is our philosophy.’