ACU faculty, students making a difference in Montevideo

Posted December 03, 2010

Immersed in a different culture and continent, ACU students and faculty are bringing to fruition the university's mission of Christian service and leadership throughout the world. Students studying abroad in Montevideo, Uruguay, participated in a worldwide effort to raise money for AIDS orphans in Kenya through a 5K run.

The One World Run, which was organized by Paul Bilak, one of the founders of Project AIDS Orphan, had groups running to raise awareness and funds for these orphans on every continent. He had no one participating in South America until groups from ACU in Latin America and Pepperdine's international program in Buenos Aires, Argentina, volunteered.Learn more about the run at the Project AIDS Orphan website.

Students Rachel Beck, Jessica Low, Kendyl McEachran and Jocelyn Nederhoff joined on-site director Wimon Walker in running along the Rambla, the avenue that runs more than 20 kilometers along the coast of Montevideo.

"I am excited that I was blessed with the opportunity to take place in the 'One World Run,'  Running along the beach of South America for the needs of children around the world was one of the most satisfying experiences," says McEachran.

Nederhoff adds, "The 5K run was a great testament to being united for a purpose across continents."

Student Victoria Tyson and assistant on-site director Rosalinda Walker supported the runners with refreshments and documented the experience with photos.

"My wife, Rosalinda, and I live in South America now, but we also spent 15 years working as missionaries in Botswana, in southern Africa. It's not every day that we get to connect the South American and the African parts of our lives," says Wimon Walker. "I am impressed by the approach of Project AIDS Orphan. Instead of building the kind of orphanage that Americans are used to, Paul is working closely with a Kenyan medical professional to find ways to provide for orphans without uprooting them from their extended families and villages. I am glad that we got to play a small part in bringing attention to their work."

Rosalinda Walker is also contributing to service projects within Uruguay through the American Women's Association of Uruguay. She was recently elected president of the association, which serves as a group of goodwill ambassadors from the United States. The club's website has more information.

"This is an excellent reflection on the caliber of our ACU faculty and staff and is a wonderful illustration of what our Study Abroad programs are able to do when we have this kind of commitment to a specific location," says Kevin Kehl, executive director for ACU's Center for International Education. "The connections that we are able to make through the leadership of our on-site directors and visiting faculty enable our students to drink deeply of local culture, and provide them with role models and specific experiences that help prepare them for Christian service and leadership throughout the world."