It’s a long way from the Grade 4 classroom of a Lutheran school in Queensland to the frontline of the war in Ukraine. And it feels a long way from the comfort of a cosy bed to sleeping on the floor.
Yet 9-year-old Chloe, inspired by a class project on ‘Why experiencing God’s love can inspire someone to make a sacrifice to help others’, is doing exactly that.
‘I was motivated to give up my bed for five nights’, she says. ‘People from Ukraine have been sleeping on the floor for weeks and sometimes even months.
‘I am hoping my campaign can raise $500 or more in four weeks. I want to raise money for Ukrainian people because they have nothing while we have everything – which makes me think we can spare money for them because we have so much.’
Chloe’s teacher, David, says his students spent the first semester of their Christian Studies lessons reflecting on how God’s grace can change the world. Students explored the concept of sacrifice, and now are helping others through Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS).
‘We used a planning template to develop an action plan, which led students to create a simple website that showcases what they are sacrificing for their chosen cause’, David says. ‘Some examples of the ALWS initiatives that students have chosen to support are the Ukraine Crisis, the Tonga Crisis, Children of War and The Grace Project.’
This class project is an example of how ALWS and Lutheran schools work together. ALWS school resources include curriculum-linked educational materials, devotions and chapel presentations. Guest speakers share stories of the Lutheran Church’s support for sustainable development for families in places like South Sudan and Burundi, and emergency response to disasters like the war in Ukraine and the Tonga tsunami.
Once students are inspired and equipped, they take action through ALWS activities like Gifts of Grace and Walk My Way, and the initiative of Chloe’s class.
Classmate Chayse is giving up his bed to help the people of Tonga. ‘I am motivated to sacrifice because God sacrificed his life for us’, he says. ‘That got me really motivated to help Tonga because of the big tsunami and that is why I am sacrificing my bed and my goal is $2000. If we work together, we can make Tonga a different place.’
Fellow Grade 4 student Megan also understands the power of bringing love to life for people hurt by poverty, injustice and crisis: ‘I am motivated to make a sacrifice for others because that shows that we love everyone even though we haven’t met them’, she says.
Jonathan Krause is ALWS Community Action Manager.
You can support the people of Ukraine or Tonga, along with other ALWS projects, at www.alws.org.au/what-you-can-do/donate/ or by phoning 1300 763 407. You can also support and participate in the South Australian Lutheran schools Walk My Way to be held at Victor Harbor SA on Friday 21 October. See www.walkmyway.org.au for more information.