After a week in Brisbane, the group headed to a small town called Moree in the Australian Outback. In Moree, students planned to work with native Aboriginal children with different forms of technology, including the iPad, Microsoft Office programs, and other programs on both the Mac and PC systems. The team was excited to partner with missionary Brad Johnson and expand upon the principles they had learned concerning global poverty and lack of education in class the previous week. Working with these less fortunate kids was a great way to broaden students’ perspectives with global mission work, focusing on education in an impoverished area. Unfortunately, Dr. Ian Shepherd was not able to come to Moree due to an illness he came down with in Brisbane. Dr. Phil Vardiman along with his wife, Jackie, and the 22 students stayed at a private school in Moree.
“I was not sure what to expect coming into Moree. By the end of our visit, I had built strong relationships with many of the Aboriginal children. It was neat knowing that I had planted a seed for the continuing of their education,” says Alex Cotton, a sophomore Accounting major.
Every day, around 25 students from the local community came to the private school. Each ACU student was partnered with one of the local kids from the neighborhood. For most of the day, ACU students would work with the kids using different technological programs, teaching them various functions on Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, iMovie, and other general applications on the iPad. After a couple of days, many of the local kids felt more comfortable using these programs. The kids were fast learners, quickly applying the new skills they had learned to projects they worked on throughout the week. The children did learn many new computer skills; however, seeing strong relationships form between ACU students and the kids was also a highlight of the trip.
For the final project, groups of students acted out and filmed parts of Bible stories with the kids. The Bible stories included Jonah and the whale, Moses and the 10 plagues, and David and Goliath. Using the iMovie program, students edited the videos and then showed them to the entire group at an “awards” ceremony the last day. Working with the Aboriginal kids allowed ACU’s students to take concepts learned in the classroom and apply those principles in a real life situation. ACU students walked away with a greater understanding of poverty and lack of education in a different culture. They also left Moree truly feeling how God’s presence had blessed both them and these children over the past four days.