Friday, 28 April 2017

Why We're Walking: Kirra and Julie, ALWS

Mums Kirra and Julie have test-walked the 26 kilometre 
Walk My Way track, following the path of Lutheran 
pioneer women. They urge other mums to join them 
in stepping out to bring love to life for refugees. 
Photo: LWF / C.Kastner
“When you give birth, you think life will all go very smoothly, and you long for your child to be like everybody else.

“But sometimes that doesn’t happen.

“Asher is 10 now, and his name means ‘happy and blessed’. He lives with autism.

“I can’t change that. All I can do is equip Asher with the skills to cope in a world that is not always very welcoming to people like him. I can’t control how people respond to him. I can’t force them to be open and kind, but I can equip Asher to survive.”

Kirra Lewis, a ‘product’ of Lutheran congregations in the east of Melbourne, is coordinating a new event, Walk My Way, for ALWS. This 26 kilometre walk follows the footsteps of Lutheran pioneer women in the 1840s as they carried produce from Hahndorf to Adelaide – and returned with hard-to-get goods, including two bricks each to build a new church.

Walk My Way aims to raise money to help refugee children in Africa go to school, and walk in solidarity with those who have lost everything as refugees. Kirra says,

“I guess that’s why I’m part of Walk My Way.

“All of us who are mums long for our children to be whole and happy, and contributing members of society. When that’s challenged, there’s something in your mother heart that means you’d walk over hot coals to change things.

“In the developing world, that mother heart doesn’t change.

“You still want to do everything you can to help your child to survive. That’s why we at ALWS see refugee mothers walking vast distances, through great danger, to carry their children to safety.

“So for me to walk 26 kilometres in Walk My Way is a small thing – but I’m doing it for mothers for whom walking means everything.”

Working – and walking – alongside Kirra is Julie Krause, ALWS Community Action Officer for SA/ NT /WA. Julie has her own mother heart story for doing Walk My Way.

“I came from a large family, and always dreamed of having four or more children. But I had a lot of trouble falling pregnant, and remember looking at other women who were pregnant, and feeling a deep heartache.

“It seemed so easy for them, but so hard for me. I knew God could answer my prayers, but I struggled to understand why he didn’t.

“Finally, after 7 years, I was blessed with Josiah.  People say it’s easy to become pregnant again after the first, but not for me. We embarked on the overseas adoption journey, but the little girl we were matched with, died four days before we were due to collect her. The next child we were given was kidnapped as part of a political process against adoption.

“When you so long to be a mother again, that pain is almost unbearable.

“Yet, God answered my prayer when Tesema and Abebaw from Ethiopia became my two new sons. God answered my dream – just not the way I expected.

“I know what a gift children are, and how precious it is to be a mum. That’s why when I Walk My Way, I will be walking for mums in Africa whose children are threatened by  famine and conflict.” 

Walk My Way happens on Tuesday 4 July, but you can do it when and where it suits you best. If you can’t walk, you can volunteer, pray or sponsor a Walker. Simply go to or call 1300 763 407

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