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Olivet grads traveling the globe with the World Race

Posted: Jul 24, 2013


Olivetian Amy Dillman with World Race in India (Photo submitted by Amy Dillman)


Olivetian Abby Borland (far left) with World Race in Ecuador (Photo submitted by Abby Borland)

After graduating from Olivet, Amy Dillman ’12 and Abby Borland ’13 decided to serve the world’s citizens by joining the World Race, a ministry sending mission teams on a journey to 11 countries in 11 months. Amy is nearing the end of the journey with only weeks left, and Abby just passed the halfway mark of the journey with seven months under her belt.

How does a social worker experience the world?

A social work major from Bloomington, Ill., Amy has been on the World Race since September, 2012, and has served in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland, China, the Philippines, India, Ukraine, Romania, Honduras, Nicaragua and currently Costa Rica. Besides being the logistics coordinator for her squad of more than 50 people, she has loved connecting the people she meets with their community’s resources. Besides the practical application of her studies, she has also found her internship at a pregnancy resource center and her passion for Zumba — exercise routines set to music — to be beneficial for what she is doing now.

“In the Philippines, I came alongside at a birthing center and helped the women by doing a Bible study, teaching a Zumba class, and taking their pulse and blood pressure,” Amy says. “I am really passionate about being spiritually, physically and mentally fit. The birthing center had never done any physical exercise with the women until I offered to teach a few Zumba songs. Exercising to music together after our Bible study brought so much joy.

“I wanted to see a delivery, and the last week I was in the Philippines, God put me in the right place at the right time. I got to go with a midwife to help with a house delivery. I helped comfort the 19-year-old young woman, Analynn, through her fear of her first delivery. When it came time for the birth, I was right there holding her leg and assisting the midwife. That beautiful memory will stick with me forever!”

How does a political science graduate experience the world?

Hailing from Peoria, Ill., Abby began the Race in January, 2013 — the same month she graduated from Olivet — serving in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Romania, Ukraine, South Africa and currently Mozambique. Thus far, her experience has been primarily focused on relationships. She has also enjoyed applying her political science knowledge to the history and cultures of the different countries where she has served.

“My studies from Olivet have been really helpful, especially when I was in Eastern Europe,” says Abby. “I’m so glad I knew the history of communism because it helped make it easier for me to understand their culture — why things were the way they were or why things weren’t as advanced as in the U.S. or Western Europe. It was really cool to see how much their history came into play and how they live currently.”

Understanding that history has impacted relationships she has built with individuals like her host mom in Ukraine.

“One of my favorite moments was sitting with my Ukrainian host mom as she shared her story,” says Abby. “Her family started an underground church in the 1930s and has kept it going through all the decades and even through communism. She was sent to prison three times for being a Christian and sharing her faith. She was so open and willing to go the extra step because she feels so convicted by her faith. I haven’t met a lot of people who would risk going to prison just to tell someone about Jesus. It’s awesome to meet people like that and to get to share daily life with them.

“Coming on the World Race is probably the best decision that I’ve ever made, and I’m really thankful I’ve had this opportunity. Even in the six months I’ve been on the Race, I can tell that I’m not the same person as when I left. You transform so much when you actually listen to what the Lord is telling you and try to live the way that He tells us to.”

Acres that comprise Olivet's beautiful, park-like campus in Bourbonnais, Illinois