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Culture Club Spans Borders

May 13th, 2008

By Sarah Pride

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 338-8727
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu
Kelly-Christelle Orsini volunteers at a French Vacation Bible Schoo
Kelly-Christelle Orsini volunteers at a French Vacation Bible Schoo

Senior Lucas Pillman, a tri-citizen of Ecuador, Canada, and the United States, was once almost trapped in South America. He had entered Ecuador on that country’s passport, since his new U.S. passport had not yet arrived. When he tried to return to America, he found that he was eligible for mandatory service in the Ecuadorian army. Only after some bureaucratic wrangling was he allowed to safely return to the U.S., with yet another interesting tale to share.

Kelly-Christelle Orsini, a junior, also holds multiple citizenships. Her mother is American and her father French. She was born in France, where her father served as a colonel in the French military.

The two have formed an outreach club called Sans Frontières, meaning “without borders,” with other PHC students interested in foreign countries. Orsini, the secretary of the club, explains its mission: “We’re helping to provide corrective lenses for a selective cultural myopia among some students at PHC. Our mission stems from PHC’s charge [to impact the culture for Christ], recognizing that not all students here are from America, and that those who work overseas share the same vision.”

In the fall of 2005, the first semester of the student-run organization, Sans Frontières emphasized awareness of the Muslim world, organizing forty days of prayer for Muslims during Ramadan. They also brought in a speaker, Colonel Painter, who, after thirty years in the U.S. Army, serves as a missionary in the international Christian community. During spring 2006, the club invited members of the PHC campus to join them for an authentic Asian dinner and film, and have since arranged outreach opportunities, including a trip into D.C. to volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center.

“We hope Sans Frontières can have a practical, personal outreach,” says Pillman, the club president. “We want this to be a cultural outreach club. Many areas in the United States are more culturally diverse than those overseas.”

To this end, an eleven-member group will travel to Mexico in late May for a week of ministry work. Junior Jeremy Smith’s parents run a Bible camp there, giving the Sans Frontières club members a venue for work projects, ministry to surrounding families in need, a vacation Bible school, and perhaps some street evangelism. Students are paying their own way in order to serve. One faculty member, Dr. Michael Kucks, Assistant Professor of Physics, is accompanying the younger members of the PHC community, although only as a participant. The trip is organized and managed by students.

Pillman hopes that Sans Frontières’ ongoing efforts will continue to benefit both the student body and the surrounding world.

“We know we’re supposed to reach out to the world around us, but sometimes, just as with anyone, there’s a breakdown between what we know and what we do,” he says. “The purpose of Sans Frontières is to destroy this disparity.”

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