Featured Racer: Kristen Pfund
We had the chance to chat with Kristen while she sipped on te canela at an Internet cafe in Antigua, Guatemala, during her ninth month of the World Race.
For now, let's go back to Los Angeles, California. Living in the fast-paced fashion world, Kristen worked in marketing for Perry Ellis after graduating from the Bay Area Fashion Institute.
Being on her own since 19, Kristen considers herself to be an independent and motivated woman, now 24. Her days in LA were spent working, hanging out with friends, and going to her fair share of music shows.
When Kristen's best friend, Birkleigh Foreman of the August 2009 K Squad, returned home to the States after her Race, the two moved in together. This inspired a great deal o f conversations about the World Race as Kristen met other Racers and was introduced to the subculture that is said to be formed around the people of the World Race.
It wasn't long after that another one of her roommates came to her with a word from God saying Kristen needed to do the Race.
"I began praying into it a ton," Kristen told us. From then on it kept coming up in her life.
While visiting a friend at the G42 Leadership Academy in Spain, she found out yet another friend was planning to go on the World Race. More conversations commenced from there.
Around Easter weekend of 2011, Kristen finally did what she knew she had to do: she applied for the World Race.
Doing a trip like the World Race was surprising for Kristen and her friends in many ways. "I'm not the REI type," Kristen said of her connection with the outdoor superstore. "Yet, I blew everyone out of the park at the store."
"My parents were super shocked," she said of telling her family about her decision. With college loans and such a great support need for the trip, they didn't know how it'd be possible for Kristen to go. But Kristen knew they were "God-fearing people" and the Lord "gave them a peace" to believe it could happen.
Kristen knew she had her parents' support when they told her, "we release you to the Lord." And they've been her biggest cheerleaders throughout her journey, even when Kristen felt ready to quit.
Something changed in Kristen at training camp. She had never experienced the Spirit in the ways other were and didn't even know if she wanted to, but God said, "you have to not care, Kristen." So she stopped caring and kept believing.
During the campout, Kristen wasn't her usual extroverted self. Instead, she spent some time journaling. She knew there was some stuff she'd have to deal with before heading out to the field: selfishness and trust.
There, in the pouring rain, a squad mate prayed over her.
"Chills times ten, crying times ten," Kristen described the rest of her training camp. "Whatever God did in a small way before was now amplified."
"When I knew it was from the Lord, I was ready to go," said Kristen. Launch "couldn't come more quickly," until the night before she left. "I broke, I didn't know if I could do this," she recalled. "My mom walked in the room and I broke."
Not knowing how she could face this for eleven months she asked her mom for some wisdom. "Just look at it as a day," her mom advised her. For Kristen, "the Race became looking at a moment, the present, and that's how it is now with nine months behind and two months left," one day at a time.
Kristen and the September 2012 Z Squad are now wrapping up their tenth month in Honduras. Look out for more about Kristen's journey on the field, like the time she tried to hit a robber with a salad bowl. Yes, true story.
If you want to read even more about our featured Racers and other stories from the field, subscribe to our updates blog. You won't be disappointed.