With nearly a sixth of the world's population, India is home to 29 languages, the religious practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and tribal religions, some of the spiciest food on the planet, and a highly segregated rich and poor class. Thanks to the ancient caste system, crimes of social injustice, discrimination, forced prostitution, and human trafficking occur daily. Baby girls are often killed and abandoned, simply because of the financial burden on their families. Lepers are treated as untouchables, and the poorest of the poor live in slums. Will you share hope with the poor, abandoned, and outcast in India?
Home to Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain, Nepal literally sits on top of the world. In addition to adventurous experiences you will have here, you may also visit widows and orphans in their times of distress and protect the innocent who are prey to human traffickers. This month of your World Race experience will submerge you in a culture that is desperate for an encounter with the living God.
Behind Thailand’s beautiful beaches, its people’s smiling faces, and the tropical jungles lies a terrible secret: modern day slavery. In Buddhist culture, women work to support their families so men can earn spiritual merit as monks. Many parents send their daughters to work in cities where the only option is prostitution. As the country’s natural beauty continues to draw visitors, sexual tourism continues to grow. It’s estimated 60% of tourists visit the Red Light Districts—and 90% of Thai men visit local karaoke bars for the same reason. Will you share the freedom of Christ with the broken in Thailand?
Cambodia boasts the famous Angkor Wat, a Hindu temple that later became a Buddhist monastery. Hidden for centuries under dense jungle, today Angkor Wat is one of most photographed places in the world. Cambodia itself is struggling to heal from one of the worst genocides in modern history. In the 1970’s, the Khmer Rouge killed over 1.5 million men, women, and children. Faced with inconceivable poverty and desperation, Cambodia became a source, transit point, and destination for human trafficking. The people of Cambodia are hungry for hope and healing. Will you share it with them?
After nearly a century of French rule, in the mid-20th century, Vietnam was split into communist (north) and non-communist (south) halves. By 1975, Vietnam was made whole again, but as a communist country. Even with the economic reforms and restoration of diplomatic ties human rights are limited in Vietnam, especially freedom of religion; most of Vietnam is Buddhist, less than 10% is Catholic. You’ll find yourself teaching English or working in cafes forming relationships and friendships with the locals, ultimately to share the love of the Father.
Albania, one of the countries Paul visited on his third missionary journey, is in Eastern Europe. Though it declared independence in 1912, this small country was occupied by both Italy and Germany during World War II, lying behind the Iron Curtain and under Soviet Rule until 1989. Not long after the fall of the Soviet Union, conflict on the Balkan Peninsula tore families apart once again. It is a nation of rich history, natural beauty, and people who know the meaning of pain. The people of Albania need to know the freedom and hope of a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Formerly part of Yugoslavia, the Eastern European nation of Macedonia received independence in 1991. While the nation has undergone serious economic reform since then, with over 70% of the population struggling to make ends meet, it has one of the poorest economies in Europe. With 65% of the nation Eastern Orthodox and 33% Muslim, it also has the 5th highest percentage of Muslims in Europe. As this new nation still struggles for solid footing in uncertain times, you will share the life-saving truth that complete security comes from dependence on Christ.
Formerly part of the Eastern Bloc, Bulgaria remained under Communism until 1990. Today this democratic nation is part of the European Union. The sixth country to put an astronaut in space, Bulgaria has the second highest amount of Mensa members in the world. It is also a primary source, transit, and destination point for human trafficking in Eastern Europe. The people of Bulgaria are some of the most intelligent in the world. They hunger for greatness, yet miss it by inches—the distance between the head and the heart. Will you share the love of Jesus in Bulgaria?
Formerly the British colony of Rhodesia, Zimbabwe shares the majestic Victoria Falls with Zambia. Yet despite its natural beauty and resources like gold and diamonds, this country struggles for hope. Amnesty International reports that the current government has allowed human rights violations in Zimbabwe to escalate for years, and a recent economic meltdown has led thousands to emigrate to other countries, or be displaced within the country. While 75% of Zimbabweans claim Christianity as their faith, it’s often mixed with tribal practices and ancestral worship. Will you share God’s love in a country hungry for hope?
The small mountainous country of Swaziland has a dark secret: the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world. This pandemic has broken almost every family in Swaziland. Because of a promiscuous culture, the ancient tribal tradition of polygamy, and many myths about casual sex, 40% of Swazi children are orphaned. Words like "rape" and "abuse" can be found in elementary students’ workbooks. Mothers are often left widowed and with no means to support their hungry children, due to lack of education. Will you share the promise of hope for the future with the orphans of Swaziland?
Known for soccer, safaris, and shark diving, South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa. It's a land of adventure. It's also land of deep pain. Several decades since apartheid formally ended, South Africa still needs healing and reconciliation. Social injustice and racial prejudice are still rampant. Although they live in one of the wealthiest countries on the continent, most of the population outside of big cities are poor. And like the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, this country struggles with a high rate of AIDS/HIV. Will you share the adventure of the Kingdom of God in South Africa?