"Hondo" comes from the Spanish word for depth and there's lots of depth to Honduras. It's home to the Aztec and Mayan civilizations, whose ruins are still stand. Honduras is mostly mountainous and the weather's as tropical as it gets. What really runs deep in Honduras are its needs. Honduras is the third poorest in the region, after Haiti and Nicaragua. Like her neighbors, Honduras has had her of share political/military troubles, e.g., the six-month constitutional crisis in 2009. There's a need to reach out to the youth, not just to keep them out of trouble (e.g., gangs) but for them to know their worth and that they're loved.
This location is always a World Race favorite. It's a country full of wonderfully warm and caring people, and participants always leave having had a powerful experience. However, hopelessness, addictions, destitution, and poverty still plague the many lives of Nicaragua. There are orphans who have grown up without knowing the love of a parent and families who get by each day by scrounging scraps from the city dump where they have made their homes. In Nicaragua, you'll have the opportunity to bring God's love through slum ministry, door-to-door outreach, outreach to children, and more.
Costa Rica is a hot spot for surfing and just enjoying "pura vida" - literally, "pure life", it's a concept of a "chill," relaxed, laidback way of life. The beautiful beaches that line both coasts are the perfect setting. Among the Central American countries, Costa Rica ("Rich Coast") lives up to its name. While the natural beauty attracts lots of tourists, there are still large pockets of poverty and family brokenness. Because of its relative affluence, Costa Rica also draws in immigrants from neighboring countries, like Nicaragua, who don't fare much better than they did before. You might help feed their physical and spiritual hunger - and discover other creative ways to give new meaning to the concept of "pura vida."
This Asian island nation, former Spanish colony then American protectorate, is a country in tension, trying to cross the threshold between the third and first world. It offers a variety of landscapes - beaches, mountains, volcanic lakes - and languages, with Tagalog as the national tongue. The Catholic Church is a substantial piece of the religious pie, however, and Islam is growing in the island of Mindinao. The Filipino people and culture love music, dance and community. While there, you will find yourself living with and giving hope to the destitute, caring for orphans, and challenging the growing number of Christ-followers to rise up.
The kingdom of Thailand, known as Siam until 1939, is the only country in the region not colonized by Europe. Their 2000 census showed that 94.6% of the population is Buddhist, 4.6% are Muslim, and 0.7% are Christian. Approximately 600,000 people live with HIV/AIDS in Thailand. With nearly two million people estimated to be forced into prostitution, it has become one of the most popular places for sex tourism. Change lives in the city-where you, like Jesus, might befriend prostitutes-or in the countryside-where you may serve youth, care for orphans, and encourage a remnant of believers.
Cambodia houses one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Angkor Wat, a Hindu temple and monastery built during the Khmer empire in the 12th century. It later became a Buddhist complex a century later, and today, just over 96% of Cambodia is Buddhist. Almost 30 years ago, 1.5 million Cambodians died at the hands of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime. Today, Cambodia is a source, transit point, and destination of human trafficking. Unfortunately, the government is struggling to stop it. The people of Cambodia are thirsty for the hope you can bring.
With nearly a sixth of the world's population within its borders, India is a country bursting with people and culture. Home to a diverse array of beliefs from Hinduism to Islam, to a blend of folk religions and other faiths, it is a country of pluralism with twenty-nine languages spoken by over a million native speakers, multiple religions, cuisine, socio-economic classes, and political parties. India's struggles with poverty and crimes of human trafficking, forced prostitution, religious persecution, and more. You might work with local churches to encourage believers and most likely be challenged by their testimonies. Your presence will bring hope and truth to those that society deems "untouchable."
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.
Who hasn't heard of Kenya in their lifetime? The Kenyan people are colorful, musical, artistic and hungry for the love of Christ. The Maasai bush, the Nairobi metropolis, and the Kibera slums comprise a country diverse yet unified in history. As a new era dawns in Kenya, so does the gospel of truth and faith. By meeting felt needs in the bush and the city, participants help bear lasting fruit with current ministry partnerships (ministries like evangelism, orphan care, and community development), and build foundations of future partnerships.
Once a kingdom and British protectorate, for most of the later half of the 20th century, Uganda was under military rule, first under Idi Amin, the subject of the film The Last King of Scotland. Much of northern Uganda was also troubled by the Lord's Resistance Army, which heavily recruited child soldiers. Referred to as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is diverse in topography and wildlife. You may find yourself in the north partnering with ministries that are bringing still-needed healing and reconciliation or in the south working with churches to evangelize and disciple the next generation of Kingdom workers.
Many who hear "Rwanda" immediately think, "genocide" - it was 16 years ago when 800,000 people were killed over the course of about three months. According to the U.S. State Department, Rwanda (once colonized by France) has the highest population density in sub-Saharan Africa; and like much of sub-Saharan Africa, this nation also is fighting hard against HIV/AIDS. This nation played a part of the genesis of this human rights organization and inspired this song; as you help bring healing to a country still recovering from this deep wound, God may birth a dream or vision in you...