Host of the 2008 Summer Olympics and home to 1.3 billion people, China’s not just grand in land mass and population. Beside the Han Chinese, there are over fifty minority groups. While China has grown in leaps and bounds industrially, intellectually, and economically, it's still a politically closed nation. Depending on where you are, you may meet Buddhists, Muslims, and Taoists; there are even churches - government approved and regulated. The underground church is extensive and continues growing, even thriving, amidst persecution. While there, you'll have to pay homage to the Great Wall, and bring light and hope to a people in darkness and depression. How you'll do that exactly - you'll find out once you get there.
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.
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.
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...
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.
This Eastern European country is caught between its past oppression under the Soviet Union and the desire to be accepted by the West. People in the West tend to be more nationalistic than those in the East, where Russian is more commonly spoken. There’s a substantial orphan (social and full) population and human trafficking’s an issue here, too. Most people claim to belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox church, which is subdivided into three bodies. God’s desire is to bring hope, peace, authentic relationship with himself, and unity to this nation; you’ll find out how exactly you’ll participate in that!
Romania is home to a large gypsy community. Though strangers in their homeland and forgotten by society, the gypsies are a strong and vibrant people who embrace the light of Christ in an inspirational way. Here, you could teach English, lead sports camps, live life with the gypsies, and more. It will be an exciting time of learning about a people group you may not have known even existed.