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How a God-given Dream Changed the World Race

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Samantha Cook had a dream on the World Race that changed the way she lived her life on the Race.

Dreams are one of my favorite inventions from God. Truly, how creative was He to decide that we should experience entirely different worlds while we sleep?! I’ve been pretty blessed with a vivid dream life, from nightly lucid dreams as a child to experiencing life after death (yes, I’ve died and gone to heaven twice in my dreams—ask me about it sometime!). 

A couple months ago, on my orange sleeping pad in the sweltering heat of Cambodia, I had a dream that has stuck with me. It doesn’t sound significant, but that dream has changed the way I’m living life on the World Race. It was a dream about a bowl of chili. We’ll get to that in a minute. 

Rewind another month to Vietnam. We lived with the sweetest older Korean woman we called ‘Ms. Kim.’ She spoke very little English and could be a little overbearing sometimes, but we loved her an awful lot. One night we had purchased all of the ingredients to make a delicious, hearty chili for dinner (it rained all the time in Vietnam, and what better rainy-day dinner than chili?!). Ms. Kim frequently “helped us cook”…it was as if she thought nobody cooks in America, so surely we didn’t know how to cook an egg in a skillet or, in this case, add proper spices to a batch of chili. She quickly tried taking the task into her own hands, and before anybody could stop her, she POURED the chili powder into the pot. Heaps of it. You should know that chili powder in Vietnam is NOT the same as chili powder in the states—it’s at least ten times spicier. So for me, a pale, freckled blonde girl with roots from Scandinavia, this meal quickly turned comical. I spooned bite after bite into my hungry stomach, tears welling in my eyes and sweat beading on my forehead. It was shockingly hot, but we laughed about it then and still laugh about it now, how Ms. Kim basically lit us on fire as she was only trying to help.

Back to the dream in Cambodia: in the dream, it was the morning after I had returned home from the World Race. I had been home less than 24 hours and was feeling pretty mopey, culture-shocked, and jet lagged. I was buried under a giant fluffy blanket on the couch when my sweet boyfriend walks in, holding a movie to watch and, of all things, a bowl of chili. (Why was he eating chili at 9 am? Dreams are weird.) I saw the chili as he sat down and I started bawling. Shoulders shaking, huge tears, blubbering as I tried to squeeze the words out that the reason I was crying was because his bowl of chili reminded me of “that one time in Vietnam when Ms. Kim poured all of the chili powder into the pot and we physically could not handle it.” 

I woke up the next morning and, after brushing aside the silliness of the dream, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s like that country song by Trace Adkins:

“You’re gonna miss this

You’re gonna want this back

You’re gonna wish these days

Hadn’t gone by so fast

These are some good times

So take a good look around

You may not know it now

But you’re gonna miss this.”

I’m going to get home from the World Race in just over five months. In five months I’ll return to brushing my teeth with water from the sink, washing my clothes in a washing machine, and driving a car. I’ll return to all the things I love—riding horses, college hockey games, and pumpkin pancakes from the Original Pancake House (with chocolate chips, of course.) 

And yet, there will be many days that I long for this. I am going to miss these days; desperately, at times. 

I am going to miss having a sleepover with some of my best friends every single night and playing ridiculous games with them (slug mammoth, anyone?). I am going to miss the way washing my clothes by hand forces me to slow down and ponder all of the life’s biggest questions. I am going to miss the laughter that ensues whenever we find ourselves in a ridiculous situation. Of course, I will miss the exploration and the adventure and the community, but I’ll also miss the little moments, the sweet memories I’ve made with people around the world, like struggling to eat chili around a little table in Vietnam. Someday, not too far from now, I will be sitting in the comforts of my home longing to be back in my concrete bedroom in India or the blazing sun of Botswana. 

It seems as though I blinked, and now my race is half way over. 

That dream changed the way I’m living life on the race. I realize now that these moments that I brush off, these days and weeks and months where I wish time would move just a little bit faster, these moments of misery as well as these moments of joy—I’m going to want these all back. I’m going to be home with tears running down my cheeks trying to explain parts of my heart that nobody will ever fully understand. 

I am living an incredible life, but this season too will come to an end. Life is so precious and fleeting. We are only promised today. Soak it in. Live it up. 

Want to be part of bringing Kingdom to earth? Check out our World Race routes to be God’s hands and feet in 11 countries in 11 months! 

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