Your World Race journey will kick off in Mongolia. This is the most sparsely populated country in the world with 30 percent nomadic people. The people of Mongolia are highly independent, used to relying on themselves and their immediate communities as they live and travel throughout the land. This month you will have the opportunity to leave the capital city and spend time building relationships with the nomadic groups and smaller communities - sharing the love and hope of Jesus with people that have mostly likely never heard His name before. Month one will be a chance to jump right in and immediately step outside of your comfort zone.
Month two will take you to China, home to the Great Wall and a sixth of the world’s population. China is one of the most exciting and strategic places to be a missionary. While China has grown leaps and bounds industrially, intellectually, and economically, it's still a politically closed nation. Depending on where you travel, you may meet Buddhists, Muslims, and Taoists - but very few Christians. However, the underground church is extensive and continues growing (and even thriving!) amidst persecution. This month you will work alongside our partners and encourage them to continue sharing the love of Jesus in a country where His name is not known.
Next, your journey will take you to Kazakhstan. They are very hardworking, dependable and focused on the family. Most teams will spend their month working with local churches. There are so few churches in Kazakhstan that all the pastors know each other and are able to work together. You will likely get the opportunity to join in this network and disciple new and old believers. Our partners work to transform their nation through focusing on their communities. The believers in Kazakhstan are not naturally mission-minded, so as a Racer you will have the opportunity to encourage and train them to share their faith with their communities.
You will wrap up your time in this region with a month in Kyrgyzstan, a country sandwiched between Kazakhstan and China. You will find the culture in Kyrgyzstan very similar to Kazakhstan; however, they have a lot more access to higher education and thus are a bit more progressive. The government in Kyrgyzstan does not invest very much into the next generation and younger people often feel forgotten. One of our main ministry partners here is focused on investing in university students. This ministry loves to ask Racers to make friends with one or two people and spend the whole month investing in them. You could spend your month sharing your faith and listening to the stories of students over a picnic or on long hikes – two favorite activities for Kyrgyz.
Next, you’ll head to Ethiopia, a nation unlike any other African country as it evokes a feeling more closely associated to the Middle East. The people here are deeply passionate about families and being together. All meals are eaten from collective plates and absolutely nothing can start without their signature coffee ceremony. There are many organizations doing this work, but very few are sharing the Gospel alongside their work. Many World Racers spend their time helping our partners share their faith in Jesus with at-risk children while helping provide them an education. The elderly population in Ethiopia is often neglected, so you may spend time working to care for senior citizens, teaching the youth to honor and respect them and listening to their incredible stories.
Your second month in Africa will take you to Kenya. From the Maasai bush to the slums of Kibera, Kenya’s story is as diverse as its people. The nation is home to 42 tribes, 69 languages, and 400,000 Somali refugees. Despite its developed economy, half of Kenya’s population lives under the poverty line. Many suffer from preventable health problems like malaria, diarrhea, malnutrition, and pneumonia. Because of rapid population growth, 73% of the population is under age 30. Kenya has the 8th highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world, and 27% of females have undergone female genital mutilation. Racers in Kenya work with our local ministry partners to share the Gospel and plant Christ-centered communities in their neighborhoods.
Your last month in Africa will be in Uganda. Before any business is discussed here, people insist on asking about you and your family, and you’ll find you’re frequently asked in for tea. Half of your squad will spend the month working with churches focused on serving their communities holistically. This month, you will pour into one specific community– both encouraging the believers and sharing your faith with those that don’t know Christ yet. The other half of your squad will work with Uganda’s huge population of refugees from South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo. You will spend hours listening to people’s stories, encouraging them and sharing the hope of Jesus with them.
Next, your journey will take you to Romania, one of the least visited countries in Europe up until15 years ago, because it was isolated behind the Iron Curtain. Our partners love relational ministry and ask Racers to spend lots of time getting to know people over coffee, dinner or long walks. This month you will likely get the opportunity to share your faith while passing out eye glasses and Bibles in the local language. There's also a large Romani population (often unkindly referred to as gypsies). These people are often rejected and discriminated against. You might find yourself spending time in these communities, getting to know their people and sharing the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
Your second month in Eastern Europe will take you to Bulgaria, a nation dense with mountains, foothills, and plains. One third of its land is completely covered in forest. This month, teams will be asked to dive right into local communities and really invest in getting to know the people of one small area. The whole month will focused on investing in and getting to know one group of people. You will live in community and share meals, daily activities and long conversations with the locals in your area. Your days will likely be spent teaching English and the Bible to the children in the community. You will also work with local ministries to put on Christian retreats.
Your final leg in Eastern Europe will wrap up in Albania. This nation is still working to find its identity after communist rule. One effort to emerge that you'll notice is many colorful buildings. Race teams will help our partners spread the Gospel and plant churches in local communities through building relationships with locals. This month there will be a focus on reaching predominantly Muslim communities through English education. Teams will also get the opportunity to visit prisons and share the Gospel and through teaching English as well. No matter where you are this month, you will get the opportunity to share your hope in Christ by joining people in their daily lives.
The very last stop of your World Race will all culminate in the ancient and incredibly beautiful nation of Greece. This month you will serve in the refugee camps that popped up in 2015 in response to the European refugee crisis. You will spend your days helping with day-to-day tasks at the camps, passing out food, assisting with basic medical needs and teaching English. You may spend hours listening as people share stories of the pain and trials they have gone through. You will have the opportunity to be a welcoming presence, a light of hope and a carrier of the peace of Jesus Christ.