While I have found there to be 'seasons' that I have grown in intimacy with Christ, second to my conversion in my early 20's, my first engagement with orphan and vulnerable children in Vietnam produced one of the most significant periods of growth in my faith and obedience to Christ. It played a large role in my wife and me adding 3 adopted children to our 3 biological, starting a foster focused ministry in our hometown and eventually transitioning from a 20 year business career into occupational ministry.
As I worked with vulnerable people all around the world it became clear to me that discipleship and the Body of Christ present the greatest solution to the challenges faced by people in communities that are struggling. In my roles at Adventures I get to wake up each day with the opportunity to push people towards intimacy with Christ as they journey to reach the world for Him all over the world. It is a privilege to get to journey with people as they discover how to live out a fully integrated, Christ dependent Kingdom Way of Life while reaching the world.
Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a missionary. It was my dream to travel the world and tell people about Jesus. I loved the stories of adventure and exploration, while helping people along the way. Little did I know, the journey would unlock something so much deeper for me.
In 2013, I launched on the World Race and everything started to change. I learned that I was so loved by the Father. He loved me, not because of what I could do for Him, but because of who I was, His beloved daughter. I began to see His deep love, not only for me, but also for His bride and His world. I saw that nothing could possibly make Him happier than having His kids back together with Him. This transformed me and I know that I will spend the rest of my life telling people about His extravagant love for them.
Charlene is passionate about helping others improve their lives. Her goal is to impact the world in some way, and she is doing that by supporting missionaries who serve on the front lines. She has been married to Mike for 44 years and learned a lot from the relational struggles they experienced and overcame. Sheņs been to all 50 states and several countries for pleasure, church festivals, and missions. They have two sons (27 & 25), two daughters-in-law, and 3 grandchildren (grandson age 5, granddaughters ages 3 and 1. She and her husband have been involved with Adventures in Missions since their son went on the World Race in 2011 with the original T squad. They have volunteered for a few launches, facilitated 3 PVTņs in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and have established a Denver Regional World Race Alumni and parents community called ŇWorld Race Community in a Rat Race Worldň. She also volunteers as part of team of women hosting retreats for women serving on long term missions and has provided counseling at retreats in Kenya, Poland, and Costa Rica. Since obtaining her masterņs degree in counseling in 2007, she established and continues her own private practice, developed the Ditch Peopleũ model and Targeted Negative Belief Replacementũ TNBR. She enjoys sharing the insights she learned about relationships and assisting in the healing journey of others and is currently writing a book about Ditch People.
Mike & Charlene worked with teenagers as youth leaders intheirchurch for over 25 years. He and Charlene continue to be in relationship with many of the adults that were in their teen youth group. He was involved with his churchņs Recovery Ministry as a lay leader developing leaders for small groups. He worked specifically with men struggling in their marriages. During that time, he led several 12-Step Studies that focused on marriage issues. He has a passion for coffee and would like to incorporate it into outreach for those who are struggling. He has been married to Charlene for 44 years. Mike and Charlene explored most of the 50 states when they quit their jobs and traveled the country for 2 Ɖ years in the 80ņs. He has two sons (28 & 25), two daughters-in-law, and 3 grandchildren (grandson age 5, granddaughters ages 3 and 1). Mike and Charlene have been involved with Adventures in Missions since their son went on the World Race in 2011 with the original T squad. They have volunteered for a few launches, facilitated 3 PVTņs in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and have established a Denver Regional World Race Alumni and parents community called ŇWorld Race Community in a Rat Race Worldň.
Your journey on the World Race will kick off in South America, in Peru—a nation in the clouds. The Peruvian people are very proud and have a strong indigenous background. The closer you get to the mountains, the more people you’ll find wearing traditional dress and speaking in different local dialects. The main ministry Racers focus on in Peru is planting Christ-centered communities in the jungle. Racers doing this ministry live with the local people and share a daily routine with them. You could be leading locals in Bible studies, sharing your faith with families or simply helping prepare dinner. We also partner with an orphanage for children with special needs and a college ministry in Lima. This month will be heavily focused on relationships and community.
Next you will continue on to Bolivia. This nation is very dense with jungle and mountains including parts of the Amazon Rainforest and the Andes Mountains. Everywhere you look there is incredible natural beauty. In Bolivia, we work with a lot of incredible pastors who are passionate about evangelism and many of our partners focus on ministering to remote, unreached villages. You could likely find yourself hiking and camping for days at a time just to share the Gospel with a community that has never heard it before. Bolivia is the poorest nation in South America and as the people are very ethnic, they experience a great deal of discrimination from other nations. You can be part of bringing encouragement and hope to this fragile nation.
Your final month in South America will wrap up in Argentina. Argentinians believe they have the best of everything, and they’re very proud to be home to the Tango. You will surely pass through Buenos Aires, a bustling city that will remind you of New York City. Our biggest partner in Argentina is Youth for a Mission (YWAM). They have a ropes course and focus on youth and women’s ministry. They also love to take teams out to preach in the street – something we hope you have great confidence in doing by the end of the Race. Argentians are very social and love to spend hours talking and catching up over cups of maté. Argentina has the capacity to be a missionary-sending nation, and our vision there is to empower them toward this goal!
Next your journey will take you across the globe for three months in Africa. You will focus on West Africa and spend your first month in the nation of Togo. Togo is the birthplace of voodoo and most of the population has mixed these practices with pieces of Christianity and animism to form their religious beliefs and practices. While in Togo, your ministry will be focused on planting healthy, biblically based churches, with the goal to be self-sustaining and replicable. You may have the opportunity to visit nearby neighborhoods and villages for evangelism in the hopes of planting churches in new areas as well.
Next you will head west to Ghana. You will find Scripture painted on local business walls and other vehicles throughout small villages. While the economy is strong, hope is present and the Gospel is being preached, there are still deep roots of tribal religions and witchcraft. And this country is a major source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking. Racers in Ghana have the opportunity to share about the freedom available in Jesus Christ.
Your final month in West Africa will take place in Côte d’Ivoire. Literally named “Ivory Coast,” Côte d’Ivoire’s name comes from the now-illegal trade of elephant tusks, which wiped out the elephant population in West Africa by the end of the 20th century. Côte d’Ivoire is a nation of exports and is one of the most successful nations in West Africa, yet a quarter of the population lives under the poverty line. Many adults, especially women, are illiterate and teen pregnancy and HIV rates are high.
Next your your journey will take you north to Nepal, home to Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world! Nepal is a very spiritual, breathtaking and mountainous country. Most of our work in Nepal is about sharing the Gospel with marginalized people, especially those in rural areas. Whether you’re in the cities outlined by the Himalayas or trekking through the hills yourself, you’ll most likely find yourself walking long distances to share your faith over a cup of milk tea. You will find the air crisp and the conversations deep during your month serving and growing in Nepal.
Next up, India. Most Racers live and serve in Southern India, where the villages are bustling. You’ll experience India with all your senses as you walk through the sea of colors and take in the the myriad spices wafting through the air. Most of our activity in India is partnering with a local movement to plant 100,000 churches. You’ll become a part of the local culture as you travel from village to village preaching and praying for families. Indian people are incredibly warm. Expect to be invited into someone’s home and offered chai often as people invite you to simply sit and talk.
Your next month on the World Race will take you to the exotic and mysterious Myanmar. In recent years this nation was under violent military rule and highly isolated from the rest of the world. They opened their doors to the public less than 10 years ago and are eager to meet foreigners. Most people have not heard the Gospel and are very open to hearing more about Jesus. The work has to be subtle, but there is a great need for church planting and evangelism, and short-term teams can be highly effective to our long-term partners.
Continuing your time in Southeast Asia, your next month takes you to Thailand. Thailand is known for its stunning beaches, friendly people and bustling outdoor food markets. You will feel welcomed here, but you’ll quickly take note of darkness that plagues this region: human trafficking. In Thailand, you might find yourself under neon flashing lights, sharing a Coke with women in between their dances in night clubs. You might find yourself having difficult conversations with the tourists partaking in the industry and spending hours covering your teammates and the streets in prayer.
Your final month on the World Race will be in Malaysia. This nation is the melting pot of Asia with large people groups from India and China. Each group brings their own culture, language, food, and religion. Motos and people crowd the streets along strings of open-air restaurants and roti stands. As you walk down these streets you will likely see a temple next to a mosque, next to a church. Many Racers work with refugees from all over the region, teaching them English and sharing that Jesus is our provider and protector. Evangelism is illegal toward the local people in Malaysia, so building relationships will be the foundation of everything this month.