With the growing spread of the coronavirus around the world, many countries began to close their international borders in mid-March. In response to safety and travel restrictions, we unexpectedly had to bring over 500 World Race and Semesters missionaries back to the United States within just a few days.
The World Race mission trip is a great way to be part of a spreading hope and the Gospel, but it’s just the beginning. Our hope is to awaken and activate people to a bigger journey, one where the Kingdom of God becomes a way of life, not a switch you turn on and off for a mission trip.
Life is ministry. Ministry is life.
That’s why we created the Hope Rising blog. We want to continue sharing stories of how our missionaries—alumni, ministry partners, coaches, and others within our network—are continuing to spread the hope of the Gospel beyond a planned Christian mission trip. Telling these stories, we believe, will inspire others to do the same.
Julia Piecka, World Race alumna (2018) is just one example of someone who is continuing to create a life of ministry 1 year after returning home from the World Race. After her experience on the World Race, she knew she wanted to continue working to fulfill the Great Commission through outreach and meeting the needs of others. She’s been able to live that out by working with a faith-based nonprofit located in Pittsburgh, PA, where she has the opportunity to invest in the lives of at-risk children, youth, and their families to help them grow as followers of Christ.
When Ryan Breakfield, World Race alum (January 2020) had to abruptly end what he expected to be an 11 month mission trip on the World Race after only 2 months, he was emotional, confused, and honestly, a little angry. While self-isolating with some of his squadmates back in the United States, Ryan found a renewed vision from the Lord. The structure of the World Race might be over, but he knew it was more than a mission trip. Life is ministry. Ministry is life. He led the team in seeking out partnering with local ministries, including a food pantry that had lost it’s high-risk, elderly volunteers at a time when meeting the tangible needs of their community was increasingly relevant.
Claire Burton, World Race: Gap Year alumna (September 2019) realized quickly after returning to Texas from her gap year mission trip that God’s miracles and power were not limited to villages on the other side of the world. Many of her own neighbors were also fighting illnesses. Her heart broke for the ways she had neglected to minister to, pray for, and love the very people who lived right next door to her for many years, and she allowed God to lead her in spreading hope to her own neighborhood. She writes, “Whether we’re overseas or in our home states, we serve the same powerful God. The same miracles He performs in the remote villages of Southeast Asia are possible in suburban neighborhoods of America. God’s power isn’t dependent on where we are – it’s not dependent on us at all, actually, because He doesn’t change.”
You can also be part of spreading hope in an uncertain world and encouraging others through your story! We’d love to hear from you!