Travel Guide to the World Race
Most of us signed up for the World Race because we knew that God has placed a calling in our hearts to serve the nations and to use the gifts, talents, and passions he has given us.
Through saying yes to this opportunity, we get to live life for a year like none of us could have ever imagined.
The beauty of living missionally during this season is that we, as World Racers, experience the way God moves in and through everything- his people, his kingdom, his cultures. Serving the Lord is so much bigger than obedience. It is a lifestyle that is rooted in love and worth our love because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
I’m learning that God is so much bigger than traveling, culture, and borders. He’s bigger than the World Race and what I can bring to the table each month. I find him in the little moments no matter where I am. Yes he speaks through his Word and prayer, but he also wants us to see him in every other part of our lives. He deserves and wants more of our attention than just what we give him through a quiet time or devotion each day.
God is more than mission work, service, prayer, and worship. He created everything, making him in everything as well. He wants us to see his beauty in everything, not just religious moments. I know he loves me when I’m outside with the sun smiling on my face. I laugh with him when I’m enjoying a good meal surrounded by people I love. I hear him when I go for morning runs. I see him when I watch the sun set each day. I understand his joy when I hear babies giggle or when I listen to live music.
Here’s the deal though. It can be easy to get caught up in immersing ourselves in each country and forget our purpose. Some countries are known for their culinary delights, Wonders of the World, or cultural traditions. Because God has blessed us with the opportunity to experience so much, sometimes we take his plan and what he has already done for granted.
This is the first month that I genuinely feel free from circumstantial happiness. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I trust that God is going to use me and refine more of my life. I’ve come to realize that when I hold what he has given me loosely, whether that be blessings or hardships, I allow space for God to move and mold the things he has given me.
So here is my best advice-
It’s not about the food.
One of my favorite parts about this journey is experiencing culture through traditional food. I love trying new treats and delicacies- it’s so fun. This month is a bit different. I eat steamed rice three meals a day, and it’s okay. Some months you are going to have the best food of your life, and some months you may never eat enough to be full. Either way, the food we have been given is a blessing and a reminder of God’s faithful provision.
It’s not about your location.
Sometimes you are going to end up in a village when other teams are in the best/most touristy city in that country. We don’t always have the freedom to leave our hosts or even walk down to the market down the street. This month, my team and I are in the jungle. Tarantulas, snakes, spiders, and scorpions included.
For myself, God knew that I needed space away from a city. For the first time, I have the space to go for runs in wide open space and spend each night watching the sun set over the river. So wherever God places you for a month, he knows exactly what he’s doing and what you need. So, embrace the village. It’s fun too.
It’s not about seeing the sites.
Some months, we get the opportunity to see really cool places. And others, you don’t. I’ve learned that it doesn’t make or break the month. The time when I have been able to adventure haven’t been the highlight of my month in that country. You see very quickly that the people you meet leave the biggest holes in your heart and the moments you remember most from places. You also learn that some destinations we find on the Internet before don’t measure up to our expectations. Local places and off the road gems are almost always better.
This month, our off days are filled with things that our host suggests. Last weekend, we unexpectedly made an appearance at a traditional Lao wedding and a New Year festival, which was something we would have otherwise never known about without our host. So be flexible and know that the unexpected things are what you are going to remember the most.
God blesses us each month through new culture, food, and adventure. But none of these things are relevant without Jesus, and that’s the point. Our lives are about being able to see and experience Jesus in more than our quiet time. Things change each month, each day, and it’s good. It gives God more room to refine different aspects of our lives. When you surrender everything and all of your expectations, there is true freedom in genuine joy no matter the circumstance.