Some young Christians from the United States are preparing for a near year-long missions trip, during which time they will give up their comfortable lifestyle to live like the indigenous people in eleven countries.
The World Race, organized by Adventures In Missions, will send their first two teams in January to travel 11 countries in 11 months The more than 100 young men and women, ages 21 to 35, committed to the missions trip will travel mainly to the developing world where they will interact with the world's needy.
AIM says the long trip is designed to challenge the young Christians to consider if their path in life is too easy and to understand what God made them for.
"Many people look at the World Race and get the wrong idea," said Seth Barnes, founder and executive director of AIM. "They think it's about young people seeing the world."
"The reality is that, while young people often sign up because of the adventures they know they'll have and the worldview that a year of global travel will give them, it's really an initiation experience," he said. "On the World Race you learn about what God is doing on the earth and how to join Him in it."
In each country, the World Race team relies on the hospitality and generosity of strangers. The team can find themselves living in a tent in a farmer's field, staying in an urban shanty or enjoying the rare comfort of a warm bed. The experience is expected to help participants learn about dependence and to care more while living with less.
"I'm leaving behind the woman I thought I have always wanted to be, to become the woman God intended me to be... which is someone I never had the guts to be," said Michelle Euperio from Mesquite, Texas, who is a part of next year's World Race, according to AIM.
The January teams will travel to the following countries: New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Kenya, Uganda, Romania and Ukraine. The teams will also spend a month in Africa praying and going where God leads them and do the same thing in Eastern Europe.
The cost to participate in the World Race, on average, is $14,300.
Since Barnes came up with the idea for World Race in 2006, over 630 young Christians on 12 different trips have collectively visited 64 countries.
Adventures in Missions is an interdenominational missions organizations that focuses on discipleship. The group emphasizes prayer and relationships in their work among the poor. It was established in 1989 and has taken over 80,000 people to the mission field for various lengths of time, from one week to longer than a year. AIM says it believes that allowing people to hold orphans, bring hope to the hopeless, and pray for the sick can transform lives.