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Imagine quitting your 9-to-5 job, leaving everything you own behind and embarking on a nearly yearlong mission trip: 11 countries in 11 months to be exact.
CBN News recently met Emily Wright, a 28-year-old Virginia Beach, Va., resident who decided to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
Wright left her job, her apartment and her family to take the World Race challenge. During the next 11 months, Wright will visit 11 countries for about 30 days each.
"In these cultures where we're going, people don't care what you look like or what you smell like," she told CBN News. "They care about the message that you have."
"The only limit is the one you set yourself," she said. "I'm excited just to be a part of something bigger than myself."
Her adventure began helping orphans in Mozambique. From there she travels to Swaziland, South Africa, India, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Moldova, and will end her journey in Romania.
The World Race, now in its seventh year, established contacts in each country so Wright and her team will work with local churches and ministries in the region.
"The ministries could range from vacation Bible schools, to working in orphanages, to ministering to women and children who've been in human trafficking, especially in Southeast Asia," she explained.
Wright's group is part of a larger team of about 50 racers who have been asked to travel light.
"I will have one backpack for the entire year, the entire 11 months and I'll be taking a tent," she said. "So sometimes we'll have accommodations and sometimes we won't."
"Are you okay without taking a shower for week?" CBN News' Wendy Griffith asked Wright.
"I am," she replied. "I'm the type of girl who can handle that. In training, we had practiced doing that. We were living in the woods for a week, group of 50 people getting close together."
World Race founder Seth Barnes came up with the idea several years ago to give young people an "alternative" to the 9-to-5 routine.
"We push people to do what we call a Luke 10 kind of journey, where they go out and they take virtually nothing and they know that they've got all spiritual authority," Barnes explained.
"And we ask them to pray for local needs and see what God does when He shows up," he said. "And it inevitably changes them. As they depend on God with total dependence, He shows up in power."
Barnes said thousands of young people apply for the World Race each year because they're looking for more.
"By leaving all of this stuff that has defined us and just allowing God to open up His possibilities, in all different cultures, they find that there's more to life, that this yearning that they've had inside has an answer," he told CBN News.
One thing Wright and her team are discovering is that mission work can be tough and that spiritual warfare is real.
She shared the following blog post from Mozambique:
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:5) In ministry I see children who are dying in the hospital who have nothing. No bed-sheets, no food, no doctors (they're all on strike), no paper-towels to wipe up their mess. It is so easy to just see the hopelessness and the darkness. The hospital is the most difficult ministry for me. But the truth is that God has authority over every seemingly hopeless situation. He is trustworthy. He is good. He can handle my lack of understanding. He is our Healer. And ultimately, he has already defeated sickness and death. I also get to love on children in preschools who are healthy and full of life, which is probably my favorite part of our ministry."
To take the World Race challenge, you just need to be between the ages of 21 and 35 and have a heart for missions and adventure.
It cost about $15,000 for the entire journey, but you don't have to have it all before you go. Like Wright, you can continue to raise funds during your trip.
Wright said although the journey is not always easy her mission remains the same: God's love.
"In whatever form that takes, giving them shoes or taking them out for an evening, Jesus said to heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead, and so they really ask you to have that kind of faith," she said.
You can follow Emily's adventure, see what country she's in, and help her cause by going to her blog site: emilywright.theworldrace.org.
The World Race also launches three times a year, so there's still time to get on board for 2013.
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