What is the WorldRace?

Leave a comment

It was a late night in November, 2012 when our 21 year old daughter came in to our bedroom and asked what we would think about her doing an 11 Month/11 Country Mission trip called the World Race.  Our response was for her to check it out and then seek the Lord’s leadership in whether or not she was to go. That is what she did…and she went! She is in month 8 of the 11 months. We just returned from visiting her in the 8th country – Ireland.

Within days after that night, I had read the book Kingdom Journey, written by Seth Barnes, the founder of the mother organization Adventures in Missions. Written with a passion for young people and for the church, Seth builds a sound platform for encouraging young adults to take a season of time and journey out of their comfortable existence and step into the world. In the midst of this season, they are given opportunity to experience the realities of an existence dependent not on father and mother or on the structured lifestyle and programs of the church, but upon God. They are guided toward an understanding of what it means to BE the church…the hands, the feet, the eyes, the heart and every other life giving part of the Body of Christ. As they go out into the world, they are witness to profound beauty in the landscapes of nature and the faces of people and cultures. Their hearts are stretched and their minds challenged by the baser side of humanity and the seemingly distorted balance between poverty and wealth.

Many have asked us if this “mission trip” was not more of a journey to explore the world and experience the wonders of travel than to go and serve and share the message of salvation. We have at times wondered too what “mission” action was being done as the teams sat in coffee shops and spoke English with university students or as they taught English to kindergarten children. We were, however, privy to hear the song in our daughter’s voice as she talked about loving on university students in Vietnam or making friends with the little lady at the cafe they visited almost every day. We heard the pain in her voice as she spoke of the pastor and his family who were soon to be without a job or home, because the man who had begun their ministry for orphaned children had been arrested for sex trafficking. That same pain was turned to passion as she vowed that she and her team would do all that they could do to make certain that man and his family were not forgotten.

We were privileged to go and spend five days with some of the young adults that have traveled with her for these past 8 months. Ranging in age from 21 – 35 the racers (that’s what we call a World Racers) come from all over the United States and Canada. They come from various cultures and cross the lines of denomination. They are united in their belief and faith in the one true God and His Son, Jesus Christ. As we journeyed with them for 5 days and watched them Ask the Lord to reveal the direction He would have them go and the people He would have them love on, we, as well-grounded and solid men and women of Faith, bore witness to a mighty and strong army for the kingdom. They went out onto the streets armed with hearts that were a reflection of Jesus. They displayed the character, the attributes, the attitude of their Lord and they led us into sweet moments of encounters with whoever God led them to. There was the homeless man, who just wanted some food for his puppy.  We shared words with a young gypsy woman who needed formula for her baby. None were too dirty or disheveled to merit a bit of loving and that same spirit of love went forth to the jovial bartender in the street Pub and the tired receptionist at the hostel. It is with humility that I say it was an honor and a privilege to share in just a few brief days in the life of a World Racer.

What is the World Race? It is an 11 Month/11 Country mission trip and so much more. It is a journey of epic proportion in the life of a 21-35 year old racer. Given the opportunity to leave behind the confines of the comfort and ease of the American home and church, these young adults find a firmness of faith as they abandon their dependency upon things and upon others and they discover their Savior. It is a launching of seed scatterers. Given the opportunity to go forth into ALL the world, these young men and women scatter the seeds of Christs love across the nations. Sometimes they are the tillers of soil making it ready for the seeds that will come and sometimes they are privileged to share in the harvest of souls for the Kingdom. How thankful I am for that night in November, 2012 when our sweet daughter came into our bedroom to ask us the simple question – What would you think if I went on an 11 Month/11 Country Mission trip?

 

 

Last Week I Went to Ireland

Leave a comment

Originally posted on sammyecampbell:

Last week I went to Ireland. I wanted to go to Swaziland. I stepped into the hustle and bustle of European life and walked through streets of cobblestone and past aged architectural wonders. I had dreamed of passing grass huts and stepping into the lives of hungry and forgotten people. There were pubs and shops and even an Easter Egg Hunt that hosted people who were laughing, talking, looking and enjoying. My visions had been of humanity caught in the throes of poverty and misfortune, yet all around I saw beauty, technology, fullness and adventure. The scenes that unfolded before me were not those of a stark beauty cast as a back-drop to bare-boned houses with open windows and smooth dirt yards. They were portraits of nature at its best and magnificent structures of ages past.

The people moved in masses; set on courses of determined destinations – exploration and…

View original 628 more words

Last Week I Went to Ireland

4 Comments

Last week I went to Ireland. I wanted to go to Swaziland. I stepped into the hustle and bustle of European life and walked through streets of cobblestone and past aged architectural wonders. I had dreamed of passing grass huts and stepping into the lives of hungry and forgotten people. There were pubs and shops and even an Easter Egg Hunt that hosted people who were laughing, talking, looking and enjoying. My visions had been of humanity caught in the throes of poverty and misfortune, yet all around I saw beauty, technology, fullness and adventure. The scenes that unfolded before me were not those of a stark beauty cast as a back-drop to bare-boned houses with open windows and smooth dirt yards. They were portraits of nature at its best and magnificent structures of ages past.

The people moved in masses; set on courses of determined destinations – exploration and discovery foundational in their purpose. My plan had been to minister love to a people full of longing and need.  Where was I and what was I doing here? My dream had been to go and share  life with the forgotten of our world. Instead, I found myself in a beautiful and thriving land, full of the life and vibrancy of culture, history and nature. It challenged me!

I was awakened to needs not limited to hunger, sickness and poverty, but to the loneliness that exists in the midst of a crowd and the hungers that go beyond the belly and deep into the soul. An awareness came to me that in my spiritualized, westernized perspective, I had found sanctuary in the ease of going to remote, unreached places in the world. I had embraced a mass produced map of what it looks like to go forth and share the love of my Jesus, when just outside my door there exist the masses of people pressing forward in search of something to fill the emptiness in their soul…a void to be filled only by the love of Jesus.

So I drank in the refreshing beauty which was Ireland, and my soul was restored.  I took time to see the faces around and I edged forward in to their world. I met Ramona, a beautiful gypsy woman who sat begging on the street. She told me about her two little ones – a 5 month old and a 5 year old. This was her world.  This is what she did every day. This was her culture and my life was enriched as I talked with her and opened my heart to her. We met a young woman from America. She was traveling across Europe alone and was lonely for family on this Easter Sunday that we met. She was adopted for a day of travel with our group…and just maybe, she caught a glimpse of the Father’s love as she was embraced by a group of strangers. A bag of dog food and some bread and meat, given to a young homeless man and his dog, opened the door for sharing life and a little bit of love on a cobblestone street in Dublin. He eagerly responded to the love of Jesus – the most precious gift we had to give. That same gift brought tears to the eyes of an Irish Mom and Dad, as they watched their little ones play games at the Easter Egg Hunt, where we volunteered. They were stunned that people would travel across the ocean to help raise money for homeless and abused children in Ireland.

Where was I? What was I doing in this beautiful place called Ireland? I was there to share LIFE with others…the LIFE that brings life – Jesus! It had been easy to see the needs in the impoverished and hungry faces of the third world countries. NOT so easy, though, to embrace the lives existing in the mass of humanity in my own comfortable, technology-driven, soul searching world. So I will go! I will step out my own front door and see the faces of those who live next door or walk the halls of my school. I will look into the eyes and see the face of the homeless man who quietly walks the streets of my city. I will take the time to ask his name. I will step out of the comfort of my existence and go share LIFE with others – because that LIFE, my Jesus, has given me new life…and YES, someday I will go to Swaziland. I will love on the babies and the precious children and adults who are dying of AIDS and I will share my Jesus with them. 

Winter!

5 Comments

I wrote a post for my blog this morning.   It was eloquent and descriptive.  It described the appearance of several deer outside our backyard.  A correlation was made between the natural camouflage of the deer, standing against the drab and brown backdrop of West Texas, and those seasons of our lives that are characterized by a dull, mundane existence.  The inviting words and descriptive phrases flowed with a quaint hint of where the post was leading.  At least, that was the perception of this want-a-be professional writer.  Then I lost it!  It was gone!  Revision had turned into delete and technical ignorance morphed the post into nothingness.    Gone!

Time was spent looking and searching, to no avail.  What had seemed an inventive and inspiring addition to this evolving work, which is my blog, turned out to be unread words, destined to be a non-descript bit of knowledge, for this writer’s future.  Although none of you will be drawn into the mesmerizing scene that unfolded just outside our fence, I caught a glimpse of the power that words can have.  Taking that scene and putting it into words was like painting a beautiful picture to share with others.  Giving freedom to the power of that moment and allowing the One who created it to open up the eyes of my soul, I realized that even when we feel lost and bewildered by the drab and dull times in our lives, there is a beauty in what God is doing.  For those 5 beautiful deer, the backdrop of the dry and brown West Texas brush and mesquites, was a scene of safety.  Hidden amidst the dead leaves and grass were tiny patches of green; color that would help feed and sustain their existence.  Had the scene been one of a budding spring or the full blown green of summer, or even the fading colors of fall, the blending browns and grays, black and tans of their coats could have been boldly seen.  Instead, they faded in to the monochromatic shades of winter and fed leisurely in the early morning sun.

What lesson did I take from this brief glimpse out my window this morning?  There are those times in our lives, when we feel dull, lost, hurt and confused by the season we pass through.  The absence of vibrant laughter and the missing of familiar voices lend our hearts to see life as mundane and lacking the joy of colorful activities.  If we will but open up the eyes of our soul, we will see that those are often the times when we are more enriched and sustained in the simplicity of the days.  We are protected from the distractions and noise that prevent our listening to the voice of the One who made us.  We are allowed to graze on the fullness of brief moments of color that illuminate and nourish our soul to a healthier, more balanced existence.  The lesson this morning was sweet!  I will embrace the quiet, mundane and seemingly dull seasons of my life, knowing that like the deer, my God will strengthen, sustain and protect through that season.  He will restore my soul –  just as He restores to me, even those things that seemed lost…like a simple blog post.

Habakkuk 3:19 says, “The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invinsible army; He makes my feet like hind’s (deer’s) feet and will make me to walk and make progress upon my high places (of trouble and suffering)!  Amplified Bible

A Work of Art

2 Comments

I have been asking myself, “What is the purpose for this blog I write?”  Do I impart great wisdom and profound opinions about any particular subject?  Is there a message that I desire to convey as I share my heart with others?  The answer that has reverberated through my soul is one of HOPE.  There is hope for each of us – no matter what our life situations.  I write about my life.  I write about my family.  I write about my God.  Yes, I know that life, family, and God are of interest to many people.  I know too, that there is a need for thoughts and ideas and just plain good advice to be shared, about each of these subjects. But most of my writing is about MY life.  It is about events, situations and feelings – the goings on of everyday living.  I do NOT have all the answers!  There is one fact though, that has been interwoven into every aspect of my life and thus, my writing.  It is the fact that the threads of this life have been held together by a sovereign and eternal God.  That statement might imply that every day has been easy, it hasn’t.  I wish it meant that each day has unfolded like a tapestry that has no spot or blemish or wrinkle.  I would love to say it will end like a wonderful book, written with my chosen story book ending for the participants and characters which are my life.  But I can’t and I won’t!  There are those times, when life doesn’t happen OR end up the way we thought it should or would.  These days, which I have been given to live, are days of unknown and wonder.  Day which have allowed me to see the unfolding of a story written and edited and illustrated by the very Creator of the universe.  His orchestration of this symphony, which is my life, has resulted in miracles and blessings which I could never have composed.  I am thankful that because of Him, my life is a work of art…and I will share it!

Jeremiah 29: 11 says, “For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and for peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your future.”

He Danced with Me

1 Comment

Years have passed since He asked me to dance. The music around was joyful and loud  My world was good, but the weight of my soul within was heavy and tired. The day to day living of life threatened to drain the joy, the smiles and the laughter from me. Then, He asked me to dance!

Never did I expect that the natural happenings of life would be anything but easy – and natural.  We were young when we married but it was the right time for us.  College and new jobs filled the first years with adventure and anticipation for the future.  We looked forward to a good life together and the family we would share it with.

I closed my eyes and breathed a sigh of resignation.  I knew I could not carry the weight.  I did not feel strong enough and will to go forward was beginning to waiver.  But then,, He was standing there with love and understanding in His eyes.  He knew.

Those first years for us were just plain fun.  Our plans for a family were sure and simple; we would have a family!  The first pregnancy, though, ended in a miscarriage.  My heart broke and my untried faith plummeted. Further attempts and subsequent medical procedures failed and we began adoption proceedings.  Then what seemed impossible happened.  We were going to have a baby.  The joy was inexplicable and we waited.

I looked into His eye.  They were so full of tenderness and compassion.  He knew my heart.  He saw my soul and felt my pain.  His hand reached out and He said, “Dance with me.”

We were ready when our miracle baby was born.  He was beautiful and he weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces.  He was our miracle and he was born with a rare birth anomaly called Prune Belly Syndrome.  We were told he mighht live a few hours, a few days, or maybe a few years – they did not know!  He had no abdominal musculature and his renal system was severely malformed.  There in my hospital room, we thanked God for every minute we woud have with him, and we gave him back to the Lord.  Every day, for many years to come, would be full of uncertainty and fears, but every day has been a treasure.  Today, he is a healthy 6’4″ tall and is a daily walking miracle.

Full of uncertainty, I took His hand and He drew me to my feet.  The music filled my soul.  His touch was gentle and easy while His moves were strong and sure.

Our second son came to us unexpectedly.  A light-hearted, spur of the moment “hey, if you deliver any babies that need a family, give us a call,” spoken to a dear doctor friend, at church, opened the door for another son.  He was born to a young girl, who laid aside her own heart, to see him placed with a Mom and Dad and hopefully, a more stable future.  Born with a severe club foot, he was placed a tiny sock cast and delivered to our arms when he was three days old.  The magnitude of that moment reverberates in my soul even now.  This little guy was ours.  We were his family – for always!  Would we be enough to fill the void left in his heart by her absence?  Could we…would we do it well?  As we held him and thanked God for him, we entrusted our son and our participation in his life, back to the Lord.  Today, he is the father of 3 wonderful children, a fine man and a continued joy in our lives and the very young girl who gave him birth – she found us and him.  What a blessing it has been to see the intertwining of her life and ours through this precious boy.

The music filled the room.  We were alone, just Jesus and me.  His eyes were reassuring and His smile was strength to my soul.  My steps were uncertain and I tried to lead, but He gently guided me into the fullness of the music.

We were done!  Our family was complete!  The boys were ten and seven and life had settled into some sense of the normalcy we had always hoped for.  Then came the news that I was pregnant.  The joy of that news was almost overshadowed by unarguable realities that came with the pregnancy.  I was battling systemic lupus and had been taking medications for that disease.  Because of those medication, we were advised to terminate the unexpected pregnancy.  Doctors told us that it was not a matter of IF the baby would have problems, but WHAT would the problems be.  We said, “No, we will trust God to care for this baby, and for us.” He did!  Twenty-two weeks of complete bed rest and 8 weeks of hospitalization, some 60 miles away from Jim and the boys, was the price paid for a perfect 5 pound 3 ounce baby girl.  In awe, we sat on the side of my hospital bed and thanked God for our little girl and we released her back to her Creator for His leadership and guidance and care.

How long we danced, I do not know.  I only know He danced with me.  As He held me in His arms, the cares of my world and the tiredness of my soul just fell away with the music.  His eyes of love and understanding filled my heart with reassurance and I knew that I would be ok.  I WAS ok!  The energy and rhythm and lost-ness, of that moment, set freedom to my soul.  The dance changed me.  My Jesus loved me and assured me that He “…takes pleasure in His people.  He will beautify the humble…” (Psalm 149:4)

He danced with me, and I am glad1