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Life Transformation in 11 Months
Around the world in 11 months: a mission opportunity offers young people an chance to break away from comfortable Western life-styles to see the developing world. 

The concept is reminiscent of the popular CBS television series The Amazing Race, but the World Race isn’t really about racing at all.

“I’m a completely different person coming home..."

More of a pilgrimage than a mission trip, the World Race promises participants an 11-month, 11-country journey requiring, “a commitment to a transformational discovery process.”

Manitoban Jenni Weir, 27, is one of more than 20 young Canadian adults who have participated in the experience. She completed her global odyssey of personal transformation in November 2009.

“I’m a completely different person coming home. I was a big control freak, and God just humbled me and took my pride,” Weir says.

Conceived in 2006, the World Race is a program of Adventures in Missions, an interdenominational agency based in Gainesville, Georgia, about 100 km northeast of Atlanta.

The program is designed to remove “young people from their comfortable life-styles for a year – to see the developing world and be transformed” by their experiences, according to an organizational news release.

Transformational discovery doesn’t come cheaply: Weir estimates she had to raise almost $20,000 – a process that took close to a year – to cover expenses for a trip that saw her teach English in Ukraine, lead a Bible study in the Dominican Republic and help at a medical clinic in Zimbabwe.

“There’s a generation of young people who deserve a higher calling than the risk-averse life of compromise that the Church has given them,” according to World Race executive director Seth Barnes.

Weir believes she’s heard that calling. “As for what’s next, it is a question I cannot answer,” she wrote on her blog. “I know I have a calling on my life and I need to be obedient to the One who directs my steps!”

In the weeks following Haiti’s earthquake, that calling led Weir to visit the devastated nation for ten days. “We went and prayed over the land and for people, and were basically there to encourage them,” she says. Home

from Haiti, she was in fundraising mode again with plans to visit Zimbabwe, to “reconnect with the local church” there, do street ministry and work in orphanages.

Patricia Paddey is a writer based in Toronto, Ontario, and a producer with Listen Up.

Originally published in Faith Today, May/June 2010.

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