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World Racers: Where are they now?

One of the most common objections to the World Race is: “Does it do any long-term good?” People want to know what happens after an amazing year of adventures around the world.   In fact, that was one person’s comment on a recent World Race update: “How many go into full-time mission wor…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
One of the most common objections to the World Race is: “Does it do any long-term good?” People want to know what happens after an amazing year of adventures around the world.
In fact, that was one person’s comment on a recent World Race update: “How many go into full-time mission work when they are done?” To be fair, that’s not the easiest metric to track or measure.
For some, the World Race is a seed planted, an investment into a kingdom lifestyle that takes years to harvest. For others, the fruit is immediately measurable. Nonetheless, we’re seeing the Race have a tremendous impact on those who leave their comforts for a year to get initiated into God’s kingdom.
As a microcosm, Racer Hope Mendola provided this list of what she and her squad mates are up to. I think that it speaks for itself (note: these are all participants from one squad that got off the field just this summer):
Jodi Greenlee – has already returned to the Philippines to open up a rehabilitation center for young inmates
Michelle Johnson – interning with an anti-sex trafficking organization in Los Angeles
Brandy Chaffer – creating a ministry that combines her corporate experience with my ministry life
Melanie Dodson – just got a job with International Justice Mission
Ken Virzi – already moved back to Turkey to do ministry there
Anthony Ardino – interning at Mars Hill Church with Mark Driscoll
Geoff Shepard, Adam Coleman, Don Brensinger – working toward being youth pastors
Austin and Monica Anglea – already working as youth pastors
Marissa Villa – using her journalism skills to tell the stories of those who are unheard
Emily Gearhart
– working toward opening a school in Africa
Holland Cox – interning with the World Race
Beks Casanari – an Invisible Children roadie
Halley Power – director of Missions at a Christian camp
Robin Barnes – getting her doctorate in audiology to work with kids who have severe hearing loss
Priscilla Cheng – getting her Masters in counseling
Shannon Morgan – working toward ministry among Muslims (overseas or in America)
Anna Notario – bringing revival to Austin, Texas through her business
Ashlee Hilis – currently volunteering at a college campus ministry as well as starting a nonprofit organization concerning malaria awareness
Aubrey Rainbow – currently studying sign language in order to do art therapy with the deaf population

Hope Mendola – pursuing a teaching job in a low-income community through Teach for America
If you’re a World Race alum or know one, you tell me: What good does it do? Where are they now?

Comments (10)

  • For me…it prepared me for marriage & the “big picture!”
    I would have never guessed that 1 yr & 3 mos later I’d be where I am today, never. God was preparing me to serve life-long with a partner. The Race solidified my identity in Christ, “who I am.” Therefore, whatever I do & wherever I go flows from His life in me.
    The WR definitely cannot be defined or limited, for it’s one season of a person’s life that God chooses to use as part of His overall story He’s telling the world. It is a small “part” of a lifelong pursuit after God’s heart & purposes in this vast beautiful world of His.
    If you’re thinking about it…do it! You’ll never regret it. If you don’t, you probably will, forever.

  • This is funny ’cause Scott Pitts and I were just talking about this this morning.

    I don’t need another program. Yet, it took me going through the WR twice to motivate my butt to be motivated in the everyday. Now, everyday I get to live as Caitlin Christ. Everyday I bring a little more Kingdom to earth and into the lives of people around me. Everyday I get to pray for the sick, prophesy life, and worship til I get dizzy. Everyday I get to pray as I step more into who I am.

    I’m looking for jobs in the states and looking forward to a place I can call my own. The Lord still knows my heart’s desires and still uses me to further His Kingdom. There are different seasons in everyone’s life. You walk into them and out of them when the time comes. The WR was one of those for me.

  • Still trying to figure that out for us. The soil of out hearts and minds was tilled, seeds were planted in us as we started a family and began the Manhikes ministry (much fruit there already!). But we can’t diminish the impact on the world, the work done, fruit harvested while we were out on the Race in 07.
    There’s no doubt that heading out on the Race has affected our parents generation as well as our childrens, and praying for our grandchildrens generation to come.

  • My thought/response to the question of “How many of the WR’s go into full time mission work?” is that it may be a response that is too narrowly defined. I believe our life not our vocation or job is our mission field, so in a sense every WR is in full time missions work in a way I suspect they never would be if they hadn’t pursued the call and adventure. Just my two cents.

  • Hi Seth –

    I really appreciate this perspective. When it comes right down to it, Christians and non-believers want to have real, “today” knowledge of how Christ has impacted their lives. I know I do. It is one of the things that I have been asking God to reveal to me. Right now, I feel that is a huge missing piece. I want to experience the power of God in my life and in the lives of those around me.

    Reading your blog gives me encouragement and inspiration for how Christ is working in the lives of those who are reaching out to others.


  • I recently met a post World Racer named Blair Brendle and am working with her in our large church youth group at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs. Blair is impacting many middle school girls and leads my daughters bible study every week. She also works with these girls on Sunday nights and it is amazing to watch her impact this next generation of young people. She is just full of life and living it out in her daily life wherever God puts her. She asked my daughter recently for her sports schedule, because she wants to come to some of her games-now that is touching. Blair cares so deeply for people and gives so much of herself not just to the youth, but she impacts the adults she works with too in our church. She is getting her masters degree right now so she can go back overseas someday. I believe her dreams are to open an orphanage after she finishes her masters degree. I have no doubt that she will do it and continue to bring glory to God in the days to come. What a blessing to know Blaire.

  • Going and/or actively participating in someones journey while they are out is the only way to truly see and know the impact a year on the WR will have on no less than one person. But the thing is, you can’t just change one life – b/c one life changed, one perspective widened, one heart expanded affects every life that ONE person comes in contact with for the rest of their life.
    The WR serves to strengthen and solidify the call of Christ on a persons life. It helps empower us, gives us a family of believers to stand with and opens our eyes and hearts to God’s heart for the world. It equips us to change the world wherever we are, whenever we’re called – to love people like never before for no apparent reason other than the fact that we are able to finally see and experience a tiny glimpse of the perfect love our Father has for us – for His children.
    Yeah, I would say it makes a difference and lasting impact. “Missionaries” or not, we’ll be world changers for life.

  • Well, let’s see.

    The first fruits I recall was learning how to heard God speak to me personally. Days later hearing God tell me that He has broken generational curses in my life and therefore my future children’s lives, and that it will need to work backwords also. Since then I have seen evidence of that in my mom, in her mom, and more recently seeing hope of that to begin with my dad’s mom. Pretty exciting and hugely impactful.

    The second fruits I would say was and understanding of Jesus as King of a kingdom that I am now a part of. And that I have a role in that kingdom, and therefor a purpose for my existance. And God has given me wisdom, authority, and ability to accomplish that purpose.I have the ability to bring healing and restoration where the enemy has brought devistation. I’d say that’s pretty significant, and by the way – changed my life.

    The third fruits was the understanding that all “ministry” is summed up in love. Open your eyes and see the needs around you – they are in every person you pass – and then ask God which ones are open to what He wants to do and how He wants you to show them His love. If done whole heartedly, that should impact everybody I interact with. If done even half of the time, that should impact a lot of people. Add in the effects of that on people they interract with and the number grows significantly.

    To list a few other siginficant areas of impact:
    God took away the false identities and lies that were robbing me of my true indentity and personality and keeping me from my destiny; and He showed me who I really am. I now like who I am for the first time in my life.

    He showed me how He has pursued me my whole life and how much He loves me, and is still showing me.

    He is teaching me how to disciple others and He is using me to show others’ His love for them and His healing and deliverence.

    He has shown me that I can trust Him with my yesterday, today, and tomorrow and all the details that come along with that.

    He has shown me that He can put me in places that I cannot put myself and open doors that no other man could open for me. I am not limited by the rules of this world because He can make the naturally impossible happen for me.

    I could go on and on, but clearly the WR was so much more than an 11 month vacation or even journey for me. It was a door into a whole new reality and relationship with God.

    Where I am doesn’t really matter. It’s who’s I am. I’m no longer my own and I no longer live only for myself.

  • From my observations, even if a World Racer doesn’t go on to do work in full time ministry, they are better people. Qualities I’ve observed: they are more easy going, with a high tolerance for being uncomfortable, better team members, have a stronger sense of right and wrong, and a sense that the world can be a better place. They can take up a job in the corporate world, and still change it for the better.

  • Thanks for posting Seth!

    This really encourages me to know that seeds are being planted and fruit is already being produced. For me God has already let me know that the race in January is my training camp for something much larger to come when I return.

    I am so excited to go on the world race, and I thank God for strong men of God like yourself who are sewing into the Kingdom of God!

    God bless.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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