Featured Racer: Derek Spahr


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Featured Racer, Derek Spahr, of July 2013 S squad, understands having nothing to lose. So when he found himself at 17 and without the funds for college, he made a decision that became a catalyst for his life.

I started selling drugs to fellow students at my high school. By the time I graduated, I was well on my way to funding my freshman year of college.

But Derek's success took a turn for the worse when his father found out he had been dealing drugs and Derek was forced onto the streets.

Derek continued to sell drugs. And after six months of couch surfing and sleeping in Walmart parking lots, he found himself in college with a rented home, his own vehicle, and a job waiting tables.

Everything was falling into place, just as I had planned

he said.

But one dreary morning, as Derek made his way to work, his truck hydroplaned, flipping into a median. Though he escaped without a scratch, the wreck demolished his truck.

When Derek returned home later that night, his mangled truck in the driveway, someone came to his door. His neighbor, a mechanic, stood outside and asked to buy his wrecked truck.

But Derek had answered the door while he was smoking marijuana, and his neighbor took notice. By the end of the conversation, Derek knew his neighbor's real job was working with an international drug cartel. And in true 'nothing to lose' fashion, Derek became a member.

That day was the beginning of the end of my life,

he said.

With Derek's new job in full swing, he made enough money selling drugs that he dropped out of college. "I was selling more narcotics than I had ever seen and consuming more drugs than human bodies can withstand," he said.

But the money and drugs just weren't enough for Derek. He soon found himself craving more than the lucrative lifestyle he made for himself.

So he began looking into religions.

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I [researched] New Age movements, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Astrology, and everything else you could think of as an attempt to satisfy that longing.

Derek found his answers the day he noticed a Bible in his roommates' bedroom.

That night I read the books of Revelation, John, Romans, and Hebrews and realized for the first time in my life that there is truth in the Bible. Not just truth, but profound, life changing truth.

He called his only Christian friend and began to discuss God. His friend shared Acts 9 and the conversion of Saul with him. He saw that if Saul could be saved with all the sin in his life then he could be too.

Then his friend asked him a simple question:

What do you have to lose? That was my breaking point. I remember saying, 'I want it. I don't care whether I have proof or not.'

At that moment, Derek was changed. Overcome by the Holy Spirit, Derek turned his back on drug use.

And when it came to drug trafficking, Derek went to his neighbor, Bible in hand, and read scripture to him.

By the end of the conversation, Derek walked away from using and selling drugs

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Although this story seems like it should conclude with something along the lines of, 'and everything was perfect after I accepted Jesus. The End,' he said, "that is far from the truth. I have had numerous struggles and trials of many kinds…the difference now is that I have a hope and a purpose and something worth fighting for.

Derek was continuing to fight when he overheard a girl discussing the World Race behind him in church. After a short description from the stranger and "a brief discussion with God," Derek signed up for the World Race.

It was a fairly spontaneous decision but I just felt the Lord all over it.

We are thankful for those spontaneous decisions the Lord leads us to, and we are thankful Derek answered God's call to his new life and the World Race.

We'll be checking in with Derek next month to see what the Lord is teaching him on the Race. Make sure to keep reading and sign up for the World Race Updates Blog to hear the rest of Derek's story.