A country rich in history and natural resources – fertile soil from the volcanoes help yield excellent coffee – Guatemala is the perfect place to initiate your World Race experience. Outside of its aesthetic appeal, Guatemala needs God’s touch. Gripped by poverty and bound to a spirit of religion, the people of Guatemala hunger for the kingdom of God to pervade their lives. You'll have the opportunity to usher in the kingdom to this land and reach out to the people on the fringes of society through hard work, relationships, and maybe even a miracle or two.
El Salvador is the third largest economy in the region after Costa Rica and Panama and the smallest country (in land mass) in the Americas. A coup d'etat in 1979 led to civil war from 1980-1992 in this country. Oscar Romero, a Catholic bishop well-known known for supporting liberation theology, advocating for social justice in El Salvador, and protesting the government's persecution of the church was assassinated in 1980 while conducting mass. Much of the country's revenue comes from remittances. In a land whose name translates to "The Savior", you'll be the signs that point to the one true Savior - not a better political system or economy - Jesus Christ.
"Hondo" comes from the Spanish word for depth and there's lots of depth to Honduras. It's home to the Aztec and Mayan civilizations, whose ruins are still stand. Honduras is mostly mountainous and the weather's as tropical as it gets. What really runs deep in Honduras are its needs. Honduras is the third poorest in the region, after Haiti and Nicaragua. Like her neighbors, Honduras has had her of share political/military troubles, e.g., the six-month constitutional crisis in 2009. There's a need to reach out to the youth, not just to keep them out of trouble (e.g., gangs) but for them to know their worth and that they're loved.
This Asian island nation, former Spanish colony then American protectorate, is a country in tension, trying to cross the threshold between the third and first world. It offers a variety of landscapes - beaches, mountains, volcanic lakes - and languages, with Tagalog as the national tongue. The Catholic Church is a substantial piece of the religious pie, however, and Islam is growing in the island of Mindinao. The Filipino people and culture love music, dance and community. While there, you may find yourself living with and giving hope to the destitute, caring for orphans, and challenging the growing number of Christ-followers to rise up.
From the Sydney Opera House to the aboriginal tribes of the Australian Outback, Australia is as exotic as you imagined it. World Racers will partner with ministries, churches and missionaries who are spreading the hope of Christ to the rich and poor alike. While Australia boasts a more westernized culture, the marginalized, impoverished, destitute and lost still exist and live each moment for the hope of hearing the good news. Here, you may minister to people, much like you would back home.
Enter a world entrenched in Islam. A people within the thriving metropolis of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysians still live in ignorance of the Good News of Jesus Christ. As you delve into this culture of works-based religion, strong self-discipline, and uncanny faith, you will have the unique opportunity to deliver hope and point the people to their Redeemer.
The kingdom of Thailand, known as Siam until 1939, is the only country in the region not colonized by Europe. Their 2000 census showed that 94.6% of the population is Buddhist, 4.6% are Muslim, and 0.7% are Christian. Approximately 600,000 people live with HIV/AIDS in Thailand. With nearly two million people estimated to be forced into prostitution, it has become one of the most popular places for sex tourism. Change lives in the city-where you, like Jesus, might befriend prostitutes-or in the countryside-where you may serve youth, care for orphans, and encourage a remnant of believers.
Cambodia houses one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Angkor Wat, a Hindu temple and monastery built during the Khmer empire in the 12th century. It later became a Buddhist complex a century later, and today, just over 96% of Cambodia is Buddhist. Almost 30 years ago, 1.5 million Cambodians died at the hands of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime. Today, Cambodia is a source, transit point, and destination of human trafficking. Unfortunately, the government is struggling to stop it. The people of Cambodia are thirsty for the hope you can bring.
Who hasn't heard of Kenya in their lifetime? The Kenyan people are colorful, musical, artistic and hungry for the love of Christ. The Maasai bush, the Nairobi metropolis, and the Kibera slums comprise a country diverse yet unified in history. As a new era dawns in Kenya, so does the gospel of truth and faith. By meeting felt needs in the bush and the city, participants help bear lasting fruit with current ministry partnerships (ministries like evangelism, orphan care, and community development), and build foundations of future partnerships.
Once a kingdom and British protectorate, for most of the later half of the 20th century, Uganda was under military rule, first under Idi Amin, the subject of the film The Last King of Scotland. Much of northern Uganda was also troubled by the Lord's Resistance Army, which heavily recruited child soldiers. Referred to as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is diverse in topography and wildlife. You may find yourself in the north partnering with ministries that are bringing still-needed healing and reconciliation or in the south working with churches to evangelize and disciple the next generation of Kingdom workers.
Many who hear "Rwanda" immediately think, "genocide" - it was 16 years ago when 800,000 people were killed over the course of about three months. According to the U.S. State Department, Rwanda (once colonized by France) has the highest population density in sub-Saharan Africa; and like much of sub-Saharan Africa, this nation also is fighting hard against HIV/AIDS. This nation played a part of the genesis of this human rights organization and inspired this song; as you help bring healing to a country still recovering from this deep wound, God may birth a dream or vision in you...