I scrunched down on the seat trying to concentrate on falling asleep. Hot humid air filled the school bus as almost 50 young adults tried to settle in. Laughter filled the air as we all realized how crazy we looked piled on a bus in the middle of the night. Why was I sleeping on a school bus in the backwoods of Georgia? Training camp for the World Race.
All World Racers attend a one-week training camp about 6 weeks before they depart for the race. This time is meant to prepare us for what life could look like during our mission trip. We slept in tents for most of the time, with a few exceptions. One being the night we slept, or in my case, did not sleep on the bus. Good thing I have adapted to operate on small amounts of sleep!
The crazy sleeping arrangements and community living are designed to give us a taste of what life for the next year could look like. We also got a taste of some of the food we might be eating from around the world, and what the portion size will look like when you are eating on $3 to $5 a day.
We also got to meet our squad, the group of about 50 people who I will be traveling with around the world. We were then formed into teams of 6 to 8 people who we will be living with day to day on the race. It was incredible to finally meet people from all over the country who come from all different walks of life, but are leaving it all to travel the world for 11 months. I did not expect to feel such love for people I had just met, but we are truly like a family.
A lot of the preparation during training camp was practical things you need to know before you travel the world for 11 months. But we also had a chance to really encounter God that week. The longer I serve the Lord, the more I realize what kind of box I have put Him in. Many of my teen years were spent focusing on what I could do for God instead of getting to know Him. Looking back now, I can see how everything I have walked through the past few years has been leading me to a place where I can grow closer in relationship with God. So much of that was revealed to me at training camp.
I am beginning to realize more and more that although I signed up for this trip because I wanted to give back, to serve and show the love of Jesus to the nations I will be visiting, God wants to do something in me. I have already been so incredibly blessed by this experience and I am constantly amazed at how faithful God has been through the process.
When I am bumping along in a bus in Africa, I know I will remember training camp and how even when I am in uncomfortable situations, God is ready to do an incredible work in my heart.
Photo courtesy of Vallory Moss