Imagine leaving your friends, family, and all things American for 11 months.
Imagine limiting all your possessions to what can fit inside a 50-pound backpack.
Imagine sharing the Good News of God’s love to people in 11 different countries.
Beginning in September, this will become my reality. When I first heard about the World Race, an 11-month mission trip to 11 different countries, I was in my sophomore year of college and nowhere near thinking about life after graduation. But, as my academic finish line came into sight, I realized the trip I had been dreaming about for the past two years could finally become a reality.
I have always loved missions, ever since I was a little girl who discovered there were other cultures and peoples far away. Other cultures and peoples who have never heard the name of Jesus, never experienced His love.
When I was sixteen and went on my first mission trip to Costa Rica, I met some of those people and experienced a new culture. I met missionaries who dedicated their lives to bring the Gospel to a tribe previously unreached with the Good News. My life would never be the same.
I can honestly say, missions was not always on my list of career choices during college. Get a degree. Get a job. Start making money. Go back to college so you can get another degree. Get a better job. Make more money. Buy a house. Buy a car with your new money. There is nothing wrong with these ambitions, but why did I decide to leave it all to travel the world with nothing but a backpack?
I believe every Christian can participate in missions. You can pray, give or go. Or you can do all three.
I am simply answering the call to go.
For me, the decision to go is both easy and hard.
Leaving my life here in the States is hard. Leaving my friends and family for so long is hard. Condensing my life into a 50-pound bag is hard. Sometimes I think I must be absolutely crazy for doing something like this.
But then I remember the faces. The smiles of little kids in Africa who just wanted to hold my hand and feel loved. The deep chocolate brown eyes of the Indians in Costa Rica who would walk for hours through the mountains just to come to a church service. The tears of a young woman in Mexico who asked us to pray with her for her husband to accept Jesus. These beautiful people are the reason I go.
I know the World Race will change me and help me grow in ways I cannot even begin to imagine. But I am praying that throughout my journey, people are changed by the Good News of Jesus Christ that I bring.
It is so easy for me to get caught up in the planning and fundraising and packing and forget the real reason I am answering the call to go. To be His hands and feet. To bring comfort to widows and orphans. To love the broken-hearted and forgotten.
I am just a normal girl from south Louisiana who likes to read books and drink hot tea. But in the adventure of following Jesus, He is leading me on an incredible journey for the next year of my life and for the rest of my days.
Imagine what could happen if you dared to dream big.
Imagine what could happen if you answered the call to pray or give or go.
Imagine what God could do with your life if you handed Him the pen and let Him write your story.
Amanda Goodroe is a senior at Louisiana State University studying Mass Communication with a focus on print journalism. Amanda went on her first mission trip at age 16 to Costa Rica. This sparked a passion for other cultures and people groups around the world. Beginning in September, she will spend 11 months traveling the world as a missionary and will be blogging about her experiences traveling the globe with only a backpack. Amanda enjoys reading and drinking as much tea as possible.