I’m Sarah Badgett, and this is how I’ve been living deeply.
“Have you ever once thought to yourself, ‘I’m so thankful for a sink I can spit my toothpaste into’ because you realized you might live without one? No? Me either. Until this week. Long story short, this coming year I’ll be leaving the States to do the World Race (not the Amazing Race). It’s a short-term mission opportunity through Adventures in Mission (aka AIM), a Christian organization founded by a man named Seth Barnes. As someone who took time out of his life to embark on a “kingdom journey” (leaving behind the comforts of American life to experience the reality of humanity, all the while discovering God on a much more dependent and intimate level), he realized that people are often struck with the gift of restlessness and wanted to provide an opportunity for others to experience what he did. I made the decision to go on my kingdom journey in February 2021, knowing that I wouldn’t have a solidified plan after graduating with a two-year degree in May. The route that I ended up committing to -called Pacific Rim- offered to travel through Central America and Asia, but, as the biggest rule of the Race states, flexibility is key, and now the plan is Central America and tentatively South Africa. 11 months in 11 different countries with 18 people that I had never met while carrying everything I own in a backpack, partnering with local ministries and living out of a tent or wherever someone can fit us… that sounds like a pretty big adventure.
While typically I would demand an itinerary for a trip I would take with just a backpack and a couple people, I understand that AIM has so many people involved in developing these trips for us. We are going on this trip to serve the Lord. That’s enough reason for me. One thing I am looking forward to is experiencing all the different cultures and its effect on people’s thinking and lifestyles. America truly is a land of opportunity, but sometimes it provides so many opportunities that we never lack anything, and that brings a lot of dissatisfaction and selfishness. We seem to be a very depressed country, and people in these third world countries –yes, they go through so much- but in many cases they seem content with what they have. So I’m anticipating this new lifestyle next year. I’m looking forward to seeing the gratitude of these cultures, the foods, and the styles of worship that the Church possesses. I recognize Cedar Springs’ Presbyterian congregation will be thrown out the window and that I will experience so much culture shock, but I’m thrilled to see the ways the Lord is so much bigger than a denomination. I’m waiting and wishing to see everyone dancing around me while I see for myself how vast God’s people are. One thing that I realize will become a great challenge for me is acclimating myself to the living situations. While on one hand, I am awaiting learning so much about the world, I also know that my spoiled American self will struggle. There will be sleepless nights, lots of sweat and mosquitoes and snakes, no electricity or technology. We’ll have buckets to share for showers and tents to call our homes. We won’t always have a sink. We won’t get to rest on a couch. We probably won’t have AC (pray for me) or an abundance of running water. I’ll get sick and sweaty and annoyed with people and frustrated that my cravings for Zaxby’s can’t be satisfied. In those moments, I know I’ll wake up with a passion to return home. Having a mattress to myself… going to the gym routinely and getting enough protein… taking a long shower… watching my friends get married… seeing all of the people I work with and dogs I take care of… I’ll want it so badly. But in those moments, the Lord reminds me. ‘This isn’t about you, Sarah. I know you’re here because at first you thought this was going to be a nice little adventure. I need to remind you this ultimately is about me guiding you. You’re here because you’re serving.’ And He’s right. Hopefully that’ll set me straight.
AIM hosts a training camp before their teams launch. It’s a week-long retreat that introduces you to your team, AIM’s philosophies, informs you of what the next year will look like, and offers a glimpse into the spiritual experiences you’ll have. After camp, I just sat down and thought, ‘Wow, this is a lot to take in. I have so much to learn.’ I didn’t realize how much pride I had or how selfish I could be. I spent several days reflecting and then took to my World Race blog to express my thoughts. So many parts of myself were going to completely break away and I was not prepared for that. I know there will be enough desperate moments on this trip where I’ll need the Lord’s help –directly and through my teammates- and through that I’ll be broken in a way that will end up benefiting myself, my friends and my relationship with the Lord. I’m looking forward to the result, but not the process. I leave January 8, and I’m asking my CSPC family to pray in a few ways. Pray for the times when I don’t feel like going to work or catching up with friends or checking in with family. Pray that I don’t start this cool walk with the Lord when I leave. Pray that I start it now. And, of course, pray for my sanity. I need the Lord’s gift of stillness and peace. To learn more about my experiences over this next year and hear stories of how the Lord is working across the globe, you can check out my blog.”
NOTE: We will be sharing periodic updates from Sarah over the next year, and you may follow her blog at sarahbadgett.theworldrace.org.