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Here on the World Race, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to hold expectations loosely. It’s a part of being flexible, saving yourself from some frustration or disappointment, and honestly, trusting fully in the Lord. That being said, when it comes to looking toward the future, it’s pretty hard to have no expectations whatsoever. 

I contemplated the idea of calling this blog “WHY THE WORLD RACE WON’T BE WHAT YOU EXPECT”. I still like that title, but it’s not exactly what I’m going for. I also don’t want to assert or assume that you hold certain expectations about the Race, and I certainly don’t want to condemn you for holding those expectations if you do. I’m coming from a place of retrospect and remembrance, as I look back to before my Race and reflect on what expectations I held. After conversations with my squad mates, I’ve learned that they also possessed similar ideals about what this year would look like. So, my true heart in this is to invite you into the reality of what it means to be on the World Race, and I’ve included some testimonies of my squad mates to help with this. These truths about the Race are hard, but that doesn’t negate the goodness of them. The Race itself is hard, which is obviously a challenge, but it’s an incredible blessing.

That’s exactly why you should do it. 






  1. It exposes what you place your comfort in and forces you to put it in the Lord. 


    Here’s something I learned on my Race: God will expose anything you put your comfort in that is not Him. And a lot of times, this exposure of worldly comforts looks like taking that comfort away. It seems harsh, but it’s actually incredibly kind of the Father. He knows that all else will eventually falter, and that that will leave us more broken than before. He wants to protect us. He just wants us to come to a place where we can be wholly relying on the one thing that will not fail: Him. 

    “We are currently in month 8 of our World Race and this by far has been the most difficult month. 8 months away from our normal has definitely exposed us with only God to cling to. In our time of need, the normal comforts and patterns that we clung to at our home are not there to provide the rest and healing we need, there is only God. The comforts and luxuries of home that I used to run to were my family, social media, and illicit substances. While in the Dominican Republic, I don’t have my family to run to at any given moment to pick me up when I feel fallen and beat up. I have my squad mates, but they too are battling as well. The consistent and never changing Jesus is the one I have learned to run to in my time of weakness because I know his burden is light. I am not saying that I don’t have an amazing community to walk beside, but being forced to run to Christ has helped me develop healthy patterns of taking raw emotion and situations and working them out with God first. After, I bring them to my team so the burden does not fall on them, but on Jesus. 

    When it comes to social media, I would extend the generalization to video games,  Netflix, and any form of bingeing media. It has become a normal pattern for many Americans to escape their problems by entering into another world that media provides. Whether that be mindlessly scrolling through TikTok, bingeing Netflix, reading a book, or entering into the universe of video games, media has provided the perfect escape and unhealthy coping mechanism in a 21st century lifestyle. But here in the Dominican, media consumption is cut tenfold, forcing you to deal with your problems in another way. For me, that has taught me to rely on God, and to cut the mindless escape that media offers.

    Before I met Christ, I was somebody that used illicit substances to escape from the world instead of relying on the Lord. Here on the Race, that is the last thing I would ever think about running to. Being surrounded by a community that pushes me towards Christ, I am heavily encouraged to ask the Lord what He says about my life; he helps me work through the questions that I wrestle with. Back in the States and around the world, drug use is a popular unhealthy coping mechanism and has devastated many people’s lives. Being forced to wrestle with God when your comforts of home are taken away is hard, but in the end the best possible outcome for your entire life. The Race has taught me that in my trial, I can either ignore it, or face it head on with God and grow to be a healthier person, a Son deeper in His relationship with his Heavenly Father.”

    – Brent Long, Team Kenosis

  1. It pushes you to take responsibility for your own life. 

    You will have to face your past, how that has made you who you are, and decide how you will leverage that to grow in the Lord.

    “Before the Race, I struggled with time management. That doesn’t really sound like a big deal, but it affected my whole life. I’d wake up whenever I felt like, not pay attention in school, do assignments at the last minute, and spend most of my time at home on my phone before going to bed at 2 am and doing the whole thing again. My parents still had high standards for me and so I pushed myself to do well in school, but at the cost of my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I was absolutely miserable and couldn’t see a way out. 

    I started seeing a Christian counselor, and she helped me see the root of my issues – I didn’t know how to prioritize the things in my life that were actually important and take responsibility for my life. If I was going to change my lifestyle to be more sustainable and take care of my mental/spiritual health, I needed to start with Jesus, and the rest would fall into place.

    Going into the Race, that’s what I knew in my head, but I certainly wasn’t living it out. But as a part of Team Stride and of D squad, I learned to take responsibility for myself and honor the people the Lord has placed around me. That looked like getting to meals earlier to help serve the squad, leaving game nights early to clean Stride’s shared bathroom, taking the time to write blogs and edit photos so I can be a better storyteller, and (the biggest one for me) waking up early so that I could spend time with the Lord, surrendering all of my feelings and fears to Him so that I would be in a better place mentally/emotionally before I talked to anyone else.

    We had a month at home in the middle of our Race. Suddenly, everything I learned in Georgia went out the window. I went right back to living however I wanted, with no clear direction or discipline. And it sucked.

    And then we went overseas, and I had to deal with all this shame I felt about how I had spent December running away from God (again). But through all of this, He’s showed me even more of His faithfulness. I needed to see that I really cannot do this life on my own, no matter how much the world tells me I can. I learned what life looks like when I trust Him with everything and what it looks like when I don’t, and now I never want to go back.”

    – Anjali Joy, Team Stride

  1. You’re gonna grow more than you ever thought you would, in ways you never thought you would.

    I don’t want to give the Race all the glory for growth I’ve gone through this past year. The Race didn’t change me, Jesus did. But the Race was a catalyst for much of this transformation, and for that I am so thankful. I have walked into so much security in my identity in Christ, so much freedom from the fear of man and the need to perform. For the first time in my life, I’ve started to believe that I am loved by the Father, and live from the knowledge that being loved is my whole purpose. This is LIBERTY! Not only have I grown in my identity, I’ve grown in learning what it looks like to love others well, hearing the voice of the Lord, and defending my faith. I’ve gained practical tools that will be incredibly useful in the future: living in community, resting well, meal and lesson planning, managing my time, giving affirmative and constructive feedback, even using certain construction tools!

    So yeah, the Race brings about a lot of growth. Seems like a pretty obvious point to make, I know. But really. You know how you kind of get this on this spiritual high on short term missions trips? It’s nothing like that. The Race becomes daily life. Which means, like daily life, it gets hard, heavy, messy, and real. Ministry isn’t just a small part of your day, it’s all the time, and that can actually be draining and exhausting. Emotions are real. Anger, sadness, pain: it’s real. You’re gonna cry (my guess would be a lot). You’ll be homesick. You’ll probably actually get sick. There will be times you’ll want to go home. You’ll have to choose into your squad mates a LOT.

    The Race is hard, and that’s the hard truth. 

    If you’re going on the Race, I don’t say this to persuade you to reconsider your decision. It’s actually quite the opposite: I’m telling you right here and right now that this is one of the best decisions you could possibly make. It’s a challenge, so take it. If you choose in, if you press into the Lord, you’re gonna come out knowing who He says you are, knowing yourself better, knowing how to love people so well and so hard, and walking in more freedom than you ever have in your life. And so much more. Here’s to growth, freedom, and new life, friend!


Thanks for taking the time to read this blog! I appreciate you! 

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!



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 Big thanks to Brent Long and Anjali Joy for their testimonies!



  1. Thank you so much Emma (and friends) for this powerful inside look at World Race! The hard things in life always are the catalyst to growth, and if we are truly looking to God… it is spiritual growth. These 9 months are an incredible opportunity to not be distracted by the things of this world and to press in to all the Lord has purposed for your life to be !
    To become healthy, healed and whole !
    A life built on an unshakable foundation of Jesus. I am so blessed and moved to see all that the Holy Spirit is pouring into you all. Continued prayers and love for you all !

  2. Emma ! You hit the nail on the head, woman of God. I’m so proud of you for reflecting and seeing Jesus in the midst of it all and his GOODNESS permeating through each moment, each trial. Thanks for taking the time to share this and use your gift with words. Love you !

  3. Sweet! A great blog to pass on to people who are wanting more from life, to get out of the comforts of life and discover who the Lord created them to be. Strip off the exteriors and get to the root!! Thanks for the share.

  4. INCREDIBLE. Thank you for sharing these sweet stories of how the Lord calls us out of the cave and into the light. I’m so proud of you!