Feet washing during encounter weekend 

Sibling photo with my squad sisters Katie Jean on the left and Deborah on the right

Team photo

Team photo after our WWE skit

Hey everyone!

I know it’s been FOREVER since I last blogged so I have A LOT to catch you guys up on. Pretty much all of my fourth country Eswatini and then the end of Cambodia and our debrief in South Africa. So buckle up this is gonna be LONG. Into it we go! We had our last days of ministry in Cambodia mid February so we wrapped up there, said our goodbyes and then we were headed to South Africa for a week of debrief. Before I touch on our week in SA, I want to tell you guys about our last mega team time in Cambodia. My team combined with Naya, the girls team we were living with, for a final mega team time of feet washing and worship. Banks washed my feet and then spent time encouraging me and praying over me. Then I decided to wash his feet and tell him how much he meant to me and pray over him as well. Banks has meant so much to me over the past 7 months. He has done so much for me, including encouraging me, being there for me, praying for me, setting an incredible example of how to live following Christ, and telling me the things I need to hear even when I don’t want to hear them, among so many other things. A couple days later we all packed up and then met up with the rest of the squad to head to South Africa. We crossed the border into Thailand and spent the night there and then had the next day to go out and explore Bangkok before we took a flight to SA. I went out the first night with John, Dom, and Emma Kramer and we explored a bit of the city and found some really broken homeless people we ended up praying over and trying to help as much as we could. All credit to Dom and Emma on that one, because I was really unsure of the whole situation and honestly really uncomfortable after a while and wanted to leave. But thanks to Dom and Emma’s hearts for those people, we were able to show them a lot of love and encourage them. The next day I went out with Easton, Jackson, and Kayley Purvis to explore the huge Bangkok mall. We explored it for most of the day and ended up going ice skating in the mall. It was my first time ice skating and it was difficult at first but I picked it up towards the end and had so much fun! One other thing about Thailand. Definitely be praying for that country and the city of Bangkok specifically. There’s a lot of sexual sin that goes on there along with homelessness and drunkenness, which unfortunately I’ve seen a lot on the World Race. A LONG flight later, we landed in Africa! Cue up Africa by Toto or Waka Waka by Shakira. Then we had a 5 day debrief in South Africa. My team met up with Bill and our coaches Steve and Teri and talked about Cambodia. We talked about what we learned, what was hard, team dynamic, what to press into in our next county, etc. Then a couple days later the whole squad went on an all day safari at Kruger Park. We saw a ton of animals throughout the day including lions, hyenas, rhinos, elephants, zebras, giraffes, a Cape buffalo, tons of impalas, warthogs, monkeys, baboons, wildebeest, and then a bunch of bats at the place we stopped at for lunch. I was in a truck with Dom, Deborah, Emma Kramer, Ella, McNick, Hannah, Skylar, Josephine, and Kayley Purvis part of the time and then Katie Jean the rest of the time. One night at debrief we had a skit night. Every team had to perform a skit and our coaches, Brian, Brandi, Stephen, and Teri had to judge the skits and pick which was their favorite. My team did an epic UFC skit where Nick aka Shaggy fought Dom aka Ano Picante (the spicy butthole in Spanish) then Malachi aka the bad Barron (his last name is Barron) and finally Ben aka Hoagie Man. Banks announced the fight, Doug reffed it, and John was Nick’s coach. I played an angel that showed up to beat up Malachi when Nick was getting beat and about to lose. Our coach Stephen even had a surprise appearance as Stone Cold Steve I’ve been to Austin to beat up Ben and Nick. It’s hard to explain how incredibly awesome the skit was in words, but we killed it. Our teams skit was by far the best, but we were disqualified because Stephen took part in it and he was one of the judges. After our week of debrief the whole squad piled in vans and we drove into Eswatini. Upon arriving, Banks started not feeling well. I went to pray for him, and after I prayed for him, he said he felt better! That’s the first time the Lord ever healed someone through me, and it was awesome! Eswatini is a very small, but also very beautiful country. It’s surrounded on all sides by mountains. The base we stayed at has a beautiful view of those mountains and the view was particularly beautiful during sunsets. The people there are also just so kind and fun. They are open and welcoming to everyone, even strangers. One of my favorite things about Eswatini was the pace of life there and the peace that comes from living slower and enjoying life. We didn’t have much to do at the base or in the surrounding area of Swazi, but it was perfect because it pushed us all to hang out as a squad and press into each other. I made it a priority to have one on ones (basically just an intentional conversation with one other person) with as many people as I could. I had a lot of one on ones with people on the squad I didn’t know as well and also with people I was friends with and wanted to press into more. I had so many incredible conversations and got to know a lot of my squadmates better and learn a lot from each of them. It’s truly incredible how God perfectly put 38 random people from all different backgrounds and from all over the states together to build an incredible community that mutually encourages and builds each other up. Our ministry in Eswatini was with one of the girls teams, team Harvest. It was super awesome because I didn’t know most of them that well, so it was cool to get to know them better and become friends with them. Also they split the two boys teams between the four girls teams, so only half my team was with team Harvest. Ministry in Swazi was carepoint ministry. We’d go to the carepoints daily and just play with the kids there all day. At the carepoints the kids are fed a meal, which for some is the only meal they eat that day, given the chance to play, which and they’re taught a lesson about God. It really redeemed kids ministry for me, because I really struggled in Guatemala and Cambodia with kids min but actually loved it in Swazi. My favorite part about the ministry was when some of the older middle schoolers and young adults would come and I was able to encourage them and tell them more about Jesus. Eswatini is a country where almost everyone knows of Jesus, but not everyone there fully understands who Jesus is or what He did for them, so it was awesome to tell those people more about the Lord. Also shoutout to my favorite kids Nugget, Doc, and Colin. Those kids were each so much fun in each of their own ways. Those were not their names by the way, I just call them that, because I didn’t know how to say (or remember) their long African names. About week one of Eswatini I heard the Lord tell me He was taking away things in my life I’ve pursued for fulfillment so the only thing I would pursue is Him. What the Lord took away was multiple things, but specifically one thing. I’d liked this one girl on the squad for the entire race until Eswatini when I realized it wasn’t going to work out between us. It honestly wasn’t a good relationship though, I liked her a lot out of lust and it became infatuation for me. There was a lot of identity tied into it, and I felt like I would’ve been “worthy” if she became my girlfriend. I fought with that a ton through most of Guatemala and the beginning of Vietnam too, not wanting to surrender it to the Lord, and it being a huge idol in my life. Praise God! He took that away so I could focus on Him and pursue Him alone for satisfaction the only place I can find that. Stay tuned for part two of this story which will be in my next blog about South Africa. Then PVT! Everyone’s parents came for a week and we got to hang out with them, show them what we’ve learned on the race, and do ministry with them. I had a lot of fun with my parents while they were there. I was able to do ministry with them two days, go eat lunch with them at a safari restaurant where we saw hippos and some huge deer looking thing, worship with them, do Bible studies with them, and just hang out and talk with them a lot. During PVT each racer gave a short testimony of what the Lord did in them on the race. I was initially terrified since I’d never done public speaking before and I hate speaking in front of larger groups. The Lord gave me peace during it though and I really enjoyed talking about identity and how the Lord had grown me in that. Then PVT ended and I said goodbye to my parents to not see them for another (at the time) 2 months. The next big event in our time in Swazi wasn’t even in Eswatini. All the racers minus the squad leaders (Banks and the other squad leaders) went to the St. Lucia beach in South Africa while our visas were renewed for Swazi. I ended up in a room with Jackson, Ben, Sam, and Easton for the weekend. We had an awesome time walking around and checking out the various shops around our hostel. My favorite was the Ripcurl/Billabong surf shop. I was tempted to buy so much stuff there! On Saturday I went to the beach with a bunch of people and it was a blast! We played Spikeball, wrestled in the water, goofed off, threw other people into the water, built a sand castle, and more! What’s so incredible about the World Race that I don’t say often in my blogs, but is just so incredible and life changing is the community of our squad. We all love each other so much and also just have a lot of fun together. It had rained a crap ton back at the base while we were gone, leaving about 2-3 inches of water in the common area and so what did we do with no squad leaders? Wrestle in the mud! Malachi and I went at it for a minute and he utterly destroyed me, because he is taller and a lot stronger than me and he used to do wrestling. Then Dougie charged out there and took Malachi down. It was so much fun! The last big event in Swazi before we packed up to go to South Africa was encounter weekend. During the weekend of Easter, for every hour from 7 pm on Good Friday until 7 pm on Sunday a racer or squad leader led some form of either worship intercession. It wasn’t required to go to every hour time slot, but I tried to go to as many as I could. One of the first really cool time slots was praying for Muslims during their time of Ramadan. Then after that Dom led a time of writing prophetic letters to people back home. The Lord led me to write a letter to my great Aunt Lisa on my Mom’s side and gave me a lot of things to encourage her with and Scriptures for her to read. That was super cool for the Lord to help me to walk in that because for most of the race I’d struggled with walking in things of the prophetic because I kept trying to do it in my own power and not let the Lord guide me in what to say because I ultimately doubted He would guide me in what to say. But during this time slot, I was asking the Lord who to write a letter for, and then the Lord brought my Aunt Lisa to mind. Then I started writing and He gave me thing after thing to write to her. It was so cool. I can’t wait to send it to her when I get home. The next time slot that I really enjoyed was at 1 in the morning when we had a time of worship with all the lights off so we couldn’t really see each other where we just praised the Lord however we wanted to. Through being on the race I’ve learned to worship the Lord however He leads me to. Whether that looks like kneeling, being on my face before Him, laying down in His presence, jumping up and down in joy, or standing and raising my hands, just to worship Him in joy and not be worried about what others think. Of course not worshipping in an attempt to draw attention to myself, or cause distraction, but worshipping however I want to express my love to the Lord. We also had an awesome session where everyone on the squad had a paper but no one knew what paper each person would get because they were just numbered, they didn’t have our names on them. What everyone did was then pray and ask the Lord which papers to write on and then what to write and then write. At the end of the weekend everyone got a paper based on how the Lord led for them to be given out. What was cool was my paper definitely had some prophetic stuff on it and the Lord also guided me again and spoke to me in what to write for others. I ended up getting a paper that I’d written on too but yet was prophetic for me so it was just awesome to see the Lord move like that. There was also a cool session where we listened to worship music and journaled about what the Lord spoke to us through the lyrics of the songs. I led a session praying for America and the church and the lost there. That was cool because I hate leading group events but the Lord put on my heart to lead that session and the idea of what to lead it on so I did and it was awesome! We also had a session praying for the LGBTQ and it was cool because we all circled up and prayed for each of the people who had siblings who identify with that. Then the coolest session was one Banks led about baptism of the Spirit. One person would sit in the middle and everyone else would surround them and pray for them to encounter the Holy Spirit. It ended up going 3 hours long as every person in the room went and then even people went to get their teammates who didn’t attend the session for them to be baptized in the Spirit too. We wanted each of our squad mates to experience the joy and peace we felt as we were each prayed over and to be prayed for too to experience more of the Spirit in their lives too. The last session I’ll mention was the feet washing we did. All of my team was there except Banks and Dom, so we took turns washing each other’s feet. John washed my feet and I washed Malachi’s. Feet washing can seem weird but it’s a really beautiful act of servitude to your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Another final thing I’ll mention that the Lord did in me that weekend was that He grew me in not fearing death and wanting to fully surrender my life to Him to live fully for Him. I’d struggled most of my life with fearing death and not wanting to fully surrender my life to the Lord to do whatever He called me to do. But the Lord faithfully kept growing me in that and is still growing me in that. I can’t say I’m 100% not afraid of death or 100% ready to do whatever the Lord calls me to, but I’m WAY closer than I was before the race. There was so much incredible worship and prayer during the encounter weekend and it was so beautiful. I absolutely loved it. Then about a week later we left for South Africa to do ministry for a little over a month with the other boys team in Johannesburg. More on that in my next blog! I love and miss you all! God bless!


(P.S.) Thanks for sticking through to the end of this post!)

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