Christopher Courtney, 21, of Monett, will join a team of 60 people from the United States and Canada who will provide additional manpower to established missions in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, the Philippines, Australia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
Some of the tasks they are scheduled to accomplish include teaching vacation Bible school classes, tending farmers' fields and crops while farmers attend classes, working at orphanages, construction projects and assisting in fight against HIV and AIDS in Africa. They will also help Aboriginal tribe members in Australia, assist in the ongoing struggle against human trafficking in Asia and be role models and mentors for the people they encounter in the field.
The 60-member squad will be broken down into smaller teams, which will be sent to different areas of the same country to accomplish a number of given tasks simultaneously.
"I'll miss winter," Courtney said. He will be in Australia in January during that continent's summer season.
Squad members will have the opportunity to blog about their experiences along the way, when Internet access is available. Those interested in supporting their efforts can follow the adventures and support the missionaries in prayer, with words of encouragement or financially.
Courtney is an animal science major at University of Missouri in Columbia.
"I first felt called to missions as a pre-teen, but school and life pushed that to the back burner," he said. "This spring, I started questioning how I was going to apply my degree and that brought the call to missions back to the forefront."
Courtney sent in his application, participated in the interview process and was finally notified of his acceptance into the program.
Team participants can expect to be occasionally sleeping in tents and knocking on doors during their trip. The discipleship exercise is geared to pull participants from their comfort zones and expose team members to what is happening around the world and building faith in the abundance and promises God made to mankind.
Courtney is required to raise $15,500 to cover expenses for his 11 months on the road. That amount covers travel, food, lodging and emergency reserves in the event he and other team members have to be lifted out of a country.
In preparation for the trip, Courtney is selling many of his personal possessions and ridding his life of what he feels is "too much stuff."
Courtney recently attended a week-long training camp in Georgia, where he and his teammates were put through some of the same experiences they will have overseas. The team-building exercises helped build a cohesive unit for their upcoming Sept. 5 launch.
To follow Courtney and his team, follow his blog at http://christophercourtney.theworldrace.....