Missionary to visit Romania, Ukraine, Chile, Peru, India
By Megan Hopps
Champlin resident Melanie Lender is preparing for a nine month journey around the world as part of the World Race gap year program. Through the World Race, Lender will visit five countries — Romania, Ukraine, Chile, Peru and India — on a mission trip to spread the word of God.
“It’s time for me to follow God’s call for my life — to go and make disciples of all nations,” Lender said. “Something that really sparked my interest, personally, is World Race’s vision. They’re really grounded in the Holy Spirit and what He’s doing in and through us.”
Lender has been preparing for this trip for months. Aside from getting all the gear she needs, she’s been diligently organizing her finances and working to fund raise enough money to travel the globe. Lender needs to raise just under $15,000 to make the trip.
“This experience is really teaching me to lean on Him,” she said. “It’s only strengthening my trust in Him.”
Lender leaves in two, short weeks departing Sept. 7 and returning at the end of May. Aside from fund raising, Lender is spiritually and emotionally preparing for the trip through prayer and attended a 10 day training in Georgia. There, Lender practiced setting up and living in her tent and taking bucket showers, but more importantly, the ministry aspect of the journey.
“We are going to partner with ministry hosts that have already been established,” she said. “Whether that’s individual families or churches — I’m really looking forward to serving alongside them. In Georgia, we learned how to evangelize, how to write sermons, share our testimonies, how to pray with others, all kinds of different things.”
Lender said she had planned to go to college after graduation, but, after a mission trip with her church last summer, she saw a different possibility.
“I realized I wasn’t ready to go to school and wanted to serve the Lord,” she said. “Something that I think is really unique about World Race is that they seek to serve and heal. I’m looking forward to learning how to live in community — with our host families, with my missions team. I’m just excited to learn how to better serve others.”
According to Lender, every day on the World Race looks a little different. Racers can be doing anything from rebuilding homes, VBS, evangelism outreach, building relationships with orphans or praying for the sick at the hospital.
“This unique mission trip is a challenging adventure for young adults to abandon worldly possessions and a traditional lifestyle in exchange for an understanding that it’s not about you; it’s about the Kingdom,” the World Race website states.
Lender shares her experience on a blog she’s created to document her trip. There, she writes very candidly about her spiritual growth and how her faith was tested during the ten day training session.
“The past few months I’ve had a lot of doubts about whether or not the World Race was for me,” she wrote. “The first few days did nothing but fuel my apprehension. I had felt the call from God to be here, and when I first heard it the idea of learning to be comfortable in the uncomfortable was thrilling. Yet those first few days, I was overwhelmed with fear. I didn’t know if I needed to go home and if this is honestly what I wanted to do. So I wrestled with God. I was angry with Him, I screamed and I cried at Him. I had felt the loneliness of not hearing back from God plenty of times before and I was blunt with Him; I told him if He wouldn’t show me why I was there then I was going home because it wasn’t worth it. Guess what? He showed me something worth it! It’s crazy how faithful our God is and even crazier that we doubt Him.”
To learn more about the World Race or to support Lender in her journey, visit melanielender.theworldrace.org.