Q&A with Lauren McLemore
Tell us about how you decided to pursue the World Race after graduation?
I thought about doing a work study before college, but a friend of mine introduced me to the World Race. She was the inspiration behind it. I really signed up without knowing what I was getting into. It wasn’t until later that I realized this is a calling.
What kind of work will you be doing during your nine months abroad?
I’m going to three different countries: India, Malaysia and Zambia. We’ll be traveling throughout the countries, but wherever we are, we will focus on serving the community there. In some places, we will team up with full-time missionaries, and other times we’ll work in churches, orphanages, businesses — there will even be times when we’ll work in offices. So as much as I wish I would be playing with kids the whole time, we’ll be doing hard work too.
What kind of labor will those tasks involve?
We’ll be doing building projects. All of the charities you see doing things like collecting nuts and bolts for kids’ desks — those things they collect go to racers. We’ll be the ones on the ground using the nuts and bolts to assemble the desks. We’re the laborers behind the charities.
Of the three countries you will visit, which are you most excited about?
I’m really excited about Zambia because I’ve heard Coach Sullivan and other missionaries speak in chapel about serving in Africa. I’ve been involved in lots of charities that go there, and that’s just where my heart is. I choose this route solely based on Africa.
What are you looking forward to most about this opportunity?
We will get to come into contact with cultures that are so different than ours, so there’s the travel aspect. But I’m just really looking forward to loving on people. That’s something you can do at home, but it’s completely different to get out of your comfort zone and love on people who have never seen or felt that before.
What do you expect will be the greatest challenge?
Just traveling from place to place. I have a 70-pound backpack, a tent and a daypack, and those are the only things I can take with me. So whatever I need for the next nine months, I have to fit in one of those bags and carry it on my back wherever I go.
When do you leave/return?
I’m leaving for training camp in August. While I’m there, I’ll have to pass a physical, go through a survival camp, and a culture camp where they teach us about the rules and laws of other cultures. I leave for the trip in October and return in June.
How are you preparing in the meantime?
Lots of prayer. Lots of fundraising. When I’m not at school or work, 100 percent of my time is dedicated to fundraising and planning. I have a race blog, LaurenMclemore.TheWorldRace.org, that I keep updated to share with my family and my team.
What do you hope to come away with at the end of this experience?
It’s a win-win experience because I know that I’m going with a vision to help other people, but I have no doubt I will get just as much out of it as they will.