Traveling with a higher purpose

 

Aaron Darlington '08
English major

Aaron Darlington '08 was working as a snowboard instructor when a friend told him about The World Race. A ministry of Adventures in Missions, the race is an 11-month Christian mission trip to 11 different countries around the world.

"At the time, I felt like I had it all together," writes Darlington in an e-mail from a gypsy village in Romania. "I had a dream job. I lived and worked with my best friend. I had a nice car, dated a pretty girl, attended church regularly and saved a lot of money. Perhaps you noticed, however, that 'I' is the subject of each one of those sentences. Or is 'I' the object? Either way my life wasn't Christ-centered, and I was ready for a change."

Aaron DarlingtonWanting to pattern his life after Christ's two greatest commandments—loving the Lord with all one's heart, soul and mind, and loving one's neighbor as oneself (Matthew 22:36-40), Darlington signed on to be a World Racer. Since October 2008, his team has traveled monthly to a different country, each with its own distinct flavor, spiritual climate and ministry needs.

"We live and travel in teams of six or seven, with each person fulfilling (and often discovering) his or her unique role within the church, whether it be preaching to a crowd of Maasai warriors, providing daily encouragement to the team through acts of service and words of affirmation, or noticing the child that everyone else has overlooked," says Darlington.

Darlington has traveled to the Philippines, China, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, India and Ukraine. He worked with the Philippine Christian Foundation in Manilla, where more than 5,000 people live in abject poverty in garbage dumps. He experienced the underground revival in China, and worked with a pastor in Kenya, whose congregation is filled with children addicted to glue. In Uganda, he served a large Anglican church that sought to identify and empower potential leaders and establish small church groups among poorer neighborhoods. In Tanzania, he lived with and ministered to Maasai warriors at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. In India, he ministered to those suffering from disease and depression. While in Ukraine, he worked primarily with local orphans and new church plants. He will soon travel to Split, Croatia, where he and his team will help a young couple with their café ministry before finishing his race route in Central America.

Darlington says this experience is allowing him to view the world through a variety of lenses: "We have different colors and customs, but when it boils down, we're really not so different. We all laugh and smile. We all have the same hungers, the same needs and the same yearning for love."

When his race ends, Darlington hopes to continue working in missions. "In its sincerest form, service is worship, and worship is most acceptable when we offer to God everything we have and all that we are," he says. "That's what I want now."

Join Darlington on his service adventure at http://aarondarlington.theworldrace.org/.