One year ago, Samantha Francart set out on an 11-month journey around the world. Her goal? To reach 11 countries in 11 months.
Francart, who is a member of Ferrysburg Community Christian Reformed Church in Spring Lake, Mich., took part in the World Race put on by Adventures in Missions.
She and the other 54 participants were allowed to pack only two bags: one backpack and one daypack. They lived on of a budget of $12 per day, including meals, transportation, and lodging.
“I have never needed God as much as I did those 11 months. Every day had its own struggles: whether it was encountering someone whose needs broke my heart or personal struggles that the Lord was bringing me out of,” said Francart.
The race brought her across three continents through India, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Latvia, and Estonia. The team began the journey in India while coping with both sickness and culture shock. But by the end of the month they had seen healings, including the healing of a woman’s crippled hand, and had watched another woman take her first steps.
Francart was chosen as a team leader for her group of six others for the first four months of the trip. As team leader, she was given the responsibility of making sure their ministry matched up with the local pastor or contact. Depending on the locale, the team ended up doing a variety of tasks, including working in churches, teaching English, visiting an orphanage, praying for the sick, building a school, helping with children’s programs, and evangelism. In a village in Kenya, Francart was able to pray with nine women to become Christians.
She raised $15,500 for the trip through support letters, a silent auction, making bracelets and T-shirts to sell, selling her new car, and almost everything she owned.
“All I really know is this: I’m not the same person that I was a year ago. God stripped away the parts of me that were ugly and dirty and showed me his love, grace, and mercy,” said Francart.
She plans to attend Liberty University to get her MBA with a focus on international business in hopes of serving in the Middle East someday.