Prior to an 11-month mission trip, David Hertlein had experienced a disheartening dental discharge from the U.S. Coast Guard and what he describes as several years of bouncing from job to job.
Hertlein, a 2011 graduate of Wilmington High School, is presently in the middle of a mission journey involving 11 countries in 11 months. Called the World Race, the trip is a Christian ministry of Adventures In Missions for adults ages 21 to 35 interested in spreading the gospel and serving.
Moreover, the World Race website refers to it as “a stretching journey,” suggesting the overall purpose includes impacting the participants, too.
So far, Hertlein has served a month each in Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Thailand, and in January, Myanmar — formerly Burma in Southeast Asia.
The mission activities vary, depending on the month and location, said Hertlein.
“Some months is evangelizing to non-Christians. Some months it’s helping Christians farm or even help do landscaping or cleaning hotel rooms. For instance, Myanmar has a 4 percent Christian population, but the state in which we are staying this month has a 99 percent Christian population and we’re teaching English at a local Christian school,” Hertlein said.
In a post on his blog, he elaborates the students are from grades one to eight. Hertlein comments that though he is not an English teacher, he does what he can, teaching what he knows and making the students speak English and behave, adding “that much I can do.”
Hertlein and the other World Race participants started their journey in Serbia. There they stayed in a church where their host, Zoli, was the minister. On the ground floor of the church was a small cafe, where teenagers and anyone who wanted could hang out, he posted.
The World Race missionaries ministered to the youth at the cafe, having fun while building relationships, he said.
At the church, the World Race teams painted a bathroom, cleaned, built a fire pit, and cleaned the church garage, “anything and everything that needed done as far as upkeep around the church,” posted Hertlein.
In addition, “We had a sports ministry which consisted of about two to four Racers going to a local park and playing basketball, football, baseball and soccer with the locals. Another ministry was a couple Racers going to another park and playing the guitar and just worshiping in public,” wrote Hertlein, 25.
One ministry opportunity in Serbia was that of a local boxing club, where Hertlein was involved in conditioning and working out and shadow boxing. Through the World Race missionaries being there, the boxing trainer asked Zoli to teach him English.
“All in all, Serbia was a fantastic first month. I wouldn’t trade it for the world and to have that experience in my life is priceless. I loved the city [Sombor], the culture, the people and the hosts. They became family in no time. Jesus is a multi-cultural connector and no matter where you go, if you’re with a fellow Christian, you’re with family,” he posted.
By the beginning of February, Hertlein said he will be in Lesotho (a country in southern Africa), then to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Haiti, and then finish in the Dominican Republic.
Much of the $18,000 he needed to raise for the mission trip was provided by his home church, which he described as “a little country church in Martinsville” that for weekly attendance averages 40 to 50 people.
To get updates where Hertlein is and what he is up to, you can read his blogs at davidhertlein.theworldrace.org .
It is unknown whether, after the mission journey, Hertlein will have a clear idea on a particular field of work to pursue. But it seems likely he will be better prepared for the road ahead.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.