Anderson, Indiana

AU alum commits to traveling to 11 countries in 11 months

Mon, 2014-07-14 08:42 -- univcomm
July 14, 2014

Holly Smith, a 2014 Anderson University social work graduate, is participating in the World Race, an 11 month long mission trip beginning September of this year through August 2015. She will be doing various forms of service in each of the countries she visits.

The World Race is not meant to be easy, but to draw participants out of their comfort zones. According to the World Race’s website, the race is a journey to 11 countries in 11 months to serve and partner with ministries around the world. There are different routes to choose from when signing up for the World Race. Smith chose route four, which entails traveling to Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, Turkey, Albania, Romania, and Bulgaria.

In each of the countries she will be living in, Smith will be working on different projects. Some of the projects will include teaching English, painting, building, working with kids, and working with victims of sex trafficking and HIV/AIDS.

“Building relationships is a great way to get into the community,” said Smith. “I know this is my next step and that it is what God wants me to do.”

Smith was inspired to sign up after hearing about the trip from a former AU student, Sage Wimmer. “I first heard about the mission trip when Sage went on it,” said Smith. “I just remember thinking ‘wow, this is a really cool opportunity.’”

At first, Smith planned to join the race in January 2015 so she could spend the holidays with her family, however God had a different plan for her.

“God just said ‘you need to trust me more than that,’ so I applied Christmas Day of 2013 to start in September,” said Smith. “I am still pretty scared, but God is calling me to trust him.” Despite some hesitations, Smith is looking forward to many parts of the World Race. “I am so excited to gain a new family, learn about new cultures, and form new relationships,” said Smith.

Smith has had the opportunity to get to know Jim Scott, professor of kinesiology and natatorium director, through classes and her work as a lifeguard. With his knowledge of the World Race and Smith’s capabilities, Scott believes she will be a good fit for the mission trip. “She has a servant’s heart and a heart for missions, she will be perfect for the World Race,” said Scott.

Acknowledging the University for preparing her to enter World Race, Smith credits the AU Tri-S program. During her time at AU, she participated four Tri-S trips, traveling to Washington D.C., Germany, London, and Ireland. She also had the opportunity to help lead a Tri-S trip to New York City. “I have learned how to be in community and love people,” said Smith.

AU has also prepared her through her social work major. “Social work has given me the awareness and ways in which to help someone,” said Smith. In addition to her studies and experience through AU, she has a desire to learn more. “I want to learn about new cultures.” said Smith. “I love learning about the way people live and I hope to learn a new way that the spirit can move. I would love to learn a new way to see God.”

To support Smith’s trip, through finances or prayer, please visit her blog at

— Anna Rayis is a 2014 graduate from Columbus, Ohio, majoring in communication arts. Rayis was an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.