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Faith: Women set off on mission to 11 countries in 11 months
By Roger Greene
Chrissy Robertson says she has never been all that spontaneous. Jamie Floyd says she was born with an adventurous spirit.
Personality traits aside, the duo – both graduates of Waccamaw High – are bound by a desire to serve a higher calling and to aid those in need. The next 11 months will provide ample time to do both, as the 23-year old Robertson and Floyd, 31, will participate in World Race, a mission trip that will take them to 11 countries before its conclusion.
“I grew up in Pawleys Island and went to college in Columbia,” said Robertson, a 2010 graduate of the University of South Carolina. “I’ve only really lived in South Carolina and never traveled overseas. Being spontaneous is out of character for me. But my belief that being on this mission is exactly what I need to be doing is covering any fears and doubts I have.”
“I’ve been on four missions before and the last one I was a part of, during April in Mozambique, completely changed my life,” said Floyd, a stylist at Allure Salon in Myrtle Beach. “I’ve always had a compassion for people who are less fortunate, especially children. I believe mission work is my true calling.”
Started in 2006, the World Race challenges young adults to abandon worldly possessions and a traditional lifestyle in exchange for serving the greater good. There are 53 participants in all, and during the trip they are equipped with only a backpack, carrying just necessities like clothes and basic supplies. That Robertson and Floyd were called to the challenge for somewhat different reasons, and in somewhat different stages of life, is irrelevant when compared with their shared vision of serving others.
“After I graduated, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next,” said Robertson, who goes to Pawleys Island Presbyterian Church. “I talked with my roommate who has been on a mission trip before, and when I started researching, one of the first trips I looked into was the World Race. It took about a year for me to decide that I wanted to do it. I’ve had a couple of part-time jobs, but I feel like this is what I’m being called to.”
“When I came back from Africa, I felt lost,” said Floyd, who assists with her father’s private ministry. “I knew I wanted to do more mission work, but wasn’t sure how that could happen. Not long after that I was talking with a friend and the World Race came up. I knew then it was what I was supposed to do.”
Robertson and Floyd will start their journey on Oct. 7, departing Los Angeles for the World Race’s first stop in Guatemala. They will then visit Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi before their trip concludes in Asia, at a location that has yet to be determined.
Though both are Waccamaw High alums, Floyd graduated in 1998 and Robertson is a member of the class of 2006, so their paths never crossed prior to an eight-day training camp during July in Tennessee. Both agree they bonded quickly, not only with each other, but other team members as well.
“I went in sort of hesitant, not knowing what to expect,” Robertson said. “But it is such a great group of people. I didn’t know any of them before. Now, I probably get a call, an e-mail or a text from someone in the group every day.”
“In a group of 50 some strangers, I didn’t expect to meet anyone who had gone to Waccamaw,” Floyd said. “The amount of unity was unreal, right from the beginning. I guess that is due to our having a common goal.”
The cost for the World Race is roughly $15,000 per person, with participants responsible for their own fundrasing. Half of the money is due before departing on Oct. 7, and the remainder by April.
“When you first look at it, you ask yourself how you are going to get $15,000,” Floyd said. “But one of the most amazing parts of the process for me has being seeing how generous people are. I’m probably just a couple of thousand short of the entire amount. The amount of support I have received has been wonderful.”
“I’m over halfway there,” Robertson said. “You run into people who wonder what you are thinking when you tell them about the trip. But most of the people I’ve talked to have been excited for me. Many of them wish they could be doing something like this.”
Having been on missions before, Floyd’s advice for first-timers like Robertson is simple.
“I tell them to have fun,” she says. “There is nothing I can say and there is no picture I can show them that will prepare them for some things. It’s just an experience that they need to have.”
And, just as the mission to Africa changed Floyd’s life, Robertson believes the World Race will alter her own.
“I’m definitely going to find things out about myself,” Robertson said. “But more than that, this is about building relationships with those we encounter and showing them there are people who care.”