“I’m probably so unequipped for this- but I’m doing it,” senior nursing major, Brittney Schlatter, said as she adjusted and readjusted the grip on her water cup while sitting at the corner table of the campus coffee shop, Barefoots Joe.
She talks with her hands; almost as a way of attempting to convey her emotions to the person she is speaking to. Every question I ask is met with a thoughtful pause before she divulges the responses she’s no doubt repeated a hundred times since sharing about her acceptance onto the World Race team. Ever since then, it’s been a process of figuring out what she needs to do to prepare herself for what will likely be the most intense eleven months of her life.
Schlatter defines the World Race in this way:
“A life-changing adventure around the world to serve in partnership with churches and ministries in local communities to preach the Gospel, plant churches, work in orphanages, minister to women and children trapped in prostitution as a result of human trafficking, and bring the restorative hope of the Father’s love to many tribes and nations.”
In short, teams of missionaries or, ‘World Racers’, travel to eleven different countries in eleven months. When I asked what Schlatter she was the most nervous about in regards to the trip she laughed and replied, “I don’t know how to pack! How do you pack for a year in two backpacks?”
A 2015 graduate from Union, Katy Wade, got Schlatter interested in the World Race when she began posting on social media about her personal experiences on the trip. Every individual on the World Race team must have a blog and update it weekly once they begin their eleven-month journey. When deciding if she should apply, Schlatter read as many blogs as she could find from previous Racers. She loved reading about the simultaneously beautiful and hard things the Lord called the authors to do.
“I got this verse on my ankles freshman year because when I [first] read that verse, in chapel or something, it kind of just kept coming up,” Schlatter smiled and said when I asked her what verses have encouraged her through the doubting stages of this process. “It symbolized being in a place in my heart where I was ready for anything and ready to do whatever God sent me to do.”
The tattoo is a variation of Isaiah 6:8 and is tattooed on the back of her ankles simply stating, “Send me.” The second passage that Schlatter referred to was Psalms 46:10 and the words “be still and know” are inked on the inside of her left bicep in classic script.
Schlatter has plenty of support on the Union campus.
“I think [she] is adaptable and adventurous and those two things make her well equipped,” junior communications major Janelle Vest said.
In preparation, Schlatter is required to raise $18,000. She is working mainly from donations, but is a talented artist and has decided to sell some watercolor paintings to raise money on top of that, which is admirable considering her workload with nursing classes and her job as a barista at both Modero and Barefoots Joe.
The World Race is not for the faint of heart. Previous racers have emphasized the uncomfortable situations they found themselves in whether it be physical, mental, emotional or all of the above.
“If you’re feeling called, it’s for a reason,” Schlatter said. “This is not something everyone can do.”
Schlatter’s story is one of surrender and courage. She has no idea what she’ll experience on the World Race or who she will meet, but that’s the best part: the adventure, the unknown and the knowledge that it’s all being done for the glory of God.
You can donate here: brittneyschlatter.theworldrace.org