Start an Amazing Race Through Glenmary's Missions

Posted: 3/10/2013

Pat McEntee, associate vocation directorI recently watched the reality television show The Amazing Race. If you haven't seen this show, it involves two-person teams competing against one another in various challenges as they literally race around the world.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like if we had teams racing through various challenges in our Glenmary missions.The distances traveled might not be as great as those traveled in the television show and and the settings might not be nearly as exotic, but it could be fun.

Perhaps instead of participating in some local tribal dance, participants would have to play instruments at a local barn jam. Instead of eating local delicacies or exotic mystery foods, contestants would be faced with grits or tacos made from cow tongue.

Part of the draw of The Amazing Race is that the contestants often find themselves in situations where they are uncomfortable. Sometimes it is because they have to perform feats that require them to conquer (or at least suspend) their fear of heights, swimming, different types of food, and other challenges.

They also have to be able to communicate in cultures very different from their own. When the contestants speak only English, and they enter into countries where English is not the primary language, they usually miscommunicate with cab drivers and other people with whom they need to interact in order to complete the challenges.

Some challenges these people face are not drastically different from ones that individuals might encounter if they participated in a similar experience in Glenmary's mission areas. Some of our missions are located in Appalachia and I think most would agree that Appalachian culture is quite different from American mainstream culture.

Although those living in Appalachia speak English, communication between residents and visitors can be a challenge when you factor in the differing accents and cultures. There are communication challenges in other missions, too. We also have missions in the South that have large Latino populations, so being able to communicate in Spanish is absolutely necessary for our missioners serving there.

Finding the way to people's homes in the missions can also be quite challenging. Many people live in the "hollers" where navigating narrow, winding, mountainous roads is a necessity. Because poverty levels are usually double the national average in these areas, it's also a challenge to learn to live without many of the resources most folks in this country take for granted.

One thing that seems to be a constant on the show is that when contestants are eliminated from the race, they are quickly consoled as they think back on all they have seen and experienced. Almost all of them say they experience trips of a lifetime.

If you ask any Glenmarian, he will say that his life of service in the missions has been amazing—an experience of a lifetime.

Would you like to embark on this type of adventure and experience the trip of a lifetime in Glenmary's missions? We have two summer Come & See mission trips coming up. While these trips won't be races, they will be amazing both in what you see and what you experience.

We are are also scheduling meetings with discerners now. Contact us today to set up a meeting.

And if you are interested in one of our Come & See mission trips on June 14-17 or July 12-15, you can either request more information or register today.