Experiencing 11 Countries in 11 Months While Serving the Global Community
Christian Shappee, 22, walked through the design studio at Arizona State University just months before graduation when a glimpse of his friend’s project grabbed his attention. She was designing posters for a friend who had joined the World Race. Shappee was unfamiliar with the program so she sat him down and showed him a video clip, not knowing that this small gesture would change the course of his life.
“After watching it I got chills, watery eyes and went to my desk to look at the blogs. I was so moved that it felt like the spirit of God was talking to me right then. This came to me at a time I was feeling burnt out,” says Shappee.
The World Race is a Christian mission trip where young people journey to 11 countries in 11 months to volunteer in communities worldwide and share their faith. The program calls them out of their comfort zone, gives them exposure to the world, and hopefully a new perspective of it. In January, Shappee will embark on this grand adventure and join the World Race.
“I’ll spend 25 to 30 days in each country. Over the course of the year, I’ll live on three continents, come in contact with 11 unique and different cultures, and meet and support hundreds of people around our globe,” says Shappee.
When he serves abroad he will teach English, help build homes and schools, install clean water resources, work with human trafficking victims and share the gospel.
Living the Dream
“I would love to design for developing countries, and this is an opportunity to immerse myself in a country then pick-up and go on to another. There is something super refreshing and revitalizing about stepping out in a direction you didn’t plan. This was absolutely not my plan,” says Shappee.
Shappee first learned about industrial design when he was a junior in high school. He was so passionate about it that the dream inspired him throughout four years of college, where he studied sustainability and earned degrees in both industrial design and design management. But the moment he learned about the World Race, his dream shifted in another direction.
“Moving to Los Angeles and getting my dream job seems like nothing now,” says Shappee.
Although he admits that it would still be nice, he has now set his sights globally.
“I grew up Christian and love my faith, but there were a lot of times when it was on the back burner. A lot happens in four years. There were semesters where I went to church and there were semesters where I didn’t. I was involved with some Christian organizations, but I never thought I was preparing for a life in ministry. I can totally see God intertwining both ministry and design into my future,” says Shappee.
He didn’t sign up for the World Race right away. Like a good student, he did about two or three months of research, looking into many programs and mission trips. The one thing he knew for certain was that he wanted to learn more about the world so he could continue to foster change. Soon it became apparent that no matter how many great programs he found, he kept gravitating towards the World Race.
Shappee will soon trade his life in Scottsdale and relatively new job as a graphics and marketing manager at Brilliance LED for a 75-liter backpack, a 25-liter daypack and a tent.
“Steve, Patti and Bryan Gold, my bosses, have been supporting my trip beyond my wildest dreams. There is total support on every level,” says Shappee.
After graduating last May he began looking for jobs, but had doubts that he would find something in his field because he had less than eight-months to offer a new employer. When he interviewed with Brilliance LED, he told the Gold’s that he would need to leave in January, 2016 to begin his mission trip and they were supportive.
The farthest Shappee has ever traveled outside of the country is Rocky Point, Mexico. While on the mission trip, he won’t have any income and will be completely relying on family and friends for support. He needs to raise nearly 17 thousand dollars to cover expenses such as food, lodging, travel and training.
“It’s not in my nature to ask people for help. But the whole point of a mission trip is to bring other people with you,” says Shappee. “I’m ready to dive in, stop thinking about myself, and simply love and serve other people. I’m stoked beyond belief to see what God does through my upcoming journey.”
Follow Shappee’s journey on his blog at ChristianShappee.TheWorldRace.org. Learn more about the World Race and see the video clip at WorldRace.org.