The October 2019 edition of The Herald’s cover story featured Kate Rolffs. We told how she was about to embark on a nine month adventure with World Race Gap Year, where she joined 36 other young people for a missions adventure to Swaziland, Thailand, and Nicaragua. Though the COVID-19 crisis brought an end to this trip a couple of months early, it was still a life-changing event for Kate. We invited her to share just a bit about her experience. Also, look for the link at the end of this article so you can hear Kate tell more on our podcast, Stories from the 116.

By Kate Rolffs

For most people my age, a lot of time is spent thinking about what’s next in life. You’re constantly asking yourself what it is you want to do with your life, not to mention everyone else asking you. And, it’s a pretty tough decision to make.

While I was in Myanmar this past December, our ministry group was working at an international school to help teach English through Bible stories. However, there were some miscommunications, and we ended up teaching for only three days before the kids went on Christmas break. There were only a handful of people in the town who could speak English, so quite honestly, there wasn’t much we could do. Because of this crazy ministry mishap, we ended up spending a lot of time prayer-walking.

Over and over again I found myself praying for my future team.  Now, I’ve heard about how the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, and I know that is something He does for us, but this was one of the first times I recognized it. That prayer stuck out so much to me because I wasn’t sure what praying for my future team even meant. “Lord, may my future team be united in friendship.”

I sort of kept it to myself as I started to ask the Lord what He meant and what He wanted me to do with all of it. A few days later, as my team and I were walking up and down the hills of our cute little mountain town, I was processing out loud with a few friends about what the Lord was stirring up in my heart. Maybe it meant becoming an Alumni Team Leader? Maybe it was for something completely different? We came to a mutual agreement that I needed to talk with leadership and continue asking the Lord about team leading.

As I started to pursue this idea of what my future might look like after the World Race, the enemy started working too. Fears and nerves swarmed in my head. Doubt made its way into my heart and I really withdrew from the Lord.

We moved to Thailand in January and my heart hadn’t really changed. I didn’t really want to team lead, but was keeping myself just a little bit open to the possibility. I threw myself into different opportunities, including applying for another program that I was eventually accepted to. My head was crowded with different opinions, and I tried to keep my mind off of everything by working as hard as I could at ministry, and by entertaining myself with movies and exploring the markets at night. My heart posture eventually shifted towards the end of my time in Thailand, and it was abundantly clear that I was supposed to team lead in the fall.

My friends and leaders were all super supportive as we moved to Nicaragua and eventually came home early due to COVID-19. I applied for an Alumni Team Leader position a few weeks after coming home, and after all the interviews and phone calls that came with that, I was accepted! The Lord has been working in my heart and has also provided a few new, faith-filled friends that I have been able to surround myself with as I prepare for this new season.

As an Alumni Team Leader, I was supposed to leave for Costa Rica and Guatemala in September 2020, but like so many other plans this year, we have had to move to a plan B. The World Race has moved their gap year program to continue at their headquarters in Georgia, and there they are planning to keep the program similar to what it would have looked like overseas. There will be domestic mission opportunities, a bigger focus on teachings, and preparing for life in the field. My role as an Alumni Team Leader will stay the same as I lead team times, create a culture of community, and work with my new squad to dive into life with Jesus.

I will be leaving at the end of August for leadership training, and my commitment will finish in early December 2020. Even though Georgia is not Central America, I’m very excited! I love saying yes to the Lord, and yes to as many opportunities as I can. Be sure to follow my blog so that you can keep up with me and this new adventure! You can find me online at katerolffs.theworldrace.org