Slayton native takes on 'World Race': CRA performance Friday will raise money for mission trip
SLAYTON -- Eleven countries in 11 months.
From the Philippines to India to Cambodia to Uganda and other foreign lands, Slayton native Chris Garcia is planning to make a difference.
He leaves Saturday for Atlanta, Ga., where he will attend a 9-day training session to prepare for the September 2010 leg of the World Race, a ministry of Adventures in Missions.
"Being involved with the church when I was a kid really pushed me to get to know Christ," Garcia said. "I wanted to push my faith even further."
He had always thought about doing a mission trip, and a week-long experience in Tijuana over spring break cemented that idea.
"We spent a week talking with the natives, and spent the last half of the week at an orphanage," he said. "It was an awesome experience and pushed me to dig deeper into a longer mission trip."
Garcia, a 2007 graduate of Murray County Central (MCC), is currently a student at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D., where he is working toward a degree in early childhood education. Attending the World Race will push his studies back a year, but he believes it will also make a huge difference in his future career.
"I really would like to work overseas -- either continue doing more mission work or teaching overseas in Africa or Asia," he explained.
In order to fund the mission trip, Garcia needs to raise $15,000. He is having a tip night at the Pizza Ranch in Pipestone on Aug. 11, and this Friday night his rock band, Curb-Runners Anonymous, will play a concert at the pool in Slayton, Slaytona Beach.
Curb-Runners Anonymous, also known as CRA, is made up of former MCC students.
"We formed four or five years ago while we were still in school," Garcia said. "We get together now and then to play."
CRA has played Slaytona Beach before and has been a crowd-pleaser.
"We start at 7 p.m., and the people can swim, hang out, sit and watch us or do whatever," Garcia explained. "For a fundraiser for my trip, we will have a free-will offering."
CRA members include Alex Carney, Scott Veenhuis, Tyler Wasberg and Jeremy "Waffles" Christoffels. Opening for CRA Friday is another local band, Parade of Heroes.
Garcia is still looking for other fundraising ideas and has been making the rounds to visit area churches and talk to congregations about his upcoming mission trip.
He speaks about the kinds of things he expects do -- teaching English, helping to build structures, repair siding and roofs, visiting orphanages, handing out food and water and spreading the Gospel.
"My dream has always been to go to Africa," Garcia stated. "We will go to Kenya and Botswana."
When he worked at Shetek Lutheran Ministries, Garcia met a counselor who had done a mission trip in Africa and became fascinated with her stories.
"Then we had foreign exchange counselors come from Africa," he said. "They talked about their culture and what things were like. It just appealed to me."
According to the World Race website, participants are accepted through an application process, and the funds raised for the trip cover team costs, food lodging, travel, coaching costs and training.
To learn more about Garcia's trip or to donate to his fundraising efforts, go to his blog site at http://chrisgarcia.theworldrace.org/ and click on the "support me" tab.