- Associated Press - Saturday, August 15, 2015

ANGOLA, Ind. (AP) - After four years teaching in Morocco, an Angola native will embark on an 11-month world excursion.

Lindsay Bienz, a 2007 Angola High School graduate who received her elementary education degree from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, joins the World Race in September. She is in the process of raising more than $16,000 for the opportunity to help needy people in 11 countries over the course of a year.

The World Race is a Christian mission that rotates squads of people through other countries to assist with basic infrastructure and human care. The first groups launched from Mexico in January 2006. The goal is to serve “the least of these” in 11 countries in 11 months, interacting with “real and raw community,” says the website at theworldrace.org.

Bienz’ group will start in Uganda, arriving Sept. 10.

“I got with a great team of girls,” said Bienz, who was elected the group’s leader during a training camp. The six girls are part of a 47-person squad that will circulate through the same countries during the same time period, though they may not all work in the same locations. After Uganda, they will travel to Rwanda, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia and end in Guatemala, the Honduras and Nicaragua.

Bienz has a passion for the exotic. During her junior year of college, she helped build a school in Guatemala.

“I wanted to stay in Guatemala,” she said. “The people had so little . but they were just some of the happiest people I’d ever met.”

After graduating she had interviews in the Honduras, Nicaragua and Morocco. She took a job teaching English in Casablanca, walking a half hour every day to work in sometimes very hot conditions. Casablanca is a modernized Muslim city and had an international feel, said Bienz. While she couldn’t speak the language, she learned to enunciate slowly and gesture to get her points across.

“They pick it up really fast when they are in second grade,” said Bienz. “There are a lot of funny stories.”

During her four years in Morocco, Bienz earned a master’s degree in teaching English as a second language

“I could apply so much of what I was learning to what I’m teaching,” said Bienz. She taught second graders for two years, and then fifth graders for a couple of years.

While expanding her multinational teaching skills, Bienz continued to scout opportunities.

“Missions always sort of appealed to me,” she said. She has friends who participated in the World Race, and when the school she was working at went through some changes, she decided to apply. She made her application in October and found out earlier this year she had been accepted.

Prior to embarking on her long journey, she’s been spending time in Angola and with her parents, Mark and Jean Bienz of Crooked Lake.

“They’ve always been really supportive,” she said. “I’m just sort of seeing where God leads me at this point.”


Source: Angola Herald-Republican, https://bit.ly/1f8snYf


Information from: Herald Republican, https://www.heraldrepublicanonline.com/

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