Category Archives: Elizabeth Adcock '08

Elizabeth Adcock ‘08: The World Race Part 2

During the first month of The World Race my team and I partnered with a ministry called The Philippine Christian Foundation in the dumps of Manila. Imagine a large dump where 90% of the trash in the Philippines goes. Five thousand people live there because collecting trash and plastic is their best shot at an income and survival. We worked in a school right in the middle of the dump, started by a woman from the UK named Jane Walker.
Elizabeth Adcock '08, photo 3
We didn’t know what to expect going in. Without being there, there is no way to help you understand the overwhelming smell that greets you as you enter, the mud and grime that everyone wades around in, or the smoke that makes it hard to breathe. There is no way to describe the harsh realities they face, that when you look into their small homes there is literally NOTHING there, that disease and infection and starvation are more rampant than my small mind can comprehend. But there is also no way to describe the thing I least expected to find there – and that is their JOY.

Elizabeth Adcock '08, photo 5Oh, how I loved the people that I found there. They loved me and challenged me in so many ways. Their lives and outlook defied so much of what I was taught in America. Wealth does not bring happiness. Knowledge and understanding are helpful, but they do not always make people better persons. One can literally not know where their food is coming from the next day, and yet give you everything they have…because they want to.

One of my favorite people I met there was a man named Pastor Nell. He had a deep wisdom and faith that shook up my idea of what faith even is. He was constantly asking how we were and trying to make us feel at home, and in his impoverished state was freely giving his time to teach the technological skills he had to teenagers in the school. On top of that, he had adopted a baby girl when he wasn’t even sure how he was going to feed his own family. In America we might call him foolish, but somehow by God’s grace he had everything he needed each day.

Elizabeth Adcock '08, photo 6My team and I spent time making relationships with the children and helping build a library in the school with all of the books that had been donated to the school over the years. It was mundane and dirty work – imagine moldy, wet books and boxes of books that hadn’t been touched in years – we never knew what kind of critters we would find! But it was all worth it. Now the children can use the books, and I hope each of them will be able to read them too.

Currently The Philippine Christian Foundation is trying to end child labor in the dump by providing schooling for the children. They are building classrooms out of recycled shipping vans to create enough space to do this. If you would like to give towards their efforts or learn more you can visit their website: http://pcf.ph.

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Elizabeth Adcock ’08: The World Race

Liz Adcock '08, photo 1For the past year I have lived out of a backpack, and I kind of miss it. I don’t miss living out of a backpack per se, but I miss the lifestyle that came along with the pack. After I graduated from Elon in May of 2008, I participated in a program called “The World Race.” In September 2008 I jumped into a group of fifty strangers, was put on a team of seven (we joked we had been put in an arranged marriage to six other people) and traveled around the world doing mission work. We would stay in each country for about a month, and then move on.

You may be wondering what would motivate me to do such a thing, and when it comes down to it…I’m not sure. But I do know that in the past year I learned more about who I am (the good and the ugly), really began to see who God is, and felt just an inkling of the love He has for people all over the world. With all of the hurt and suffering I came face-to-face with, I wouldn’t have survived without knowing who He is.
Elizabeth Adcock '08, photo 3
Nothing was predictable. We changed culture, climate, language, currency, schedule, and activities every month. We traveled on planes, crowded overnight sleeper trains, buses (on bumpy dirt roads without AC for DAYS!), taxis, rickshaws, by foot…you name it, we probably did it. I made friends with the poor living in trash in the Philippines, those who lost loved ones in the devastating earthquake in China, and street children and survivors of the violent 2007 Kenyan election.

We befriended those with great needs living by daily faith in Uganda and Tanzania, rescued sex-slaves and prostitutes in India, those who had grown up knowing nothing but oppression in Ukraine, and the Roma (“gypsy”) people who are ostracized from the rest of society in Romania. We made friends with those better off financially but losing themselves spiritually in Slovakia, orphans and others in need in Guatemala, and Nicaraguan refugees in Costa Rica.

Liz Adcock '08, photo 2There are still times when these faces and their heartaches haunt me. I stumble upon something in a magazine or online, or just look around a single small room and remember how in most places of the world whole families would live in that space. I realize how blessed I am materially, and yet also realize there is so much I have to learn from those I met. They taught me so much about faith, giving without restraint, servanthood and humility. I want to be like them.

Although I don’t know where or what exactly my role will be, I’ve realized there is nothing else I want to do with my life. If you want to hear more about my experiences you can visit the blog I kept throughout the year: http://elizabethadcock.theworldrace.org, and read my next two alumni blogs where I will share about specific places and ministries.