ROCK ISLAND -- His cards and car are on the table.
Greg Patton, 21, a senior at Augustana College in Rock Island, already has checked the Blue Book value of his 2002 Toyota Camry in case he has to sell it to raise money for an 11-month "World Race" mission trip.
"As a college student, my car is the most valuable possession I have," Mr. Patton said. Yet, he will sell it if he still needs money for the trip.
"That's how serious I want people to know I am about doing this," he said. "My car is on the table, because I know I'm supposed to do this trip, and I have the next nine months to make it happen."
Mr. Patton needs $15,000, and has raised $2,650 so far.
The "World Race" is sponsored by Adventures in Mission, a Georgia-based interdenominational organization. For information, visit www.worldrace.org or www.gregpatton.theworldrace.org.
Donations can be sent to Adventures in Missions, P.O. Box 534470, Atlanta, Ga., 30353-4470, or Mr. Patton's account at http://www.adventures.org/give/donate.asp?giveto=worldrace. Mailed checks must specify: "Purpose: World Race-Greg Patton."
Mr. Patton plans to visit Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, India, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland with a team of other World Racers next September.
He chose those countries because his grandmother, Dizzeren Patton, of Decatur, originally hailed from Honduras. "So I felt called to visit the Central America field," he said.
A six-week mission trip to Brazil last winter confirmed his feelings that he has been called into the mission field, he said.
Mr. Patton will graduate in May from Augustana College with a major in political science and accounting, but has wondered if he has chosen his final occupation. "And I didn't feel particularly called to attend graduate school or find a job right away," he said.
What he wants is to pursue ways to develop into a better Christian,and to ''see how I'm going to use my spiritual gifts, and see if I'm making a difference or not," Mr. Patton said. "I want to see what I really value ... and to immerse myself into other cultures."
He'll be more than a "simple tourist," however. "I will be living and working in these countries, and hope to leave people I meet with an overwhelming feeling of good will," he said.
"On the World Race, my team and I will serve with churches and ministries in local communities to preach the Gospel, plant churches, work in orphanages, minister to women and children who are trapped in prostitution as a result of human trafficking and bring the restoration and hope of the Father's love to many tribes and nations," Mr. Patton said.
He learned about the World Race from Amy Dillman, who attended his Bloomington High School, but graduated before he did and went on a World Race trip in September.
"I knew she had gone through a spiritual transformation in high school, and thought if the spiritual nature of this trip met with her approval, it must be worth pursuing," he said.
Besides his trip to Brazil, Mr. Patton went on earlier mission trips to Yellowstone and downtown Chicago, and said all helped prepare him for this one.
College friends and associates have lent a big hand, Mr. Patton said. Young Life leader Nancy Mappin arranged a $1,000 donation, and friend Alyssa Zwicker raised $750 for him through her church.
While at Augustana College, Mr. Patton has been on the track and field team, and belonged to Young Life, a group he said is like Big Brothers Big Sisters. As a member of Young Life, Mr. Patton said he's mentored a few juniors attending Pleasant Valley High School.
Mr. Patton also gave a "shout out," to Calvary Church of the Quad-Cities, for helping him identify his spirituality.
He credits his spirituality and athletic experience ''for teaching me resiliency and perseverance, and showing me how to handle the highs and the lows," lessons he knows will come in useful as he races around the world.
Address: Senior at Augustana College, Rock Island Birth date: 2/14/1991 Experience: Young Life leader for three years at Augustana College Education: Bloomington, Ill., high school graduate Home town: Bloomington, Ill. Family: father and stepmother, Greg and Eunice Patton One thing I feel strongly about: "Everyone has a potential connection to God's capacity to find spiritual gifts.'' I wish I knew how to: "play the guitar." Favorite Scriptures: Romans 8; Lamentations 3