Raquel Bagnal is back from a mission trip around the world which for her was just as inspiring as it was for the ones she was helping.

Bagnal completed the World Race which took her to 11 countries in 11 months and she shared her story with her congregation at Aiken Church of Christ Sunday morning.

The 24-year-old traveled to the Philippines, China, South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras. She left in September and returned a few weeks ago.

Her church, which supported her spiritually and helped her raise funds for the trip, applauded her work. The Missions Ministry Leader Tom Osbourne said that they are very proud of Bagnal.

“We, as the Aiken Church of Christ, are so happy that Raquel is home safely,” Osbourne said. “We are so happy to be part of helping her go on this mission trip and touch so many people around the world for God.”

Bagnal showed her fellow church members a video with pictures of the trip in which each one she had a huge smile on her face. Those photographs showed the scope of her work from playing soccer with children to working in gardens.

Bagnal also spoke of her team members – a group of people she traveled and worked with all these months. She said they quickly went from just acquaintances to good friends.

To Bagnal, what impacted her the most was the sense of community she felt during those 11 months with her team and with those she met in each country.

Bagnal said her favorite country to visit was the Philippines – she is originally from there and hadn’t been back for more than a decade.

“I definitely felt like I made a connection with the community there because they reintroduced me to what the Philippines was all about,” Bagnal said. “That place is poor, but the people there are so happy.”

Humility was something that team members experienced as well, Bagnal said, as many of the people they were helping lived with so little but gave so much. From those individuals, Bagnal learned how to see the joy in any situation.

Bagnal said that she’s slowly adjusting to being back home and the trip has made her think of doing more mission work in the future.

Her advice to those thinking of taking a mission trip such as this is to leave all expectations behind, to be ready for a journey that will help one become a better person and to take joy in sharing God’s love, she said.

The World Race is a global mission trip organized by Adventures in Missions headquartered in Gainesville, Ga.

For more information, visit www.theworldrace.org and to read more about Bagnal’s trip, visit www.raquelbagnal.theworldrace.org.