Local woman sets out on 'challenging and rewarding' mission trip

Shelby Robinson gets ready for life experiences with World Race Mission

Pam King
Special to The Black Mountain News

Imagine putting your only child on an airplane for a trip to some of the world’s most remote and exotic locations. Your daughter would be gone for 11 months, living out of a backpack while visiting 11 different locations. That’s exactly what Chad and Tammy Robinson will do in January 2018, when their daughter Shelby begins the trip of a lifetime with World Race Mission.

Shelby, a 2013 Owen High School graduate, recently made her parents proud as she graduated from Gardner-Webb University located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. With a degree in Biblical Studies and a minor in Classical Languages, Divinity School or Seminary seemed a logical next step for Shelby.

“That may happen, but at this point in my life I wanted more than sitting in a classroom,” said Shelby.  “I wanted real life experiences working in the field.”

Shelby Robinson will visit 11 locations around the world in January, 2018 as part of the World Race Mission. Her paretns, Chad and Tammy are supportive, but apprehensive.

Shelby’s mission trip will certainly provide real life experiences. Eleven months and eleven countries will include work preaching, construction, working with refugees, and working with victims of human trafficking.  The countries Shelby will visit are Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Bosnia, Kosovo, Romania, South Africa, Lesotho and Mozambique.

“I expect it to be challenging and rewarding. I was looking to get out of my comfort zone," she said. "I am expecting the unexpected, Even if I can’t help a lot of people, I know I will gain experiences I can use my whole life.”

Preparation for the trip includes researching lightweight backpacking equipment and seasonal weather she will encounter.

“I’ll be carrying my tent and sleeping bag wherever I go, along with clothing for a variety of climates,” Shelby said.

To be ready for the trip she is studying the Bible online. She will also participate in a training camp in October for ten days in Georgia, where she and her traveling companions will be put in a variety of scenarios to learn adaptability.

“We’ll have to deal with lost luggage and sleeping in an airport, for example,” she said.

Shelby’s traveling group has a Facebook group. Members are currently getting to know each other. They blog and share their stories with each other. Ranging in age from 21 to 35, the group will switch up half way through the trip and travel with all new friends.

Preparation also includes raising the money needed to fund the trip. Shelby’s goal is $17,400, of which she currently has $1,000. Her fundraising efforts this summer and fall will include selling t-shirts, hosting a concert, a 5K race and other events. She's also sending out letters to invite sponsorship.

What does Shelby want to do after the trip?

“I have no idea yet," she said. "I may eventually go to Divinity School or Seminary. But that may change because of this trip.”

Shelby’s parents remain supportive, but just a little apprehensive. Her mother Tammy, said she's excited, but terrified.

“The organization doing these trips has been around for a while and safety is their priority," Tammy said. "I think Shelby will learn more in 11 months on this trip than she would in any other education.”

And what about stoic dad, Chad?

“Because of the current political landscape, I worry like crazy. I still want to hold on, but am learning to let go," he said. "I trust that God will take care of her.”

His advice for his daughter is “go nowhere alone and always be aware of your surroundings.”

To follow Shelby’s blog about her trip preparations and her travel experiences, visit    For information on how you can sponsor Shelby’s trip, email