Carl's Open Road

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    10K Miles From Home


    Portland, OR


    Indie: Team 10k Miles from Home (US)


World Outside My Shoes

“There's so many things that we can do in our lives and we miss so much of it because we're afraid to trust, we're afraid to take risks.”


Non-Profit Organizations


Community Culture Dedication Fear Risk


Helping People


building schools, chaos, freedom, genocide, helping others, loyalty, mission trip, people, Rwanda, South Africa, trust, volunteering, war


Carl Wilkens was the only American to stay in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide between two ethnic groups in the country. Putting his life at risk, Carl stayed behind to hand out food, water, and other supplies to those in need. Carl's love for the country came during his college years when he went on a student volunteer program to Africa. Six years later, he returned with his wife and three kids as director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, a nonprofit that helps those in need in developing countries. By the time the genocide hit, Carl had been living in Rwanda for 10 years. Carl took his wife and kids to the U.S. ambassador's house for safety, but stayed behind in their home to help others who had nowhere to go. Little did Carl know he would not be able to leave his house for three weeks due to the chaos and terror that was exploding outside his door. He was terrified, but he says he told God if he died, he would trust him. "That's when I felt freed from fear," he says. In 2008, Carl started World Outside My Shoes, a nonprofit dedicated to sharing his experiences during the genocide.

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