Sarah’s Many Friends

Last week I wrote about our son Hunter and how he has been involved in ministry with us from the time he was born. Our daughter Sarah is no different. She has been engaged in one form or another helping her dad and mom however she can for a long time now.

The Mission (in Augusta, GA) was well established by the time Sarah was born and although we didn’t spend the night there anymore, there was plenty for her to see and do. She was especially interested in the homeless children who stayed there. She absolutely loved to visit and play with them and since her Granny Suzie was the director, she had plenty of opportunities.

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Sarah has helped us in our resource clinics for the homeless since we began doing them a few years ago. She really enjoys interacting with all the people. Someone caught her in a pretty intense conversation at one of those events with this little girl.

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One of the things that Sarah has always enjoyed is singing. It’s kind of different because none of the rest of us have ever sung a special number in a church service. Sarah on the other hand, has done that for years now. She has sang songs at the mission, in churches here in the US, under bridges during homeless ministry and in a couple different countries.

She even stood and sang at her great granny’s funeral service when she was only 8 years old. She sang granny Teal’s favorite song of Sarah’s.

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Her first mission trip

Sarah’s first mission trip was in 2013 when we went to Honduras. She was 9 years old. During that trip she spent a lot of time playing with the many children who lived near the house where we stayed. She also helped her Aunt Pam with VBS and lots of other fun activities.

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Sarah’s second mission trip was this year when our family moved to the Philippines and lived there for five months.  I was a little concerned with how she would deal with being away from her friends for that length of time but it was no time before she made some great new friends.

Mary Joy and Sarah became instant best friends. I think they met the very first week we were there and their friendship has bloomed ever since. They are the same age and have the same interest. Mary Joy also loves to sing.

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During our long stay in the Philippines Sarah worked very hard. She became a very important part of the weekly ministry in many different areas. As a matter of fact, she worked in children’s church each and every Sunday along with April, Hunter and her Cousin Lynnsey.

During children’s church Sarah would lead songs, help the kids color and just about anything else that was needed. She was a real blessing.

She also worked in the Meal centers every Saturday. Every single Saturday she worked at the Tulay and dumpsite meal centers. Can you imagine that? An 11 year old girl from the US going to a dumpsite every week and playing and singing songs with the children who call that home? She did an outstanding job!

Sarah learned more of the language than any of us so singing the songs was a breeze for her. She also taught the Bible lesson to the children one time and did a great job of that.

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Sarah was with us the morning that we found an eight year old little boy with a badly injured foot on the sidewalk. She saw the entire thing and it was a real eye opener for her. (If you missed that story, you can read it here). This boy wound up coming to live with us for several days while his foot was healing. Sarah gave up her bed and air conditioned room so that he would have a good place to sleep.

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Just like her big brother Hunter, Sarah was excited when the GPA medical mission team came. She participated every day and absolutely loved it. She helped in many areas and was a real blessing.

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She went on the early morning visits with us many times and got to experience the plight of young people who for various reasons live on the streets much of the time.

One of those young people is a 9 year old boy named Leonard. We met Leonard not long after we arrived in the Philippines. He and four others were the very first children we met on the streets and they changed our hearts forever.

For some reason, Sarah has a special place in her heart for Leonard. Leonard is a very troubled little boy who runs away to the streets pretty often. On one of those occasions, we found him out on the streets and Sarah was broken hearted over the entire situation. She talked to him and tried her best to encourage him and help him.

After we got back in the van she wept over him. I just held her and let her cry. I knew what she was experiencing, it’s not easy when God breaks your heart for someone who needs help so desperately.

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Not long after that, Leonard and his family came to church one evening but Leonard was extremely sick. Sarah took care of him the entire time.

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I’m extremely proud of Sarah and her willingness to go with her family and learn new things in new places. She longs for the day that we return to the Philippines. I guess her and Mary Joy will have a lot of catching up to do and she’ll be looking for Leonard also.