Tuesday, September 23, 2008


So forget that last post. It doesn't matter what I do, my mind is completely caught up in Africa. I've tried so hard to focus on my studies, on my dorm pastor job, on making new friends, on ANYTHING!!! But my thoughts are consumed with Africa, the people in Bere, and mostly - Darfur. The fact that thousands are being killed while I'm listening to lectures is driving me crazy. I've done everything I can think of to be a part of what's happening over there, without actually dropping everything that I'm doing to focus on it. But calling representatives and senators feels like a lost cause. Telling the people around me has been frustrating as they don't care. I've been careful to conceal the battle going on inside me as I do the expected duties as a student, but I'm afraid of breaking apart soon.

This evening I felt so tormented by it, that I was pacing back and forth in my room,
not knowing what was happening to me or why I am so obsessed with this. My mind is a multitude of thoughts and pictures that keep reeling around and around and multiplying. If I sit around another week just going along with my little American life, I'm going to go insane! Why am I feeling so much anguish God? Are you trying to tell me something? Should I forget society's expectations and go follow my heart and get involved? Or is this just another phase I need to work through and get over? I am so confused! I cry almost every night now for people that I don't even know. Why? It takes me hours to fall asleep at night because of my thoughts. Why?

Why can't people ever see our world as just that - one whole world, one group of people. Everything is broken up and divided into our countries, jealous for our own prestige and success, only reaching out to others when it helps us. We are all humans! One people created by God. When will the horror over there stop?

I've tried to ask for advice from the people I usually do, and explain the anguish I feel, but this time it seems no one has understood. I get told to focus on the ministry around me, and I've tried! I get the feeling from others that they think I'm just in a transition phase still from last year...and maybe I am. One person I talked to and poured out all my feelings and frustrations and horror on the terror going on over in Darfur. After I finished, I heard a pause, and then they asked, "How is the weather over there in Nebraska right now?" I couldn't believe it! Did everything I just say just pass through deaf ears? Am I just a maniac with crazy thoughts that no one else thinks? Tonight as the tears came again, I searched my phone for someone to call who I could talk to about it, but finally gave up. So I'm writing in this blog again to at least maybe give me enough release from my thoughts so that I can sleep.

I could just go on with my life and ignore everything, or make a rash decision and quit school to be a part of something, but I'm not satisfied with either action until I feel God with me in it. So I guess I will just keep searching and asking God for answers.


  1. Sarah,

    Don't give up. God will answer, will give you peace. Remember all the times we would talk and you would wonder what the point was? Not about your life but about the way you were living your life? God did answer that and sent you to Africa. There is even more planned for you by God. I pray for you. I will keep praying for you. Mostly that there will be peace even if there is no answer right now.
    I miss you lots, Love Lynda H.

  2. Dear Sarah,
    I've been one of those silent readers of your posts over the last year and have been touched by them in many ways. I read the one just before this one and wanted to comment as many things you mentioned resounded with me but we were heading out of the house for a three hour drive to meet up with a volunteer group and everyone was waiting...

    Tonight we returned after three days away, three awesome days in many respects. We joined up with a volunteer Maranatha group to Moz in their actual work, something we rarely get an opportunity to do. I was out in the wildly windy, sandy, dry, and sunny elements, helping with the clinic. As they hadn't planned on my presence, I was elected to take blood pressures feeding patients back to the three other medical personnel doing consults, meds, etc. Though it was a lot of repetition and not terribly exciting, I practiced my wavering languages skills, being rewarded with the opportunity to warmly welcome people, to greet them and help the team as a whole bless many. This opportunity of the last few days is awesome to me because though I am a 'missionary' in an African country, I am usually at home doing what on some days I feel is rather mundane - cooking, cleaning, homeschooling my girls, writing letters or stories about what others are doing, taking care of little insignificant items brought to my door - nothing earthshaking or impacting many. Yet, when I stop and share my feelings with God He reminds me that I am where He wants me just now, using skills He's shared with me (maybe not the ones I had in mind, but talents He's presented to me). The opportunity of the last several days was a uniquely special gift He gave me in a dry season of everyday doldrums. He's so awesome that way, blessing us with special moments, weeks, months that open our every sense to feeling a part of His work beyond imagining! I squeezed weathered hands, nails scarred,torn and dirty from horribly hard days of labor, smiled at young and old who daily live with more challenges than I want to imagine and tickled tiny toes of little ones with no inkling of the cares their mothers daily bear just to survive for one more day. There's something about being on the front lines that is joy beyond compare despite any hardships of our own, something about feeling that though you are only one, you are making a difference for one, one that so much of the world doesn't see or care one whit about - it's maddening and humbling and touches every bit of our sensitive souls.

    I don't know what God has in mind for you. I'm thankful that you have a close relationship with Him, that you go to Him for answers. He will answer, I know. I'm praying for you. I grew up spending 13 out of the first 14 years of my life overseas in Asia. When I landed in a US boarding academy after that I had the worst reverse culture shock! I began to wonder if I even knew how to speak English or could relate to people I supposedly was a part of... I don't know exactly what you're feeling. I haven't walked in your shoes. But I do know what it's like to be in the position where no one seems to understand all that fills your heart and mind about experiences God's walked you through, people and places who are so important and so many don't care about any of it. A lot of times they can't even comprehend, especially if they've never been out of the U.S., let alone experienced the things you have. I don't think they mean to be so uncaring but the Western world is so all consuming about things that others can't even dream of or dare to hope for. Survival from day to day or meal to meal is not something most of your friends can probably fathom. You have received a special treasure from God from your experience last year. You see His dear children in a new light, clearer than ever. And God has more wonderful things in store for you, I'm confident of that. Don't despair, don't give up! As Lynda mentioned, I'll also be praying He brings peace to your heart, as you continue to seek Him and serve Him wherever you are, and wherever He places you. You can bless those at Union in incredible ways, aiding them in seeing through your eyes a clearer picture of the rest of the world. Seeing people as God's sees them will help you wherever you are in whatever you're doing. And He'll lead you to a way you can touch lives in places you care dearly about too. Have an awesome day! Prayers & hugs,
    Susan Woods (Justin's mom)

  3. Oh Sarah! I feel your anguish! Sometimes this world is too much! I've spent nights aching for people in other countries, wondering what good I'm doing sitting in a nice home in the US and to frankly not much! I spent a few months at an orphanage in Romania several years ago, when I came home I cried and cried, I cried in my sleep, I dreamed about my babies there and wondered who could love them like I did - then the answer came - Jesus, He loved me just like I loved them, even more. What a wonderful love He gives us to share!
    I don't know the answer for you, I just wanted to extend a listening ear and let you know I empathize! My heart aches for the people in Darfur as well!
    Jeremy and I are busy dreaming up a new plan, we want to spend a year or so in Africa in about a year and a half - keep us in your prayers as we pursue this future - we'll be sure to keep you in ours! And if you need a listening ear to bend - well mine's here!
    Much love!
    Amy Sexton

  4. Sarah,
    We love you and you can always call to talk, text your mom for my number. We miss you. Mike and I still plan to go to the mission field, but have chosen to raise our family first, I waited and finished my training and mike went without training, I think school is important just to give you more skills you can use there. We will be praying for you that God's plan for you will make more sense and be clear. Love Aunt Tami

  5. Hi Sarah,

    Obviously you are a woman of compassion. I saw that when you made the presentation at our church. I love that you are doing the Disaster Relief program at union, Jennifer knows the people that started that, and of course emergency services/disaster relief was a part of my life for so long, I can never let it go. I'm excited that you're in that program.

    To me, as an outsider, it is easy to see how God is preparing your for some mighty work. Don't take shortcuts or take matters into your own hands.

    Moses had the call to resuce the Israellites from Egypt, but he jumped the gun and began to do things in is own timing and his own strength. Can you relate?

    If Moses had waited for God, which is so hard to do, maybe he wouldn't have had to spend 40 years in the wilderness. In the end, as he learned to trust God, God used him to save Israel, with no bloodshed (so to speak).

    What could God do through you, if you waited for Him? How much prep do you need to make a real impact on the issues that have surrounded this world for millenia? Do they need social, emotional, physical, or spiritual help? If really smart people, with lots of money, haven't been able to solve those issues, how will you solve them.

    One story that really touched me when the Federal Building was blown up in Oklahoma City, was about a nurse. She was the only casualty outside of the initial blast victims. She was also the first one to arrive at the scene after the blast.

    Apparently, though she wasn't trained, and had no clue as to how she would make an impact, she rushed into the building in an effort to help. A brick fell on her head and killed her.

    As emergency responders, we are trained to assess the situation and protect ourselves first. If we get hurt, wounded, (taken hostage), or killed, not only are we no good to anyone else, but we take resources from the intial victims of the disaster. (It takes at least two rescuers to attend to a rescuer casualty)

    I have been an impatient person my entire life. I have often sought unhealthy ways to attend to my impatience and desire to help (some of the methods you write about sound very familiar). But there is something I've been applying to my life over the past decade that has helped - but it has only been recently that it is beginning to really make a difference.

    Have you heard of the Serenity Prayer?

    "Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."

    Check this out: http://daddytude.com/2008/06/30/not-now-not-yet-not-ever/

    Sarah, we will continue to keep you in our prayers. I totally understand what you're talking about. I wish I had simple solutions, but I believe God is putting you through some struggles to prepare you for the future. He will not allow you to be tempted/tried too much - He is there. He hasn't forgotten about you and will support you during this time.

    I believe that God is in control. He knows about these struggles around the world. It is sad that so many don't care. He knows about the struggles of your heart too. He will not abandon you, or the people suffering.

    However, I believe he is more interested in your character, than in your short-term suffering.

    PS: We are coming to Linkon for Alumni Weekend. We would like to take you out to dinner (or breakfast/lunch - whatever works). Save some time for us - we'll be there for 10 days!


  6. Sarah,
    I've never met you... But I spent some time in Chad almost two years ago, and I've really enjoyed reading your blog for the past year or so... I wish I could say something to make things better right now. But all I can say is that I'm praying for you. I struggle everyday with being in school when my heart it somewhere else, and I still don't have the answer.- But I know God will give His individual answer to each and every one of us.
    Thanks for having a heart for His people. You've blessed and inspired me so much.

  7. I don't have any answers for you. I can relate though. Once you have experienced another country, another place, you are forever changed. I think God wants it that way. Otherwise, you wouldn't be as passionate and committed to the cause. God WILL guide you. He has a plan, and He is still in control of this spinning world. I'm hurting just reading your words because your heart will never be the same. You have been changed for the good. Forever.

  8. You say you hide it within - and it's true. While it's easy to see your passion for ministry, I wouldn't have guessed the churning. I go up and down on the same questions - how much school, how long... I won't get myself started tonight - it's long past bedtime, and the computer reinstall I was waiting for has hit a pothole, so there's no more excuse.