Sarah did two occupational therapy internships at an orphanage in China. She was working with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as a sophomore when she learned of the internship opportunity. Sarah’s first summer included an orientation week in Upstate New York where she met the other teams heading to Kenya and Uganda. But Sarah would travel alone to China where she worked with one of our colleagues who ran an orphanage. Sarah’s mom called us concerned about her “miracle child.”
Sarah had a disability and it took a lot of faith for her to choose to go; it took equal faith for her mom and dad to release her to go too. Part of the reason Sarah studied OT was because she had a therapist who helped her through her own disability. She learned a lot that summer, mostly that God would help her and she could do it. Her heart broke for the people of Asia, especially how they typically do not help disabled people to go back to work and thrive. That faith and courage led her to go a second summer, this time with an orientation in Korea where she met teams of students going to Mongolia and India.
Three teams went to China; including her small team of two occupational therapy interns, another cultural studies team to Beijing, a team of friends from various churches who traveled with my family, including my wife and our two young boys. We met Sarah again after a few weeks in Beijing. We took a 54-hour train ride to a southern city in China where our team did some light construction and plumbing. However, our primary task was to hold babies. My family traveled there together to pray about adoption. God led us to adopt a little girl who came home with us the following summer.
Sarah tells of her experience holding and helping babies and how she thought she might adopt one day too. She didn’t consider opening an orphanage because she believes the best for children is a family. Little did she know that God had that very plan for her.
I invited Sarah to join us at a YWAM conference I was helping to lead in Colorado Springs the following year. But Sarah got hurt again. She fell off a horse hurt her leg. She was in a wheelchair. So she called to say she could not make it to the conference. I replied, “Well, you can sit and home or you can sit at the conference. It’s your choice. But why not come?” She decided to join us at the 10-day long missions conference where I was program executive.
I was too busy to spend time with Sarah at the conference. We had just returned from China with our little girl, and I was pretty busy with the 1700 people from 99 countries. That’s when Sarah story took another big turn. She met a young YWAM leader who gave her special attention. That attention turned quickly to a romantic relationship. Shortly after the conference, I received another call from Sarah’s mom. This time it was because she was concerned that her little girl was going to move to Asia to marry this young man.
A few years later they were married and that same year they both began adoption procedures for two young boys who were orphaned when their mom and dad were killed in an accident. They had one child of their own and adopted two more little girls a few years later.
Sarah is doing distance studies at Fuller Theological Seminary where she is pursuing the MA in Global Leadership. She has a passion for Asia, for education and for family. Her story will inspire you to believe you can make a difference too.