I've known Sarah Lee Kelley for I guess almost 4 years now. I met her in Carla's bible study and we also attended Vic's college class together. When I told some of the girls there that I wanted to try to mentor a few of them on a weekly basis, have them over for coffee, make dinner together, etc. Sarah Lee was one of the girls that signed up. I loved getting to know her a little bit back then but it wasn't until my little sister Christine told me that Sarah was in fact praying about coming to join our team for a while and she actually came and spent six months with us that we really got to know her.
To know Sarah Lee is to love her. Anyone can tell you that and while we're all still learning about this great country where we have served together, we have loved having her over for dinner, talking to her about her triumphs and struggles and just basically seeing her in action. Here's a bit of a summary of her stay and work with us here in Germany. She's such a terrific young lady, we thought she deserved a blog post all to herself! :)
Well, Sarah arrived April 7th. We picked her up at the airport, brought her back here, fed her a big breakfast and let her go to sleep for about four hours before we went to the X-Change youth service at the CVJM. Easter was the next day and then she left for the youth camp in Waldheim for a week. She drank nothing but fruit tea, almost froze to death and had no internet but somehow she survived it! :)
Sarah stayed with a host family from the CVJM and enjoyed getting to know them. We got her a train pass and she enrolled in school at the Volkshochschule in the first week after the youth camp. In her first couple of months she started helping out with the Sunday childrens program at the church, organized art projects for the after school childrens program which meets every other Thursday and she attended Tensing (a youth talent competition) every Friday night. Sarah was instrumental with the team from WFBC. She prepared welcome baskets, sent an intro German lesson and made sure everything was clean and setup for their arrival. She helped Saskia and Corina with the fellowships each night and worked alongside the team during the day either at the CVJM, the Birke or evangelizing in downtown Heidelberg. She even slept with them at the CVJM. (I think this was just an excuse to live closer to the Doner Kebab place down the street for those late night runs... :) BTW - Sarah is not a salad girl - her favorite thing is the doner box - french fries covered with doner meat. I tried to get her to eat some vegetables while she was here and she "claims" she did but really... I think she just ate a bunch of doner boxes, German pastries and pop tarts from the states! :)
During July she helped get to know Becs and Beccy from Edge UK, working with them at the CVJM doing various projects as well as helping to run a childrens day camp. She also continued to attend language school each day and help out with work necessary for the Birke, the proLife organization here in Heidelberg. She finished up the after school program for the year, helped with the TenSing concert and worked like a dog at the CVJM. These were her words to describe the month, " I think my favorite part this past month was definitely working with the Germans and the British on the building- painting with Beccy and Becks, buying paint with Timon, pouring cement with Silas, and definitely learning how to plaster with Alan- it’s the group effort that makes the work even more meaningful. You know you’re working with your family to build something like a new rec hall or future coffee area that will expand God’s family here."
August was relatively slow so it was a good time for her mom and sister to visit and then it was off to Paris and the south of France to visit her best friend, Ruth-Ann for a couple of weeks. She then house/dogsat for us while we were off in England, helped with the street festival and TenSing concert there and started prepping for the painting work she would do at the CVJM and the after school program that would be starting back. It was in August that she finally got her visa approval praise God. It took sooo long and was so much work for her and her mom. Note to future participants, get your visas BEFORE you come to Germany! :)
During September and October Sarah has been working to put her art major stamp on the CVJM with her painting work in the sports hall and in one of the childrens room (we call it the rainbow room because of an old rainbow that "used" to adorn the walls. Not any more thank goodness! :) She has plastered, painted, worked with heavy machinery, cleaned and done just about anything asked of her which has been terrific. It was not all work though - she enjoyed finishing up school and the friends she made there, the many nights hanging out with her new German friends and helping to mentor young people in TenSing, the after school program and the Sunday school.
To say the least she has been an incredible asset to Pioneers, to our team and to the CVJM. She's made so many great friendships and we know the impact she left will last many, many years. Sarah is the kind of person everyone falls in love with and we couldn't be more proud of her. We're going to miss her bubbly personality and contagious smile, hard work and talent but mostly we'll miss the love she poured out on everyone she met and how her energy was simply contagious. We hope to have her back again here soon but we know her mom and sister are dying to have her home too.
We love you Sarah Lee and look forward to seeing you again soon! Don't forget to trust God with all your heart and to not lean on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Prov 3:5-6.