Tomorrow, Sarah* will move to the Middle East. Her decision to go and the years of planning culminates in one final step – to trust wholeheartedly in God’s promises and get on the plane.
When she looks forward to the moment she will leave America behind, she is reminded of how the Lord brought Abram outside into the dark and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them … so shall your offspring be.”
In our current timeline, we see the result of this promise. Centuries of lineage followed that conversation and we read about them in the stories woven throughout scripture. However, in the moment, Abram wondered and doubted, “how is this going to happen?”
As a freshman in high school, amid a chaotic time in her life, Sarah from a small town in Missouri devoted her life to Christ. At home, she was exposed to the painful effects of her mother’s battle with Bipolar Disorder as well as her father’s struggle with alcoholism. Her father’s commitments to drop his habits and take her fishing on the weekends were replaced with the reality that he would choose to stay home and continue his normal routine. Sarah learned to not expect follow-through.
However, knowing her life had been redeemed by the Lord, she moved through high school and college with renewed perspective of her purpose.
“The Lord saved me in the middle of it,” she said. “Since I started walking with the Lord in high school, I knew there was something bigger, more than the American dream. That’s not what I want to be about.”
She graduated from college with her bachelor’s degree in physical education and was confident in the Lord’s prompting to seek opportunities in full-time ministry. She applied to internships that took her to North Africa, Texas and Arkansas, all with the aim of exposing her to the possibility of life in missionary work.
While in Africa, she became aware of a desperate need for workers to live among unreached people groups, specifically Muslims. She returned to the States and applied with several sending organizations. She found and was accepted by an agency whose specific goal is to reach the Muslim world.
Her path seemed sure. She was confident this was where the Lord was leading her. The only problem – her educational loan debt.
The debt Sarah accrued while earning her degree was necessary to complete it. However, to be sent with the debt on her shoulders would ensure her quick return from the field. To wait until her debt was paid month after month would halt the process for decades. She wondered, “how is this going to happen? Will it actually happen?”
One day, over lunch with a friend, she heard about The GO Fund’s educational loan repayment program. She quickly applied, hopeful and anxious at the possibility this could be the answer to her many prayers. Then, Sarah was contacted by the GO Fund’s program director. She was vetted by a fine-tuned interview process and asked to join a final conversation with a selection committee.
The day after her final interview, she got the call. “You’ve been chosen. Your debt is covered.”
She was freed to go. God did not leave her in her wondering and doubts. He showed her follow-through and provided a way for her to get to the field, without the burden of educational debt.
“In order to get me on the field more quickly and more efficiently, (The GO Fund) made it happen,” she said. “To have that wider base of support and to have more people involved ... It’s really encouraging.”
Now, she is prepared. She has packed and is ready to see the result of years of patience, prayer and provision. As nerves and expected fears settle before her departure, she clings to God’s voice that once told Abraham and now comforts her, “This is how I will make it happen.”
Two years after Sarah began to attend church, her mother joined her. One year later, her father started to come, and Sarah watched them get baptized shortly after. Today, her father is sober, and he and Sarah’s mother continue to support and love their daughter as she transitions into the fulfillment of God’s promises to keep and sustain her.
*Name changed for security