Thursday, January 4, 2018

Bike Art!

I used to write about interesting Tanzanian cultural experiences. Well, Portland, OR is another wealth of interesting cultural experiences. I'm biking a lot lately. It's really fun to get to know the city better and do errands with a 360 degree view of the world around me. Portland is pretty good to bikers. Drivers tend to watch out and stop. There are lots of bike lanes. And, to my delight, there is even bike lane art (and bike roundabout art)!!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Saved by the Seal

I've enjoyed so many parts of reconnecting with people and re-entering the Pacific Northwest... beauty, laughter, food, taking a day at a time. Every now and then, though, it gets to be a bit much. I get tired and miss Tanzania and loose perspective of God's goodness. On one such day, I was walking along Elliot Bay in Seattle, praying and wishing I could snap back into enjoying-things-mode. I stopped on the beach and my prayer was answered in an unexpected, enchanting way. This seal was taking a nap. When I woke him up he wiggled his flipper at me. Then he sucked on sand (to get a drink?!). After awhile he shoved himself along the sand and out into the bay. Somehow that unique sight in nature gave me back my perspective. I felt special and free. And I started enjoying the day at hand.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Back in the US of A

 I've been asked a few times recently, "Where in the world are you, Sarah?" And it's a valid question, because I've been quite a few different places since I left Musoma in July! However, for the last month the answer has been: the United States of America. And that's where I'll be for the foreseeable future (though I can't see very far into the future!).

God's worked lots of good in this last month. There's been rest. I have a nice cozy colorful room in my brother's house. Friends have come to visit me and vice versa. I got to have Thanksgiving and a hike with my family. Fall colors were spectacular, my first in 6 years! I have a potential church and met a potential friend there.

Over the next months I'll continue resting and reconnecting. I'll visit supporting churches and partners of my work with Wycliffe. I'll help with one or two children's programs at the Wycliffe center in Orlando and attend a week long workshop about art and missions.

 After that, the future is foggy. It might be time for me to resign from Wycliffe, unless God gives me passion for a new assignment by the end of March. I definitely feel the disequilibrium of loss and the unknown, but I'm excited to see God's good plans as I walk the path ahead and the fog clears!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sukkot Serendipity

I serendipitously scheduled my trip to Israel during three major holidays: Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. Even more serendipitous, Ronit and I scheduled our Sea to Sea hike during Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles). So we slept in a sukka by default, looking through a crack in the ceiling to at least one star, just as tradition prescribes. It reminds you that God is the One who truly takes care of you and keeps you safe.

Also, I've been reading a book, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, which examines how Jesus fulfilled the holidays. God started Sukkot to remind His people of how He cared for them in their desert days. But I didn't know that the feast ends with a water libation ceremony and prayers and praise anticipating the coming rains. That's the day that Jesus stood up in John 7:37-38 and declared that "Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." He was talking about sending His Spirit to fill and pour from us, just as the people were looking for God to send physical rain. I hadn't realized that Jesus timed this declaration so poetically!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Housework & Holy Places

I've been in Israel for the last three weeks with an interesting mix of activities. Main focus: working at a guesthouse in the Jerusalem Hills. I joined my friend, Ronit, who has been working here for a couple months. So that's watering flowers, changing beds, washing laundry, sweeping, etc. I've enjoyed the mundane tasks as a break from my normal teaching work, which takes a lot more creativity and leadership. It gives my mind some time for rest and more prayer than usual. It's also been beautiful to start each day with worship and prayer together at the guesthouse.

Then, on a couple afternoons off, Ronit's shown me around Jerusalem. The second time we went in was epic. We walked into the Jewish quarter via a staircase up to the Zion Gate. Ronit ordered us shwarma sandwiches then led me around a corner. The view that met my eyes included the hill where Jesus ascended to heaven, the Dome of the Rock, the Wailing Wall, rooftops of Jerusalem dwellers, a flock of doves glinting in the sun, lots of cats, and more! I tried to capture it all in my drawing:) I've been surprised that something about being in this place does make Jesus seem a little more tangible. I'm looking forward to seeing more, now that we're done working at the guesthouse.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Christian Artists

This month I had the opportunity, as part of my travels and exploring art in missions, to attend a Christian artists conference in Siegburg, Germany. We gathered at a beautifully remodeled monastery. It was a thrill to be with other Christians who also love to communicate through art.

During the days there were lectures and workshops. One of my favorite experiences was a workshop with musicians, singers, dancers, and visual artists, pictured on the bottom right. We read and discussed the message and emotions of Psalm 107, then "prayed" the Psalm without words, improvising in our various art forms. It was a powerful experience of what the Psalm describes: praise, darkness, crying out to God, and joy in His answer. It was also powerful to learn about collaborating with other artists.

In the evenings there were performances by different attendees and slide shows of visual art. That was really fun too! Overall, I'm very thankful for the experience. And I'm praying for guidance as I continue to travel and explore art in missions, seeking what God has next for me.

Friday, July 28, 2017


Today I went for a walk around a lake. It reminded me of Round Lake in Camas, Washington, USA... But it was Schäfersee here in Berlin, Germany. (Thanks to God for giving me a green space here too!)

If this rises the question, "What's Sarah doing in Germany?", do ask me for my last newsletter! However, the short answer is that I'm traveling a bit, visiting friends, with the goal of seeing what God has next for me. Specifically, I'm looking into how God can use my art in missions.

I'll be in Germany for all of August. Next week I'll go to the southwest, near the Rhine River, for a Christian artists conference. Otherwise I'll be in Berlin with my friends who do street ministry here. They use visual art and music in their ministry, so I'm excited to see, participate, and learn!