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!

Thursday, July 6, 2017


 Most of the math I taught this semester was concepts that I use everyday... telling time, measuring liquids, multiplying, adding... But sixth grade math was a different story! Algebraic equations, multiplying fractions, story problems with rate... and ratios. Those concepts are not often on my mind.

So, it was fun and heartening when, a few weeks after closing LVLC for the semester, I had a project that required everything I know about ratios, thanks to teaching my grade six students! I had to make posters that fit perfectly into a unique shape on the walls of a conference room (for our branch retreat in Dar es Salaam). All I had was a photo of the wall, graph paper, the measurements of my poster board, and my fresh understanding of ratios.

I put it all together, and this is what I got (x6 posters)!!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

You Know You've Done Your Job When...

Wednesday I taught some of my students how to tie dye. Yesterday I got a WhatsApp photo of a gallivanting hippie. On the normal school day this student is respectful, focused, and calm... But when she puts on her tie dye... Oh dear. Earlier in the semester I got a photo of another student. She'd turned into a mermaid! Finally, a treasured gift, my hippie student drew this picture of the two of us. 💗 The drawing skills! The capturing of our appearances and personalities! The mermaid appreciation!! My work is complete.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Finishing Up

It's the end of the semester... and the end of the American school year. We don't take testing to quite the extreme one sees in the States these days, but we do like a little outside input on our teaching. The students do an online version of the California Achievement Test, which is widely used by home school families. And it's fun to say you're taking the CAT test! The kids were very focused, youngest and oldest pictured here, and did very well.