Who am I?
Greetings everyone! I’m Sarah. I am a 44-year-old mother of three and grandmother of twin 2-year olds. Most people associate me with Praise and Worship, as I am a singer, songwriter and play the Bass Guitar. Having known about God since a young age, growing up in my Godfather’s church, I first remember singing in public at the age of 5, standing on a chair at a church ‘programme’. I have always known that God is with me. No matter what circumstances I have found myself in.
By profession I’m a Social Worker, before that I was an auxiliary nurse, so I have always worked with people. I have always been an empathetic person and one who cannot stand to see suffering and injustice. I had my first child at 19, I was on benefits and I know what it is like to struggle and to go without. I have been a single parent, I have been married and I have been divorced. All these life stages have presented their own struggles, which has actually put me in a position to understand others from various angles and to be able, through Christ to encourage them to live.
In July 2018, it became clear that my young marriage had ended at the 2-year mark. I had hopes for my future, so I had to come to terms that my plans were not going to work. As I know Jesus as my comforter, instead of wallowing in self-pity, I threw myself into him to comfort and direct me. Dealing with having to face what people might have thought, I often shared my ‘news’ as it may have been a source of gossip anyway. One Sunday, the Preacher’s sermon was about the prayer of Jabez. It gripped me and spoke to me to pray differently. I started asking God to simply bless me and enlarge my territory. Every prayer I repeated this. It was at this point, I was contacted via social media by a Pastor of a young ministry in Nairobi Kenya.
When did the inspiration come to reach those in need?
After a few months of speaking to the Pastor and learning about the ministry, I was invited to go and greet the brethren. I was also asked to preach for the National Youth Service and at a Conference. Being out of my comfort zone, I was reminded that I had actually prayed for God to bless me and enlarge my territory. I accepted the call-in faith, trusting God to equip me. Seeing the needs of the people for things such as clothes, I decided I could not go empty handed. This was confirmed when I saw a news article about a 15-year-old girl, who was ‘period shamed’ by her teacher and committed suicide. I decided I needed to bring sanitary items in addition to clothes so, the requests were made for donations.
Why did you choose Africa?
I did not choose Kenya, God sent me there.
What types of donations did you receive?
I received financial assistance, stationery, clothes, shoes, toiletries, sanitary products, nappies, books, toys, medical equipment (bandages, digital thermometers and small plastic bowls) and food. Everything I had asked for and more. In addition to this, I personally bought and contributed a number of bibles which was incidentally the only thing that the church had asked for.
Where did the donations come from?
So many people got behind me in my campaign. I received donations from work colleagues, members of my church, friends of friends and members of other churches. I even received items from a funeral director and nurses that had heard about my mission. I was completely overwhelmed with donations.
What impact did the donations have?
So many people were blessed by the donations! I had initially planned to carry an extra 22kg suitcase, however I received so much, I was able to send two 70kg containers of goods and a 100kg container of food items. All to be redistributed to those in need. Many individuals and families received clothing, books and stationery for the children. The young Police and Soldiers from the training camp I preached to received stationery and bibles and my greatest joy was to give the children at a local orphanage food, clothes books, toys and other items. The young ladies received sanitary products which as a woman I know would make a difficult time a little easier.
What impact did your presence have?
Due to the opportunities I was given, I was able to address both spiritual and physical needs. At the National Youth Service, I was able to encourage young people between 16 -24 to walk in integrity, despite the challenges presented by their newly gained positions of authority. I prayed for those young people, who were away from their families and were trying to better their lives. Following the service, I was sent prayer requests as a result of the message. Some young people had reflected upon their lives and were seeking prayer for issues they were struggling with.
At the conference, I preached a message to encourage the church, that despite their physical circumstances, God was with them. I spoke to the women and assured them of their value in Christ. I was able to remind the church of the hope we have in Christ. At the close of service, the brethren received the donations I had collected, and the joy was clear to see and feel. Lives were touched by the word and made a little easier practically. Overall, we were all blessed.
What would you say to those who are in a position to help others?
As Christians, we need to take the example of Christ who ministered to the spiritual and physical needs of people. We are called to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. We are called to fight injustice. Above all we are called to love. Love is sharing each other’s burdens and being our brother’s keeper. Everyone can help others. They may be able to help financially, in prayer, in encouragement, in expertise…. however, it is given, it is appreciated. Help is help and it is all our responsibility.
Do you have a name for your ministry?
Yes. It is called Grace and Kindness International Ministry. The reason is, Grace is unmerited favour. The favour of God was clear for me to see, when I shared this vision and received such heart-felt and generous support. Kindness is defined as friendly generous and considerate. This is at the core of my beliefs, vision and ministry. International Ministry, as I have been called to go outside of my own church building. To fulfil the Great Commission in Matthew 28 v 16 -20 and scriptures such as Luke 11 v 11 – 13 which encourages practical love by way of feeding the hungry.
How can we assist with your ministry?
There are both short term and long-term plans. In the short term, I will continue to collect items for redistribution to those in need. This requires items to donate and finances, as there are various costs associated with shipping and clearing. There is also a great need for monetary donations, as I wish to assist the orphanage, I am linked with to purchase beds for the children. Currently there are 53 children and they do not have beds. In addition to this people need food. These are basic items we take for granted. Therefore, monetary donations and goods are needed. It would also be a huge blessing to the people if others were willing to join with me to provide health education, contribute knowledge and skills and a zeal to also share the Gospel of good news. In the long term I envision a ‘help centre’ where people can access food, clothes, education, training and spiritual support.
What was the hardest thing for you to deal with? Was it yourself, others or other?
The hardest thing for me to deal with, was the emotional aspect of seeing need and not being able to do more. I cry easily and I really struggled to see people without basic amenities and even food. It was hard for me to see children without beds, knowing my children have always had a bed.
Have you learned anything about yourself in this process?
I learned a lot about myself. Spiritually, I realised that I am called and gifted to do more than I have been doing. I realised that God can and will use me, if I do not fear and just continue to walk by faith. I also learned that through Christ I really can do all things, as he strengthens me. I was empowered by the Holy Ghost to go out into the world, travelling without another person, knowing that God would keep me in all my ways, just as Psalms 91 says. I have learned that I really am an Ambassador for Christ and that all things work together for my good, as long as I continue to give thanks for every open door as well as the closed ones.
Sarah (Wolverhampton, UK)