Friday, January 20, 2012

Testimony

I was asked to write up my testimony for an application and thought I'd share it with you too.  The pictures are just an added touch. :)

Me on the left, probably at the age of 5
My life is a testimony of God’s intricate involvement in the lives of His children. None of the events of my life happened by accident but were interwoven by God to become the tapestry of my life.

Setting the Stage for Missions
As the oldest of four children I grew up in a Christian family. From my earliest memories, I have known and loved God. My father was involved in Christian ministry which in 1996 took us from rural Oregon to the suburbs of Washington, DC. My parents’ example of following God and being willing to go wherever He led set the stage for me to do the same. While being home-schooled in fourth grade, I read stories about missionaries and decided then that I wanted to be a teacher and a missionary when I grew up.

Discovering a Love for Teaching
During my high school years I attended a very small Christian school and was actively involved in youth group at our church. During these years my faith became more solid and I developed a love for teaching from the Bible. My youth pastor gave me opportunities to occasionally lead our youth Sunday school class which later gave me courage to lead a campus Bible study during college. For the first time I experienced the pleasure of teaching.

Impacted by Reformed Teaching
My best friends at Geneva College
When I searched for a Christian college to attend, Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA offered me the most financial aid and I really enjoyed the caring atmosphere I felt during a campus visit. I decided to go there, not really conscious of the fact that it was a college of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Up until college, I had attended charismatic, non-denominational churches with my parents. At Geneva College my best friends were Reformed Presbyterians (RP). I started attending an RP church and learned a lot from the teaching, preaching, and interaction with the elderly members of the church. Those years were challenging as I grappled with the vast differences in doctrine and practice between charismatics and Reformed. Through it all, I discovered things about both that I appreciated but I also realized I needed to determine what I believed and why.

Entering the Mission Field
Me, on far right in pink, with other ESI teachers

My fourth-grade dream of becoming a missionary had never left me, but, in fact, had increased as I participated in short-term mission trips to Mexico and to Ukraine. During my senior year of college I did half of my student teaching at a local public school and the other half at Black Forest Academy in Germany. At the end of my student teaching I spent a week in Czech Republic. Following that semester, I felt a strong desire to return to Eastern Europe. I graduated in May 1996 and was accepted to teach English as a foreign language with Educational Services International (now “TeachOverseas”). I intended to return to Czech Republic, but due to factors outside my control I ended up in eastern Hungary not far from the border with Ukraine. I spent three years in S√°rospatak, Hungary and absolutely loved teaching English, getting to know Hungarians, and leading student Bible studies. It was during this time that I met my husband, George de Vuyst, who was a missionary with Christian Reformed World Missions across the border in Mukachevo, Ukraine. We married in 1999 and have continued to serve as missionaries in Ukraine.

The Lord’s Purpose Prevails
Engagement in Sarospatak, Hungary - May 1999

As I study the threads in the tapestry of my life, I recognize God’s sovereignty and handiwork. Even though I like to plan ahead and be prepared, many times my plans have fallen apart. Repeatedly, I have had to learn to trust God. Only later do I discover how He is in control and how He incorporates each event into my future. God has provided me with a wonderful husband, three fantastic kids, good friends, and a ministry that I love. Through the early days of my childhood in a Christian home, my non-intentional enrollment at a Reformed college, the “mistake” that landed me in Hungary, and so many other so-called “coincidences” I have witnessed God’s hand at work in all the details of my life. I am who and where I am today because of God bringing to fruition His purposes. There is nothing I desire more than to increasingly love my God and to serve Him the rest of my days – no matter what lies ahead.

“Many are the plans in a human heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.” ~ Proverbs 19:21

2 comments:

  1. Your story is fascinating, Sarah! But the #1 thing that bowled me over is how much Elizabeth looks like 5-year-old you. You have a "mini-me"!

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