"Who is God to you?"
Sarah Baker of 2014 G Squad couldn’t answer.
She was 22, a Bible College student who accepted Christ at age 3 and was baptized at age 7. And after a lifetime of Christianity as a lifestyle with rules and even more guilt, she was running - both from herself and from God. Instead of flourishing in an environment of thousands of young adults who shared the same faith, she walked away.
"I decided I was done with Jesus. I felt rebellious and I liked it. I finally felt free, and I finally felt like I could be myself."
Having battled insecurity most of her life, it was during this time Sarah fully came out of her shell. "I realized people thought I was funny, really stylish, really cool. It was a kickstarter of exploring myself and figuring out who I was as an individual."
It seemed that apart from Christ, she’d found herself.
But after graduation, while teaching 1st-3rd graders about Jesus, one day she asked herself what she was doing. How could she tell children about Jesus’ love for them if she didn’t believe it for herself?
It was the beginning of her search for Christ.
For the first time in her life, Sarah wanted to know God. Over the next year, "I began a relationship with Jesus that I have never experienced before. And so much of the guilt and shame I lived with my entire life was left at the foot of the cross."
Throughout her life, Sarah always knew she wanted to work with children. At 16, while on her first missions trip to Costa Rica, she discovered a gift for working with children, and fell in love with the culture and the people. When she heard of the World Race years later, she knew it was what she was supposed to do.
Sarah was accepted a few days after Christmas, launched in July, and soon discovered one of the biggest truths of the Race: "I realized that though I signed up to see God break the box I put him in, he’s broken the box I didn’t even realize I put myself in."
It began in Month 1 in Nepal, where Sarah felt like the confident person she worked so hard to find had been left in America. It was homesickness and culture shock, working in a ministry she felt weak in, and learning of problems back at home, coupled with intense spiritual warfare. But all of these obstacles only pushed her closer to Christ, who gave her an unexplainable peace.
And then in India in Month 2, where Sarah was supposed to speak at a local village. To honor her, two of her female hosts dressed her in their best sari. She found herself not long later standing in front of strangers, the intense heat making the dye drip down her bare stomach and back, battling feelings of insecurity - as she shared of her life’s struggle with that very thing. "It was there in my sweat and feelings of ugliness, teaching the truth of beauty to these women that I realized what true beauty was."
Month 3 in Thailand, a teammate encouraged her to be bold in her gifts and how God created her - a beautiful woman who loves to sing, play the ukulele, write, make people laugh, and teach children.
And in Cambodia, Month 4, while working with Shelter of Love, a children’s home with over 40 kids, everything clicked for Sarah. There, "the hidden teacher inside of me came out. I was completely in my element. It felt like every passion and skill God has built inside of me was being used. I learned to be confident in myself and my gifts. And I started believing in myself."
Now, if asked, Sarah can very clearly tell others who God is to her.
She can also tell you who she is.
Turns out that with Christ, Sarah discovered the woman God created her to be.