We are going to periodically highlight one of the missionaries/ministries GracePoint supports. This month we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Leonard, serving in Albania. Sarah wrote the following article for this post:
My name is Sarah Leonard and I grew up in the Hershey area. I went to a Christian school K-12 and then received my Early Childhood Education degree at Messiah College. During college, after completing my junior year in 2011, I went on a cross-cultural trip to Albania and Greece. It was an amazing trip, but my fondest memories came from Albania. We met and stayed with missionary families, explored the land that most people know nothing to little about, and I just fell in love with it all. I never had any intentions on teaching overseas, but after visiting this country, I felt God leading me back to live and teach there.
I pursued teaching at GDQ International Christian School in Albania during my senior year, went back to visit Albania a second time, and met with people at the school. Here I am, 4 years later, ready to go back for year #5. I taught 4th grade for three years and am starting my second year this August teaching Physical Education to Kindergarten – 8th grade. It’s definitely a challenge, but I love it!
Other than teaching PE, I also am involved with leading a middle school grade homeroom, planning and leading activity days, leading after school sports for grades 4-8, coaching HS girls sports, and leading a HS girls Bible study small group. Outside of school activities, I am involved in my team’s Bible study and a small group from church, I love to run and go to the gym before school most days and on the weekends, am a member of an Albanian church, and love to hang out with my teammates and have coffee with friends!
During my first year of teaching 4th grade, I had the pleasure of helping to lead one of my students to Christ! Her classmates were so excited for her. I love that the three classes I taught in 4th grade, I now have the pleasure of teaching them again in PE! It’s so neat to see them continue to grow academically and spiritually. I’ve also loved being able to lead the homeroom (last year and this coming year) for one of my previous year’s 4th grade classes, who are now going into 7th grade! It really helps that we know each other very well and the students are comfortable asking questions, sharing their views and beliefs, and talking about hard topics. Leading homeroom has been an area of spiritual growth even for myself, as the students challenge me in my own faith.
God has definitely challenged me over these last four years, which has only made me more mature and complete. However, despite the challenges, there have been PLENTY of joys. James 1:2-4 comes to mind: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
I would appreciate your prayer in the following areas:
- Pray that I would trust and rely on God at all times and continue to grow in my relationship with Him.
- Finances – I need to raise an additional $500 per month because of health insurance costs
- Upcoming school year– Pray that God would provide teachers for the few positions we have open: MS math and K-8 computers, along with an elementary principal and school director for the following school year.
- That God would continue to work through myself and the other teachers in the lives of the students, parents, and the community.