Hello! My name is Sarah Farrar and I joined the Community here in Knowle West in January. For the last three years I have been studying at Exeter University for a degree in Psychology. In summer 2008 I joined a three week mission team to an orphanage in Kakira, Uganda. On returning to the UK, I recognised that God was stirring in me a heart for children in poverty, but I was confused as to how I was to use this, without dropping everything and moving to Africa! However, God opened my eyes to the huge poverty that many children live in right here in the UK, not just financial poverty but poverty of life opportunities and love. I knew that I wanted to take some time out after graduating to explore and pursue this calling for working with children further, and after praying about the next step God led me to apply to Lee Abbey Knowle West.
Since arriving I have taken some time to settle in, and gain an understanding of the area’s culture and the local people. I have been attending the local Anglican-Baptist church. It has been good to get to know members of the church and I have recognised what an encouragement the Lee Abbey Community can be to the churches on the estate. In particular they have a need for children’s workers, so I have been involved in family services, helping at Sunday school and at a new after-school children’s club being run by the church. It is a privilege to be able to build relationships with the children attending these events and to develop in them an understanding of God’s kingdom and love for them.
Within the local community I have been exploring possibilities of working with local schools and play schemes as a volunteer but due to the nature of working with children there is a lot of paperwork to be completed before I can start anything practical. This has been frustrating but necessary. However, I have been able to start working with the Knowle West Health Association who provide free cookery lessons for Knowle West residents. There is a hope that this will extend into the local schools and I would work with children and families, which is exciting.
Since starting in Knowle West, I have at times caught myself wondering whether we are making any difference and impacting lives through the work we do. However, I have been challenged by the parable of the sheep and goats (Matthew 25: 31–46), particularly verses 37–40 where the people are surprised to hear Jesus describe the impact of their actions. This passage has led me to understand that we may not always see the outcome of our actions. We might be surprised if we were to understand fully the impact of a children’s club session, of our prayers, of helping a stranger, or of being faithful to a friend. Yet, where we listen to God and follow his promptings we must trust that we are working in and for the kingdom. We can delight in the knowledge that God is working through us to reach other people in dramatic and life-changing ways — our eyes and understanding just may not be sharp enough to see it always.