Sarah Master joins missionary trip to Poland

Thursday, August 12, 2004
Sarah Master helps conduct basketball camps in Rzezsow, Poland. She is pictured with a few of the 40 kids she worked with during her 10 day stay. (photo provided)

Sarah Master of Manila recently returned from a 10 day trip to Poland where she worked with children and young people. Sarah is a 2002 graduate of Manila High School, a student at Arkansas Northeastern College, and the daughter of Donald and Vicki Master of Manila. She works in the summer at the Northeast Research Extension Center in Keiser.

Sarah has always enjoyed working with children at her mother's daycare and at her church. The love of children is why she is pursuing a career in elementary education.

Sarah is very active in the First Baptist Church in Manila.

She has been on several youth missionary trips in the United States but the trip to Poland was her first time to fly in an airplane and her first trip out of the country.

She heard about the trip from a friend. Wendy Truitt, who is the children's director at a church in Fisherville, served as leader for the trip.

The trip was through a Christian based organization, the International Sports Federation, in Atlanta, Ga. Sarah and other volunteers organized basketball camps working with inner city youth in Rzezsow, Poland. They worked with missionaries, Doug and Marcie Shaw, who have a church in Poland and have been working there for nine years.

"We went to get to know the people and share the gospel," Sarah said.

She discovered that basketball camps are an excellent way to get to know the children.

The city had a population of 131,600. Sarah was very impressed with the beautiful, old buildings. They took the bus or walked throughout the city.

"It was like walking through a history book," she said.

The outside basketball courts were near residential areas. They held basketball camps in the morning and got together in the evenings to play basketball and fellowship with the children.

The nine member missionary team ranged from 14 to 40 years of age. The group gathered in Atlanta for two days of training to prepare for the trip. They learned about the culture of the children they would be working with and had the opportunity to meet the other team members.

The group took an eight hour flight from Atlanta to Frankfort, Germany, then an hour flight to Warsaw. The group then took a five hour train ride to their destination. They enjoyed seeing the countryside during the train ride.

Sarah said she always felt safe.

"The people were nice and the city was very clean," she said. "The kids would walk us to the bus stop at night before they went home."

Most of the older children could speak some English and the group did have three journeymen to help with the language barrier.

She discovered that the school year there is similar to the school year here. The children were out for summer break and they enjoyed attending the basketball camps.

"We went to share with them what God has done for us. We planted a seed and hopefully the missionaries working there can follow up and win them over," Sarah said. "Kids are kids no matter what language they speak. They just want people to play with them and love them."

There were more boys attending the basketball camp than girls.

"The young people had to get to know us before they opened up but once they got to know us we had a great time. They gave each one of us a tee shirt from their country to bring home," she said.

A barbecue was held in their honor at the end of the week. The volunteers shared the information they had gathered from the young people and the missionaries will follow up on their contacts.

Sarah went on the trip with the support from her family and church family.

"I'm blessed to have my family and my church family. They helped me make this trip," Sarah said. "It was a great experience."

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