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Dear Ella,

Dear Ella, 


SO I never got to calling you at debrief. I’m really sorry about that girl! It’s been a process of learning how to manage time, specifically with how much time I spend contacting people from home when I could be using that time to “be where my feet are” (biiig world race lingo btw) and investing in the people in front of me. But! I did promise myself that if I kept putting off calls or text responses, that I had to write a blog update. I can’t tell you how much it means that you took the initiative and just typed up your life for me. It can get really tiring having to respond to so many people’s “what’s up” or “how’s South Africa”? Not that the texts aren’t appreciated, but because it’s hard to sum up life in a sentence, especially since it’s an entirely new life on a new continent with a new, giant, family. Also, like I shared with you, I hate sounding inauthentic or in-genuine. Whenever I try really hard to articulate my thoughts, I feel like I’m trying to sound like an all-knowing World Racer, or I simply end up saying nothing at all. So, I decided to just write all my thoughts out in a way that made sense to me. It ended up being three lists! It’s the best way I can think to summarize this first month of the World Race. 


List #1: A Kind of Chronological and/or Factual Explanation of the Past Five Weeks
1. Night one we ate these things called fat cakes (mince meat and veggies in this bread roll that’s deep fried like a donut), they were dank, and so filling. Google search them, pretty sure it’s a traditional Afrikaans meal (one of the most popular cultures/languages in this region of South Africa). Also, they’re called something different in actual Afrikaans, I just don’t know how to spell it!

2. Btw, Jeffrey’s Bay = a bubble in the midst of South Africa’s tense political climate. Also, a surfer town with these amazing red cappuccinos, a cute 5k every Saturday, and friendly faces who always ask you “where are you from?” because they know by the way you dress and talk that you’re not from around here. 

3. Also, our ministry site features a high school and primary school, but we live in “The Mission House” *also physically on the campus. The mother organization that our ministry hosts work for has programs similar to the World Race, but it also invests a ton in its local community, Jeffrey’s Bay, as seen by the high school and primary school they started up. 

4. We started the first week with manual labor (my team, Avodah, and the guys team, Abide), and it looked like digging trenches and laying out bricks for the foundation of a new classroom. So cool! The Lord was literally having us dig up and make new the ground. The Bible talks about it all the time, defiled land, and in replace of the newly dug up ground, He let us freaking build part of South Africa’s future on it. Not to stay it wasn’t hard. We got these nasty blisters and callouses on our hands and stuff, but it was awesome to grow closer as a team and to the guys!

5. The second half of one day that week ^^^ we got to make prom decorations for their South African prom and it felt like I was back in student council lets goooo~

6. Then we went to a high school camp for kids who had a break between two school terms. It was wild — so tiring, very stretching, incredibly rewarding, and just /different/. It is actually so crazy because only a few months ago I was still going to ABF every Wednesday as a high school student myself. I could write a whole blog on it tbh, but I tried and it didn’t come out right. Maybe one day!

7. After some rest days, we did more manual labor, but this time it looked like painting, odd jobs, and helping out in the kitchen, preparing meals for like 42 people. That was our last week of ministry for month one (RIP), but it was sweet and nice and we ended it with an awesome squad pizza dinner, and full circle— our last lunch was the fat cakes. 

8. Then … awakening! So when two squads are close to each other, World Race does their best to get them together for this like two day conference of sorts where they can collaborate, learn from each other, share stories, and just learn more about Jesus together. We were able to meet up with B SQUAD, one of the other five Gap Year squads that launched in September. They freaking rock and it was a dang good time.

9. After that was debrief! Which is five days that we spend at a hostel or someplace nice after the first month where we have more sessions, worship, one-on-ones, and tons of rest time to spend with the Lord and each other. After debrief half our squad headed to Johannesburg, while the other half (my team and two other girls teams) headed back to Jeffrey’s Bay for more ministry during the rest of our time in South Africa!

10. Last thing — we are going to have a steady ministry for six weeks straight!!! It’s this after school program where we help tutor kids and play music, and my team and I are so freaking hype. Definitely more to come on that.


SO I was going to have two more lists about random things about life and then things I’ve learned, but honestly this is getting really long and would be a novel by the end. So, the other two will either be one or two more blogs that I’ll type out into completion later. BUT I love you so much, and I promise I will call you back as soon as possible. Miss you a ton, as well as the rest of the ABF group!


Much love,



  1. It’s so incredible to hear about the work God is through you even in things that seem mundane. You have such wisdom, and that’s why we all want to hear what you have to say! It was good to talk to you and see your face, even at 5 am with sucky WiFi 😉 I can’t wait to see you again. But, God keeps working and the world keeps spinning, even when we’re on different sides of it. I’m excited to continue to watch your journey through the next 8 months! Be where your feet are, but if you ever need a little bit of home, I’ll be here. Love you always, Sarah. Keep killing it for Jesus!! 🙂

  2. Sarah, this was great. I love all the detail. I know it’s hard sometimes with so much in our heads and trying to get it out but just keep writing. Love and hugs to you!

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