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Apologetics and Adventure (#GrowDeep)
by Julie Cramer
Posted on Tuesday, March 28, 2017
As Orphan Outreach celebrates a decade of care for orphans and vulnerable children, we're inviting our US-based staff to share their thoughts about the ministry and its mission - and we're giving a sneak peek into their lives and loves. This month, you'll get to know Missions Coordinator Sarah Herbek, an orphan care advocate with a love for apologetics and adventure.

One of six children, Sarah Herbek’s life growing up on a farm in Nebraska made good soil for the roll-up-your-sleeves ministry she does today. For the past two and a half years, she has laughed and lugged her way through airports to reach the frayed hems of children’s lives to see how and where Orphan Outreach can do some mending. Along the way, she has learned a thing or two.

As missions coordinator Sarah says that the work has taught her “how to work in messy complex places and see the Lord moving in the midst of that. God will accomplish His work in spite of ‘mistakes’ and setbacks. He is the one doing the work, and we are prayerfully joining what He is doing.”

Her preparation to join God in his work began with her earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology with minors in religion and counseling, and more recently, with a master’s degree in Christian leadership with a cross-cultural emphasis from Dallas Theological Seminary. Her education has fueled her desire for apologetics and discipleship, and she plans to pursue her doctorate degree one day. In the interim, she relishes her adventures with Orphan Outreach.

Such as the Christmas in 2014 when she and intern-guru, Amy Seale, lead a team to Guatemala. “We laughed a lot, prayed a lot, and saw some neat relationships built that continue to this day,” she says. “We also joined a Christmas parade at the Antigua market that was much longer than anticipated. We sang a lot of songs in Spanish that we didn’t know.”

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For Sarah, the way in which Orphan Outreach provides strategy, accountability, and vision for in-country partners—while reserving a sense of humor and spontaneity in the face of hiccups abroad—fires her up and gets her going every day.

“We are a quality of care ministry that supports nationals in the work they are already doing. We provide relationships that initiate change and not just funds. I have watched our staff worldwide handle the complexities that come with serving children in the places we do. It is a beautiful thing to see imperfect people like me serving these children and giving God the glory,” she says. “What I value most is that Orphan Outreach is a ministry that looks at the needs of children individually and not with a blanket approach. Every child is important and they have different needs. We bring light to the darkness one child at a time (John 8:12).”

Sarah—in addition to gobs of knowledge and heart—adds some impressive dexterity to the Orphan Outreach team. Declaring it her secret superpower, Sarah says she once maneuvered three large roller bags of luggage through the Orphan Outreach office to her car in one trip—while also sporting her own bags and a Starbucks coffee. All she has to say about that is, “Boom!”


Apart from her favorite qualities of her work and teammates, Sarah loathes questions about her “favorites.” Yet, with sweaty palms, she takes a stab at it anyway: Her favorite movie trilogy is Lord of the Rings for “nerdy theological reasons;” her favorite hole-in-the-wall is The Cotton Gin Café in Prosper, Texas; and her favorite ways to spend her time outside of work include traveling the world and whitewater rafting. If she could “un-favorite” anything it would be sweet potatoes. “I just can’t even,” she says. For this missions coordinator—who once cooked for Steven Spielberg’s family—sweet potatoes will never cut the mustard. But her work does, and right now, that tastes sweet enough.

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