Advance Magazine
Fall 2023

Class of 2023: Sarah Weidner

Ministry: Romania

Sending Church: Fellowship Baptist Church—Columbus, Ohio

She was only 13 years old, but the thought rang in her mind: “Am I supposed to be a missionary?” Something about Romania struck her as she looked at Dave and Ruth Kimmel’s display table during her church’s missions conference. Shortly before this, Sarah had learned about India’s Untouchables, a shunned social class. Sarah’s heart went out to the Untouchables, wanting to love them because God loves them. From Ruth, Sarah learned that the Kimmels’ ministry was among Romania’s Roma people, a people group largely rejected in their country—and thought to be descendants of the Untouchables. From that point on, Sarah yearned to show love to the Roma people.

Even at a young age, Sarah was well accustomed to Christian service: bus ministry, junior church, VBS, and church orchestra. Her family gave high priority to spiritual matters, explaining that they do what they do because of God’s desires, not just their own. Her pastor was passionate not only about missions but also that young people should serve right now and not wait until adulthood. Serving was hard for Sarah at first. She was painfully shy, but she realized if God could help tongue-tied Moses to serve, He could do it for her too.

Starting at age 16, Sarah has served in three Romania mission trips, two of them at the Kimmels’ church. Her 2022-2023 short-term experience confirmed Romania for her future. She meshed well with BMM’s Romania team, and she saw how God was using her in every ministry the church offered. She helped Ruth Kimmel and their coworker Nikki Carr with a school readiness program and an after-school program to help Roma children start school strong and not drop out. Sarah’s music ministries played a vital role in the Roma culture where music is cherished.

When Sarah returns full-time, she’ll go with the added joy and contentment she gained after spending winter in a top-floor Romanian apartment. As she daily carried heavy bundles of heating wood up four flights of stairs, she told the Lord, “It’s worth it because of ________,” and she would name a teen or child. “And because this is where God wants me to be, and this is where He has my heart.”

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