For the past several years, Sarah Keeling has endured heartache and pain. After a miscarriage and losing her grandmother to Alzheimer’s, she then went on to suffer through immense pain. Driving to and from her job as a counselor in San Antonio left her exhausted and hurting all over, but she didn’t know why. She was finally diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder, similar to lupus, that caused painful inflammation. Later that year she discovered she was pregnant again. Her health issues caused no problems in the pregnancy.
However, when her son, Mack, was born, he was very sick. He spent his first week of life in the intensive care unit with respiratory problems. All the while, Sarah’s suffering grew worse. The autoimmune flares kept her bedridden with pain. Infections took over her weakened body, and no antibiotics could help her.
In her world of pain, unable to focus on a page of a book, Sarah discovered audio scripture. Through her first miscarriage, she had a CD of scripture verses set to music by Seeds Family Worship that she played over and over, hoping to find relief from the pain of her baby’s passing. The audio scripture was found through the YouVersion Bible app. God led her to scripture during suffering once again. She says, “For me, being a counselor, I can’t use my counseling theories. They are limited. “In our darkest moments, the only thing that is powerful enough is God’s Word.”
After Sarah’s encounter with God through scripture, both she and her husband, Ty, felt convicted by one simple truth: People everywhere need the Word of God. Ty says, “We truly believe in the Word and its transforming ability, and we want that. We’ve seen that in our lives and continue to see that.”
Slowly over time, both Sarah and her son, Mack, have improved steadily. Early in her recovery, Sarah came across a blog post by author Ann Voskamp about an Oral Bible Storytelling project in Asia nicknamed the Esther Cluster. The project focuses on women who suffer neglect and abuse. “God worked in my heart and brought to mind the times when I had felt broken and sick and how much His Word had meant to me,” Sarah says. “There is not any hope when you are suffering that intensely — He is the only thing that really makes it worthwhile. I want people to know about the hope that we have because they suffer so, so much there.”
This year at IF:Gathering 2017, we are partnering with The Seed Company, an organization that believes Bible translation leads to life transformation. Their mission is to accelerate scripture translation and impact for people without God’s Word through Great Commission partnerships. They also believe strongly in sharing the gospel through oral stories where people do not have access to the Bible. Learn more about our partner this year and how you can be a part of making the gospel accessible and heard.