MC Canada welcomes Sarah Wood as cross-cultural intern

RJC graduate will spend six months in Thailand, serving with Tom and Christine Poovong




Left: Sarah Wood. Right: Alive Church in Loei, Thailand. (Photos supplied by Wood and Jeanette Hanson.)

Sarah Wood is excited to travel to Thailand to serve with Witness workers Tom and Christine Poovong and the Friends of Grace Church Association network.

“I know there will be a lot of changes and a lot of things to get used to, that's for sure, but I'm excited and I feel ready for change,” she says.

The seventeen-year-old from Rosthern, Sask., will work for six months as a cross-cultural intern for Mennonite Church Canada International Witness.

“To live into the reality of a global family of faith, we need not only to mentor but also to be mentored by our international partners,” says Jeanette Hanson, director or International Witness. “These internships provide a way for young people to be influenced in their faith formation in ways that can’t happen in their home culture. This is a gift given to us by the global church.”

Wood graduated in June from Rosthern Junior College. She was born and raised in Rosthern and attends Eigenheim Mennonite Church.

Wood arrives in time for the Oct. 21 opening of Alive Church in Loei, built recently for a congregation that is part of the Friends of Grace network. She will teach English to children in grades one to five at Narada Kindergarten School, a small private school beside the church and stay at a guest house with one of the other teachers. Kachen and Malika Keawkem, her hosting parents, own and operate the school. Wood will stay until March 2023.

Besides meeting new people and experiencing a different culture, Wood is also excited to put her faith into action.

“I know it's very common for Mennonites to ‘walk the walk.’ Essentially actually do it. I've seen that growing up in my church and in my grandparents, parents,” she says.

Wood’s mother travelled to Indonesia with Mennonite Central Committee’s SALT program as a young adult. Sarah’s grandparents, Harry and Marianne Froese, also served in Taiwan with Commission on Overseas Mission (Witness predecessor), when their children were elementary-school age.

“I really look up to (my grandparents). They're very inspiring to me. And I just thought why not now?” says Wood.

While she is excited to go to travel Wood does anticipate challenges. Not knowing the local language and missing her friends and family come to mind right now. She looks forward to visiting with Hanson, when she visits Thailand in January and brings familiar faces with her: a learning-tour group, including people from Rosthern, from January 12 – February 5.

Donations to help pay for Sarah’s expenses are gratefully accepted through any of the regional churches of Mennonite Church Canada, or by e-transfer to Donations received in excess of costs for this internship will be used for ministry in Thailand.


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Katie Doke Sawatzky