Be the Change | Sarah Strickland

Spoiled and wasteful. A life full of excess and overabundance. A life of taking things for granted. Blinded by the things that surround us.

These are words and phrases that describe the majority of the United States of America. A place I live in and the place I call home. It all hit me today, like an overwhelming wave that threatens to suffocate. I was serving at a local thrift store and saw trash bags filled to the brim with clothes. These trash bags completely filled the back room, except for a narrow pathway. Completely filled. There were so many clothes, all waiting—for who knows how long—to be priced and put out onto the floor. The office was the same, filled with boxes upon boxes, and no room to navigate. A few girls from Link Year and I spent time in the front of the store, throwing out anything from before October. We threw out printers, candles, cups, glasses, and baskets. We tossed hats and picture frames; mirrors and temporary tattoos. And I cannot explain how or why, but in that moment, everything came into focus. I saw the brokenness in Africa and the poverty in Haiti. I saw the dirt floors that children sleep on and the hunger that many humans face worldwide. I think my heart softened to the countries and people around me, and became slightly more in tune and frustrated with how wasteful Americans are.

The brokenness around me hurts my heart and makes me want to make a difference. To do something. But how? Why did we throw everything away when we could have easily taken it to a homeless shelter or given those things to people who truly had a need? I think all of this speaks of the brokenness in humanity that happened in the Garden of Eden thousands of years ago. Where Adam and Eve made the choice that God and His word weren't enough. And so brokenness became.

Genesis 3:15-19 says

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Brokenness and all that comes along with it entered the world, and as a result we see what we face today—a nation that often merely takes the things and possessions we own for granted. All the while rarely paying any attention, much less any mindful detail, to the poverty around us. The question that I myself face today, within my own conviction, goes back to a Pillar that is a founding one at Link Year- Privilege Responsibility.  How can I give back in a small way, when I am presented with opportunities and blessings that many, numerous people will never even have the leisure to consider? This thought entered my brain and weighed heavily on my heart today. What does that look like for me personally? Maybe it is sponsoring a child or going to serve somewhere. Maybe it begins with prayer and examining my life: how well I am stewarding not only my possessions but also the talents and gifts that Christ has placed upon me? While I have reached no firm conclusion, I know that I long to seek the will of God in my life and steward my privileges and blessings well. I think we often claim this mindset that there is nothing we can do, simply because we are only one, small, minute being within the enormity of God’s plan. However, change has to start somewhere, so why not begin with you and me?

Link Year Gives Back

Every year students spend the last week of their first semester serving the community. We call this week "Link Year Gives Back" and do it to help foster feelings of thankfulness and generosity while serving the place we live. Students served in more than 10 locations, including KLIFE, Woodland Hills Family Church, and Barnabas Prep. 

Take a look at some of the ways students served this week!


Students visited their local KLIFE and helped clean and organize, redecorate, and paint walls. It was great to be able to help another Kanakuk ministry!

Woodland Hills Family Church

Many students call Woodland Hills "home" on Sundays, so it was awesome to be able to go back and serve them. Students did yard work and helped make crafts for upcoming Christmas events.

Barnabas Prep 

Students spent time with our neighbors down the street, Barnabas Prep! They did landscape work, raked leaves, played games, and spent time in fellowship with Barnabas students. At the end of the week Barnabas students visited Link Year with some Christmas cookies they made for us!