We found Sarah’s “bucket list” along with many other treasures on her iPod shortly after her death in 2017. Overwhelmed with grief in those early days, the bucket list soon faded from memory. In November of 2021 we, her parents, were finally prepared to begin working on a manuscript Sarah had written and also stored on her iPod. While going through the manuscript files on her iPod her dad, Scott, and I, Karen, once again discovered her bucket list. By that evening her three sisters, Scott and I had all tearfully yet excitedly decided to begin fulfilling as many of her bucket list items as we can as a family.
Some of Sarah’s bucket list items will be completely doable, others only partially, and some perhaps not at all. We’re not in a rush to complete them, we want to savor the times together, so it may be slow progress. If you’d like to follow along, or perhaps even do some of them as well, we’d love for you to join us on our journey of remembering and celebrating our sweet Sarah.
If you’d like to do some of Sarah’s bucket list items in honor of her, we’d love for you to. Just take a picture and share it with us here, or #SBLJourney on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll journey and celebrate her together.
Sarah Lauren Harmening was killed at the age of seventeen in a church bus crash while enroute to Gaborone, Botswana, on June 8th, 2017.
Sarah is her family’s most extraordinary surprise Christmas gift, second only to Christ Jesus himself. She was the embodiment of innocence and purity. Her precious innocent spirit loved to frolic in the fictional stories of bygone eras, her very favorite being that of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Her purity was exemplified on earth through her rich and pure love for her family and friends, but most of all her unpolluted, unwavering and relentless love for Jesus Christ, her personal Lord and Savior.
Sarah lived and breathed to know Christ and to make Him known. Her family is blessed by her prolific journaling chronicling a heart set on the relentless pursuit of Him. Sarah daily spent prolonged periods of time on the screened porch overlooking the trees basking in His presence through His Word and prayer. She lifted her prayers to Him out loud, mistakenly assuming those on the inside were unable to hear, thus blessing them with sweet music to Him that now echoes in the broken hearts of her grieving family.
Sarah was on mission to Botswana to share the love of Christ with whoever God assigned to her, but she was specifically looking forward to sharing Him with children. When anyone expressed concern about her going so very far from us, she was quick to respond full of faith, “I have prayed and I know God has called me to it, so whatever happens is within His will.”
At lunch the day before she went home to our Lord and Savior she was discussing the faith of our persecuted brothers and sisters in Egypt after the recent mass martyring. She recalled reading the entirety of Jesus Freaks and how profoundly that impacted her. She said she used to worry that she would not have the courage to stand for Him like the martyrs in the book, but now knows that it is Him who enables them and us to stand, and would do so for her as well.
Sweet Sarah took that final stand of fearless faith and surrender as she once again journaled out of the overflow of a heart surrendered to our heavenly Father and Lord Jesus Christ only moments before she stood in His presence, and she was, indeed, found faithful as she took her rank among those who previously inspired her so.