where in the world is sarah malone?
By Kenton Kersting
ELIC, English Language Institute/China, based in Fort Collins, Colorado, seeks to follow the mandate to go and teach. From small beginnings in 1982 ,with six teachers fielded in the nation of China, ELIC has grown to 514 people serving in five countries in 2009—China, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia and Vietnam.
Overseeing operations for ELIC on the other side of the Pacific for the past five years is Sarah Malone, ELIC’s Asia Vice President. Malone, a member of Bethel Free Will Baptist Church on the outskirts of St. Louis in South Roxana, Illinois, comes from a family with FWB ties going back three generations. Included in her genealogy are six Free Will Baptist pastors. Four younger cousins are pastors as well.
Malone graduated from Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, Tennessee, with a heart for the nations. “I had a burden for the world. I was open to go but had no peace to go,” she said. She waited for that peace for nine years, working as a primary and middle school teacher in South Roxana. “Then,” Malone said, “in January of 1992, the Father said ‘Go. Now’s the time.’”
Malone informed the school’s principal that she would not return in the fall and began looking in earnest at different agencies to fulfill this call. Having trained in education and aware that God’s had gifted her with teaching skills, she looked for her most obvious connection to the world—to go abroad as a teacher. Initially, however, the doors closed. Then, in a seemingly insignificant connection that was divinely orchestrated, Malone was introduced to ELIC. What started as a telephone call to inquire about the legitimacy of the organization on behalf of others, ultimately resulted in a 16-year commitment to the agency.
After learning about ELIC, Sarah applied, determine to walk through the open door until it opened further or closed. Early in May 1992, Malone received word she had been accepted to ELIC. As is her practice, she took the matter to the Father, seeking His direction, and late in the month she found peace with a decision to commit to ELIC for the upcoming school year.
That left her with only five weeks to raise the necessary financial support to begin her first 10 months in China as a teacher. The daunting mountain was moved by the “faith promises I had from the Father,” and in August, Malone boarded a plane headed to China.
Her departure in 1992 came during an uncertain time in China’s history. “My family was supportive,” Malone indicated, “but releasing me and saying goodbye was difficult for them.”
Malone’s initial assignment was to a school in the capital city; she served as an English teacher for two years before moving across town to spend six years in two different stints at another university in Beijing.
Early in her tenure, ELIC leadership recognized Sarah’s administrative abilities, and she was asked to serve in member care. For four years, Malone served 30 teachers at schools in Hebei and Shandong Provinces in China. In the ensuing years, her responsibilities expanded to include serving the teachers in Cambodia and Laos, while still teaching English courses in Beijing.
Then, in 2001, Sarah was asked to consider taking on the responsibility of the newly created position as Asia Vice President, overseeing operations of the organization on the Asia side and answering to ELIC’s president in America. This was a particularly challenging request because it meant surrendering the classroom, but more importantly to Malone, it meant surrendering the daily opportunities to connect with and speak truth into the lives of students.
Once again, God administered grace to Malone as she followed the leading of her heavenly Father in pursuing His new direction for her. She has been blessed to mentor and encourage former students and friends. “It has been a gift to me that the Father has continued to give opportunities to touch the lives of those around me. You just can’t out give our Father. Even in what we might see as our sacrifice, He turns around and blesses in ways we never expect.”
Malone humbly acknowledges her skills as God-given and quickly gives credit to God for her gifts in serving ELIC and for the organization’s success in the field. “It’s a matter of walking in obedience, and the Father has given increase,” she said with a smile.
About the Writer: Kenton Kersting serves as a teacher with ELIC. Anyone interested in teaching English in colleges and universities in Asia can receive more information from Charolette Tallent: email@example.com.