Mark Radel and Sarah Wdowiak during a mud fight after a big rain in 2006

Ending Up Where I Intended to Be

By Sarah Wdowiak

On the walls of the house I’ve written, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.” This was and still is true for me. Looking back on the almost 10 years since my summer in Salyersville, I can mark those hot, loving, laugh-filled months as a major turning point in my life. I was a business major at UD and I remember the day I told my parents that I was going to forego a summer internship at a marketing firm in order to live in a small house that did not have indoor plumbing with fourteen other people in the hills of Appalachia. They were confused and a bit concerned but didn’t hesitate to support my decision, which maybe turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.

My time in Salyersville was spent laughing and loving as so many others can attest to. It was also a time for me to begin to learn to slow down and accept things that were out of my control as well as how to love even when you’re angry. These are lessons I don’t think everyone is fortunate enough to learn in life. I will be forever grateful for them because they have helped me live a better life.

After I made the decision to live in Salyersville for a summer, my life changed. I decided that I wanted to volunteer when I graduated from UD. This decision led me to two and half wonderful years living and teaching in a small community in Karonga, Malawi, Africa; a place that gets hotter than the hills of Kentucky if you can believe that. Malawi helped me realize that I have a gift for teaching others. This realization led me to teaching for a year and a half in Shanghai, China. Shanghai helped me realize that I not only have a gift for teaching, it is my true passion. There is little I love more than teaching young children. From there I decided to earn my master’s degree in elementary education and teaching English as a second language. This is the dream! It’s taken me a while to figure out what my dream was, but this is it. I’ve finally done it and I honestly believe the path that led me here was the decision to live in this tiny house in the hills of Appalachia. So like I said before, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”

Sarah Wdowiak  UDSAP '06

Previous Post

Learning through Relationships

by Lauren Farrell  UDSAP '04

I grew close to many of the families that attended day camp and teen center. Their immediate unconditional love and acceptance taught me what relational ministry is all about. It is funny, you think you are going to help the people there, and you end up taking away so much more than you could ever give.

Read More
Next Post

A Wild Summer

by Karen "Smitty" Smith Crawford

I was an UDSAP '97 member and it was a wild summer!  I think we had to replace the brakes on all 3 vans at least once!

Read More