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The 18.26 Network: Serving the Church Through Vocation, With Sarah Harris

MTW’s 18.26 Network, named for the story of tentmakers Aquila and Pricilla in Acts 18:26, offers a new paradigm for missions: sending people who find secular jobs overseas to do ministry in partnership with existing MTW missionaries and national partners on the field. Vocational missionary Sarah Harris shares her heart and unique path to ministry in Santiago, Chile.

I don't know when this story started. I'm not sure if it started in September 2000 when I tore my ACL in college and made the decision to get a master’s degree in TESOL so that I could finish my basketball eligibility. Or in July 2007 when I found my heart aching at the end of an evangelistic basketball camp I led in Spain because it felt like I was leaving home. Or maybe it started in November 2017 when I asked Carl Chaplin, over a dinner of Crock-Pot lasagna, what he was working on lately and he mentioned launching the 18.26 Network. I simply said, "That sounds interesting. I'd love to hear more."

Lesson one: Be careful of Carl Chaplin's questions. Lesson two: Be careful of your answers.

I took the leap a year ago when I sent my resume to an English language startup in Santiago, Chile. Why Chile? It was never on my radar until I learned that MTW missionaries in Chile were interested in partnering with vocational missionaries. I don’t have a more exotic story than this. It sounds a bit like a whim, but my brain can’t fully comprehend God’s plans.

On a typical weekday I troop into the Santiago office of local business executives and we tackle English language usage through discussions on empathy, establishing work-life balance, the pressures of parenting in today's digital society. The lines between grammar usage and sharing life blur as we carry our conversations into the local coffee shop after class or a class comes over to make dinner on the weekend. In truth, I'm not sure where work—or ministry—begins and ends.

I’ve been blessed to connect with MTW missionaries serving in Santiago. Johan and Stephanie Van Der Westhuizen have taken me under their wing and brought me into their home and into their church. I’m included in MTW team events. I am learning how to love and serve God in Chile pretty much by watching the MTW families as they carry out their lives and work.

Sarah with Roommate

I don’t always know how God is using me. I don’t know the impact of the hours spent hanging out with university students from church. I don’t know why I get access to some of the most influential business leaders in one of the most resistant sectors to evangelical faith. I just know that God has commanded me to worship Him, and I want to do that daily while riding the metro, playing basketball in the park, seeking community, and working in Santiago de Chile.

Read about Karina Legradi's experience with the 18.26 Network in Budapest, Hungary.

Is God calling you to partner with MTW through the 18.26 Network? Visit mtw.org/1826 to learn more.

Sarah Harris, Santago, Chile, Santiago Chile Jun 18, 2019
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MTW's 18.26 Network allows people to serve in missions through vocation! Pray today for Sarah Harris, serving in Santago, Chile.

Pray for the creative outreach ministries of the Santiago, Chile, team to draw many to faith in Christ.

Pray that God would meet the needs of itinerating and long-serving missionaries, raising up their financial and prayer support.

Pray for the "Timothys" in Muslim-majority West Africa who are growing in their Christian faith and teaching others. 

Join us in praying for our efforts to plant 36 churches in South Asia by 2030. Pray for the national pastors leading churches in Muslim-majority regions. 

Pray for our single missionaries and the unique challenges they face. 

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Pray for missionaries who are struggling because their ministry feels unsuccessful. Pray they will see things from God's perspective. 

Pray for missionaries as they face challenges abroad in the midst of COVID-19 and lockdowns. 

Give thanks for our second-career missionaries who choose to serve later in life, and pray that God would raise up more. 

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