Introducing Sarah Dawson…
Sarah has been Evangel Home’s Executive Director on January 1, 2019. Until then Gerre Brenneman was at the helm. Since the change, we thought it would be good to get to allow others to get to know Sarah on a more personal basis. To do so, she and Gerre met for a question and answer time. If there are questions you would like to ask, please call Gerre at 559-264-4714 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q – How long have you been connected with Evangel Home?
A – Since the summer of 1997 when I came as an intern through a local urban ministry. It might sound kind of dramatic, but that experience felt like a dream come true. When I was in high school, I wanted my parents to build an extra room onto the house so that we could give a woman and child a second chance. So when I came here it was like a dream come true—not the exact thing but the same heart for others.
Q – Did anything really impress you during your internship?
A – Oh yes! I remember very clearly one day during chapel. Everyone was singing so enthusiastically and so off key. But they were so sincere that it was just a beautiful time of worship.
Q – In what other ways since that time has God been preparing you to lead Evangel Home?
A – Well, I came back here in 2016 as the night house manager which gave me another perspective, and before that I completed my counseling degree and worked with at-risk youth and their families. I also volunteer as a chaplain at juvenile hall.
Q – I remember when you worked as a flight attendant!
A – Yes. Even that comes in handy now. I learned to say no and to speak the truth even when it’s hard. It was really a fantastic job and it highlighted my gift of hospitality. Sarah Dawson
Q – How do you define hospitality?
A – It’s mostly about making people feel comfortable and safe—things so important at Evangel Home.
Q – When did you first think about becoming Executive Director?
A – At our staff retreat last year when you asked us where we saw ourselves in a few years. I didn’t think about your job, but on the ride home you and I talked for more than an hour about just exactly what the job is and I began to wonder if I would be good at it.
Q – Sarah, I never really thought about retiring until that day last fall when you came into the office and said, ”Just what would it take to have this job?” Seemed to me that was God sending someone to be trained, so I appreciate your courage.
A – Well, I needed to know just what you do just in case that was God’s plan.
Q – Is there anything on that list that concerns you?
A – Mostly decisions that negatively affect people’s lives— like dismissing a resident or a staff member. But I’ve already had to dismiss residents, so I’m halfway there. Through all of this I am overcoming fear and learning to trust where He takes me. I want to always be in a place where I am listening and obeying God and not chickening out of the hard stuff. “But I chose to pray instead.”
Q – What are you most looking forward to?
A – Being able to build a team and see people do things they’ve never done before—staff, residents and me! I love to get people connected and engaged with each other and see them bloom when they are doing something they love and are good at. That’s one of the things I see at Evangel Home and I’m so excited to be a bigger part of that process.
Q – One more question, future Executive Director. What is a favorite or guiding Scripture?
A – Galatians 5:16 and 25: “But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” I recently had to talk with several women who were being very rude and uncooperative. I wanted to just be done with them and dismiss both because they were bothering everyone. But I chose to pray instead. His words were much kinder than mine and brought much more peace.