Most teenagers don't spend their summer doing humanitarian and missionary work, but one teen from Alabama had big plans for a missionary trip to Botswana with her church group.
No one knew the tragedy that would occur before she even left the United States.
On June 8, 2017, seventeen-year-old Sarah Harmening was on the bus ride to the airport when she wrote a journal entry saying how she was feeling a little "uncomfortable" with leaving the country for such a long period of time. The entry explains that she turned to her bible for comfort when she was having these feelings, and everything changed.
After she read those verses in Peter 5 and 2 Peter 1, Harmening wrote in her journal, "Pretty much everything I read applies to me now ... I mean, how awesome is that? So mostly, I was just reminded of why I'm here and that God has called me here and He's done so for a reason. So I know He's going to do incredible things."
Her faith and her tragic accident
Earlier that day, she sent a text to her cousins saying, "We are like a wisp of smoke. We are only here for a moment and it's not about us. Life is not about us. It's about God, who is eternal, so I want to dedicate the one moment I'm here completely and entirely to him."
Not long after she wrote this hopeful, faithful letter and sent the inspiring text, her bus was involved in a horrible accident, just five minutes from the airport. According to Faith It, Harmening was the only one who passed away in the crash.
She's still influencing people for good
Although she wasn't able to change lives in Botswana like she had planned, her family is using her faith and story to provide hope to anyone who will listen and help people find God, whether or not religion is part of their life.
This seventeen-year-old was wise beyond her years. In a press conference after the incident, her mom said how "she loved the Lord with a love that was tangible."
She wanted a celebration
According to Harmening's obituary, she told her sisters exactly what she wanted her funeral to be like just in case she didn't make it back. It says, "Sarah shared with her sisters that should she not come back from this assignment she so dutifully took, that her funeral was to be nothing less than a celebration. She wants everyone to wear their favorite colors, and clarified that black is unacceptable."
As her story has been shared, it has impacted thousands. According to AL, over 1,000 people came to her funeral service wearing colorful clothing and thousands are sending prayers and thoughts to her family during this heartbreaking time.
Sarah Harmening might be gone from this Earth, but her legacy remains. Through her faith and hope, she's helping others find what brought her the most joy and happiness, which was God.