The St. John’s Seventh day Adventist church has been blessed with an active and vibrant group of youth, with a wide spectrum of talents and abilities. This article will focus on just one of our very talented young people.
Sarah Veber is a 17-year-old high school student who has grown up in the St. John’s church. Although always humble when speaking of her accomplishments, she strives to cultivate her God given talents in as many ways as possible.
From the young age of three, Sarah began her musical studies on the piano, and latter picked up the harp at age eight. She has worked hard to develop her musical abilities both on the provincial and national stages. To date, Sarah has completed over 20 Royal Conservatory of Music exams on her way to receiving a performance diploma. Even though most recently, she was recognized by the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) as the top pianist and harpist in Atlantic Canada at the RCM Grade 10 level, her musical enjoyment can also be found in sharing that talent with the church in community outreach.
For the past three years, Sarah has worked both willingly and actively as a church pianist alongside other dedicated musicians. Each year, she also works diligently with the choir to prepare the church’s annual Candlelight Christmas service; the biggest musical community outreach event of the year. Besides working in the city as a freelance harpist, Sarah also finds delight in taking her instruments to long term care facilities and charitable events to play for those who would not otherwise have the opportunity to hear a harp. In doing so, she uses her God given talents as an outreach tool. In addition to performing as a soloist, Sarah has had the privilege of collaborating with three orchestras and three youth chamber music groups.
Sarah’s abilities and experiences do not end with music. Although music is a passion, she also aims to branch out and explore other areas of interest. Most recently she had the once in a lifetime opportunity to participate on an Arctic expedition through the Students on Ice foundation. Each year approximately 100 international high school students are chosen to participate on a land and boat based expedition to the Arctic. This past summer, the route took them along Greenland’s western coast, across the Davis Strait and to the Southern area of Baffin Island.
Sarah’s eyes sparkled with excitement as she shared her journey with her church family, in a presentation, upon her return. “Each participant is challenged physically, mentally, and spiritually as they experience the different culture and the true magnificence of God’s creation. The journey helped me to pass new boundaries and grow as an individual. The whole experience was humbling, yet empowering. It brought climate change into perspective and gave me a new outlook on the importance of preserving creation.” Sarah talked about hiking to the Ilulissat ice fjord through which the Jakobshavn glacier calves thousands of gigantic icebergs each year, and about how seeing the massive ice chunks towering above the mountains reflected both the strength yet fragility of nature. “Seeing such effects of global climate change, first hand, really emphasizes the importance of sustainable living in order to protect the planet.”
Sarah also had the opportunity to hike 30 km through Auyuittuq National Park in Nunavut to the Arctic Circle. The route took the group through a winding valley surrounded by a continuous mountain chain overflowing with glaciers. Sarah reported : “Just standing amidst the grandeur brought a sweeping feeling of awe and humility.”
Sarah says, “Experiences such as these helped me to gain a more spiritual connection with nature and its significance. The expedition resulted in a deeper respect for God’s creation as I saw the consequences we as humans inflict upon the precious treasures God has entrusted us in this world. It emphasized that we are to be responsible stewards of God’s blessings. The memories created from this first hands-on experience instills a longing for preservation which has awakened and motivated me to make a difference and share what I have learned.”
What a wonderfully inspiring young lady Sarah Veber is. How very proud her parents, Paul & Denise, her brother, Joshua, and her St. John’s church family are of her, but more importantly, how proud God must be of her.
Pastor Eric Ollila says, “God has blessed Sarah with quality parents who have exercised their powers to inspire their children to put God first and to continuously develop their gifts and talents. Sarah has thus far put God first in her life, and her accomplishments are a testimony of the truthfulness of God’s Word, namely that if we improve the small amount we have been given, God will keep increasing our capacity for more and more. Her life is and will continue to be a positive testimony as long as she stays grounded in the Lord.”
Contributed by: Gail Dempsey, communications director, St. John’s Seventh-day Adventist Church