Follow Us

Sarah Buller lived a life in love – we’ll miss her

Sarah Buller, an AIM participant in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, was killed in an automobile accident on Sunday. And though they’re rejoicing in heaven, we’re all the poorer for it.  Her passing reminds us that God has called us to a road that is sometimes more than we can bear. Sarah&n…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Sarah Buller, an AIM participant in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, was killed in an automobile accident on Sunday. And though they’re rejoicing in heaven, we’re all the poorer for it. 

Her passing reminds us that God has called us to a road that is sometimes more than we can bear. Sarah set an example by following God’s call in her life and ministering to the poor in South Africa. She loved Jesus and died serving him. We can’t help but praise God for her life.

Her last blog entry a few weeks ago gives us a picture into her life:  “We work with kids in the townships and I work with babies. Life is good here. some days are more crazy then others!!! My parents just come to see me! And it was GREAT! They got to see the whole team. We went to Swaziland a country with in South Africa. I LOVED IT! My Dad got to see old friends. I’m in love.”
“In love” describes Sarah’s life well. She was in love with life and with those around her. And they couldn’t help feeling it. Recently she got a tattoo on her foot. It said love, and it had a bunch of stars around it. Each star represented one person in her family, one for mom, one for dad, and one for each of her eight siblings (four of whom are adopted). She wanted them to be with her wherever she went!
Teammate Nicole Eckenroth describes Sarah like this:
Sarah was one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She was accepting of everyone. She loved to have fun, and she had no fear. We jumped off of a bridge together, bungee jumped that is. She is a night owl. She liked to stay up later than most, and sleep in later than most.

Sarah was precious when we were in ministry. We worked together at a children’s home, with abandoned and beaten babies and toddlers. She was so good with all the kids. She wanted to be a mother so badly. She could handle toddlers better than most people.

She loved nature, and being outside. She loved the beach… and having ministry right next to the beach. She was blown away by the beauty of creation.


She was artsy… always seemed to have her camera on her… then she would photoshop them.

She loved music. She had a beautiful singing voice.
She loved youth. The youth group we worked with, Firehouse, was blessed by her. She really was able to invest in the girls… to help grow them up in Christ.

Sarah loved to worship God. Her life was worship.

I had fun with her. One night, we didn’t want to go to bed, so we sat outside in the yard. We laid in the grass star gazing, while Kevin played guitar. It was a perfect night!
Then another night, we stuck our head out the window while laying on a bed and looked at the stars… or tried to look. the whole time we couldn’t stop laughing… we were sooooo giddy!

Sarah just liked to have fun. She brought joy wherever she went. She was never negative. She loved what she was doing. She loved God and loved people.

She was amazing! And it’s so hard to think that she is not around anymore, but I know, she is in the Lord’s presence. She has no pain. She has complete and perfect joy! She is missed. But I can’t wait to see her again!

Teammate Beth Lynch wrote this about Sarah, “I think one of my favorite stories of her was when she and a few other girls drove to a lion park for the day. Sarah went into a  cage with a lion cub and he pounced on her. She came back with a torn shirt and minor scrapes on her arm and stomach. She was so excited about it! We all laughed about how when she got home she could say that when she went to Africa, she was attacked by a lion.”

“During Thanksgiving break, we went to Cape Town. We spent eight long hours in the car but it was so much fun! We goofed off and sang at the top of our lungs as we drove. That weekend we visited Table Mountain and it was the most gorgeous site any of us had ever seen.”
*                     *                        *                   *                     *                        *
The local paper in Minnesota, where she was raised, posted an article about Sarah.
If her home-going leaves us overwhelmed by sadness, we have the consolation of knowing that sometimes God loves us so much, he asks for our best. And in receiving Sarah into his loving arms, he got the best we had. 

Comments (43)

  • Buller Family,
    Just want you to know we’re praying for you…Didn’t know Sarah but can’t wait to rejoice in eternity with this beautiful woman of Jesus that everyone talks so highly of. He’s holding you all in his arms.

  • This is a total “not lean on my own understanding” thing. TRUST in the Lord. Because from my perspective, Sarah Buller is the kind of people we NEED here on the earth. My heart and prayers to her family. They’ve been entrusted with almost the most difficult pain to bear. I know they’ll find comfort that she went to Jesus with a radiant face, and a hearty “well done” from her heavenly Father.

  • “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and
    weep with those who weep.” Rom. 12:15

    We weep with family and friends as brothers and sisters of Sarah today.

  • We are very sorry for your loss and praying for you Seth and Karen. We are praying for Sarah’s family during this time of loss and grief. We can’t imagine how difficult and painful it is to lose a child, even when they know she is in the arms of her Savior. We are praying that your presence will be a comfort and strength for this family. The verse that came to me yesterday while praying was Psalm 55:6 “Oh, that I had the windgs of dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”

  • Seth, thanks for sending this. My heart is broken for this family and their loss!
    We will be praying for them, for you and Karen, the AIM staff and all who knew her and were touched by her beautiful life and ministry.

  • Wow. My heart is so broken for her family, her team, you AIM leaders. Have mercy on them all, sweet Jesus. Hold them close to Your heart.

  • Seth, we have been praying for the AIM staff, the AIM family, the Bullers, the Africa FYM team, the PE team, the Thompsons, the Vias, and the leaders of the team in PE… since receiving the first bit of information on Sunday. We are resting in what we know that we know that we know.

    We are aware of and are thankful for the balm of the Word and the comfort of the Lord that exceeds the pain of this circumstance. We are remembering that he will “provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” We know He is faithful to draw near to the brokenhearted.

    Thanks for sharing Nicole’s thoughts and thanks for the beautiful way you ended the blog.

    May God strengthen you by His spirit in your inner being. May His power rest on you. May He be glorified.

    Remembering Sarah with you; Remembering God is good; Remembering He is worthy of our trust.

  • Cynthia G (Mom to Meghan J in PE)

    My tears continue to flow. My daughter is in PE, suffering deeply from the loss of her dear friend. The Bullers are in their home, dealing with the unimaginable. Yet, God is in his heaven, loving and caring for each of us according to our needs. His love and faithfulness will sustain us, on this truth I am resting – when the tears once again flow, when I dig deep to console my daughter and allow the Spirit to speak through me, when I feel the pain & heartache of a mother so far away…

    I grieve as if for my own child. Jesus, come to us all, hold us close, whisper your presence into our hearts.

    Dear parents of the PE Team, please, if you feel led, let us strengthen each other through this blog. I, for one, need to connect and hear from you, as we all love our children through this tragedy.

    May the God of the universe cover each of you with his perfect peace.

    love & prayers to all, Cynthia

  • To Mr. And Mrs. Buller:

    Your daughter was a beautiful inspiration! It was evident to everyone that met her that Sarah was raised in a loving, God-centered home. I look back and have so many fond memories of her. I loved spending time with her and growing with her in Christ. Being on a team like the FYM team, allowed us all to grow alongside each other in such a deep way. Your daughter was becoming even more and more like Christ and I know you must have seen that. Thank you for raising such a beautiful, vibrant, young woman of God!

  • Dear dadi Seth,
    This is very sad news and my heart is broken for this family and their loss!May God will give them peace and comfort.
    We will be praying for them, for you and Karen, the AIM staff and all who knew her and were touched by her beautiful life and ministry.
    God bless You.
    Yours Son in Christ.
    Emmanuel & Sonera


    History Maker
    by delirous
    Is it true today that when people pray
    Cloudless skies will break
    Kings and queens will shake
    Yes it’s true and I believe it
    I’m living for you

    Is it true today that when people pray
    We’ll see dead men rise
    And the blind set free
    Yes it’s true and I believe it
    I’m living for you

    I’m gonna be a history maker in this land
    I’m gonna be a speaker of truth to all mankind
    I’m gonna stand, I’m gonna run
    Into your arms, into your arms again
    Into your arms, into your arms again

    Well it’s true today that when people stand
    With the fire of God, and the truth in hand
    We’ll see miracles, we’ll see angels sing
    We’ll see broken hearts making history
    Yes it’s true and I believe it
    We’re living for you

  • Sarah reached out to everyone she passed, and she touched each of our hearts greatly. I have been so blessed being able to spend these past few months with her. She lived a life of passion, living in each moment and viewing it for what it was. She never let anything get her down. Her life has challenged me to love more and given me a desire to leave a legacy like her’s. There’s a place in my heart that will always be Sarah’s, that time or place will never be able to fill. She has been such a blessing in my life and her legacy will live on.

    Know that she lived a life fully devoted to Christ and she loved with her whole heart, in everything.

    Sarah was truly Jesus to this world.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Buller,
    I didn’t know your daughter, only what I have read on this blog and the comments others have made. But I cried very hard today as I read this. I am so sorry for your family, as the mother of four small children, I can’t even imagine losing one. I want you to know my thought today was also that I truly hope and pray I can raise our children to love God and love people as Sarah obviously did. I thank you for your gift to the Kingdom in raising her and sending her out and will continue to lift up your whole family daily as you go through this time. I know there are no words for this, but I am praying hard for you.
    Heidi Landes

  • Hello, my name is Lindsay Yeager and I went to India with AIM in 2004. I didn’t have the oppertunity to know Sarah, but I still fell very connected to her and this situation.

    My heart break for her family and friends who are at home. I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to be so far away. These are extremly hard times, and I pray that you will find peace.

    Over the past few days my heart skips a beat everytime I think about the team she had to leave behind in South Africa. I was and am still so close to my team members. I can’t even imagine how hard this most be for all off you.

    These are trying times, and times that will bring many questions… and that is okay – God understands that we will question. I don’t belive that time heals wounds like this one, that is a job for Jesus alone.

    In my prayers,

  • Mark & Theresa Derrah

    Dear Mr and Mrs Bullerour hearts and prayers go out to you and your family at this time. Our daughter, Lisa (La)speaks so highly of her as a close friend and you folks blessed her so much during your recent visit. She will be dearly missed but she died doing what she loved. Love and prayers for the AIM PE team tomorrow as Sarah’s life is celebrated.

  • Mike and Nadine McHugh

    Dwight, Peggy and Family

    We were absolutely shocked to hear of Sarah’s accident and passing. Although we only met her during the Christmas Holidays, she was a true reflection of what God would like us all to be. Our hearts go out to you and pray that you can find a degree of comfort in the fact that she is with the Lord looking down on us and smiling. Death is always tough on those of us left on earth, eventhough we know she is in a much better place. Take comfort in the fact that although her life was cut short, her impact on the lives of others extended far beyond her years.

  • Mike and Nadine McHugh

    Dwight, Peggy and Family

    We were absolutely shocked to hear of Sarah’s accident and passing. Although we only met her during the Christmas Holidays, she was a true reflection of what God would like us all to be. Our hearts go out to you and pray that you can find a degree of comfort in the fact that she is with the Lord looking down on us and smiling. Death is always tough on those of us left on earth, eventhough we know she is in a much better place. Take comfort in the fact that although her life was cut short, her impact on the lives of others extended far beyond her years.

  • To Sarah’s family & friends,

    My heart aches with you during this time. I didn’t know Sarah, but I feel the sadness you must be going through. Know that you’re being covered in prayer and that family all around the world is grieving with you.

  • Dear Sarah’s loved ones,
    I did not know Sarah either but she from reading about her and seeing her picture she is a very very beautiful young woman of God who this world will greatly miss. Truly a princess on earth and now a princess in heaven. Just know in God’s family we are all one and we are lifting all of you up in prayer.

  • To Sarah’s Family and Friends,

    My Son, Tyler was in South Africa with Sarah. He was returning home due to medical reasons and in DC when he learned from his Team Family of Sarah’s passing.

    The good work that our children have done over there is amazing and the bonding that took place in such a short time is truly inspiring.

    My heart aches as a parent at the thought of surviving a child, but to know that such a young soul contributed more then most of give in a lifetime is a real legacy.

    My thoughts, prayers and gratitude are with her parents.


  • To Sarah’s love ones,
    I did not know Sarah, but just reading all the wonderful posts about her, makes me wish I had. She sounds like an amazing woman who loved to serve her heavenly Father and others with a joyful heart. I am crying as I type this,since I cannot imagine the pain all of you are experiencing right now. I thank God for her life and love for children…I can’t help but be reminded of Amy Carmichael and her love for children who had been abused.
    I will be lifting y’all up in prayer and I look forward to one day meeting Sarah in heaven.

    This poem meant alot to my mom when she lost my dad. Thought I’d pass it on.

    “The Weaving”

    My life is but a weaving
    Between my God and me.
    I do not choose the colors,
    But God works steadily.

    Often God weaves sorrow,
    And I, in foolish pride,
    Forget God sees the top
    While I the underside.

    Not until the loom is silent
    And the shuttles cease to fly
    Will God unroll the canvas
    And explain the reasons why.

    But, the dark threads are as needful
    In the skillful weaver’s hand
    As the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern God has planned.

    ~Author Unknown

  • Brenden & Dawn Anderberg

    Dear Dwight & Peggy,

    We are praying for the God of all comfort to comfort and sing over you and your family. Andrew our son is over there in PE and worked with Sarah. We have cried so many tears and are grieving with you. We are also praying for the AIM team. I am thankful that we don’t have to grieve as those who have no hope. I am thankful also that our Savior lives. And we have hope in our God who loves us with an everlasting love.

  • What a disciple. I can’t imagine her not having impacted every person she encountered through life. Would have been a blessing to know her. Interceding for family and friends. He is faithful.

  • Dear Buller Family,
    (I accidently pressed the submit button before I was ready.)Some things are hard to understand, but the Lord knows in his perfect plan for each of us. I pray that through this many more will be brought to the Lord, through her life and death. It is so good to have that peace in knowing where she is. May each of us look forward to that day when we will join her. She was a beautiful girl with a sweet spirit that touched many lives. I pray that the Lord will encourage and strengthen each of you and also all of her friends.

  • Sarah Buller truly was the definition of a person filled with the joy of the Lord. I had the privilege of spending 3 months in South Africa with Sarah during the FYM Awakening. During those three months, she enriched my life and was a blessing that I will never forget. Rarely could she be found without a beautiful smile on her face, and I have memories of laughing with her that I will treasure forever. She was joyful, crazy, funny, kind, and good. She accepted everybody just as they were, and seemed to have mastered the art of being content. Never did I hear a word of complaint from her, and she served the Lord joyfully. She really blessed my life in so many ways, and I will miss her greatly.
    Buller family, my heart goes out to you. All I can do is pray that God will hold you in the palm of His hand.

    We will miss you, dear Sarah. You were a gift from God and now we give you back. Our loss is great, but your gain is greater. You are with the Father and we hold on to that.

  • Know that we here at AIM are holding you all up in prayer. Family, friends, teammates, leadership…you’re all on our hearts and minds and we constantly lift you up to the Father in this. You are loved and cared for.

  • Isaiah 57

    “The righteous perish, and no-one ponders it in their heart; devout men (and women) are taken away, and no-one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil”

    God’s love surpasses ours.His love is eternal and His plans are to be trusted.Father wanted His daughter home, to keep her safe. He wanted her in His house away from the troubles of the “End times”.He wanted her at her best, radiant and full of His son. He wanted to welcome her whilst her heart was burning with passion for Him.What a meeting they had when she entered heaven, what a joyeous occassion that was.

    I pray for all those that are left behind and feel a sad loss.Tell Father anything you feel is left unsaid and He will gladly pass it on to His amazing daughter, who is daily worshipping in His presence.She is there, she is now more alive than she ever was here and Jesus will tell her whats on your heart so you can lay it to rest.You will know that she hears it, you will know when Father tells her and you will know peace.

  • Dear Buller family and friends of Sarah, so many people – people you don’t even know – are praying and lifting you all up to Jesus.

  • I’ve known Sarah for a couple years and was blessed while hanging out with her especially last July at a Christian music festival. She loved singing and starting conversation with just about anyone. I have some cute pictures of her from that trip and I wish I could post them here. Anyway, She WAS artsy! I worked at the camera shop where she bought her camera last summer. I remember when she’d start coming in to find the perfect camera – she told me she was going to bring it to Africa and she was SO passionate about going! The thing I remember most about one of the times she stopped in was when she was talking about what she would be doing on her mission trip – helping children. She was SO in love with those kids she hadn’t even met yet, and was so overflowing with the Holy Spirit that it brought me to tears when she was just talking. I was bawling by the time she was done telling me about her plans. I think that’s just a testimony of how filled with God’s love that she was! It was flowing through her and I was overwhelmed with how much I felt that excitement for the Lord from her! She was a blast, always.

  • My heart, my thoughts and my prayers go out to Sarah’s family. Any words other than “i’m praying for you” would probably seem meaningless at this time. I pray God would draw closer than you’ve ever felt him during your time of loss.

    God bless you.

  • I went on a mission trip with Sarah years ago to Mexico. I loved being with and working with her. She was so special. I remember the love she had for her family. I have not kept in contact with her but I was not surprised to see she was genuinely living her life for the Lord. You could see in her that she loved her Savior. I pray for supernatural comfort to clothe her parents, siblings, and friends.

  • Lord, I pray for Sarah’s famiy and the WR family. Give each person the strength and comfort that they need for the moment.

  • I didn’t know Sarah personally but her story just really saddens me and puts tears to my eyes. I live in Sioux Falls and was just reading the obituaries when I stubbled upon Sarah Buller. I tore her column out and later looked her up online and that’s how I came to this site. I have given a donation to AIM in her honor. It makes me want to do more for the community locally if not abroad like Sarah had done. It’s as though Sarah reached out to me through the newspaper and her story ministered to me. I’ve always been a Christian but over the Winter I started questioning if God truly exists and had lost all faith but I feel my faith is restored.

    Thank You Sarah
    You’ll be missed

  • Charmain Murray Vaughn

    Dear Mr. & Mrs. Buller –

    You don’t know me and I didn’t know Sarah but my heart goes out to you in your loss.

    Doug and Linda were friends of my brother Dirk and we have just recently gotten back in touch with each other. They shared Sarah’s story with me and I wanted to write and let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    There are no words to ease your loss. And I know that time will never heal this wound but with God’s help and with the love and concern of those who grieve with you – you don’t have to travel this road alone. Know that you are all wrapped in the arms and prayers of multitudes of people who were touched by the life and love of your beautiful daughter.

    God is with you. Always.


  • Sarah was one of the funnest persons to be around, she thought many people to not let anything bring them down, worship god, and love anything around me. Thanks for everything GOD. And thank you sarah for listening to our father’s call to serve.

  • My heart and prayers go out to this young ladies’ family and friends…Sounds like she lived a life “well lived” and will spend eternity with many jewels in her crown.
    Peace to the Buller family, the AIM family and all who are touched by this senseless tragedy and loss…I guess that’s all of us…

  • I only knew Shara for a very short time. But thank the Lord that I could meet such a great representation of Jesus on earth. Shara was a wonderful girl and made any one feel loved. She will be truly missed.
    My sincere compassion to all who are suffering this loss.
    May God be your comfort in this time.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Radical Living:

Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

© Adventures In Missions. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy | RSS Feed | Sitemap