Tributes to Sarah: A life of love that shone radiantly in God’s work

Sarah Katherine Tai
Sarah Katherine Tai

Family and friends of Sarah Tai (nee Reynolds) remembered a ‘practical and energetic’ woman who brought blessing to the lives of many around the world at her funeral service at Glascar Presbyterian last Saturday.

Sarah died peacefully at her Banbridge home on Wednesday, January 13 after an illness.

She was dearly-beloved wife of Timothy, much-loved daughter of Jennifer and the late Roy, and loving sister of Zelda, Gemma and Charlotte.

Born in April 1985, Sarah attended Glaskermore Primary School, followed by Banbridge Academy.

Her minister, Rev Raymond McKibbin said: “Faith for Sarah was a normal part of home life.

“In her younger days she attended worship here regularly, as well as Sunday school and youth fellowship. She was also an officer in Loughbrickland GB”.

Sarah trained as a teacher at Stranmillis College, graduating with a first class honours degree in 2007.

She worked as a substitute teacher for a short while before applying to work with Metro ministries in New York, a post that would see her teaching underprivileged children and teenagers in Harlem and Brooklyn and also running Sidewalk Sunday School.

“It was long hours and difficult work,” said Rev McKibbin, “but Sarah loved it and she loved the kids.

“She had been to Uganda and Canada before with PCI mission teams, but was astounded at the poverty in the richest nation on the earth.”

It was during her time with Metro Ministries that Sarah met Timothy Tai, from Malaysia and they announced their engagement in 2011.

Sarah returned home in January 2012 and began planning her wedding with her dad, Roy, but the family were rocked by his sudden and unexpected passing in May 2012.

Sarah and Tim married in October, however their joy was soon dampened when Sarah fell ill the following month.

“Sarah’s first reaction was not ‘why me?’ but rather ‘How can we serve God now in Malaysia?’” said Rev McKibbin. “That was Sarah, always thinking of God’s kingdom and the work of it.”

Undeterred, the couple began youth work in Glascar Presbyterian Church, out of which was born ‘Ignite’.

“Malaysia’s loss was our gain,” said Rev McKibbin.

“Ignite by name but also in reality. They ignited a fire in the hearts of our young people and also the hearts of the young married and singles.

“Sarah loved sunsets,” he continued, “she has been like the sun, burning and shining radiantly for God. Her sun has set - it is not gone, but only dropped below the horizon to shine on in another land.”