Alumni On Campus Spotlight: An Interview With Sarah Komarabathuni
Sarah Komarabathuni (nee Pollock) graduated in 2009 from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. During her time at SIU, Sarah came to Christ through the Chi Alpha ministry on campus. God has since taken her on a multi-state journey that has brought her to several different Chi Alpha ministries. From 2011 to 2013, she served on staff at the University of Arizona in Tucson. In 2013, she married her husband Rakesh.
After serving just under a year at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Sarah moved to Texas, and was on staff at the University of Texas-Austin from 2015 until 2018. Now, Sarah has returned to Arizona, alongside Rakesh and their two children, Angelina (3) and Jeremiah (1). Sarah shares how Chi Alpha changed her life and how God used her marriage as a bridge to reach international students.
Describe the impact that Chi Alpha had on you as a student.
Chi Alpha had a tremendous impact on my life as a student. When I entered the college campus, I was empty, insecure, and running from things that had ensnared me into a life of overwhelming sin. A coworker invited me to Chi Alpha (thinking that I was already a Christian). When I entered the Chi Alpha church for the first time, I knew that there was more to God than I had experienced because I felt His presence for the first time and the Word of God was preached ALIVE.
Previously, I thought that God was far off and I couldn’t imagine what it would take to be in right standing with Him. In Chi Alpha, I met staff and students who were genuine in their character and relationship with Christ, and this showed me that I too could know God personally. Through Chi Alpha, I met Jesus and my eternity changed. My life changed!
How has being married to Rakesh helped you with respect to building relationships with international students?
My experience in Chi Alpha, loving and working with students from all over the world, prepared me for my marriage to an international. I learned so much from my adventures with internationals that Rakesh and I (by the grace of God) missed all of the difficult cross-cultural situations that would normally surface in an international marriage. I had already lived his culture in ministry to internationals before marriage (Rakesh is also a very adaptable and loving person!).
I feel that being an international couple has given us more favor with internationals. When we meet internationals for the first time, and they see an international couple, they really let their guards down. They become curious.
How has your return to the University of Arizona been going so far?
We started the semester with only three students this year but felt led to have a welcome barbeque. We had a little over 20 new students! If it wasn’t for the Chi Alpha alumni and help from the church, we wouldn’t have been able to do this event with excellence. We had about 15 volunteers who set up tables, prepared food, and did so much more. We deeply appreciate and love them.
What advice and wisdom do you have for alumni who have a heart to reach the universities for Christ?
We have only a short time down here so pray and contact a campus leader. Ask how you can help. Even though you’re an alumnus, Jesus still has a place for you to serve, love, and disciple. As a student, I LOVED meeting with my discipleship leader who was a wife, mom, and full-time marketplace worker. I desired learning from someone who had walked in life ahead of me (Titus 2:3-5).