Voices

From the World Vision U.S. president: The story I’ll tell

World Vision U.S. President and CEO Edgar Sandoval Sr. listens to a teenage boy share his story at a vocational training center in a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.Oka

Storytelling is at the core of humanity. Our best stories are passed down from generation to generation.

My mother often told me about watching news reels and praying, as a 10-year-old girl in Guatemala, while the world faced a historic moment of truth on D-Day. The story she told over and over made such an impression that one summer, I took my kids to Normandy, France. We looked down from the steep cliffs of Pointe Du Hoc where on June 6, 1944, American Army Rangers climbed up while Nazis shot them down. The Rangers’ mission was to begin to liberate Europe — and they did.

Tragedy turning to triumph — that’s a plot twist we love.

But it’s harder to shape a hopeful narrative in the midst of difficult times. That’s what we have been going through with the COVID-19 pandemic.

We can learn from the people of Israel, who shared a particular kind of story with their children and grandchildren. As Psalm 78:4 says, “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”

That’s also the theme of one of my favorite worship songs, “The Story I’ll Tell” by Maverick City Music. It begins with angst and doubt that feels familiar to us in 2021: “The hour is dark/ And it’s hard to see/ What You are doing here in the ruins/ And where this will lead.” 

It goes on: “Oh, but I know/ That down through the years/I’ll look on this moment and see Your hand on it/ And know You were here.”

Yes! For followers of Jesus, there is only one story: God’s faithfulness. Our choice is to be part of that story or not. To be with God or not. To serve the people He loves — or turn away.

For followers of Jesus, there is only one story: God’s faithfulness.—Edgar Sandoval Sr., World Vision U.S. president and CEO

Throughout the past year, God’s faithfulness has been especially evident in World Vision’s ministry. We see His hand of protection on us and His miraculous provision as staff responded to the needs of vulnerable people suffering crisis on top of crisis. Containing the spread of the virus in the world’s largest refugee camps. Rushing food to address the escalating hunger crisis in East Africa. Equipping communities hit by surging infections and variants. Addressing problems forcing Central American families to migrate.

God’s faithfulness has been evident in you, too, as you reached out with love and prayers for your sponsored child or families in need. The pandemic may be straining your economic security, but you refused to turn away from those Jesus asks us to love as much as we do Him.

The story I’ll someday tell of this time is still being written, but I already know that it is a story of hope. It’s about where we are placing our trust and what we did, in confidence of God’s faithfulness — helping more people than ever before.

The story I’ll someday tell of this time is still being written, but I already know that it is a story of hope.—Edgar Sandoval Sr., World Vision U.S. president and CEO

And most of all, it’s a story of joy. Even when the hour was dark and it was hard to see where things would lead — that’s when we looked and saw God’s hand. Yes, that’s when we knew that Jesus was there!

As we celebrate with loved ones this Christmas season, let’s tell our stories not for our sake but for God’s glory, testifying to the unchanging power and unstoppable love of the Miracle Worker, Emmanuel, the Prince of Peace, the name above all names … Jesus Christ!

 


Edgar Sandoval Sr. became president and CEO of World Vision U.S. on October 1, 2018. Follow him at twitter.com/EdgarSandovalSr.

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