By Michelle Chun
World Vision Malaysia
I joined World Vision Malaysia nearly two weeks ago, fresh-faced and eager to start working after a few months off work (I knew I had to start doing something soon as I was beginning to imagine the sound of fingers tapping away on keyboards around me). Having heard so much about World Vision and the incredible work it does in so many communities, I was excited to begin.
But let me backtrack a little. Two days before I started my first official workday, I went to hear Marilee Pierce Dunker, daughter of World Vision founder Dr Robert Pierce, tell us the story of her father. It’s hard to forget such a lady. I sat unmoving, save to wipe away tears that defiantly fell despite my strongest efforts to stay composed, as I listened to her recount the experiences Dr Bob and his family went through, the sacrifices made and sufferings endured to serve the God they loved so much.
It was humbling to listen to Marilee as she spoke, simply and in sincerity, of the hardships the Pierces had to go through as a family to fulfil the world vision Dr Bob had in his heart: to take every weary hand that’s reaching out and somehow, help that tired heart find life in all its fullness.
On that rainy Sunday afternoon, I realised World Vision is not just any humanitarian organisation seeking to tackle poverty and help people. It is a family of like-minded people desiring to show God’s love to the world in the most practical ways possible; it is, in essence, a reflection of God’s heart for people.
World Vision began in the heart of a man who had a world vision, and 64 years later, it is one of the largest relief organisations in the world with more than 40,000 staff serving in over 100 countries. ‘That’s a really big family,’ I thought. ‘And I’m going to a part of it.’
Two weeks later and I’m at my desk tapping away on the keyboard, adding my part to the quiet, steady rhythm of work around me. Finding my place in an entirely new field has brought with it a melange of emotions as I try to hold tight to confidence, embrace change and discover the joy of being in an organisation so dedicated to serving God and people. I know that any work done here is never in vain, and that’s exciting.
The scale of work being done by World Vision is immense; we have assisted over 20 million people through our emergency relief and developmental efforts around the world. Everything is so practical: digging wells, stocking school bags, constructing proper piping systems for clean water, teaching parents how to look out for their children’s well-being, ensuring children go to school, introducing entrepreneurial skills to families; the list goes on.
But as a support office staff, I don’t really get my hands dirty. I’m not out in the field, sweltering under the sizzling heat as I dig a well alongside a farmer or struggling to keep warm in the bitter cold. I don’t need to swat away mosquitoes every few minutes or ride on rickety motorbikes through muddy hills to bring healthcare supplies to a tiny village. It’s easy to lose sight of my purpose, and I’m only two weeks in.
I’m learning every day to bring meaning to my work, to have an open heart willing to see beyond my horizon and know that all over the world, World Vision staff are all part of one great orchestra bringing comforting notes of life to a silent, hurting world. And the God we love so dearly and want to serve faithfully stands in front of us, holding the conductor’s baton and weaving His vision of love into our work.
That’s my first learning. From the wonderful people whose expert eyes have been trained to see and manage the organisation from a bird’s-eye view, to the field officers carrying sponsorship letters, and newfound hope, to children all over the world, each of us is a significant part of this vision. We are World Vision.