Finding My Way: Women of Vision Leadership Gatheringby Christine Chestnut, WOV Chicago
A week ago today, at this moment Pacific Time, I was riding in a dark and massive suburban driven by a tiny Asian-American woman who I adore. With her seat pulled as near to the steering wheel as you can get, she wielded that massive vehicle deftly through the neighborhood in Bellevue where we were staying heading us toward the freeway and then south to Federal Way, WA. Kim stretched out her long legs behind Tracy and we chattered with excitement about the upcoming events of the day. We joked about “fan girling” when Rich Stearns came to speak with us that morning and Tracy wondered if he’d autograph her arm. Even in our excitement and anticipation of the day ahead I soaked up all I could outside my window. I had been stunned by the beauty of this place. The lush green trees stood tall and regal everywhere I looked. Several times we drove along tree lined roads to have a view break open in front of us of a valley and sky that would take me by surprise. That morning we had awakened to cloud cover and darkness and as the sky lightened we could take in the view of Lake Washington with its ring of mountains and clouds resting like a soft blanket on their peaks. It was beautiful and I found peace and calm in my heart.
We arrived at the beautiful, tree-saturated campus of World Vision in Federal Way and were ushered inside to a large conference room with windows looking out to a lush green courtyard of sorts. We started our day with a beautiful and worshipful devotional from a WOV sister in the Austin chapter. Her devotion set the tone for the whole day reminding us that we were on Holy Ground and of Mordecai’s words to Esther “…and who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” During the morning World Vision staffers shared what was happening within the organization; they shared new ideas and programs and they shared and celebrated what has happened in Women of Vision over the past year. While numbers never tell the whole story, here are a few that give us a picture of what is happening through willing hearts serving our King: as a whole Women of Vision (WOV) raised 2 million dollars in the last year. We, as a whole, hosted 500 events and saw 257 children sponsored. We also engaged 2500 donors, 850 of which were new donors to World Vision. How awesome. God is so good.
Well, we did behave ourselves when Rich came to speak to us (we began to call him just Rich with affection after he shared with us). It was interview style and allowed for conversation instead of prepared speech. He was honest and humble and his passion for World Vision and the people of the world shone through. Having met him I think he would have been amused and humored Tracy had she asked for his autograph on her arm. He had a wonderful and often self-deprecating sense of humor. He shared a magnificent quote from Mother Theresa that speaks to measuring success by obedience to God and not by whatever standard the world holds. Then he went on to share about a new vision that he feels God is laying on his heart to address the physical and spiritual needs of the 50 Fragile States (so deemed by the OECD) around the world. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) states in the forward of its 2014 report on Fragile States that these countries “will be home to more than half the world’s poor after 2018.” Later in the report they state that by 2030 two thirds of the world’s poor will find their homes in fragile countries. Thirty one of the Fragile States fall in the 10/40 Window comprising a large number of unreached people groups. I share all of these numbers so that you can see why Rich feels this is the future work of World Vision. It is where the Biblical command to take care of the poor, orphans and widows and the Great Commission intersect. And I couldn’t agree more.
Oh Father God, maker of all creation, Creator of the Universe, King of all kings, Redeemer and Friend: I ask that your gracious and benevolent hand be on your servants at World Vision and all those who are serving you to bring light and the good news to people around the world. Strengthen them, empower them, and use them as your mighty sword against the darkness. I love you, I worship you, and I sing praise to your Holy Name. In Jesus name, Amen.
This blog originally posted at Finding My Way.