An Amazing Journey of 20 years

by Kevin Chiu, Chief Executive Officer of World Vision Hong Kong

20 years ago, on 1 September 1996, I began working at World Vision Hong Kong.

It was all new to me. My last job was with a bank, working in Central. I had struggled if it was a sensible move. I prayed a lot. My wife and close friends supported. I thought I would try two, maximum three, years. To my surprise, it is now 20 years and it has been an amazing journey!

I had graduated with business degrees and was quick with numbers. I did marketing and finance jobs and fared rather well. I was not venturous by nature. I did not even travel much.

Understanding and caring for the poorest and disaster victims was totally new to me.

I had never visited poor communities and came face to face with poor children – be it in China, or North Korea, or India, or Nepal, or Ethiopia, or Mozambique, or Burundi, or Mongolia, or Somalia...

I had never touched a child dying of hunger, or malaria, or earthquake.

I had never learnt how to comfort a mother whose children were carried off by the tsunami.

I had never been so terrified by big aftershocks.

I had never gone to areas hit by earthquakes, floods, snowstorms, wars, tsunamis, cyclones, famines, droughts... I went anyway, rather timidly. I witnessed sufferings in many forms – homes collapsed, communities flattened, children malnourished, mothers despaired, hopes trashed. (And often, I felt despaired too!) But I also felt and found pockets of strength, here and there, in the eyes of some faces, in the hands of our staff on the ground. Over the years, the poor and needy became my teachers, showing me so much about life and living, about patience and prayer, about sharing and simplicity, about family and friendship.

I had never known the quiet generosity of our city, especially the average mass. I did not know how to ask people for charity money and thus did it clumsily – simply telling and sharing what we knew about the needs of the poor and victims, asking people to help and give. And people did, many chipping in, big and small, and sometimes overwhelmingly – for example, during the Asian Tsunami in 2004 and the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008. The loyal partners, the tireless volunteers, the faithful donors, and the committed staff often kindled and rekindled the fire and hope in my heart.

I had never known the deep joy of sharing and giving.

I had never known I could survive this long and do this for 20 years.

God is amazing – He has empowered me to overcome my cowardice. It has been an amazing journey of 20 years.

Today, I still often feel very inadequate and timid for the challenges and tasks before me. My assurance is simply God's promise: "My grace is sufficient for you."

Thank you for your partnership in the journey.

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