In 1975, following the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam and the resulting fall of Saigon, there was more than a decade during which the world witnessed the phenomenon of the “boat people.”
Nearly 800,000 Vietnamese refugees managed to find their way by sea to other countries, though perhaps as many as half again that number died at sea. Seven-year-old Lauren Vuong was among them. She and her family boarded a small fishing boat with dozens of other refugees and embarked on a harrowing and horrific journey that nearly ended in tragedy in the middle of the ocean when they ran out of food and water. Though more than a hundred different ships passed by their little wooden boat during their journey, only one stopped and rescued the 62 starving, dehydrated refugees aboard.
In her documentary film, Finding the Virgo, Ms. Vuong tells the story of her family’s journey to the U.S., and her personal 30-year quest to find those who rescued them in order to thank them for their kindness.
Pastor and author Andy Stanley often says that even though it’s rarely possible for one person to help everyone, you should try to do for one what you wish you could do for all. That is exactly what the captain of the Virgo did.
Would you be willing to shift your view of the world to that of one person who could really use a meal? Would you be willing to prepare that meal, or serve that meal? Would you be willing to volunteer to help LINK do what we can to make sure that a hungry person who needs a meal can have one? It means more than you know!
Small Acts of Kindness Can Mean the Difference Between Life and Death
The captain of the merchant ship Virgo made the decision to bring his ship to a stop and do something to help the people on one little boat. One might argue that his kindness was a mere drop in the ocean, but to Lauren Vuong and her family and the other 57 people on that tiny wooden boat, it was the difference between life and a future or tragedy and death at sea. What was a small act of kindness on the part of the ship’s captain meant the whole world to those refugees.
Embrace the Value of Doing
It is easy to be cynical in today’s world, to believe that most people act in their own self-interest, and that there is little hope of making the world a better place. The food insecurity that we are trying to help alleviate through the work we do at LINK is a big problem, and none of us can fix the whole thing. But if we are able to shift our perspective to that of the individual who comes to have a meal at LINK, and embrace the value of doing for one, or for a few, what we wish we could do for all, we can make a difference in the lives of people that is felt, that is genuinely appreciated and is truly meaningful.