My most recent book, “Where the Wind Leads: A Refugee Family’s Miraculous Story of Loss, Rescue, and Redemption,” is the remarkable real-life account of the Chung family, who fled from South Vietnam when it fell to the communists after the Vietnam War. Where the Wind Leads is an incredible story of faith, endurance, and what it means to be truly American.
You may wonder why I take the time to write books like my fictional Bug Man series or a memoir like “Where the Wind Leads.” After all, writing is a time consuming and mentally exhausting process, and you know if you receive our monthly newsletters how busy we already are traveling and speaking. I’ve been following reader reviews of “Where the Wind Leads” posted on Amazon.com, and they do a better job than I could of explaining why I take the time to write stories.
- Stories capture our imaginations and stick in our minds
“This is an incredible historical memoir of a family’s journey to America. Eloquent, enchanting, excellent. I couldn’t put it down, nor could I stop thinking about the book. What does it mean to have wealth, only to lose it? Is there anything more important than family? How is our spirit tested when basic human needs like food, shelter, and clothing are scarce?”
- Stories can connect with us on a deeply personal level
“Couldn’t put it down. Wept the whole way through. Vinh’s personality really shows throughout the narrative like he’s just sitting next to you talking.”
- Stories have the power to move us in ways that lectures don’t
“The amazing story of how World Vision (Stan Mooneyham) had the inspired audacity to try to save the unwanted refugees from Vietnam is both humbling (I could have/would have been one of the complacent ones) and inspiring (I want to not be idle while injustice and suffering are rampant). I want to be part of such an audacious organization.”
- Stories help us understand the experiences of others
“I have to say that this autobiography has had a major impact on how I view refugees and helped me to realize how important it is for us to lift them up in respect, dignity, and honor. Jesus first and foremost would have made it a priority to care for people like refugees. We take so much for granted and so easily look down on those who don’t speak English, look different than us, dress strangely and are dirt poor. We simply don’t understand them. Read this book and you will see yourself in their shoes.”
- Stories help us understand ourselves
“My wife is Asian, and my children are bicultural. I have a wonderful, if highly unusual, family. Amazingly, this book actually helped me understand my own children’s view of the world, something one might not think possible since my marriage is strong after nearly 25 years; how could this guy teach me anything I didn’t already experience?”
- Stories can go places that sermons can’t
“Regardless of the religious faith you claim, you need to read this book to see what Vinh’s God did for him. If not to tears, it will bring you to an inarguable realization of what this great God is capable of.”
Perhaps the best way to answer the question, “Why do you bother to write stories?” is simply that Joy and I are committed to changing lives in every way we can—and stories are one powerful way to do it.