The Importance of Storytelling

Written by: Rosanna Sainez

Why Storytelling?  


What comes to mind when you think of storytelling? Is it the funny story your friend told you the other day? Is it a TED talk you listened to? Was it a short novel you read? Or is it reading a blog post, like this one? When thinking about what storytelling means, I had to simplify some reasons to why it is important to humanity. Here are my reasons:

  1. Lets us connect with human beings

  2. Our brains become more engaged and active

  3. Opens our minds to different perspectives

  4. Illustrates an individual's character, personality, and passions

  5. Lets us relate to one of our existing experiences (We are all searching for meaning am I right?)

I love storytelling. I love storytelling specifically because it can depict someone's personality just the way they tell it. Each person can tell it differently either theatrical, comical, philosophical, reserved, or in extreme detail. Everyone has a story so let me start off by telling you mine.

The Storyteller: Who am I?

My name is Rosanna Sainez, I am 21 years old, from San Francisco, California. I am a senior at APU studying Psychology. Other than serving, I am very passionate about holistic living and how food is thy medicine. Some of my favorite things include whipping up new healthy recipes, running, plants, museums, the beach, and investing in friendships.  

When I was little my mom read to me a children's storybook called, “Love You Forever.” In case you are not familiar, it is about a mother's unending love and care for her son as he grows up. However when the mother gets old and is unable to care for herself, the roles reverse and the son cares for his mom. So why is a children's storybook so significant to this topic? It is because it gives meaning. In one way or another a story gives meaning. It can reflect on a person's experience, relate with an existing experience, or inspire a person in what they want to experience. As being a part of the Center for Student Action (CSA) we believe in sharing stories. I currently work in the CSA as a marketing intern where I have the privilege to not only listen but write about people's stories.

Even as a student leader there are still many doubts, fears and setbacks. Spring of 2017, I was doubtful in going on a Mexico Outreach trip. I was sitting with my discipleship group leader at the time outside of Cougar Walk and I remember contemplating whether I should go on the trip or be with my family. She simply just told me to risk it, “What's the harm in going! is there going to be a negative outcome?” The answer was no. What fills the brain with doubt is being uncomfortable with the unknown. Well guess what, I decided to go to Mexico, on the Women's Prison team and that's when my heart first cracked. I imagine it like this. Each time I get involved with service I am reminded how much I love knowing people's stories. My heart breaks but mends back together with each new experience, which opens up my eyes to what God sees. This trip opened the door to my passion for serving, which lead me to future CSA opportunities.


Summer of 2018,  I decided to apply to an Action Team where I got placed on a team to Senegal, Africa. Would you believe after a year of leadership in the CSA office that I went through the same pattern of doubt and fear. Yup, I did. However, I had to remind myself of God's provision through those past experiences which helped me trust him more with this new opportunity. I would love to explain my whole trip in detail, but then this blog would be ten pages long. However, if I were to describe to you what I learned through my experience, I would tell you that God showed me what it means to be valued, through the people of Senegal and his own earthly creation.

Myths of Storytelling

When it comes to trips overseas, or mission trips in general people typically think they have to be “called” by God, or that “the call” is for the experienced. Wrong! I was sitting with my coworker Jack Struiksma on a Friday afternoon and I asked him if there was a significant moment where he felt “called” to lead an action team. With words of wisdom he simply just said, “It wasn't a matter of calling for me, it was just a matter of God capturing my heart and through that he developed my passion to serve His kingdom.” Wow, you could not have said it any better Jack.

In my experience I was exposed to ministry before I knew God was leading me to serve. Each experience is a risk, but it is just another opportunity to create another story. Think about it as developing your own storybook. When you look back at your life, what would you have wanted it to be filled with?

The reason why I tell my story is because I believe that even leaders are broken, have doubts, and are still fearful when it comes to getting involved in ministry. Those human instincts will not always go away in life, but it is opportunities like these that let you trust in God, and stretch you away from the uncomfortable. Ask any one of us in the CSA, we will tell you the truth. Stay tuned to hear more transforming stories that happen through our office.

Our Core Values

Written by: Matt Browning

The Center for Student Action at APU takes seriously the challenge to motivate and activate every student to be a part of an international or intercultural experience before they graduate.  The people, programs, policies, and services within the Center have a clear purpose: To help students understand and ACT on the claims of Christ that we believe we can change the world.  The guiding principles that drive the Center serve to ensure that the mission, vision, and purpose of the Center continue to be lofty, responsible, challenging, and God-honoring. The following is a list of 12 Core Values that we hold as a branch of the university, and as Christ followers. May these help you to understand us as we embrace the people of God both locally and globally.

  • We are educators. We have a responsibility to educate students. We do this generally outside the classroom, but nevertheless, we see ourselves as helping students ask good questions and find the truth about God and His world. This is our responsibility as people of the Cross.

  • We know that nobody wins until we all win. The core of the Center for Student Action is that we are stronger together than separate. Our programs vary some but our mission to challenge students to responsible action is the same. We will do what it takes to make every person and part of the Center better together.

  • We adopt a with not for mission mentality. We do not enter other cultures as North Americans that have answers that can “fix” situations. We are learners first and seek to enter new opportunities as learners, as servants, and as partners.

  • We will be relentless in challenging students to be a part of the programs in the Center. We will always work to get as many undergraduate students as possible to have an intercultural experience before they graduate.

  • We believe in creating responsible disequilabration. We will challenge students to think new and differently about themselves, God, culture, and the world, but we will always point them back to the truth of Scripture.

  • We value the seed as much as the bouquet. We value thoughtful, ongoing reflection as much as we do measurable “outcomes” as part of the experiences we challenge our students with. We will not know, this side of eternity, what the experiences we offer students will do and we are comfortable not knowing.

  • We believe that Everyone Matters. Our world would be a better place if we really believed everyone matters and acted on that belief. We commit to practicing the Royal Law of “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (James 2:8) and will seek to never commit the sin of partiality. We acknowledge that everyone is our neighbor.

  • We believe that creating a “Responsible Revolution” is one of our ultimate dreams within the Center. We desire to create such a sense of faith in action that, as a community, we will “revolt” against what the world says is success and replace those ideas with thoughts more aligned with Christ.

  • We believe that People of the Cross must have an active faith. We will constantly look for ways to challenge our students to not just hear the Word but act on what the Word says (James 1:22).

  • We hold the value that everyone has something to contribute to God’s work around the corner and around the world. We will take responsible chances on anyone that shows a desire to take the challenge to serve. No one is too messed up to serve.

  • We value cultural competence. We will look for ways to help students understand the hallmarks of a culturally competent person and put those values into practice daily.We are an office and a team of people that will, within reason, always look for ways to make a good idea or program happen. We want to empower students and staff to dream out loud and do our best to make those dreams come true. We will do our best to say “how can we make this work” rather than “this will never work”.