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.