By Nathan Spencer // Sometimes, God pulls his servants in directions they are not expecting, often without warning. In these moments, God insists we put aside our fears and lean on our faith in him to direct our steps.
After his home church made the difficult decision to dissolve, Victor Wallace and his wife felt called to a new church that would push them to serve their community — an area Victor felt his former church failed to focus on. Though they did not know which church would become their new home, this mission and call to serve others was unquestionably on their hearts.
“I believe God ended that church for our benefit and his glory,” Victor said. “In 2008, we arrived at Summit, and through people there who were already connected, we heard about World Relief. We had no prior engagement with refugees before asking to become volunteers, but we took on that responsibility and owned it.”
Quickly after becoming Friendship Partners with World Relief, Victor felt the weight on his heart pulling him lift away. This was the mission he and his family were called to take part in.
“Right away, we were partnered with our first refugee family, the Tamangs, in October 2010,” Victor said. “We are still friends to the day. A few weeks ago, their son emailed me, and we had a video chat just talking about life.”
Victor continues his mission in all walks of his life. At his business, he currently employs five refugees on his staff and is looking to hire more in the next few months. He has also assumed the lead World Relief volunteer role at the Summit Church in Durham, NC where he shares his story and encourages more members to act on God’s call to serve.
Read the rest of our interview with Victor to learn more about his journey with World Relief and his passion for service.
Do you have a favorite story from your partnership with World Relief?
What immediately comes to mind is a special moment with the Tamang family. The mom, dad and youngest son came to America first. The oldest, Vijay, arrived over a year later in 2011 with his wife. They had a baby a year or two afterward, and they gave us the honor of naming their child. We called her Grace Tamang. That was a mind-blowing experience for us and illustrated just how important our friendship with the Tamangs was both to them and us.
Another story that comes to mind is about a refugee who came to stay with us at our home for a couple of weeks. He was a Buddhist monk. I casually invited him to Summit, and he was vehemently opposed. We were okay with that and didn’t push. Eventually, he moved and settled elsewhere, but we continued to visit him.
His wife at the time spoke no English, but she met some other Vietnamese immigrants who worked at a hotel and got her job. One night, my wife and I went to visit them in their home. I had been trying to figure out how to engage with the man about the gospel. He was opposed to talking about it, and I didn’t want to push. So, I bought a pop-up book as I felt it was the most accessible thing I could get.
That night I brought the pop-up book to give it to him, and I noticed he had a Bible on his table, and he had a shirt with John 3:16 written on it embroidered on the shirt. I made a joke in my ignorance, “Oh, the irony. You don’t even know what you’re wearing, right?” This sparked a conversation.
He told me, “Well, my wife met these people and invited me to church with them. I received the gospel, and now I’m a born-again Christian. We are brothers.”
The women his wife worked with were Christians preaching the gospel through their work. Their pastor lives in Greensboro, so they drive from Durham to Greensboro to go to church.
I looked down at my little pop-up book and laughed, “Well, here’s a gift for you, anyway.”
It was so encouraging for me to be a witness to how God is active and sovereign in all things.
How have you experienced personal transformation?
You’re not going to engage anybody different from you unless you get out of your homogenous neighborhood. I’m not saying living there is terrible, but unless you do something very intentional, you will never engage people who are different than yourself. It was a significant change to move neighborhoods, but it is something we do not regret in the slightest.
It took many nights of prayer, but my wife and I have been blessed by the Lord laying this challenge on us. You make your plans, but God directs steps ultimately.
Beyond being a volunteer, we have committed to employing refugees at our business – a car wash and detail service – since 2010. Currently, we have five Sudanese people working there, and we’re looking to hire more as well. Typically, we have three to seven refugees working with us at one time. Currently, my wife and I are partnered with Sami Ali, who lived in Sudan, as Friendship Partners.
What is your hope or vision for your community or the world, and how is your partnership with World Relief leading you towards that vision?
God changes us over time as we engage with his word and light. Ezekiel and Isaiah look up and see God in this perfect light, and it changes them to serve. His light is not condemning; it’s life-giving. That should be a pattern for all believers. If you’ve genuinely seen God, you should be changed to want to serve others. Offering ourselves as a living sacrifice hurts, but we can get over that.