Friday, December 25, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Know that, because of your support, there are children in Zimbabwe who will be able to share a meal today.

Servant Leaders International wishes you a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This is the Ngosa Brothers from Zambia singing "Umutima Wandi" acapella. A rough translation of part of the song, in the Bemba language, is: "My heart crashes everywhere to hear your calling, it is so intense, indeed you are worthy of every praise!"

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why We Do It

Study the fun, curiosity, joy, delight and prayer in the faces of these children and consider -- are my worries so enormous? Are my money issues, my bills, my stress and concerns so large that I can't step outside of myself for a little while and serve the needs of others? We want to challenge you to think about committing two weeks in May to doing something extraordinary. Learn about leadership: begin with service.






Saturday, December 5, 2009

Simple Mission: Food, Faith and Fun

At our first school delivery.

Loads of grain..... Each delivery involved putting the 12.5 kilo bags onto the Land Cruiser, trailer, van and a smaller covered trailer and driving the loaded caravan to the school, then lining the kids up and off-loading the trucks.









Loads of fun.... the soccer balls are always a huge hit.

Friday, November 27, 2009

From the Mouths of Babes Thou Hast Ordained Praise



Sarah with Ebenezer, Adam's new baby




A girl named "Anxious"

Thursday, November 26, 2009

COLLABORATION IN AFRICA

Our trip to Zimbabwe was marked at every turn by the grace and provision of God. Henry worked to develop fruitful relationships, most notably with the manager of a food supplier who not only sold us the grain but provided the transport, by truck, into Gwai River, making the use of the unreliable rail system unnecessary. This proved to be a huge advantage, and relieved us of much stress. The grain was delivered by flatbed truck directly to the Gwai River Primary School where it was offloaded into a storage room.

This central location made it possible for us to load our Land Rover, van and trailer with grain for each day's delivery to the outlying schools.  We became very efficient at grain delivery.

In the end, we were able to provide grain to seven village schools, supplying basic nutritional support for hundreds of children and the school teachers and staff. One headmaster spoke the obvious -- that this provision meant not only the saving of lives, but the advancement of the education of these young minds. Children who have food in their bellies are able to study and concentrate, and are motivated to get to school.  Further, our commitment to provide for the children of this region means the preservation of a generation that would otherwise be at great risk.

This work was a collaboration of several organizations, made up of passionate individuals: Steve and I represented SLI; Todd Martin, a director of SLI, is also on the board of LCFA (an organization I helped create two years ago); Henry Nel of Rock of Africa/South Africa has a regular ministry to the Gwai River region and is beloved there.  Our team was rounded by Paul Ness of Cape Town who added as much humor and faith as he did muscle and hard work.

Not only did your gifts, donations and pledges contribute to the direct distribution of grain to children in some of the poorest regions of Zimbabwe, but they also provided much-needed seed in time for the planting season.

Henry announced that I would be meeting with the women of the village and conducting a "women's conference" while he met with the farmers. Pastor Victor of Gwai River told Henry that I would have to address the women after Henry talked with the farmers. "Oh, no," said Henry, "she will talk to the women while I talk to the farmers...." Pastor Victor patiently explained: "Henry," he said, "the women ARE the farmers." In Zimbabwe, the women make up the work force, most of which is agricultural. We all had a good laugh as we remembered what we'd studied about this region, but realized that our own cultural biases sneak in anyway when we least expect it.

This time, instead of just donating seed, Henry proposed that the farmers sign a letter of commitment agreeing to donate back a portion of their crop to the school. Since it is their children attending the school, they should have no problem with this. The farmers seemed agreeable but a bit unsure, one woman in particular worried that she might not be able to meet her commitment if she should experience a poor crop, but we persisted, knowing that all the seed is donated, and that if they planted in faith, there would be enough. I think the fruit of all this will be a community invested in itself, committed to self-sufficiency (as opposed to charity).  We are very excited to see, this Spring, what feedback the farmers give us about this experiment.

On the whole, our trip was blessed in every way. This time, there were no fuel issues, no flat tires, no border hassles (well, not many anyway), and though we had rain, none of it hurt the grain!

Our last dinner in Gwai was just bug-infested hilarity -- all of us laughing as Steve patiently picked the praying mantis off his spaghetti and I flicked the flying termites out of the butter -- finally removing the candles from our table and eating in the dark to down our deliciousness in peace. The food was amazingly good. The trip back to Johannesburg was also easy, and delightful in another way, as our conversations deepened our friendships. After a night in Johannesburg, our flights home were also uneventful, full of good food (believe it or not) and good movies. And a few tears for missing all that we left behind.

We challenge you to consider joining us as we plan our return in May.

Friday, November 13, 2009

GREETINGS FROM BULAWAYO, ZIMBABWE!

After a relatively easy flight, we arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa, met briefly with our dear friend Bruce, then drove to a lodge close to the border with our friends Todd and Henry and Henry's friends Paul and Victor. The next morning we crossed the border without any delays or incident, and drove to Bulawayo. Yesterday we purchased 16 tons of grain (mealie meal) and today we are negotiating the purchase of about a ton of seed. We've arranged for the grain and seed to be transported by truck to Gawai River, where we will be personally delivering it to schools throughout this next week.

We leave for Gawai in the morning. Today we are running around making sure the land rover has operating brakes, the proper tires, enough diesel fuel and working lights (apparently it wasn't quite so well outfitted last June.... but that's another story). We will be in an area that has no electricity except what we can produce with a generator, and no cell phone or Internet access, so our next update will likely be next Friday from Bulawayo again. We will post pictures when we can.

In the meantime, we notice there are bids on the Store -- please be patient with us; it will take some time for us to be able to post all the new bids, but know that we are monitoring them and will reopen the Store when we get back.

Thanks to all our donors and supporters.  Talk to you all soon!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

SERVANT LEADERS STORE!


Check out the SERVANT LEADERS STORE! On November 10, the Silent Auction will be postponed as our team heads to Africa. If we have not experienced enough bidding, we will resume the auction or place the items for sale on the Store after November 23rd, so you will have another chance to bid on or purchase the items you want!

Just click on the Globe and Shop for the Cause!  Tell your friends!

Monday, November 2, 2009

SLI SILENT AUCTION - Shop and Save (Lives!)

We have opened the bidding for our Silent Auction! Go to:
http://servantleadersstore.blogspot.com/

We have lots of items for sale, and more are being added daily. Click on "comments" below each item to post your bid. This is a Silent Auction, so comments/bids will not be published, but we will update each item with the current top bid until the Auction closes on Nov. 10, 2009. All proceeds will be used to fund the Zimbabwe Relief Project 2009 and other SLI youth programs.

Tell your friends! Go on-line and shop for the cause!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Perfect Example of Harmony and Collaboration

Ok, I first saw this on Glen Megill's Facebook page, but still..... very cool.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Shout Out to Liz!

One of the workers at a local sporting goods store that is going out of business here in Avondale plans to ask her managers if they would agree to donate soccer balls to SLI for our November mission. She hasn't been able to get in touch with them yet. So she went ahead and bought four with her own money, as well as four hackey sacs, and gave us a call to come pick them up. WHAT A BLESSING SHE IS!!!!! Thanks, Liz, for your big heart!

Like I said before, it's these little gestures that surprise and bless us so much. Here is a picture courtesy of photographer Lori Aderholt taken in Zimbabwe, 2007:

Soccer balls are a BIG HIT, and most of these kids, playing in bare feet, kick a** on the field!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thankful for Every Little Bit

What amazes us the most is not the people who donate large sums, though we are very grateful to them, but those who really shouldn't be donating at all in this economy and, stepping out in faith, do so anyway. 

We know that these are difficult times.  It is very hard to ask, and yet we ask, and boldly, because we know that there is no comparison between the hardships most of us suffer here and what we see daily in Zimbabwe and other parts of Southern Africa.  There, they ask, "Is it true that in America, even the poor people own cars?"  Yes, we answer.  And i-Pods and cell phones and satellite TV. But more -- we can walk into any Costco or Fresh n' Easy and get free food -- enough to sustain a person for a day if one were truly hungry.  Here, we have government dole programs that some say are much too easy, too available.  Here, we have social services to protect the rights of children.  In Zimbabwe, the street children are cracked on the heads with clubs carried by the police officers, who consider their presence in the town square to be undesirable.  I've witnessed the children, crying, clutching their bleeding heads.  Here, out of our own surplus, we have garage sales to raise extra cash while we unload some of our clutter.  There, at least in 2007, the currency had an expiration date.  Yogurt had a longer shelf life.  Now, the currency is dead.  Useless.  Not even legal tender in their own country.

So we know that what we are asking, in today's economy, is a lot.  And we do so, unapologetically, bolstered by those who are giving small amounts, amounts which are, even so, painful and sacrificial.  And we thank you for every dollar, for the pinch that it puts on your own budgets, for the fear that is always clinging to the back of our necks, and pray that it all gets returned to you a hundred-fold.  And we know, because we have also seen it, that the joy in the faces of the children, halfway across the world, makes every dollar given worth the sacrifice.

Friday, October 16, 2009

How Do You Build a Child's Self Esteem?

I've been asked this question twice this week. A good friend who has gone through the fire of low self-esteem issues herself, in her youth, told me this:
"You can't build a child's self-esteem by giving him praise. Praising him is not a bad thing, but it is only through experience of having accomplished something that a child will grow in self-esteem."
Today I said the same thing to my husband, who expressed concern about our task of parenting our children. Remembering my friend's wisdom, I said that I believe we should praise a child for making an effort, because making an effort is worthy, and necessary in order to build experience. I believe we should encourage a child when he experiences failure or frustration, because he's going to need to experience much more of that before success can come. But, other than that, our only job is to place opportunity after opportunity in front of him and challenge him to make that effort again and again; for it is only in taking action, and assuming risk, that one can ever accomplish anything. And it is the accomplishment that becomes the fertile soil where a sense of self-worth can grow.

Finally, parents and other caregivers of children can give them a gift that makes their journey easier, their failures and setbacks more bearable, and the triumphs more sweet -- the Truth, from which comes faith.  The truth is they don't have to struggle alone.  The truth is they are cared for and loved and worthy of love.  The truth is their efforts matter and are counted.  The truth is they are the future of us all.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

To Lead is to Serve -- and to Serve is to Succeed: the Teaching of James C. Hunter

"Making our world different -- that's how we raise our leadership game; it doesn't happen reading books or watching videos or going to seminars. We've got to get in the game that is worked out in the crucible of our choices." 
~James C. Hunter, The Servant Leadership Training Course
Jim Hunter talks about the elements of leadership:  Courage, Compassion and Character, all of which, he says in many ways, must be played out and developed in action, in the course of experience.  Leadership, he says, is about influence.

We agree.  It's not about standing at the head of a crowd, alone, imperious, forging ahead and hoping the throng continues to drag along behind you.  It's about engaging in that sea of humanity, entering the human arena, getting messy, getting our hands in it, walking alongside another, who might be suffering.  Influence, after all, is not about acting in solitary, but about other people, about acting in concert with them and having an effect upon their behavior, their choices, their feelings and their lives.

This is not an easy task, especially for young people emerging from adolescence and entering a harsh and demanding world.  If you're from America, or influenced at all by American products (our greatest export being, of course, our image, usually packaged in the form of motion picture entertainment), then you are conditioned to care first about "ME."  Generations that came up after me (the oldest director at SLI who for the moment shall remain comfortably nameless) were even labeled with cute names like "Generation X," and "the ME generation."  We sneered at the folly of these youth, forgetting that we were wholly to blame for having created them, conditioned them and turned them out without having equipped them.

Ok, I'm generalizing.

But I really like what Jim Hunter says about the whole idea of putting self first, which he considers to be age-appropriate behavior for two-year-olds ("Me first!!"):
"Emotional and spiritual growth, according to Scott Peck, is getting over your twos, and growing up and recognizing that it's not about me anymore, and to start extending ourselves for other people.  This is what character is.  It's not something we're born with -- developing our character is a life long journey."
He goes on to suggest that, when we meet the true needs of other people -- when we truly care about serving other people and identifying and meeting their legitimate needs, our "inner child," or our sense of our own innocence, our rightness with the world, will be just fine, will thrive.

Be blessed as you bless others.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Give a Ton Campaign - T-shirt Winners!

We are pleased to announce that we have a few donations of $300 or more in response to our "Save a Life; Give a Ton" campaign. These donors each will be personally providing one ton of grain to feed village school children in Zimbabwe. Elizabeth M, Lawrence J and Leslie W will each be receiving a Servant Leaders T-shirt with "I Gave a Ton!" under our logo. It's our humble way of saying "Thanks" for the generous spirit of giving and selflessness of these donors.

Every dollar is appreciated. No donation is too small. Every dollar raised ensures the survival of children, and for that we are grateful that anyone would care enough to make the sacrifice.

We salute our donors, we thank you, and we ask that you help us spread the word to everyone you know to help us reach our fund raising goals. Together, we CAN make a difference in the lives of suffering children.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Report on the Hunger Crisis in Zimbabwe

This is why we go.

The problem of famine and starvation in Zimbabwe is tied to more than climate and drought. It is a deeper problem, like a cancer with many tentacles. The wholesale and illegal government seizure of producing private and commercial farms, the wasting of tons of mangoes and other food crops in the face of 5.1 million people dependent on food aid for survival, and the torture and beating of farm owners who lodge complaints is a phenomenon that is hard to grasp.

Famine in Zimbabwe and Zambia is also tied inexorably to the AIDS epidemic. Most people affected by HIV and AIDS depend on agriculture. AIDS has killed around 7 million agricultural workers in the last 20 years. Production deficits, high staple food prices, the runaway inflation rates leading to the collapse of the Zim dollar all have worked together to further impoverish a nation. Villagers who run out of the food they've grown themselves will sell their only remaining chickens, goats and cows to buy grain, and when that supply runs out, they begin to starve.

Starvation can lead people to do the most atrocious things. The stripping of assets and abuse of widows, the exploitation and neglect -- even trafficking -- of young children are made even more commonplace in a world where hunger is the strongest motivator.

This AIDS-related famine, dubbed a "new variant famine" in the book Silent Hunger: Policy Options for Effective Responses to the Impact of HIV and AIDS on Agriculture and Food Security in the SADC Region (South African Development Community)is necessitating new approaches to education and the prioritizing of social protection.

"The paradox is that while the traditional drought-related famines kill dependents first (children and elderly) the HIV-related 'silent hunger' affects the most 'productive' family members first."

This is what you see when you go to Zimbabwe: old people in the high-density districts who are forgotten by society, old people in the villages who have taken on several orphans, and the children -- scores of children, many of whom are hungry, destitute, shoeless, wearing the clothes left by foreign missionaries, some of whom have become, out of necessity, heads of households of other orphans, left to fend for themselves by the untimely deaths of their parents.

Those who could work the fields are struggling to care for the sick and dying at home. The women, who do most of the farming and manual labor of every description, are facing a life expectancy of 34 -- and the men (life expectancy in Zimbabwe of only 37) are leaving in masses to find employment in neighboring countries of Botswana, Zambia and South Africa. Gender inequality, poverty, and traditional roles and customs that tend to subjugate women all contribute to the spread of the disease, and so continues the cycle of desperation.

Something must change in Zimbabwe. It must start with the young. The lowest mortality rate is among those aged 5 (who have survived the perils of early childhood) to 22, at which point their mortality rates rise as they naturally become sexually active, start families, look for work, and enter the inexorable cycle related to hunger, AIDS and the breakdown of any moral filter that accompanies fear and despair. It is the young, the emerging adults, who are the only hope for change in Zimbabwe, the only light for a dying generation.







From "Southern African Humanitarian Situation" by World Health Organization

Bono on the Crisis in Africa and the Reasons for Increasing Aid



This is Bono at National Prayer Breakfast on February 2, 2006. His message of urgency regarding social advocacy should not be missed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A 13-Year-Old's Vision of Collaboration

"Let's imagine together: If all the HIV viruses were one virus, what a big virus it would be; if all the axes were one ax, what a big ax it would be; and if all the men were one man what a big man he would be. If that big man took that big ax and cut that big HIV, we could defeat AIDS."
Edward Thomson, 13, student in Senzani, Malawi, sponsored by World Vision,
published in the Seattle Times, 2/6/03

I love the heart of this young man.  I love his vision for the power and possibility of working together to defeat a common enemy, a common threat.  He challenges us:  "If you can imagine the problem, you can solve it."  We must begin the difficult work of imagining the problem, not as some nebulous, out-of-reach problem that happens to "them," but as our problem, our shared agony, our global catastrophe.

Let's not kid ourselves: 5.1 million people in Zimbabwe starving is a catastrophe.  One in FIVE children in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana orphaned by 2010 -- that is a worldwide sorrow, an epic tragedy.  We must do the hard work of imagining such a thing happening in New York City, in Los Angeles, in London, in Hong Kong, in the small towns of middle America.  We must make them real for ourselves, either by going and seeing for ourselves, or by using the power of our empathy and our imagination to make it real for ourselves.  We have to walk through every aspect of the experience for ourselves and own it, for it is only when we take ownership of a problem that we will truly attack it with all the creative ideas in our arsenal.

Each of us has a role to play.  Each of us has a stake.  Each of us has accountability for what has gone before and what will happen in the future.  The death, exploitation and ruination of one fifth of a country's children is the death, exploitation and ruination of that country's future, and a threat to peace and stability throughout the world.

One big problem.  One big ax.  One big man.  Working together with another big man  And another big woman.  And a big teenager.  And a big community.  Together, we CAN make a difference.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Save a Life; Give a Ton!

We're kicking off our "Give a Ton" campaign!

Another of our copyrighted slogans is:  "Care a little; Give a Ton!"  Knowing that only $300 will buy one ton of grain that can keep a school full of children alive for months, we are asking individuals, social and networking groups, and businesses to consider pooling their resources and donating One Ton of grain to our Zimbabwe mission.

Individuals who sacrificially donate $300, and all team members participating in our November outreach, will receive this T-shirt.  Donate Now!
Wear it proudly!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Notes on My First Attempt at a Video

Well, this was my first attempt, and I've used pics from our Rock of Africa trip two years ago to Zimbabwe and Zambia.  Photographers were: Sarah Waltner, Yara Guzman and Carol Doleski.  I'll be updating this when I figure out how to use the program better, but thanks to OneTrueMedia for a fun exercise in creativity.

At least this should give you an idea of the joy in the faces of the children we encounter in Zim/Zam and how blessed we all were to be a part of a feeding mission.

WATCH THIS VIDEO MONTAGE!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The target is so close, it's impossible to miss.....

"You don't stick your neck out and try to change the world.  I understand that.  I don't feel like I can change the world.  I don't even try.  I only want to change this small life that I see standing in front of me, which is suffering.  I want to change this small real thing that is the destiny of one little girl.  And then another, and another, because if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to live with myself or sleep at night."  Somaly Mam, The Road of Lost Innocence
Small steps.  Seeing the person that is in need, standing right in front of you.  Reaching out beyond the bounds of your own suffering to lift up someone else.  Making a difference, one child, one woman, one young man at a time.  That is the most that any of us can be expected to do, and that is exactly what we are each called to do.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009



Still working on a Web site, but in the meantime, here is one call to action -- raise $2,900 and commit to joining our team in November in Zimbabwe!

Almost HALF the population of Zimbabwe is dependent upon food donations to survive, but the good news is that only US$300 will buy One Ton of grain which can keep children alive for 2-3 months.

If you wish to donate, contact SLI at ServantLeadersIntl@gmail.com

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why Donate to SLI?

Young adults, assisting a Rock of Africa mission, installed mosquito nets
at the government hospital in Victoria Falls, November 2007.

In designing our upcoming Web site, I was asked the question, "why should people want to donate to your cause when there are so many causes?"  This is an excellent question.  In trying to respond to my Web designer, I thought seriously about what it is SLI is trying to accomplish.

What makes SLI unique? So many charitable organizations are focused on the children, the orphans, especially in the Third World where child exploitation is so high, and this interest and focus is a good thing, a necessary thing. Certainly the children are among those most desperately at risk, and naturally people with heart want to change their dire picture. We chose, therefore, to dedicate ourselves to empowering and equipping young adults. Think about it:  those youth who survive their childhoods grow to adulthood often without the guidance and discipline of parents, directionless, without hope or opportunities. They become sexually active; they begin to marry and raise children of their own; they look for work. In some nations of the world, they are at risk of devastating failure.

In Zimbabwe, for example, the life expectancy is about 37 for men, 34 for women, the lowest life expectancy in the world according to the United Nations, and those are 2006 estimates. There continues to be a "brain drain" going on in the nation where a whole generation of working-age people are leaving to find better opportunities for survival in Botswana, Zambia and South Africa. If they don't leave, many die of malaria, cholera, starvation and AIDS. You see a lot of children in Zim, and a lot of old people, and very few between the ages of 35-50, which of course is the demographic of the work force, not to mention the parents. I look at people in the age category between 15 and 32 as heading for a precipice. It's our interest at SLI to come to their assistance, and instead of donating to them or giving them a handout, we want to give them a "hand up" as they say. Strong, empowered and trained young adults form strong families, start businesses, stimulate the economy and become the potential leaders of their communities and governments, and the contributors to their cultures. Without them, the country becomes bankrupt of its own richest resource.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mission to Zimbabwe

Servant Leaders is taking a team to Africa this fall!  We are forming a dedicated group to fly to Victoria Falls where we will proceed to purchase, truck and deliver grain to schools in the remote villages near Gawai River.  Our partner in South Africa will be planning the itinerary, which will be from November 10-26th.  What could be better than to feed the starving at Thanksgiving time?  If you would like to join us, send us a message at ServantLeadersIntl@gmail.com and we will give you more details.  This is our standing challenge to young adults everywhere:  step out of your comfort zone, reach out to help others and see how serving others blesses you!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Where Have You Been? Where Are You Going?

"True scientific knowledge does not consist only in answering the question of the What. It reaches fulfillment only when it is able to discover the Whence and to combine it with the Whither. Knowing becomes understanding only when it embraces the beginning, the continuation, and the end." ~J.J. Bachofen, Mutterrecht [Mother Right] (1861)
This quote is included by Jolande Jacobi in her seminal book on psychologist Carl Jung's work, The Way of Individuation, in order to explain the idea, seeded 80 years before Jung, that "psychic life should be regarded as a meaningfully ordered process containing its goal within itself." She further states:
"The psyche is the theatre of all our struggles for development. It is the organ of experience, pure and simple. The affirmation of these struggles is "life"; negation of them means isolation, resignation, desiccation." ~Jolande Jacobi, The Way of Individuation, Zurich, 1965, p. 14.
If the psyche is the "organ of experience," all of which is to be affirmed, embraced, acknowledged consciously in order for a person to be fully realized and whole, and if psychic life is truly a "meaningfully ordered process" that contains within itself a goal, then we can safely conclude that all of life's experience is to be embraced as part of our process of "individuation," which Jacobi explains is a natural process that has both conscious and unconscious components. And "individuation" is the "striving for maturation and self-realization from the seed to the fruit."

The Directors of Servant Leaders are very deeply interested in this process of self-realization, particularly in people in their early adulthood when this process seems to be most acutely evident. Jung felt that all of this ordered experience was formed according to some hidden ground-plan. We believe the plan may be partly hidden (we are not given to know everything of the plan), but that the plan itself is perfect, and is intentional -- for our good.

Dr. Henry Cloud, in his book written with Dr. John Townsend, How People Grow, also talks about the process of individuation, or "spiritual growth," and relates his insight that "all of the processes that had changed peoples' lives were in the pages of Scripture. The Bible talked about the things that helped people grow in relational and emotional areas as well a spiritual ones" -- in other words, spiritual growth held the solution to life's struggles, conflicts and roadblocks, allowing people to do more than just cope with their debilitating circumstances; it made it possible for them to overcome them altogether. Rick Warren, in The Purpose-Driven Life (p. 172), says "God's ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development."
According to Cloud and Townsend, we are to be overcomers. We are to strive for spiritual growth and maturation, looking outside of ourselves. We are not just to "cope" with our circumstances. We are to be victorious over them.

Thus, the "whence" (where we came from) has significance, but does not define the "whither" (where we are going).  And, to Jacobi, the affirmation of these struggles is a life worth living.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

WELCOME TO SLI!

We at Servant Leaders International (SLI) are very pleased to have finally launched our new non-profit. This company has been two years in the formation, as we have been training, equipping, challenging ourselves, and making our hearts ready to be able to serve others. It is the way it should be, and the approach we will model to others.

It has been a dream of ours to help young adults who experience hardship, hunger, and despair to find their place in the world. Our experience in our travels in Western Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and throughout the United States has led us to the firm belief that young people need very little to succeed -- encouragement, opportunity, and the faith and admiration of those who have gone successfully before them. Young men need and thrive on the admiration of older, respectable men. Young women need the guidance, love and nurturing of older, more experienced women. We take this concept very seriously, and plan to provide programs that will train and equip these young people to discover their gifts, apply their talents, serve those less fortunate than themselves and reach their highest potential. Young people who are given permission to see themselves as valuable, gifted, resourceful, respected members of a family and a community are able to rise above their circumstances to make a difference. We will be talking more on this topic in the coming days.

In the meantime, we leave you with this question to ponder: "What do you have to bring to the table?" Instead of concentrating on your need, tell us about what you have. Think about how you are blessed or gifted, and coming from that place of abundance, share with us what makes you awesome!