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.


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

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 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


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!