Wednesday, March 14, 2012


As you know from reading Todd's Zimbabwe update below, the Oldy-Moldy Toyota Land Cruiser bit the dust years after it should have bit the dust, and is now, finally, at rest.  Henry may find enough parts to resurrect it momentarily enough to interest a buyer in its parts, but its job of running grain from farmer to school is now over.  I'm sure Todd, in his heart of hearts, jumped for joy at its demise, even though he understood that we'd need another work horse.

So, it is time to purchase another vehicle.  Servant Leaders International is helping to raise money for this worthy cause, knowing that this is no regular car purchase -- the next truck we buy will, with God's help, be in trusted service for many years to come, hauling grain to support school children and villagers who are suffering from drought, famine, poverty and disease.

We need your help!!  We need to raise at least another $10,000, and anything raised above that will go directly to the feeding mission in July.  There are many ways you can help -- click on the iGive button, download it to your computer, then shop away and the sellers will donate a percentage to us.  Mail us a check or money order.  Or click on the Donate Now button at the top right of this blog and donate whatever you can.  You know, as always, that 100% of your donation goes to this mission.

Thank you for being a part of this mission!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New World or New World Order?

I find it interesting that some people think that the "Kony 2012" campaign is part of a thinly-disguised agenda to introduce a "New World Order" whereby, somehow, the powers-that-be will centralize their power and increase their wealth and influence by -- what? getting the United States to "invade" an African nation like Uganda and arrest a murderer and sexual predator as a sort of ploy to increase our world domination?  Okay, someone help me with this.  I've already lost the thread.

I can understand that certain folks would really not like to encourage our nation's leadership to do any more invading and installing of troops than necessary.  After all, our leaders have already said, both publicly and privately, that we only do that when our political or economic interests are involved.  And I can understand also that the idea of training someone else's troops with our military techno-savvy might make us a bit itchy -- maybe it would make Uganda a real threat on the world's political scene.  Really? -- But what really strikes me as odd is that these folks think this whole "raising awareness" of a war criminal thing is just a scam, and that what's really going on is that someone is trying to use illicit means to gain and maintain power.  Wait.... that IS what is really going on.

I think we can all agree that using illicit means to gain and maintain power is objectively wrong.

I think we can all also agree that kidnapping children, exploiting them, torturing and maiming them for personal aggrandizement is also not a good thing.

What we seem to differ on is the method for bringing about positive change.

What I don't understand is the argument that we should be afraid of what we don't understand, and therefore do ... nothing.

One thing the debate, if you can call it that, might bring forth is some dialogue about what kind of a world you want to live in, and what you are willing to do to get it.  Ask yourself, what if Kony's particular model of leadership and power were attempted in our country?  What would it take to stop him?  Military action?  Foreign advice, training or intervention?  Money?  Or the concerted effort of the people to bring him to justice?

Our government does not have to commit to "going" to central Africa to find Kony, or to commit troops to the area, or even to commit to advising and training the local military.  We do not need to apply sanctions.  We could, I suppose, make a public announcement that his behind belonged to us and that we would not stop until we found him, and then root him out of every hole or tree where he might be hiding (and then dump his body in the ocean.... wait, this is sounding familiar....) -- or, we could simply put a bounty on his head, and reward the person or group who arrested him and brought him, alive, to authorities willing to try him.

Of course, one of his kidnapped, terrorized, brutalized, mind-controlled child-recruited, now-almost-30-year-old soldiers might step up to take his place as soon as he was caught.  After all, these children are growing up in an atmosphere of violence, and power wrested by force.  It is the world they've come to know.

We have become cynical.  We are on the verge of being that pathetic combination of jaded, apathetic, judgmental, and selfish, to the point where we have become paralyzed.  We no longer act -- we just observe and condemn, and hold our things tighter to our chest.

Hold your children tighter, too. Hold them close, and thank God that in your country, perhaps, no one will reach out and grab them from their beds and force them to turn their guns on you.  It's a big world, and Kony is very far away.  And those 30,000 children don't matter, because they aren't OUR children.  And the fact that tens of thousands of children are growing up the way Kony wants them to in a central African country (or two, or more) should not trouble us as a matter of international instability and national security.

Or should it?

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I can think of no better "mission" in life this year than to mobilize an army of youth to demand that our government keep up the pressure to bring Joseph Kony to justice.  In case you don't know who Kony is, watch this movie, then make him infamous and help to rescue tens of thousands of children.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


As an experiment, we posted on Facebook a link to iGive, asking friends to help SLI raise money, the easy way -- by shopping online through iGive.

Join and get the iGive Button and it will mean a $5 donation to SLI plus a $5 donation to any cause you choose to support. All you have to do is join iGive, install the iGive Button, and keep it installed for 90 days. If you happen to shop too, that will mean even more donations for your cause!

Also, shopping at more than 900 retailers online with iGive will help SLI because a portion of your sale get donated to our cause!  We can't think of a better way to make your shopping dollars count.

Here is the link:

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Zimbabwe Report – Fall 2011

To my family, friends, and supporters. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and the sacrifices many of you made to help with the food shortages in Zimbabwe. This past October/November I joined a team of four South Africans (Henry, Hazel, an acquaintance of Henry’s, and Ruth & Jack who are full-time missionaries in Gwayi now) and a number of Zimbabwean locals (Cornwell, Fred, Adam, Washington, etc.) with the goal of blessing the local primary schools with maize and continued improvements to the Gwayi Community Center where the local church meets. Long story short: All was accomplished, but not without many challenges.

Our goal was to distribute as much maize to the Gwayi area schools as our funds would allow. Fortunately the local farmers had just enough surplus to meet our needs. This was a true blessing as it allowed us to save significantly on transportation costs and helped boost the local economy a bit. All in all, we managed to distribute 13.5 tons of grain to five schools, and in spite of many vehicular problems, did so with less than a day to spare. You would not know how miraculous this was without some context, which I will now provide.

So, when working in a third-world nation on a very limited budget, where do costs usually get cut? Vehicles!  It’s difficult to justify spending $ on vehicles when God’s children are lacking food to the point of nonexistence. But, God was surely given a great platform to flex His sovereign muscle…and He did. In spite of multiple flat tires (6-10 I believe), a propeller shaft that fell out on the highway, a clutch that fried in an area where replacement parts are rare, etc, etc, the job was completed.  I can’t even begin to list all the issues we had to deal with, but there is one on which God’s finger prints were very obvious. In the beginning of our maize distribution efforts the clutch plate on our main vehicle disintegrated. This is the kind of part that can only be acquired at an auto shop and is usually not a stocked item. There are no auto supply stores anywhere near Gwayi River where this happened much less a qualified mechanic. However, Henry found a “bush mechanic” in Gwayi who just happened to have an old discarded clutch plate with enough material left on it to keep the pickup running for another week or so. Coincidence… I think not. By this time our other vehicle (40 year old Toyota Landcruiser which had reached its expiration date a decade ago) had kicked the bucket permanently. I say permanently because we have resurrected this vehicle several times in the past few years. Not this time. Thankfully this one gimpy pickup truck managed to finish the job and in the midst of extremely hot weather (110-115F during the day).

Interestingly, one day while I and a few others were delivering the final load of grain, Henry, who was in town wrapping up some other vehicular issues, ran into Lucy the head teacher at the school which I was in transit to. She explained to Henry that the school had been out of food for a while and that the teachers were praying for God to fill their store room once again. To say the least Lucy was stoked to find out that her prayers were being answered at that moment. Mabale Primary School, where Lucy works, received a little over 4 tons of maize. Coincidence… I think not.

As many of you may already know, one of the primary factors contributing to Zimbabwe’s economic demise comes out of the “Land Redistribution Act” which was a sugar-coated title applied to President Mugabe’s tyrannical policy to take land from white farmers and give it to Zimbabwean “war veterans”, or at least that’s how his administration spun it. According to critics, myself included, in actuality this was a desperate attempt by Mugabe to maintain power when economic reserves at his disposal were running dry. His thugs need incentive to maintain loyalty. The application of this policy resulted in many deadly battles as these “vets” took over most of the white-owned farms in the country. The fall-out of these take-overs was manifest in many highly productive and exporting farms being run into the ground which sent this primarily agrarian economy into a tail spin nearly ten years ago. Why the history lesson? Well, some of those “vets” are still on the loose and one in our area decided to show up three days after we arrived threatening to have us forcibly removed if we did not vacate the property by the following morning. You could feel the darkness as these two men marched into our lodge/camp. 

As my experience with God has been He turned this into something redeeming. Long story short, the local authorities sided with us allowing us to stay, which is a miracle as the corruption runs deep there. Later that week we had the opportunity to give this “vet’s” wife a ride to her home where we discovered that her husband had gone very ill, likely with Malaria based on the symptoms. Coincidence … I think not. Karma aside, our team prayer warrior, Ruth, jumped into action and gave him a thorough dowsing of the Holy Spirit. He was very thankful for her prayers. I don’t know how the “vet’s” illness played out after that, but it was wonderful to see the loving and merciful side of God’s character revealed in these circumstances. If I were a gambling man, I would bet on this “vet’s” understanding of God being seriously challenged by the love he received from those he was persecuting.

Finally, the beauty of it all comes together. Why does God lead His children into the many various opportunities of service? Love. And, the apex of this love, I believe, is realized when His lost children accept the gift of eternal life through His son. The highlight for many if not all on our team was serving and leading a group from the local church in baptism. This was a great time of celebration as one young man and 16 women professed their faith in Jesus.

So, there we have it, God’s servants being obedient to His call to serve with love in a remote area of Africa and His children there running into His eternal arms. Coincidence … 

Todd Martin, Director, SLI and Last Chance for Africa