Saturday, October 26, 2013

Notes on [Self] Discipline

"Discipline is a matter of the heart. When we say we’re making children into great-hearted men and women, part of what we mean is teaching them to be disciplined. To be disciplined in speech means that you say exactly what you mean to say, and that you have the judgment to know exactly what the moment calls for. To be disciplined in dress is to be in command of your appearance, and to know exactly what your dress is communicating to others. And so on. To be disciplined is to be successful at whatever you do, because you know the right thing to do and want to do it.

"As with acquiring any habit, learning to be disciplined can be frustrating and uncomfortable. I liken it to learning to be a runner or beginning a new workout regimen. No one enjoys his first mile. But as every runner knows, at some point the experience is thrilling. And discipline is thrilling. There is nothing like knowing exactly what the moment calls for and being willing and able to do it.

"To be disciplined is to have a joyful heart."

— Mr. Michael Austin

"Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time leading yourself—your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20% leading those with authority over you and 15% leading your peers. If you don't understand that you work for your mislabeled 'subordinates,' then you know nothing of leadership. You know only tyranny."

— Dee Hock
Founder and CEO Emeritus
VISA International

Monday, July 29, 2013


The mission to feed hundreds of starving school children in the rural village areas east of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, continues.  Todd reports that he plans to return in September, and is beginning efforts to raise money to purchase grain enough to deliver directly to five or more schools. Now that the mission has two working vehicles, he should not be plagued, as he has in the past, with roadside breakdowns and wasted time in the shop.

This fall, as usual he will be joining Henry of New Life Ministries, who will be leading a team of young adults from his son's school interested in spreading the Gospel to the children of this region.  We are excited for what God will do as He reveals to these youth the blessings that come from hard work in service to the needs of the poor.

If you are interested in helping Todd to feed school children and mentor youth, please consider making a generous donation.  As our "Donate Now" button isn't working, please send to the address at the upper right of this page, and we will forward the funds to Todd and Henry.

"So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth."  ~Job 5:16.

Friday, May 3, 2013


While the phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that Greenleaf first published in 1970, and we mean to take nothing from him, we at SLI acknowledge that the concept of Servant Leadership was best exemplified 2000 years ago in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The things that make Servant Leadership “work,” the elements that drive its success in interpersonal relationships on a small scale and in large corporate settings, are the Truths that He professed about the Kingdom of God and God’s plan for His people.

These Truths remain true whether the relationships are among Christians or people of other faiths or no faith. As quoted on his site, Greenleaf said, in his book The Institution as Servant, “This is my thesis: caring for persons, the more able and the less able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built.”

At the heart of it, Servant Leadership is relational, and the concept of putting the needs of others first is radical, even for Christians.
“Making disciples is not an easy process. It is trying. It is messy. It is slow, tedious,even painful at times. It is all these things because it is relational. Jesus has not given us an effortless step-by-step formula for impacting nations for his glory. He has given us people, and he has said, ‘Live for them. Love them, serve them, and lead them. Lead them to follow me, and lead them to lead others to follow me. In the process you will multiply the gospel to the ends of the earth.’”
David Platt, Radical (Multnomah Books, Colorado Springs, 2012), p. 93.

Other scholars and speakers have weighed in on the value of Servant Leadership in both personal and corporate contexts (the following may be found quoted at the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership Web site:
“The belief that called you to be a servant-leader, I believe, is the belief of who we are as a species. We have need for each other. We have a desire for each other, and, more and more, I believe that if the real work is to stay together, then we are not only the best resource to move into this future—we are the only resource….We need to learn how to be together: that is the essential work of the servant-leader.” ~ Margaret Wheatley
“The deepest part of human nature is that which urges people—each one of us—to rise above our present circumstances and to transcend our nature. If you can appeal to it, you tap into a whole new source of human motivation.”~Stephen Covey
As you reconnect with that deepest part of your nature that urges upon you relationship, fellowship, connection and interdependence, may you find that new motivation to serve others, transcend your circumstances, and thereby discover the meaning and power of true leadership.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


The following is Todd's field report for the ongoing humanitarian relief effort in the Gwayi River area of Zimbabwe (scroll down for pictures). Help us to continue these and other mission activities in this region by clicking our Donate Now button to the right, volunteering for a short-term missions trip, or spreading the word to your friends about the work we are doing to ensure the future of young people in this region. Together, we can make a difference!  

Zimbabwe Report – Winter 2013  

To my family, friends, and supporters. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and the sacrifices many of you made to help with feeding the primary school children in the Gwayi area of Zimbabwe this past winter and to purchase the second of two vehicles needed to keep this ministry functioning efficiently. Our field team was relatively small, but having the flatbed truck purchased during the last time I was in Zimbabwe made maize distribution activities relatively quicker and easier. The field team this year included: Henry & Natalia, the local boys: Cornwell, Fred, Adam, Washington, etc., and myself. In spite of some challenges with the pickup truck (soon to be replaced!) we managed to meet our goals within the time allotted.

Our goals included the usual plans to feed as many primary-school children as our funds would allow, and to purchase a second vehicle for maize distribution activities. We were blessed with enough support to collect and distribute 11 tons of grain for 5 primary schools in the Gwayi region. Essentially, the quantity donated will feed approximately 450 students for 2-3 months. This will go a long way to keep the children healthy and strong to learn and motivated to make the often long trek to school each day. We had a ton of fun with the students and teachers who were ecstatic when they realized what the Lord had provided through your gifts and donations. After each donation of maize, we gathered the students and teachers to praise God for his faithfulness and learn a little more about his loving and graceful nature.

Our other main goal this time was to purchase a second truck to help with grain hauling operations. In the past we have been plagued with vehicular challenges, mainly because the vehicles we have been using are ancient and/or falling to pieces, literally! Last year we bought a flatbed truck rated to haul 2.5 tons. We had to jump through many hoops due to changes in Zimbabwean vehicle requirements to make our flatbed roadworthy, but all was completed and we were able to put it to good use this time. Our intention is to only use the flatbed on relatively good dirt & asphalt roads and to buy a good bush vehicle to retrieve grain from the rural farmers who are often located well off the beaten path in 4x4- only areas. The flatbed worked well and even managed to navigate some areas deep in the bush as we did not have a good truck for this yet.

However, thanx to God, we will not have to push the limits of the flatbed again. Through a series of God-led connections we found ourselves in the good hands of a man known locally as “Cruiser Man.” He is in the business of buying 10-15 year old Toyota Defenders (tough bush vehicles), completely stripping them down to the frame and rebuilding them from the ground up. His price was within our budget and even included a suspension enhancement which should help with the heavy loads this truck will encounter. Andre, “Cruiser Man,” was moved so much by what our ministry is doing that he is allowing us to store our two ministry vehicles in his warehouse when not in use. This is a bigger blessing than you would think. In Bulawayo, where we would be leaving our trucks, vehicles are broken into and stolen regularly, especially Toyota Defenders.

Thanks to all of you who sacrificed your treasures through donations and time through prayer. This is always a team effort stretching from our homes here in the U.S. all the way to the field team in Zimbabwe. May our Lord bless you richly! Below are a few pictures from this outreach, including some of the flatbed truck in action.