Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Anniversaries

Today, the 6th of January, 2009, is the 1 year anniversary of Leaders 4 Life. I want to take a moment to look back over this first year and thank two people who've been key-leaders in year one.

It was on January 6th, 2008 that I was commissioned at Holy Trinity, St. Andrews to head to Sierra Leone for the first time. It was on this trip that I learned of the significance of this date for the country--a day when rebels entered Freetown and wreaked havoc on so many (see my early post here: http://leaders4life-sierraleone.blogspot.com/2008/03/january-6th.html). When our son James was only 6 weeks old, I headed to West Africa for the first time, beginning to live out this dream which God had placed in our hearts several years ago. I returned home from Africa three weeks later only to move our family into another house a few days after my return, just in time to host Tom & Ninie Hammon of Young Life. Needless to say, it was a whirlwind Winter. Much of the rest of the year has been spent bearing down upon my thesis in an effort to finish the Ph.D. In the Spring, however, I did have the opportunity to present our vision for Sierra Leone a number of times, including speaking at Paradise Valley Community Church in Phoenix where we began receiving diamond rings in support (See this post: http://leaders4life-sierraleone.blogspot.com/2008_05_01_archive.html). God has done some amazing things ... not bad for year one!

Lisa and I also celebrated 12 years of marriage a few weeks ago. Over the years as this committment to Sierra Leone snowballed into a life's calling, I had long forgotten much of how it all began. As an anniversary gift, therefore, Lisa did some sneaky fact-finding in order to recover which documentary I first watched about Sierra Leone. She discovered (or re-discovered) that it was a well-known Canadian rap group called the Rascalz which travelled to Sierra Leone in 2000 and produced a documentary about their journey which was aired on MTV in 2001. You can see short clips of the program here: http://www.getloud.ca/en/gpi_av.asp?ID=4. It was this program which God first used to inform me about Sierra Leone and through which He began calling us to this country. Yes, God can even use MTV and a rap group to call people as missionaries! I guess it is fitting that God would use a rap group to call us to this country since the rap culture has always been big in Sierra Leone. I have to admit, being able to watch the documentary where it all began for us eight years ago was pretty nostalgic. Besides providing great memories, Lisa has also been key in helping keep Leaders 4 Life organized. As many of you know, Lisa is amazingly gifted with names, dates, and details. And of course, she keeps our busy household running smoothly by wiping noses, changing diapers, teaching colors, and helping with homework. She is an invaluable member of our team. Thanks for who you and and all you do, Lisa!



I also want to highlight another member of our team who has helped us tremendously over this first year. My long-time mentor Danny Golich travelled with me to Sierra Leone back in January. Danny has no Ph.D. nor does he hold a seminary degree. Danny is not a pastor, nor a big name in the Christian community. But it's for these and many more reasons why I like him. Danny helped start and run six different businesses in his years. But it's not his business experience per se why he is so valuable to me and to Leaders 4 Life. For the things Danny has gone through in his years have been, in his words, merely "preparation for promotion." You see, God has been working on Danny's heart to use his wisdom in leadership for God's kingdom, and we are blessed to have him as a part of our team. As I have read leadership books over the years, I have always found something lacking. They weren't practical enough; they didn't show the reader how to actually lead, how to actually do it. Experience is, of course, the best teacher and Danny has plenty of it. But not all gifted leaders have the ability to translate their experience into teachable insight. But God has not only given Danny tremendous insights into leadership, but also the ability to communicate these insights in ways which cut straight to the heart of the matter. Over the years Danny has coached me on creating "consistent consistency" and a sense of "team." I have learned about prioritization, organization, and delegation. While I have focused upon the big vision, Danny continually reminds me of "all the little steps in between which nobody thinks about when they're starting out." But most importantly, Danny has taught me about patience, faith and balance and has helped me to order my life in a way which honors the calling God has placed upon me. Danny is another invaluable member of our team. Thanks for who you are and all you do, Danny!




This has been a year of learning for us. We have learned that balancing a Ph.D., 3 children, beginning a ministry, along with other committments of Christian service can be challenging at times. We have been learning how to "clear away the clutter," and stay focused upon the single mission and calling God has placed upon our lives: Sierra Leone.

As Lisa and I continue to process the years ahead, Danny will be right there guiding and helping us along the way. And I look forward to the future as we sharpen our vision and begin taking, in Danny's words, "all the little steps in between," to get where God is leading us. At the finish of year one this is just the beginning folks, this is just the beginning ...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

L4L Summer Update

Over the summer, we received two more rings, bringing the total number to 7!


God has been working some convictions into Lisa and I about the gospel and the church, but more on this another time ...


Come live with children in Sierra Leone for 3 minutes by clicking here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zig3Eqpf6ek

Friday, August 01, 2008

Reality Check

Some alarming news came to me recently from Kathy, a missionary friend in Sierra Leone, about a plane which had landed at Sierra Leone's Lunghi Airport a little over a week ago without permission. The plane was carrying over 1,500 pounds (700 kilos) of cocaine. CNN picked up the story, explaining that the illegal trafficking of drugs from South America through West Africa is booming, with most of the drugs ending up in Europe. This has officials at the U.N. worried that such illegal smuggling (not only of drugs, but also of guns and people) could spark off violence in the region, undoing the stability created in West Africa after years of conflict. You can read the article here: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/07/31/africa.drugs.trade.ap/index.html. Sadly, Kathy pointed out, there are local Sierra Leonean government officials in partnership with the drug traffickers. Please pray that the region remains peaceful. While in Sierra Leone back in January, we visited a Christian children's school near the Airport where this plane full of cocaine recently landed. Here are some pictures from that school.






On a more positive note, Kathy also reported that the litter on the streets of Freetown is being cleaned up, improving both the health and beauty of the capital city. She is also involved in a Bible study prayer group held at the home of the President, as the First Lady is a Christian. Below is a picture of Kathy at the home of Dr. Modupe Taylor-Pearce (he's on the left). Also in the picure is our team: David Musa of S.A.V.E. in the middle, Danny Golich, and myself. You can learn more about Kathy's ministry in Sierra Leone here: http://missions.beavertonfoursquare.org/

Kathy also speaks of the fervency with which those in her Bible study engage in prayer. While in Sierra Leone, Danny and I were struck by the importance placed upon prayer by the Christian leaders in Sierra Leone--Dr. Taylor-Pearce and David being two of them. When I think about this, James 2:5 always comes to my mind: "Has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and to be inheritors of the kingdom which he promised to those who love him?"

So, as alarming as the contrast of a large shipment of cocaine landing near a children's school may seem, the believers in Sierra Leone have something even more powerful than drug trafficking on their side. They have the ear of the Creator of the universe!

Friday, July 25, 2008

What does Young Life have to do with Leaders 4 Life?

Twenty years ago, a young Texan girl named Bonnie went to a Kanakuk summer camp. This was a transformative week for Bonnie, as a Young Life staffer named Stacy had the opportunity to pray with her as Bonnie gave her heart to the Lord.

Fast forward about 10 years. Although Bonnie had lost touch with Stacy, she continued growing in her faith. She attended Baylor University where she charmed a guy named Steve Mason with her dance moves. Besides both being avid dancers, they had in common the fact that Steve was also introduced to Jesus through the ministry of Young Life. Steve and Bonnie married and after seminary, Steve felt that a Ph.D. in theology was the next step for him. Bonnie, being the fervent prayer-warrior that she is, was excited about the venture. So they packed up and moved to a quaint little town in Scotland called St. Andrews (where Steve resisted golf long enough to complete his degree).





It was in St. Andrews that Lisa and I met Steve and Bonnie and instantly became good friends. But it was as the Mason's were leaving St. Andrews, that something amazing happened in our relationship with them. (If you've already heard this story, keep reading ... its better than the first time you heard it!) As Steve was applying to teach at LeTourneau University back in Texas, we learned that LeTourneau has a L.E.G.S. program which designs low-cost prosthetics legs for people in third world countries. And even though we'd known Steve and Bonnie for a couple of years, oddly enough we hadn't told them about our amazing calling to Sierra Leone involving prosthetics. When we finally sat down to talk about everything on our way to the airport for Steve's interview, we realized that this was a God-thing! After Steve got the position, we found out further that the next country LeTourneau's L.E.G.S. programe wanted to focus upon was Sierra Leone. Pretty amazing stuff. But it gets better ...


Back in St. Andrews, I had an inkling. For three years since we had moved to Scotland, I kept hearing church leaders talk about the dire need to reach the lost youth of St. Andrews but I never saw a comprehensive outreach to kids get underway. So I got this inkling from the Lord to help bring Young Life to St. Andrews. (And keep in mind, at this time I didn't know Steve and Bonnie had come to Christ via Young Life.)

I got in touch with a fabulous guy in London named Tom Hammon who has worked for Young Life for over 35 years. Tom worked to bring his good friend Randy Nickel, who is currently serving in Tanzania, to oversee what is happening with Young Life in Scotland. (Randy is on the left in the picture below, with Graham from Holy Trinity, St. Andrews.) Now here comes some more amazing bits ...




Tom and Randy suggested I get in touch with their friends doing Young Life in Liberia, next door to Sierra Leone. So I begin praying that Young Life would start in Sierra Leone and commit myself to help Young Life get started there when I become more active in the country. Low and behold, a couple of weeks later I get an email from James Davis of Liberia who had recently travelled to Freetown, Sierra Leone to hold a Young Life club meeting. Wow. I guess God beat me to the punch, but He did answer my prayers! Here are some pictures of the Freetown meeting below ...
















Not amazing enough you say? Okay, how about this: As Randy contemplates shifting his focus from Tanzania to Scotland, he receives an email from his good friend "Stacy" who is praying for him. Here is some of the ensuing email correspondence:


Stacy: In the midst of praying for you, I get a call from an old Kanakuk camper that was in my cabin 20 years ago. I was able to pray with her to receive Christ, and so as a result, she talks about me every time she gives her testimony. Just this week, she was giving her testimony and decided to hunt me down. Through a long, strange course of events she was able to find me. We obviously talked for hours, but when she told me that she and her husband had lived in St. Andrews from 2002-2006, I couldn't believe it. I shared with her your story, and realized what a huge affirmation this could be for you. Her husband became a Christian through Young Life in San Antonio, and still remains very close to Tiger Dawson.


Me: This brings tears to my eyes ... Steve and Bonnie are close friends of ours from St. Andrews. When Steve finished his Ph.D. here in St. Andrews, he applied to teach OT at LeTourneau Univ. in Texas. In the process, we learned that LeTourneau's engineering department (called L.E.G.S.) is developing a low-cost prosthetic leg for people in third-world countries and that the next country they decided to focus upon is Sierra Leone. Steve and Bonnie are big champions of our work in Sierra Leone and an important part of the story of how God has been bringing everything together for us ... Randy, this is a nice confirmation for us both that God is indeed working not only in Africa, but also in Scotland!


Bonnie: WOW! Isn't God amazing...this is an Ebenezer for sure. Praise the Lord that Tiger Dawson and Stacy Santen heard the call to share Christ with Steven and Me many years ago....and now for his kingdom, things continue to grow and come full circle so that others may know him...awesome God indeed.


Randy: Chris that is crazy how God works. Stacy leads Bonnie to Christ at camp, Stacy and Matt become our great friends, Bonnie and Steve become your friends. This is what heaven will be like.


I've said many times before that Leaders 4 Life is about bringing heaven to earth. I cannot yet tell you specifically what Young Life has to do with Leaders 4 Life. What I can say is that it is amazing to watch God work and it is encouraging to see the Body of Christ work the way it should--each part functioning to help the other build the kingdom. What does Young Life have to do with Leaders 4 Life? The only answer I have is, "This is what heaven will be like!"

Monday, May 19, 2008

My experience in "Paradise"

This may be my most amazing post yet ... Yes, just when I thought God couldn't top himself, He goes and does it again!


We recently spent a few weeks in the U.S. where we spent some time with family and I spoke about Leaders 4 Life. At the invitation of our friends Jake and Trisha Posey, I spent some time at John Brown University learning about their Institute for Biblical Community Development which is training missionaries to do holistic mission work via basic engineering skills (see: http://www.jbu.edu/academics/ecm/accomplish.asp). Lisa and I also sat down with other mission-minded folks--doctors, pastors, and business leaders--to share the vision of L4L. We had a tremendous response from everyone and were really encouraged by our visit. If this was all we had done and experienced, I would've considered our trip a success. But it seems God had other plans ...


The initial reason for our trip was to speak about Sierra Leone at Paradise Valley Community Church in Phoenix, AZ (http//www.paradisechurch.com/) and to celebrate Lisa's birthday with her twin sister Lyn. This church is led by good friends and mentors of ours, Frank and Jackie Switzer. Lisa and I were the first couple Frank ever married as an ordained minister. Frank and I went to University and Seminary together and have always dreamed and prayed about doing ministry alongside one another. But we never envisioned it would look like this ...


As I spoke at PVCC's two Sunday morning services, I shared the stories and pictures of utter poverty and despair in Sierra Leone. I also told of the amazing ways God has led us to this country, beginning with our dedicating Lisa's diamond wedding ring to help the people of Sierra Leone who had lost limbs over the diamonds. And then God began to move in people's hearts. This is such a difficult thing to describe when it happens, but those who have had such experiences can relate. Frank was crying, I was crying, people in the congregation were weeping. A few times in my life I've been a part of such amazing movements of God, but this is the first time I was involved in leading one.



After the two services were finished, an offering which had been collected for Sierra Leone was counted up. And for the first time ever, someone had put a diamond ring in the offering plate. Frank, Bruce McNicol, along with Gene and Terry Ratley and I huddled around it, ooing and aahing and smiling--not at the diamond--but at how powerfully God had moved and how filled with faith such a response was. And then, after the service, some good friends of ours who we've known from our seminary days, who hadn't seen the diamond ring from the offering plate, handed me their wedding rings. How does one receive such a gift, even on behalf of others? It seems God's Spirit was prompting people to give their diamonds, and people responded.










Sunday afternoon I called David Musa (the Sierra Leonean who took me to the country back in January) to share with him what God had done earlier that day. Giving money to someone in the world's most underdeveloped country in the world is one thing, but for Sierra Leoneans to hear that people are giving their diamond rings--even their wedding rings--to help those who have lost limbs over diamonds is redemptive on so many levels. What else can I say ... God has done it again!

Here is a link to my message, which you can download as a podcast: http//www.paradisechurch.com/explore/messages/audio_archives.php. It is more powerful to listen to the message live and see the pictures, but if you've never heard the whole vision in one shot, it's worth a listen.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Theological Education in Sierra Leone

Having had a wonderful experience at Fuller Theological Seminary (http://http//www.fuller.edu/) and being months away from completing my Ph.D. in New Testament at St. Mary's College at the University of St. Andrews (http://http//www.st-andrews.ac.uk/divinity/), theological education is something which I am, of course, passionate about. However, while ministers in the West like myself have been able to benefit from some of the best evangelical scholarship in the world, many pastors in second and third world countries are much less fortunate. It is encouraging, therefore, to see some organizations facilitate missionaries who want to teach theology on the mission field. For instance, my friend Kelly taught at a seminary in Costa Rica for 4 years with an organization dedicated to theological education in Latin America called ESEPA (http://http//www.esepa.org/). Or consider the neat work Geoff Pound is doing through Theologians Without Borders in connecting seminary teachers with institutions on the mission field, mostly in Asia (http://http//theologianswithoutborders.blogspot.com/). Like everything else in Sierra Leone, theological training began to suffer beginning with the onset of the war and continues to suffer today even though Sierra Leone is at peace.

We visited two main centres of theological education in Sierra Leone. Fourah Bay College began in 1827 as an Anglican missionary school and is the oldest western-style academy in West Africa. (Their JFK building is in the picture on the right.) From 1867 it began an affilliation with Durham University in England (which today is still a powerhouse for theological education) and in 1966 became a constituent of the University of Sierra Leone. Fourah Bay College gained a reputation for training in theology and education, churning out missionaries who went into other parts of Africa and garnering the epithet, "The Athens of Africa." Fourah Bay trained many influential leaders including the first Prime Minister of Sierra Leone, Sir Milton Margai, as well as the current President, Ernest Bai Koroma. Today, however, many evangelicals in the country feel the college has lost its missional roots. In addition, although the campus has an active InterVarsty Christian Fellowship as well as an Anglican chaplain dedicated to the faith, the Muslim influence there seems to be gaining dominance.
The college chaplain, Canon Emmanuel Thompson, is sitting on the right in the picture to the left.

The second place ministers go for theological training is The Evangelical College of Theology or TECT. This college was started by Wesleyan and Baptist missionaries. The Christian leaders I met seem to feel TECT has stayed grounded in its evangelical and moral roots. It survived the war admirably, but its academic rigour has suffered since. The missionaries who began the college left during the war for reasons of safety, and with them went precious funding. During this time the college also stopped receiving up-to-date journals and books. TECT learned a valuable lesson from the war which they kindly passed on to us: mission work must empower nationals. Western missionaries are appreciated and needed, but they must train and empower nationals to stand on their own. Just above on the right is a picture of me talking theological education with the Dean and other administrators of TECT.

Most pastors in Sierra Leone have barely finished secondary/high school. It is rare for a pastor to have bachelor's degree, much less a master's or Ph.D. What if Leaders 4 Life could provide a high calibre of leadership training and bring an intellectual and spiritual vigour back to Sierra Leone by providing some of the best theological education possible? Wouldn't it be an amazing act of empowerment to unleash an explosion of highly trained leaders who could not only stand on their own but also empower others?

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Kingdom of Heaven Comes Not by Violence

One of the first places we visited was an amputee camp in the Jui section of Freetown. Camps for amputee war-victims and their families like the Jui camp were set up by the government all over the country after the war. The children came right up to us, held our hands, and sat in our laps! You can tell they are loved.

We sat and listened to the horrific stories of these people from the war. The lady in the middle of the picture below in the wheelchair is the matriarch of the camp. She is affectionately known as "the Chairlady." Part of the psychological tactics the rebels used when they attacked her village was to tell her and the ladies she was with that they were 'politicians' because they danced when the president was elected and, therefore, deserved to have their feet cut off. The rebels left her and the other ladies upstairs bleeding and set the ground floor of her house on fire. They were told that the first one who came out of the house would be shot. Choking on smoke, they were forced to crawl out only to realize the rebels were long gone. The Chairlady didn't get medical help until 2 or 3 days later, resulting in her having to be amputated above the knees. She told her story with an amazing amount of dignity and courage.



At first, the Chairlady was reluctant to recount her personal history because, she reasoned, many people had come to see them before, taken pictures of them, and left without returning again to help. It was only because we were with Pastor Victor (whom she trusted) and had promised to buy them a bag of rice that she deemed our motives less self-ingratiating. Out of all my experiences on my first trip to Sierra Leone, the Chairlady's words struck me most deeply and have lingered with me the longest.

Although the government created these camps with basic houses, some land to farm, and arranged for amputees to receive prosthetics, a failed government has not been able to sustain them. The farmers cannot feed everyone in the camp year-round. As you can also see, the amputees aren't using their prosthetics. These two realities are related: they do not have enough to eat; therefore they beg for food; they get less money when they beg wearing a prosthesis; therefore they beg without their prosthesis. The other thing about prosthetics is that they need regular maintenance and adjustment for practicability and comfort--which does not seem to be happening. To add to these difficulties, members of this community also have to hike to the river and back for water, 1/2 mile each way. The rebels tried to build a better government by violence and all of this is the result.

We learned that ministry in Sierra Leone is slow, difficult, and complicated; so we want to start small. We also learned--especially from the Jui camp--that ministry needs to be holistic, addressing the physical, spiritual, intellectual and social needs simultaneously. Therefore, as our first, smaller project, I have been contemplating adopting this camp. Please pray for these people and this potential project. Wouldn't it be a beautiful thing to bring the peaceable, life-giving kingdom of heaven to earth by transforming this camp of about 100 people by providing a new school for children with laptops, a church, sustainable farming, a water well, and a clinic which prosthetists can work in conjunction with? Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if we could give the Chairlady a reason to dance again?

Leaders 4 Life exists to bring the best in the world to bear upon this situation. I leave you with this amazing 5 minute prosthetics video by Dean Kamen--creator of the Segway--for those who have a few extra moments to be inspired to that end: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/82

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Trash Talkin'



I remember one day, shortly after I had become a Christian, in which I threw some rubbish out of my car window while sitting in a fast-food parking lot in Las Vegas. My meal was rudely interrupted when a war veteran picked up the trash and threw it back into my car and upon my lap with some choice expletives. Who could blame him? He had risked his life for his country and I was de-beautifying it.













The 10 year war in Sierra Leone has left all systems in the country broken. The postal system is unreliable and "recycling" is not even on the radar map. I learned that some rubbish trucks were donated by Germany (I believe), but that trash collection was sporadic and generally unreliable. This is not to mention the terrible road conditions which muck up the matter even more.
















I can’t help but think of how demoralizing living with such waste must be. Besides the potential to spread disease, apart from the watery eyes caused by the constant burning of garbage, it is not pretty to look at. I wonder how much Sierra Leoneans dream of re-capturing the beauty of their country …

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

January 6th

Some dates are unforgetable. They mark the undulations of our collective humanity. Dates like 9/11 and 7/7 have become part of our everyday vocabulary, triggering images of horror and grief.

On January 6th, 2008, I was commissioned at the Parish Church of the Holy Trinity in St. Andrews to enter Sierra Leone for the first time. After 10 years of watching and waiting as God continually and profoundly put this country before me, it was a much-anticipated trip. Being commissioned on January 6th was a memorable event, not least because January 6th is also my father's birthday.

When I got into Sierra Leone and began meeting people , I kept hearing them talk about this date. "On January 6th rebels cut off my feet ... " "On January 6th I saw someone die right in front of me ..." I finally caught on and asked the significance of this day. I was told that while Sierra Leone's war had been going on for 8 years out in the countryside, for the people in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, there was little thought that the war would ever reach them. I discovered that January 6th (1999) is the day the rebels entered Freetown to take control of the government and the country. Many terrifying things happened to the citizens of Freetown on that day. The 6th of January is Sierra Leone’s 9/11 or 7/7. Before entering the country, I had no idea what had happened on this date 9 years earlier.

Victor Zizer is the minister of First Presbyterian Church in Freetown. He told me of his experience on January 6th. Rebels came to his house and held his family at gunpoint. They took half of the food in Victor's house for supplies. His wife and children were terrorized. When they left, his family was relieved just to be alive. A total of five groups of rebels came to their house that night. Victor and another pastor gathered about 200 people together and began praying in a place the Lord had provided as a refuge. They prayed through the night until they heard gunshots getting closer and decided to move. As they walked through the darkness, they heard bullets flying all about them. Victor says, "It was like walking through the valley of the shadow of death ..." This is just a small glimpse of Victor's harrowing story, and his is but one among the 2 million people who lived in Freetown at the time. So when I told Victor I was commissioned to come on January 6th, he looked at me as if to say, "That's significant." I should not neglect to mention that after the war, Victor participated in a programme to rehabilitate rebels--an unbelieveable act of grace and forgiveness.


You've probably heard me talk about the many 'amazing' things God has been doing to lead us to Sierra Leone and this is yet another one of them. My first trip into the country has confirmed that God is calling us to help heal what has happened to the people of this country during their war. As one of my friends, Jeff Tippner, says, "the Lord is already beginning to redeem that date for Sierra Leoneans."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Leaders 4 Life

When I asked my wife Lisa to give up her diamond wedding ring to help the war-torn country of Sierra Leone, we had no idea where it would take us or what it would lead to. We would learn that Sierra Leone was a desperately poor country before its 11 year civil-war, a conflict in which some of the most brutal atrocities in recent memory occurred. The movie Blood Diamond depicts well the forced amputations and use of child soldiers which went on during the war. The country is now devastated in its infrastructure, in dire need of healthcare, battered psychologically, behind in education and lacking in many other areas such as clean water, technology, etc. Through our Christian nonprofit effort based in Phoenix, AZ, we seek to breathe life into the West African country of Sierra Leone through our commitment to the gospel, leadership, and expertise.




               The vision of Leaders 4 Life is to transform Sierra Leone spiritually, physically, socially and intellectually. We exist to create life-giving Christian leaders and transform local communities in one of the most challenging places on earth. We do this by providing access to the highest caliber leadership and expertise in the world in these 4 areas so that future leaders in Sierra Leone can serve their local communities in the best ways possible. We do this through our two primary goals.

                First, we create Leaders 4 Life Communities. After establishing a relationship with a local village, we build a basic infrastructure and then start 4 entities: a church, a clinic, an orphanage and a K-12 school. Leading each of these entities are high caliber leaders alongside nationals. But these expert friends are merely there to help; Sierra Leoneans will eventually step into these lead roles. This 4-fold structure of a church, clinic, orphanage and K-12 school will continually improve until these entities are self-sustaining and of a high caliber.

                Second, we train and educate leaders through the Leaders 4 Life Institute. This Institute is designed to build up, support and sustain the leadership of the L4L communities by providing leadership training as well as making education in a particular expertise or field available. We bring experts from around the world in the fields of leadership, theological education, medicine, orphan care, childhood education and beyond, providing them with an opportunity to put their expertise to practical use on the mission field. This Institute also fosters a network of Christian organizations in the country in order to rally and focus existing efforts. 

                We want to bring the best in the world to bear upon one of the worst situations in the world. By preaching the gospel, training nationals in the discipline of leadership, and through providing those in Sierra Leone with access to expertise from the world’s leaders in key fields, we can drastically transform communities in Sierra Leone and ultimately prevail.

Leading 4 Life,


Chris Chandler