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