ER’s Leadership Development program has witnessed many turnaround stories over the years, but John Wayne Kennedy’s story has to be among the most inspiring. It’s really quite amazing.
John Wayne Kennedy grew up in Zimbabwe and moved to Nampula, Mozambique. There, he and his wife Tarryn-Lee saw firsthand how poverty and malnutrition were harming children and decided to do something about it. They committed to God to provide protein to these vulnerable kids by distributing boiled eggs.
In 2018, things started going horribly wrong.
“I was laid off from work unjustly in 2018 because I was the wrong skin color,” John Wayne said. “We used my settlement to invest into an ice cream business. We opened for business in April 2019 and one week later the building we rented burned down because of an electrical fire. Our life savings burned to the ground!”
As bad as this was, he persevered.
“We managed to stay positive and our trust in God remained firm. We regrouped and found a new business opportunity. We sold our land and invested in growing chickens. At the start, we experienced very successful growth cycles and only sold what we needed. We added more chickens to our barns and invested our profit into frozen birds to be ready for the end of the year sales, where prices are 20% higher.
“Overnight, the government changed retail regulations. I was unaware of these changes and when an inspection was performed my 5,000 birds did not pass. The new regulation required that the packaging had to have a specific logo on it.
“I received no grace. The penalty was cremation. I had to transport my frozen birds to a government facility and watch them burn everything – our hopes, our plans, our dreams and our security all went up in flames in November 2019.
“I was helpless. It broke me. I felt I had let down my wife and my daughter. I felt like a failure. Nothing I did amounted to anything.
“I stopped sleeping, I was at my lowest and I cried almost every night, not knowing what tomorrow had in store for me, my family and the ministry to which God called us.”
A Surprise Invitation
“In the midst of this dark place, Russ Cline invited me to attend ER’s Global Leadership Summit in Georgia. Another leader had to drop out and the sponsor wanted someone from Africa to attend in his place. The Summit invitation was truly God-sent because it also was an invitation to my healing and a reminder God always had been by my side.
“It was a miracle I was able to get to the States. We had no money for the visa or for travel to the interview. But someone deposited money into my account for the amount I needed. I still don’t know who deposited the funds because no one knew I had that need.
“Upon arrival, I remember sitting in the back after registration and Adam came over to greet me. Adam said, ‘John you are smiling and laughing but I don’t feel the joy coming out. What’s happened?’ It was the first time in two years I felt safe to be me and not act like I had to have the answers. As I shared, I cried out of pain and release that I did not have to carry my burdens by myself anymore.”
Connecting With God at Leadership Development Summit
“The Leader Mundial Summit helped me connect with God. We were given an hour just to be with God. I went into the chapel, laid on the floor and was so overwhelmed by God’s love. In the midst of my storm, He made a way out for me. He loved me and never gave up on me, even when I gave up on me.
“I felt a weight lift off me in the chapel, feeling so grateful and overwhelmed by His love. I messaged my wife at the end of the day and told her I felt like the old me again. Her reply was, ‘I missed him.’ It brought me to tears. Leader Mundial helped me see things I never saw before, restored my hope and healed my marriage.
“I returned to Mozambique knowing God will always take care of us. Even in the midst of the pandemic, we experienced God’s hand of provision in all aspects of our lives. When my wife’s salary was cut, we did not fear. When the government stopped me from doing business because of COVID-19 restrictions, we did not fear. Our rentals are current, our staff members got their full salaries, we had food on our table and enough to bless others.”
“A major contribution to my restoration was the love and wisdom provided by my first coach Mark; the encouragement of Adam, who is both a friend and a brother; and my current coach Rick who fills me with passion and ideas for what God has called me to do in Africa.”
The Future is ‘Eggs-citing’
Today, John Wayne operates a ministry called Seeds of Hope Mozambique.
“John’s vision is to transform the footprint of Africa one child at a time by eradicating poverty and sustaining a nation through practical life skills development, entrepreneurship and leadership development,” said Russ Cline, ER Co-founder/Director of Leadership Development. “John Wayne’s business is relaunching in order to provide eggs to children so they get the protein they need to attend school. His vision is huge!”
A core feature of Seeds of Hope Mozambique is providing rural children with boiled eggs several days a week. For those who would like to give a gift to John Wayne, you can donate through ER’s The Mundo Fund. Designate your gift Seeds of Hope Mozambique.
“Please pray our work will be salt and light, that we’ll feed more children and empower more families through our sustainable business model,” John Wayne said. “And also that my family and I will always see God’s hand regardless of the seasons of our lives.”
ER has been providing leadership coaching and training to nonprofit leaders for years. Pour into someone like John Wayne! Contact Russ Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for more information.
Timid Street Kid Now Leads with Passion
May 19, 2020
A self-described “shy and timid street kid without any formal education,” Junie Antinero, is enjoying a summit moment in his trek to become a strong leader. In March, he completed a four-year leadership training cycle in ER’s global leadership community.
“I’ve had the privilege to journey with Junie and see him grow his leadership skills, confidence and his ability to expand and lead his organization,” said Russ Cline, ER Co-Founder and Director of Leadership Development.
“Junie has taken advantage of every opportunity to develop his abilities by participating in training and coaching in Manila, by networking with other leaders and by implementing the things he has been taught.”
Junie’s journey got off to a slow start. “Without an education or the ability to communicate in English, I had to overcome my lack of self-confidence,” Junie shared.
In 2009, after his youngest son survived two life-threatening illnesses, Junie started a ministry called Seed Of Love (SOL) for families fighting cancer. He had witnessed families sleeping outside the hospital because they lacked resources. Filled with compassion, he established a halfway house for families who would otherwise be forced to sleep under the trees next to the hospital.
Junie cited the training he has received through ER’s leadership community as a key to giving him the skills and courage to lead
“My biggest challenge was the lack of resources to start and sustain the ministry. I have now gained the skills and self-esteem through the Christ-like attitude demonstrated in the community. I will be a more effective and compassionate leader in my community and mentor the younger generation to become godly leaders.”
ER provides training and coaching to 250+ global leaders annually. Interested in becoming a coach or supporting our work in some way?Learn more about ER’s Leadership Development initiative. Contact Russ Cline at email@example.com.
Nepal Summit Inspires Leaders
Question: When a young organization is helping vulnerable people in remote parts of the world, how do you make sure the work is sustainable? This is a real-life leadership development challenge faced by ER partner Xulon Project of Pokhara, Nepal and others in the region.
Answer: The solution is to train the current and next generation of leaders. You begin by identifying leaders (and upcoming leaders) who are already committed to the work. Those who seek training are invited to a Leadership Summit where they receive instruction, coaching and leadership materials to continue their development after the meeting concludes.
Last week, Xulon Project presented a summit for 14 leaders, plus support staff. ER leadership helped support the event and participated. For some, the summit required rigorous travel, time-zone changes and sleep loss. But according ER Asia Regional Director Joshua Benavidez the investment in the leaders was profound.
“We are tired and exhausted, but it is all worth it,” he said. “The three-day summit impacted the 14 leaders who attended. I have received already many notes of thanksgiving regarding how the summit impacted their lives.”
These leaders will return to their cities and villages encouraged and inspired to continue serving at-risk people. And, as part the “multiplication principle”, they’ll be looking for the next generation of leaders to train and coach.
JAM: A Vision to Develop African Leaders
(March 28, 2019)
Prior to joining Extreme Response, Alyssa Carrel left Michigan to serve as a short-term volunteer with ER partner Jabulani Africa Ministries in Cape Town, South Africa. Today, she serves as a staff writer and teaching assistant at our South Africa Dream Centre after-school program.
By Alyssa Carrel, ER Staff Writer
I arrived at the Jabulani Africa Ministries (JAM) base in 2015 excited, exhausted from traveling and terrified. I didn’t know if I had it in me to lead — to teach, to challenge, to encourage.
I now look back on that year with great pride. JAM helped train me to become a confident leader, eager to take on new challenges and tasks. This program helped define my passions and narrow my career path. (It also taught me that happiness comes with proximity to the beach.)
Since 2015, JAM has gone through some changes, but its mission remains the same. JAM exists to train leaders and it does so exceptionally well for staff/volunteers and the people they serve. It seeks to grow student and adult leaders and have them invest in their communities.
I’ve seen boys transform into young men, and young women grow in confidence. I’ve seen teens acquire a burning passion to reach out to their communities to make a positive impact.
For the past 12 years, JAM has operated in an old, World War ll army base located on the back of Table Mountain, a local tourist site. This is where most of the staff/team live and where they conduct leadership camps.
There is an instant atmosphere of peace when entering the mountain. The leadership of JAM is beyond grateful to have been given use of this land, but the organization now needs something different. While great for camps, the site is difficult to access.
New Location to Strengthen Leadership Development
JAM leadership plans to move its operations to a new, more accessible site in Hout Bay, on the Western Cape of South Africa. The goal is to build a leadership development center that will accommodate 40 people for leadership seminars and events.
The JAM staff’s dream is to expand its reach and influence, while streamlining and strengthening its training to better serve its community. JAM also intends to rent out space to help generate revenue to support its work.
JAM leaders have found several great locations in the valley of Hout Bay, but needs funds for a down payment in order to secure one of these sites.
Interested in helping this ER partner expand its reach and impact? Click to learn more about JAM and its expansion plans.
Why it matters:
- *Supporting partners working with local populations is highly efficient
- *Local organizations can develop deep relationships those they serve
- *JAM’s vision aligns with ER’s – they are training the next generation of leaders
Scroll below to read about ER’s commitment to leadership development.
Building Leaders, Community in Ecuador
(Oct. 18 2018)
Five organizations pooled their resources to sponsor a dynamic leadership conference in Ecuador: Extreme Response, Pan de Vida, Youth World, Reach Beyond and Inca Link. Each organization is committed to helping people escape from challenging circumstances. The training is designed to provide frontline leaders with the skills, insights and tools to enhance and expand their work.
Attendees included staff, partners and invited leaders from organizations throughout Ecuador.
“Leader Mundial Ecuador brought together 48 leaders from all over the country to learn, grow and build a community that will impact thousands of adults and children all over Ecuador,” said ER Americas Director Brian Wallace.
“The things that we have learned from Leader Mundial and Russ Cline, we want to pass on to other leaders who will impact their communities to change lives and bring hope for a better future.”
ER would like to thank all the participants and sponsors, especially sessions leaders Rich Brown from Inca Link, Tim Broach from Reach Beyond, Aaron Passmore from Youth World, and Oscar Aguirre from Pan de Vida.