What is L.I.O.N. Outreach International?
L.I.O.N. is an acronym which stands for Leadership In Obscurity Network
What is a Leader In Obscurity?
A. In our definition, a Leader In Obscurity (LIO) is someone who has become a leader of others out of their passion to meet the needs of people around them. Most of them are serving others and have built, or are building, an organization, church, business, or community that reflects their love for God and for others.
What does L.I.O.N. do?
We network (or connect) individuals and organizations on behalf of leaders in obscurity (LIOs) throughout the world.
How do we do this? What does “on behalf” mean?
What do you do for these leaders?
Four words describe what we do for the people we serve:
Encourage – Most of these leaders are poor, bi-vocational, overwhelmed with responsibilities, struggling to care for other people, and feel insignificant. We visit them even if they are in very remote areas. We pray with them. We honor them. We give time to listen to them and take an interest in their personal lives.
Equip – Many leaders in obscurity (LIOs) have minimal education, experience, or knowledge about basic leadership skills, responsibilities, methods, or goals. We help teach, train, and mentor them so that they are better able to function as leaders.
Empower – Through networking we help them to become stronger, more confident, effective, and qualified to lead and build teams around them. The network may also empower by providing seed resources for new programs or training. The most effective empowerment is to help liberate them from a sense of obscurity and insignificance.
Engage – Leaders all over the world often try to accomplish their mission or calling by working independently or alone. We engage them with other leaders and organizations to help develop better training, partnerships, or movements which will help transform the people and culture around them.
Where do you work?
Over the past five years we have worked in India, Nepal, South Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, and Panama. Our PRIMARY efforts right now are with growing networks of leaders in India and Nepal.
What are your current efforts or projects?
We have a small L.I.O.N. office and shared training facility in Chennai staffed by volunteers. From there we set up training events, individual discipling and mentoring, medical camps, community outreach, and visits to LIOs in southern India. Four key LIOs, (2 pastors and 2 business) are directing our efforts there.
L.I.O.N.–India Director, Ezra William, is currently based in Calcutta (Kolkata) on the campus of Calcutta Bible College. Ezra coordinates all of our work in India, but is focusing on working with LIOs who are under 40 years old. He travels monthly to remote areas in northern India and Nepal to train, mentor, and disciple young leaders. He teaches our Christian Basics courses in many different settings from remote house churches to Bible colleges. Ezra supervises 7-9 key LIOs, manages the training schedules for visiting teachers and mentors from the West, and has helped to publish L.I.O.N. books in five languages.
Executive Director, Jerry Vreeman, travels to India 4-6 times each year. He teaches, trains, mentors, explores new partnerships, and encourages the volunteers and staff who are focusing on a L.I.O.N. movement using the oral methods: Story Telling, Dialogue, Drama, Music, Art, Decision making, Comparative thinking, and small group mentoring/application.
Our first L.I.O.N. training of 25 LIOs was conducted in the Fall of 2014. Since that time Jerry and Ezra have made a combined four trips on behalf of five key LIOs who are coordinating the work there.
We have partnered with a small new Bible college in Kathmandu to train and equip 20-30 students who are preparing to lead ministry efforts in remote areas of Nepal.
We are teaching and training LIOs in some very remote areas in the Himalayas where Christians and churches have only existed for a few short years.
Since the two major earthquakes in April of 2015, L.I.O.N. donors have given about $8,000 to provide LIOs in Nepal with some relief funds. We have personal distributed these funds to key LIOs who have already constructed 27 temporary homes, built community toilets and sanitation facilities, and provided a small amount temporary support to several pastors.