For over 20 years Neil Lessman and Don Helmer served the Russian church by training leaders and helping them to establish and run their own non-profit organizations. Several of their friends who learned how to disciple others during the Soviet era managed sizeable operations and have made significant and creative contributions to God's work in Eurasia. But they often experienced a variety of unintended bad consequences after receiving funds donated from Western sources.
Don and Neil started looking for a delivery vehicle for charitable funds raised in America that would avoid the pitfalls their friends had experienced. About this time Jim Morgenroth offered Don and Neil the reins of "His Life, Inc." a 501(c)3 that had made his 4 year project in Russia possible.
The first projects selected included: building a church in Vyborg, sponsoring seminary training for the future director of Wycliffe Russia and launching a Christian publishing company in St. Petersburg.
At the change of millennium, the name of "His Life, Inc." was changed to "Leading Edge International, Ltd." The newly named Leading Edge began supporting some creative church planters associated with a Christian musical group. Their determination to plant churches throughout Eurasia reminded Leading Edge of the courage of the Apostles in the first century Roman Empire. Next Leading Edge assisted a special ministry to orphans in the Lake Baikal area. We also backed up the efforts of Integra Russia to aid entrepreneurs in Irkutsk and women facing huge personal challenges in Moscow. Integra Russia proved that, even in Russia, being a businessperson and a Christian are not self-contradictory terms!
It took 10 years to deliver the first half a million dollars to Christian leaders overseas. Leading Edge is excited that in 2010, just over three years later, we will cross the million dollar mark of funds delivered to extend our partners' efforts further than they had dreamed possible.
Now we are looking to leverage the last 14 years of experience to become a future source of blessing for other international leaders and organizations. Joining in more partnerships with schools, non-profits and mission organizations throughout Central Europe and Eurasia begins the next adventure for Leading Edge International.
SUMMARY OF EFFORTS:
- 1975-88: Conduct mission work in Mediterranean and Gulf.
- 1988-92: Inactive
- 1993-96: Assist Christian publishers in Russia
- 1997-2007: Deliver nearly $500,000 to support charities in Eurasia.
- 2008-2009: Expand to include Central Europe, beginning with Central Eurasian Partners.
- 1971 – File Articles of Incorporation for "His Life, Inc." in Wisconsin
1974 – Granted Federal 501(c)3 status as religious non-profit.
Status confirmed in 1994 and 2005.
- 1999 – Changed Name and By-Laws to Leading Edge International, Ltd.
- 2004 – File first required Leading Edge Form 990 tax return.
- 2006 – Registered as foreign non-profit corporation in Indiana.