A Journey of Giving—It’s Not About the Money
Ernie Leporini is an engineering consultant in northern California and longtime attendee of The Global Leadership Summit. His journey going from an un-churched young college student, to government civil engineer, to a missionary, to a consultant who is now able to give back through philanthropy, shows us the mysterious ways God works in people’s lives. Be inspired by his story.
Growing up in northern California, I was unchurched. I starting attending church in my late teens, influenced mostly by my girlfriend at the time (now spouse) Debbie.
When I graduated with a degree in civil engineering, I took a job with the federal government. As my career took us to different locations, we found churches that allowed God to work in my life, with just the right people to come along side me each time.
God was definitely working on me.
With time, it became clear Debbie and I were being called to cross cultural missions—first as members on missions committees, then leading missions ministries, then going on short-term missions and then leading short-term mission teams.
I was elected deacon at Christ Community Church in Carmichael, and Debbie and I were given the opportunity to lead the Missions Ministry. These leadership roles led to my attending the Global Leadership Summit at Lakeside Church, Folsom over the last eight years, where God has continued to take me on a journey.
I always look forward to the GLS. It makes sense to me to be an empowering leader, both in ministry and in my working environment; to find people with heart, help them define their passion, and then release them to live into it.
One of the other things I love about the GLS is hearing about how God is working through people around the world. I simply love to hear the stories; they encourage me to persevere.
Each step on my journey, and while attending the GLS, has increased my passion for seeing the Gospel spread throughout the world.
God orchestrated events that eventually led us to a lifestyle of giving, and building a relationship with a pastor and church in Klaipeda, Lithuania. More on that in a minute.
First let me go back to 2014, when I had a catalytic life moment prompted in part by the GLS.
Earlier in the year, I had retired. And that was good…for a while. But I was becoming restless. During the GLS, that restlessness developed into a sense that God had something else in mind for the future.
I needed to hear that “whisper” more clearly. I needed a retreat.
Armed with my Bible, and other books, I headed to a friend’s cabin for three days of solitude and prayer. The whisper became a small, quiet voice and by the end, I had heard God’s plan.
- First, I was to go back to work as a consultant. My place was in business, living out my faith, so that others could see Jesus in me, which is more than a little scary, I admit.
- The second part was that my work wouldn’t be for the money—the profits would go toward kingdom work.
The tag line “…helping to transform lives and communities…” summarizes the two-fold purpose of my consulting—impacting people in the workplace and impacting communities with resources.
And God has been faithful.
He provides the right clients at the right time. As soon as I show up at a new work site, interesting conversations begin. It’s not my work, but God working through me.
With God’s blessings, I’m able to give back. And that is how I came to giving to Willow Creek Association.
Remember the pastor I mentioned earlier from Lithuania?
Saul is the leader who brought the GLS to Lithuania. Hearing stories about the impact of the GLS in his country is amazing. Having been able to travel to Lithuania, I’ve had the chance to see the kingdom impact first-hand.
Through our connection with Pastor Saul, and seeing the impact of the GLS there, we are excited to see this multiply in other countries.