Sasha Chanoff was a young field worker for a refugee organization when he was sent to the Congo to rescue 112 Tutsi refugees from the massacres in Rwanda. What do you do when there are hundreds of others desperately seeking escape as well? And how did that answer lead to a new volume on moral choices that includes a profile of Jim Post?
How Sasha answered that question, the conversations he later held with his father David about those choices, and interviews with others who faced their own difficult choices led to this volume: From Crisis to Calling: Finding Your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions. Jim Post, first president of VOTF, is one of those profiled in the second part of the book.
David and Sasha first focus on the life-and-death choices Sasha faced in the Congo and how he and co-workers in their choices illustrate the five principles they deem critical for confronting such decisions. Part 2 uses profiles of eight other leaders—in the business world, in government, in nonprofit organizations, in the military—to show how each applied the principles when faced with difficult decisions.
Not every choice was as extreme as in the Congo, of course. But each involved a crucible, with an option “we are reluctant to entertain, which we’d like to dismiss or disregard, one that challenges our innate resistance to taking risks, yet nevertheless calls to something inside us.”
Jim and Jeannette Post describe that “calling” as they reflect on the early days of VOTF. “I had no idea that I was about to step into a new world,” Jim says.
Jeannette notes that as a woman in the Catholic Church she knew her voice, alone, was “not one that would fall on open ears.” But it was time for those voices to be heard.
The authors write engagingly of the options Jim, Jeannette and the other subjects in their profiles faced. They also offer a clear framework for developing the capacity to meet such choices. It’s a good read.
You can purchase the book via Amazon.com—if you do, please use the “Amazon Shop” link of the VOTF website to designate a percentage of your purchase for VOTF. You also can learn more about the book on its web page.
And if you’d like to know what happened after Sasha’s Congo experiences, he founded the nonprofit RefugePoint (link is external) to rescue at-risk refugees like the 32 women and orphans he and his co-worker Sheikha managed to bring out with the other 112.