Lance Lanning says the work of Provision International, a worldwide Christian ministry of outreach, can be distilled into a few simple tasks.
“We meet the needs of the less fortunate. We are committed to networking resources to serve people in areas of great need,” Lanning said.
Provision International took root in 2001 when founders Dick and Anita Larson were on a short mission trip to Eastern Europe. After witnessing the extreme hardships that local people were enduring, the Larsons decided to begin gathering used medical equipment from American medical facilities. The equipment was placed on pallets and shipped to hospitals and clinics in underserved countries.
Lanning joined Provision International in 2004, and his mission trips proved to be an eye opener.
“We saw kids crawling out of the gutter, and that’s when we decided that kids can’t eat an anesthesia machine,” Lanning said. “We decided that we would do whatever we can, like providing food, to help people.”
Provision International relies on 83 volunteers to help the organization fulfill its mission. Recently, volunteers organized a shoe drive to help underprivileged people.
Lanning, a star athlete at Havre High School, was named the Gatorade Circle of Champions Montana High School Football Player of the Year in 1993. He was highly recruited to play college football, but became disillusioned with sports and fell into bad habits.
“I learned that sports aren’t going to make you happy. I was walking around laughing on the outside but dying on the inside,” he said.
Lanning said he turned his life around with help from friends who were involved in campus ministry at the University of Montana Western in Dillon. After college, Lanning frequently spoke at high schools, cautioning students about the dangers of bullying and drug abuse. Meanwhile, Larson had become familiar with Lanning’s work, and asked him to join Provision International.
Lanning has found a rewarding career by helping others. He met his future wife, Miska Magdadiova, while on a mission trip to Slovakia in 2004. In 2011, he became president of Provision International after the Larsons decided to step aside.
What’s the toughest challenge that you have faced in your business? Building a support team. Seeing people in great need and only being able to help some of them is another.
What did you learn from that challenge? That God is truly in control.
What’s the best business advice you have received? Be honorable and do the right thing.
Who gave you that advice? Joe Morstein.
Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: I want to continue to develop meaningful relationships.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? The personal satisfaction that I’m giving it my best effort and hoping that I’m making a difference in other people’s lives. Loving the people that God puts in my pathway. Love can be expressed not only in words, but even more importantly, in actions.
Which living person do you most admire? My wife, Miška.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My family.
I’m happiest when I’m… with my family on vacation.