Christian Taylor co-founded ARC Solutions this past summer with Benjamin Church. With the vision of where once there was dying, now there’s thriving life, Taylor serves as CEO of the organization. This week on Sam’s Dream Blog, Taylor shares about a dream nearly 15 years in the making.
Sam's Dream Blog: Why did you co-found ARC?
Christian Taylor: Our tagline right now is restoring life to war zones, which is really what we are about. When a country is in the most chaotic state, with people dying and governments falling apart (if there even is a government), that’s when we want to come in to partner with people who want to do good and who want to create things that are stable. That’s our niche. We are going to go to places nobody else would want to go to, and we’re going to do development work there.
SDB: Why did you start ARC when you did?
Christian Taylor: This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I first thought that I would be involved in development work long term when I was 15 years old. As I discussed a lot of the different options and offers that came up, my heart really wanted to do this. My heart wanted to leap and to create my dream job. One of my favorite questions to ask myself in making decisions is, ?What’s the worst thing that can happen?? When I asked myself that, the worst thing that could happen is that I pursued my dream and it didn’t work out, so I start over. That doesn’t sound that bad to me.
SDB: What are you working on these days?
Christian Taylor: What we’re doing right now is to come alongside a children’s school in Somalia. They have a well that’s contaminated with fecal runoff. These kids are drinking this all day. These kids can’t be in the classroom being educated if they keep getting sick. We are helping them purify the water so the school can continue with its mission. They have said, ?If you help us, we will make this last.?
SDB: Are most of your other projects similar to this one?
Christian Taylor: We just had our 2013 planning meeting and decided two things for next year. We’re sticking with water, and we’re sticking with Somalia. We want to keep things as simple as possible and as low-tech and cost-effective as possible. Yet it has to be excellent and built to last. We don’t want to put a system in there that’s going to break because it was cheap. Also, we have to train people to manage it.
SDB: How do you maintain relationships in Somalia from your office in California? Also, right now you’re not a huge organization. How do you build credibility?
Christian Taylor: Benjamin Church, who co-founded ARC with me, had been to Somalia twice before we started. One of the reasons we chose Somalia is that, statistically, it’s the worst place in the world. On the Failed States Index, it’s been No. 1 six of the last eight years. We wanted to choose a place where nobody’s going ? It’s in the midst of war, and it’s completely chaotic. Ben had begun to build relationships there. We can’t just show up. It’s like, who do they trust? Then who do we trust and so on. Just because someone has a title doesn’t mean you can trust them. There has been a lot of corruption.
SDB: How do you stay upbeat, and how do the people you are working with in Somalia stay upbeat?
Christian Taylor: For me it’s really simple. It comes down to my philosophy why what we are doing is going to work. God didn’t create Somalia to look like it does now. God created Somalia to be a place that is thriving, beautiful and bountiful. It was that kind of country. It doesn’t look like that right now, but I believe he wants to see it redeemed. By partnering with God to restore that nation, I don’t think there is any way we can fail.