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14 posts from July 2007

July 30, 2007

Awakening Fest

For all my friends in Virginia and the surrounding areas: I'll be speaking at the Awakening Music Festival, in Centerville, VA (right outside of DC) on September 15th. I'd love to see you so let me know if you'll be attending. Awakening Fest is a one day music festival with Toby Mac, Barlow Girl, This Beautiful Republic, and other great bands. Remember to jump over to EMI's Red Letters Site to sign up, view photos from Africa, and download video. Awakenignfest_2

July 27, 2007

Five for 50

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Great news. The Five for 50 site is live!

Please go to Fivefor50.com to register and join the global fight against extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS. There are 5 easy ways you can help support those who are suffering with HIV. You can pick one or all five. The key is to do something - motivate yourself to action. You can make a difference and you can change the world! Fivefor50 is about helping you take the first step.

July 25, 2007

A Call for Women to Help in the HIV Crisis

I love how passionate women are about issues that affect our world. Whenever we have missions trips, they are at least 75% women. When AIM (Adventures in Missions) does short and long term trips, 75% women. Women have carried heavy loads across the centuries when men either didn't or couldn't.  Examples would be taking care of the home front during WWI and WWII when men were at war. Today, there's a reason Russia is called, "Mother Russia." It's mostly women who are taking care of the family and working tirelessly.

What does this have to do with HIV/AIDS? The Kaiser Family Foundation has just released "The Multsectoral Impact of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic. Listen to one of their key findings, "There is the potential for HIV to alter the ratio of women to men since so many affected by HIV are women. Women account for almost half (48%) of all adults living with HIV/AIDS globally; they account for 59% of adults living with HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. HIV rates typically peak among women 5 to 10 years earlier than men and women with HIV also tend to die earlier than men." Thanks to Mike Todd for this info.

Download kaiser_report.pdf

Ladies, there's plenty you can do! Take action and go to the Five for 50 website now and sign up in 5 areas of involvement. Or, get involved with HIV education, go on a mission trip, get involved with an organization helping those infected with HIV. The world needs you and is waiting!

July 23, 2007

The Fight Against AIDS - We're Losing

A brand new report came out today with discouraging news. With all that has been done in education, health care, and awareness, AIDS continues to be on the rise and we are losing the battle. Dr. Anthony Fauci, President George W. Bush's top adviser on the HIV/AIDS crisis, said that for every person we put in therapy for HIV, another six are infected.

The number of people infected with HIV is supposed to rise from over 40 million today to over 60 million by 2015. There was some good news at the summit regarding male circumcision reducing the transmission rate of HIV, but the rest was bleak news. The fact is that nothing but abstinence and faithfulness to one spouse will ever curb HIV. Dr. Brian Gazzard said, "The HIV epidemic is essentially uncontrolled, uncontrolled in Africa, and uncontrolled completely in Asia right now."

We have to be educated and involved regarding this deadly disease - Jesus commands us to do so. AIDS will kill millions of people leaving in its wake millions more orphans and widows. Read the rest of the article here.

July 20, 2007

Swazi Purses are Back

After my March 2007 trip to Swaziland, we sold handmade purses made by Swazi widows here on the blog.  That was such a great success, I wanted to bring back even more purses when I was there in June. (See this post to learn more about the women who make these purses).

It's our plan to continue using the profits to support more widows and children. Hopefully, this project will grow and expand to include other handmade crafts and items. We'll just see where it goes!

To order a purse, send an e-mail to Dany Narron. Each purse costs $15 plus shipping and handling. As of today, we have 79 remaining in inventory.

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July 18, 2007

EMI Partnership with Red Letters

Some very exciting news. EMI Christian music group, representing artists such as Toby Mac, Steven Curtis Chapman, Chris Tomlin, Mandisa, David Crowder Band, etc., is partnering with Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds. Why? To get the message of Christ's compassion and the needs of the world out to their audience so they can make a real difference in the lives of the poor.

The good news for you, is that they are giving away a trip for (2) to one of the most needy places in the world with the highest HIV infection rate - 46%. Where? You got it, Swaziland Africa! Please check out the EMI website here or go to www.heartitfirst.com/redletters to download Red Letter video content, see pictures, and keep up with the speaking tour. You won't be able to register for the contest just yet, but I'll let you know the day it begins.

July 16, 2007

Harry Potter, An Orphan

I'm going to take a slight turn from my usual posts to address a particular cultural phenomenon - Harry Potter. Book 7 - The Deathly Hallows arrives on bookshelves at midnight, July 21st. For those of you who are fans, I'm sure you're freaking out with anticipation! Whether or not you believe the material of Harry Potter is right or wrong, it is the #1 seller for all the major chains such as Barnes and Noble and Amazon. There are also dozens of Christian books attempting to explain Harry Potter from a Christian world view. This has hit a 'hot-button' in our culture that all of us should pay attention to.

One theme of interesting note is that Harry Potter is an orphan. JK Rowling said she made created him to be an orphan because her mother had died, and she felt like an orphan herself. She battled MS for 10 years and died at 45, as this article states.  People connect with him because he is an orphan. Mistreated, alone, living under the stairs, and hated by his Aunt and Uncle. He has nothing, hopes for nothing, aspires to nothing. He simply eeks out a meager existence. But, I believe, what captures people's attention is that our orphan friend has a very special gift, is famous but doesn't know it, and has a powerful destiny to fulfill.

This is not unlike any other orphan in the world. They are incredibly special, created in God's very image. They have a hope and future, and an amazing future ahead of them - if they could only see it. They are helped in mysterious ways and are led by the invisible hand of God. If only we could see how much love God has for the orphan, we would all be compelled to risk our comforts to help those the rest of the world has forgotten. "Pure and undefiled religion is visiting widows and orphans in their distress." - James 1:27

Encouraging Responses to Red Letters

I thought you might like to see what others are saying about the book from ICRS. This is very encouraging!

"My husband and I own Logos Bookstore in Kent, Ohio. Our former youth pastor has been going on missions trips to South Africa for several years now. I've been interested in what he's been doing, but never challenged to be a part of it.

...Not until about 4 hours ago.

I've had your book for several days. Today I thought that I'd just "crack it open and read the first chapter." Well, I could not stop reading it, except for about a half hour to put my kids to bed. ...I found that I did their bedtime routine differently tonight...with great pause, you know?

Tom, your book has changed my heart of complacency. I have been slowly becoming aware of more global situations- like the plight of the Dalit and the African AIDS crisis. But this book said- "You know the love & hope of Christ. Here's the reality of these crises. Now, what are you going to do about it?"

I read the whole book essentially in one sitting. I will read it again and study it. But, I just had to tell you what impact it had on me. I will be handselling this at my store ASAP. I'll be directing the local pastors and campus ministers to this NOW- before September. We can do a lot in northeast Ohio!"

And a second...

"On the plane going home, I started reading Red Letters, and couldn't stop until I finished it. You've put into words the wordless frustrations and longings I've had in my faith and in my understanding of the Bible. Since childhood, I had a strong and easily upset sense of justice. As an adult, God allowed my sense of justice to be smashed by personal difficulties, and He is only now rebuilding that desire for justice in the direction of those who have no one to speak for them.
 
I'm not sure what direction God has for me next, but I know that Red Letters and meeting you is pivotal in some way. I know I'll be re-reading the book, and getting your other one while I pray and see what to do."

July 11, 2007

Back from Atlanta

I am back from an incredible trip to ICRS. My schedule was so busy, I didn't even have time to pick up the newest books - Bummer! But, I did get to see many incredible friends and that was the best part. Will Samson and his wife, Lisa Samson, have a new book coming out August 1st called, Justice in the Burbs. To find out a little about the book, Click here to see the Video Promo. I also was able to spend time with Claudia Mair Burney, a novelist, and simply an amazing person! Lisa, Claudia, will accompany me to Swaziland, Africa in January of '08. Also got to hang out with my buddy, Matt Bronleewe, who has a novel releasing entitled, Illuminated, that is available now. Catching up with my friend, Gabe Lyons, founder of The Fermi Project and Q, was also a treat. Last, but not least, I spent some time with Steven Curtis Chapman who I've known for some time and we were able to dream about the future and how we could help orphans together.

Please check out the video promo of Red Letters at the top of this page featuring the people the book is about. From a promotional stand point, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Borders were very excited about the release of the book. I'm glad to see it's getting attention in the ABA market. Only a month and a half until it releases!

July 10, 2007

ICRS Book Signing Photo

Here's another photo from the book signing. I'm off for another day of publicity.Icrs_booth_001