Tom Davis: Priceless: A Novel on the Edge of the World
Coming June 2010
A terrible tragedy occurred today in the life of my friend, Steven Curtis Chapman. My heart in sharing this with you is to beg for your prayers on behalf of his entire family, I'm weeping for them right now. None of us could ever imaging going through something like this. I was with Steven in China when he met dear little Maria.
"Steven Curtis Chapman’s youngest child died Wednesday afternoon after being struck by a car driven by her teenage brother in the driveway of the family’s Williamson County home.
Maria, one of the Christian singer’s six children, was taken by LifeFlight to Vanderbilt Hospital, which confirmed the death, according to Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
The 5-year-old was hit by an SUV driven by her teenage brother, she said. Police did not give the driver’s name.
The teen was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser down the driveway of the rural home at about 5:30 p.m. and several children were playing in the area, McPherson said. He did not see Maria in the driveway before the vehicle struck her, she said.
“It appears to be a terrible accident,’’ McPherson said.
No charges are expected, she said. The accident was witnessed by two other children; the entire family was home at the time, McPherson said.
Singer/songwriter Chapman, who recently was inducted into Music City Walk of Fame, is one of contemporary Christian music’s most recognizable and most awarded names.
He and his wife Mary Beth have long been supporters of international adoption, having brought three girls from China into their family. Maria was the youngest.
The couple is so active in the cause that they formed an organization, Shaohannah’s Hope, to aid families wanting to adopt.
With his latest music tour, which came through Nashville in November, Chapman started a campaign called “Change for Orphans”. He asked audience members at each stop to bring spare change to the concert, where it was counted and given to a local family to aid in their adoption process.
“I don’t know of anybody who loves his children more than he does and is so committed to the adoption concept, and to lose one, no matter what the circumstances, is heartbreaking beyond all comprehension,” said John Styll, president of the Nashville-based Gospel Music Association.
“He talks about his kids all the time. That’s his life. His kids are more important to him than music, that’s for sure.”
The tragedy was announced during Wednesday-night services at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ, which the family attends. Maria had just graduated from the church preschool.
And word spread throughout the tight-knit Christian music community on Wednesday evening.
Styll got the news not long after Maria’s death.
“I’m confident I can speak for everyone in the community to say we will do everything we can to support this family, as we would do at any time, but especially at a time like this,” he said.
Most of the Chapman family was at Vanderbilt children’s hospital after the accident and could not be contacted. The long, gravel driveway leading to the home west of Franklin was blocked off by Williamson County sheriff’s deputies."
Ethiopia is a beautiful country with a rich history. It's the land of the Queen of Sheba. It is also a place filled with need. Nearly half of Ethiopia's 78 million people live in absolute poverty. The life expectancy is only 50 years and half of the people are illiterate. HIV/AIDS is wreaking havoc on this nation. In 2001, UNAIDS said there were 1 million AIDS orphans.
Something must be done.
Children's HopeChest has seen lives transformed in Russia and Swaziland when American Christians enter holistic, long-term, and redemptive relationships with orphaned and abandoned children. In the next 12 months, we will be focusing on expanding this effort into Ethiopia. Check out my video introducing our new efforts in Ethiopia.
On Thursday, May 15th, at 9AM MDT, I will be hosting a conference call for dozens of people across the country who are mobilized to join us in caring for the orphaned children of Ethiopia. If you are interested, please email Dan, our Outreach Director, and call us on Thursday at (712) 432-1620. The participant access code is 1083603#. We hope to hear from you then.
After 10 days, a massive spike in deaths will occur if aid does not reach the people in Myanmar suffering from the after-math of the storm. Cholera outbreaks are already being reported. This site has up-to-date videos on the crisis.
Relief Flight Reaches Myanmar
State TV Reports Cyclone Has Caused 28,458 Deaths
YANGON, Myanmar (CBS) ― The United States delivered its first relief supplies to Myanmar on Monday, as the U.N. urged the reclusive nation to open its doors to foreign experts who can help up to 2 million cyclone victims facing disease and starvation.
Myanmar reported that the official death toll from Cyclone Nargis had risen by nearly 3,500 to 31,938. Nearly 30,000 others remain missing, and the U.N. and others have said the death toll could reach 100,000 or higher.
But, reports CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey "if official Myanmar state TV is to be believed… all is well."
According to the news being broadcast across the country, helicopters are delivering aid and fresh water is being supplied - all courtesy of the ruling junta, and everyone is pleased to see them.
Pizzey says it's a far cry from what has been labeled "malign neglect" on the part of the government, and bears no relation to the reality in the hard-hit Irrawaddy delta region.
Click here to read the rest of the article.
The last two days I've been in sunny Florida. It was nice to be someplace warm, we dipped down to 32 degree again last night here in Colorado. WHERE IS SPRING? I was there promote my new book, Confessions of a Good Christian Guy, on CTN network's Herman and Sharron Show. It's funny to me how many men say I'm writing their story. And, they say, "I hope my wife doesn't read this, because she'll know how I think!'
I was also able to connect with some blogging friends, Greg and Brandi McElheny. Actually Brandi is the the blogger, Greg's the glogger, but that's another story. Let me tell you, wonderful people. Check out her blog. They've adopted from Liberia and have a huge heart for Africa. Give us a few days together and we'll solve half the world's problems! Lots of good synergy together as we open Uganda, and possibly Liberia in the future.
Quick Devotional Thought - Luke 11: 37-41(The Message), "When he finished that talk, a Pharisee asked him to dinner. He entered his house and sat right down at the table. The Pharisee was shocked and somewhat offended when he saw that Jesus didn't wash up before the meal. But the Master said to him, "I know you Pharisees burnish the surface of your cups and plates so they sparkle in the sun, but I also know your insides are maggoty with greed and secret evil. Stupid Pharisees! Didn't the One who made the outside also make the inside? Turn both your pockets and your hearts inside out and give generously to the poor; then your lives will be clean, not just your dishes and your hands."
To me this verse speaks for itself. A Pharisee, a religious leader, thinking he had all his churchiness taken care of. He kept the law, showed up at the temple, even washed up before every meal. What a guy! It wasn't a germ thing in the 1st century, they didn't know about germs. It was a religious thing. But all his religion didn't bring out the one thing in his life that was necessary: Love, specifically, love for his neighbor and love for the poor. I love how Jesus brings this back around again, give generously to the poor and your life will clean, you'll be transformed from the inside out. What an amazing statement. Jesus does this again and again in the scriptures. His focus should be our focus. Caring for the weak, the poor, the oppressed. I want to be be clean on the inside, how about you?
At Children’s HopeChest, we are so excited when we can partner with people who are filled with energy, compassion, and generosity for orphaned children. We’ve become great friends with a group of people in Houston: Russ and Angel Weir and Sam and Wendi Henry. They are motivated by this thought: ‘living faith can end poverty!’ We totally agree.
We believe that when people really embrace the words in the Bible, especially what Jesus said in red letters, we will start to live lives that won’t let the hungry and homeless go without the care they need. We are teaming up with Red Letters Campaign to see this happen, to see more and more Christians live their faith to end poverty. Check out what our friends at Red Letters Campaign are doing to change the world and join us!
This video is the story how Fields of the Fatherless was originally self-published and is now released with brand new content, extra chapters and a study guide. Watch this and get informed and empowered by reading the book and using it in a small group to enlighten others about how to help orphans. This issue takes all of us working together to make the difference. When you purchase the book, the new edition is the paperback from Cook Publishing. Click here to get it.
The ultimate networking connection to end extreme poverty. Watch this video, then go to The Red Letters Campaign website to find out more.
"It is hard to see how God works sometimes. I think of all he went through, with his accident and all, and I think of his brutal attack. From his picture he seemed so gentle, why would anyone hurt him. And then to be an orphan on top of all of this. To answer your question, Who mourns the death of an orphan? I want you to know that my wife and I do, and many others. I have tears even now as I write. If you feel the words of the poem may be a blessing to your staff please pass them on, especially your Russian friends. It is the least I can do."
Haiku for a Dead Orphan
Cold wind gray sky mourn
A diamond in the rough
Earth was not worthy
Rain falls but no tear
A father weeps from afar
Yet brother does not
Earth receives a seed
Of rose amidst the nettle
Perfume for heaven
The eye of faith strains to see
A promise fulfilled
Love veils her face here
Herald of the one cries out
Unknown love made known
For Sergei Adveev
Rest in peace, brother
April 29, 2008
© Alan Pretre