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21 posts from April 2009

April 20, 2009

Photos Up on Facebook

Check out the latest albums from the trip on Facebook.

April 16, 2009

Ethiopian Orphanages and Itinerary

Some of you have asked how you can prayer for our team that leaves today for Ethiopia. You can download a copy of our schedule here: Download EthiopiaItinerary. We will be visiting new orphanages and looking for needy places and people that need our help. I can't thank you enough for your faithful friendship and commitment to what Children's HopeChest is doing in Africa and Russia. I'll post updates here and on my Twitter as often as possible. 


Here's a portion of the schedule:

April 18th             Sat            Team goes to Gebre guracha to celebrate the Easter Holiday with 95 children Ebenezer Orphanage – 2 hour drive

                                                            Traditional lunch @ Ebenezer

                                                            Easter Celebration

April 19th             Sun            Team will go to Church at Holy Trinity Cathedral. The burial place for many famous people and once the largest Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral. Built to commemorate the country's liberation from the Italians           

                                                            Lunch at restaurant

                                                            Possible Cultural Options: Museums at Addis Ababa University, drive to Entoto (highest peak),Ethiopian National Museum &

April 20th             Mon             Moses Orphanage

                                                            Lunch at restaurant 

                                                            New Orphanage Ministry Site

April 15, 2009

Scared Video Trailer - How You Can Help

We have finished the video trailer for my first novel Scared. People have asked how to help get the word out, so here are a few suggestions:


1. Watch the trailer and tell me what you think. You can watch a larger version here on Vimeo.
2. Link the Scaredthebook.com website. We are hosting a writing contest in Africa and giving away an all expenses paid education through University as 1st prize. You will be able to vote for the winner. All the details are on the site. You can also download two chapters on the site.
3. Embed the trailer on your sight for others to watch. Here's the code:

<object width="400" height="225"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4151141&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4151141&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="225"></embed></object><br /><a href="http://vimeo.com/4151141">Scared - A Novel on the Edge of the World</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/hopechest">Children&#039;s HopeChest</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.


If you prefer YouTube (the quality isn't quite as good) here's the link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQl5BCPki3s

4.Pre-order the book at your local bookstore. This is very important for initial sales and publicity.
5. Start a book club around Scared. I'm happy to answer questions and participate by phone. 

Thank you, thank you for your help. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising and all of you have been so great about being publicists. I really believe this book will be a great tool to help others understand about the most desperate needs in our world and will motivate them to get involved. 

April 14, 2009

PRICELESS: The new book by Tom Davis

Priceless3D Purchase Priceless from these fine online retailers:




Ethiopian Orphans Face Life of Hardship

Times Online:

The Ethiopian peasant farmer and his wife shuffled painfully into the orphanage. They were in the last stages of Aids and had only weeks to live. However, they were happy. They had heard the Franciscan nuns had found a home for their three children and had come to say farewell.

“I am so happy, they are going to stay together,” the father, Solomon, whispered as he embraced a middle-aged Mormon couple from Salt Lake City, Utah. “Now, I can die peacefully. They will go to school in America and have a future. It is good they leave here.” As they embraced their two daughters, aged 8 and 6, for the last time the tears ran freely. Their four-year-old son did not appreciate the significance of the moment and ran off to play with friends.

Sister Luthgarder, a seasoned veteran of such heart-rending adoptions, explained: “It is sad, but it is so rare they are kept together and so I am happy.” Only a week previously a brother and sister were separated: one going to Norway, the other to Canada. “The new parents said they would take them to see each other every year, but inevitably they will grow apart,” she said.

Only a fraction of Ethiopia’s burgeoning population of orphaned children, now put at five million, find their way to Kidane Meheret Children’s Home. Even fewer leave and they are certainly the lucky ones.

The Ethiopian peasant farmer and his wife shuffled painfully into the orphanage. They were in the last stages of Aids and had only weeks to live. However, they were happy. They had heard the Franciscan nuns had found a home for their three children and had come to say farewell.

“I am so happy, they are going to stay together,” the father, Solomon, whispered as he embraced a middle-aged Mormon couple from Salt Lake City, Utah. “Now, I can die peacefully. They will go to school in America and have a future. It is good they leave here.” As they embraced their two daughters, aged 8 and 6, for the last time the tears ran freely. Their four-year-old son did not appreciate the significance of the moment and ran off to play with friends.

Sister Luthgarder, a seasoned veteran of such heart-rending adoptions, explained: “It is sad, but it is so rare they are kept together and so I am happy.” Only a week previously a brother and sister were separated: one going to Norway, the other to Canada. “The new parents said they would take them to see each other every year, but inevitably they will grow apart,” she said.

Only a fraction of Ethiopia’s burgeoning population of orphaned children, now put at five million, find their way to Kidane Meheret Children’s Home. Even fewer leave and they are certainly the lucky ones.

Read the rest of the article here.

April 11, 2009

Celtic Breastplate Prayer

I was genuinely moved by this Celtic "Breastplate Prayer" from Fursa of Ireland, 7th century, that Len Sweet posted on his twitter yesterday. A breastplate prayer is a prayer that asks for God's protection. On the day before Easter I felt it a good reminder of God's saturating presence in our lives:

The arms of God be around my shoulders,
The touch of the Holy Spirit upon my head,
The sign of Christ’s cross upon my forehead,
The sound of the Holy Spirit in my ears,
The fragrance of the Holy Spirit in my nostrils,
The vision of heaven’s company in my eyes,

The conversation of heaven’s company on my lips,
The work of God’s Church in my hands,
The service of God and the neighbour in my feet,
A home for God in my heart,
And to God, the Father of all, my entire being. Amen.
Fursa

April 10, 2009

Book, Family & Life Update

Sporadic blogs come from lots of travel! I've been out for two weeks speaking in North Carolina, Seattle, and Orlando. Events with pastors, men's breakfasts, churches, conferences; if it was a Christian event, I spoke at it.

The good news is that I did to take my family on several of these trips which is always a relief to me. Whenever I can combine what I do with who I am, it's a blessing. (Think on that sentence for a minute!) A couple pictures of those trips are at the bottom. Hayden (our oldest) made the Olympic Development Team. We're so excited for him. That will put us at the ODP tournament in Portland, OR late May. His soccer team is currently ranked 25th in the nation after winning a big tournament in San Diego last month. The rest of the kids have started soccer, lacrosse and basketball this Spring. Needless to say, we have our hands full!

I'm back home now trying to finish the second book in the "Novels with a Conscience" series, Sacred. The first book releases on June 1st, Scared. Pre-sales of this book have been doing very well and that's exciting. The video trailer and website is almost complete. I hope to have those up by Monday and will direct you there. 

I leave to Ethiopia on the 15th with a group of pastors and leaders. The ministry in Ethiopia is exploding and we are so excited to be helping hundreds and hundreds of orphans already in country so desperate. OUr goal for the trip is to locate more orphanages in need and connect them to our programs. I will be posting pictures here and giving updates.

Thanks for sharing life with me. More than ever, I know we are in this cause together. "Pure and undefiled religion is caring for the orphan and widow in their distress." James 1:27. Couldn't do it without you!

IMG_7922 IMG_7772IMG_7960

April 08, 2009

Chapter 1 - Scared

This chapter introduces the second character in the book, Stuart Daniels, a New York Times award winning photo journalist. Warning: it's quite different than the prologue.

Chapter One

Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa, 1998

Ten years ago I was a dead man.

It all began when Lou, my broker from Alpha Agency, said,

“Stuart, how would you feel about heading to the Congo? Time is

putting together a crew and needs a hot photographer.”

He asked; I went. That’s how I got paid then. It’s how I get paid

now.

My job was to cover a breaking story on a rebel uprising that would

soon turn into genocide. Unfortunately, neither Lou nor any of us were

privy to that valuable information at the time. We should have seen

it coming. The frightening tribal patterns resembled the bloodbath

between the Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994. We knew what

happened there had spilled over to the DRC—but we ignored it.

Our job was to focus on the story of the moment, whatever we

might find. But this was more than a search for journalistic truth. It

was an opportunity to win a round of a most dangerous game—the

chase for a prize-winning picture.

The plane landed in the capital city of Kinshasa. A man in combat

fatigues stood near a large black government car. Six armed guards

toting fully automatic rifles flanked him.

“That must be the mayor and his six closest comrades,” I said

to our writer, Mike, as I swung my heavy neon orange bag over my

shoulder. “Welcome to a world where you are not in control.” This

was Mike’s first international assignment. I swear his knees buckled.

Our team consisted of me; Mike, shipped in from Holland (a lower

executive from Time who was looking for a thrill and trying to escape

his adulterous wife for a few weeks); and Tommy, the grip, whose job

it was to carry our gear.

“Welcome to the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am Mayor

Mobutu.” We introduced ourselves, exchanging the traditional French

niceties.

“Bonjour, monsieur.”

“I must go and attend to some urgent matters, but there is a car

waiting for you. These guards will take you out to Rutshuru, North

Kivu.”

He pointed to a Land Cruiser near the airport building. The

mayor’s face carried the scars of a rough life. His right cheek looked

as if someone tried to carve a Z into it. His left eye was slightly lazy,

giving you the feeling he was looking over your shoulder, even when

you were face-to-face.

He turned to me. “You know how dangerous it is here. You are

taking your life into your own hands, and we will not be responsible.

We keep telling reporters this, but you never listen.” He started to

walk away but turned one more time and wagged his finger at each

one us as if we were children. “Pay attention to what these guards tell

you, and do not put yourself in the middle of conflict.”

Nobody ever won a Pulitzer by standing at arm’s length.

“Thank you for welcoming us, sir, and for your words,” I said.

“We will keep them in mind.” The guards nodded for us to follow,

and we made a solemn line into the Land Cruiser.

It was the rainy season, and on cue an afternoon storm whipped

and lashed across the landscape like an angry mob. As we drove

in silence, the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up. We

arrived at the village that would serve as our headquarters. Amid the

familiar routines of a small community that seemed oblivious to the

dangers surrounding them, people who were displaced by violence

congregated in huddles hoping for safety.

I snapped off pictures of the scene. Once the children noticed my

camera, school was over. They surrounded me like ants on a Popsicle.

I had come prepared. I handed out candy as fast as I could, then got

back to the business of capturing images of this unsettling normalcy.

The sun hid behind the trees, and darkness enveloped the

thatched huts and makeshift refugee camp, swallowing them whole.

Our armed guards escorted us into a separate compound meant to

keep us safe from any danger lurking in the nearby jungles.

We took a seat on concrete blocks to enjoy a traditional African

meal of corn and beans, and we laughed about the monkeys we had

seen on the road hurling bananas at our Land Cruiser. It was funnier

than it ought to have been.

And then it happened.

The crisp pop of bullets battered our eardrums. The sounds

ripped through the jungle night and into the village. Then the screams

began. Screams that boiled the blood inside my ears.

I dropped, crawled on my belly to the window and slid up along

the front wall, craning my neck so I could see outside. A guard

across the room mirrored my actions at another window. Everyone

else was flat against the ground. As I peered through the rusty barred

window, flashes of light pounded bright fists against the sky, the

road, and the trees.

Buildings exploded with fire, and a woman cried out in terror.

Shadows flickered, black phantoms haunting the night. I made out

five or six soldiers beating a woman with their boots and the butts

of their guns.

She quit screaming, quit moving, and then they ripped the

clothes from her broken body. They began raping her. She came to

and started to scream again, pleading for help, and they hit her until

her screams choked on her blood. She couldn’t have been more than sixteen.

I turned my head.

The horror of this night was no act of God. No earthquake or

tsunami. This was the act of men. Evil men. Demons in the guise of

men.

The uncertainty of what might happen next hovered at the edge

of an inhaled breath.

The armed guards screamed for us to lay prostrate on the dirt

floor as bullets flew through the walls and widows, scattering plaster

and glass. I wiped away salty sweat burning my eyes. But the sweat

was thicker than it should have been. I tasted it.

Blood.

Fear strangled the air. Shallow breaths and rapid heartbeats echoed

throughout the tiny room. I thought about my last conversation

with Whitney. My last conversation.

Was it my last?

Mike’s hand slid up next to me. His whisper turned my head.

“Ask not for whom the bell tolls, man.”

Mike shoved his glasses back onto his oversized, pockmarked

nose. “This happened to one of my closest friends in Northern

Uganda. The rebel militia mutilated everyone and everything in

sight. No one made it out alive. No one. These monsters believe in a

kind of Old Testament extermination of anything that moves.”

“Thanks for the encouraging words.”

“I always knew I’d die young.”

He reached in his pocket and pulled out a string of wooden

rosary beads. “These were my mother’s.”

“I’m not Catholic.”

“Neither was I. Until now.…”

“Shut up!” one of the guards hissed.

Rivers of sweat baptized our faces, our necks, our chests.

Death, real and suffocating, pressed in, driven by the wailing of

dying babies, the yelps of slaughtered animals, the screams of women

being beaten and raped. My heart raced in rapid-fire panic.

I peered through a hole between a cinder block and a broken

windowsill. Rebel troops swarmed like locusts, devouring every

living thing in their path.

Mike elbowed me in the thigh. “Remember that story about

an African militia group that raped a bunch of Americans? Men,

women, children—they weren’t choosy.”

“You have to be quiet,” whispered a guard. He got to one knee,

steadying his gun. “Now shut up, or I’ll kill you myself.”

A rebel commander yelled something just outside the door.

Another shot, and the guard who had just spoken fell dead right on

top of me. His blood flowed over my neck and right arm, staining

my band of brothers ring crimson. The screaming intensified, people

ran, yelled, and died.

I scooted against the wall, huddled next to Mike as shots

continued to shriek overhead. Plaster exploded and covered us. We

tried to make ourselves invisible, curling into the fetal position,

wrapping our arms over our heads.

A bullet whined by my ear, missing by centimeters. I crawled

facedown to the other side of the room, trying to get out of the line

of fire.

Then a sudden, deafening silence.

Nobody moved for what seemed like hours. Fear paralyzed me,

and the silence thickened, punctuated by an occasional moan or a

sob. We waited and waited, wondering when it would be safe to

stand, wondering if it would ever be safe.

Finally, I gazed out the window, my eyes searching for rebel

soldiers in the yellow-orange gloom of smoke. No figures or

movement.

“I’m going out,” I whispered to Mike.

He didn’t respond

“Hey, listen. Let’s go, man.”

I elbowed him in the ribs.

“Mike!” I grabbed his jacket to turn him toward me. There was

a pinpoint crimson stain on the front of his light blue shirt. His eyes

stared through me.

I was frozen for a moment, not knowing what to do. Then I

pulled my camera out of my bag. I picked up Mike’s gear and slung

it around my neck.

Outside, the air burned of flesh. Some shadows moved in the

distance, but the streets were barren. A few jerking and twitching

heaps lined the road and quivered beside the buildings.

Oh, God. Oh, God.

I walked toward the flames. Everything was silent except for

a sour ringing in my ears. Something compelled me to enter the

destruction, to get closer.

Severed body parts lay before me in a display of such horror I

began to heave. A young pregnant mother crumpled over, lying dead

next to a burning haystack. She barely looked human. One leg lay at

a right angle, an arm hung loosely from her shoulder, held there by a

single, stringy tendon. Her stomach had been sliced wide open, the

wormlike contents spilled in front of her, still moving.

There was nothing I could do to help her. Nothing. 

I lifted the camera to my left eye. Snap. Snap. Snap. The lens

clicked open and closed.

I stepped closer to capture the look on her face. Steam rose from

her insides. More pictures. Through the blood and mucus by her

midsection I made out a face, a tiny face with eyes closed.

Voices rose over the roofs. Something was happening at the end

of the village. Without thought, I raced through the corpses and

debris toward the commotion.

The rebel troops had gathered the bodies of all the men they had

slain. They were stacking them together in the shape of a pyramid.

As each body was thrown on top of the others, the rebels jeered,

spit on the dead, and drank from a whiskey bottle, reveling in their

triumph. They shot their guns into the air. Fire flashed around the

perimeter. It was a scene from hell.

A man climbed on the roof above the bodies, unzipped his pants,

and urinated all over the dead. The men slapped each other on the

back and laughed.

Another rebel poured some liquid over the bodies.

I adjusted the camera settings and snapped a series of shots as

fast as my fingers could click. The fire ignited, a pyramid pyre, and I

continued to shoot. I snapped pictures of the dead—men I had seen

earlier that day caring for their families—as their faces melted like

candle wax. I snapped pictures of the rebels’ ugly glee. And I felt like

retching again.

I turned and walked, faster and faster, until I was running.

Each step I took pounded the question: Why? Why? Why?

I raced to the edge of the compound and saw Tommy hanging

out the window of our car, frantically motioning me to come. We

sped off, the remaining guard driving like a bat out of hell, for it

was indeed hell we were escaping. As I turned to look out the back

window, I saw Mike’s body crumpled in the seat behind me. Like a

rotted rubber band, something inside me snapped. My whole body

shook. Sobs came without tears. I could muster only one coherent

thought: If we get out of here alive, at least we can send Mike back

to his family.

Back to his cheating wife.

A Note from the Publisher

My publishing company has decided it would put a 'warning' in the front of Scared to let the reader know what they are in for. This book is somewhat ground-breaking in the Christian market (CBA market) due to the fact that they wouldn't ordinarily publish something this...well, read this note that's in the front of the book and you'll see what I mean. Tomorrow, I'm going to post the first chapter that will give you a glimpse of what I'm talking about. If you haven't already, you can read the prologue here.

A Note from the Publisher

Dear reader,


The story you are about to read is very much based upon real life.

Some pages contain depictions of horror unimaginable to many of

us but are reality to some. It is a sad reminder that there is much

darkness roaming the globe. First John 1:5 reminds us that God is

light and there is no room in Him for darkness. In fact, one of the

dear characters in Scared, Pastor Walter, will reference this verse when

comforting a young Adanna who wonders if God is indeed present.

Given the abuse, poverty, death, and destruction that afflict so many,

one does wonder, “God, are You there?”

The answer to that question can be found in countless thousands of

people who say in the affirmative, “Yes, He is here … and He is light.”

Child advocate and speaker Tom Davis gives us a gripping portrayal of

the hurt and pain that affects many in Africa. This story reminds us of

our need to be engaged in being light in a very dark world.

Some scenes will grip and haunt you, some passages you will

want to run away from—but this is real life. And real life requires

true Christ followers to act justly and love mercy. May Adanna’s story

inspire and embolden you.


Thank you for reading,


Don Pape,

Publisher, David C. Cook

April 05, 2009

Breaking News: Every Child at Rapha Sponsored

The official sponsorship of Rapha orphanage in Uganda launched this weekend at Westwood Church in Florida. Today, every child at Rapha was sponsored and there's a waiting list of over 20 people!

Thank you, Lord!