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12 posts from October 2009

October 31, 2009

Hello From the Dead Sea Scrolls Conference in Toronto

This weekend I am with some amazing people at the Royal Ontario Museum speaking at the Dead Sea Scrolls Conference put on by Unite Productions here in Canada. A talented group of worship leaders and speakers gathered right in the middle of downtown Toronto to "re-dig the ancient wells," of Godliness this city was founded on and study some of the oldest manuscripts known to man. My buddy from Colorado Springs, Glenn Packiam, is also here and we've had a great time hanging out. 

Sunday morning I am speaking at the main session and the worship is being led by one of my friends and heroes, Brian Doerksen. I've really grown to love this man over the past few years. He has an understanding of the Father's Heart like few others. Can't tell you how excited I am to lead a session with him. You may remember him from a few of his songs like, "Come, Now is the Time to Worship," and, "Refiner's Fire."

Send up a prayer for me if you think about it and enjoy this video of Brian playing, "Holy God."

October 27, 2009

The Team in Swaziland's Last Post

Tom's Note: Please take a few minutes to read this post from the team in Swaziland. As you do, please consider three actions...

1. Pray--only by God's grace and power can we turn back the tide of darkness in this small country.

2. Serve--you are needed in this battle and you have gifts of time and talent you can invest in the lives of these kids.

3. Give--click on the "donate" link at the top of the blog to make a gift on behalf of one of these children to bring the kingdom of God to these children.

TOM

Posted by BOB MUDD, HopeChest, COO...

Over the past 5 days we have had one compelling opportunity followed by another.  The team that has been lead on this trip to Swaziland is strategic, prayerful and ready to take ownership for their part in the ministry here.  

It has been a pleasure to serve alongside this team. We currently have 12 locations in central and north Swaziland that are supported by partners. Each night the team has reassembled until late in the evening to consider each of the 6 new locations that we have visited to determine who is best suited for each (followed by a spirited hand of cards).  

The number of additional CarePoint Partners will be between 4 and 6 depending on how it all sorts out.  It also goes without saying that our team one the ground including Jumbo, Kriek, the D-team and Pastor’s Walter, Sam and Gift have and are doing an exceptional job.

I have seen the orphan in the depths of poverty in the Far East, Central America and Russia.  This is my first trip to Africa and while Swazi people are peaceful, there should be no romantic notions about life in this country.  

A 45% HIV rate, an average life span of 28 years, over 10% of the population are orphans, a 60% + unemployment rate and 40% have the opportunity to go to school.  The population has declined from 1.3 million in 2005 to 900,000 in 2009.  It is a quiet, painful and consistent implosion of a nation.  

The cost is measured one dream, one life, one family and one community at a time.   

While the success of the trip is an answer to prayer and a result of hard work, the greatest testimony comes through the stories of lives, and hopefully generations, that are altered because the hands and feet of the Kingdom are responding to His call.  

I find that the pain and joy of this nation is best found by asking each person I encounter what is their dream for their life.

Imagine a 5 year old who is a 10 mile walk from the closest school but can articulate a plan, school names and his college preference even though he lives in a child headed home.

Imagine a grandmother who has lost all 7 of her children to HIV and at 70 years of age, not having eaten for over 3 days, takes care of 9 grandchildren in a 10 X 14 home.

Imagine a 23 year old who speaks 3 languages, has a 3 year old child, loves the Lord but has not been able to find any work for the past 3 years. 

These are 3 real life stories that were encountered during our house visits today.  

God’s heart breaks for those created in His likeness. Titus 3:8 says ‘I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.  These things are excellent and profitable for people’. 

‘Devote’ does not notate simply a spirit of compassion or feelings of sorrow for those in need, it compels one to action that is not contained in a ‘day of service’ but rather a commitment to living a life that holds others as more valuable than yourself and results in your life of charity and sacrifice sustainably meeting the needs of those in pain.  

This happens one life at a time.  Do something now!  God is bigger than the statistics.


October 25, 2009

Videos from our team in Swaziland

I love seeing what God is doing right now in Swaziland with our groups. Here's a few videos for you to watch. These videos are from Don who is over there right now. You can view his blog by clicking here - Known To Me.

Discipleship Trainers at Mehlabaneni Carepoint from KnownToMe on Vimeo.

Mpaka Children Singing from KnownToMe on Vimeo.

Mpaka Children Dancing from KnownToMe on Vimeo.

October 23, 2009

Ethiopia Kitchen Update: One down.

Excited to report that over $8,000 has been raised since I posted last night. That means we've funded one of the kitchens completely. Thank you! We're on our way to helping 5,000 kids. Praise God and keep spreading the word!

Put "Carepoint Kitchen" in the Notes. $20 per child, $8,000 per kitchen, 5,000 kids waiting.

I want to use this post to SHOW you what some carepoints look like. First, this video shows you what an undeveloped carepoint looks like. I shot this a few years back when we started ministry in Swaziland, and it's a good picture of how a carepoint starts--with the grit and determination of some older women with kettles and food to cook:

Here are two photos of carepoints that have fully developed kitchens (and other buildings as well). You can see how dramatic the transition is from a open fire with a kettle, to this:

Swazi 08 Jesse Snipes66
Swazi 08 Jesse Snipes93

Last but not least. We have a team in Swaziland right now. They are taking some great video of the developed and undeveloped carepoints. Check out the videos and blog.
 

October 22, 2009

URGENT: Millions Starving in Ethiopia

Today's news out of Ethiopia is not new. Millions starving. Millions without food or water. Millions trapped in extreme poverty.

Millions is a concept we've accepted in our news reporting. If everyone in Colorado Springs was starving, we wouldn't quite get to "millions." Hard to comprehend.

Here's what I know. CHC's kids don't starve. They don't drink dirty water. They are protected from abuse. They are sheltered from child labor. They are put through school to help develop their potential. Our kids are numbered in the thousands. And guess what? I've got 5,000 more who are waiting for a home.

This Christmas, CHC is going to launch a dynamic campaign to bring 5,000 new children into our CarePoint's throughout Africa. But with today's news of "millions" starving in Ethiopia, we've got to step up our plans a bit. I need to get the feeding centers up and running as soon as possible.

DONATE $20 TO BUILD A KITCHEN IN ETHIOPIA

(Put "Carepoint Kitchen" in the Notes)

The CarePoint is anchored by it's kitchen and the food prepared there. That life saving food draws children by the hundreds who are starving. We can serve 2-3 meals a day, every day, once the kitchen is up and running. Once the kids are coming regularly, we can provide additional services--education, healthcare, and Christian discipleship. But it all starts with food.

A kitchen costs $8,000 and will serve about 400 kids. $20 per kid puts a kitchen in place that serves food year over year over year. In Swaziland, those kitchens serve hundreds of meals a day to children in our discipleship program. We can do the same in Ethiopia.

DONATE $20 TO BUILD A KITCHEN IN ETHIOPIA

(Put "Carepoint Kitchen" in the Notes)

$20 that you give today becomes the anchor for hundreds of children to never starve. The key to not starving in Ethiopia is simple. Fund simple interventions--like kitchens run by locals and funded by U.S. Christians--that can serve food to those in need. Then teach those kids how to grow into productive and faithful adults. We can break this cycle. It starts with $20. Please give today.

October 20, 2009

What Would You Do to Change the World?

I'm working on a new book project and I'm inviting you to participate. I asked the following question on my friend Anne Jackson's blog a few weeks ago. 171 comments later, I was surprised and inspired to hear what folks were saying. Now it's your turn. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. As the book project moves forward, I'll be sure to keep you engaged.

On the titling front of my new fiction project that follows Scared , the publisher has been 'hush, hush' about the results for good reason. As it turns out, the title that won can't be used. Why you ask? Because another book is coming out with the same title! I'll tell you this, second place won. When you see the cover, you'll understand why. I absolutely love it! As soon as I get the green light, it will be up on the blog. Thanks for your patience. Now back to business. Here's you go:

In some way, shape, or form, please answer this question:

Imagine a world where you had the power to eliminate extreme poverty. What would you do and how would you do it? What does it look like to you?

October 19, 2009

Watch Out for the Firestarters

 Staring the week with a guest poster with an important message for the church about Orphan Sunday. Jedd Medefind is the Executive Director of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. One day, I dream the church will celebrate No More Orphans Sunday. But until then, Jedd and I are going to go start fires.

WATCH OUT FOR THE FIRESTARTERS

Friends who battle forest fires tell me it never gets worse than when  fire takes flight.  Of course, a firefighter’s heart starts pounding anytime wind gets blowing behind a fire.  But when burning particles start soaring and setting new blazes hundreds of yards beyond the fireline, there’s not much to do but get out of the way.  The mountain is going to burn.


In the forest, this kind of conflagration is tragedy.  But when the Church is lit up by a blaze like this, it’s magnificent.  And the truth is, from what I see and hear from Christians around the country, that’s just what is happening.   In big cities and small towns and everything in between, hearts are sparking with God’s call to defend the cause of the fatherless, lighting up with desire to make the Gospel visible in loving service to the orphan.

It is no longer just the full-time advocates trying to push the fireline forward, struggling to get others to care.  Yes, these veterans are still faithfully about their work.  But joining them now are thousands of newcomers—students and businesspeople, pastors and homemakers.   The fire is taking flight.

Ethiopia II (Steve's Pictures of Eden's Arrival) 019 Each of these firestarters has their own story.  Some are adoptive parents, woken by the adoption process to the countless other children yet left behind.  Some have encountered Christ in the eyes of an orphan while on a short-term mission trip or mentoring a foster youth.  Others have simply been struck by Scripture, seeing for the first time the parallel between God’s love for us and a Christian’s love for orphans.
 
You get a bit of a visual of this at www.orphansunday.org.  The Christian Alliance for Orphans designated November 8 “Orphan Sunday” as a day for these street-level advocates to spread their passion to the churches and communities.  On the Orphan Sunday map, you see where fires are being lit.  There are sermons…prayer gatherings…movie discussions…art shows…a youth group planning a 5 K run that includes carrying a bucket of water to spotlight the toil many global orphans face.  In the weeks ahead, the map will expand further as churches sign up to show the Live from Nashville! national event.

Orphan Sunday is just one vivid snapshot of a fire that’s expanding in a way no human could orchestrate.  The local firestarters are fanning embers in their Bible studies and creating a bit of friction in their congregations.  Blogging.   Forming orphan ministries in their churches.  Aiding adoptive families.  Mentoring foster youth.  Pairing their home-groups with orphan homes abroad. 


The results are transformative.  Transformative for orphans, of course, as they experience tangible love.  And for the people who open their lives to love them.  But also for the broader Church, as well, as it sees the well-contained, self-warming campfire of polite religion become the blaze of selfless abandon to Christ.  There’s no way to tell exactly what God will do with it all.  But those who’d prefer the Church keep cool with a comfortable, just-show-up-on-Sundays Christianity had best get out of the way.  The mountain is going to burn.

October 15, 2009

More than 1 billion going hungry, U.N. says

Water For Life More than 1 billion people are hungry today--according to this report by CNN and the United Nations.

Right now, CHC is helping to feed thousands of children impacted by the world food crisis in Swaziland, Ethiopia, and Uganda. Food security is real and frightening.

Orphans will enter child slavery or prostitution in exchange for food.

Let's do our part to stop this. A gift of $42 will provide water for three people in Swaziland by helping to drill a well. Please consider giving today.

At our carepoints, children do not go hungry. Our headline reads: "Thousands of Children Avoid Starvation, Renew Hope for a Better Future."

Those kids will be our letter to the future. Thank you for all you do to support them with your prayers and your gifts.

MORE THAN 1 BILLION GOING HUNGRY, U.N. SAYS

(CNN)-- The global economic crisis has caused a spike in world hunger that has left more than a billion undernourished, United Nations agencies said in a new report.

"It is unacceptable in the 21st century that almost one in six of the world's population is now going hungry," said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Programme.

"At a time when there are more hungry people in the world than ever before, there is less food aid than we have seen in living memory."

The report by the WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization was released Wednesday, ahead of World Food Day on Friday.

Nearly all the world's undernourished live in developing countries, according to the report.

An estimated 642 million people are suffering from chronic hunger in Asia and the Pacific. An additional 265 million live in sub-Saharan Africa while 95 million come from Latin America, the Caribbean, the Near East and North Africa. The final 15 million live in developed nations.

The number of hungry spiked as the global economic crisis took hold and governments pumped resources into stabilizing financial markets. The move meant smaller investments in agriculture and food distribution.

"World leaders have reacted forcefully to the financial and economic crisis, and succeeded in mobilizing billions of dollars in a short time period. The same strong action is needed now to combat hunger and poverty," said Jacques Diouf, director-general of the FAO.

"The rising number of hungry people is intolerable."

The report calls for greater investment in agriculture to tackle long and short-term hunger by making farmers productive and more resilient to crises.

"We know what is needed to meet urgent hunger needs -- we just need the resources and the international commitment to do the job," Sheeran said.


October 11, 2009

Get a SNEAK PEEK of my next book...

Okay, I'm ready to send you the cover to my new book (which will give you the new title) AND a copy of the first chapter. I will send both of these to any blog reader who buys a NEW copy of SCARED in a Barnes & Noble or Borders bookstore. Just buy the book and send me an e-mail (honor system) saying you purchased it. This offer is good until Friday, October 16, 2009, send your e-mails to tdavis@hopechest.org.

Other exciting news, bookstores have been ordering in more copies of my first novel, SCARED, particularly Barnes & Noble. And, "She Reads," the official book club of Proverbs 31 Ministries, has selected SCARED as one of their books. I'm honored to be their first male author selection!

Picture1

It's always rewarding to succeed. But the passion of my heart and the project for the rest of my life is to lend my voice to boys and girls like Adanna who cannot speak for themselves. These novels are one way we can accomplish that. The more momentum we create, the more children will get the help and hope they need.

I hope you buy a book. I hope you give it to your friends and family. To your friends at work and at church. I hope you share your voice and your influence with Adanna and the 150 million other boys and girls who need you to speak up for them.

What can you do with a copy of SCARED?

1. Give it as a Christmas gift (or gifts). SCARED is a great introduction to the global orphan crisis. The story is a fictionalized account of real-life experience with HIV/AIDS orphans in Swaziland.

2. Read it in your Book Club. Follow the lead of "She Reads" (www.shereads.org) and read SCARED with your book club.

3. Give it to your pastor. Give SCARED to anyone in church leadership who cares about orphan ministry, or just wants to know more.

Buy SCARED before 10/16, send me an e-mail (tdavis@hopechest.org, and I'll send you an exclusive sneak preview of the book cover and first chapter.

October 09, 2009

A Great Resource for Writers

WordHustler.com is a new resource that will help you get published! What I love about their format is that you submit your work; article, book, etc., and they do the rest of the work for you. They will help you find an agent if you need one, or submit your work to a magazine or newspaper. In addition, they do most of the follow up. All of your work is kept in your Dashboard so you know exactly what is going on at any given time. Go to WordHustler now and sign up, you'll love it! This is site works more in the ABA Market not the CBA (Christian) Market. So if you want to spread your wings a bit in a different world, this is the place to do it.

WordHustler also just completed an Author Interview with me called, Inspiring Change Through His Words. Here's the beginning of the article. Click here if you would like to read it.

Inspiring Change Through His Words: An Interview with Tom Davis, Author and Children’s Rights Activist

Balancing your writing with a family, a career, and a social life is tough, especially when you’ve got kids. But what if you had hundreds of children scattered all over the world? Meet Tom Davis, author, speaker, and activist for impoverished and troubled children all across the globe. Tom and his non-profit organization, CHILDREN’S HOPECHEST, have made it their mission to be advocates for orphaned children everywhere.

In the midst of traveling to far-off places like Russia, Swaziland, and Ethiopia, Tom has managed to successfully write and publish three non-fiction books and has just debuted his first novel called Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World, a story about two people worlds apart who help each other find redemption.

WordHustler sat down with the busy Mr. Davis to discuss writing, wanderlust, and what you can do to help both your writing career and the world around you. Read on to be inspired, in more ways than one!

WordHustler: You went to seminary and have your Masters in theology, but you are also a gifted writer. How long have you been writing?

Tom Davis: My writing journey began when I decided to self publish a book called Fields of the Fatherless in 2003. The truth is that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. The only thing going for me was a heart for the message and a few self-sacrificing friends who were willing to help me promote it. That self-published book sold 70,000 copies and became the catalyst that opened the door for the rest of my books. Now, I have a great literary agent that helps me to land my books in the right publishing company.

WH: What were your favorite books as a child? What about as a teenager?

TD: The only books I can only remember are two. One was a collection of nursery rhymes withChicken Little on the front, the other was a graphic novel about Star Wars. I was a bit of a comic book freak as a kid. My childhood was difficult and one of my escape mechanisms was to escape into the world of Wolverine, theX-Men, Vigilante, and The New Mutants. In school, I read The Grapes of Wrath and loved it. It was probably the only real book I ever read as a kid. I grew up in a pretty abusive home so it was easier for me to escape by living vicariously through a super hero than pick up a modern classic.