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21 posts from April 2010

April 30, 2010

Scared Is a Finalist for a Christy Award

Ready for the big news I promised to announce on Friday? My first novel, Scared, has been nominated for CBA's Christy Award. I never expected this, so obviously, this is very exciting for me. I'm also in the company of several good friends have been nominated in other categories who I love and respect: Mary DeMuth and Lisa Samson.

Here's a link to the Christy Award site in case you're interested in the details of the award. Basically, the best Fiction books are chosen in different categories. There are three finalists, one winner. Scared is nominated in the "First Novel Category." Thanks for your support of this book. I am thankful and humbled!

FIRST NOVEL

The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry • Moody Publishers 

Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent • Tyndale House Publishers 

Scared by Tom Davis • David C. Cook

CONTEMPORARY SERIES, SEQUELS, AND NOVELLAS

Who Do I Talk To? by Neta Jackson • Thomas Nelson 

The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group 

Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth • Zondervan

CONTEMPORARY STANDALONE

June Bug by Chris Fabry • Tyndale House Publishers The Passion of 

Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson • Thomas Nelson 

Veiled Freedom by Jeanette Windle • Tyndale House Publishers

April 28, 2010

She Is Priceless - The New Web Site + Free Stuff

Help Wanted. Over 2 million children are trapped in the sex trade. Learn what you can do to help prevent sex trafficking and care for the survivors. Find out more in Priceless, the new book by Children's HopeChest president, Tom Davis.

Today marks the launch SheisPriceless.com a new Web site devoted to the release of Priceless and a resource center for prayer, learning, and action on behalf of the victims of sex trafficking around the world. We are calling this campaign "Help Wanted."

Many girls respond to a "Help Wanted" ad for what they think is a glamorous new job and lots of money.

Instead they find themselves trapped as forced prostitutes. Some are raped up to 40 times each day. Raped for profit. But there is another meaning to "Help Wanted."

"Help Wanted" is the cry of 2 million children who are powerless to rescue and free themselves from the sex trade.

They need our help--to help educate others and prevent sex trafficking, to support those brave men and women who carry out rescue operations to free children from slavery, and to heal and care for those victims of sex trafficking.

We've packed the site with resource for you to dig into, and two special gifts! Right now you can download the first chapter of Priceless and the FULL VERSION of Scared. Go to http://www.sheispriceless.com and enter your information to receive access to the private download page.

The free version of Scared will only be available until May 10...so don't wait.

Also, our new site has a free 5-day devotional for you and your family, Sunday School, Bible Study, class, or small group. I've posted day one below, but you can get the full download at SheisPriceless.com.

Priceless 5 Day Devotional

Day 1: Deceit

Scenario:

Marina, from Priceless, represents thousands of girls across the world.  Girls who have had all hope stolen from them.  Girls who have spent their whole life in an orphanage and as early as fourteen years old they get kicked to the streets to fend for themselves.  Girls wondering where their next meal is going to come from.  Girls spending cold nights dreaming of better life.  These girls are approached by nice looking men, the first person who has looked at them kindly in months.  The men tell the young girls everything they want to hear.  They tell them that they will give them a promising job.  The job will be an opportunity to nanny in a foreign country making more money than the young girl ever dreamed possible.

Imagine yourself (or your daughter):

Living on the streets.  Imagine the hopelessness of not having a job and living on the cold streets.  Imagine your dreams for a better life and what they would include.  Imagine having no one to turn to for comfort or advice.  Now, imagine yourself being approached with a job opportunity-one that sounds too good to be true.  What do you have to lose? Maybe, just maybe, your life is going to turn around like you’ve always dreamed.

Unfortunately, this job is not a nanny or waitress job after all.  What these girls do not know is that they are going to be trafficked and forced into a life of sexual slavery.

Suggested Reading:

Priceless Chapters 6-11

Statistic to think on today:

Every 2 minutes, a child is being prepared for sexual exploitation

Scriptures to study:

Psalm 43:1Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; rescue me from deceitful and wicked men.

Psalm 120:2Save me, O LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.

Psalm 144:11 Deliver me and rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.

Prayer Focus:

Pray that the Lord will close the eyes of those seeking vulnerable girls to traffic
Pray that the girls’ eyes would be opened to truth and they would flee

April 27, 2010

Big Announcement & Summit VI

Tomorrow I will be making a big announcement on the blog regarding what you can practically do to help orphans and be involved in stopping vulnerable children from being trafficked along with a brand new resource website. This is in response to many of you asking what you can do. No money involved! :)

I'm looking forward to seeing many of you at Christian Alliance for Orphans Conference in Minneapolis on Thursday. I will be teaching a brand new message from the main stage at 10:00 am entitled, "Hope Dies Last." Following that I will be involved in a breakout session on a panel called, "Engaging Youth and College Age for Orphan Ministry, then teaching, "Human Trafficking and Orphans" at 2:00-3:00pm. 

What's also really cool is that we will have the beginning of The Orphan Experience set up for everyone to view at the Conference. It connects art, artifacts, and video together so you are able to walk in the shoes of an orphan. This will be phase one, make sure you can to check it out. 

Please stop by and say hello at the Children's HopeChest table. I will only be there on Thursday, then I'm heading to San Francisco to speak at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church.

Thanks for your prayers during this season. I'm really feeling burdened, overwhelmed, and generally attacked in a number of areas. I'm sure it has a ton to do with the ground we are breaking, the orphans we are helping and our last trip infiltrating issues of sex-traffciking. God is with us, who can be against us?!

April 25, 2010

The Blessing of Serving Orphans

Micah Pattisall and the team from Salem Chapel are on the ground in Swaziland, ministering to the kids there. Here's a little of what he had to report on his blog:

I shot a picture today of a kid. He was smiling so widely like any other happy go lucky boy.  Yet his clothes were dirty, torn and did not fit him. His feet were shoeless and his left foot showed the scars of a bad burn that had left his skin disfigured and his toes shortened.  Yet he smiles! I can tell you right now that I would be throwing a pity party every day if I had it half as bad as these kids.  Yet they smile and respond to love. [full article]

This is just one of the many pictures in the orphan ministry mosaic, and a peek inside the blessing of serving orphans in the name of Jesus.

Thanks Salem Chapel for what you're doing at Mpholi.

We need more Micah Pattisall's and Salem Chapel's to take on orphan ministry projects in places like India--where the orphan population exceeds 25 million children (About 2-1/2 times the population of North Carolina where Salem Chapel is located).

Interested in India? Email Vince about HopeChest's summer mission trip to serve orphans with the love of Christ.

April 24, 2010

On Being Blessed


Boreham on Being Blessed

The blessed of the Beatitudes is suggestive of natural fruitfulness; it stands related to the roses round my lawn, to the corn in yonder valleys and to the autumnal harvest of the orchard. It has to do with joys that arise spontaneously and inevitably from certain fixed conditions.

It is the word Macaria, a name that was once given to the Island of Cyprus because that island was said to be so fertile as to be able to produce upon its own shores everything that its inhabitants could either require or desire. Such is the blessedness of the poor in spirit. The Kingdom of Heaven—the only true Macaria—is theirs; and, when they at last finish their long fight with self and sin, they shall inherit that happy land where all their chastened appetites shall be fully gratified and all their purified cravings be abundantly appeased.

Well may Sextus Rufus hint that Cyprus, the Isle of Macaria, famous for its fertility and wealth, presented a constant temptation to the Romans; they lusted to seize upon it and make so rich a prize their very own. The wonder is that the Kingdom of Heaven—the brighter, grander, fairer Macaria—does not entice all earth's knightliest spirits to venture along the lowly track that winds its way through the Valley of Humiliation in quest of such abounding and abiding felicity. Blessed are the lowly and the contrite, for the true Macaria shall be theirs!

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ It was the King of the Kingdom who said it; and, depend upon it, He knows the laws by which His happy subjects win their glorious victories and gain their glittering crowns.

F W Boreham, The Heavenly Octave (London: The Epworth Press, 1935), 23-24.

April 22, 2010

What Every Man Can Do to Stop Sex Trafficking and Exploitation

Men, it's time to step and take our rightful place as sons of God. No longer can we can't allow the evils of our culture seep into our souls and steal our power to be who we are created to be: Protectors, Defenders, and Image Bearers of Christ. Watch this until the end, then make the courageous decision to be this kind of man. We have to "Step it Up." Thanks Mike Todd.

April 21, 2010

Who Thinks that Children aren't Sex-Trafficked in the United States?

When you travel to a foreign country, you hear a lot about sex-trafficking. The trafficking of underage children, girls who are stolen out of orphanages, and boys who are lured in friends and trusted relationships. I've just returned from Moldova where this issue is rampant. There is no law in that country to protect victims. In fact when I sat down with a governmental organization and asked them how many convictions were made against sex traffickers, the answer was ZERO.

But in the United States? Does this really happen here?

Sadly, it does. According to the US State Department, an estimated 14,500-17,000 victims are trafficked into the US each year. When you consider that the average trafficked victim is 14 years old, (A21 Campaign) it's plain to see it does happen. Too often.

Today, CNN.com broke a story about the Gambino Crime Family being indicted. Among the charges, sex trafficking and sex trafficking of minors for roles in an interstate sex trafficking ring. You can read the entire article here. The focus of the investigation was in Manhattan, Staten Island and New Jersey. Mostly, these women were forced to work in casinos and made the young women service the clients. 

CNN has a special page with 58 other stories on sex trafficking from the US and around the world you can view here

This is an evil issue we must deal with in the world. Pray for these victims and get involved.

April 20, 2010

IEmpathize - The Story of the Sex Cafe

We are partnering with IEmpathize to help girls who have been rescued from the sex-trade in Eastern Europe. This short video features a good friend of mine and President, Brad Riley. Brad describes what happened while we were in Moldova, specifically the day we were surrounded by traffickers at "The Sex Cafe." Many of you have asked why this issue is so bad in this country. Here's some information from the State Department:

 "Although formerly one of the most wealthy parts of the former Soviet Union, Moldova is today officially the poorest country in Europe. With nearly total unemployment, the registered daily income of 80% of the population is below a dollar per day. This fact can explain why desperate people sell their organs for money and sex trafficking is rampant. Moldovan prostitutes are now the country’s main export."

40% of Moldova's sex slaves are kids, and both the traffickers and the involved government officials know that children are highly sought after for the sex trade."

Brad and the Sex-Cafe from Tom Davis on Vimeo.

April 19, 2010

Tomb of an Unknown Orphan

Well I made it back home on the last flight out of Europe - literally. But I'll save that story for another post.

I wanted to continue this week sharing some of the stories from our trip to Russia and Moldova. This trip really did something to me in my soul, messing me up in a good way. 

A way that says, 

"I can't pretend young girls don't get sex-trafficked by the tens of thousands."

"I can't pretend evil doesn't exist."

"I can't go back to living my life the same after this experience."

One of the saddest and heartbreaking events on the trip happened on the last day. You see, there were two girls who were best friends in the orphanage. They left at the same time and one of them entered one of our Programs at the Ministry Center and the other...went her own way. 

She got involved with the wrong people and ended up being lured into sex-trafficking. She was found dead along a main highway road, likely killed by a trucker. Her trafficker forced her to work a popular truck stop. That's how her life ended. Lida and Sveta
 

The worst part about this is that we wanted to honor her in some way by taking flowers to her grave and doing a memorial. But we couldn't find where she was buried. This particular week was the time when all Orthodox Christians go to the graves to erect flowers to honor the memories of their loved ones. That's all we wanted to do and we couldn't do it. 

We went to the cemetery anyway and I was horrified to see thousands of graves that were marked, "Unknown woman." IMG_1037 I wondered how many orphans were there under those piles of dirt that were overgrown with weeds. No flowers, no memory, this piece of wood is all that is left of their lives. 

At that point, something in my soul changed. This is a real battle we are fighting for the lives of orphans who are so vulnerable. I don't know about everybody else, but I have to do more. Helping to save one more life is worth it.

My buddy Brad Riley, the President of IEmpathize, said we have the best prevention programs he has seen, anywhere in the world. His organization focuses solely on girls who are sex-trafficked. That was good to know.

That's true because our staff on the ground are so amazing. They work endlessly at helping these kids day and night. I'm so thankful for them.

Many of you have asked how you can help. You've donated money to the ministry center, and I so appreciate that. 

Brad and I have created something called, "The Orphan Experience." It's a multi-sensory event you walk through the includes video, art, and artifacts - you become the orphan. We'll be touring in the fall so if you are interested in hosting this powerful experience, please email me: tdavis@hopechest.org. 

This isn't all right with me. I hope it's not right with you either. I know this is hard. But we can't turn away. Join us, shoot me an email, and let's stop this together.

April 15, 2010

Ministry Center Rescues Girl from Forced Prostitution

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Many of you have asked what can be done to stop sex-trafficking before it begins.

In a country like Moldova, there is little happening in regards to stopping sex-traffickers. We heard story after story of traffickers abducting kids all over the country. It takes time to establish strong programs and work with solid partners. Our plan is to focus on Rescue and Restoration at first, while we are working on Prevention.

In Russia, it's a different story. We've been working here since 1994 and have a number of programs that stop sex-trafficking before they begin.

Let me tell you about Masha. Masha left the orphanage at 15 and was sent to a tech school--an underfunded holding tank for kids who learn how to lay brick or paint walls.

One day, a group of professional looking, wealthy women came to the school and interviewed the girls for the best jobs in Russia.

They were promised fancy clothes, expensive jewelry, and all the money they could hope for if they were selected.

Masha was chosen, and she thought her dreams had come true.

She was taken to the city center, put in a rundown apartment and beaten.

They forced her to work in a strip club.  Then, they told some men were coming to her apartment to train her to learn how to have sex with a man--how to "please" him.

"You'll be pleasing 10 men each day," they said.

Masha quickly realized this dream had turned into a ugly nightmare. She was hours away entering the sex trade. The life of a forced prostitute awaited her, and she was scared to death.

While this was unfolding, she remembered the staff at Children's HopeChest. "Could they help me?"

She told me how she remembered how much our staff cared for her and other orphans. She knew exactly where to go. She had a plan. She walked out the door and ran to the HopeChest Ministry Center in Kostroma.

Our staff immediately called the authorities, and brought her to a safe place to live so she'd be protected.

Young girls like Masha, and the women in the Young Mothers Program are the most vulnerable to trafficking and forced prostitution like this.

Young Mother's

Our Young Mother's Program provides daily ministry and services to mothers and children through our Ministry Center.

These young moms, are taught how to care for their babies by a professional nanny. They can drop their kids off to the nursery there so they can go to work or school.  The Ministry Center provides Young Mothers with the help they need at this critical stage in their life.

This is what Prevention looks like.

We are able to help hundreds of girls because of the Ministry Center and the Young Mothers Program. These are some of the best programs HopeChest offers in Russia. To find out more details about our Ministry Center outreach, we've posted details on this special page If you would like information on supporting the Young Mothers Program, please download this PDF for a full overview.

To give now, click the button below and put Young Mothers or Ministry Centers in the notes section.

Thanks so much for following our journey and being a part of making a difference. Leaving Kostroma and off to Vladimir Region!