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20 posts from February 2007

February 28, 2007

Come with me to Swaziland

Tomorrow, we leave for Swaziland. Our next video post will come directly from the field. Stay tuned to join me on the journey--and be sure to pass this on to all your friends.

Download the original version of this movie.

February 27, 2007

Swaziland in Two Days

Hello all! Everything is set for our team's departure to Swaziland, Africa in two days. Here is the local Swaziland Newspaper if you are interested in current events. Swaziland has the dubious title of the highest infection rate of HIV in the world. I'm excited that you will be able to go with us through the video blogs that will be posted at least every other day. We'll take you to orphanages, the homes of children who are heads of their households, AIDS hospitals, and a few other surprises.

It's summer in Swaziland with means warm weather and lots of rain. Click here for the local weather forecast. We will have email access so please keep in touch and continue to pray for our journey. See you via video in a few days!

AIDS Documentary in Chinese City Wins Oscar

HEFEI, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- AIDS prevention officials and activists in the Yingzhou district in Fuyang, east China's Anhui province have expressed hopes that more people will come to care orphans of AIDS victims, after the AIDS-theme "The Blood of the Yingzhou District" won an Oscar at the 79th Academy Awards.

    "I don't know much about movies, but I'm really happy that the documentary won an Oscar," said Zhang Ying, head of the Fuyang AIDS Orphan Salvation Association, a local non-governmental organization.

    "The documentary presented true stories of the Chinese AIDS orphans to the whole world, and I believe more people will care and help them," she said.

    Directors of the documentary followed Zhang and her colleagues from 2004 to 2005, when they went to visit and help the local AIDS orphans.

    Since its establishment in 2003, Zhang's association has helped over 400 AIDS orphans by raising fund to provide each child with 400 yuan (about 51 U.S. dollars) allowance per month, looking for families to adopt them, and organizing AIDS prevention campaigns in the local areas to increase awareness and reduce discrimination. Read the rest HERE.

February 24, 2007

Another Blizzard in Colorado

Today,I am supposed to be speaking at a conference on God's Heart for the Orphan in Sarasota, Florida. However, we are expecting a blizzard to hit any second now, with winds over 50 mph. That means you can't see even if you wanted to drive. Nevertheless, I will hit the road at 7:00 am in hopes that the plane will take off. I love the snow, but not when I'm trying to fly out!

I'll let you know what happens...have a great weekend.

One more week till Africa!

February 22, 2007

Red Letters Cover Part Tres

We want this cover to communicate intrigue and mystery. I loved the comment someone made, "this is a mystery novel --exactly!" A mystery that much of the church stands by as 143 million orphans live a life of extreme poverty, and watch. A mystery that there are almost 50 million people suffering from HIV and Christians think these people somehow deserve to be sick because it's a 'homosexual and drug-user disease.' That's a mystery.

I don't mean to be too harsh on the church here, but I'm a firm believer that God has already provided the solution to these issues. It's the church, people who are Christ followers. There are hundreds of thousands of Christian churches in the US alone. What could happen if this issue was taken seriously? We could change the world, the Kingdom really would come down from heaven, and we could remove the word 'orphan' from our midst.

Anyway, here's the new cover with a few changes. Thanks for all your help and input with this.

February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

This year I've decided to take Lent seriously. Why? Because of what it represents. Lent represents a re-focusing of our lives from the hustle, the business, and the craziness of life. We make some 'readjustments' towards things that really matter - Loving God with our whole hearts and loving our neighbor as ourselves. If I had to be honest, I have let things creep in and be more important in my life than my relationship with Christ. Lent is about repenting and putting first things first in life.

Today, I attended an Ash Wednesday service at Christ the King. Great service, complete with ashes on the forehead and communion. I'm also following a traditional Orthodox Lenten Fast. It keeps me centered and focused and my Christian faith. There are even Bible Readings for Lent to assist you on your journey everyday. (If you're interested in any of this, click on what's blue). If you don't like any of those ideas, you can simply give up something important to you for Lent.

Do something during the Lenten season, and I promise you, Easter will have much more meaning and you will draw closer to God!

February 20, 2007

Preparing for Africa

Only about 10 more days until I board a plane for Swaziland, Africa. There's nothing that gets me more excited to go than a heart-felt message from Bono. Watch this, and you'll be inspired too!

February 19, 2007

Red Letters Cover Part 2

Hey everyone. I cannot thank you enough for all the comments you left about the book cover. Truth is, I hated it and couldn't stand it! Why? It didn't say anything to me, it wasn't what I had envisioned, and it was too simplistic. But, being the humble soul I am, (hey, it's Lent, I'm working on my humility) I'm open to being wrong. I don't like it, but I'm open! You had some great insight and wonderful ideas to share.

The publisher loved the comments and we are incorporating some of the changes you suggested. Some of you will no doubt be disappointed that your thought was incorporated, so I'll apologize in advance. About 70% of the people loved the cover. As soon as we have it back from the designer, I'll post it for you to see.

Just so you know, this book is not all about Africa. It's about examining the life of Jesus to see what He did on earth, who He ministered to, and why certain groups of people moved His heart - like the poor, the leper, the sick, and the orphan. Then it moves into HIV/AIDS, Africa, India, Russia and what you and I can do to make a difference and be the hands of Jesus. Look back at some of my other posts containing excerpts from the book to find out more: Intro Part 1, Intro Part 2, Adanna's Story Part 1 , Adanna's Story Part 2.

I'll be posting the final version of the first chapter in the weeks to come.

February 16, 2007

Red Letters Cover

Everyone...I need your help!!!! This is the proposed cover for the new book: Red Letters. Please give me your honest opinion. The publisher will be looking at the comments. Thanks so much!


February 15, 2007

Update on Nina

Thanks to you who sent letters to sweet NINA. They have already been read to her at her bedside. If you haven't sent a note of encouragement, come on, what are you waiting for. This is a simple way to act on your compassion for an orphan. Here's an update from our Vladimir, Russia, staff:

Dear friends,

Thank you very much for your prayers for Nina Kashirina. We'd like to tell you that yesterday, February 13, Nina was operated on and the doctors amputated her left leg above the knee. The surgery went well, but it will take time for Nina to recover from it. In the future she will get an artificial leg (when? How? And who is going to pay for that, the quality of it – all of these things are a matter of a big question). Nina will still have to go through several more rounds of chemotherapy. Right now Ira, Nina's sister, is staying with her at the hospital and is taking care of her. Please, keep both girls in your prayers so that they would feel God's presence covering them. Pray for Nina's healing. Right now it's very important that her wound would not get infected and for chemotherapy to destroy all the cancer. Pray for her spiritual and emotional health, and pray for Ira to be strong now as she is taking care of her sister. Pray for her to be an encourager for Nina. On behalf of Nina we'd like to thank you for all the letters that you have sent to her. It was very nice of you to write her. She was very touched by your kind words.

Once again thank you very much for everything.

Sincerely, Vladimir Office staff.

I'd love to raise the money for an artificial leg for her. How about you?