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20 posts from February 2007

February 13, 2007

Off to Swaziland

I've just posted the first video of my upcoming trip to Swaziland here on the blog. In just over two weeks, I'm headed back to Swaziland for a vision trip. This time, I want to take you with me. Each day, we're going to post video clips of what we're experiencing on the trip. Watch the video here to find out more. I'm excited for you to join the journey.

Russian Orphan Graduate Has Leg Amputated

Nina Kashirina, one of the orphan graduates we help Children's HopeChest has some serious health issues. She has had a tumor on her knee and upper thigh and it was diagnosed as malignant. She has been through chemotherapy in Moscow Clinical Hospital. Her condition has been very critical due to the severity of this cancer.

Today, Nina had amputation surgery. Please remember to pray for her. Being an orphan in Russia is difficult enough, now she must go through life without her leg. This is a terrible tragedy for her. Please pray for healing physically, emotionally and spiritually.

If you would like to email me a quick letter or encouragement for Nina, I'll make sure it's delivered right to her hospital bed.


February 12, 2007

Global Warming?

Okay, I know this is a hot topic - people have their opinions. But the reality is that something IS happening with the climate of our world. CO2 gases, numerous emissions from millions of vehicles and factories are changing the world as we know it. Something is causing the terrible famines many parts of the world experience. What can we do different? Thanks to my new friend, Mike Todd for this video:

February 11, 2007

The Poorest of the Poor are Always Marginalized

Whenever I read a story about the poor, they are typically abused over and over. Some of this is intentional, some of it not. But the very fact that the poor are poor, puts them in danger of being mistreated by the world's system on a regular basis.

This reminds me of one of the first little girls I met in Africa. Unfortunately, her story is more common than not. Her father had disappeared, leaving her mother to care for all 5 children alone. Naturally, the father was the breadwinner of the family, so the mother was left unskilled and unable to provide for the family. They were already poor, now they were poor and hungry.They were also treated as cursed people in the community - because their mother soon became sick.

The children watched as the HIV virus turn into to full-blown AIDS in their mother's body right before their eyes. It wasn't long until the children were now starving, and a few people would drop food by every now and then. But it wasn't enough. Then men started coming by, raping the children and leaving a loaf of bread as 'payment.' This little girl had been raped so severely, she had lost control of her bladder. That's injustice and the Bible screams for justice.

Can you see how evil is perpetuated on those who are poor again and again? The story is all too familiar. You can read another story similar to this one about a girl named Regina is Mozambique HERE.

This is why we must be engaged and why we have to help. It is the heart of Jesus and it is "pure religion." And it's what the Five for 50 Foundation is all about. More to come on that this week. Also, keep your eye peeled for some live video to go up on my blog as we prepare to go to Africa on March 2nd. We're taking you with us!

February 08, 2007

Responsibility to the Poor

In trying to figure out what I can do to provide justice to the weak, here's what I've come up with. My heart is to mobilize others to help the widow, the orphan and the poor. In an attempt to do that, I'm starting a foundation tied in with my book, Red Letters called Five for 50. It's about 5 simple steps any of us can do to stand in solidarity with the 50 million people in the world infected with HIV. Here's how it works:

The steps of Five for 50 are as follows:

  1. Give 5 minutes a day to pray for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
  2. Give 5 hours a week to fast for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
  3. Give 5 dollars a month to the Five for 50 Fund and support worthy causes.
  4. Give 5 days a year to travel overseas and help alleviate poverty and suffering.
  5. Give 5 people Childreachingan opportunity to join you on your journey.

More details are given in the book. But this is a way everyone can participate and be part of the solution to a world-crisis. All proceeds will go directly to HIV/AIDS projects around the world. The children are worth it!

Do Not Pervert Justice

Darren Moore has written a great article about today's post. What does it mean to not pervert the justice due the orphan and widow? How can we live this out? He touches on the orphans whose mouths were taped shut that recently made international news. Read his post here.

February 07, 2007

Pure Religion

Today, I had a great talk with Beth Kanter, a blogging consultant guru. I never knew blogging was so complicated. As it turns out, there is a whole new world of marketing and communication out there that I have been missing. If you have a blog, a strongly suggest you check out her blog for some advice and pointers.

A question has been plaguing me as of late:  What is our responsibility to the world's poor, the oppressed, the orphan? What is my responsibility? Am I responsible, or can I be absolved of my responsibility - can I bow out? Can I leave the job to someone else? Another organization maybe, or a great humanitarian with a name and a platform. It's a question we all must answer.

If the answer to this question was left to mere worldly opinions, I can't imagine having any responsibility. But, I at least, answer to a higher power. If God has a concern for the poor, then I have no choice but to care about the things on his heart. Without any doubt, God makes this answer clear to me in scriptures like James 1:27, "Pure and undefiled religion is visiting widows and orphans in their distress."

If true, each of us must decide how we live that out. Whether through prayer, fasting, giving, or influencing - our involvement is required by our King. Other matters are but trifles compared to 'pure religion." And according to Matthew 25 it is the very thing that will matter most when we stand before the Lord in eternity. So, what is the answer to that question? And how do we live it out?

February 06, 2007

Books I'm Reading

So, I'm finished with one book and working on another. You know, it's truly an awesome experience to actually have book contracts. Kind of surreal really. I love it. But, it's a TON of work!

In the midst of writing, I need to pull away and be refreshed by reading something that is inspiring and rejuvenating. Here's what I'm reading. If you have some great books your combing through right now, let me know!

1. In the Spirit of Happiness by The Monks of New Skete
2. There is No Me Without You (One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children)
3. When Invisible Children Sing by Dr. Chi Huang
4. Dalit Freedom (The Epic Struggle for Dalit Emancipation) by Joseph D'souza
5. Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr - highly recommended!

February 04, 2007

HIV, South Africa, and the World Cup

Thanks to all of you who sent an email requesting a copy of RED Letters. You should have a copy delivered to you in August - I will keep you posted on the exact date.

I wanted you to know that I will be posting live video of my trip to Swaziland, Africa on this blog beginning around March 5th. This is all experimental and we are working with a company called The Pursuant Group, who has the technology to make all this happen. Simon Scionka will be traveling with me to do the producing and editing. Check out his latest work here - you'll be impressed!

I ran across this article about The World Cup being held in South Africa in 2010. As you may know, South Africa has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world - affecting 5.5 million people. My fear is that the virus will be shipped to the four corners of the globe through all of the 'illicit' behavior taking place behind the scenes at those kinds of events.

They aren't even able to find enough civil engineers and workers to design and build the necessary buildings because so many are sick with AIDS. That's the toll this disease has taken on this country. Remember, many people living in South Africa don't have proper education about what causes HIV, so they don't know how it's spread. Even the President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, believes that HIV doesn't cause AIDS. Read the article here, and pray for South Africa.

February 01, 2007

AIDS Increases in India

For all sakes and purposes my part in writing RED Letters is done! There are still a few things to add here and there, but the bulk of the work is finished. I truly believe this is going to be an incredible book! If you would like a complimentary copy, please email your mailing address and I will put you on the list to receive a book from the publisher.

I am floored about how devastating HIV/AIDS virus is. I've interviewed experts like Scott Todd, who has a PhD in Immunology with Compassion International who revealed things I couldn't believe. I'll be sharing some of those things with you in the coming weeks.

Now for India. HIV is on the rise in India at staggering proportions. Estimates say that there are between 4-8 million people living with HIV. Many believe there to be 5.1 million living with AIDS and as many as 2 million children orphaned from AIDS. With little education the number of people with HIV could sky-rocket to over 15 million by 2010. There is something all of us can do to help stop this spread of this very deadly disease. That's what the book is about.

Next post I'll discuss one of the most ridiculous things facing us in the coming years to help the spread of HIV. The World Cup being held in South Africa in 2010 where 1 in 11 people have HIV.