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12 posts from February 2008

February 28, 2008

The Death of Orphan Sergei Adveev

Dear friends,

We have some very sad and tragic news to share with you about Sergei Avdeev. As you probably recall, Sergei is a graduate of Fominki orphanage (that Wave Church used to sponsor) who sustained serious spinal injuries after falling from a 5th-floor window about 2 years ago. Sergei miraculously survived that accident and after surgery and treatment was able to work last summer as a gardener and then recently in waste management.

Today we received a call that last night Sergei was murdered by, as we were told, a group of skinheads in Sobinka where he lived. We have been working with the former manager of the family dorm where Sergei lived to work out details for his funeral. She was very instrumental in helping us make arrangements for Sergei’s treatment 2 years ago. Estimated minimal expenses for the funeral are $300. This sum has been provided by Children's Hopechest, and we as a staff have collected additional money to cover any additional expenses.

Sergei has an older brother, but no one has been able to contact him. In situations where there are no relatives or relatives have no means to pay for a funeral, people are buried by the government without any kind of personal touches, etc. Natasha M and Korvan F (who knew Sergei well) will go along with our driver, Sasha, tomorrow morning to meet this dorm manager to purchase and pay for all the necessary items and services related to Sergei’s funeral and then the burial will take place almost immediately.

Please extend our deep condolences to Bill T and all those from Wave Church who knew Sergei.

Vladimir staff


February 27, 2008

Marilyn Griffith

Marilyn is a new friend and AMAZING fiction novelist. I'm encouraging all of you to get her books by clicking here on

She was gracious enough to write an excellent post on her blog today about Africa, Children's HopeChest and Saints coffee. Click here to read what she said and get acquainted with this amazing woman.

February 26, 2008

Youth Worker Journal Review of Red Letters

Red Letters continues to get good reviews from different facets of the Christian and secular community. For that, I am thankful! I have an article in the latest Relevant magazine article, the one with Rob Bell on the cover. I haven't been able to get a PDF yet, when I do, I will post it. Here's a review in Youthworker Journal.

Red Letter Day for Many HIV+
Tom Davis believes Jesus is a widow named Tuli, an HIV+ woman living in Swaziland.
In 2003, Davis took me to Russia and showed me Jesus in the eyes of a three-year-old girl abandoned by her parents. In that moment, I understood that taking care of her meant I was directly serving Christ.
This is the message of Tom's new book, Red Letters. He shows us how to take Jesus seriously when He said we would find Him naked, hungry, thirsty, sick, and in prison. Using the backdrop of the global AIDS crisis, Davis explains how we cannot ignore the millions of people devoured by HIV/AIDS, because they are, in fact, Jesus in disguise.
Using poignant stories, well-researched facts, and the "red letters" of Jesus' words found in the gospels, Davis compels readers to consider the church’s potential impact on HIV/AIDS and what needs to change in the way of ministry in the future. His “Five for 50” campaign provides simple ideas for how each person can made a difference, even if it means reaching one person at a time.
For information about the pastor scholarship program, contact Children's HopeChest.

February 23, 2008

Update on the Baby

This is an update on the baby I wrote about in my last post. This is a live report from the field from World Racer Aaron Bruner.

This past Monday I visited the Mbutu Care Point in Nsoko Swaziland. This is the central Care Point in Nsoko for G42 ministries. The day started out quite frustrating as Seth, Pastor Gift, and I were unable to gather firewood for the gogos (grandmas) to cook for the children. The military had decided to deny us entry into the bush because they were afraid that it was too dangerous for us "Americans". So after a somewhat discouraging morning at the Care Point, Pastor Gift approached me about making a house visit. Of course I agreed and off we went.

The day was very very hot and we were out in what seemed like the desert. We quickly came upon a house (I'm reluctant to call it a house because it was merely held together by sticks, rocks and what smelled like dung).

Once inside my eyes adjusted to the horror that most people hear about but rarely see. My worlds collided as I entered to find a young mother shriveled up on a blanket. Her body lay half-bare as 5 of her children stared at Pastor Gift and me. She could barely move. Pastor Gift began to speak with her and she informed us that she had been sick for a while. I looked beyond her for a moment and my eyes caught the form of an abnormally small infant. The infant sat resting beside his sick mother. Almost in a peaceful serene sleep he rested. Pastor Gift continued to ask her questions concerning the child.

The baby was 4 weeks old. Upon seeing the mother, it was obvious that her breasts had shriveled up and she was no longer able to produce milk for the baby. The baby had not eaten in a couple days. He had grown accustomed to the hunger and was no longer crying for food. He slept. The mother had no money to buy formula let alone energy to physically go and get it.

So Pastor Gift and I prayed for the mother and for the child. I had no clue what to do. I was dumbfounded. How did our world get like this? I mean, sure we can call it sin and pawn it off, but the Lord calls us to care for the orphans and widows, right?

This is how the other half lives. It is my earnest hope and prayer that we do not forget this story but that we take initiative when we hear or see these injustices occurring in our world.

On Tuesday night, I sat in our team meeting just thinking about it. I told Traci about the situation since it was the Care Point that she visited frequently. Immediately, thoughts ran through her head she informed me. The next day, after a full day of serving at a different Care Point, we arrived to see Traci holding the baby. She and Pastor Gift had visited the home and Traci had asked permission to watch and care for the baby for a few days in order to nourish him back to health. The mother agreed and it became apparent that she cared more for the health of her child than she did about being with him.

So Team Ignite has taken on this responsibility because of Traci's obedience to the Lord. It is ironic that the very person who says that it is difficult for her to be with children is the very one that God chose to act. No coincidences. Currently, the baby is in bad shape. We have taken him to the clinic and he has received some medication but he is extremely malnourished and dehydrated. He is not eating much, but we are hoping and praying for the future for this child. We ask that you pray for Team Ignite as we listen to the Lord's leading about this precious one. Please pray with us against the possibility of him having HIV/AIDS and that his body would be healed. Pray that it would be a testimony to God's goodness and that he does not turn a blind eye to the marginalized and the destitute who are crying out to him. The verse rings true that the Lord receives those who have been rejected and neglected by the world. For Americans, it may be easy to forget and not be affected by this story. For us, this is reality. Every day we see this suffering in its various forms. I ask that you be affected by it. I ask that your heart is broken so that you are prompted to act. May these images burn in your mind so that you will not forget. Thank you for allowing me to share this story.

Father, forgive us of our sins. Give us eyes to see the world as you see it. Forgive us for not doing something for we can no longer do nothing as now our eyes have seen.

February 22, 2008

Shock and Outrage

This post is from my buddy, Seth Barnes' Blog. Get ready to have your Friday morning wrecked. This is what God sees when he looks at the world.

We have a team in Swaziland, that nation in Africa where nearly half the adult population has the AIDS virus. I received this email from Gary Black in Swaziland today and it wrecked me:
"The team found a four week-old laying on its dead mother yesterday, they kept it - we are getting it to the abandoned baby hospital Friday."

What do we do with this? That's my son's team down there. I don't know about you, but I'm outraged by a world that produces situations like this.

And while that may seem like a world away to many, for my son, it's as immediate as it is heart-wrenching.

The only thing that appalls me more is that so many of us Americans who can do something about this are more interested in stuff that will only ultimately burn up in the big fire.

God help us. God, help us to wake up. Help us to see how much you love the widow and the orphan. God help us to break as you are broken up over this four week-old.

God, help me to lose this tortoise shell religion that sheds these kinds of tragic situations like water. Forgive me God for not praying more. Forgive me for not emptying my bank account for your little ones. God, we have lost true religion. We have sought finer sanctuaries and better parking lots.

We have tried to fill our church pews with seekers, but we have not sought your children dying on their mother's chests. We need to see a way out of this mess that we've got ourselves in. God, help us in this 21st century mindset that we've acquired. I don't even know what else to pray.


February 21, 2008

Christmas in India

Thanks to all of your who participated in our 12 Days of Christmas Campaign. We just received this report from our partners in India describing what they did with the money. Enjoy, and thanks for your generousity toward the orphans of India!

"On December 15th, a team of sixteen of us traveled to Haryana and New Delhi, India to bless 193 orphans with a huge Birthday party for Jesus. We celebrated the birth of Christ by having a meal and a party for the children at two different orphanages, and took gifts to a third orphanage. At the parties, the orphans all ate chicken and birthday cake, a huge treat when you consider their daily meal of rice and a watery vegetable sauce. Thanks to Children’s Hope Chest, we were able to purchase a pair of underwear and socks for every child, in addition to a warm winter hat, a pair of gloves, and a stuffed animal or small toy. The children were ecstatic as they opened their gifts-the rooms were filled with laughing, shouting children as many of them received the first gift they had ever received in their lives. Many of the children who were new to the orphanage were hearing about the miracle of Christ for the first time ever, having come from Hindu families. There were about 150 children who were new! What a privilege to be able to share the real meaning of Christmas with God’s precious orphans! We are so grateful to Children’s Hope Chest for stepping in at a time when the orphans were in great need."

February 20, 2008


My new book, Confessions of a Good Christian Guy, is out. The men who are reading this say it's my best book yet. As far as men's issues are concerned, it's definitely a deep, probing look at what real masculinity is. I have a new blog that is dedicated to the book and these issues you can look at and sign up for at: Hope you like it! Bloggers, if you would like a copy of the book to review on your site, please email your address.

February 15, 2008

Jesus Says

This is a great post from my new friend, Brad Brisco at Missional Church Network:

If the world is sane, then Jesus is mad as a hatter and the Last Supper is the Mad Tea Party.
The world says, “Mind your own business,” and Jesus says, “There is no such thing as your own business.”
The world says, “Follow the wisest course and be a success,” and Jesus says, “Follow me and be crucified.”
The world says, “Drive carefully—the life you save may be your own”—and Jesus says, “Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
The world says, “Law and order,” and Jesus says, “Love.”
The world says, “Get,” and Jesus says, “Give.”
In terms of the world’s sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks he can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than under a delusion.

The Faces of Jesus by Frederick Buechner

February 13, 2008

AIDS is claiming Russian orphans as victims

100 every day.  100!  This is the number of new HIV/AIDS infections in Russia every day.  Not only does Russia have the highest infection rate in Europe (read the story), but it has among the fastest growing AIDS epidemics in the world (read the story).  100 new infections every day!

HIV/AIDS is wreaking havoc on the continent of Africa.  Many of you have become personally involved in this struggle against disease for the sake of orphans.  I have just returned from Swaziland and South Africa.  I was confronted by this horrible disease every day. But AIDS is not only taking lives in Africa.  There are victims all over the world.  And what is happening in Russia is haunting.  A study revealed that 60% of orphaned street kids in St. Petersburg are HIV positive (read the story).

In Russia, the HIV/orphanhood correlation works as a vicious cycle.  Increasing rates of HIV-infected mothers is resulting in increasing numbers of abandoned children and babies.  Conversely, as the number of abandoned children is on the rise, Russia is seeing an emerging subgroup of orphaned street kids who are are exhibiting increasing rates of HIV-infection.

You can be a part of slowing or even stopping this cycle.  By reaching out to a child in need, you can offer hope and healing.  Go to to learn more about what we’re doing to help orphans in Russia.  Email us to learn how you and your church can get involved. 

February 11, 2008

David Tyree's Miracle Superbowl Catch

In case you didn't think NY Giant's, David Tyree's catch was enough, check out his testimony. He recently spoke for Teen Mania's Battle Cry event in New York. Show this to your friends, and your kids so they know what a real role model looks like.