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14 posts from January 2009

January 29, 2009

Home for a Day, Now Off to Canada

I knew this month was going to be brutal, but this is getting ridiculous! I've had a great day and a half home with the kids, but I'm off to Edmonton to speak at Breakforth. I'll be taking Gracie, my 7 year  old for some father/daughter time. From Africa in the dead of summer, to a Canadian winter. What a temperature swing! 

This is the largest conference in Canada with 15,000 in attendance. I also just found out I'm not speaking 7 times, but 10 times. At least 4 messages are the same. I'm encouraged that this is a great opportunity to speak to people about global poverty and get them involved in Russia and Africa. After that, my speaking engagements keep me close to home until I launch an Ethiopian sponsorship in Fargo, ND, February 21-22.

If you're in Colorado Springs, I'm speaking at A Father's Heart Banquet February 27 & 28th.

You may have noticed a new book cover on the left of my blog. Scared - A Novel on the Edge of the World comes out in June of this hear, put is available for pre-order now. Reserve your copy! On this trip to Africa, I relived so much of the story in that book. It's based on many of the true, though heartbreaking stories, I know of orphans and people there. It will transport you to Africa whether you've been there or not! There will be a cool marketing campaign behind this book I"ll make you aware of, including the creation of a campaign to raise $1 million dollars to educate orphans. They are the future leaders of their countries.

Posted a few pictures on Facebook from our Day in Mozambique.

Take care all. Have a great weekend and one last thing regarding the Superbowl: GO PITTSBURGH STEELERS!!!

January 28, 2009

Swazliand Day 5 - Servant Leaders

Nothing describes our trip more than this picture. The more we came face to face with the needs of the children in Swaziland, the more we realized the need to be servants. If we could "give a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus," or wash orphans feet and put shoes on them, or meeting whatever needs the day held, that was enough for the day. 

IMG_6179I don't think I could handle what we do there everyday if I didn't know we were able to help these kids. The situation is just too painful to look at and walk away. The difficulty for me, is that it never happens fast enough. But it does happen, and knowing that is enough.

My goal is to get all new 6 available carepoints sponsored. We already have 3 of those spoken for. That's amazing! I'm also seeing more and more blogging communities step up to the plate. That's so encouraging! Some of you have emailed asking for information and I will get that to you next week, when I return home. 

I've put more Pictures up on Facebook here titled Swaziland Day 5.

Love you all and I'm so thankful for you. Let me leave this prayer with you from Phillipians 3:3-6:

"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

January 26, 2009

Heartbreaking Day

Today we visited a place close to the mountains that isn't receiving any help whatsoever. Again, it's an area plagued with AIDS so children are left caring for themselves. They are in a bitter struggle just to stay alive.

We came unannounced to see what was happening and these kids showed up to see what we were doing. Many of them were malnourished and sick. Two of them were dressed in nothing but a loin cloth. This one little girl with the most beautiful smile you've ever seen, walked up with a naked baby on her back. She couldn't have been older than seven. You can see this pictures in the photo section to the right here, or on my Facebook page. They are titled, "Swaziland Day 4."

The hardest thing on all of us was the fact that they were starving right before our eyes. I can tell you the touching and hugging little children who are severely malnourished is a very painful thing to do. I don't even know how to give words to something like that. The team is going out again on Wednesday with food. We are hoping to find a sponsor here because it's in such desperate need.

Another lady came out of a trail yelling about the pain she was in, asking us to help her. She was obviously infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. She was anguishing, we felt horrible, but there was nothing we could do. And, she was one of the main teachers here.

Sometimes I feel like such a bearer of bad news on these things. This is just what we run into everyday. The good news is that we are doing something about these situations. With the help of people like you, we are feeding these precious children. Thousands of kids in Swaziland are being sponsored and our programs are working. We are drilling wells to provide clean water, we are providing funds to help kids with their education, we're feeding, discipling, providing medical care, everything that can be done. 

Thanks your for your part in this. We already have 3 people express high interest in sponsoring carepoints, including folks who are doing this through their blogs. I'm so excited about this I can't even tell you. We have 4 more that need sponsorship so please, let me hear for you. 

You guys (and girls!) are fantastic. This could never be done without you.

All my love to you. Sahle Kahale (Stay well!)

January 25, 2009

Swaziland Day 4 Photos.

Tom and Kids in Swaziland 

Photos from day four are up on Facebook, and here in my blog photo album.

January 23, 2009

Swaziland Day 3

What an amazing day today! We found another brand new care point called, Mhobile. A wonderful place filled with 90 vulnerable children and orphans mostly under the age of 12. The first kids I met were a precious family of three who are alone because both of their parents have died of AIDS. You hear about this a lot in Swaziland, but to interact with a family that's dealing with this is painful. Nothing for them to hope for, there is no money for school fees or food or clothes - nothing. It happens too much here.

We need to find a sponsor for this carepoint ASAP. The Gogo's (grandma's) at this place started because children were starving in their neighborhood. They went house to house, store to store, begging for food to help. They receive a little here and there, but mostly they rely upon a God they cannot currently see with their eyes for provision. How people have faith in the midst of hopelessness is beyond what a rational mind can comprehend. I'll telly you this,  I could have stayed all day and soaked up the love and joy that poured from these kids.

I"m asking all of you to copy your favorite picture from Africa the last few days. Tag them and link them back to my blog. Ask them to get involved. Give to help support a well, help support orphans by donating funds for food, or Sponsor a one of these kids from our website,

I've really appreciated all your comments and emails and have read every one! Just can't respond to everything right now. Love and appreciate you all and am thankful for your prayers and support. Tomorrow we head to the worst and neediest place in Swaziland, the Big Bend area. Very arid, nothing can be grown, and fresh water is extremely difficult to come by. It will be a heartbreaking day, but one I'm looking forward to because I will see Jesus in the eyes of the poor.

Pictures for today are up right here on Facebook.

Swazi Trip Photos Posted

Click here or on the photo below to see pictures from my Swazi trip. Thank you again for your support and prayers.


January 22, 2009

First Day in Africa

Just back from our first day at carepoints in Swaziland. A day filled with many highs and lows. Highs because the first orphan village we visited is sponsored by our church, Vanguard, in Colorado Springs. So many great things are happening there. A playground has just been put up, the kitchen is finished and operating, the building is up serving as a church and community center, the school is running, and the kids are doing great! Hope is evident everywhere in the eyes of the children, the staff, and the teachers. The kids all keep talking about their futures and how they get to go to school. Amazing!

The low was the second place we visited called Bobokhazi. It's not sponsored by any church, or online community, and is suffering. I heard story after story about how there's no food and little hope. A little 13 year old girl told me her tragic story. Both of her parents are dead from AIDS and she's all alone taking care of her 4 year old brother. Her father just passed away December 5th. They literally have nothing. My heart breaks for her. There's not a penny for her to go to school when only $80 covers her costs for the entire year. We are feeding them some with what we can so they aren't starving, but this place desperately needs people to come to their rescue. If you're one of the answers, please let me know.

Pictures won't load here, so have put them up from both carepoints on Facebook for you to see: Click here to see the Pictures if you have a Facebook account.

Please continue to remember us. We're off to two more places tomorrow and the local AIDS hospital. Miss you all!

January 20, 2009

Arrived Safely in South Africa

A huge African bug just landed on my neck as I'm typing on this outdoor cabana!

We are just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. Everyone's luggage arrived and their were no flight delays! Early tomorrow morning we will head to Swaziland, which is about four hours away. My good buddy from college (Christ for the Nations days), Vince Giordano, is with me and we are having a great time catching up. 

Jumbo just told us we have internet access where we are staying, so I'm hoping to upload a few pictures. 

Also, we have 5 new carepoints available for sponsorship here in Swaziland. Churches, companies, or online communities can take ownership of these orphan carepoints. It will change your life forever. If you're interested, please email at, [email protected]. I can send you some pictures while I'm here.

Thanks for your prayers everyone. I'm looking forward to hugging and blessing these little ones God has sent us to.

January 19, 2009

The Other Side of Traveling and Helping the Poor

As you're reading this, I'm flying somewhere over the Atlantic ocean between Washington DC and Johannesburg, South Africa. I'm leading a group into Swaziland, a nation that has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world. I'm privileged to serve orphans and widows in that country. I love the people there and am committed to partnering and believing in the hope for a better future for them and their children. This is my life, and I'm thankful God has given me the opportunity to serve the poor. 

But there's another side I wanted you to know about. It's the side that reveals my personal pain every time I leave my home for the airport. When I close the door to my home, I know I've just left six people inside. My wonderful wife and five children, twelve and under, who need my time and attention. For the next ten days, they won't get it, for twenty days in the month of January. Emily and I have talked many times about the sacrifice that takes place when I go overseas, or leave for the weekend to speak at a church or conference. Normally those days are filled with basketball and soccer games for my kids, concerts at school, and a host of other events where I want to be present.

I do my best, taking one of my kids when I can. Last year our whole family went to Africa together for a month. But that's expensive to do on a regular basis. Then there's the complications of school schedules, and events that constitute a life at home that need consistency. 

Sometimes I feel this pain acutely, like now. Not wanting to go on any more trips until my children are grown and my wife can travel with me. I'm particularly sensitive at this point, because my oldest son is now twelve and needs every moment I can give him. Of course, I try to balance this as much as possible. If I'm out for a period any period of time, I don't go into the office trying to 'make up' lost time. But you don't ever completely make it up. I have to trust God to 'redeem' the time I am at home and make sure I'm fully engaged in the lives of my family when I am home. 

Please pray for me this week. I will be throughout Swaziland with a team and come home on the 28th. I'll be home for a day and then I'll be off to Canada where I'm speaking ten times (ugh!) at the largest conference in that country called BreakForth. 

I'd love any advice, thoughts or words of encouragement on this issue. I'm also grateful for those of you who support me and Children's HopeChest through all the little things you do. Your Facebook messages, Twitter direct messages, emails, phone calls, hand-written letters and the silent words you lift to God on my behalf. It's the realization of all of this that reveals to me that this ministry is a partnership, I do what I do well, and you do what you do best by loving the people we serve, writing letters to orphans, giving of your time, talent and treasure, being ambassadors for CHC, and encouraging me and the staff. Thanks for your partnership and friendship. You are loved and appreciated more than you know. 

January 15, 2009

Official U2 Cover

I'm a huge fan, I can't help it. Today,, released the official album cover and the track listing for the new album. The other site was close, but no cigar. The first single, "Get On Your Boots," will be available for download on February 15th. Here's the track list. Are you pumped or what?! If not, just ignore me.

1. No Line On The Horizon
2. Magnificent
3. Moment of Surrender
4. Unknown Caller
5. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
6. Get On Your Boots
7. Stand Up Comedy
8. Fez – Being Born
9. White As Snow
10. Breathe
11. Cedars Of Lebanon