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16 posts from May 2009

May 28, 2009

Barnes and Noble Review Plus Scared Ships Today!

I woke up this morning to find out that Amazon and Barnes & Noble are shipping Scared today! For those of you who have pre-order (my most heartfelt thanks goes out to you), your books should arrive any day now. After you've ready the book, please post a review on Amazon or B&N so others can get a good feel about what the book is about. I'm also available to participate in Q&A sessions for summer book clubs. Just let me know, so I can get it on the calendar.

This review is posted on Barnes & Noble by Julie Gillies and will be up on her blog this weekend. Thanks Julie! Hope you are as moved by her review as I was! :)

A powerful, extraordinary novel - the best I've read in years.

by JulieGillies

Reader Rating: 
See Detailed Ratings

May 28, 2009: Tom Davis' first novel grabbed me by the throat and refused to let go. I no longer sat in a comfortable chair in my bedroom merely reading a book; I bumped along in a jeep on dusty clay roads, inhaled sweaty fear, witnessed atrocities that provoked gut-wrenching despair and anger, and grieved over inhumane conditions that pound innocent families on a continent plagued with disease and corruption.

Sweet little Adanna, already fatherless and literally starving, faces the unthinkable when her mother becomes gravely ill. Frightened yet determined to provide a meal for her two younger siblings, Precious and Abu, Adanna innocently brings horrendous calamity upon herself in her desperate search food.

Into this hostile environment Stuart Daniels, a world renown, award-winning photographer arrives. A decade earlier Stuart nearly lost his life photographing the violence that, unthinkably, continues to worsen in the heart of Africa. That trip was the beginning of the end for him. He's all but dead on the inside, his marriage is slowly dying and he is on the brink of losing his job. Drawn back to the very place that stole his soul, Stuart can't help but wonder what on earth he's doing in this god-forsaken corner of the world.

SCARED is authentic, intense, and in-your-face. It stops short of demanding action on the part of its reader, but you won't be able to help yourself. Warning: Tom Davis' powerful novel will make you rethink your life. And it just might save some.

May 27, 2009

Review from Canada: Scared-A Novel on the Edge of the World

Reviews are just starting to trickle in from advanced reading copies of Scared. I wanted to share one with you from Canada, posted on the Amazon Canada site. By the way, for all my Canadian friends, I will be on 100 Huntley Street, one of the largest TV programs in Canada in June. I will also be speaking at Christian Heritage Day @ Ontario Place June 6th.

"Anyone who thinks that fiction isn't life changing might want to consider this title! Scared was one of the best books I have read in a long time, because it truly caused me to consider my own worldview and then motivated me to action. 

Tom Davis knows of what he writes, because his story of a photojournalist's view of in Swaziland transported me right into the dust, mud, poverty, hunger, desperation, and humanity of people he obviously loves a great deal. 

I turned the pages quickly, but at the same time had a hard time digesting all that I was reading. The story of Adanna - a lovely girl, orphaned by AIDS and trapped by circumstances few North Americans can fathom was both beautiful and heartbreaking. 

The words of this book jumped off the page, and haunted my thoughts long after reading. Scared served to personalize and put a face to the suffering of so many on the continent of Africa. And yet, the reader is not left without hope - but hopeful that change is possible, and we have the opportunity to affect change. 

I am so grateful that Tom Davis chose to write it. It was used to change my perspective and I pray that it finds a wide audience - and becomes a catalyst for change in the hearts and minds of thousands of others!"   - Ellen Graf-Martin

May 26, 2009

Scared Books Just Arrived

The first shipment of books arrived at the office. The book really looks amazing. I think the publisher did a great job on the cover - striking! I also heard the one of the bookstores here in Colorado Springs has Scared featured at the front of the store. If you're still wondering what you can do to help promote the book, click here to get the details. Thank you again for being excited with me about the release of Scared!

Here's a link picked up from B&B Media:
From Fiction to Real Life, Author Changes Orphans’ Lives with Education

Tom Davis sponsors the Scared $1 Million Education Fund and Writing Contest

The number one need in Swaziland, Africa, is not what you think. It’s true: Swazi people face the realities of poverty and disease and have great, pressing needs which must be met. But this alone will not give children what they need to overcome their circumstances and to change their world – this can only happen through education.

In his new release, Scared (David C. Cook, June 2009), author Tom Davis tells the story of a young Swazi girl and a jaded U.S. photojournalist on assignment in her country. Based on his experience working with orphaned children in Swaziland, Davis reveals the power of words to change lives – and the power of God to bring light and new life, even to the darkest of places.

Adanna’s life story could be a blueprint for any of the thousands of Swazi kids Davis has met and worked with as CEO of Children’s HopeChest ( —a global orphan care organization. These children are brimming with potential, but lack even a shred of opportunity.

Beyond meeting basic, practical needs, the mission and passion of Children’s HopeChest is to provide orphaned children the tools they need to become independent adults, mature people who can impact their communities and culture. One of the best paths for reaching this goal is education. With that in mind, Davis and Children’s HopeChest have developed the Scared $1 Million Education Fund and Writing Contest.

The writing contest will be launched with the release of Scared this June. It is open to high-school aged orphans who are presently connected with HopeChest carepoints in Swaziland. Entries will be received in three categories: short story, poetry, and personal essay/memoir. The grand prize for each category is a university scholarship to a school in Africa, and runner-up submissions will receive other prizes appropriate to their culture and need.

How the Writing Contest Works
–Children will submit their writing pieces (maximum of one per category). Submission deadline is September 1, 2009.
–A panel made up of Swazi teachers and HopeChest carepoint staff will judge all entries and select the top ten from each category.
–The top ten finalists in each category will be posted to the Scaredwebsite,, December 1, 2009. People around the world are invited to log in and cast a vote for their favorites in each category.
–Winners will be announced March 2010.

For more information, visit

Tom Davis is available for interviews. For more information about Tom and Scared, releasing June 1 from David C Cook, contact:  Diane Morrow - 800-927-0517 x106 - dmorrow(at)

Audra Jennings - 800-927-0517 x104 - ajennings(at)

May 21, 2009

5 Ways to Misery

This is worth watching. So true and way to hilarious!

Hope in Russia

Bob Mudd , the COO of Children's HopeChest, is currently in Russia meeting with our staff and assessing the effectiveness of our programs. There are so many incredible things happening in Russia. I wish I could talk all of you to see for yourself how many orphans are being helped and have a hope and future. I'll be taking a trip late this fall, If you're interested, shoot me an email. Here's his report of day one:

Lukhtonovo : Many Years of Faithful Service

After an arrival delay of 24 hours resulting from missing my connection in Atlanta, I arrived in Moscow at 11 am local time on Monday and rushed to Vladimir just in time to join the board meeting of our ministry partner Nadezhda (meaning ‘hope’ in the Russian language). The meeting went well and I then tried to work to get some sleep leading in to Tuesday.

Prior to joining the team at HopeChest I had admired the long-term nature of the commitment their partners make when engaging an orphanage. The focus of the model is to redeem the orphan through holistic, relational and long-term relationships.

Today I had the opportunity to see impact of this approach in vivid color as I visited Lukhtonovo orphanage in Vladimir region. Over 10 years ago Concord Church of Pennsylvania visited the region to consider working with a number of different orphanages. Of all the potential orphanages, Lukhtonovo was considered the least likely candidate because it was focused on ‘special needs’ children and was considered just generally ‘dark’. Staff shared that after the visits, the orphanage for Concord was clear and they began what has been a long and productive relationship with Lukhtonovo.

It is located about 40 minutes outside of Vladimir City in a small village where the largest building and only real jobs is centered around the orphanage. We first met with the orphanage director, Ludmila. It was the right place to start.


Despite many health challenges, Ludmila had dedicated 50 years to the children of Lukhtonovo. It took only a short time to realize that she is no ordinary lady. I am fairly certain that if she would have applied herself to business that she would have been wealthy, rather she chose a tireless commitment that has lead to great riches. In sharing her history running the orphanage she recounted winters with insufficient heat, a lack of suitable water, no funds for shoes or clothing. While the provision of basic needs has improved over the years, Ludmila shifted her entrepreneurial spirit to programming like none other that I have seen. This orphanage of 67 children is a profoundly productive place.

They have what I would estimate to be a 10 acre farm that is planted, tended and harvested by the kids.

There are 40 pigs in the ‘slop house’.


While the kids do not get credit (because they are special needs), they have extracurricular computer and sewing classes.

I could continue the list, such as the museum whose curator is an 8th grade student and will be registered as an official Russian Museum this summer.

Much of this could not have been done were it not for the engagement of Concord. They have assisted in renovating some of the facility, purchased transportation and built a cold storage facility for the vegetables which they eat all winter. However, when Ludmila speaks of the people of Concord church, she does not relate the provision of resources. She speaks deeply about the impact that the long term relationships have had on the children.

Luhktanovo Kids

Being designated as ‘special needs’ limits the opportunities that these children will have. Ludmila’s face radiates when she shares the number of children who they have been successful moving off the ‘special needs’ program and speaks with great satisfaction about the college graduates, police officers and teachers that were products of Lukhtonovo.

1 Samuel 3 share that the young Samuel ‘let none of his words fall to the ground’. Concord has been faithful, persistent and generous in caring for the orphans of Lukhtonovo and the blessings are evident.

May 19, 2009

Scared Release Day

I can't believe it! Scared - Novel on the Edge of the World, comes out in about 10 days! As the day draws near, I wanted you to know a few important things about the book, and what you can do to help get the word out:

  1. Until the book releases, there is a pre-order price guarantee of only $10.19. You can order it by clicking here
  2. Everyone can post the trailer to their own blogs and websites. There are two versions where you can embed the code. Vimeo and YouTube. The quality of the Vimeo version is better. Click here for the Vimeo version  or Click here for the YouTube version
  3. Please purchase the book in a store near you. Barnes & Noble, Borders, Family Bookstores, Lifeway, etc. If they don't have it, order it! This is important because it gets books moving through the retail outlets. The book should arrive sometime between June 1st and June 15th. 
  4. Click here to read the first TWO chapters absolutely free.
  5. Suggest the book for a Book Club. These kinds of Clubs are tremendously popular these days, especially online.
  6. If you are interested in participating in the blog tour to review Scared, please let me know.  
  7. You can join the Scared Facebook group by clicking here. This will be a place to ask questions, post comments and find out more about the book.
  8. Check out the Scared the Book, site. The vision of this book is about more than telling a story. We are raising $1 million for an orphans education fund. A fund that will help orphans in Africa have a future by providing scholarships for primary and secondary school, college, and University. That's how we change the world! Click on the site to find out how you can be involved and actually VOTE a child into University.
Here are what some others are saying about Scared and some blogs you can read. These folks had an electronic version:

3 endorsements from the book you may be interested in:

"Tom Davis weaves his heart for orphans onto every page. The journey of Scared might lead you on a journey of your own - helping the orphans among us."
- Karen Kingsbury, New York Times best-selling author of Every Now and Then and Take One

"With unflinching detail, Tom Davis uncovers the atrocity of the African AIDS epidemic and God's impossible triumph in its midst. Both sweeping in scope and intimate expression, Scared leaves the reader with one burning question: How can I help?"
- Matt Bronleewe, author of Illuminated and House of Wolves

"Tom Davis' first novel, Scared, is a startling beauty-for-ashes tale that takes readers on a journey to Swaziland and introduces them to the least of these Jesus speaks about in Matthew 25. You can't help but be changed by this heartbreaking, hope-fueling, oh-so-real story."
- Claudia Mair Burney, author of Zora and Nicky: A Novel in Black and White

THANKS AGAIN TO ALL OF YOU! You have been so supportive of this project and my other writings. I am so glad we are in this together. Alone, we powerless, but together, we can change the world!

May 15, 2009

Sexual Violence Aimed at Girls in Swaziland: Link To High HIV/AIDS

This morning Mike Todd sent me a new report from the Kaiser Network about sexual violence against girls, including young children. This is exactly Adanna's story, who is the main character in the novel I wrote entitled, Scared. Writing about these experiences caused the publisher to put a 'warning label' in the book. It's not graphic by any means, just real. The sad thing is that these girls suffer in more ways than anyone could ever write about. 

We'll have a vision trip to Swaziland in the fall. Please let me know if you're interested in going.

"A new report commissioned by UNICEF and CDC and recently published in the journal Lancet found that one in three girls in Swaziland has experienced sexual violence by age 18, which can lead to serious health issues such as HIV, IRIN/PlusNews reports. In addition, the researchers found that 22% of Swazi women between ages 15 and 24 are HIV-positive, noting that sexual violence could be a common HIV transmission mode among women in high-burden countries such as Swaziland. 

Sexual violence was defined as forced sex, coerced sex and forced touching. Five percent of girls had experienced forced sex before age 18, and coerced intercourse was reported by 9% of girls, according to the report. In addition, almost 90% of girls who had experienced sexual violence said that it first occurred between ages 13 and 17. The authors recommended that efforts to address issues surrounding sexual violence should "focus on prevention of perpetration by men of sexual violence, and since sexual- and intimate-partner violence might have common roots, local and national initiatives could be reviewed, adapted and scaled up for this purpose." According to the researchers, three-quarters of the boys and men who perpetrated the sexual violence were related or known to the girls (IRIN/PlusNews, 5/13)."

Kaiser article here.

May 13, 2009

Official: More than 1M child prostitutes in India

Last night I finally watched Slumdog Millionaire. Yes, I know I'm late to the party. What a great movie! I loved how the film depicted the evil of humanity then weaved redemption throughout the plot. It brought up many questions and I was sickened about the realities it portrayed. But it solidifies my commitment to help the poor more than ever.

Children's Hopechest is having some early discussions about what it would mean for us to move into India. Here's where you come in: We want to know who are friends are out there? Who has a heart for India and would like to partner with us in the event we move forward? Please email me at [email protected], or comment on this post. 

Here's an article that just come out yesterday about the number of child caught in the child sex-slave industry in India. Something has to be done.

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Around 1.2 million children are believed to be involved in prostitution in India, the country's federal police said Monday.

Ashwani Kumar, who heads the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), told a seminar on human trafficking, that India occupied a "unique position" as what he called a source, transit nation and destination of this trade.

India's home secretary Madhukar Gupta remarked that at least 100 million people were involved in human trafficking in India.

"The number of trafficked persons is difficult to determine due to the secrecy and clandestine nature of the crime.

"However, studies and surveys sponsored by the ministry of women and child development estimate that there are about three million prostitutes in the country, of which an estimated 40 percent are children," a CBI statement said.

Prostitution in pilgrim towns, exploitation through sex tourism and pedophilia are some of some of the "alarming trends" that have emerged in recent years in India, it noted.

Authorities believe 90 percent of human trafficking in India is "intra-country."

May 12, 2009

Starvation in Uganda

On the last post, I asked you to pray for our National Director because he was almost killed delivering food in Uganda. Several days before, one of our volunteers, Brandi, sent me an article about the devastation the famine in this same region was causing - she just returned from a trip there last week. I can't believe that Children's HopeChest is beginning programs right in the area you're about to read about. WARNING: This is hard to read. Knowing that people are suffering on this level tears your heart out:

Kampala — JESSICA Akello and her five children gather around a fireplace to eat what is left of the two days' 400 grams of millet bread, the first meal the family has had in a week.

This is at Aketa parish, Katakwi district.

Too weak to stand, Akello scoops crumbs of millet from the saucepan to feed her emaciated babies with protruding ribs. She is is nine months pregnant but the situation facing her family has forced her out of maternity leave to find food and survive the biting hunger.

She does manual work in other people's farms everyday, from eight o'clock in the morning to three in the evening, to earn a paltry sh1000. She survived the ravaging famine of 1994 that claimed the lives of 200 people in Teso region, including her first husband. The region was emerging from three years of the Uganda Peoples Army rebellion against the government of Uganda.

While the war kept people away from their gardens, later, a five-month drought ravaged crops, drying up everything. Many resorted to wild leaves and mangoes for survival! Simultaneously, the Karimojong cattle rustlers violently raided all livestock, forcing the region's 1.2 million people into camp life and starvation. Akello says her family lost about 112 head of cattle. "My husband died of starvation after looking for food in vain. He was the first victim of hunger in our village," she says. She later re-married.

The few shillings she earns cannot sustain her family for a day and hunger is sapping her strength. The number of times she has slept on an empty stomach is countless. "There is nothing coming from either NGOs or the Government," says the frail 45-year-old mother. "That's why we dig for long hours." When it begins to rain after five months, it is feared the region will have become a graveyard!

Amuria district chairman Julius Ocen says already five people have died of hunger and 19,000 others in the district are starving. He identified the dead as Moses Asubu of Alito in Obalanga sub-county, Grace Imalingat, Francis Oryokoto, Takan and Opailum, all of Kapelebyong. Katakwi district agriculture officer James Epilo says there are also 55,000 people there starving, feeding on leaves, ash, cow dung and termites! At a village meeting in Akoro, a frail 80-year-old Immaculate Akiror hadn't eaten for five days and her stick-thin and pale body suggested uncomfortable evidence that the community is about to succumb to hunger-related diseases. Katakwi district health officer Simon Omeke says starvation is also causing anaemia, with baffling symptoms of severe wasting as well as swelling of limbs.

"Katakwi Health Centre 4 receives 100 cases of severe malnutrition of young children every two weeks. We are carrying out a malnutrition study and soon the results will be released," Omeke said.

Palapiano Kawunda, a 71-year-old widower says he hadn't eaten for four days and had to eat cow dung. He has swollen legs and the rest of his body is weak. He is suffering from severe diarrhoea. "I had taken a week without eating. Fearing death, I crawled towards a cow and ate cow dung," Kawunda says. Read the rest of the article here

May 10, 2009

Immediate Prayer Needed

Joseph (our country director for HopeChest Uganda)'s just said: "After church, I went to Adacar to take food but I almost got killed there while trying to defend the orphans food that I had taken there. I found a huge mob complaining that everybody is hungry but why are we giving only orphans food? just returned from there at 9.20 pm." Please pray for the hunger crisis facing the Katakwi district of Uganda.

3:05 pm more info - Bob Mudd, our COO, just got off the phone with Joseph. He's fine, just a bit shaken up, his shirt is torn and he has some bumps and bruises. He had the food in the back of a pick up truck. Several people from the community saw this and rounded up their friends. These people are VERY desperate and many of them are already starving to death. They surrounded Joseph and the truck yelling at him because they were angry that they were not getting food too. Things got completely out of hand and they attacked him. The widows rushed to Joseph's side and broke up the mob, saving him from being severely hurt or killed. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. We're committed to working in this area and helping the orphans, widows and people of Adacar.