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11 posts from March 2010

March 29, 2010

Win Free Tickets to Steve Curtis Chapman Concert.

Today I'm pleased to welcome back my friend Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) who is guest blogging today. On April 29-30, 2010, CAFO will hold Summit VI, the premier gathering of orphan care advocates and organizations. If you have not registered to attend, you can still do that. When you register, you'll have the chance to win 2 FREE front row seats to Steven Curtis Chapman's concert on April 29 at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN. This is an exclusive offer for my blog readers, but you must register for Summit VI in order to be eligible to get the tickets. After you read Jedd's article, I'll explain what you need to do to enter the contest...


Can you think of moments when your heart has been stabbed by the plight of an orphan?  A short-term mission trip?  A story on CNN?   Something written by Tom Davis?  I’d say “yes” to all three.

In such moments, I experience deep ache, sorrow…as well as gratitude that God has finally pierced my often-calloused heart enough to get me to feel at least a small bit of what so many children live with every day.

But there’s a danger in such moments. 

As C.S. Lewis observes in The Screwtape Letters, "The more often [one] feels without acting, the less he will ever be able to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel."  The truth is, to feel without acting may be worse than never feeling at all.

That’s not to say that every tear we shed for human sorrow needs to be followed by some grand new undertaking.  That’d likely lead to many foolhardy deeds, and, ultimately, to exhaustion.  But it does mean that when our hearts are stirred, we need to be particularly open to God’s invitations to act upon conviction.

For those who’ve been stirred by the plight of the orphan, one such invitation might just be Summit VI.   The national conference host by the Christian Alliance for Orphans and its 60+ member organizations promises to be the biggest and best opportunity of the year to learn how to act upon conviction for orphans.

At Summit, your passions will likely be roused further by speakers like John Piper, Mary Beth Chapman, Tom Davis and Al Mohler….by compelling voices from the global church, from Africa to Central America…and by music by artists like Steven Curtis Chapman and The Desperation Band. 

But just as vital, more than fifty workshops (and many new friends) will give you the practical know-how you need to take next steps—from starting an orphan ministry in your church, to supporting adoptive families facing difficult emotional issues, to engaging your local foster system.

If God has stirred your heart with the plight of orphans, now is the time to act.  Whether you plan to join us at Summit, or take some other step you’ve felt God nudging you to take, don’t let this moment pass.  

- Jedd Medefind, President, Christian Alliance for Orphans

Okay readers, who would like some free tickets to see Steve Curtis Chapman at Summit VI? Here's all you need to do:

STEP 1: Register for Summit VI. This contest is only open to registered participants. 

STEP 2: Leave a comment on this blog post, and briefly describe how you have (or would like to) dangerously love and care for orphans.

Bonus, the runner-up wins coffee with me and my team at Summit VI!

March 26, 2010

Join me at SUMMIT VI

Register TODAY for the Christian Alliance For Orphans Summit VI. HopeChest is giving away 2 FRONT ROW tickets to Steven Curtis Chapman's Summit VI Concert NEXT WEEK. Only those registered can win! More information next week at

March 22, 2010

Get your "Man Up" Orphans T-Shirt Today!

My friend Kari Gibson is back at it. Last month, she sold 800 shirts to buy shirts and shoes for children in Ethiopia. Now, she's selling shirts for one very special Ethiopian child: the one she and her family are preparing to adopt.

My favorite is the "Man Up" T in the picture below. We need more men to protect and love the fatherless. I just think this shirt is awesome, and I'm putting in my order this week. Get yours before April 4. Click the photo to go to Kari's store.


March 18, 2010

If You Guessed "Priceless" You're in the Book!

My next novel, Priceless, comes out in about two months. I can't wait for you to read it! 

In this post you all had the opportunity to help me name this novel. The deal was if the title you suggested won, your name would appear in the thank you section. Thanks to everyone who participated. Priceless was the winner, so if that was your pick, please leave a comment or else email me: [email protected] to make sure we get your name in the book. 

In the weeks to come I'll be releasing the prologue and first chapter, a contest to get a copy of the book before it hits the stores, and information about the campaign running in conjunction with the release to stop sex-trafficking. You can pre-order a copy of the book at a 33% discount by clicking here.



March 15, 2010

Want to Know What I Do Late at Night?

Late Night Dev Edits from Tom Davis on Vimeo.

March 12, 2010

Love Mercy

Award winning author Lisa Samson has a new book out called Love Mercy: A Mother and Daughter's Journey from the American Dream to the Kingdom of God - and you have to read it! Lisa and her daughter, Ty, came with me on a trip to Swaziland, Africa two years ago. This book is about their experience together and how God changed their lives forever. 

Lisa continues to help change the lives of the people in Swaziland, she's even help raise the funds to build a brand new school for a village of impoverished orphans in the southern part of the country. Because of her generous spirit, Lisa has donated all of the profits from this book to Children's HopeChest. Get this book, go on a journey to Africa with Lisa and Ty, and see how God uses it to change you.

March 09, 2010

Going to the World Cup? So are 40,000 Prostitutes

I will be taking my boys, along with 20 others, to the World Cup this June. Yes, we will participate in the fanfare, but are also seeing some great ministry sites. This report is disturbing to me for a number of reasons. The most alarming is the South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection in the entire world. I just don't get it. 

40,000 prostitutes bound for South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, officials warn

Saturday, March 6th 2010, 4:32 PM

As the city prepares for the 2010 World Cup, officials are warning about an influx of sew workers.

AP/Aman Sharma

As the city prepares for the 2010 World Cup, officials are warning about an influx of sew workers.

Officials are warning that tens of thousands of sex workers could enter South Africa during this year’s World Cup, and that children are at risk of being targeted by the sex trade.

World Cup organizers say up to 40,000 prostitutes were recruited for this year’s event, which takes place in a country where 16 percent of the population is believed to be living with HIV.

Officials also raised the possibility that local children would be recruited into the prostitution business partly due to the fact that World Cup takes place during a four week national school holiday.

The concerns were raised at a meeting of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Davis Bayever, South Africa’s deputy chair of the country’s Central Drug Authority, said his government feared the large influx of sex workers and pledged an attempt to stem the tide.

"It's horrific and very concerning," Bayever said. "Money talks, and if you're a sex worker then there is going to be money in South Africa in 2010."

Bayever said that passport checks, screening, and profiling will take place at the borders to try and prevent illegal arrivals. He believes the women will be traveling from all over the world, especially Eastern Europe.

Especially troubling was the prospect that impoverished children would be lured into sex work by the country’s sordid drug and prostitution underworld.

"There is no doubt that they will be targeted to become prostitutes," Bayever said. "Children from poor rural families will be given a carrot by criminals who tell them they will have a job if they come to the big city."

Around 450,000 fans are expected to travel to South Africa to attend this year’s World Cup.

Read more:

March 08, 2010

80 Reported Kids Raped in Swaziland Since January

This just kills me. This means there are a lot more cases unreported. Please, please pray with us and send this to your friends to pray too. There's still so much work to do in Swaziland. This comes from our Country Director's blog - Jumbo and Kriek.

We have seen great progress in Ministry here in Swaziland, but when you read articles like this in the Observer this morning you know we still have ways to go to protect the children of Swaziland from all the predators roaming around. We are moving into the Marula season and alcohol abuse will be much higher the next 2 months.

Please join with us in a special prayer today for the protection and healing of the most precious in the eyes of our Father. Here is the article in the Swazi Observer of March 8, 2010

"ABOUT 80 children have been raped in Swaziland in the last two months, police have said. Statistics released by late last week indicate that from January to the end of February, at least 121 rape incidents were reported in the country, and more than two-thirds of these involved children. 
Such alarming figures have fuelled the call for urgent passing of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Bill into law. 

Police Director of Domestic Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Senior Superintendent Leckinah Magagula has raised an alarm, especially to women and children - who are major targets of abuse. Senior Superintendent Magagula encouraged parents to keep a ‘hawk-eye' on their children, particularly during the current marula season. The seasonal marula brew and alcohol abuse had been cited as the leading cause for most rape cases in the country. Magagula said a number of children were raped on the way home after school and some at their respective homes.

Police have warned that most children were raped by people well known to them. The statistics show that they are in danger from their siblings, parents, uncles, neighbors and helpers. The unprecedented increase in rape cases has fuelled police to call upon parliament to urgently pass the Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Bill to Law. Senior Superintendent Magagula observed that the country was using outdated laws with light penalties against the perpetrators. She prayed that parliament would apply the same urgency it show when passing the Human Trafficking Law. The country is stuck with pre-colonial laws such as the Crimes Act of 1889 and the Girls and Women's Protection Act of 1920. In essence, such laws cripple the efficiency of the judicial system and do not effectively address the evolving trends of abuse. "It is high time perpetrators are given harsher sentences," she said. 

The Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill have been tabled in both Houses of Parliament and this legislation seeks to address some major gaps which appear in the current laws dealing with sexual offences and domestic violence. For instance, it has broadened the definition of rape to cover not only unlawful sexual intercourse with another but also unlawful sexual acts committed under certain circumstances, including any coercive manner, under false pretence or by fraudulent means, under duress, fear of violence or psychological oppression."

March 05, 2010

Thin Places: A Memoir

I'm going to start using Fridays as days to introduce you to life-changing books you MUST read by some of the most amazing people on the planet. Not every Friday, but I'll do my best.

Mary DeMuth is going to kick us off with her new non-fiction release, Thin Places: A Memoir. I had the privilege to endorse this book and one of the things I said is about it is, "I'm not the same after reading this book." Mary writes about hard issues of abuse she experienced in her childhood. It's not something many people want to deal with. But not only has she dealt with it, she's used her story to bring healing into the lives of others. I sat down with her to ask a few questions about her life and why she wrote the Thin Places. You can click here to jump right in and read the first chapter.

What trials did you face as a child? Thin Places

Childhood sexual abuse at five, Parents with addictions, Feelings of being unwanted, An unsafe home, neglect, death of a parent, lonliness, suicidal thoughts and three divorces. 

It's hard to write all that out and not feel bad for little me. But even in the recounting, I’ve been able to see the thin places in my life, those snatches of moments where God came near. That’s the message and hope of Thin Places, being able to see the nearness of God amidst heartache.

What compelled you to write Thin Places?
I felt sufficiently healed from my past, which had been a long, long journey. And in that healing, I knew I had the perspective I needed to be able to communicate my story with hope. In the past, I’d vomit my story of sexual abuse and neglect on any poor soul who’d listen, not with the intention to help her grow through her story, but to gain empathy.

But now I marvel at the path God’s brought me on, how gently He’s led me to this place of wholeness. From that abundance, I share my story. Why? Because I believe sharing the truth about our stories helps others see their own stories.

While I recorded the audio book for Thin Places, the producer asked me why I’d splay my life out this way.

“Because I don’t want folks to feel alone,” I told him.

“You’ve given a gift,” he said. I sure hope so.

In this memoir you give readers a candid glimpse into your upbringing. Was it hard to share particular parts of your story?
In some ways, it was easy. I’ve shared my story over a decade now. What was hard was giving myself permission to say it all, to not hold back, to explore the emotions I experienced during the rapes, the drug parties, the feelings of loneliness.

Oddly, though, it was harder for me to share what I’m dealing with now as a result of my upbringing than the actual initial trauma. It’s hard to admit that I’m still so needy, so insecure. After reading the book aloud, I saw I still had areas of growth, particularly in being so hard on myself.

What do you hope readers gain from reading your memoir?
I hope they see hope.

I hope they realize how profound and surprising and radical God’s redemption is.

I hope they’ll see the irresistibility of Jesus.

Some folks wait until grandparents and parents are deceased until they write a memoir, but you wrote yours with some still alive. Was that difficult?

Extremely. In many ways, agonizing. You can be assured that I prayed through every word. I’m thankful for my critique group who walked me through the writing and my stellar editor who helped shape the manuscript into a redemptive story. My goal was not to impugn or point the finger at what went wrong way back when, but to shout about God’s ability to transform a needy, incomplete girl.

It’s never easy to tell the truth, and I know my words may hurt some. But, thankfully, I’ve sought God’s heart in this and I can rest peacefully in knowing that.

Anne Lamott says, “Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive.”

Thin Places is my answer to her quote.

But why go there? Why examine the past? Hasn’t the old passed away?
Yes, of course we must move forward. We must move beyond our pasts. But in order to do that, we must mourn the reality of what happened, not bury it under a rug. I love what Sam says in The Two Towers movie about the importance of telling our stories, no matter how dark: “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad has happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you.”

It’s my sincere hope that my story will stay with readers, not because of its sordidness, but because the Light of Jesus has shined so brightly upon it.

What fears have you battled as this book released?
Because this is such a personal book, I’ve worried about negative reviews. In some ways that’s good because it will force me to find my security and love from the One who made me, rather than the opinions of others. I’ve received some great endorsements, but also some harsh reviews. And those are the ones that knife me! Because the book’s about me!

I worry that I’ll be misunderstood. Or that telling the truth will hurt others. I’ve made a point to disguise nearly everyone and everything in the book, but of course the potential for hurt feelings is high.

I fear opposition by the father of lies. Since this is a truth-filled book, displaying authentic struggle, I have a feeling he won’t like it. I’m thankful for a specific, targeted prayer team around me to pray for protection regarding the release of this book. It’s humbling, actually, to see how God brought those pray-ers together.


How does your past affect your relationship with God?

Primarily, I have a hard time internalizing and believing that I am wildly loved by God. But I’ve learned that He has deep affection for me and I don’t have to measure up to some invisible standard to earn his affection. My past has obviously influenced that. 

Where was God in your abuse?

It’s such a difficult question, and I don’t want to gloss over it. I’ve had to rest in his sovereignty. He was there. I know He was weeping over me when it happened. But he loved humanity enough to give them free will. And then, he knew I would be a healing part of other people’s life. He saw how it would lay out. I didn’t know. 

Because of what happened in your past, how do you view evil in the world?

I am more attuned to evil. I’m really aware of the demonic schemes that happen to me and other people. It’s helped me not to be naive and have empathy on people because the battle isn’t against people but against principalities and powers. It’s also helped me to see perpetrators in a way that I can forgive them. They opened the door to evil when they did that. There was an evil force at play. If someone makes bad choices it opens the door to that. It makes me long heaven.

What would you say to people who come from abusive backgrounds about trusting God? What if they can’t? What if they believe He allowed this to happen to them?

In Hebrews 12 it says, “For the joy set before him Jesus endured the cross.” Even Jesus had to walk through the most awful horrific pain to accomplish God’s purpose on earth. He did it for the joy set before him. As a follower of Christ, I’m not guaranteed bad things aren’t going to happen. They will. But my hope is in the joy that's to come.

Think about it this way, what if your life could make a huge difference in the world? People get so locked in to their pain they can’t see anything outside of it. What if Jesus wanted to heal them to be a healing agent in the world? There are so many lives they could change. God’s shoulders are big enough to hold every rage your can throw at him. He already knows you’re disappointed, and upset, let him know. After that Peace comes. 

March 04, 2010

Ethiopian Donations Stolen by Rebels

This is sad:
"Fresh controversy over aid to Ethiopia erupted today after an investigation concluded that millions intended for victims of the 1984 famine was diverted to anti-government rebel leaders – including the current Ethiopian Prime Minister.
The allegations, made by former rebel compatriots of Meles Zenawi, are the first to detail how millions raised by Bob Geldof’s Live Aid were siphoned off to arm the rebels against the army of Mengistu Haile Mariam.
Although millions of people were saved by the Western aid that poured into Ethiopia after Live Aid, the evidence from the BBC investigation suggests that not all of it went to the most needy.

With much of Ethiopia in rebel hands, aid agencies had to bring in food and funds for those areas from Sudan, accompanied by rebel fighters.
Aregawi Berhe, the former military commander of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), claimed that of the $100 million that went through the rebels’ hands, 95 per cent was diverted to buy weapons or recruit Ethiopians to their cause. He said the rebels put on a "drama" to get their hands on the relief money. "The aid workers were fooled," he said.
Another former associate of Mr Meles described how rebel commanders posed as merchants in meetings with Western charity workers to get access to the aid money.

One aid worker, Max Peberdy, said he had carried nearly $500,000 in Ethiopian currency across the border to give to the rebel’s own relief organisation, Rest, for the purchase of grain to take place under his supervision.

Twenty-five years later, he maintains that the money could not have been diverted, insisting there was a separation of power between the rebels’ military wing and its relief efforts.

But Gebremedhin Araya, a former senior rebel leader, told the BBC that he had tricked the money out of Mr Peberdy by posing as a merchant and handing over bags of sand instead of grain to the rebel relief officials.

"I was given clothes to make me look like a Muslim merchant,” he said. “This was a trick for the NGOs." He said that the money he received was handed over to TPLF leaders, including Mr Meles.

The findings are backed by CIA reports which alleged that rebel groups were using their own relief organisations as a front to divert money to their military wings.

“Some funds that insurgent organisations are raising for relief operations, as a result of increased world publicity, are almost certainly being diverted for military purposes,” a confidential CIA report concluded in 1985.

Organisations such as Charity Navigator and the makers of the 2000 documentary The Hunger Business had previously claimed that Mr Mengistu’s armouries were equipped by diverted Western aid.

Mr Meles became Ethiopia’s President, and later Prime Minister, in 1991 following Mengistu’s defeat by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, an umbrella front that included the TPLF.

Mr Meles remains a controversial recipient of Western aid today, praised for his success in lifting rural Ethiopians out of poverty but disliked for his perceived interference on where aid goes and questionable human rights practices, including the withholding of foreign food aid in the separatist Ogaden region.

Mr Meles's office declined to comment on the allegations. The two men interviewed by the BBC fell out with the leadership years ago and have fled the country.

Mr Peberdy still believes that none of the aid was diverted. "It's 25 years since this happened and it's the first time anybody has claimed such a thing."