Saturday, May 5, 2012

If We Are The Body

Over the past three years, Living Hope has seen a significant reduction in funding from the U.S. government. Rather than lament this turn of events, Pastor John Thomas, chairman of Living Hope, has chosen to see it as an opportunity. After all, the Bible calls on the Church – not the government – to care for the poor and needy.

With health care funding from the U.S. scheduled to be cut this fall, the opportunity for the Church to step up is even greater. With that in mind, Living Hope held a fundraising concert at Nashville’s Brentwood Baptist Church on April 26, headlined by Michael W. Smith (pictured with yours truly). It was a fantastic night that netted more than $100,000 in donations.

But more is needed to ensure continuation of Living Hope’s work with people living with HIV. One way you can help support this work is by shopping the newly opened Living Hope Online Store.

The new Masi Choir CD features stunning a capella vocal performances by Xhosa-speaking South Africans, as well as appearances by Smith, who wrote a song especially for Masiphumelele Township; Jars of Clay’s Dan Haseltine, who sings the South African National Anthem; and Casting Crowns’ Mark Hall, who re-recorded his group’s hit “If We Are the Body” with backing vocals by the Choir.

There’s also Faces of Hope, the book about Living Hope’s work that began more than two years ago. To see this project progress from a mere idea to a finished product has been an absolute thrill – and a powerful reminder of God’s faithfulness and provision.

All proceeds from the sale of these products benefit Living Hope. You can also support Living Hope by making a contribution, either one-time or on an ongoing basis. I hope you’ll consider giving – it’s certainly for a worthwhile cause.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Living Hope Happenings

Things are finally hopping with regard to the Faces of Hope release, as well as several other Living Hope initiatives. Click here to view a trailer for a new documentary on Living Hope, and read on below for excerpts from a letter that Chairman John Thomas sent to supporters this week. At some point I expect the book will be available to order online, but if you would like me to bring you one from the event detailed below, email me at for details. Now here’s John’s letter:

We have some great news! We finally have scheduled the next Living Hope Partners Conference: Wednesday, April 25 and Thursday, April 26 at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee. In addition to the conference, Michael W. Smith and Tommy Walker, two of the USA’s great worship leaders, will lead an evening of worship on April 26. Michael will speak about Living Hope and encourage attendees to get involved. There also will be special video messages from Casting Crowns and Jars of Clay, and will release our first-ever Living Hope/Masiphumelele Choir CD, which has been wonderfully produced for us by Brentwood Baptist Church. It includes never-before heard tracks by Michael W Smith, Jars of Clay and Casting Crowns. The latter’s well-known "If We Are The Body" has been remixed with backing vocals by the Masi Choir. And a wonderful coffee table book called Faces of Hope will be released. It has been authored by Al Allnoch, a former Living Hope volunteer who is a writer by profession. The book is filled with stories of people whose lives have been touched by Living Hope.

The Partners Conference will feature updates on what the Lord is doing in Cape Town and further afield through Living Hope Ministries. It is planning together with you as to how best reach the areas in which God has placed us. For those leading teams to Living Hope in the coming year, this is a valuable time of understanding the role your team can play. If you have never been to Living Hope, then this is a great opportunity for you to learn more about the ministry.

We also want to update you in detail on our DAD program and the position of our Life Skills workers. We will also be sharing with you about another massive funding cut we are going to be experiencing  at the end of September. The U.S. Administration in Washington has decided to cut the budget to South Africa and this is going to hurt our Health Care Center (Living Care) very badly. We are going to need about $32,000 per month to replace this in order to keep the Health Care Center open.
Here are the details of the Partners Conference:

Wednesday, April 25
5 pm-9 pm: Dinner and Ministry Update

Thursday, April 26
8.30 am-5 pm: Partners Conference (Ministry updates, discussion, breakout sessions; lunch, teas and snacks included, followed by dinner)
7 pm-9 pm: Living Hope Worship Evening/Benefit with Michael W. Smith and Tommy Walker

I am going to do everything possible to try and make it possible for you to personally greet Michael W Smith as one of our valued partners.

Cost:  $100 per person. Includes all meals, Faces of Hope book and Living Hope/ Masi Choir CD (book and CD cost = $35)

To register, please contact Dora Pop at
May the Lord richly bless you.  I trust you will do all you can to plan to be with us.  It will be a phenomenal time.

John V. Thomas
Chairperson: Living Hope Trust  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bringing Hope, Breaking Despair

Cape Town, South Africa is one of the most beautiful cities in the world – especially in a panoramic image such as this one. Up close, however, the picture isn’t always so pretty. Poverty, crime, disease and a general sense of hopelessness permeate certain segments of this windswept peninsula at the southwestern tip of Africa. It’s in this environment that Living Hope pursues its mission of “bringing hope, breaking despair.”

After many months and numerous delays, Faces of Hope, a book about the work and people of Living Hope, is now in production. Here’s what Richard Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., and author of The Hole in Our Gospel, has to say about it:

In Faces of Hope we meet just a few of the thousands of people whose lives have been touched and changed by one pastor and his congregation on who chose not to walk by “the beggar laid at their gate” but stopped, instead, to minister Christ’s love to him. Living Hope is showing people the love of Christ and bringing the Good News to the poor. But this is not a story about just one church – it’s a story about any local church that earnestly desires to be God’s agent of change. This could be the story of your church.
Stay tuned – I’ll share more details soon on the official release, along with how you can order copies.