Monday, March 23, 2015

Go Into All The World: Seven Months In

It's been seven months since I published my first book, called "Go Into All The World." It is all about the work of Compassion and contains stories of many of the trips I have taken to visit my sponsored kids.

Being honest, sales have been slower than I had hoped for. People close to me have patted me on the back and congratulated me on the achievement without actually buying a book. However, having given the book to God from the outset I am learning patience and trusting that He will use it to impact lives, even if I don't see it.

Having said that, 2015 has been a year of incredible God-given opportunities to share about the work of Compassion, seeing kids sponsored and lives changed. I've had blog reviews, newspaper and magazine articles, radio and TV interviews and church visits.

Eight kids were sponsored at St Paul's Lutheran Church on June 14th!
At Wyndham Community Church. Four kids were sponsored from a church of 16 people!
Meeting Silas Mwangi, a former sponsored child from Kenya!

My updated Compassion family: 16 sponsored kids, plus five correspondent children (they have a financial sponsor; I just write)

To purchase the book:
http://www.arkhousepress.com/shop/go-into-all-the-world.html

http://www.koorong.com/search/product/go-into-all-the-world-david-chalmers/9780992572600.jhtml


http://www.word.com.au/Go-Into-All-The-World/David-Chalmers/9780992572600


Non-Australian friends:
https://www.createspace.com/5215742

http://www.amazon.com/Into-All-World-Compassion-International/dp/0992572606/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425220157&sr=8-1&keywords=david+chalmers+go+into+all+the+world


Here are some blog reviews of "Go Into All The World"
http://mamaof2greatkids.blogspot.ca/2015/01/come-meet-this-man-with-50-kids.html

http://forshamim.blogspot.com/2015/01/go-into-all-world.html

https://childrencount.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/living-generously-go-into-all-the-world-book-review/

http://www.compassionfamily.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/go-into-all-world-by-david-chalmers.html

http://www.crystalkupper.net/the-man-with-50-kids-a-review/

http://givinggratefully.com/2015/01/07/go-into-all-the-world-book-review/


http://thisomerofmanna.blogspot.com/2015/03/go-into-all-world-review.html

http://connectedinwriting.blogspot.de/2015/03/go-into-all-world-book-review.html


http://desertviolet.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/sponsorship-saturday-go-into-all-world.html

http://compassionbev.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/go-into-all-world-i-was-given.html

Here is a link to recent interview with Sight Magazine, a Christian publication in Australia:

http://www.sightmagazine.com.au/stories/conversations/chalmers17.3.15.php

Here are a couple of other blogs in which I feature:
http://davemiers.com/the-man-with-50-kids-david-chalmers/
http://www.bloggingfromtheboonies.com/2012/07/joy-beauty-and-hope-guest-post.html

In February 2015 I was blessed to have interviews for both radio and TV in Australia, promoting my book and Compassion.

On February 21st I was flown up to Sydney by Wesley Mission and interviewed for their weekly TV program "Wesley Impact TV." It was aired on Sunday May 24th at 5.30am on Channel 9 (Australia), and here's the internet version:



Four days later I recorded an interview for Vision Radio and History Makers Radio and here is the link: http://historymakersradio.com/podcast/david-chalmers

 
This is an article that appeared in the Portland Observer newspaper on Friday January 9th, 2015. Portland is a small town in southwest Victoria where I lived and worked for three years.

So far this year I have had speaking engagements at four churches and 20 kids have been sponsored!
* March 29th - Berwick Salvation Army
* April 26th - Bacchus Marsh Life Church
* May 3rd - Wyndham Vale Christian Centre
* June 14th - St Paul's Lutheran Church Box Hil

Reflections of a First-Time Author

So, I’ve written a book. And it’s quite a story too. A story of generosity and sacrifice; one man giving of himself to help children and families in poverty. I have variously been called a 'saint' and an 'angel,' and at times it was tempting to believe it.

It would have been quite easy to turn this story into a warm-fuzzy, feel-good humanitarian triumph. I could have put myself up as a poster-boy for human compassion and good deeds. I'm sure that taking that angle would have resulted in more readers, more exposure and promotion, more pats on the back and kind words. Everyone loves a good 'faith-in-humanity-restored' tale.

But I couldn’t do that. Not when I know the truth. The truth that the past eight years I’ve spent sponsoring, advocating and travelling to 12 countries with Compassion International is not about me at all. It’s all about God. The only reason I’ve devoted my life to sponsoring, advocating for and visiting these children and families is because God loves me and I want to share God’s love with them, pure and simple. No other reason makes sense to me.

I haven't always had this perspective, I'm ashamed to admit. Pride, self-righteousness and jealousy have been my companions at times along the way. I have watched on enviously as Compassion bloggers and celebrities get taken on trips and promoted and praised, while I fork out thousands of dollars to visit my sponsored kids around the world in obscurity. Deep down I longed to be recognized and noticed. "I'm doing so much more than they are..." would be my indignant, bitter attitude. We Christians have a little cliché that we like to use, that we're doing it for the "Audience of One." This certainly wasn't always the case for me.

Thankfully God has mended my attitude and perspective, and I've been able to genuinely surrender the book (and whatever opportunities arise) to Him.

So, why did I invest a four-figure amount of money in this book, even when I was living off my savings in the Philippines? What do I have to gain? I have a message to share with people which I believe is urgent and important, and I will do whatever I can to get it out there. That’s all.

I'm just an Average Joe. I’m not a paid employee or official spokesperson for Compassion. All views and opinions in the book are my own, but they are based on what I have seen, witnessed and experienced in eight years of sponsoring and visiting the developing world. I'm not doing it for any sort of bonuses or brownie points. My involvement with Compassion through sponsoring and travelling has cost me a whole lot more than I have gained, materially speaking.

This is the bottom line for me:
I want people to know that God is real and He is at work in this world through the impact the Church and Compassion are having on millions of children in 26 countries around the world.
I want people to know that they can make a tangible, eternal difference in other people’s lives by partnering with Compassion in sponsorship. I can comfortably hold myself up as an example of that truth, since through my life of generosity and sacrifice I am shining the light of Jesus’ love.

Sponsorship is not just a 'nice thing' we do, and it should never be so limited. I want people to understand that when a child is supported by Compassion and the church, and loved and encouraged by a sponsor, it results in genuine life change and transformation. Sponsored kids are growing up to become doctors, dentists, nurses, lawyers, pastors, teachers and even senators and government leaders! Changing their communities and countries, all because someone showed them the love of Jesus. It is real, and I want to show that through countless examples in this book, so other people will get involved.

I have no doubt that the blatant and pervasive “God-emphasis” that drenches every part of this story will turn some potential readers off. That’s disappointing, but it’s their loss.
I cannot compromise and claim any glory or recognition that rightfully belongs to God.
I cannot deny that which has revealed itself to be true to me (thanks to Whispering Danny for that little gem).
I cannot deny that in all my travels going deep into the brokenness, poverty, darkness and danger of the developing world, the only evidence of joy, peace and hope for the future I witnessed was within the walls of the churches where Compassion was showing children the love of Jesus. It was the only place they were being taught that they had a purpose and their lives have value. I could not pretend that had anything to do with me, even if I’d wanted to.

I still haven't pinpointed a specific target audience for the book. Obviously it's mainly aimed at Christians, but I hope that people who do not share my worldview will still pick up this book and have a read.
Maybe I’ll be an example of a Christian that they’ve never seen before and as a result they will do some seeking.
Maybe through these stories they’ll come face-to-face with a God they’ve never met before, or even meet Him for the first time.
Maybe they’ll somehow manage to ignore the God stuff altogether but be inspired to help others and live generous lives.

I believe that the stories in this book will touch hearts and minds. As far as ‘when’ and ‘how,’ I know it is out of my hands, but I rest in the fact it is in the hands of One much greater than I am, and I know He will use it. So, while I don’t have a slick, fancy PR machine over several social media platforms giving me maximum exposure, access to speaking engagements and media interviews etc., I know that by dedicating it to God, the One who it’s all about in the first place, the right people will see it, enjoy it and share it. There’s a definite peace that comes with that knowledge.

Despite experiencing a fair number of hiccups that come with being a 'nobody' working with a small independent publisher, I have enjoyed the writing process, as well as having the freedom to write what I want. I even managed to slip a couple of Homer Simpson quotes in there! I am thankful for the God-given ability to 'spin a story' using the written word and I guess the ultimate rush for a writer is when they hear from their readers "I felt like I was there!" I hope you feel that after reading 'Go Into All The World.'

I must warn you that in some ways, this book is not an easy read. The stories that I tell are all real. They are not fabricated or embellished in any way. They are often raw and confronting. They reveal the depth of brokenness, darkness and mess in this world. On the flipside, the genuine hope, change and transformation that God brings through the work of Compassion and that I've witnessed personally is just as real, and it is magnificent. I believe you will be changed in some way after reading this book, and I hope you are moved to positive action.


In the end, this eight-year journey of sponsorship, impacting lives and travels into the developing world is just one small chapter in God’s eternal epic tale, and it’s a privilege for me to be the 'supporting actor' He has chosen to headline this particular scene.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Life Devoted to Advocacy

My name is David Chalmers and I am a Global Poverty Fighter.

While that may sound grand, all it means is that I am a sponsor and advocate with child development organization Compassion International. Compassion started in 1952 and currently partners with the local church in 26 countries releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name through providing food, water, medical care, educational help, a loving sponsor to speak words of life and encouragement, and the opportunity to have a relationship with Jesus.

I am a 33-year-old teacher from Australia and I started sponsoring with Compassion at the end of 2006. God put Compassion on my heart to such an extent that since then I have financially sponsored 55 children in 26 countries, and have visited 31 of my kids in 12 countries.

Despite my inexhaustible passion for the ministry of Compassion, I must make it clear that I am not a Compassion employee or spokesperson. Just an 'Average Joe' who has seen the effectiveness of Compassion in action and I want everyone to know about it. While there is no easy answer or quick fix to the problem of poverty, joining the local church around the world in partnership with Compassion is a good start. 

The purpose of this page is not to brag or boast. I am not foolish or arrogant enough to fall for that. As a Christian I am very aware that everything I have comes from God, and He wants me to use what He has given me to help others.

I have embraced a life of simplicity, generosity and sacrifice for the sake of others and I am trying to set an example, particularly for Christians in the developed world, that we can make a difference in the lives of others rather than living a life devoted to self, ease, comfort and pleasure. That is not what God has called us to. I choose to do it through Compassion sponsorship.

One day we will all be accountable to God for the way we used what He gave us to look after, and to use for His glory. Did we use it for ourselves, or to help others?

The last eight years of sponsorship and advocacy with Compassion have been amazing. On my travels God has taken me to see and experience things that have both brought me to the depths of heartache and lifted me to the heights of joy.

This is simply my personal advocacy page, and all glory goes to God. If you choose to have a look at some of the things on this site, I hope you will be challenged, encouraged and inspired.


This is my current Compassion family, five of whom I have been to visit. From top: Sehila (16, Bolivia), Josefa (16, Guatemala), Antonio (10, Nicaragua), Larissa (6, Brazil), Danna (11, Mexico), Aljane (7, Philippines).


This is the cover of the book I have just published with Ark House Press in Australia. It is all about the work of Compassion and contains stories of many of the trips I have taken to visit my sponsored kids. It is not a warm-fuzzy feel-good read. The stories are all real and are not fabricated or embellished in any way. The stories of the home visits to people trapped in poverty are often tragic and heartbreaking, but on the flipside there is so much tangible joy and hope for the future in the work that Compassion does. I have seen it for myself and I want to share it with people.

To purchase the book:
http://www.arkhousepress.com/shop/go-into-all-the-world.html

http://www.koorong.com/search/product/go-into-all-the-world-david-chalmers/9780992572600.jhtml


http://www.word.com.au/Go-Into-All-The-World/David-Chalmers/9780992572600


Non-Australian friends:
https://www.createspace.com/5215742

http://www.amazon.com/Into-All-World-Compassion-International/dp/0992572606/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425220157&sr=8-1&keywords=david+chalmers+go+into+all+the+world


Here are some blog reviews of "Go Into All The World"
http://mamaof2greatkids.blogspot.ca/2015/01/come-meet-this-man-with-50-kids.html

http://forshamim.blogspot.com/2015/01/go-into-all-world.html

https://childrencount.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/living-generously-go-into-all-the-world-book-review/

http://www.compassionfamily.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/go-into-all-world-by-david-chalmers.html

http://www.crystalkupper.net/the-man-with-50-kids-a-review/

http://givinggratefully.com/2015/01/07/go-into-all-the-world-book-review/


http://thisomerofmanna.blogspot.com/2015/03/go-into-all-world-review.html

Here is a link to recent interview with Sight Magazine, a Christian publication in Australia:

http://www.sightmagazine.com.au/stories/conversations/chalmers17.3.15.php

Here are a couple of other blogs in which I feature:
http://davemiers.com/the-man-with-50-kids-david-chalmers/
http://www.bloggingfromtheboonies.com/2012/07/joy-beauty-and-hope-guest-post.html

In February 2015 I was blessed to have interviews for both radio and TV in Australia, promoting my book and Compassion.

On February 21st I was flown up to Sydney by Wesley Mission and interviewed for their weekly TV program "Wesley Impact TV." It will be aired on Sunday May 24th at 5.30am on Channel 9 (Australia) and on the internet a week later.

Four days later I recorded an interview for Vision Radio and History Makers Radio which will be aired in the near future.

 
This is an article that appeared in the Portland Observer newspaper on Friday January 9th, 2015. Portland is a small town in southwest Victoria where I lived and worked for three years.


This article appeared in the Portland Observer in October 2012, shortly after I returned from visiting ten of my sponsored children in Brazil.


I was humbled to have my Compassion journey feature in the September 2013 edition of the Compassion magazine.

This is my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/dccompassion
It features 140 videos, all about my Compassion travels: homes, churches, Projects, communities, singing, dancing, playing, first times at restaurants, malls, zoos and fun parks.

A couple of special videos:

This video featured during the kid's segment at Glen Waverley Anglican Church's Compassion Sunday in 2014. I was told 15 kids were sponsored after the service, and to even have played a small part in that was amazing.


In 2012, a relative of mine named Chad Loftis filmed a mini-documentary of my Compassion journey. It was released in September 2013, at the same time as the article in the Compassion magazine. I had my heart and motives questioned by people close to me, but I hope God used it for His glory.

And finally, my personal blog is: http://supernintendo81.blogspot.com.au
To read stories and see pictures of my Compassion trips, click on:
* September/October 2012
* January 2013
* April 2013
* September/October 2013
* September/October 2014