After a decade of leading college mission trips, pastor and author Palmer Chinchen noticed a distinct difference in the lives of those who went after they returned to the States. Now he’s gathered his experience and penned his first book, True Religion, a book best described by the subtitle: “Taking Pieces of Heaven to Places of Hell on Earth.” “I was a college pastor at Wheaton College and at Southern California near Biola, so for about 10 years I led students once or twice a year on service and ministry trips to places like Cuba or Malawi, East Africa,” says Chinchen. “I started to see very clearly that for the students that went, their lives were almost always radically changed when they came back. They would come back and change their majors. They would come back and switch schools or quit a job. “I never intended for something like that to happen, but it hit me that something very transformational was happening,” he continues. “Maybe God is teaching us something when we live a certain way that we can only learn when we leave places that are comfortable and go to places that are hell on earth. So that’s why I write about a transformation that can only happen when we live that way.” Chinchen explains his initial bias was to believe these lessons were only for young adults. In fact, it wasn’t until he began teaching and leading the same trips for a new church plant in Arizona that he found the same thing happening in the lives of other age groups. “At first I thought it was good for college students and that they get it and they don’t have any lifelong commitments yet,” he explains. “Educators call those years the formative years because so much happens during that time. But then when I came to lead a church plant in Arizona, I saw the same thing happening in your 30-year-old or couple with kids where God grabs their heart in new ways. It really is transformational in anyone. It’s not just a college or young adult phenomenon. It’s a transformation that happens when we stop caring about our own needs and wants and turn our hearts toward a broken world.” Chinchen is currently on the Hungry for Love Tour, a nationwide tour sponsored by Food for the Hungry and featuring Leeland, The Afters and Sanctus Real. It’s a tour developed to open the eyes of those with resources toward those who often go without. “I love what Food for the Hungry does and all three bands have some amazing songs that talk about injustice,” says Chinchen. “The tour is to promote compassion and to speak out against injustice and be a voice for those oppressed in places like Haiti or Malawi. I love the passions of these bands so it’s a privilege for me to share the stage with them and speak for those who have no voice.” — Matt Conner For more information on the Hungry for Love Tour, check out hungryforlovetour.com. You can also find out more about Palmer Chinchen at palmerchinchen.com. 64 CCM