Friday, April 30, 2010

The Dentist

Yesterday was a first. It was Allie’s first trip to the dentist. Dr. Mark Mays in Palm Beach Gardens is amazing. Giant butterflies and dragonflies decorate the walls. Free video games keep kids occupied in the waiting room. He’s really thought through making a good first impression. The second impression is where I got hung up. But there’s just no easy way to tell someone that their kid is going to have to be restrained to a papoose board (pictured left). The nurse brought us into the room and there it was being carefully guarded by giant, reassuring butterflies and dragonflies.

“I was wondering how you were going to do this,” I told Dr. Mays. He appeared in a Polo shirt with perfect hair and a pleasant smile. I instantly trusted him. But Allie had her reservations. His entrance was the Charming and Beautiful Susan’s cue to leave the scene as if her chair instantly burst into flames. She’s not so much help in a medical environment when her little one is the unwilling patient.

Dr. Mays was an artist even when working on a freaked out, special needs little kid. He gently, masterfully, and thoroughly cleaned and examined Allie’s teeth in under fifteen minutes tops.

When we got Allie three years ago, she was under nourished. And we weren’t able to brush her teeth for a year. We just couldn’t get her to open her mouth. The doctor let us know that this was normal and that he really expected her teeth to be much worse than they are. But she definitely needs to have some dental work done.

Typically, dental work is done in stages through multiple visits. But because of Allie’s condition, her work will have to be done in one sedated trip to the hospital. She has to have a follow up operation from last year’s hip surgery, so we may piggy-back the dental work on the surgery since she’s all ready sedated.

When I think about it, I wanna be sedated.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Three years ago today

You think you know where life is taking you and then something happens that changes things forever. Three years ago on this date, that's what happenned to our family. Christine Scheller did a brilliant job of writing about it here.

Life can throw you a serious curve ball. We call ourselves blessed. But I can't imagine doing this life without Christ at the center of it. With Christ, things make sense and have a purpose. Without Christ, this life would seem futile. I couldn't see the point. With Christ, the impossible is just a speedbump. God has to slow you down sometimes so you can see his plan and his wisdom. It's a privilege to have a part in His Story.

How has God made you a part of His Story?

A wall in 50 days... Nehemiah (and God) did it, why not us?

My friend and mentor in all things missions is undertaking an impressive project. Jeff pastors a church in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area. His church is a multi-ethnic melting pot. Refugees from all over the 10/40 window have been resettled by the US government in his neighborhood. Missionary Pastor Jeff Jackson no longer has to go into the international mission field. The international mission field has been delivered to his doorstep.

Jeff has one of the most incredible pastor's heart I've ever observed. Not only does he want to care for the souls' of those in his city, he wants to care for their bodies. And he wants to help them help themselves as they provide for their own needs. The church property owned by his church sits on several acres that over the decades, the city has built around. So Jeff has several empty acres that he's making available as a community garden for several refugee families to work and produce food for their needs.

Jeff writes about the progress of this project on his blog. Pray about your involvement in this out-of-the-box outreach to his community.

What happens when.......

What happens when...a few answers, part 1

Public utilities...He influences them too!

Connected and ready for use

A wall in 50 days..Nehemiah (and God) did it, why not us?


Pastor Jeff's Church Planting Podcast

Monday, April 26, 2010

Aaron’s update from Jacmel

image This week has been good. We had a team come in and most of the team had never been on a mission trip before. By the end of the week I was super surprised by how effective they were. They were servants, they were flexible, and were able to roll with the punches.

Dave and Darlys were in Fort Lauderdale for three days this week so it was just me leading. I think everything went really well. The majority of what we did this week involved the Children’s Program. We got a whole bunch of new supplies including a flannel graph kit that has like a billion bible characters that needed to be cut out. We spent most of our week traveling to our program sights and to orphanages to do the Program, prepare gospel bracelets (we ran out quickly), and cutting out the bible characters. The team this week was perfect for these tasks because each one of their hearts were set on serving the children of Haiti.

Children’s Program consists of skits, puppet shows, and English lessons using PowerPoint and the projector. Due to the lack of gas in the country this week, we did program without using the generator, PowerPoint, or the projector. Everything we did we incorporated into the puppet show. We did the English lesson, songs, and gospel presentation with the puppets. Our two main puppet characters are: Pierre (who is a black man puppet with short dreadlocks) and Jackie (the intelligent K-9). Kids that have seen the show chant the names Jackie and Pierre.

We traveled up to the mountains this week to a school in Cap Wooj. The school is one small room with about two hundred kids crammed into it. We came in, set up the puppet stage. These kids have never seen a puppet show before. They all watched silently with curiosity as we set up our monstrous stage.

After we did a few children’s songs, out popped Pierre. The soon as Pierre popped out from behind the puppet stage, every last child and teacher in the room began to laugh and cheer. The noise of their cheering was so loud, that it gave me goose bumps and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The unexpected reaction of the children made me laugh really hard, I almost started crying of both laughter and joy. We are getting more and more requests from pastors to do Children’s Program at various schools, orphanages, and churches.

Towards the end of the week we did a little bit of construction. Some of the schools we visit are really in need of simple things like classroom benches, chalkboards, and school supplies. So we spent some time building children’s size benches with Dave.

The last night the team was here, we did a Jesus movie outreach outside of a church in Cayes-Jacmel. We did a gospel skit, showed the movie, and gave an opportunity for the people to give their lives to Christ. Two men came up and publicly committed their lives to Christ.

I am very satisfied with the outcome of this week.

Aaron’s missionary page

Calvary Chapel Haiti Initiative

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Brigada is a great resource for missionaries and for those who love and support missionaries. Every week they come out with an email or a blog post that plays like the greatest hits of weekly missions resources.

This week, Shepherd’s Staff Field-environment Intensive Training is featured.

Check out this video my son Aaron shot down in Haiti:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Field-environment Intensive Training Promo Video

Aaron Mondok shot this video on location in Jacmel, Haiti. Aaron and I went through Shepherd’s Staff’s training in 2003. We learned invaluable lessons about missions and culture. We used what we learned in some form or fashion every single day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Aaron’s report from the field

image This week was a good week. We had five guys here from Calvary Chapel Spring Valley. Although this has been the smallest group we’ve received since I’ve been here, we accomplished a lot.

We did a bunch of children’s programs using our new program format including a children’s English lesson with shapes and colors, and also a puppet skit that implements the gospel. The puppet skit turned out to be very popular with the kids, so Delpha and I will be putting together a new puppet skit every week as we visit our children’s program locations on a weekly basis.

We did one program up in the mountains about two hours away at a church where we previously built a tarp-roof structure. We carried some benches that we built to the church along a two-mile trail through the mountains. That day was quite an adventure. After program we walked a two-mile trail through the mountains in the pouring rain to get to our truck. Once we got to the truck, the mountain roads were too slippery to get the truck up the hills. So we walked three miles through the mountains to get to the main road where Zamor and Elise picked us up and brought us home.

I have truly been learning the importance of flexibility. With each new team that arrives, a new learning experience arrives as well as I learn to work with and alongside new teams and new personalities.

Please keep this work in prayer.

Aaron’s missionary page

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Joshua Project app for the iPhone

Now this is slick. Joshua Project highlights the ethnic people groups of the world with the least followers of Jesus Christ. Their website is vast and the information available well researched and helpful for the global minded Christian. They have free tools and widgets available throughout for ministries and bloggers to add to their sites.

Now they’ve developed an app for the iPhone. You can’t get through the iPhone app store, you have to go directly to Joshua Project’s mobile website with your iPhone and add the icon to your home screen.

Check out this helpful video.

via: Brigada

Mobify Me

myiphone Ever since the Charming and Beautiful Susan bought me an iPhone for Christmas, life has been different. This is the coolest gadget I’ve ever had. I hate to admit that a chunk of plastic changed my life, but it has. If you have one, you know this is true.

I love the access to the Internet it provides. I think it’s cool to pinch and flick your way across it’s small screen to browse the web. But the pages I like best are the ones formatted for mobile platforms. Therefore, I have been on a tireless search for a tool that would help me create a format for the sites I manage to be viewed on the iPhone. My missions blog is in Wordpress and a few plugins are available. I use WPTouch for the Wordpress sites I manage (1., 2., 3.). But what if my site doesn’t utilize Wordpress? I’m stuck.

Or am I? Enter Mobify. With Mobify, you can make any website or blog mobile AND make automatically viewable on mobile devices. It’s not painless; there’s a small learning curve. And there’s much more flexibility than with out of the box plugins. And you don’t have to go back to college (or if you’re like me, go to college), to make this work. Especially for a one page blog like this one hosted on Simply mouse over the blocks you want, choose them, and create your mobile site. If you’ve been operating a blog for some time, you should be able to do this in a snap. If you run into a snag, tutorials and videos are available on the community section of Mobify’s site.

Now go, be geeky and hip.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Susan’s Healthy Journey

The Charming and Beautiful Susan gave her blog a facelift over the weekend. Susan is a certified nutritionist. Healthy living produces results and she’s living proof.

A few years ago we served as missionaries in Sudan. While I worked at a Bible school, she would traipse all over the bush to different villages in 103 degree heat and teach women’s Bible studies. Often the village elders would attend to glean from her insights as she taught the ladies. Sadly, she had to quit going to the villages because the walk caused tremendous pain. Her joints were inflamed and muscles hurt continuously. When we came back to the States, things only got worse and she was diagnosed with Lupus. For six months she could hardly get out of bed. Doctors tried to regulate her symptoms with medication. The meds would provide some temporary relief of some symptoms, but their side effects caused other difficulties. Susan found that getting off the medication caused her less discomfort than taking it did.

Susan got radical. She started to research her sickness and look for alternative treatments. She turned her diet upside down and that brought some relief. She informed her doctor and he was on board with anything that worked that wasn’t illegal, immoral or fattening. The longer she stuck to it, the better she felt.

Nutrition and healthy living became her passion. So much so that she took a course in nutrition and was certified. From time to time she even teaches a few classes and is constantly consulting with friends and family on the subject.

A couple of years ago when we were living in Northern California, Susan had a physical. Her new physician was going over the results of blood work and Susan asked him if there was any improvement over results from a few years back when she was diagnosed with Lupus. The doctor told her that if she hadn’t told him about Lupus, he never would have known. She has a clean bill of health.

I’m amazed by that. I’ve tried to be her biggest supporter, but sometimes I gave her a hard time. But the proof is in the pudding. And when I’ve turned my diet choices over to her, I lose weight and keep it off.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Book review in the Good News

My review of John and Staci Eldredge's book "Love and War" is in this month's issue of the Good News. Check it out here.

Ransomed Heart Website

- Posted using BlogPress

Friday, April 09, 2010

Update from Jacmel


This is Aaron’s second update from Jacmel Haiti. He’s doing great. I couldn’t be more proud of him.

It has been a good week having no team here. There has been a good balance of work and rest. I caught up on a little bit of sleep, but also got some time to sit down and think about the schedule and think about some ways to improve the Children's Program.

Monday, I sat and met with Pastor Ginais. We met for about an hour and we discussed the goals and purpose of the Children's Program we do in his community every week. He shared with me about his vision to help his community. Him and I established a partnership to reach out to the kids in his community. Also, on Tuesday nights we plan on attending his church each week. It's a small shack-like church structure, they cram like sixty people into it, and they do some intense Haitian worship. The last team that went really loved the cultural experience.

Tuesday, I met with Pastor Joseph just to chat. We do Children's Program with him every Tuesday. His situation is heart breaking. He runs that school of a hundred kids, about twenty of the kids sleep there and he takes care of them. None of the teachers at his school are being paid right now, he feeds about a hundred kids daily on whatever food God provides, and they have very few resources for teaching and no source of income. The needs are overwhelming, but Pastor Joseph is unshaken by the situation. He trusts God to provide, because he has no real other choice. His attitude is inspiring.

Tuesday night I preached at Pastor Ginais Church again. I taught on Job chapter one.

Thursday, I got a lot done. I typed out a schedule for the next two weeks, put a format in place for Children's Program, put together an English lesson PowerPoint show, and wrote a puppet skit that includes the gospel. Earlier in the day I met with a man named Jacques Africot. He runs a secular after school program that he wants us to come and visit and do our Children's Program there. I think it would be a great place to go and share the gospel with their kids. I will check it out later on in the week to see what their after-school program is like.

Today, I met with Delpha and Nerlande to practice the puppet skit. I had them rewrite my script in Creole and then they performed it for me. We had a lot of fun doing that. Also, Delpha and I sat down today and we listen to the Creole Puppet skits that Calvary Chapel sent me; Delpha translated it for me so that we can plan on using the skit in the future.

Tomorrow Dave and I will be building the Puppet stage.

The Children's Program is slowly evolving; this week has been good for putting a plan in place. I look forward to seeing how it all works out with the kids.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Ravi Zacharias discusses addiction to porn

Luke Gilkerson on the Covenant Eyes blog posted these videos from Ravi Zacharias.


Good stuff. Watch and apply.

Thanks, Luke.

via: Breaking Free

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The power of Facebook

These came in the mail today from an old Marine buddy. I lost my dog tags in 1984 when I was stationed in Tennessee and I guess never thought about it. A couple of weeks ago I received a friend request from Tom. He says he knew me in the USMC and had my dog tags. How crazy is that? He also had this poloroid of me. It's rare to see me with hair. Enjoy it.

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Update from Jacmel Haiti

Here’s a very thorough update from my son Aaron. He is serving with the Calvary Chapel Haiti Initiative.

I will give you an overview of the first few weeks here so far. The first week was a bit rough, but quite an adventure. Between balancing the team’s schedule, making contacts with local pastors and organizations, and figuring out all the “how-tos” of the house, it was not easy to establish myself here, but I loved every minute of it.

The Second week was a bit easier, Dave’s arrival here was a breath of fresh air. With Dave here the workload was cut in half, giving me more time to focus on the ministry aspect of all Calvary Chapel is doing here. I was able to put a better schedule in place and make more connections with pastors on a personal level.

The Third week was the best. Dave and I were able to connect more with Cody and Maria. Cody and Maria have been a huge blessing in connecting us with ministry opportunities. The third team had huge servant hearts. It was cool to see how God gave each team only the amount of work they could handle. For this team, God gave them a lot, and they did all of it with a smile on their faces. We were also blessed with two new translators: Delpha and Nerlande. They are my two new best friends. Spending time with them has helped my Creole significantly. Nerlande says that she will not talk to me unless I speak to her in Creole. Delpha has been my key guy in helping translate for VBS. Nerlande has been awesome in helping us get food in the market and helping the women from the team communicate with the women and girls we meet at VBS and Work locations.

After team three, I have been able to put a weekly schedule together, of course everything is subject to change, but I have a schedule in place with pastors at VBS locations and with the orphanage visits. Things have really come together upon the arrival of team four. The VBS program is coming together nicely. I am thinking about calling it “Children’s Program” rather than “Vacation Bible School” because the Haitians refer to it as “Children’s Program”. Also, I got the opportunity to preach at Pastor Ginais’ Church this week. Pastor Ginais is a pastor I meet in the community where the first team built the house. Him and I have become good friends. We also do a Children’s Program in that community once a week now.

This up coming week I am planning on putting together a puppet routine in Creole, also building a puppet stage. Pastor Joseph asked if we could teach English to the children at his school during Children’s Program, so I am planning to also put together a powerpoint show with shapes, colors, animals, and other simple things to learn in English.

This trip has been an awesome experience so far, and I am honored to be apart of what God is already doing in Jacmel. It has been an Adventure.

Aaron’s missionary page

Thursday, April 01, 2010