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24 posts from October 2007

October 13, 2007

Canada's Bureaucratic Injustice

I didn't get to enter Canada. Why? A DUI charge on my record from almost 20 years ago, plus another interesting incident when I was 19. If you're really interested, you can find all my dirty laundry in my new book, Confessions of a Good Christian Guy, available for pre-order and releasing from Thomas Nelson December 10th. (Hate to promote it that way, but there you go!) From 20 years ago, you've got to be kidding me!? Needless to say, I'm very disappointed. I was just speaking in Canada this past May. This hit me out of the blue, no warning, nothing. I'll have more to say about this later, but be forewarned: If you have any run-ins with the law from your past, DUI, failure to appear in court, etc., you will be refused entry into Canada. I cannot believe that our government is releasing the records of private United States citizens to a foreign country. Especially when many of these records are non-violent in nature. What's our world coming to? The BIg Brother of George Orwell's book, 1984, is alive and well. To all my Canadian friends: Thanks for you support of me personally. Your words and friendship mean the world. By the way, our God forgives mistakes. He doesn't hold them over your head and provides grace for the sinner. That's me, that's you. Who cares what governments do, we exist for a greater and higher purpose!

October 12, 2007

Why did I start Red Letters with an Apology?

Watch this first in a series of video blogs about Red Letters. In this first episode, I answer some important questions about why I chose to start the book with an "apology" and some interesting interview questions.

October 11, 2007

URGENT: News from Canada

I'm guest blogging for Tom who is right now sitting in the Vancouver airport. I wish I had better news to report. He was scheduled to keynote the Unite in Worship conference this weekend--but he was not permitted to enter the country and is now being sent back to Denver in about 30 minutes.

Tom and his wife, Emily, were in line at the passport control desk, noticing that many people were being turned away. Apparently several other passengers on their flight had some issues as well. When they got to the front of the line, they were also told they could not enter Canada and were "deported" bck to the United States. Tom is exhausting every contact he has trying to get this decision reversed.

Tom was scheduled to teach two workshops and give the keynote address. We're all stunned at this turn of events, and earnestly praying that God would intervene. Apparently there are some new restrictions on Americans traveling to Canada that apply to Tom. He now has to fill out more paperwork here in the U.S. to get clearance to travel to Canada.

Please pray for Tom and send this to anyone who would intercede on his behalf. This was a key part of Children's HopeChest's plans to open a Canadian office, and recruit more churches into our orphan care sponsorship program.

We often quote James 1:27 in our work. Right now, we're thinking of another verse from James 1:"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perserverance. Perserverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature, and complete, not lacking anything."

Tom is anything but joyful right now. He's caught in a bureacratic mess of red tape that is preventing him from the opportunity to advocate for orphans in Canada. Please pray for a miracle. The process he needs to go through to enter Canada is supposed to take 3-4 months--maybe longer.

Thank you for standing with Tom in prayer. I or Tom will post an update when one is available.

Sincerely,

Matthew Monberg

COO, Children's HopeChest

Two E-mails, One Prayer

This morning, I received two e-mails from Russia. The first spoke of horrible news: a car crash where two fantastic caregivers were seriously injured and in the hospital. The second, ironically (or perhaps not), was a video of a short prayer from a recent Wheaton College chapel. This summer, we had a team of Wheaton students working with HopeChest in Kostroma, Russia.

Please, read the note below, watch the prayer, and take five minutes to pray for Misha and Zoya today.

Today we received a horrible news from Olga, Director of Lakinsk orphanage:  Misha, their wood teacher and Zoya, the crafts teacher and one of our foster parents, got in a very bad car accident yesterday in Lakinsk.  Some other large car was speeding and hit them from behind which pushed them into the upcoming trafic and a large truck hit them in a head-on collission.  They are both in emergency unit right now and Zoya will need extensive surgery. That's all I know at this point and we'll keep you updated.  Please pray for Misha's and Zoya's lives and quick recovery.   Please let everyone know, including Lakinsk sponsors.  We may need to help them with medical care. 
Lakinsk is a place that has become a light and a hope for orphans. Over the past ten years, we've helped the orphanage get all the children into foster care homes and group homes we call "Family Centers." Now, instead of being a residential facility--it is a place where the children gather for special crafts and activities. What has been accomplished in Vladimir is truly remarkable, and it is visited by orphan care experts and government officials from across Russia and Eastern Europe.

October 10, 2007

Unite Conference - Vancouver

I'm headed out in the morning to speak The Unite Conference in Canada. I'm really excited about seeing some good friends I've made there this past spring. Emily is going with me for two days and we're staying the night with Brian and Joyce Doerksen who are wonderful, incredible people. You may remember Brian from his songs like, "Come, Now is the Time for Worship" and "Light the Fire." I'll be doing a book signing and pastors dessert Thursday night, then speaking 2x Friday and 2x Saturday. I'm really excited about doing a workshop on how to be published and I'm posting the message in increments on my blog called, An Author's Blog. I want to encourage people to write and get their words in print so they can changed their world. It's easier than you think! Also, Saints Coffee  just came out with a new blend called Pumpkin Spice. I just drank some tonight and it was like drinking liquid fall. Last month 5,580 meals were provided to orphans in Africa because you purchased your coffee their instead of making Howard Shultz even more rich. I'll also get to spend some time with Mike Todd and David duChemin - can't wait to be with those guys. Please remember to pray for me this weekend in the middle of lost of busyness!

Want to be in my next book?

What is your story?

 

Each year, Children's HopeChest sends close to 1,000 volunteers to minister to orphans around the world. And after every trip, I am always amazed at the creative ways that God uses each of us to bring his love to orphans. Well, today I have a special request and a unique opportunity.

 

In 2002, I wrote my story in Fields of the Fatherless. Since that time, it's sold over 60,000 copies, and is now ready for a new-and-improved re-release in the Spring of 2008. My publisher has asked for some fresh content...that's where you come in.

 

I want to put your story in the new edition of Fields of the Fatherless. When we serve orphans and the poor, God works through us in powerfully unique ways. In my own life, I felt as if God was loving children through my very hands. Many people tell me, "Tom, I think the kids blessed me more than I blessed them."

 

I want to hear your story.

 

I'd like you to write up your story. When did you first become involved in orphan ministry? What impact did it have on your life? How did God use you? What did it feel like? How has it changed you? What is your most significant experience in orphan ministry?

 

Don't have a story? Tell someone else's! Have you caught someone in a "deliberate act of being Jesus" to our dying world? I'd like to hear about that too!

 

You can pick any story--just keep it to around 1,000 words and send it to me at redletters@hopechest.org. I need to receive your article by October 31, 2007 in order to be considered for publication in Fields of the Fatherless. I'll notify you if you've been selected for publication.

 

And to get more submissions--post this on your own blog or e-mail it to anyone you know that is involved in orphan ministry, or ministry to the poor--adoptive parents, families who serve at homeless shelters, your pastor, family, and friends. We all have a story--will you share yours with me?

 

I'm looking forward to hearing back from you soon. Remember--1,000 words, your orphan ministry experience, by October 31, 2007.

Last day to register for the FREE TRIP contest

Today is the LAST DAY to register to win a free missions trip with Children's HopeChest through the EMI/HearItFirst.com promotion.

They've already had TRIPLE the normal response for people signing up to win this trip. It's an all-expenses-paid missions trip for two. The winners will travel with me to Swaziland, visiting the carepoints, ministering to the orphans, encouraging the widows, and supporting the local church pastors and missionaries who make this possible on a daily basis.

Want to sign up? Hit this link today!

Send it on to all your friends...today is the last day of the contest!

October 08, 2007

An Author's Blog

For all of you interested in being published: A book, an article, a short story, or a poem. I've started a new blog on the writing life called, An Author's Blog. Here, I hope to speak transparently about the ins and outs of publishing and how to be published. Please bookmark this site and keep me informed of great resources and tools that have helped you in your journey. I'm a big believer in this fact, if you want to be published you can be published if you do just a few of the right things. Click here to check it out. 
Writinglife

Buying Red Letters Feeds Orphans

Rl_stickerAfter I submitted the final manuscript of Red Letters to my publisher, we were able to work out a deal where a portion of the book sales are invested in feeding orphans. In fact, there's a sticker on the front of the book that says: Buy this book & feed an orphan for a month.

How can we do this?

Through one of our ministry partners, Children's HopeChest has been given several containers of 243,000 meals each. Every meal in the container is prepackaged, dehydrated food--mostly fortified rice and beans. What we have to do is ship the food to Swaziland, get it through customs, and distribute the food to the ten carepoints where we are working. These carepoints serve a combined 800 children in rural Swaziland.

Once received, the "go-gos" who  run the carepoint food programs will cook and serve meals to the children on a daily basis. Right now, each carepoint has the capability of serving two meals per day to the kids.

The cost of each of these packages of food is extremely cheap--pennies in fact. When you add it all up, the sale of each copy of Red Letters provides us with enough funds to provide one month's worth of meals. This is possible because the meals are donated, and we are only paying for the shipment of the container into Swaziland.

Right now, we have raised enough funds to send the first two containers of food to Swaziland! This was made possible through generous donations to the 5 for 50 campaign that I talk about in chapter 10. As donations from the book sales begin coming in, they will help us fund the shipping of even more food and meals to the kids.

In the next few months, we are adding six more carepoints in Swaziland--another 500 children living without parents.

I want to again thank my publisher, David C. Cook, for partnering with me and Children's HopeChest in this endeavor. Without their cooperation, this would not be possible.

October 07, 2007

AIDS and Poverty Video

This video premiered at the Awakening Fest back in September, and now it's part of the Red Letters book tour this fall.