Monday, May 30, 2011

Letters for Planet Impact Scrapbook

Hey everyone. Ady and I would love to put together a scrapbook with letters from our Planet Impact people through the years (students and leaders). Thank you to those of you who already gave us notes. If you wouldn't mind writing one for us, please bring it to us this Wednesday night. If you can't be here Wednesday, you can e-mail it to me @ Thanks!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Final NYC Trip Before Heading West

Today we took the girls to the city for the final time before we move. Claudia's best friend Mary also joined us. In fact, it was her first time riding the train and her first time ever going to New York City! We went to see Mary Poppins on Broadway (the girls' first Broadway show). It was awesome! We then spent a few hours in Times Square. A great family day! We'll definitely miss NYC!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

One Week 'Til Go

Well, I've been slack in blogging this past week for two reasons. 1) My computer was being worked on, and 2) I've been busy wrapping things up around the church, training my successor, and connecting with friends. With just one week to go until we leave for California, we are are enjoying spending time with our dear friends. Positively, most of them are Italian and we've been stuffing our faces with food at their houses. Negatively, most of them are Italian and we've been stuffing our faces with food at their houses. Ha Ha! Not being able to run for the last few months due to an ankle injury, I've literally put on about 10 lbs. in the past two weeks. Job #1 after we leave? Lose all the weight I've put on! lol!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tragic Death of a Former Student

We were so saddened last night to learn of the tragic death of one of our former students, Jon Christenson, in Virginia. Jon was always a very nice, respectful, kind young man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children, his parents Steve and Darlene, his two sisters Eva and Heidi who were also in our youth group, and their extended family and friends.

Jon Steven Christenson CHESAPEAKE - "G.I." Jon Steven Christenson, 27, passed away May 18, 2011. Jon was a member of Crossroads Church in Norfolk and One Life Fitness Gym. He loved the Lord Jesus, the outdoors, people, his family, and especially his two sons. Jon was loved and respected by all who knew him, and was a man's man. Jon was predeceased by his paternal grandparents, Christen and Eleanor Christenson. He is survived by his wife, Susan Maureen Christenson; two sons, Owen and Liam Christenson; parents, Steven and Darlene Christenson; twin sisters, Eva Christenson and Heidi Rackley (Jim); maternal grandparents David and Ruth Downey; and his nephew and niece, Logan and Sierra Rackley. A visitation will be held Monday, May 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Woodlawn Funeral Home, 6329 E. Virginia Beach Blvd., Norfolk. The service will be held Tuesday, May 24, at 1 p.m. at New Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1552 Kempsville Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23464. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Christenson Boys Fund through any Navy Federal Credit Union branch. A private family interment will be held at Rosewood Memorial Park. Condolences may be offered to the family at
Woodlawn: Obituaries

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Leaving Well

I haven't written much the past couple of weeks, but here's a little update. In just a couple of weeks we're leaving to begin our journey west. I am so pleased that I was able to find my "potential" successor (I have to say "potential" because the church has one final vote to cast to make it official. After the vote, I'll officially introduce him and his family here on the blog.). Before we leave, I've been working on a few things to wrap up and set the table for success in my absence:
  • Trying to continue running things with as much energy as if I was staying. 
  • Making sure that I have everything in the office updated for my successor - accurate leadership lists, procedures, etc.
  • Finishing up the youth center - getting the lighting installed, sound booth finished up, etc.
  • Talking with my successor about programs and things we've done so that he can make informed decisions as he leads into the future. 
  • Connecting my successor with the people he'll be working with - leaders, students, and community contacts I've made through the years.
  • Most of all, seeking to enjoy time with our students and friends - thanking them for the years we've been together. 
I am so glad that God is helping us write a good ending to this chapter of our story. He is so gracious!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dog Tease

My buddy Tim Mee send me this one. Very cute!

Monday, May 9, 2011

How Will I Begin My New Position?


Summer Camp@ Pondo from Pondo on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Why She Gets a Day

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bin Laden’s death challenges pastors -

Within minutes of learning that Osama Bin Laden was dead, the Rev. Andy James knew he would address the killing in worship this Sunday.

Late on May 1, his Facebook post said, “President announces that OBL is killed one week before I start a sermon series on forgiveness. A poignant, unexpected turn.”

In the days since, James, pastor of Tuttle United Methodist Church in Oklahoma, has struggled with what he will say. Read the full article here: Bin Laden’s death challenges pastors -

Ping Pong Shot of the Year

Friday, May 6, 2011

Nu Thang!

My buddy Scott Firestone posted this on a Facebook group I'm in with these words: "We've uncovered some rare footage of a young Kevin Mahaffy. Many Bothans died to bring us this information..." Just to be clear ... this is NOT me. I wore real MC Hammer pants! LOL! Thanks Scott! Love it!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

BIG NEWS for our Family ... The Wait Is Over ... HERE IT IS!

OK, who guessed it? A few people were on the right trail. Here's the BIG NEWS ...

About 2 months ago I received an e-mail from a guy named Aaron Gutridge, the student ministries pastor at a church in Palm Springs, California. After several phone and Skype conversations with him and his team, they invited us to come out and continue the interview process in person. During our daughters' spring break we reluctantly had to go to Palm Springs (Yep, real suffering for Jesus! LOL!) where we got to meet and spend time with the team in person. We had a wonderful time hanging out with them in formal [Southern California formal] and informal settings, and we really enjoyed ourselves. The long and short of it is that at the end of our interviews I was offered an opportunity and accepted an invitation to come on staff as the middle school pastor at Southwest Community Church. Most important to us was the chemistry we felt with the team and the opportunity for us to raise our family in a great community with a great church. In terms of a timeline, our plan is to work through the first week of June here on Long Island then head off on our great cross-country adventure. We hope to arrive in California in time for the girls to participate in some of the summer activities of the church - in particular for Claudia to attend the middle school summer camp. Of course, that means I get to go to summer camp as well! :)

We would greatly appreciate your prayers as we seek to wrap things up and end our ministry here at Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle well. We have been here for 6 years, made lots of friends, and had quite a run in youth ministry. We are appreciative of the privilege we have had to serve here, and look forward to handing the ministry off to our incredible team of adult volunteers and my successor, which, it looks as though, I am pleased to have been able to secure for the kids and the church pending a congregational vote. As soon as that takes place I look forward to introducing him as my successor.
Natalia lost her balance right when the camera timer went off & made us all laugh as usual. :)

BIG NEWS for our Family ... Here's the 4th & Final Clue

In just a couple of hours I will make the BIG announcement! Here's the last clue! Can you figure it out?

BIG NEWS for our Family ... Here's Clue # 3

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

BIG NEWS for our Family ... Here's Clue # 2

BIG NEWS for our Family ... Here's Clue # 1

Within the next 24 hours I will announce some BIG NEWS about where our family is heading. But, there's a catch. It will come in puzzle pieces. Here's clue #1:

The Best of John Pinette ... One of the Funniest Comedians Alive!

One of the funniest comedians alive! (Sorry for the word or two.)

And Today God Keeps on Loving the World ...

"And today God keeps on loving the world. He keeps on sending you and me to prove that He loves the world. that He still has that compassion for the world. It is we who have to he His love, His compassion in the world of today. But to be able to love we must have faith, for faith in action is love, and love in action is service." - Mother Teresa

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Palm Springs & Laguna Beach, CA Pics

Over the spring break our family enjoyed a much needed restful and fruitful time in Palm Springs, California. We also shot over to Laguna Beach for a day. Was great seeing some friends and making new ones along the way. See the picture album here.


This is Rock'n Roll