Let the Little Children Come to Me…


July 31st, 2013, Taytay Rizal, Rowenas Community, outskirts of Manila, Philippines. Jesus however said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them; for it is to those who are childlike that the Kingdom of the Heavens belongs.”  Matthew 19:14

Photo by Courtney Aebischer
Photo by Courtney Aebischer

As a family, we are still processing what we experienced this afternoon as we made our way to the Rowenas Community Development Project, an initiative of Dr. Kwon and students from APNTS (Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary) in conjunction with Child Sponsorship and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries.

Along a small creek, homes  are literally stacked one on top of the other.  Blue hoses (a Work and Witness Project) deliver drinking water to one out of every 5 homes. 

The project, now in its third year, has provided a small pharmacy, public restrooms, a school for younger children, and community health training, focusing on Dengue Fever awareness and vaccinations.

Community Restrooms, Pharmacy, and Outpost
Community Restrooms, Pharmacy, and Outpost

The greatest provision to this community is the hope that comes through the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  A church has been planted and organized with between 100-150 regular attenders.

The Rowenas Community Center and Church of the Nazarene
The Rowenas Community Center and Church of the Nazarene

As we walked the paths that wound their way along the creek and around the homes, I was overwhelmed with the need, but also with the spirit of those whom we found along those paths.  115 children are sponsored through Child Sponsorship in this one program.   I will be featuring it in a news article in the coming weeks…but had to share this evening what we had experienced today.

These Children are precious in His Site (Photo by Courtney Aebischer)
These Children are precious in His sight (Photo by Courtney Aebischer)

Saturday Morning on Top of Manila!


Saturday, July 27th, Metro Manila, Philippines

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Saturday morning marks our 10th day here in the Philippines.  It has been a very busy time, with a steep learning curve as I (Todd) attend meetings with various leaders and just start to scrape the surface of what will be involved in this new position as Communications Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Region.  It has been a time of adaptation, mostly with regard to climate, as we arrived during the rainy season and are learning to adapt to the heat and humidity.  We definitely don’t have to worry about dry skin – we are sweating most all of the time, day and night!  

There is adaptation to grocery shopping as well.   We are learning what things are available, what things are within our budget, and what things are not.  Connie and Courtney have spent a few hours in the grocery stores, cruising up and down the isles, finding the things they will need to make meals and set up our home.  In fact as I am in Metro Manila this morning, Connie and Courtney are with another missionary, being introduced to a new grocery store that is suppose to have a better selection.

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There is also adaptation to the traffic.  No this is not a parking lot, this is traffic, all ebbing and flowing down a street.  Motorcycles are everywhere, and the one above is working his way across the flow of traffic.  I am amazed that in the driving we have done over the past 10 days, we have only seen one accident.  There is just a universal common understanding between the drivers of who goes, who stops, and it all takes place in the midst of beeps and honks, motorcycles, motor tricycles, pedestrians, and street vendors.   Better than any video game!

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Monday night last week,  the World Missions Communications – Asia-Pacific team hosted a welcome dinner for Connie, Courtney and I.  It was held at Dr. Bill and Mill Kwon’s residence (Director of WMC-AP).  It was a great time of fellowship as we were able to become better acquainted with our team. 

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Last Sunday we were blessed with the opportunity to worship with the congregation at the Taytay Church of the Nazarene, located about 1/2 mile from the Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary.  They have an incredible ministry to their community.  Services in Tagalog and English, and then a Sunday evening service called “Generation Congregation” that reaches out to the youth and young adults.  It is impacting an entire culture that has been unreached.  In addition, the church has a weekly Saturday program where they reach out to around 250 children, providing a healthy meal as well as evangelistic outreach through bible teaching, games, and crafts.

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And now…why on top of Manila?  I am writing this morning’s blog as we are broadcasting “Perfect Rhythm” from the top of one of the tallest buildings in Manila. 

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The one hour, weekly broadcast, through Far East Broadcasting Company in conjunction with World Mission Broadcast, is hosted by Nazarene Youth Pastor and Philippine Radio Host, Jordan Escusa.  Jordan plays contemporary music that appeals to the youth culture, and then works in his message that is usually taken from what he preaches at Taytay Church of the Nazarene to Generation Congregation.  While broadcasting, social media is streaming.  Today’s message was on being a peace maker.  One of Jordan’s listener’s tweeted, “Tomorrow I will approach the person I have hurt, and will ask  for forgiveness.”  If we stopped right now, our mission would have been accomplished for the day.  While we are broadcasting in the Philippines, the reach is global, thanks to modern technology.  A listener tweeted in from Los Angeles, “I am always listening to Perfect Rhythm.”  (8-9pm Pacific time each Friday Evening.  How to listen online.

This is what it is all about.  Making Christlike disciples in the nations by all means possible.   Thank you for your incredible support and partnership with our family and with Global Missions as together with Christ, we make impacts for the Kingdom!

Posted from Todd while traveling.

Here is a photo summary of our last couple of days.


Sun Rising over Campus at APNTS Manila
Sun Rising over Campus at APNTS Manila

Taytay, Rizal (Manila), Sunday July 21st, 2013, 3:30pm. The last couple of days have seen meetings, trips to the shopping center (mall) as we purchase food, bottled water, cleaning supplies, and other essentials, as well as a great day of worship at Taytay Church of the Nazarene, located about 1/2 mile from the APNTS campus. Taytay is a great church with many awesome ministries. Pastor Sam preached this morning on responding to God’s call, and what it means to first be called to Him, and then be called to mission, wherever that might be. It was truly a fitting message for our first Sunday in a new country on a new assignment.

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Arrived in Manila to an AWESOME welcome by the team!


Friday, June 19th, 12:18pm Manila Time (That is for you Mom Landreth 🙂  )  We arrived yesterday afternoon and God truly blessed all of the details.  All of our action packers arrived safely, immigration went very smoothly, and we cleared customs without any problems.  Pastor Elmo and Tata were waiting at the arrival area with the vans, and after some heavy traffic, we arrived at Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary.  God was truly in all of the details.  We did find out that Courtney’s return date was just one day longer than a standard tourist visa, so this will cost an additional $75.00, but that was the only glitch.

We were welcomed with open arms by our team – such a tremendous blessing.  The apartment was furnished, counters stocked with some food to get us going, and even a great welcome sign on the wall.   This is the rainy season, so the temperatures are warm and the atmosphere is very muggy.  It immediately reminded us of our years in Yap, Micronesia.   The air conditioning unit was down, so it truly was like home in the islands, where power was so expensive that we didn’t even have AC.   We made it to bed with some cold showers and fans blowing.

The jet lag did catch up with me.  I (Todd) awoke at 12:00am local time (10:00am Mountain Time) and was wide awake until about  5:00am local time.  We all discussed that we were only going to “think” in local Manila time.  Unfortunately our bodies didn’t get the message.  It did though, afford me the opportunity to get into Lee Strobels, “Case for Faith” which I have been wanting to read for quite some time.

This morning in the office, we started out with team devotions at 9:00am, and then moved into a meeting with Dr. Bill Kwon and Grace Tia (manager of World Mission Communications – Asia Pacific).  It was a good initial orientation into what lies ahead.   I am 100% assured now that it is only by God’s grace and strength that we will be able to accomplish the task that is set ahead of us.

Final note…went out to start the car, battery dead.  Looks like I will get to start mechanic work the very first day here.  Glad I threw some tools into our action packers!

Thanks for your continued prayers and encouragement,

Yours and His,
Todd

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World Mission Communications Team with a welcome sign in our office.  They had a similar sign in our apartment!  Such a great family!

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Dr. Kwon’s daughter – the youngest member of the welcoming team.

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The team enjoying snacks from Cabela’s…had to bring a little Idaho with us to share!

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Posted from Todd while traveling.

Arrived in Taiwan – Next Stop Manila


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Just a brief update.   We had a great 12 hour flight over the ocean and arrived here in Taiwan just after 5:00am.  We are recharging our batteries (on the social media gear) and preparing to board again in about 2 hours 30 minutes for Manila.  Thank you for your prayers.  The worst part of the trip so far has been from Boise to Seattle, where we had to navigate around and through several bumpy clouds.   One particular turbulent bump was sufficient enough to harass me by knocking my earphones out of my ears while listening to Josh Groban.   Now as a veteran flyer…that got my attention just a bit.  I felt sorry for those passengers who weren’t as comfortable in rough air.   We will keep you appraised.

Posted from Todd while traveling.

Well…it is Wheels Up…and on our way…maybe….


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Such a mix of emotions today as the day that was “months away,” has arrived faster than we could ever have imagined.   This morning we finished packing up our final hand carries and action packers, and then started that difficult task of saying good by.   I can’t even begin to express the gratefulness we felt as family just kept arriving at the airport to see us off.  How blessed to look around the circle as we held hands and prayed for safety, not just for us, but for the many lives and families represented by those around the circle.  While we thank God for the tremendously strong family that we have, it also makes days such as this, that much more difficult – we don’t want to leave them behind.

Here are some of the quick highlights of the day.

– We arrived at the airport with our 9 action packers that weighed in at 50 pounds each.  The staff at Alaska Air were fantastic.  Initially they thought that we would only be allowed one bag, with charges of $400.00 for each additional.  This would definitely have been “game stopper.”  After a bit of negotiation and review of policies between the partnering airlines, it was determined that we would only end up paying for three additional pieces of luggage. Only $345.00 total! This was a real praise.

– Once at the airport several of our family members arrived for a send off.
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– Just as our flight was preparing to board, a large thunderstorm descended on the Boise Airport with intense lightning and heavy rain. We weren’t too concerned about the resulting flight delay as we have a 4 hour layover in Seattle before the next leg of our trip to Taiwan.

– In flight Update – as I write this post, the lights of Seattle are appearing on the horizon. Looks like we will be safely finishing this first leg of the trip very shortly.
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More to come!!!!
Blessings,
Todd