(Saturday, Aug 9th, 2013, Manila) This has been an exciting week here in Manila. I will attempt to recap it in photos so that you can feel the story!
A week ago today, we had an exciting seminar with more than 50 Nazarene youth from around the Philippines, promoting radio in ministry and helping them to identify ways that they could get involved. There were break out sessions and the youth truly got excited about promoting one of our World Mission Broadcast programs “Perfect Rhythm” that has been produced in the Philippines for more than 19 years. See news story I (Todd) gave a presentation, Courtney and Connie were there to help with media.
Sunday, we drove about 1 hour south of Manila to the home church of our field strategy coordinator. It was a special time to meet new friends and to share food together. Connie and Courtney are enjoying a favorite dish of fried bananas.
The week started out very rainy. Courtney loves the warm Asian rain as it reminds her of her early years in Africa. She is always wanting to go out and walk in the rain.
We then rolled into our week of covering news stories from around the region, including Work and Witness Teams to Tonga and the installation of a new professor at Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary, Dr. John Bondy.
As the week continued, we welcomed a Work and Witness team from Michigan. They arrived late Tuesday night and spent their day Wednesday, orienting to the APNTS campus, meeting staff, and attempting to recover from jet-lag!
The week has been very busy as we have been developing a new Asia-Pacific regional communications piece. Graphics needed designing, databases developed, and protocol established. The newsletter will come out each Friday (Lord willing) and will highlight stories and activities cross the Asia-Pacific Region with the Church of the Nazarene. We would welcome you to sign up to receive this communication.
As Thursday came, we were reluctantly facing the fact that our time with Courtney here in the Philippines was coming to a close. While I would have preferred to cancel her passport and keep her with us, we knew that this new chapter of her life was needing to start. There is a young man, Landen Ray Kelly, waiting at home for his fiance to return, a new apartment and term at Lewis Clark, a job interview, and many family members.
To help lessen the blow of Courtney’s pending departure, we decided to go out and find a French pastry shop to enjoy a last breakfast together. This was a tradition back in French West Africa, so we found just the place. Connie and I have decided that we may have to go back and visit in honor of Courtney…several times!
One of the greatest blessings about being a missionary and a MK, is that you find and make new friends and family in every new “Home” country. On Thursday afternoon, the media team/family had a farewell party for CJ along with an early birthday celebration. Thanks to Facebook, Courtney now has new friends for life!
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens….a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Friday was our time to shed a few tears. We would be misrepresenting our lives and ministry if we said that these times of sorrow never came. But…while our Lord didn’t promise that we would never have times of saddness, He did promise that through them all…He would be with us. As we said goodbye to Courtney at the airport, our tears joined the warm Asian rain flowing down our cheeks.
We returned home and found our apartment very quiet. But, God is good, as we have the Work and Witness team here from Michigan and we are helping with preparing the meals for them, so we were able to jump in and get busy, keeping our minds focused on serving and not on sorrow.
This has been our week. We are so thankful for technology. As I finish writing this story, we are watching Courtney land at Seattle (via flight aware). After transiting through Taipei, she is just one flight away from yet another temporary home.
I will close with what Courtney posted on one of her social media sites this week, it sums up the Missionary life: “I have decided that home is where you are loved. If that means multiple continents, different houses, or even different states that’s okay. If you ask me where my home is I will respond by telling you it’s everywhere I’m loved.” (Courtney Aebischer – Aug 2013)
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. We are so blessed to have you as part of our team!
Yours and His,
Todd and Connie Lou