Wow…we had a TREMENDOUS time on the L.A. District…now Texas!


Bishop Mtn - AtascaderoWhere has the time gone?  We have been flying low and fast across the Los Angeles District, meeting incredible people, having great services, and even scheduling in a little bit of exercise!  We have been so very blessed!

Can’t even begin to thank the churches and families for the outpouring of hospitality, kindness, prayers, partnership, and of course…food!

We had no idea that someone would be at the LAX airport to meet us, but God has brought such incredible friends and family into our lives over the years!  The Millers, long time partners in ministry (they are family now), showed up at the curb as Connie was waiting for me to pick up the rental car!  Great time of reunion and dinner together, then we were off and running. Thanks guys for making the arrival special!

Connie speaking to the kids at Ridgecrest.
Connie doing Bible Trekking with the kids at Ridgecrest.

We arrived for our first meeting in Ridgecrest  and then were back down the east side of the Sierras and over to the coast to meet with the Oxnard Church of the Nazarene and retired Navy Captain Edna Peters, a career Naval nurse, who shared her home with us.   Quite to our surprise, Ann Baldwin from Kansas City was in the area visiting her mother for Mother’s Day and arrived at the service with a great goody bag of supplies for the trip!  Ann…we munched on that survival pack for the entire trip, as many times we missed meals racing back and forth across the district – Thank You!

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The Cardnal Village Resort in Bishop – what a great place for a pause!

Then from Oxnard it was back up to Bishop where we had a great evening dinner and service with the church family and made a new soul mate in retired police officer and pilot Ray Miklaucic, who shared his home with us – thanks Ray!

And then, what a fantastic surprise the Bishop church gave us!  A night at the Cardinal Village Resort in Bishop with the Cluff Family.  This was truly a godsend as we were able to recoup for about 20 hours.  Jet lag was starting to take its toll!  Thanks Bishop!

From Bishop it was down to Valley View Church at Lancaster where we had about standing room only in the fellowship hall for the dinner and meeting!  That night we stayed with Bong and Lhileth Balaton and Christian, Ethan, and Noah…what a great time of fun and playing with the boys!  Thanks Balatons for sharing your home.

Back to the Coast to Camarillo we went where again, the fellowship hall was packed out and we had a fantastic evening service, dinner, and morning breakfast.  We left encouraged with full tummys!

???We then took a day at the University of Southern California where our niece was commissioned into the air force as a nurse and 2nd Lieutenant!  Way to go Elise.  What a great time with family that drove down from Idaho for this special day.

 

 

Lone Pine, Gateway to Mount Whitney!
Lone Pine, Gateway to Mount Whitney!

Back up the old 395 / 14 highways we went along the Eastern Sierras to Lone Pine for a great Saturday morning breakfast with the church.

Thanks Santa Monica Church Family!
Thanks Santa Monica Church Family!

We then loaded up and headed down the 395 / 14 corridor again and out to the coast to Santa Monica to share dinner with Emery and Elaine Pankratz and then a great Sunday morning Service for our second visit with the Santa Monica Church Family.

 

Hiking Bishop Mountain with the Dove Creek / Atascadero Church Family!
Hiking Bishop Mountain with the Dove Creek / Atascadero Church Family!

Then with the finish line in site, it was 4 hours up the coast to Atascadero where we had a prime rib and baked potato dinner that was second to none, followed by an exciting final L.A. District mission service.  District NMI President Debra Hamrick drove up for the service and we all had a great time.

As a final farewell, we put on our hiking boots, packed up our granola bars, and hiked Bishop Mountain with several of our new friends from Dove Creek / Atascadero.  Thanks Pastor Wes and team for making this outdoor adventure a possibility.  Just what the doctor ordered.

Oh…and what about the t-shirts?  Well they have been literally flying out of our suitcases and then at Dove Creek, Debra and Wes offered to help us out by taking around 100 to the L.A. District Assembly to help promote missions on the Asia-Pacific Region!  Thanks so much guys!

We became very familiar with the beautiful Sierras of California!
We became very familiar with the beautiful Sierras of California!

We are praising God for the great services and 2,203 miles safely traveled across the L.A. District!  Thanks to everyone who made this such a great tour!

And today…we are writing from the quiet town of Nocona, Texas.  Our flight from L.A. to Dallas / Fort Worth went very smoothly, we were picked up at the airport by Ron and Jackie Miner, they graciously loaned us a car, and now we are off and running again for the next couple of weeks here in West Texas.  Better buy some boots!Nocona Tx

 

The First 40 Hours of Home Assignment – Picking up Flak!


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A preacher once said, “If you wake up in the morning and don’t run into the enemy head-on, then maybe you’re going in the wrong direction. The Bible doesn’t say to ignore the devil and he will flee from you.”  We must stand firm and resist the enemy.  (The Organic Church)

In our office at World Mission Communications, Asia-Pacific (WMC-AP) we have likened this to a battle, when the bombing aircraft are approaching the target, that is when they start picking up anti-aircraft fire (flak) from the enemy troops.  If they are flying along with no threat…they ARE NOT OVER THE TARGET!

Before we left Manila on Thursday evening, we gathered the team (Sean and Tom we missed you guys) and prayed, that this would be a very impactful trip – we were headed out over the target!

Starting from the trip to the airport and continuing on the airplane, we began picking up heavy flak.   From pre-arranged flight details being “un pre-arranged,” despite our printed receipts to the contrary,  to loss of seats and additional charges…things were just getting rolling!  Then our bank, who we have called multiple times to make sure they understand that we live and travel abroad, and who have honored our transactions innumerable times here in the Philippines, decided that of all days, flight day would be the day to launch a “new and improved” fraud dection system, placing our credit cards on hold.  Imagine our pleasant surprise when we tried to resolve the charges situation at the airline counter, only to find that our cards wouldn’t work.  Understanding that this is always a possibility, we make it a habit to travel with multiple options, so break out the hard currency, and then find that there is no change available, but  “you could leave the change as a tip (a very healthy one I might add) so that you don’t miss your boarding!” 

Then head for the security zone and have the pre-security folks decide that you are a good option for increased scrutiny.  As everyone walked past us, we had the opportunity to share the contents of our carry-ons with passersby as we were informed that personal clothes in our carry-ons were not allowed. 

At this point – I just had to pause and realize where this attack was coming from.  This was such a ludicrous statement that (no clothes in the carry-on) I realized only heavy FLAK could be behind it.  I am sure that Connie can attest that at this point, my normally calm demeanor was anything but.  I now had a migraine headache, had been dealing with issues for nearly 2.5 hours, and just wanted to get clear of this terminal…now.  Regardless, whatever the rules are for the day…those are the rules for the day…get use to it!

I started writing this at 41,000 feet, somewhere over the middle east, on a 16 hour 20 minute flight to LAX (these were the 400.00 cheaper tickets) looking forward to being with our churches and family.  We are praying that we will be able to see the battle for what it is, despite what lies ahead.  

Despite all of this, we have had the opportunity to establish a couple of very “ordained” relationships so far on the trip, and I am sure that the enemy is not pleased with these developments.  Great!  He better start running!

On the bright side, I was able to do compassionate ministries right at the airport by distributing my clothes to the service personnel (must keep right perspective here).  “A Connie…did we get the extra insurance on the rental car…we might be needing it.”

— The first 40 hours of Home Assignment 2014….more to come!

Posted by Todd Aebischer

Where has the time gone? Packing up…preparing to go!


Cmprsd Prayer CardWow…where has the time gone?  The countdown timer on my computer screen says 1 day, 7 hours, 21 minutes, left before we need to have final details completed, banners printed, prayer cards finished, suitcases packed, and be stepping on the plane for our stateside speaking schedule and niece’s and daughter’s weddings!

Jeepney (Public Transportation) here in the Philippines
Jeepney (Public Transportation) here in the Philippines

Sometimes my head spins with the sense of urgency…but I often reflect…do I have the same sense of urgency for the things of God?  We have been talking a lot about this lately as a team.  Keep the “main thing” the “main thing.”  That of touching lives, seeing the people around us, and being the tangible love of Christ to those we meet.  Whether that be at the gas station, in the office, on the street, in the jeepney (public transport) or wherever.  We need to always be looking for opportunities to be Missional!

Connie and I are working hard, even in the midst of the hustle and bustle, to take time to remember:

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Back to packing the bags…we are headed your way and looking forward to sharing the great things that God is doing here in Asia!