The Whirlwind trip from Manila to the U.S. and back…thanks for “praying” the way!


What a whirlwind trip we have had since we left the Philippines on May 8th, landing in Los Angeles, California, with a lot of luggage, to meet with our LINKS District Churches. We were blessed by their kindness, friendship and love for us and our ministry!

Action Packers in L.A.
Luggage on the carts at LAX waiting for Todd to return with a rental car.

Then it was off to West Texas for two weeks of Deputation touring, getting acquainted with new friends and with family. Wide open spaces and warm friendly folks made this a very enjoyable time indeed!

Texas
West Texas landscape – a different kind of beauty!

And finally to Idaho just in time for our niece’s (Connie’s brother’s) wedding, followed with the marathon scramble to get ready for our daughter’s wedding the very next weekend!  But we did it!

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Our niece, Dani Lou, and her new husband Shad.

Communication responsibilities do not stop while we are stateside.  Keeping up with what was happening on our region while in the US was challenging, but we are so thankful that the Lord worked through the details to allow us to continue our ministry responsibilities while on the road.

Recording
Recording greetings for World Mission Broadcast wherever we happened to be when we received a request.  Here it was a motel in Wellington, Texas.

Many of you have been praying for my  (Connie’s) older brother Curtis as he has been battling cancer.  We were so pleased to see him looking great and feeling great at his daughter’s wedding! What a huge blessing from the Lord!  He continues to struggle with treatments, drug reactions, and the like, but his faith remains strong!  Your continued prayers for wisdom and healing are much appreciated.

Curt and Dani
Connie’s brother Curt, dancing with his daughter Danielle at her wedding reception.

Our daughter’s wedding was nearly perfect!  What a beautiful bride she was! We were so pleased on Father’s Day to welcome a new member to our family, Landen Ray Kelly, our daughter Courtney Jade’s new husband!

CJ and Landen

From ordering the linens, to prepping the food for the reception dinner, to folding napkins, and cleaning up, so many details to be covered in one short week, but with God’s help, and the help of friends and family, we pulled it off, and it was beautiful!

Reception

Once the kids were off on their honeymoon, we went to work returning the rented items and prepping for our own departure back to Manila.  We purchased a few items we cannot get here and packed the action packers, our preferred luggage for overseas travel.

Connie Lou and Action Packers
Connie Lou and the Action Packers

Being financially conscious, Todd found us tickets from Manila to Los Angeles at a greatly reduced rate.  We later realized that the reason for these significantly reduced tickets was that it was the long way around the world!  Instead of going East from Manila to L.A. we went West, passing through Dubai.  Although the Dubai airport is very beautiful, I do not recommend this route as it was quite a trip! Knowing what we were in for on the way home didn’t necessarily make it any easier!

The route we took from Los Angeles, California, to Dubai, passing close to the North Pole.
The route we took from Los Angeles, California, to Dubai, passing close to the North Pole.

We arrived in Manila to a tropical depression, which had significant rain that caused the drains in the terrace to back up, flooding our 2nd story living area.  The young man staying in our house for us had done a great job of mopping up most of the water before we arrived home, but the three of us ended up spending a couple more hours moving beds and furniture to reach the water that had puddled underneath them.  Thank goodness we have all tile floors with just a few small rugs at entrances.  Sorry, no pictures, we were too busy mopping!

We are glad to be home in Manila, fulfilling our calling to go and make Christlike disciples in the nations.  But that does not make it any easier to be away from our loved ones in the states.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we seek where God is working here in this region and we follow Him in every area of our ministry and personal lives.

Yours and His for the harvest,

Connie Lou and Todd Too!

Update on Dr. Jim Radcliffe – Missionary Doctor to Kudjip Nazarene Hospital – Papua New Guinea


Please continue to pray for Dr. Jim Radcliffe and his family, as Jim’s recent heart troubles were likely the result of  having had a heart attack, at some point in the past.  His symptoms are improving on medication, and he will be traveling home to the US, with the PNG quiz team, to get further evaluation next week.

(See the previous post in the blog for more information – if you missed it.)

Urgent Prayer Request for Missionary Dr. Jim Radcliffe in Papua New Guinea.


 

radcliffe
Missionary Surgeon Dr. Jim and Kathy Radcliffe in this dated photo.

UPDATE 11-JUNE-2014

Please continue to pray for Dr. Jim Radcliffe and his family, as Jim’s recent heart troubles were likely the result of  having had a heart attack, at some point in the past.  His symptoms are improving on medication, and he will be traveling home to the US, with the PNG quiz team, to get further evaluation next week.


 

Dear Team.  It is exactly for this reason that we have this blog going – promotion of PRAYER!  We have received an urgent prayer request for Dr. Jim and Kathy Radcliffe and family.  Dr. Jim has been our general surgeon at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital for many years.  Please pray and ask your churches to pray.  The specific request that is being released at this time is as follows:

Please pray for Dr. Jim Radcliffe (missionary surgeon at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital in Papua New Guinea) and his family during this time, as Jim is being evaluated and treated for some recent heart problems. 

Thanks so much for your prayers and partnership!  Connie and I have arrived safely in Idaho, and have just finished two days of helping and celebrating with our Niece and family for her wedding (yesterday).  We are speaking at Nampa First Church this afternoon, partnership meetings tomorrow, then on to preparing for our daughter’s wedding this next week.

Many blessings!

Todd

 

West Texas District Tour, from Dallas to Dumas – Amazing Things Happening!


Who could have ever imagined the ministry we would find in W. Texas!
Who could have ever imagined the ministry we would find in W. Texas!
Connie with a new friend "Mona" whose family comes from Somalia.
Connie with a new friend “Mona” whose family comes from Somalia.

We just had to take a moment to share about the West Texas District Tour,  to-date.  We have been so very blessed.  Home assignment this year started out with a bang on the L.A. District, and now here in W. Texas, the blessings have just continued to flow.

God has taken us from small groups in quiet towns like Nocona (very similar to Eagle Point, Oregon – where we grew up) to larger cities like Lubbock.  Everywhere we have gone, the hospitality, warm welcoming churches, and great Texas cooking has been tops!

Todd with men from the Somalia Community Center.
Todd with men from the Somalia Community Center.

But, we just have to share quickly in this update about the Cactus Nazarene Ministry Center located in Cactus, Texas.  Last Saturday we thought we had traveled through a time warp as we arrived in this small community in the panhandle of Texas, home to at least 17 different ethnicities (refugees) from areas like Myanmar (Burma), Sudan, Somalia, Guatemala (just to name a few).

 

Rev. Elda and husband Jose (Wally) Olivarez, our Nazarene Pastors at Cactus
Rev. Elda and husband Jose (Wally) Olivarez, our Nazarene Pastors at Cactus

 

Pator Elda and her husband Jose (Wally) Olivarez along with district missionaries Vito and Jenny Monteblanco, have had a vision for bringing the tangible love of Christ into this community and God is truly blessing their efforts.

Vito gives and orientation to Saturday's Volunteers.
Vito gives an orientation to Saturday’s Volunteers.

In just a few minutes, I was realizing that I needed my video equipment and team, as this is a story that just had to be told.  Together, the local churches of the West Texas District have been partnering with the Olivarezs and the Monteblancos, in establishing a church, buying land, and  building a community center that will be home to a medical ministry, social services, refugee support, and a host of other outreach ministries aimed at empowering these precious people who have sought refuge in the U.S. from political crisis abroad.

Jenny loves on one of the children at the Cactus Nazarene Ministry Center.
Jenny loves on one of the children at the Cactus Nazarene Ministry Center.

On Saturday, the Valley View Amarillo Church of the Nazarene along with others, donated literally a small warehouse full of supplies and a “free garage sale” was held where community members could come in and pick up necessities at no charge.  While we don’t have the official numbers (as we had to leave early for our next speaking engagement) I am sure that there were well over 200 visitors from the community.

Unloading donated supplies from Valley View Church.
Unloading donated supplies from Valley View Church.

We also had the privilege of meeting a man from South Sudan, who has felt a call and is working towards the process of beginning a pastoral course of study!

Wow…were we ever blessed!  We had no idea that after traveling home from Asia, we would be given the opportunity to join in ministering to the very people we serve in Asia! Unpacking boxes, sorting clothes, shoes, toys, and household goods, sharing a smile and just “spending time” with these precious people.

Some of the smaller visitors were getting  bit tired!
Some of the smaller visitors were getting bit tired!

Thank you to all who made this opportunity possible and to the W. Texas District for having the vision to be the tangible hands and feet of Christ right here in their home state.

The community began gathering for the "free garage sale."
The community began gathering for the “free garage sale.”

You can find out more about the Cactus Nazarene Ministry Center by visiting this LINK.

Well…we are off and running again in just a few minutes, headed to speak at yet another great W. Texas Church – The Refuge!

Thanks so much for your continued prayers!    Todd and Connie Lou