Living overseas is not so different from life in one’s home country. There are those moments of great highs, and moments of incredible lows, but one thing is for sure, as followers of Christ, we have the confidence that wherever we are, our Lord walks the path with us!
The month of September was a great high as we had a tremendous time of speaking and meeting brothers and sisters united in Christ and Mission across the United States. We visited the Eastern, East Central, and Northwest Work and Witness Conferences (representing the Asia-Pacific Region) and then completed speaking tours on the Oregon Pacific and Northern Alabama Districts.
The month included over 5,000 miles of travel in cars and innumerable miles of air travel. Through it all, your prayers of protection on our behalf were answered!
We want to thank all of the families who hosted us in their homes and churches, those who shared their passion for mission at the conferences, and those who are praying about an opportunity to serve in Work and Witness here on the Asia-Pacific Region!
During our travels, God ordained the time for us to be able to stop and visit Todd’s Aunt Beverly and family. She had recently been diagnosed with cancer. We had no idea that the Lord would call her home so quickly. We feel so blessed that the Lord allowed us the opportunity to be home with family (even for just a few hours) when Aunt Bev finished her valiant race here on earth. We know that she is now one of the great “Cloud of Witnesses” who is continually cheering for her family! We will miss her notes, Facebook posts, and encouragement. She has been a faithful prayer warrior on our behalf for many, many, years!
Within just a few short days of returning to Manila, Todd was on his way to South Korea to take part in the Annual Regional Advisory Council Meetings, Field Strategy Coordinator Meetings, and 60th Anniversary Celebration of Korea Nazarene University, our largest Nazarene University in the world.
It was a great time of engaging with leaders from around the Asia-Pacific Region, celebrating the incredible accomplishments of KNU, and welcoming back some of the founding missionaries who began the work in Korea. Stay tuned for a great video story of God’s hand in action many years ago, and the impact on the Korean Church today as a result of that miracle.
Upon completion of the meetings, Todd returned to Manila with new vision and strategy for the year ahead, and word of a newly appointed assignment for Connie. As of this week, Connie has now been appointed to serve as the Regional Nazarene Missions International (NMI) Coordinator. She will be serving together with the former coordinator, Pauline Sheppard, who retains her elected position as delegate to the Global NMI Council from the Asia-Pacific Region. In this role, Connie will be working with the 6 field strategy coordinators, 46 districts, and thousands of churches spread across the Region; an area that includes 40% of the world’s population and 30% of the global land mass. This assignment is so much greater than any one person. We are clinging to James 1:5 and claiming the wisdom that God promises to give to those who ask.
Coming off the incredible high of the meetings in S. Korea, we were faced with a tragedy here on the campus of Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary (APNTS). One of our students and his wife who are from Papua New Guinea, lost there newborn son less than 48 hours after his arrival to the world. Baby Floyd White Berita fought a courageous battle against a neonatal pneumonia and the Lord chose to take him into his arms last Saturday.
Todd was by the family’s side for nearly 36 hours of the battle and was there to pray with them when Baby Floyd went home. The student body of APNTS asked Todd to share at the memorial service on Monday. You can imagine how difficult this was as we prepare to be grandparents for the first time in just a few short weeks. Todd shared on the storms of life and how in the midst, Jesus as he was with the disciples on the sea of Galilee, is right there in the boat with us.
Over our years of missions, through typhoons, engine failures, wars, evacuations, illness, and trials, we have found this to be true – God is always faithful to be in the boat with us! We will never forget Christina’s (Baby Floyd’s mother’s) words, “You are my father and I am your child, and I will walk this rough path, but when I get to heaven I will ask you why!” Please continue to pray for the Berita family.
As Todd shared at the service, praise God that after every storm, the sun comes through! We ended this week on a tremendous high. Over the past several years, our whole family has been involved with helping to load containers of donated medical supplies and equipment at Hands of Hope Northwest in Idaho. This week was the first time that we have had the incredible privilege of being on the receiving end of such a shipment!
About one year ago, we were introduced to two birthing centers here in the area of APNTS, on the eastern edge of Manila. These centers take care of mothers who might not otherwise have access to healthcare. The centers not only treat the physical, but address the spiritual as well. All mothers are engaged in bible studies and discipling as part of their pre-natal care plan. During the visit, we were so impressed by the incredible need. So many people, so few supplies and equipment. We knew we had to help! Hands of Hope NW was contacted and they jumped into high gear. Over the course of a year they prepared a container, raised shipping funds, and shipped this container of love and hope to the Philippines.
Saturday morning (November 8th) at 12:00am, the container arrived at the Shaloam birthing center. Due to restrictions, the container had to be unloaded immediately. Several of the young people from Taytay First Church of the Nazarene (Generation Congregation) grabbed the opportunity to be part of this compassionate ministry. In just 90 minutes, the contents of the 40 foot container were unloaded and organized into the storage facility at Shaloam. The smiles on the faces of the workers were life changing! Gurneys, Exam Tables, Incubators, Cribs, Consumable Supplies, Diapers, Wheelchairs, Crutches, and on and on. The blessing of this container will touch many, many lives, and serve as a very tangible demonstration of the hands and feet of Christ in action! Thank you to everyone who took part in this ministry. Watch for an upcoming video on this in the near future!
Well, it is Sunday afternoon and the sun is setting over the western skyline of Manila. Thank you so very much to each and every one of you who have faithfully, prayed, paid, encouraged, sacrificed and partnered with us here in ministry. It takes a team to do mission! No one person or couple could do it on their own. We are able to be here because you are there, and together great things are happening for the Kingdom!
May God bless each of you, your families and ministries, in the days ahead.
Yours and His for the harvest,
Todd and Connie Lou