Hard to believe that a month has passed since we arrived in Cairns, Australia, to begin the orientation process with Mission Aviation Fellowship.
One of the key pieces to this journey has been obtaining the work permits and entry permits so that we can enter Papua New Guinea (PNG) in a proper manner. We have been working on gathering documents and submitting them since June.
On Friday evening we received the email we had been waiting for! “The entry permit approvals have been sent to the consulate in Cairns!” The last step in the process is to take our passports to the consulate and have them place the Visas in the passports. Lord willing we will be all set paperwork wise by Tuesday the 12th of September!
So..what’s next? We will finish our mission orientation here in Cairns on Friday, September 15th, and then be looking at the flight / logistics to get ourselves to Mt. Hagen, in the Highlands of PNG.
We’ll keep you posted – but did want to get this praise out to you! God is so very good! Everything in His timing! Thanks so much for your continued prayers and partnership!
Successful completion of the orientation time and wrap-up here in Cairns.
Political situation in Papua New Guinea
Personnel transitions in PNG. There are several new arrivals to the team. Praising God for the provisionment, but recognizing that there are certain stresses on the current team as us “newbies” arrive.
According to the dim glow emanating from the LCD screen in front of me, I am writing to you from 34,000 feet approximately 500 miles off the eastern coast of Australia.
What a whirlwind of activity the last few months have been. Packing up our home in the Philippines, preparing for the quadrennial General Assembly in Indianapolis (June), arriving in the States on May 5th, speaking across the nation from the West Coast to Ohio, officiating our Niece’s wedding in Central California, a family reunion in Idaho, a mission open house at Mission Aviation Headquarters in Nampa, taking EVERY opportunity to love on our kids and grand baby, and now…preparing to descend to a new chapter south of the equator!
Brunch with Family before heading to the airport.
Officiating our Niece and Nephew-in-Law’s (Elise and Igor) wedding.
Sharing Passion and Purpose at the SDMI Convention with my Brother Pastor Sam Tamayo!
Loving on our granddaughter.
A final family picture before heading to security.
We’re glad that the Lord has promised us, “He knows the plans He has for us,” because a year ago and even as late a today, I certainly wouldn’t have anticipated this plan!
Making sure we hit 50lbs each and not more!
Baggage Embargo – means unloading and re-packing.
On Thursday morning, we met at a local restaurant with our kids and parents for a late brunch and then headed to the Boise Airport to say our good byes. At the airport we were informed of a baggage embargo (limiting the number of checked bags allowed during this period of the year) and so we began the process of unpacking our action packers to turn 6 packers into 4.
Our prayer is always that we represent Christ well, regardless of the circumstances faced, and so thanking the counter agent for her understanding (as she processed our passports and tickets and gave us time to go and re-pack all of our bags) we started unloading in the lobby of the airport. The young counter agent was from Guam and we had shared our connection of living in Micronesia back in the 90s and how much we had loved Guam and the people there. There was a connection and I think she was amazed that we weren’t having a typical “passenger meltdown.”
About 25 minutes later, as we were repacking, the counter agent came up to us and said that she had worked with her supervisor, had pulled some strings, and that we were going to be able to send all 6 bags, and be charged no luggage fees for the extra two pieces! Connie was in tears of joy! So we re-packed a third time and sent the bags through. (Thank you to our girls and parents for helping us navigate this small hurdle!)
And then our flight was delayed…. Before we even said goodbye to family, we were informed that the smoke on the West Coast had snarled traffic in Seattle and that our flight was pushed back an hour, giving us just 9 minutes connection time in Seattle. Then pushed back again, and now we would be arriving after our connecting flight was to have departed.
I’ll tell you, technology is great! While we were sitting at the gate, we received an email from Delta alerting us that they had gone ahead and cancelled our reservations for today and re-booked us for Saturday, getting us into Cairns late Sunday night. Not what we wanted to hear…but at least we were informed (thank you Delta for doing a good job of keeping us informed!)
And so… quick keyboarding by desk agents, some more “strings pulled” a reroute through Salt Lake City, and rather than having to go home, come back and repeat the checkin, security, wait game a day later, we made it to LAX and are flying on our original international flight and will be landing in 57 minutes in Sydney. What did we gain? New friends and new connections with more people who will hear about what God is doing!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12
Connie and I rest in the assurance that He does have our plans in His hand. Our job is to remain patient and to look for the opportunities to be “Salt and Light” and to respond in a counter-cultural way…to respond with grace and peace regardless of what we are facing.
Then God can use us wherever we go. I just smiled in amazement once again as the desk agents came up and gave Connie a hug after closing the gate and leaving (while we stayed waiting patiently for our re-booked flight).
Thank you Lord for another day to serve! And thanks to each one of you who continue to pray and encourage us along this journey.
It is truly amazing how the Lord works. If you had told Connie and I that we would once again be serving on the front lines of missions through mission aviation, we would have smiled and told you, “that chapter in our lives has passed.” We so truly believed that it had…and then…
You know…that is one of the greatest statements when we are serving the Lord, “and then.” And then something that we never imagined happening…happens!
In October of 2016, we were contacted and asked to consider the Country Director position with Mission Aviation Fellowship in Papua New Guinea (follow this link for a more detailed review of the assignment). We turned down the idea as a “distraction.” We were very happy with our ministry on the Asia-Pacific Region and in Manila, and we didn’t see any need for change.
And then…a contact in December, and then again in January of 2017, finally got us to really thinking and praying about whether the Lord could be in this request. After discussions with our Regional Director and the Global Mission Director (Nazarene Missions) we were given the green light to pursue additional discussions with Mission Aviation Fellowship.
In February we travelled to visit the Mission Aviation Fellowship operations base in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea, met with the PNG National Board for MAF, and then visited the leadership / support team, office and facilities in Cairns and Mareeba, Australia. The trip was very enlightening and the Lord’s hand was evident.
Church service with some of the MAF team in Mt. Hagen.
Fresh day for a flight!
Praying for the delivery of the new Caravan from Mareeba to Papua New Guinea.
Todd checking out the Caravan at the MAF Mareeba base.
Todd and Stephen Charlesworth standing in the shade of the wings!
Checking out the Caravan at Mareeba, Australia.
Arriving at the MAF, Cairns, Australia office for meetings.
The rest has now become history! We returned to the U.S. and had a very heavy speaking schedule through May and June, finishing with the quadrennial General Assembly in Indianapolis, Indiana, the last two weeks of June.
Now it has been meetings, orientation, paperwork, finalizing details with the Nazarene Missions and working through the transition with our World Mission Communications Team.
The days are short! I (Todd) had the incredible opportunity of officiating my Niece’s wedding in Central California last week – what an honor and privilege. This next week we are spending a few days with family for a family reunion, having an open house / reception on Sunday, July 30th, (see this link for details) packing up our bags and heading to the new assignment on August 3rd.
Your prayers are greatly appreciated! Please pray for:
Wisdom as we make the necessary arrangements prior to our departure.
Family relationships and time together. It’s challenging when we spend so many months away from our biological family. We dearly love them and miss them greatly when we are apart.
The transition as we learn a new culture, language, and mission team. That God would give us sensitivity and wisdom way beyond ourselves as we learn our new roles and understand the ministry that He has called us to.
Resourcing. This is a partner-funded mission assignment. We truly believe that what God calls us to He will provision. This has been our experience for all of the years that we have been serving in missions. We just need to be faithful in praying for connections with those whom God is leading to partner with us in the very tangible area of finances.
So many of you have travelled this mission journey with us for many years, for than 26 now. We are so very thankful for your words of encouragement, prayers, and financial partnership. We couldn’t be on the field, crossing borders and barriers with the gospel, without you here praying and paying the price. THANK YOU!
We had a favorite verse that we shared in our publications back in 1991 when we first started our journey into Mission Aviation. We are proclaiming it once again as we close:
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12
Rest assured that we will be sending out more updates as we begin this new chapter….and be prepared for hearing the incredible stories of…. And Then God Showed Up!!!!
Prayer truly does make the difference! From the islands of Micronesia in 1992 to the islands of the Philippines in 2017, we have seen God answering prayers all along the journey. Many ask how they can partner with us – please – partner in prayer! Over the course of the next two months, our speaking and traveling schedule is very intense. Our prayer is that it will be more than just “speaking,” but that it will be “sharing” the message that God has for each church, group, convention, friend and family member.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
Well, it’s almost 9pm here in Asia on the night of Thanksgiving. It has been a full day – in the office, meetings, chapel service, ministering with team members, answering scores of email. Now the sun has settled brilliantly into the blue oceans on the western side of the Philippines, as it makes its way to bring Thanksgiving Day to North America. God is good!
I have stopped several times today and pondered how thankful we are. How thankful that God has given us one more day to serve.
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.
Psalm 95:1-7 (NIV)
Every day is truly a gift from Him. We thank God for the safety of travel over literally tens of thousands of miles by air, train, jeepney, bicycle, car, and foot. How many times have we narrowly avoided accidents? Through it all, God’s protective hand has been with us.
We thank God for allowing us to serve in many capacities. From sharing the story of missions and challenging others to use what God has placed in their hands; their time, talents, skills and passions… to sharing in house Bible studies, or traveling to different countries encouraging, sharing, and teaching.
Then there is the “outside of the box” ministry that we are so privileged to be a part of. Meeting at the motocross track each Sunday, sharing the word of God with those who might never enter the four walls of a traditional church.
We celebrate that on November 19th, we were able to recognize the Motocross Messiah Fairgrounds (MMF) fellowship. We are now a recognized organic church ministry!
But more than being recognized as a church, we are a faith community that is living out what it means to be the tangible hands and feet of Christ. To serve our brothers and sisters in their times of celebration as well as their times of greatest need.
One of our greatest blessings for which we are thankful – YOU! We are so blessed to have family, friends… faith communities literally around the world who lift us in prayer and partner with us in ministry. We are continually overwhelmed that you have allowed us to serve as your ambassadors here on the Asia-Pacific Region. This is an honor and privilege that we do not take lightly. We couldn’t be here without you there. Together we are making Kingdom impact.
Today, as you gather together as friends and family, sharing the goodness of our God and giving thanks, know that 15 hours away, across the international dateline, on the other side of the world, we are giving thanks and praying for you! Thank you for being such a vital part of our team!
May our Lord abundantly bless you and your family during this season of Thanksgiving.
It is rainy season in the Philippines! What does that mean…it RAINS and when it rains, it can be monsoonal! Such was the case yesterday (Sunday) at the Motocross Messiah Fairgrounds. The morning started out sunny with coaches and riders on the track, enjoying the freshness of a new day.
Then as 10:30am approached, the sky suddenly began to darken, the winds picked up to a force that had the dust pelting our eyes, and the rain started. It began as a sprinkle and as we gathered under the tent as we do each Sunday morning, the sprinkle turned into a downpour, that turned into torrents of rain, that were then whipped by the wind horizontally through our shelter that has only a roof and no side walls. While it may be the tropics, it had suddenly become cool and as Sam began to share the word, I looked down to see that my legs below the waist were soaked. Other riders were shivering and the thunder of rain and wind was making it next to impossible to hear Sam share.
I was frustrated to say the least. We had new riders there, first timers, and our whole purpose for being there, under a tent, in the dirt and dust, is to share the love and Word of God.
And then it happened…. God began to flood my mind with torrents of scripture, like the rain…
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (James 1:5-8)
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
“You of little faith,” Jesus replied, “why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it was perfectly calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey Him!” (Matthew 8:26-27)
And then I felt the Lord asking me… “Why haven’t you prayed… you preach it and teach it…exercise your faith!”
As Sam tried to speak over the sound of the rain hammering down against the roof of our shelter, I began to pray, “Lord, for the sake of those who are here for the first time, so that the power of Your Word may be proclaimed, please Lord, come against this rain.”
My eyes were closed as I was praying these words and suddenly there was a calm, I opened my eyes to see that the rush of wind had stopped and the torrents of rain ceased. There was nothing but a gentle sprinkle…and it remained that way for the duration of our morning service!
I was BLOWN away… but why should I have been… I serve the Lord that, “even the winds and the sea obey!” Lord I believe… Please God… help me with my unbelief… and He does… Time and time again!
We serve the Lord of all creation! We have access to a powerhouse through prayer that most of us barely even consider. Please… be encouraged… take your concerns to the Lord! These things that we ask in accordance to His will… He hears… and He Responds!
In just over 48 hours, Sam, Connie, and I will start our travel to the states for 18 days of speaking at the Regional Work and Witness Conferences on the East Coast, West Coast, and Central States. We will also be speaking at several churches and Northwest Nazarene University.
Please, commit to pray! Please commit to pray for safety of travel, health, pray for Sam’s precious wife, Faith, and twins who will remain in the Philippines, but most of all, that God would direct us to where he would have us, give us spiritual sensitivity to where he is at work, and give us the courage to obey in speaking and doing what he would have us to speak and do!
We believe that God has great things in store for the days ahead – we desperately need you to call upon the Lord and partner with us in Prayer!
I truly believe that far beyond the cultural challenges and language barriers, the most challenging aspects of serving overseas are those times when your family is hurting and they are there…and you are…well…not there, at least physically.
Many of you have been walking the journey with us for many years and you know that over the past couple of years, Connie’s brother and sister-in-law, Curt and Deanne Landreth, have been walking the journey of a very aggressive cancer. One that has proved resistant and resilient to about every medicine and treatment approach tried.
Earlier in July, Curt and Deanne left for Seattle to be close to the University of Washington Medical Center where Curt has been receiving an experimental treatment. Unfortunately, on July 8th, he was taken from their apartment to the hospital and admitted due to concerning medical conditions. He has not left the hospital since then.
When we work…we work. But…when we PRAY, God Works! – Max Lucado
You have prayed with us before and we are asking now that you take a moment and pray specifically and earnestly for the Lord to do a miracle in Curt’s life. While we don’t know what that miracle is going to look like, Curt loves the Lord, his faith is strong, but just like Moses in Exodus 17, Curt is growing weary. We are asking the Aarons and Hurs of today, to come alongside and lift up the arms of Curt and Deanne in focused prayer.
Pray that the allergic reactions would resolve.
That the Doctors would have wisdom with treatment protocols.
That Curt and Deanne would be strengthened physically, emotionally, spiritually.
That their faith and trust in the Lord would be clearly evident, and that they would be a beacon of light in the cancer treatment unit.
And of course…if God would will it…we are praying for a healing miracle that would be so profound that the medical community would have to proclaim that truly, there is a God!
We would also appreciate your prayers for Connie. I know that in the perfect world, she would like to be right there physically…but we know…that as we pray many times through the day for them…we are walking this road with them spiritually.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15 NIV.
Thank you for continuing to journey with us in prayer. We covet them more than you could know.
It’s Monday morning, following a weekend of tragedy. In addition to the multiple other atrocities happening across the Middle East, SE Asia, and the rest of the world, on our own home front, the media is aflame with the senseless murder of Christian artist Christina Grimmie and then what the news is calling, “the greatest mass shooting event in U.S. history.” What do we make of this. How do we respond? I opened the Word and began to ponder what the Lord would have to share. His Word is so timely. My reading program for this morning found me in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.
Praise to the God of All Comfort
“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NIV).
Lloyd John Ogilvie had some very insightful thoughts for this passage.
THERE IS A JOY TO BE experienced when we care deeply about people and their needs. This joy comes when we let our hearts mourn over the things which bring grief to the heart of God. When we are involved with God in caring for people, we are also recipients of God’s comfort.
The more we know of the person’s potential, the more we mourn over their failure in squandering life. When we know what life was meant to be, we ache for people to see it and experience it to the full. The mess people make of life is a source of mourning for us. What peace and power they could know!
We also mourn over what people do to one another. Our hearts ache when we see the news and observe the grotesque ways people hurt and destroy one another. We dare to get involved with the people in our lives and feel with them the pain of what other people have done. Discernment is a powerful gift to receive from the Holy Spirit. It enables us to see what is going on in our world and to feel the anguish of it. Comfort is God’s gift to those who share life this deeply with Him. Joy grows out of the realization that God is at work in people’s lives and calls us to communicate His love to them in spite of everything.
Today is a time when people, the ones that God made in His image, are hurting. The people whom God loved so much, that even while we were yet sinners, He sent His own son to reconcile us.
“7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7-9
Now is the time to comfort others with the same comfort that we have received.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It is Tuesday, May 10, we have found Connie’s favorite spot in any terminal, a place in the sun where she can be warmed. It’s hard to believe that 8 weeks of our lives have flown past at speeds that even make this pilot’s head dizzy, and we now find ourselves waiting for Delta Flight 167, that will launch us back to our home and family in the Asia-Pacific.
It has been an incredible 8 weeks, where we have touched and been touched by the lives of people in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and throughout the beautiful Canadian cities of Vancouver, Penticton, Nanaimo, and Victoria. New friends have been made and we have found once again that no matter where we travel, we find family in Christ!
As we flew from Boise to Seattle this morning, we reminisced at how many times we have packed our action packers with supplies and equipment, walked into terminals, sat at gates, and watched the monitors for the silent reminder that we were minutes away from yet another chapter in our lives.
This morning though, the fatigue of the weeks and the emotion of yet another departure, this time leaving our first Granddaughter behind, took its toll. As I write, I assume the role that I so eagerly and passionately accepted nearly 28 years ago, that of keeping watch over the love of my life, the friend of my youth, and my forever ministry partner. Who could have imagined when at the age of 9, rowing her around the ranch pond in my little wooden rowboat, that that would just be the beginning of many such journeys across much larger ponds. But why???
My ministry partner and brother Sam Tamayo, reminded me of why this past week when he posted 2 Chronicles 7:14“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
We have a story to tell… a message to share… that there is a living God! A God who loves us beyond measure, a God who loves us unconditionally. A God who sent his Son, that even while we were enemies of Him, He died for us! (Romans 5:10.) A God who is capable of bringing peace, reconciliation, and healing if we will, Humble ourselves, Pray, Seek His face and Turn from our wicked ways. In the midst of a world without peace, this is the message we must proclaim!
And so…the journey begins once again WITH PURPOSE! Even as Connie shared, through the tears of leaving baby Noortje behind, we must go. We must stand in the gap and be messengers, so that other babies, moms and dads, can experience this promised forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing.
Thank you for your continued prayers and partnership with us. The confidence and trust you have placed in us to be your ambassadors is humbling, a responsibility we don’t take lightly. May each of us remain faithful and may each of us look for opportunities to live our lives, wherever we are, WITH PURPOSE!
Where has the time gone? It is so hard to believe that we are just four days away from another spring speaking tour! On Thursday morning at 10:55am, Wednesday evening (N. America Time) we will, Lord willing, be climbing aboard our flight that will take us from Manila to Tokyo, to Seattle, and then on to Boise. We will pick up our car in Caldwell, Idaho, and then begin our drive north for the state of Washington. This spring will see us speaking at Faith Promise weekends, NMI Conventions, and mission services across the Pacific Northwest, Canada, NW Ohio, and Southern California.
Several of our dates are lacking specific details, as we have not yet received them. As soon as we do receive the information – it will be uploaded to the schedule.