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.
Please pray for Audrey Riggins as she will soon be undergoing a heart procedure in Manila, Philippines, to close a PDA (patent ductus arteriosus).
Audrey is the 17 month old daughter of fellow missionaries – Asia-Pacific Regional Finance Coordinator Scot and Jill Riggins, who live and serve in the Philippines.
She will have an echo (echocardiogram) on Friday, February 19 to determine the size of the PDA as well as if/how it is affecting her heart. If she is completely healthy, she will have a catheter procedure on Saturday, Feb. 20 to close the PDA.
Pray with us that:
She will be able to have the procedure without complications,
That her heart will be found to be healthy,
That her recovery will be quick.
The Riggins write, “We have had peace through this journey, and we are so thankful for the prayers of many. We have sensed them, been encouraged by them, and see that they are making a difference for us!”
We will keep you posted. There is definite power in prayer and your prayers are needed!
One of the primary responsibilities of the Regional Communications Coordinator (my job – Todd) is keeping the global church connected with what is happening in Missions on the Asia-Pacific Region. We have taken it a step further. Since I am so blessed to have a tremendous team working with me, we are wanting to provide updates from the mission work on every region! One of our interns, a graduate from Olivet Nazarene University, Rebecca Moisio, who has been working with us here in Manila since October of 2015, has been doing a tremendous job of putting together these news pieces. (Feature image is from the Myanmar District Assembly – another post will be coming about that trip!)
We have received the most tremendous early Christmas gift this year. Connie’s brother, Curt, who has been on a journey of battling cancer, a truly battle-for-life, sent the following message this morning…
I had my three month scan this week and for the first time ever, I’m officially in remission…
I am so grateful for your prayers and support and encouragement through this journey and I do not want to minimize our joy or appreciation. But I have friends who are not so fortunate as I am. One in particular that I went to Haiti with a couple years ago is now in hospice and I can’t imagine what her youngest son, who is my youngest son’s age, is going through. It is a bitter sweet place to be. I have, throughout these couple of years, felt a strong confidence that things would work out. Even the couple times when my oncologist implied that I should make sure my affairs were in order, I was not swayed to think things would be different than they are today. Maybe it is arrogance. Maybe it was faith. Maybe it isn’t over. But today, I just want to offer you my sincerest appreciation and share with you our good news.
No one will ever really know the depth of grace that Deanne has afforded me by being with me at every Dr appointment, every hospital stay, every retching session, Piling blankets on me and holding me while I shook with violent chills, jumping up multiple times in the night to get me a pill or a drink or change the towels from the drenching night sweats. And so much more I don’t even remember from the chemo fog. My kids, Nathan, Danielle & Shad, Mitchell & Heather, and Mac were so strong and helpful with chores around the house and patient with my chemo grumps and quietly helping to keep me comfortable and safe. My father Vernon, often came over to try and help around the farm, and many of you have done things like planting flowers in our front flower boxes while we were gone, placing little plastic army men all over the farm that I am still finding to this day…
I really cannot adequately express what all of your support has meant to me on this journey. To both of us. If I can ever reciprocate in any way, it would please me greatly.
We are worshiping the Lord this morning in song. “You are good, all the time, all the time, you are good!” You can imagine that we are celebrating in a tremendous way today!
Thank you all for your incredible prayers on behalf of Curt, Deanne, their family and ours. We truly couldn’t be here without you! We are so blessed to have such an incredible prayer team!
To share God’s love through aviation and technology; seeing isolated people physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s name.