As we finish up our first week Down Under, our heads are full with all the information that has been given to us in the meetings with various leaders and department heads.
We are thankful for jet-lag that has helped us to wake early in the mornings so that we can get a lot more reading done before we head to the MAF Cairns Office for each day’s meetings.
On Monday we met our colleagues VP and Nirmala on our trip to visit the Mareeba site. We are so excited to be working with them in this capacity.
We have a nice apartment in a complex owned jointly by MAF and SIL missions. It is located just north of Cairns by a few miles. We are doing training here while we await the finalization of our entry permits and visas. It is a 3-step process. 1) Work permit, 2) Entry Permit, 3) Visa.
Our Work permit was granted last week (we had applied in June) and we immediately made application for the Entry Permit.
Connie’s passport was getting low on pages so we also had to apply for a new passport through the embassy in Sydney, and it should be back the last week of August.
Also for the finalization of the Visas / Entry Permit process.
We start language school on Monday and this last through about the 3rd week of September.
Thank you for partnering with us in prayer! We know that God hears and answers your prayers and we so appreciate your willingness to lift us and this new ministry in which He has placed us to the Father.
MAF has just added a new profile bio for us! You can view it here:
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
Our work weeks are busy, quite busy! But if you know Todd, you already know that!
No matter what job he has, he does it with his whole heart and works hard at it no matter whether its scrubbing floors, or working as the Regional Communication Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Region along with all the other hats he wears.
Our weekends…… are even busier!
This past Saturday saw us at the race track for the Diamond Motor Supercross 2017 event! Todd helps the medics, from his perch at the highest point on the track so he can see when a rider goes down and he can go running! I position myself in various places to get great action photos! But it typically starts earlier in the morning with set up and various activities, all the while looking for opportunities to share with the riders or pray with them before they gear up and start practice.
Saturday we woke to a downpour. Our hearts sank as we thought of a muddy track, which always means more accidents, as it can be so slick when it is wet. The rain did stop after a few hours, and since the official practice time was not till late morning, the puddles had pretty well soaked in. By the actual start of the event, the track was perfect! God is so good! There were a few accidents and Todd got a lot of running in to get to them quickly to assess them, but no one had to go to the hospital! That is a big praise in this sport.
I got some great shots of great races! (Click here to see) Trying to get the majority of the shots with the sponsor signs in them for promotion. 🙂 There is nothing like the thrill of plunking yourself right in the center of the track with racing dirt bikes all around you and just turning and shooting all day long!
Then, in the evening, as Todd stayed to help clean up all the tables and chairs and trash…… I went home to start editing and posting. That is a much longer process than just spending the whole day taking photos! I started working on them again on Monday after work hours, and I finished up the last batch about 9:00pm Monday night.
Then into Sunday! Race track Tent Church in the morning, including interaction with riders and family members for a few hours and then race home, take a shower to get the dust off, swallow something to keep us going and off we go to the Makati church! Ending up back at the house around 9:30pm! What a whirlwind weekend, but what a full heart we have as we reflect on all that God has allowed us to be involved with, the new connections made and the lives that we continue to witness being transformed by the love of Jesus!
What is your idea of the perfect home? Perfect place to live? Perfect job? Perfect relationship?
We may have our ideas of what the perfect life looks like, the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect place…. But living day-to-day following the flow of the Spirit is ultimately so much more fulfilling and refreshing than anything we could possibly do on our own.
Throughout our lives, we have lived in many different places, in varying degrees of conditions, different lifestyles etc….. but as we reflect back, the most fulfilling times in our lives, have been when we were in places that were not comfortable, and quite often not what we had planned for ourselves. Typically at that moment, we may not have seen the bigger picture, but looking back, we can see how God moved in and through and how that event or time made an impact on our lives, our ministry and our outlook.
Living daily, often moment-by-moment going where the Spirit flows takes a conscious effort to think outside of the box. Looking beyond the situations we face at any given moment, to what God might want to teach us through what is going on in our lives. It is in this place that we find fulfillment and purpose.
When we came to Manila to serve as the Regional Communications Coordinator and wife, we never dreamed we would be a part of an out-of-the-box organic church plant at a motocross racetrack on Sunday mornings. We never dreamed that we would don the gear and get on a dirt bike and take a few lessons. But as we came alongside a young pastor who was feeling the tug of God in his heart, to leave the comfort of an associate pastor position in a large church, this is where we found ourselves.
The people we meet on a weekly basis, the lives we are fortunate to share with on a daily basis, have been a blessing to us in a way that we never could have foreseen. Stepping away from the traditional church on Sunday mornings, with the singing and the order of worship that we were used to, was not an easy decision to make. We had to look beyond our comfort and what we were familiar with, to what God had for us. The doors He was opening for us to walk through. And after a while, this has become the new normal and we love it!
We continue to see lives changed or refocused, marriages strengthened and families united. We see others putting their faith in God and not in themselves, or their circumstances. This is where the real blessings come in! As we see what God is doing in and through them, our faith is bolstered and we eagerly seek what God has for us next! We expect to hear the Holy Spirit prompt us daily; urging us to speak to someone, giving us an open door to walk through and with each encounter, our faith is strengthened.
Life is not just a bed of roses, there are a few thorns in there, but we choose to look past the thorns, to see the beauty of what God is creating. There are days when the rain is pouring and we are at the track in the mud and yuck and only a few show up and we wonder, “What in the world we are doing?” There are days where nothing seems to click and the traffic is bad and we are late and we just can’t seem to catch a break. But as we continue to focus on the Lord at the start of every day, spending time in prayer and reading the Word, we refocus on the bigger picture. We see the opportunities God places before us and the relationships He brings along that are not only for us to share with others, but to encourage us as well.
As you look at your life, where God has placed you and the skills, passions, abilities, and life experiences that God has put in your hands to serve Him, may you sense where the Spirit is flowing and follow, keeping your eyes on the Lord and daily spending time in the Word. You will be blessed and life will never again be the same!
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.
We believe that God has given each and every person a gift or talent that they are passionate about and that He designed for us to use that gift or talent to share our testimony with others.
The Lord asks Moses, “What is in your hand?” in Exodus 4:2
Moses had a staff in his hand, which was common for a shepherd. The Lord asked him to throw it on the ground and when he obeyed and threw it down, that is when it was used by God to get his attention and the attention of everyone who saw it. God intended for Moses to use what was in his hand as an opportunity for him to show how great God was and to lead God’s people out of Egypt
As we traveled across the USA speaking at the Work and Witness Conferences and at various churches and other venues over the month of September, we challenged young and old alike to look at what was in their hands and to pray about how God would like to use that as a means to share the love of Jesus with others.
Sam, a former motocross champion in the Philippines, uses that passion for dirt bikes to teach others how to race professionally, and as he shares his experience as a champion with them, he also shares his testimony and introduces them to Jesus.
We have heard from several people who are recognizing that it is not only big things that can be shared, but the mop handle in Rebecca’s hand can be a means of an opportunity for her to share with her co-workers, to lend a listening ear and to share the hope that she has found in Jesus. You can read her story here.
As we ask the Spirit to lead us where our trust is without borders, and to let us walk on the waters, wherever God calls us, our faith will be made stronger in His presence.
In our morning devotions with the WMC Team, we discussed this theme and some new insights came out. One is the idea of complete trust in the miracle God will do through us. It took Moses a little longer to accept that God would work through him. God had to do something physically to him – the leprous hand and the restoring of his hand before he actually accepted God’s call to use what was in his hand. And as we talked about throwing down what is in our hands, we discussed that it is in the stepping out in faith and using those gifts that God has given us that we will see Him using it. And it might turn into a snake and we me might not understand why that is, but we need to trust Him for the outcome, knowing it is for His glory not our own.We had ballers made that said Passion + Purpose and What’s In Your Hands? The “+” between Passion + Purpose is a Red CROSS. To remind us that it is using our passions for God’s purpose. We gave the ballers out at the different venues as a reminder to use what God has put in their hands to share their testimony and to introduce others to Him. They were a huge hit with young and old alike as they looked at what God had placed in their hands. We have enjoyed seeing posts on social media from across the globe of people sharing how they are using their passions as a platform to share the love of Jesus with others. If you would like to post your story, please use #WhatsInYourHands2016 so we can track it!
We contacted the company wristbandbros.com and told them of the success of the ballers and they are offering a 10% discount for our readers who use this code at checkout – TCAEB
If you would like to use our design, let us know and we would be happy to send you the layout.
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!
We believe that God has given each and every one of us a talent that He intended for us to use as a tool to tell others about Him. For a man named Sam, that talent is riding dirt bikes. A former Philippine National Professional Motocross Champion, Sam uses his love of the sport and his talent as not only a rider, but former champion to share Jesus with others.
Sam will be sharing along with Todd and I (Connie) at the Eastern and Northwest Work & Witness Conferences about how his father, an influential businessman, was impacted by a Work & Witness Team of corporate professionals that came to the Philippines and got down in the dirt and worked to build a church alongside the nationals. This prompted his father to take an inward look and stepping out in faith became a pastor, and eventually a DS as well.
Left for dead alongside the road in 1999 after a fatal accident that took the life of his father (coach/Nazarene Pastor/DS) (bus collided with the Team Yamaha vehicle) Sam committed to living life as a “second lifer” dedicated to being 100% sold out. God has used him to not only start a race ministry that was just recently featured on the Pilipinas Got Talent Franchise to millions of viewers (no exaggeration here), but also to pioneer an English service and Generation Congregation (GenCon) youth movement of training “Frontliners” to become disciple makers. He has gone to the skate parks and interacted with the “untouchables” several of whom are now licensed ministers. There are now 4 generations of leaders who are discipling leaders, the group has surpassed 200 youth.
Sam was asked to be a featured speaker for the Asia-Pacific Quadrennial Regional Conference in October of 2015, to share his vision and passion for reaching the lost in non-traditional manners. He has served on the board of trustees for one of our Nazarene Bible Colleges, has been instrumental in our Lay Ministries Training Programs, and as an ordained elder, is a very well respected member of the clergy here on the Philippine / Micronesia Field and across the Asia-Pacific Region.
Two years ago God prompted our hearts to come alongside Sam and his wife Faith in this unique ministry. Motocross was never our passion, but reaching people for Jesus is! We found that as we looked at what God had placed in our hands, the opportunities through this unique ministry, that God used and blessed our efforts.
Stepping outside of our comfort zone, we saw God step in and provide not only opportunities to share, but the words we needed for each encounter. Since that time, you will find us at the race track on Sunday mornings (motocross has now become our passion), talking with the riders, encouraging them, and true to form Connie will have her camera out taking photos of them practicing and sharing them on social media. As we share with them, we have the opportunity to share the love of Jesus as well.
Around 10:30 we huddle up with whoever is there to practice and we have church. Not your typical worship style, these guys are hot and sweaty and wearing all their gear. But God meets us there and lives are being transformed. Several come just for the Bible study even when they are not practicing, and some go get their wives and kids as well. Although this is not the type of church we grew up with, we wouldn’t want to be any place else!
To share God’s love through aviation and technology; seeing isolated people physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s name.