Category Archives: Current News

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

 

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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

Wow…we had a TREMENDOUS time on the L.A. District…now Texas!

Bishop Mtn - AtascaderoWhere has the time gone?  We have been flying low and fast across the Los Angeles District, meeting incredible people, having great services, and even scheduling in a little bit of exercise!  We have been so very blessed!

Can’t even begin to thank the churches and families for the outpouring of hospitality, kindness, prayers, partnership, and of course…food!

We had no idea that someone would be at the LAX airport to meet us, but God has brought such incredible friends and family into our lives over the years!  The Millers, long time partners in ministry (they are family now), showed up at the curb as Connie was waiting for me to pick up the rental car!  Great time of reunion and dinner together, then we were off and running. Thanks guys for making the arrival special!

Connie speaking to the kids at Ridgecrest.
Connie doing Bible Trekking with the kids at Ridgecrest.

We arrived for our first meeting in Ridgecrest  and then were back down the east side of the Sierras and over to the coast to meet with the Oxnard Church of the Nazarene and retired Navy Captain Edna Peters, a career Naval nurse, who shared her home with us.   Quite to our surprise, Ann Baldwin from Kansas City was in the area visiting her mother for Mother’s Day and arrived at the service with a great goody bag of supplies for the trip!  Ann…we munched on that survival pack for the entire trip, as many times we missed meals racing back and forth across the district – Thank You!

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The Cardnal Village Resort in Bishop – what a great place for a pause!

Then from Oxnard it was back up to Bishop where we had a great evening dinner and service with the church family and made a new soul mate in retired police officer and pilot Ray Miklaucic, who shared his home with us – thanks Ray!

And then, what a fantastic surprise the Bishop church gave us!  A night at the Cardinal Village Resort in Bishop with the Cluff Family.  This was truly a godsend as we were able to recoup for about 20 hours.  Jet lag was starting to take its toll!  Thanks Bishop!

From Bishop it was down to Valley View Church at Lancaster where we had about standing room only in the fellowship hall for the dinner and meeting!  That night we stayed with Bong and Lhileth Balaton and Christian, Ethan, and Noah…what a great time of fun and playing with the boys!  Thanks Balatons for sharing your home.

Back to the Coast to Camarillo we went where again, the fellowship hall was packed out and we had a fantastic evening service, dinner, and morning breakfast.  We left encouraged with full tummys!

???We then took a day at the University of Southern California where our niece was commissioned into the air force as a nurse and 2nd Lieutenant!  Way to go Elise.  What a great time with family that drove down from Idaho for this special day.

 

 

Lone Pine, Gateway to Mount Whitney!
Lone Pine, Gateway to Mount Whitney!

Back up the old 395 / 14 highways we went along the Eastern Sierras to Lone Pine for a great Saturday morning breakfast with the church.

Thanks Santa Monica Church Family!
Thanks Santa Monica Church Family!

We then loaded up and headed down the 395 / 14 corridor again and out to the coast to Santa Monica to share dinner with Emery and Elaine Pankratz and then a great Sunday morning Service for our second visit with the Santa Monica Church Family.

 

Hiking Bishop Mountain with the Dove Creek / Atascadero Church Family!
Hiking Bishop Mountain with the Dove Creek / Atascadero Church Family!

Then with the finish line in site, it was 4 hours up the coast to Atascadero where we had a prime rib and baked potato dinner that was second to none, followed by an exciting final L.A. District mission service.  District NMI President Debra Hamrick drove up for the service and we all had a great time.

As a final farewell, we put on our hiking boots, packed up our granola bars, and hiked Bishop Mountain with several of our new friends from Dove Creek / Atascadero.  Thanks Pastor Wes and team for making this outdoor adventure a possibility.  Just what the doctor ordered.

Oh…and what about the t-shirts?  Well they have been literally flying out of our suitcases and then at Dove Creek, Debra and Wes offered to help us out by taking around 100 to the L.A. District Assembly to help promote missions on the Asia-Pacific Region!  Thanks so much guys!

We became very familiar with the beautiful Sierras of California!
We became very familiar with the beautiful Sierras of California!

We are praising God for the great services and 2,203 miles safely traveled across the L.A. District!  Thanks to everyone who made this such a great tour!

And today…we are writing from the quiet town of Nocona, Texas.  Our flight from L.A. to Dallas / Fort Worth went very smoothly, we were picked up at the airport by Ron and Jackie Miner, they graciously loaned us a car, and now we are off and running again for the next couple of weeks here in West Texas.  Better buy some boots!Nocona Tx

 

Where has the time gone? Packing up…preparing to go!

Cmprsd Prayer CardWow…where has the time gone?  The countdown timer on my computer screen says 1 day, 7 hours, 21 minutes, left before we need to have final details completed, banners printed, prayer cards finished, suitcases packed, and be stepping on the plane for our stateside speaking schedule and niece’s and daughter’s weddings!

Jeepney (Public Transportation) here in the Philippines
Jeepney (Public Transportation) here in the Philippines

Sometimes my head spins with the sense of urgency…but I often reflect…do I have the same sense of urgency for the things of God?  We have been talking a lot about this lately as a team.  Keep the “main thing” the “main thing.”  That of touching lives, seeing the people around us, and being the tangible love of Christ to those we meet.  Whether that be at the gas station, in the office, on the street, in the jeepney (public transport) or wherever.  We need to always be looking for opportunities to be Missional!

Connie and I are working hard, even in the midst of the hustle and bustle, to take time to remember:

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Back to packing the bags…we are headed your way and looking forward to sharing the great things that God is doing here in Asia!

Mission Control…Countdown has been initiated! Prepare Home Assignment Launch Sequence!

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Ok…it may not be quite that dramatic…but we are definitely in the countdown to sharing the incredible stories of what God is doing on the Asia-Pacific Region through missions.   Here is our latest teaser video.  Share it with your churches, share it with your friends, then find the closest service and time to you…mark your calendar…come and be blessed!  We are looking forward to being with you in just a few short weeks!

 

Click on the picture or here to watch the great Trailer Video!

Click here for a download link to save the file for uninterrupted showing as promotion during service.   (Unfortunately the server, hosted in Orem, Utah, is down at the moment, we will alert you when it is back up and the video can be downloaded).

God can do all things through me!

It is amazing how when we are at a point where we physically have nothing left to give, God steps in and uses us in ways we didn’t think were possible to accomplish His will not only in our lives, but to bless others through us.

Awards
Passing out Awards at the Kids International Learning Academy (KILA) Moving Up Ceremony before I spoke
This had been a tough week in so many ways, with Todd traveling yet again and the responsibilities we have on the region with the website and getting the news out with all the different deadlines and then there is the whole computer / internet to deal with that never seems to want to cooperate.
Interruptions in my day are innumerable, and yet each one is an important task or question, but takes my focus off of what I was trying to accomplish.
This is nothing new to any of you reading this. You are all as busy or busier than I am, but I wanted to share how God blessed me in the midst of my business, when I had nothing left to give, and showed me once again that He is in control and I really can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!

working on ATR
Working on the Around The Region (ATR) eNewsletter
After a very long work week with Todd out-of-town for most of it, I was working on the ATR. It typically takes me a good part of the day to get all the stories in there and all the links checked and ready to release. Well, Friday morning, I only had two stories, and a poor internet connection to get the additional needed stories from Todd who was in Myanmar. I was hoping to finish early as I was supposed to speak for the Kids International Learning Academy Moving Up Day Celebration the next day and since I am not a speaker, I wanted to have lots of time to practice. Needless to say, I did not finish early; in fact it was a 14 hour day in the office. I went home and tried to sleep a few hours, but had many interruptions to my sleep with other things that were equally important. I got up early and had my morning Bible reading and devotion time. I did not feel well prepared! I wrote out what I would say one more time, to help it stick in my brain and headed out the door.
 I was on my feet in high heels for almost 2 hours, on the stage helping pass out certificates and awards. God blessed and I made the speech. About ½ way through it, I looked up at a theater full of people of every different faith, and I was telling stories about Joseph and his dreams and his choices to do his best and then about my daughter with her surgery and the sign on her wall “Don’t tell God how big your Storm is, Tell your Storm how big your God is!” Stormand I took my eyes off of Jesus for a split second and thought –“what in the world am I doing here?” and I started to sink! And then I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me – to keep my eyes on Jesus, as it wasn’t me speaking – but Jesus through me! I finished and sat down. It wasn’t a great speech, I know that. But I do believe it was what someone in that audience needed to hear!
Later that evening, I was exhausted and was eating some dinner, by myself, as Todd was still gone. I received a text asking me to prepare a song for the following day. I replied and said “sorry, I am physically and emotionally exhausted and I can’t.” Immediately I was convicted. I felt the Lord say – “That is right – you can’t, but my Grace is sufficient for you – and through me – you can.” So I sent another text and said I would do it. I also had the song It is well with my soul running through my head, so told him I would be singing that song. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to release that and recognize that I can’t do anything – but God can do all things through me!

Singing
Singing at Antipolo First Church of the Nazarene (AFCN)
 It doesn’t matter what happened in my week, the stressful hours, the tiring hours, the feelings of inadequacy, and the feelings of being overwhelmed. I choose to keep my eyes on Him and It Is Well with My Soul! I will continue on in the strength of the Lord! I will continue to step out of the boat, keeping my eyes on Jesus, knowing I will drown if I take my eyes off of him for even a second! I will have peace, because He promised His peace, not as the world understands, but a pure abiding peace!

When you find out that God is all you have…you realize that He is truly all you need!

Jungle Airstrip In West Africa with "Friendlies"
Jungle Airstrip In West Africa with “Friendlies”

Over the years throughout our various ministry assignments, we have faced situations that have definitely “pushed the envelope” on our comfort zones.  Most people have!

Whether that was flying through the feeder bands of a typhoon with a medical evacuation patient while Connie was in a small village clinic giving birth to our daughter, or whether it was coordinating the evacuation  of 25 missionaries out of a city under rebel siege, five at a time with our small mission plane; we have more than once been granted the opportunity to place our trust entirely in God.

Perhaps I had become a bit comfortable…or perhaps God was needing to prepare me for what is yet to come.

Flying over the interior of Papua New Guinea
Flying over the interior of Papua New Guinea

I’m not sure, but during my recent trip to Papua New Guinea, one of those “situations” presented itself yet again.

Just getting oneself to Kudjip Nazarene Hospital in Papua New Guinea is no small feat. It requires juggling several flights, covering some of the most expensive air miles found anywhere in the world, landing at Port Moresby, taking a smaller plane to Mount Hagen, and then riding in a Toyota Land Cruiser for another hour over roads that some would consider less than smooth (editorial understatement here).

Some of the greatest guys you will meet!
Some of the greatest guys you will meet!

When you finally get there, you find some of the most gracious, committed, compassionate souls on earth.  Both expat mission personnel and nationals await with smiles, open arms, and generosity beyond measure.  They are a tight knit team…and given the situations they face on a regular basis…they need to be.

One night while eating dinner with Tim and Karla Deule, Global Serve Missionaries with the Church of the Nazarene, one of the other mission team members came knocking at the door.  “Todd, Connie has been trying to reach you, she just sent me a message, you need to get in touch with her as soon as possible.”   Those kinds of messages are seldom good news.  “Can you tell me anything else,” I asked.  Hesitantly and carefully, the team member said, “Your daughter is in the emergency room in Idaho and possibly has a blood clot in her lungs.”

My medical training kicked into overdrive.  Pulmonary embolisms (blood clot in the lung) are never something one hopes to experience.  My mind raced to the knowledge of a dear friend’s son who in his late 20s passed away of just such an issue, just a few years ago.  Then the pilot side of my brain kicked in plan A, Plan B, …what flights were there out of here…how would I get to Mt. Hagen, Port Moresby, Manila……

As I left Tim and Karla’s house to go find a way to connect with Connie for the whole story, the reality of the situation set in.  Me…whose top strengths include “arranger” could arrange nothing.  There could be very few more remote areas in the world from which to try and respond.  Limited phone, internet, travel…I was beyond my ability to fix it…and then the reality came that it wasn’t my job to fix it…it was my job to trust.

Peaceful Early Morning Sunrise, Dusin Mission Station, PNG
Peaceful Early Morning Sunrise, Dusin Mission Station, PNG

“Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again; Rejoice! Let our gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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

God provided in so many ways.  I am so thankful that He allowed me to be with some of the greatest brothers and sisters in Christ.  Thank you so much Kudjip family for gathering together and praying, encouraging, and believing.

Whatever your “situation” God is truly all you need…because He will provide what you need…when you need it (thanks honey…I have heard you say that many times).   He provided for Jess…as she is doing much better now…for Connie with peace in Manila…and for me…with peace and a team that took our daughter to the arms of our heavenly father in prayer when this earthly father was not able to “fix it.”

Thank you all for your continued prayers, encouragement, and commitment to being part of our team!

Trekking

Trekking = A trek is a long, adventurous journey undertaken on foot in areas where common means of transport are generally not available.

Todd pngWhile Todd was trekking through the highlands and valleys of Papua New Guinea, I was trekking through the Bible in the Philippines.  We each were having our own adventures, which opened our eyes to many new and wonderful things.

landrover in mudTodd has been traveling since the end of January through Papua New Guinea to see the work, film some stories and recruit writers for the Asia-Pacific Website.  He is now in Australia, and is touring the work there in several locations, doing much of the same thing.  He is getting to know the people, hear their heart for spreading the gospel and hopefully catching some of that on film!

???I attended a 4 day workshop held here on the APNTS campus with Ray Neu, Bible Trekking, and Woodie Stephens, Director SDMI.

With a great percentage of the population of our world not able to read for themselves, telling the stories of Jesus is the only way they will hear of Him.  The training was to help us not only tell the stories from the Bible in an interesting way, but to then facilitating the discussion to help the listener glean the truths from the story for themselves which will help them remember those truths they found and be able to tell the story to others.

???Our Media team here filmed the training for Ray and Woodie to use in helping train others.  Not only were those of us attending the training being blessed by what we were discovering in the stories, but the media team was also!   And they were putting the training they received while behind the cameras into action that week!

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of GMA Church

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Our special friends the Tia family

Today we had the privilege of celebrating the 30th Anniversary of GMA Church with our special friends the Tias.  As we drove to the church this morning, we realized very quickly that we were going to be delayed as the Barangay elections were in full swing and we encountered several marches with people walking, motor cycles, candidates on the front of Jeepneys with microphones doing last minute statements and even a marching band!

While it was very interesting to watch all of this, we had a schedule to keep!  NOT!  When you are stuck in traffic on a narrow road with parades and all, you just ease along with the traffic and hope you make it to your destination before the closing prayer!

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Communion with fellow believers
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Strategy Meeting after the service

We did make it in time for most of the sermon, as the DS who was speaking that day was coming from the same place we were, but luckily he had left before us.  We enjoyed the sermon and were blessed with partaking in communion with this wonderful group.  After the service, lunch was served and we enjoyed visiting with many people while we ate and we even fit in a quick meeting with the Field Strategy Coordinator before we left to head back home.  Luckily going home only took about an hour as apposed to the two hours it took to get there!

We didn’t make it to the house yet, we stopped at the office to take care of some last minute details for the conference that is starting tomorrow and found more details that needed to be taken care of, so we are doing what we do best!  Helping, communicating, and filling in the gaps.

Please pray for the leaders here and all those attending the conference from Korea.  Our prayer is that this conference would build unity among God’s people and that we would be sensitive to what God would say to each of us, as we meet together.

Please pray for our team here at WMC as we are trying to assist in whatever way we can to help them feel welcome and also are providing audio and video coverage along with anything that we find that needs to be done.

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A gift that each one received in celebration of the 30th Anniversary

Your thoughts and prayers throughout the day and night are what keeps us going.  Our favourite saying in the office is that we know we are over the target (meaning we know we are doing what God wants us to) because we are catching flack (the devil is working hard to make trouble for us.)

New Experiences; exciting, fun, challenging, necessary!

1st Tricycle Ride

My most memorable and most intimidating experience recently was to take a Tricycle (motorcycle with a side car) that stopped to pick up two other women from close to our house to the main road and then catch a loaded Jeepney from there to the office.  JeepneyIt wouldn’t be such a big deal except that I had to do it alone, as Todd was working with a medical team that came over and I also had to do it in a dress carrying my computer bag and purse and a jacket I would need in the WMC air-conditioned office!  I chose my wardrobe carefully, opting for the long flowing “broomstick” skirt that my Father-in-law calls my “missionary skirt” so that I would be well covered all the time.  I didn’t think about the fact that I would trip over it getting in and out as it was so long!  I had texted Grace in the office and she wrote back the Tagalog words that I would need and told me to have the exact amount ready so that I didn’t have to worry about getting change from them.   I made it to the office and was feeling quite proud of myself……so the devil frustrated me on the way home and I ended up walking the couple of Kilometers and caught a Tricycle up the main big hill in the subdivision and paid a lot for it!  What is that verse…..pride goeth before a fall…… you would think I would learn!

The reason I had to have the above new experience, is because the car we purchased broke down after we had the new experience of driving through a flooded area.  FloodingThe rain stared while we were out running an errand on Sunday late afternoon  and by the time we returned on the road we had started out on approximately 30-45 minutes later, the road was flooded, up to the bottom of the doors of our little Honda CRV. Getting an inch or two of rain in a 30 minute period is common here. There was no choice but to go with the flow of traffic through the flood water, other cars smaller than ours were going through.  We made it just fine (I took a video of it) and made it home praising the Lord the whole way!  The next morning when I went to drive Todd to the main road to meet up with the Medical Team at 5am, the car wouldn’t go into gear.  I got out and switched places with Todd, he thought I was just not doing it right – and still, it wouldn’t go into gear.   We have a mechanic coming to look at it Thursday morning.  Hopefully he will show up and we are praying he will be able to fix it quickly without costing too much.  I have been wishing I had that big ugly 4 wheel drive “Mystery Machine” Van we had in Africa! J That would have sailed right over the water – never even getting close to the underside of the vehicle!

Todd helping Medical Work and Witness TeamAnother new experiences was that Todd was able to go and help out with a medical team that was here.  They put him on triage and they saw 400-500 patients per clinic day!  That is a lot of sick/hurting people.  They had 3 docs with them from the Ukraine and Paramedics from the US.  They helped many patients, but there were some patients that the only help they could give was prayer, as they knew that the limited medicine they could give would not be enough to cure, only the Great Physician can help them and heal them. The prayers for them continued through the night and today each time they come to mind.  One does not experience that type of hurting without it having an impact on them.

We moved into our new house and are getting things worked out with the water tank on the roof that has to be monitored while filling between 9pm and 11pm each night.  To leaks in the pipes somewhere between the 3rd floor roof and the ground level.  When you pay dearly for every drop of water that is pumped in at that hour, you don’t want the water to just disappear.  Todd was able to work with the owners and they got a plumber in and thankfully found the main leak! That is after they tore up the tile in one of the bathrooms thinking the leak was there and not finding it and then starting to dig outside where they finally found a substantial leak and fixed it.Todd speaking at Bowling Tournament

One of the more fun new experiences was that Todd was asked to speak at the Annual Metro-Manila District Bowling Tournament.  He gave a 15 minute devotional with a challenge and then the fun began!  We didn’t bowl, we just visited with the people and enjoyed ourselves.  They had some serious bowlers and some very high scores!  There was a lot of laughter and great fellowship.  We were thankful to be a part of the event.