Category Archives: Manila Udates

Urgent Call to Prayer…Will You Please Join Us?


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World Mission Communications Team Asia-Pacific (WMC-AP)  Praying each morning from 9-10am.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16 (NAS)  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NAS)

B-17 Bomber Picking up Flak
B-17 Bomber Picking up Flak

Our WMC-AP team has a saying, “When we are over the target we are going to pick up flak.”  Just like a bomber in war, when it is flying over friendly territory, the flight is usually smooth and quiet, but the minute it gets close to or “over the target,” the enemy starts to throw up all the “flak” (anti-aircraft fire) possible. 

For more than a year, we have not needed to see a doctor for anything, then in the last 2 weeks we have been to the doctor three times!  Connie with a shoulder problem, then a drop of bacteria filled water off the roof landed in her eye and caused a major, immediate, issue; back to the doctor.  Then followup on the shoulder involving a 20 mile drive, and a 30 minute doctor appointment, followed by a 30 minute physical therapy appointment, required more than 12 hours!   As Connie says, “this is what happens when you live in a city of 37 million people and all of them decide to get on the road at the same time!”  Add to this, two weeks of cyclical fevers for both of us, most likely a result of mosquito born viruses, and a kidney pain for me (Todd) that had me hurting with every movement…and we definitely feel like we have been picking up all sorts of Flak!  It seems that almost weekly we have been adding another family member to the CPL (Cancer Prayer List).

"Been praying for you. You are in need of covering I think."
“Been praying for you. You are in need of covering I think.”

One of our prayer and financial partners who has been with us for more than 40 years (was my childhood Sunday School Teacher) and who does not have email, just sent us a card saying, “Been praying for you. You are in need of covering I think.” Truer words were never spoken!  We understand it for what it is.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NAS).  

We just returned from a tremendous training trip to Indonesia.  Click here for story. God was present great things are happening. The Kingdom of God is being advanced.  WE ARE OVER THE TARGET!

WILL YOU PLEASE COMMIT TO PRAY!

  1. We can only be here because we have a partnership team back home who prays and pays the price.  One of our Team members, Dr. John (our family physician) has walked the road alongside us since our return to Asia.  He completed our physicals, treated me (Todd) when I came home with a serious stomach infection, treats our kids, Connie’s brother, and is absolutely a vital link in ministry.  He has provided us with his cell number, home number, email, and has encouraged us to call anytime day or night if we need help.   As a Christian doctor he is so much more…he is a healer!   Dr. John has battled a serious infection and has been hospitalized much of the past 3 months.  Many of you will remember we paused our Daughter’s wedding reception on June 15th, and prayed corporately for Dr. John.  While our team here in Manila has prayed daily, it’s time to CREATE A WAVE of prayer.  Will you please join us in daily praying for this vital team member?  Will you do more than pray, would you even consider fasting a meal?   Dr. John needs a breakthrough! Pray for his wife Shauna and his precious family as well.  
    Heading back across the ocean again...
    Heading back across the ocean again…
  2. In 4 days (Sept 3rd), Connie and I will head for the airport to begin one month of conventions, meetings, and speaking engagements across North America.  We will be attending three Regional Work and Witness Conferences, promoting the mission projects here on the Asia-Pacific Region.  This will find us in Maryland, Ohio,  Oregon, Idaho,  and the Northern Alabama District.  Pray for safety as we travel, and that God would lead us to the teams, churches and partners that he has for the Asia-Pacific Region.  (Speaking and Travel Schedule)
  3. Pray for Connie’s shoulder.  The doctor has told her that it is frozen and needs specific physical therapy.   Leaving in just three days, this is not possible.  He gave her targeted exercises and instructions – we need healing.
  4. Pray for our family.  Within our close family we have several dealing with cancer.  It isn’t easy when you are across the world and want to be home walking the path with those you love.  Again…healing is needed.  We have another family member leaving today for yet another term defending the freedoms of our great nation.   We need prayer for his protection. 

We are not asking for an ice bucket challenge, or a gift of finances, we are asking simply for effective and fervent prayer!  We are definitely in need of covering.  In our years of mission service we have seen that God Answers Prayer!  Time and time again!   

Will you please be part of the answer by PRAYING!

 

The Whirlwind trip from Manila to the U.S. and back…thanks for “praying” the way!


What a whirlwind trip we have had since we left the Philippines on May 8th, landing in Los Angeles, California, with a lot of luggage, to meet with our LINKS District Churches. We were blessed by their kindness, friendship and love for us and our ministry!

Action Packers in L.A.
Luggage on the carts at LAX waiting for Todd to return with a rental car.

Then it was off to West Texas for two weeks of Deputation touring, getting acquainted with new friends and with family. Wide open spaces and warm friendly folks made this a very enjoyable time indeed!

Texas
West Texas landscape – a different kind of beauty!

And finally to Idaho just in time for our niece’s (Connie’s brother’s) wedding, followed with the marathon scramble to get ready for our daughter’s wedding the very next weekend!  But we did it!

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Our niece, Dani Lou, and her new husband Shad.

Communication responsibilities do not stop while we are stateside.  Keeping up with what was happening on our region while in the US was challenging, but we are so thankful that the Lord worked through the details to allow us to continue our ministry responsibilities while on the road.

Recording
Recording greetings for World Mission Broadcast wherever we happened to be when we received a request.  Here it was a motel in Wellington, Texas.

Many of you have been praying for my  (Connie’s) older brother Curtis as he has been battling cancer.  We were so pleased to see him looking great and feeling great at his daughter’s wedding! What a huge blessing from the Lord!  He continues to struggle with treatments, drug reactions, and the like, but his faith remains strong!  Your continued prayers for wisdom and healing are much appreciated.

Curt and Dani
Connie’s brother Curt, dancing with his daughter Danielle at her wedding reception.

Our daughter’s wedding was nearly perfect!  What a beautiful bride she was! We were so pleased on Father’s Day to welcome a new member to our family, Landen Ray Kelly, our daughter Courtney Jade’s new husband!

CJ and Landen

From ordering the linens, to prepping the food for the reception dinner, to folding napkins, and cleaning up, so many details to be covered in one short week, but with God’s help, and the help of friends and family, we pulled it off, and it was beautiful!

Reception

Once the kids were off on their honeymoon, we went to work returning the rented items and prepping for our own departure back to Manila.  We purchased a few items we cannot get here and packed the action packers, our preferred luggage for overseas travel.

Connie Lou and Action Packers
Connie Lou and the Action Packers

Being financially conscious, Todd found us tickets from Manila to Los Angeles at a greatly reduced rate.  We later realized that the reason for these significantly reduced tickets was that it was the long way around the world!  Instead of going East from Manila to L.A. we went West, passing through Dubai.  Although the Dubai airport is very beautiful, I do not recommend this route as it was quite a trip! Knowing what we were in for on the way home didn’t necessarily make it any easier!

The route we took from Los Angeles, California, to Dubai, passing close to the North Pole.
The route we took from Los Angeles, California, to Dubai, passing close to the North Pole.

We arrived in Manila to a tropical depression, which had significant rain that caused the drains in the terrace to back up, flooding our 2nd story living area.  The young man staying in our house for us had done a great job of mopping up most of the water before we arrived home, but the three of us ended up spending a couple more hours moving beds and furniture to reach the water that had puddled underneath them.  Thank goodness we have all tile floors with just a few small rugs at entrances.  Sorry, no pictures, we were too busy mopping!

We are glad to be home in Manila, fulfilling our calling to go and make Christlike disciples in the nations.  But that does not make it any easier to be away from our loved ones in the states.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we seek where God is working here in this region and we follow Him in every area of our ministry and personal lives.

Yours and His for the harvest,

Connie Lou and Todd Too!

Lord Willing, I will see him tonight!


????????Lord Willing, I will see you in a few days…….  My grandmother used to tag that “Lord Willing” on to things she said quite often.  I never really understood it fully until now.  I knew about God’s will for our lives and The Lord’s Prayer…. Thy Will be done….. but it never really hit home until recently. 

Todd and I have been missionaries for a good part of our 25 year of marriage.  We have been through hemorrhagic Dengue Fever outbreaks in the Islands of the Pacific, civil wars in Africa, and all sorts of experiences that have given me a deeper understanding of the Will of God.  But this time is different.

We now live on the outskirts of Manila in the Philippines.  Not the place I chose to live, but God had this all planned out.  Shortly after we arrived, the disasters started.  Well, I should say that this area has always had Typhoons and such, but the disasters that have happened since we arrived have been on a much grander scale than in the recent past. 

2013-11-25 16.46.09With that, Todd has been down in the heart of the disasters on more than one occasion, “getting the story” as he is now the Communications Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Region for the Church of the Nazarene.  But if you know Todd, you will know that he does more than just “get the story.”  He is the kind of guy that lends a hand, no matter if it is in the office, or out in the midst of the devastation.  I often wonder when he comes home why there are so few photos on the camera he carries around.  Then I see photos that others have taken and there is Todd, in the middle of it all, with a shovel, a helping hand, or a listening ear.

With the Super Typhoon that recently ravaged the central area of the Philippines, he has been going back and forth “getting the story” and being an integral part of the strategic planning sessions and partnerships with other organizations.  A typical week in this month has been Todd flying down to Cebu and attending a meeting with a return ticket for two days later.  Then I get a phone call asking me to see if we can bump his ticket back another day or two.  Something has come up and he needs to go help. 

I understand this need to help and I am fine with him staying the extra time.  But it has gotten me thinking as I spend countless hours in prayer for him and the team.  We are here because God called us here to this place at this time and I believe for this purpose!  Those phone calls and texts that say he’ll see me tomorrow, or in a few days, doesn’t mean that I will see him tomorrow, or in a few days.  As I spend time in prayer, seeking what God has for me and us and our lives.  I have started saying “Lord Willing” as I close our conversations, say good-bye, and see you tomorrow. 

We will do what the Lord wants us to.  That is why we are here!  And if He wants Todd to stay a few extra days to help out, that is OK with me!  I am learning that His timing is much better than mine.  That He will help me get all of the tasks accomplished that need to be done with Todd gone.  I am continually amazed at what God can do with my time, when I consciously follow His plan and will for my day. 

Lord Willing, Todd will be home tonight, but if I get that phone call or text….I know it will work out just fine!

Heaviest rains in recorded history hit Manila! Over 1 inch per hour falls on Sunday alone.


Over 600,000 affected by the monsoonal rains that have fallen now for 3 straight days.
Over 600,000 affected by the monsoonal rains that have fallen now for 3 straight days.

This has been an absolutely crazy week of events.  Typhoon Labuyo in the Northern Philippines, the Ferry Disaster in the Central Philippines, and now the heaviest recorded rain in history is falling in Manila.

Heavy Monsoon rains have continued to pound the Philippines for the third straight day as officials report that more than 60% of the capitol, Manila, is submerged.   Enhanced by Tropical Storm Maring (Trami), which is hovering just to the north of the Philippines, rainfall has exceeded any previous storm in recorded history.  Prior to this week, the heaviest recorded rainfall was in 2009 when Typhoon Ketsana dropped 455 mm of rain in 24 hours.  By comparison, rainfall reached 600 mm (23.62 inches) in and around Manila Bay on Sunday alone.  This is more than a month’s worth of rain in one day.

More than 200 evacuation centers were opened in Manila and surrounding provinces, filled with tens of thousands of People. Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said that more than 600,000 people have been affected by the floods.   At least seven people have died, including four who drowned north of Manila on Monday.  So far today there have been no new reports of fatalities.

The government has suspended all work except for rescue and disaster response for a second day.   Many domestic and international flights at the International Airport in Manila were cancelled.

Please pray for the people of the Philippines and for the Nazarene families impacted.   At this early stage, we do not yet have information on the extent of flooding and losses for our churches and church families.   Tropical Storm Maring (Trami) is forecast to move out of the area towards Taiwan by Wednesday and the rain is expected to taper over the next 24 hours.

This flooding comes on the heels of Typhoon Labuyo that made landfall in the Northern Philippines last Monday.  Nazarene Disaster Response in partnership with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries provided relief supplies to Nazarene Families impacted by that storm.

Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary is situated on higher ground to the east of Manila and has been spared significant flooding, although staff, students, and faculty, are in their second day of no classes as a result of the weather.

 Photos from Associated Press

Please continue to pray for our Nazarene families and churches as they deal with yet another major weather event in only 8 days.

Work and Witness, Discipleship, Wind, Rain (no fire), but Typhoons! A week in the Philippines!


It has been quite a week here in the Philippines!  We have had the opportunity of  helping  host a Work and Witness team this past week, where Connie has been cooking many of the meals.   This has been a good distraction from our empty apartment now that Courtney is back in the states.  We thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to share with the team and to make new friends.  They were a great bunch of folks!

Work and Witness team from Michigan.
Work and Witness team from Michigan.

Speaking of Courtney, she has arrived safely and has already been blessed with a job at the Boys and Girls Club in Lewiston.  She received word of the job while she was here in the Philippines, completed her application, sent it in, and told them that she would be back to interview as soon as she returned to the states.  She starts work this next week.  God is so very good!

Preparing bags of rice for disaster response.
Preparing bags of rice for disaster response.

After Typhoon Labuyo (Utor) rolled through, we were able to help out the Philippine Field Office as they prepared over 120 sacks of rice to go to Nazarene families who were displaced by the storm, which hit hardest in the Northern Province of Isabella. Nazarene Disaster Response is delivering the supplies this week.

Today we received news that our house may be ready for us to move in next week.  Connie is really looking forward to having a place to start settling into and calling home.  The house is located approximately 3/4 mile away as the bird flies, but anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 hours depending on traffic and the routing that must be taken.

Speaking of traffic…we went to the edge of the Manila Bay yesterday to the convention center at the Mall of Asia.  One of the World Missions Communications team members (Ervz) was teaching a workshop and we wanted to support him.  The distance from the seminary to the convention center is 13.6 miles.  It took just over 2 hours to get there and 2 hours 55 minutes to get home.  There were no accidents, no flooded streets, just normal Manila traffic.  Let’s see…that is about 5.44 miles per hour.  Anyone up for a race?  I am not sure how many times I clutched for jeepneys, trucks, busses, motorcycles, cars, pedestrians, but it was definitely a workout!

Oh…and a couple more final photos of the WMC-AP team.  They truly love to have fun together!

Some of the WMC-AP Team
Some of the WMC-AP Team
Celebrating Sean's Birthday.
Celebrating Sean’s Birthday.

On a very sad note…new reports are coming in today of a very serious ferry accident that occurred last night.  A ferry and cargo ship collided in the area of Cebu, Southern Philippines.   Many confirmed fatalities and around 200 missing.  The ferry sank within minutes of the impact.  As it was at night, many of the passengers were asleep inside.

Volunteer search water near where accident occurred.  Damage to front of cargo ship can be seen.
Volunteers search water near where accident occurred. Damage to the front of the cargo ship can be seen.

Official news coverage of the accident

Check out the Asia-Pacific Regional website for more news and photos of the week.

Typhoon Labuyo Impacts Many Nazarene Families


Manila receives heavy rain from Typhoon Labuyo (Utor)
Manila receives heavy rain from Typhoon Labuyo (Utor)

We have been providing updates on our Asia-Pacific Nazarene website.  Over 120 Nazarene families have been impacted.  Typhoon Labuyo made landfall in the Philippines on Monday morning, August 12th with winds in excess of 125 mph.  Please see the website for updates.  Your prayers are appreciated.

You can sign up for prayer updates and other Asia-Pacific Regional News here.

Let the Little Children Come to Me…


July 31st, 2013, Taytay Rizal, Rowenas Community, outskirts of Manila, Philippines. Jesus however said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them; for it is to those who are childlike that the Kingdom of the Heavens belongs.”  Matthew 19:14

Photo by Courtney Aebischer
Photo by Courtney Aebischer

As a family, we are still processing what we experienced this afternoon as we made our way to the Rowenas Community Development Project, an initiative of Dr. Kwon and students from APNTS (Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary) in conjunction with Child Sponsorship and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries.

Along a small creek, homes  are literally stacked one on top of the other.  Blue hoses (a Work and Witness Project) deliver drinking water to one out of every 5 homes. 

The project, now in its third year, has provided a small pharmacy, public restrooms, a school for younger children, and community health training, focusing on Dengue Fever awareness and vaccinations.

Community Restrooms, Pharmacy, and Outpost
Community Restrooms, Pharmacy, and Outpost

The greatest provision to this community is the hope that comes through the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  A church has been planted and organized with between 100-150 regular attenders.

The Rowenas Community Center and Church of the Nazarene
The Rowenas Community Center and Church of the Nazarene

As we walked the paths that wound their way along the creek and around the homes, I was overwhelmed with the need, but also with the spirit of those whom we found along those paths.  115 children are sponsored through Child Sponsorship in this one program.   I will be featuring it in a news article in the coming weeks…but had to share this evening what we had experienced today.

These Children are precious in His Site (Photo by Courtney Aebischer)
These Children are precious in His sight (Photo by Courtney Aebischer)

Here is a photo summary of our last couple of days.


Sun Rising over Campus at APNTS Manila
Sun Rising over Campus at APNTS Manila

Taytay, Rizal (Manila), Sunday July 21st, 2013, 3:30pm. The last couple of days have seen meetings, trips to the shopping center (mall) as we purchase food, bottled water, cleaning supplies, and other essentials, as well as a great day of worship at Taytay Church of the Nazarene, located about 1/2 mile from the APNTS campus. Taytay is a great church with many awesome ministries. Pastor Sam preached this morning on responding to God’s call, and what it means to first be called to Him, and then be called to mission, wherever that might be. It was truly a fitting message for our first Sunday in a new country on a new assignment.

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Arrived in Manila to an AWESOME welcome by the team!


Friday, June 19th, 12:18pm Manila Time (That is for you Mom Landreth 🙂  )  We arrived yesterday afternoon and God truly blessed all of the details.  All of our action packers arrived safely, immigration went very smoothly, and we cleared customs without any problems.  Pastor Elmo and Tata were waiting at the arrival area with the vans, and after some heavy traffic, we arrived at Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary.  God was truly in all of the details.  We did find out that Courtney’s return date was just one day longer than a standard tourist visa, so this will cost an additional $75.00, but that was the only glitch.

We were welcomed with open arms by our team – such a tremendous blessing.  The apartment was furnished, counters stocked with some food to get us going, and even a great welcome sign on the wall.   This is the rainy season, so the temperatures are warm and the atmosphere is very muggy.  It immediately reminded us of our years in Yap, Micronesia.   The air conditioning unit was down, so it truly was like home in the islands, where power was so expensive that we didn’t even have AC.   We made it to bed with some cold showers and fans blowing.

The jet lag did catch up with me.  I (Todd) awoke at 12:00am local time (10:00am Mountain Time) and was wide awake until about  5:00am local time.  We all discussed that we were only going to “think” in local Manila time.  Unfortunately our bodies didn’t get the message.  It did though, afford me the opportunity to get into Lee Strobels, “Case for Faith” which I have been wanting to read for quite some time.

This morning in the office, we started out with team devotions at 9:00am, and then moved into a meeting with Dr. Bill Kwon and Grace Tia (manager of World Mission Communications – Asia Pacific).  It was a good initial orientation into what lies ahead.   I am 100% assured now that it is only by God’s grace and strength that we will be able to accomplish the task that is set ahead of us.

Final note…went out to start the car, battery dead.  Looks like I will get to start mechanic work the very first day here.  Glad I threw some tools into our action packers!

Thanks for your continued prayers and encouragement,

Yours and His,
Todd

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World Mission Communications Team with a welcome sign in our office.  They had a similar sign in our apartment!  Such a great family!

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Dr. Kwon’s daughter – the youngest member of the welcoming team.

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The team enjoying snacks from Cabela’s…had to bring a little Idaho with us to share!

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Posted from Todd while traveling.