Category Archives: Praises

all about focus

As I sit in my tiny studio flat on this the 3rd day of self-isolation, I reflect back on our lives in ministry/missions across the globe.  This was prompted by a fb post I saw from one of the younger brothers of our twin sons who just lost his newborn baby. 

As I mourn with Louis and think about his loss and the way he became “one of my boys” and how many people there are across the world that are so precious to me it causes my heart to overflow with gratitude for all the amazing people God has placed in my life! 

I also am reflecting on different situations that we have lived through, such as the devastating Hemorrhagic Dengue Fever outbreak in the islands (flu like symptoms resulting in death within 24 hours of onset) where Todd was flying to the places and bringing these patients back with at that time, an unknown illness that we assumed might take his life as well and yet we knew God had called us there to help as best as we could.  And we trusted Him for the outcome

Then my mind drifted to the war in West Africa when 3 moms and 11 kids were evacuated to South Africa leaving all the Dads in the civil war zone to wind things up for the mission and houses, and then attempt to get out if they could…. The longest 3 weeks of my life as we waited, hoping to hear anything we could from the men…..trying to keep the homeschooling going with all 4 of our kids in our tiny apartment with the kids all sleeping on thin foam mats spread across the tiny living room. And how we as a family had a pow-wow and decided that we would do what we could to help the other two families, so the girls would go and wash dishes for the other families, or volunteer to feed the baby breakfast, and the boys would help babysit so I could take the other gals out for coffee to de-stress and have some adult conversations, and also have a safe place to voice their fears and then pray together.  Our kids look back on that time with fond memories because they didn’t just sit and feel sorry for themselves, they concentrated on others and they thrived through that time.  (yes there is still some ptsd from it all but the overall memories are good ones for our family)

Then my mind drifted to the Super Typhoon in the central Philippines where Todd was going down into the middle of the disaster zone repeatedly for over a month to assist with assessing the needs and relief efforts.  The World Mission Communication (WMC) team and I worked long hours, several times we would go home from the office well after midnight as we attempted to keep the global church informed of the situation, calling for prayer and also assistance to help the people with relief supplies and to rebuild.  And yet God….. gave us the strength we needed, the wisdom and insight and abilities throughout it all.

Now we are dealing with a global pandemic with Covid 19.  I am in the US in isolation, trying to keep in contact with our friends and team spread across the world now, and Todd is in the Highlands of PNG helping to lead and encourage our team still there in country. 

I am seeing a trend here…..being separated from my wonderful husband with each of us focusing on helping those that God has placed us with……

This morning about 5am Idaho time, and 9pm Mount Hagen time, as Todd had just come home from a long day at work, we were able to talk on the phone.  I was greatly encouraged by the sound of his voice and the things he told me about, and asked me about (how to make the dog food, ratios of water to veggies and rice etc…) and how normal it felt.

Since being in isolation, I have had a few distance visitors come see me.  What joy it brings to my heart to see family and visit in person rather just by facetime.  I have yet to be bored!  Working with the team across the world on several different projects and with issues that have come up, doing my best to be a support and encouragement.  I have some plans to work on organizing my photos etc… but have not had a chance to work on that yet.  However, I am only on day 3 of isolation, so I still have time. Haha

I pray that each one who reads this would see the opportunities to encourage and bless those around you as you have more than normal time on your hands no matter what your situation is, with the restrictions and closures of so many schools, businesses and churches.  Look for ways to be a blessing to others – you will be blessed in your efforts and you will be given what you need, strength, energy, wisdom and insights, to do so!

Your prayers are still very much needed and appreciated,

Connie Lou (and Todd too)

Together we can do so much more!

It was late in the afternoon on Tuesday, 11 December when Dr. Erin Meier from Kudjip Nazarene Hospital called my phone, “Todd, what are our options for a medical evacuation to Port Moresby? We have a very critical patient!”

The rugged mountains and rain forest of the highlands of Papua New Guinea do not lend themselves to safe single engine night operations.

Dr. Erin would go on to describe a young man around 25 years of age who had suffered what appeared to be a significant heart attack while playing rugby. As Dr. Erin described the case my mind was weighing the facts. It was already late in the afternoon. The rugged rain forest jungle over which we fly does not allow for safe operations at night, and given the 45 minute drive from Kudjip station to our airstrip, a late afternoon departure for the two hour flight to the capital city was already out of the question. Dr. Matt Woodley (ER Doctor at Kudjip) and his team had already resuscitated the patient four times. Would he be able to survive the high altitude non-pressurized flight that is required to clear the high mountains of the highlands on the way to the coast? We agreed that at this point, the best plan was to see if the patient could remain stabilized through the night at Kudjip and then plan for an early departure on Thursday morning.

The red line denotes the route to be flown by P2-SDP from Mount Hagen to Port Moresby.

Shortly after 0600 on Thursday morning, Dr. Erin called. The young man had stabilized through the night and although still critical, they felt he could survive the flight. They would be on their way shortly. Quick calls to our Flight Operations Manager, Captain Brad Venter and Church and Community Partnership Manager Godfrey Sim put the plan in action. P2-SDP was readied and the base team awaited the arrival of the patient from Kudjip.

At 0850, the ambulance from Kudjip arrived at the MAF Mount Hagen Base with the patient, family members and Doctor Matt Woodley along with Anesthesia Specialist Officer (APO), David Wan. The team quickly went to work to prep the patient for the flight. Simultaneously, our team at MAF headquarters continued to do their part – praying for the patient, family, doctors, and pilot team as they prepared to launch.

At 09:49, pilots Brad Venter (South Africa) and Andy Symmonds (UK) lifted off with their valuable cargo on the wings of P2-SDP and much prayer from both the Kudjip Nazarene and MAF teams. Touching down 1 hour and 59 minutes later in the capital city of Port Moresby, the patient was transferred to the waiting ambulance and rushed to Pacific International Hospital.

On Friday morning our Mount Hagen team met for morning devotions as we do every morning. When it came time to list our praises and prayer requests, Nancy from our operations team said that she had received news from the family. Our patient had successfully undergone surgery, was in the Intensive Care Unit, and it was expected that he would make a good recovery.

“Seeing isolated people physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s Name.” This is why we do what we do in one of the most remote countries in the world. Accomplishing this Vision requires a team. Doctors, nurses, pilots, ground operations, flight operations, finance, IT, engineers, and on an on. It also requires you!!!

Thank you so very much for praying for and partnering with us as a family, and our greater MAF and Nazarene Team!

Together we can do so much more!

Thank you to Mandy Glass for the photo journalism!

Watch Your Language…

Down Under in Australia still:

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Tree Tops Lodge – Guest House where we are staying in Cairns, Australia while studying language

Learning a new language is always an adventure!  We are learning Tok Pisin which, is the trade language used by Papua New Guineans as there are some 800 +/- different languages in PNG!  Luckily for us, Tok Pisin uses quite a lot of English and German words that are spelled slightly different but have very similar meanings to the English and German words they came from.

Here is Genesis 1:1 in Tok Pisin

(Read it out-loud as the sound of it helps you understand the words.)

STAT  1:1

Bipo bipo tru God i mekim kamap skai na graun na olgeta samting i stap long en. 


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A few years ago, Gary and Eleanor Zweigle, from Tumwater CotN in Olympia Washington, introduced us to the Gideon Bible App that has many of the different translations of the Bible in one very easy to use App. The App has the entire Bible in Tok Pisin as well as an audio version of the New Testament.  What a great help that has been to hear the language spoken and read along with it!

Although there are many familiar or similar words, there is a tendency to “Pidginize” English words to make them sound like Tok Pisin which, does not work!  Tok Pisin is an independent creole language that originated as a Pidgin. There are some words that we have been advised not to use! Some words that in English are very common and do not have a negative connotation, and yet their Tok Pisin equivalent can be offensive.  We need to really watch our language!

Friday, August 18th was a Staff Development Day that we were blessed to attend along with the MAF Staff in Cairns and also the folks from Mareeba.


Living Wisdom Workshop

Dr. David Riddell of Living Wisdom, Nelson, NZ, was the presenter and we worked through a lot of helpful information on leadership and making friends with your mind. He explained what that means and how it helps each of us deal with all the different things we deal with. He wrote a book on this and once the dust settles a bit for us, I will have to see if I can download this book!

Praises:

  • Connie Lou’s new passport with more pages came back this week!
  • VP and Nirmala’s (our colleagues) Visa/Entry Permits were granted this week!

Prayer Requests:

  • Our Visa/Entry Permit process. We are still waiting for the paperwork to be approved so that we can obtain our visas.
  • Please continue to pray for our language acquisition.
  • Pray for VP and our Regional Director as they will be going to PNG for meetings Monday, August 28th to Thursday, August 31st.

 

We are only able to be here because of the prayers and financial partnership of you, our friends and family!  If you are interested in partnering with us financially, please visit the MAF US Website – Be sure to mark your gift –  Aebischer #8214 

Thank you so very much!

Todd and Connie Lou

Update from Down Under – Meetings, Meetings, and More Meetings!

Some of the Manuals we are working our way through

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.

The team at Mareeba with Nirmala, and VP beside Todd

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.

Our room at Tree Tops with our luggage.

 

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.

Praises:

  • Our Work permit was granted last week (we had applied in June) and we immediately made application for the Entry Permit.

Prayer Requests:

  • 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:

https://www.maf.org/Aebischer

So Much for Which to be Thankful!!!

sunsetting_piWell, 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)

Jessie and Noortje were able to come and experience our jeepneys!
Jessie and Noortje were able to come and experience our jeepneys!

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.

House Bible study.
House Bible study.

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.

Connie traveling, sharing, speaking, teaching - Myanmar.
Connie traveling, sharing, speaking, teaching – Myanmar.

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.

The Motocross Messiah Fairground Fellowship officially recognized on November 19th.
The Motocross Messiah Fairground Fellowship officially recognized on November 19th.

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!

Tangible hands and feet of Christ during times of greatest need.
Tangible hands and feet of Christ during times of greatest need.

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.

Journeying life together. We are so blessed by our Filipino Family.
Journeying life together. We are so blessed by our Filipino Family.

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.

Connie traveling to share in Myanmar
Connie traveling to share in Myanmar

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.

Yours and His for the harvest,

Todd and Connie Lou

 

Teaching, Traveling, Trusting God in Taiwan – Thanks For Your Prayers!

Southern Taiwan:  I know that it’s been a long time since we have posted on our blog – and I apologize.  As we were climbing into the van for departure to the next church on our visit schedule today, we realized that our bodies are getting a bit tired.IMG_9311 (1)

In March we were full-speed ahead, getting ready for home assignment and the busy speaking schedule in the US and Canada.  After traveling thousands of miles and sharing with so many of you, we returned to Manila June 23rd and by the 25th of June, I (Todd) was headed to Indonesia with our team.

Arriving back in Manila on the 1st of July, just 9 days later found Connie and I flying to Taipei to start a 10 day teaching and training tour across Taiwan.

We were so very blessed to share with the Yang Mei Church on Sunday the 12th, and then teach communications and Nazarene Mission International workshops for the Taiwan Pastor’s Conference during the week.

Aboard the High Speed Rail from Taipei to S. Taiwan.
Aboard the High Speed Rail from Taipei to S. Taiwan.

Friday afternoon saw us climbing aboard a High Speed Rail from northern Taiwan to southern Taiwan, reaching speeds of 186 mph!

Taiwan High Speed Rail
Taiwan High Speed Rail

Wow…covered in 96 minutes what would have taken more than 5 hours by car.  We’ve never gone that fast on the ground and not gotten airborne!

Today has been a 15 hour day, traveling to and visiting with pastors and church members in 6 churches from the metro areas to the mountains, finishing with preaching in Chaozhou – a message of Faith and courage in going where God has called us to go.

Chaozhou Church - A Great Service...Great Group!
Chaozhou Church – A Great Service…Great Group!

Over the course of the next two days we will continue to visit and share with 10 churches (17 in all) preach two more services, and then climb back aboard the High Speed Rail on Sunday evening, returning to Taoyuan and then back to Manila by Monday – all Lord willing!

We are so grateful for the incredible partnership of the Taiwan District and all of those who have worked on transport, interpreting, hosting, and opening of their arms, hearts, and homes!  God is so good.  Please pray for continued strength and a special blessing on the church, people and nation of Taiwan!

Oh…one final photo…just had to share…a special friend who came to visit us for coffee!  We thought we had left them back in Manila!FullSizeRender

Together, Kingdom impact is being made – Praise God! You are such a vital part. But don’t be fooled. Great victory comes at a great cost! Please…pause…reflect…pray!

You’re not going to see this on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, as we want to avoid sensationalism.  We are directing it to those who have signed up for our blog and who have committed to partner with us, Pausing, Reflecting, and Praying.  If you have other prayer warriors, please share this with them and ask them to sign up to be part of our focused prayer team.


Our hearts are rejoicing tonight as several spiritual engagements across the Asia-Pacific Region have been won!  We are praising God that:

  • Praying and Praising God for His Attributes!
    Praising God for His Attributes!

    When on February 13th, the global call for prayer went out for one of our missionary’s fathers who had taken a fall, suffered major medical complications, and was sedated in ICU in the U.S., literally thousands of you paused, reflected, and prayed.  We saw the numbers on our web.  *** Yesterday (Ohio time) Jeff Myers’ father was discharged from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.  PRAISE GOD!

  • On February 27th, when another global prayer request was released asking for prayer for 20 church members and their pastors, hiding from forced conscription into fighting, well over 3,000 of you paused, reflected, and prayed for their safety.  *** They have been able to return to their homes.  PRAISE GOD!
  • There is a local family who had been trying to establish a Bible study in their community for years. Four weeks ago we had the privilege of being charter members of a small group that started a Bible study with this family’s daughter at a coffee shop. *** Last Saturday night we moved to their home, and the table was full with 13.  PRAISE GOD!

A celebration in the Philippines, complete with monsoonal rains blessing the occasion in the backdrop!
A celebration in the Philippines, complete with monsoonal rains blessing the occasion in the backdrop!

  • Some of you will remember a story that we shared with you while on Home Assignment, of how God was moving in incredible ways in our neighborhood.  *** We can’t share more in this forum, but God is continuing to move in tremendous ways! PRAISE GOD!
  • Today through the gentle ongoing compassion, witness, and love of one of the national team members, another professional man in his 30’s, made his very first eternal decision for Christ. PRAISE GOD!

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:9-11 NIV.

We who believe are assured of having life, and having it more abundantly.  Hope, Joy, Peace, Love, Richness and Fulfillment.  We are also assured of the fact that this race will not be easy!  Just a few chapters later in John 16;33 Jesus tells his disciples:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV). 

ScriptureAs I sit here tonight writing, in 80 degree (F) weather with intermittent chills, a headache, and fatigue, I realize that this is not our “first tropical-sickness rodeo.”  We can be assured of the battle getting fierce as such incredible victories are made.

We so need you to PAUSE, REFLECT, and PRAY!  These past two weeks we have seen the incredible power of prayer!  And the Spiritual Battle has been equally fierce. Please pray for:

  • Covering, protection, wisdom, revelation, and discernment for our children.
  • Spiritual wisdom to discern the battles that are from Satan, and those that God has allowed to build our character and faith!
  • For an incredible ministry couple, Sam and Faith.  They have literally “taken multiple hits for the team.”  But their faith remains strong.  Sam is the one who led this man to Christ today.  You can be assured that they will be under attack. Pray for their protection, marriage, spiritual wisdom; pray for their precious twin boys.
  • Pray for a cooperative spirit between the churches, leaders, pastors, and team members.  If Satan can drive in discontent and frustration, he will have a foothold!
  • Pray for our local churches, leaders, and members, in these countries that are facing trials for their faith.
  • PRAY – for the missionary in Nigeria who has now been abducted for more than one week.
  • Health and Protection for us.

Each day we thank God.  I will never forget a verse that a pilot who meant a lot to me shared more than 25 years ago, he has now gone on to meet the Lord after an accident doing what he loved best…

In the words of Paul:

“12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 1:12-14 (NIV). 

Thank you so much for being on our team, for PAUSING, REFLECTING, and PRAYING!  We can only be here because you are there, lifting us in prayer.

Todd and Connie Lou