I truly believe that far beyond the cultural challenges and language barriers, the most challenging aspects of serving overseas are those times when your family is hurting and they are there…and you are…well…not there, at least physically.
Many of you have been walking the journey with us for many years and you know that over the past couple of years, Connie’s brother and sister-in-law, Curt and Deanne Landreth, have been walking the journey of a very aggressive cancer. One that has proved resistant and resilient to about every medicine and treatment approach tried.
Earlier in July, Curt and Deanne left for Seattle to be close to the University of Washington Medical Center where Curt has been receiving an experimental treatment. Unfortunately, on July 8th, he was taken from their apartment to the hospital and admitted due to concerning medical conditions. He has not left the hospital since then.
When we work…we work. But…when we PRAY, God Works! – Max Lucado
You have prayed with us before and we are asking now that you take a moment and pray specifically and earnestly for the Lord to do a miracle in Curt’s life. While we don’t know what that miracle is going to look like, Curt loves the Lord, his faith is strong, but just like Moses in Exodus 17, Curt is growing weary. We are asking the Aarons and Hurs of today, to come alongside and lift up the arms of Curt and Deanne in focused prayer.
Pray that the allergic reactions would resolve.
That the Doctors would have wisdom with treatment protocols.
That Curt and Deanne would be strengthened physically, emotionally, spiritually.
That their faith and trust in the Lord would be clearly evident, and that they would be a beacon of light in the cancer treatment unit.
And of course…if God would will it…we are praying for a healing miracle that would be so profound that the medical community would have to proclaim that truly, there is a God!
We would also appreciate your prayers for Connie. I know that in the perfect world, she would like to be right there physically…but we know…that as we pray many times through the day for them…we are walking this road with them spiritually.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15 NIV.
Thank you for continuing to journey with us in prayer. We covet them more than you could know.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It is Tuesday, May 10, we have found Connie’s favorite spot in any terminal, a place in the sun where she can be warmed. It’s hard to believe that 8 weeks of our lives have flown past at speeds that even make this pilot’s head dizzy, and we now find ourselves waiting for Delta Flight 167, that will launch us back to our home and family in the Asia-Pacific.
It has been an incredible 8 weeks, where we have touched and been touched by the lives of people in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and throughout the beautiful Canadian cities of Vancouver, Penticton, Nanaimo, and Victoria. New friends have been made and we have found once again that no matter where we travel, we find family in Christ!
As we flew from Boise to Seattle this morning, we reminisced at how many times we have packed our action packers with supplies and equipment, walked into terminals, sat at gates, and watched the monitors for the silent reminder that we were minutes away from yet another chapter in our lives.
This morning though, the fatigue of the weeks and the emotion of yet another departure, this time leaving our first Granddaughter behind, took its toll. As I write, I assume the role that I so eagerly and passionately accepted nearly 28 years ago, that of keeping watch over the love of my life, the friend of my youth, and my forever ministry partner. Who could have imagined when at the age of 9, rowing her around the ranch pond in my little wooden rowboat, that that would just be the beginning of many such journeys across much larger ponds. But why???
My ministry partner and brother Sam Tamayo, reminded me of why this past week when he posted 2 Chronicles 7:14“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
We have a story to tell… a message to share… that there is a living God! A God who loves us beyond measure, a God who loves us unconditionally. A God who sent his Son, that even while we were enemies of Him, He died for us! (Romans 5:10.) A God who is capable of bringing peace, reconciliation, and healing if we will, Humble ourselves, Pray, Seek His face and Turn from our wicked ways. In the midst of a world without peace, this is the message we must proclaim!
And so…the journey begins once again WITH PURPOSE! Even as Connie shared, through the tears of leaving baby Noortje behind, we must go. We must stand in the gap and be messengers, so that other babies, moms and dads, can experience this promised forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing.
Thank you for your continued prayers and partnership with us. The confidence and trust you have placed in us to be your ambassadors is humbling, a responsibility we don’t take lightly. May each of us remain faithful and may each of us look for opportunities to live our lives, wherever we are, WITH PURPOSE!
Please pray for Audrey Riggins as she will soon be undergoing a heart procedure in Manila, Philippines, to close a PDA (patent ductus arteriosus).
Audrey is the 17 month old daughter of fellow missionaries – Asia-Pacific Regional Finance Coordinator Scot and Jill Riggins, who live and serve in the Philippines.
She will have an echo (echocardiogram) on Friday, February 19 to determine the size of the PDA as well as if/how it is affecting her heart. If she is completely healthy, she will have a catheter procedure on Saturday, Feb. 20 to close the PDA.
Pray with us that:
She will be able to have the procedure without complications,
That her heart will be found to be healthy,
That her recovery will be quick.
The Riggins write, “We have had peace through this journey, and we are so thankful for the prayers of many. We have sensed them, been encouraged by them, and see that they are making a difference for us!”
We will keep you posted. There is definite power in prayer and your prayers are needed!
We have received the most tremendous early Christmas gift this year. Connie’s brother, Curt, who has been on a journey of battling cancer, a truly battle-for-life, sent the following message this morning…
I had my three month scan this week and for the first time ever, I’m officially in remission…
I am so grateful for your prayers and support and encouragement through this journey and I do not want to minimize our joy or appreciation. But I have friends who are not so fortunate as I am. One in particular that I went to Haiti with a couple years ago is now in hospice and I can’t imagine what her youngest son, who is my youngest son’s age, is going through. It is a bitter sweet place to be. I have, throughout these couple of years, felt a strong confidence that things would work out. Even the couple times when my oncologist implied that I should make sure my affairs were in order, I was not swayed to think things would be different than they are today. Maybe it is arrogance. Maybe it was faith. Maybe it isn’t over. But today, I just want to offer you my sincerest appreciation and share with you our good news.
No one will ever really know the depth of grace that Deanne has afforded me by being with me at every Dr appointment, every hospital stay, every retching session, Piling blankets on me and holding me while I shook with violent chills, jumping up multiple times in the night to get me a pill or a drink or change the towels from the drenching night sweats. And so much more I don’t even remember from the chemo fog. My kids, Nathan, Danielle & Shad, Mitchell & Heather, and Mac were so strong and helpful with chores around the house and patient with my chemo grumps and quietly helping to keep me comfortable and safe. My father Vernon, often came over to try and help around the farm, and many of you have done things like planting flowers in our front flower boxes while we were gone, placing little plastic army men all over the farm that I am still finding to this day…
I really cannot adequately express what all of your support has meant to me on this journey. To both of us. If I can ever reciprocate in any way, it would please me greatly.
We are worshiping the Lord this morning in song. “You are good, all the time, all the time, you are good!” You can imagine that we are celebrating in a tremendous way today!
Thank you all for your incredible prayers on behalf of Curt, Deanne, their family and ours. We truly couldn’t be here without you! We are so blessed to have such an incredible prayer team!
Updates are being added to the bottom of this post. Please scroll down to see the latest updates!
Jam David, his caretaker, advocate, personal nurse, and so much more, has updated us with several highlights.
24 hours in a Regular Room: During his attending doctor’s rounds, the doctor made Roldan sit up and try breathing without supplemental oxygen. He also asked Roldan to use his IS (Incentive Spirometer – device to help him breath deeply and clear his lungs) more often to exercise his lungs and to prevent pneumonia. With his vital signs stabilizing, the medical team is now expecting him to eat more. His sense of smell and taste is messed up at the moment. His creatinine is good (measurement of kidney function). Still waiting for the rest of the labs to come in. We all need to encourage him and positively push him to do things.. this is where the length of his recuperation lies. It may lengthen or shorten everything. Ricardo is doing great being by his side as you all are too!!
Sunday Morning, I arrived to find him sitting up at the edge of his bed. He wanted to use the wheelchair and the nurse said that this is fine. We set a goal today of using the IS every 2 hours. Yesterday, he used it every 4 hours. That tired feeling plus his chest feels like not doing it is his enemy now…
For a rapid recovery so that he can leave the hospital,
And for his entire care team!
We have been overwhelmed at the outpouring of prayers and encouragement from around the globe. God is answering prayer – and you are a vital part!
16 December 2015
It is now Wednesday afternoon in Manila. Just seven days after Roldan had open-heart surgery to replace 2 valves.
We as a ministry team, visited him on Monday, which was 5 days post open-heart surgery, and were amazed as he took us on a short tour of the Philippine Heart Center’s third floor, walking!
We had prayer for him before we left, thanking God for the healing in his body and for the hope he now has.
We just received word a few minutes ago that Roldan’s Cardiologist has visited him and removed the bandages and drain, and has given him the green light to go home.
As Jam, one of his caretakers said, he is now able to plan for the future. What an incredible statement, full of hope and gratitude, seeking what God has for him in all of this.
Please continue to lift him in prayer as he recovers at home and travels back for monitoring of his Coumadin levels, one of the medications he will need to be on for the rest of his life. His recovery has been amazing – thanks to friends like you, across the globe, who have lifted him, the doctors and his team of caretakers to the great physician.
Over the last several months, we have been so very blessed to be part of planting a church in the downtown Makati area of the greater Manila.
We would like to introduce you to one of our newest attenders – Roldan Imbo.
Roldan has been an orphan for many years, living at the Village of Hope. In June of 2015, he began studying under scholarship at the Philippine Missionary Institute, pursuing a Bachelor of Theology / music.
Updates are being added to the end of the story.
Over the last few months, Roldan has been on a very difficult journey. In August he was diagnosed with infectious endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the heart valves. It apparently is a result of a reactivation of rheumatic heart disease. In the Philippines, with antibiotic treatment only, it has a mortality rate of around 80%.
During the ensuing treatment, Roldan experienced acute kidney failure and then liver failure. Through much answered prayer Roldan has overcome these obstacles and is now moving towards open heart surgery.
Roldan has truly won the hearts of the medical community. Several of the doctors have provided discounted fees. www.godskids.org has partnered with Village of Hope, and is providing a means for donations. Praise God, the more than $30,000 USD needed for the life-saving, open heart surgery have been raised.
Roldan is scheduled for a tri-valve replacement on Wednesday morning, December 9th, Philippine Time. This will be around 3pm, Tuesday, December 8th, (U.S. Mountain Time).
Would you PLEASE commit to begin earnestly praying for Roldan, for the doctors, for a successful surgery, and recovery. There is much power in prayer – and right now – we need a global prayer team to lift up Roldan, and his family from the Village of Hope!
*** Tuesday, December 8th, Evening Update
Roldan has been admitted to the hospital for pre-surgery preparations after a very long admission process (he was 21st in line for a room).
There are many key people who are part of this story – one is Ricardo. Ricardo has been part of a training program for young adults who are learning how to give back blessings to the community. He has been actively involved with Village of Hope, often working overtime at his job to fund his involvement with the mission.
Even though Ricardo was scheduled to leave and go on to a career-advancing training program, he postponed his training so that he could stay by Roldan’s side! Whether it be at home, at the hospital, at church, or traveling in-between, you will not find Ricardo far away – a formidable Guardian Angel!
From the people who are physically by Roldan’s side to those who are praying from around the world – everyone is needed! We will continue to keep you posted as the journey continues over the next few days.
*** Wednesday, December 9th, 12 noon update
We have been speaking with Jam (who is a nurse and coordinator at the Village of Hope Orphanage where Roldan has grown up) she is at his bedside around the clock with Ricardo.
This guy’s smile is contagious. He’s a trooper!
Roldan’s Thoracic Surgeon, Dr. Rhonnie Cacas, checking his heart before surgery.
IV line is in, and Roldan is just waiting now.
From Jam: “This is Roldan with his IV line already in. NPO (nothing orally to eat) since 5am. He is hungry but since he is ready, he is keeping it together. Monitoring his sugar too. Labs came in and they are all in the normal ranges! Oh thank God! Hemoglobin, platelet, prothrombin and thrombin time, magnesium, Na, K, Creatinine. Waiting for the orderly to shave his chest, and then it is off to surgery. The large needles for the catheter did concern him, but we are trying to help him keep his mind off of these things.”
We are praising God for the number of prayer warriors who are committing to pray: As of noon, Philippine time, there were 480 documented people praying for him from 26 nations. Nations: US, Philippines, Canada, Australia, NewZealand, Mexico, United Kingdom, Thailand, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Japan, St. Lucia, France, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea, European Union, Indonesia, Northern Marianas, S. Korea, Guam, Singapore, Ghana, Qatar, Uganda, United Arab Emirates.
When Jam shared this with Roldan his response was, “Wow! (in his usual shocked reaction) Too many places!!”
Let’s get a few more places praying for Roldan today!
*** Wednesday, December 9th, 10:30 PM, Philippine Time
Thank you Lord for getting Roldan Imbo through his operation! Thank you friends and partners for praying. He just got taken to the recovery room. Please continue to pray that there are no complications and pray for a fast recovery. I can now breathe a little bit. Thank you for being there for Roldan.
The surgeon reported that the tricuspid valve had improved, so they only ended up replacing the Mitral and the Aortic, so only a two valve versus three valve replacement. He will be under observation for the next 24 hours for stroke, aneurysm, etc.
Hundreds are praying for Roldan from the following nations.
*** Thursday, December 10th, 11:00 AM, Philippine Time
Jam David from Village of Hope shared this great news today!
“He woke up! Smiled, gave us a ‘salute’ sign! – Oh that moment! 14 hours to go (critical post-operative monitoring). Now he feels hungry!
Thanking God also for the worldwide prayer group! (I have seen the update last night!) We can feel your presence from this part of the globe.
We managed to practice signs that he may use while in there if he can’t use his hands and lips. And he remembered! He is recuperating faster than expected, which is a good sign.
SPAGHETTI. That is what he wants to eat when he is able.”
Please continue to keep Roldan, Jam, Ricardo, and the team in your prayers – these are critical hours and days as his body responds to this life-saving but body-traumatic surgery.
*** Thursday, December 10th, 8:00 PM, Philippine Time
Roldan has now passed 24 hours since the heart valve surgery. Jam from Village of Hope, the nurse and caretaker for Roldan, provided this update tonight:
“Roldan’s intubation tube is out. They are continuing to keep a close eye on his heart rate because it is still faster than normal, at around 105. He was on Digoxin prior to the surgery (helps make the heart beat stronger and with better rhythm) and his medical team plans to put him back on it while continuing his Penicillin.
The nurse said that they will start him on clear fluids and if his throat can tolerate that, he may have a soft diet soon. He is begging his nurse to give him some pineapple juice – but that will have to wait for now. With the IV pain medication, he is in and out of consciousness.”
We are praising God for the progress so far! Please continue to keep Roldan, in your prayers.
*** Friday, December 11th, 1100 AM, Philippine Time
The journey of recovery continues it has now been 38 hours in the Recovery Room. Jam from Village of Hope has been able to be in Roldan’s room, talk with him, and encourage him. She shared this morning that she was able to tell him about all of the people praying for him, he was very encouraged.
Roldan’s heart rate is still elevated and he has been afraid to cough because of the pain. He is doing well on his breathing (deep breathing encouraged post surgery). Most of the lines are out. He will need to be transfused with additional blood as his hemoglobin is low. Doctors will also be running a urine culture to check if there is any infection. He will possibly transfer to an ordinary room anytime today.
“I am really thankful for this team…it is big and God made sure that every part has been taken care of. God is awesome!” – Jam David
Please continue to keep Roldan, Jam, Ricardo, the medical teams, and the Village of Hope family in your prayers!
These are truly some challenging times in which we live…but they are not so different from the times of the children of Israel in Egypt, the days of captivity in Babylon, the days of the First Century Church. The Word of God continually reminds us that if we are truly Christlike in our daily lives, that if we truly live counter culturally, that if we are salt and light, that we will be persecuted by the world.
19“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.21“But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.… John 15:19-21.
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9
We bear testimony to God’s graciousness and provisionment as He has truly been with us wherever we have gone!
Connie and I have had a tremendous few months of ministry.
Traveling to Taiwan, teaching a seminar and visiting 20 of our churches over the course of 10 days.
Teaching a Course of Study to developing pastors in a house setting in a Creative Access Area;
Traveling to various locations here in the Philippines, speaking and teaching on behalf of Nazarene Missions International and Sunday School Discipleship Ministries International.
Helping to coordinate a joint motocross race and evangelistic multiple-band outreach concert.
Continuing to partner in Ministry (preaching every other Sunday when in country) at our Makati (business district of Manila) GenCon church plant.
Partnering in weekly small group Bible studies.
Small Group Bible Studies
Hosting weekly worship team practice and Bible study in our World Mission Communications Studio.
Helping to Facilitate two Regional Conferences and annual meetings in another location on our region. In this particular instance, we had over 300 delegates from across the region attending plenary sessions and workshops, along with evening worship services that reached nearly 500 in attendance each evening over the course of 5 days. The WMC-AP office (our team) handled all of the media and design support for the events, as well as logistics of registrations and reservations for delegates.
Pray for the timely return of our Visas. Our resident Visas expire on the 15th of November. We have been working on renewals for a couple of months, but due to various challenges, they are still in process. We need these soon for upcoming travel.
Upcoming trip to Taiwan for another 22 church visit, teaching trip, November 25-December 8.
Global NMI and SDMI conferences. Connie and I will both be going in different directions. Connie to the East Coast of the U.S. for the global NMI conference (she is NMI Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Region), Todd to Europe for the global SDMI conference. Please pray that these conferences would be Spirit led, and that leaders would be open to hearing from the Lord as He provides His vision, plan, and purpose for these ministries.
Travel to Myanmar for orality story training.
Travel to a Creative Access Area to teach another Media course.
From now until the first week of February, we will be away from our home here in Manila for all but about 24 days.
Lord Willing, we are planning to arrive to Boise on December 23, to spend some time with our Family, for Connie to do whatever tests are necessary to be considered for a donor match for her brother Curt, who has been in an ongoing courageous journey against cancer, and to love on our new granddaughter. We will leave from Boise and begin 5 weeks of heavy traveling.
As I close, I thank you for taking the time to read this post, lift us in prayer, and partner with us in ministry. As we serve on a region of some 2.8 billion people, with 2,000+ spoken languages, 135 cities of more than one million inhabitants, and at least 1,270 Unreached People Groups comprised of more than 675 million people, please pray that God will help us to catch His dream and vision for this region.
May God bless you and your family, and help you to remember that in the face of the world in which we live, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Please pray for the two daughters of a family serving in a Creative Area who suffered broken bones and scrapes after both being hit by a car on Fridayafternoon on their way home from school. Both girls have significant injuries but the parents are very thankful as it could have been much worse. The family is surrounded by local friends and the parents report that the girls are receiving good medical care. Updates will be posted as they are available on the Asia-Pacific Regional Prayer Page.
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.
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.
Friday afternoon saw us climbing aboard a High Speed Rail from northern Taiwan to southern Taiwan, reaching speeds of 186 mph!
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.
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!
As we look back over the past couple of weeks, we are amazed at the spiritual battles raging across our Region. The urgent prayer requests from our field have been coming across my desk at an increasing rate (several are listed at the end of this post). But…with those requests have also come multiple praise reports! God is at work…we just need to continue walking towards Him with indefatigable resoluteness.
I wanted to take a moment to share a challenge that has been on my mind the past few days, inspired by scripture and thoughts from Lloyd John Olgilvie, “God’s Best for My Life.”
What is my Jerusalem?
What Christ has committed to us, plus our commitments to obey, equals our Jerusalem. Luke 9:51-53
There is a Jerusalem for all of us for which we were born and to which our life is leading. Jesus set His face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51) knowing that there He would have to face the cross and die for the sins of the world.
There at the crossroads He had to make a commitment. One road led back to Nazareth, the other to the frowning fortress of His enemies who were plotting His demise. He could have returned home and lived a safe, secure life, instead, He set His face to Jerusalem and the cross for which He had come to earth.
What do you imagine His face looked like, set for Jerusalem? I imagine – Determination, faithfulness, trust, and INDEFATIGABLE commitment to do the will of God. An unchangeable resoluteness to follow through with His mission.
We all have a Jerusalem. And then little Jerusalems along the way.
Our Jerusalem is whatever prayer has discerned is the Lord’s will for us. It is a symbolic city of reality rather than a wish-dream and easy religion. It is COMMITMENT instead of COMFORT. But we can set our faces to our purpose with joy and not grimness.
Because Christ has gone before us, and now goes with us, we have His victorious presence to give us raw courage. Once we have committed our lives completely to Him, then we are able because He is able. His strength flows through us as we attempt great things for Him and by His power. After He has control of the nerve center of our wills, He can use us to do the otherwise-impossible. Just as Jesus went to His Jerusalem believing in God’s vindication, so too we can live out our commitment knowing that He will have the final word.
Our Regional Director, Dr. Mark Louw, wife and daughter, are on their way to S. Africa. Mark’s father has been admitted to the hospital and is not expected to leave, except to his heavenly home. He is a believer, but it is never easy for the family during times like this.
Cyclone Pam. This Super Cyclone (Category 5 with winds gusting to nearly 200 mph) is bearing down on the islands of Vanuatu. Our missionaries there are preparing for the worst – praying for God’s intervention.
A flu virus has been attacking numerous members of the campus here at APNTS. Connie was struggling a couple of weeks ago – and has recovered. I (Todd) came down with it nearly 13 days ago and am still battling the residual respiratory issues, several others are struggling with it. Please pray for protection over the team here in Manila.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers and partnership with us as together with you, we serve here on the Asia-Pacific Region.
To share God’s love through aviation and technology; seeing isolated people physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s name.