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The First 40 Hours of Home Assignment – Picking up Flak!


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A preacher once said, “If you wake up in the morning and don’t run into the enemy head-on, then maybe you’re going in the wrong direction. The Bible doesn’t say to ignore the devil and he will flee from you.”  We must stand firm and resist the enemy.  (The Organic Church)

In our office at World Mission Communications, Asia-Pacific (WMC-AP) we have likened this to a battle, when the bombing aircraft are approaching the target, that is when they start picking up anti-aircraft fire (flak) from the enemy troops.  If they are flying along with no threat…they ARE NOT OVER THE TARGET!

Before we left Manila on Thursday evening, we gathered the team (Sean and Tom we missed you guys) and prayed, that this would be a very impactful trip – we were headed out over the target!

Starting from the trip to the airport and continuing on the airplane, we began picking up heavy flak.   From pre-arranged flight details being “un pre-arranged,” despite our printed receipts to the contrary,  to loss of seats and additional charges…things were just getting rolling!  Then our bank, who we have called multiple times to make sure they understand that we live and travel abroad, and who have honored our transactions innumerable times here in the Philippines, decided that of all days, flight day would be the day to launch a “new and improved” fraud dection system, placing our credit cards on hold.  Imagine our pleasant surprise when we tried to resolve the charges situation at the airline counter, only to find that our cards wouldn’t work.  Understanding that this is always a possibility, we make it a habit to travel with multiple options, so break out the hard currency, and then find that there is no change available, but  “you could leave the change as a tip (a very healthy one I might add) so that you don’t miss your boarding!” 

Then head for the security zone and have the pre-security folks decide that you are a good option for increased scrutiny.  As everyone walked past us, we had the opportunity to share the contents of our carry-ons with passersby as we were informed that personal clothes in our carry-ons were not allowed. 

At this point – I just had to pause and realize where this attack was coming from.  This was such a ludicrous statement that (no clothes in the carry-on) I realized only heavy FLAK could be behind it.  I am sure that Connie can attest that at this point, my normally calm demeanor was anything but.  I now had a migraine headache, had been dealing with issues for nearly 2.5 hours, and just wanted to get clear of this terminal…now.  Regardless, whatever the rules are for the day…those are the rules for the day…get use to it!

I started writing this at 41,000 feet, somewhere over the middle east, on a 16 hour 20 minute flight to LAX (these were the 400.00 cheaper tickets) looking forward to being with our churches and family.  We are praying that we will be able to see the battle for what it is, despite what lies ahead.  

Despite all of this, we have had the opportunity to establish a couple of very “ordained” relationships so far on the trip, and I am sure that the enemy is not pleased with these developments.  Great!  He better start running!

On the bright side, I was able to do compassionate ministries right at the airport by distributing my clothes to the service personnel (must keep right perspective here).  “A Connie…did we get the extra insurance on the rental car…we might be needing it.”

— The first 40 hours of Home Assignment 2014….more to come!

Posted by Todd Aebischer

Thank You Lord for moments of inspiration during the struggles of life


View from the new office space
View from the new office space

There are so many great things going on not only in my life, but in this Seminary, with the World Mission Communication team etc… that the devil doesn’t like and is trying everything he can to frustrate us.  But in a moment of frustration, as I sat at my computer that was having trouble getting an internet connection and I looked out the window and saw a strikingly white bird fly across the lush green of the tropical campus,  I was reminded of my Bible reading this week where Jesus came to John the Baptist to be Baptized and the heavens opened and the Spirit of God came down like a dove and rested on Him. I felt like God was telling me that His Spirit is here!  Thank you Lord, for moments of inspiration and renewal in the simple sighting of a bird.

That was my post just before I found out that my laptop may be the cause of the problems with the Asia-Pacific Website and to help make sure we don’t have further problems, they are going to reformat my laptop. 😦

I know that God is in control and that this is just another attempt to frustrate me.  I have been listening to my Gaither music on my earphones and I will NOT stop praising my Lord in the midst of this storm!

Communication


MX MESSIAH MINISTRIES!
MX MESSIAH MINISTRIES!

From extreme sports to church anniversaries – we cover it all!

Church in Australia
Church in Australia

Writing, editing, scheduling, overseeing, mentoring, encouraging and the list never stops.  The past two weeks have seen us learning more about the duties and responsibilities we have here on the region, and trying to tie it all together with good communication for all parties. We have implemented a weekly news release that highlights the different stories from across this region and helps keep everyone informed about the activities  and the prayer items and praises.

There is so much to do here, so many “good” things, so many needs, so many opportunities; we have to keep reminding ourselves that we need to do the best, things, the things that will have an eternal impact and not just get worn out with all of the good things we could get involved with.

Little girl from Rowenas
Little girl from Rowenas
World Mission Communication Team
World Mission Communication Team

Living here is exciting!  The team we are working with at World Mission Communication is incredibly talented and they have such a heart for touching lives and having an eternal impact.  We are amazed at their dedication and commitment to their work and to help those around them.

Praying for Pastor Ricky
Praying for Pastor Ricky

Visiting the area churches is one of the things we are enjoying.  I am amazed at how many churches there are locally, but I guess when the number of people in the city you live in is over a few million, there needs to be several churches!  This past Sunday found Todd with some other missionaries at a special anointing and prayer service for a young pastor who is fighting bilateral kidney failure at age 28.  Please keep Pastor Ricky in your prayers, such a young life, dedicated to God to preach the Word, holding to his faith and trust in God for whatever the outcome.

We thank you for your continued prayers for us and for the ministry here.  We truly couldn’t do what needs to be done without that prayer support.  Your words of encouragement via messages, email and such are a huge blessing to us as we endeavor to do our part to reach the lost with the Good News of Jesus and His Love!

Joy and sorrow, new friends and family, a week in our lives here in Asia


Why do we leave home houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields...because there is a world that needs to hear the story.
Why do we leave homes, houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields…because there is a world that needs to hear the story.

(Saturday, Aug 9th, 2013, Manila) This has been an exciting week here in Manila.  I will attempt to recap it in photos so that you can feel the story!

A week ago today, we had an exciting seminar with more than 50 Nazarene youth from around the Philippines, promoting radio in ministry and helping them to identify ways that they could get involved.  There were break out sessions and the youth truly got excited about promoting one of our World Mission Broadcast programs “Perfect Rhythm” that has been produced in the Philippines for more than 19 years.  See news story  I (Todd) gave a presentation, Courtney and Connie were there to help with media.

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Sunday, we drove about 1 hour south of Manila to the home church of our field strategy coordinator.  It was a special time to meet new friends and to share food together.  Connie and Courtney are enjoying a favorite dish of fried bananas.

Having lunch with our pastor and family at one of our local churches
Having lunch with our pastor and family at one of our local churches
Finding new friends in our churches across the Philippines.
The Pastor's young son, who believes that he is a pastor as well!
The Pastor’s young son, who believes that he is a pastor as well!

The week started out very rainy.  Courtney loves the warm Asian rain as it reminds her of her early years in Africa.  She is always wanting to go out and walk in the rain.

Courtney in the warm Asian rain.
Courtney in the warm Asian rain.

We then rolled into our week of covering news stories from around the region, including Work and Witness Teams to Tonga and the installation of a new professor at Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary, Dr. John Bondy.

Covering the story on Dr. Bondy at APNTS
Covering the story on Dr. Bondy at APNTS

As the week continued, we welcomed a Work and Witness team from Michigan.  They arrived late Tuesday night and spent their day Wednesday, orienting to the APNTS campus, meeting staff, and attempting to recover from jet-lag!

Work and Witness Team arrives from Michigan
Work and Witness Team arrives from Michigan

The week has been very busy as we have been developing a new Asia-Pacific regional communications piece.  Graphics needed designing, databases developed, and protocol established.  The newsletter will come out each Friday (Lord willing) and will highlight stories and activities cross the Asia-Pacific Region with the Church of the Nazarene.  We would welcome you to sign up to receive this communication.

APREGION_Newsletter Banner2

As Thursday came, we were reluctantly facing the fact that our time with Courtney here in the Philippines was coming to a close.  While I would have preferred to cancel her passport and keep her with us, we knew that this new chapter of her life was needing to start.  There is a young man, Landen Ray Kelly, waiting at home for his fiance to return, a new apartment and term at Lewis Clark, a job interview, and many family members.

To help lessen the blow of Courtney’s pending departure, we decided to go out and find a French pastry shop to enjoy a last breakfast together.  This was a tradition back in French West Africa, so we found just the place.  Connie and I have decided that we may have to go back and visit in honor of Courtney…several times!

Courtney and Dad...really love French Pastry Shops...mom struggles with the gluten, but loves to come along and be part of the event!  And they have some pretty good food here that is non-gluten as well!
Courtney and Dad…really love French pastry shops…mom struggles with the gluten, but loves to come along and be part of the event! And they have some pretty good food here that is non-gluten as well!

One of the greatest blessings about being a missionary and a MK, is that you find and make new friends and family in every new “Home” country.  On Thursday afternoon, the media team/family had a farewell party for CJ along with an early birthday celebration.  Thanks to Facebook, Courtney now has new friends for life!

Farewell party for CJ with the media team now "family."
Farewell party for CJ with the media team now “family.”
An MK has friends and family in many "Home" countries.
An MK has friends and family in many “Home” countries.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens….a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”  Friday was our time to shed a few tears.  We would be misrepresenting our lives and ministry if we said that these times of sorrow never came.  But…while our Lord didn’t promise that we would never have times of saddness, He did promise that through them all…He would be with us.   As we said goodbye to Courtney at the airport, our tears joined the warm Asian rain flowing down our cheeks.

Mom and CJ saying goodbye at the airport.
Mom and CJ saying goodbye at the airport.
We came as three and left the airport...feeling alone.
We came as three and left the airport…feeling alone.

We returned home and found our apartment very quiet.  But, God is good, as we have the Work and Witness team here from Michigan and we are helping with preparing the meals for them, so we were able to jump in and get busy, keeping our minds focused on serving and not on sorrow.

Saturday morning, Connie cooking breakfast for the W&W Team.
Saturday morning, Connie cooking breakfast for the W&W Team.
Having fellowship with the team.
Having fellowship with the team.
Great breakfast honey.  Way to go!
Great breakfast honey. Way to go!

This has been our week.  We are so thankful for technology.  As I finish writing this story, we are watching Courtney land at Seattle (via flight aware).  After transiting through Taipei, she is just one flight away from yet another temporary home.

Courtney, getting the love from her "family" in Africa...another home.
Courtney, getting the love from her “family” in Africa…another home.

I will close with what Courtney posted on one of her social media sites this week, it sums up the Missionary life:  “I have decided that home is where you are loved. If that means multiple continents, different houses, or even different states that’s okay. If you ask me where my home is I will respond by telling you it’s everywhere I’m loved.” (Courtney Aebischer – Aug 2013)

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.  We are so blessed to have you as part of our team!

Yours and His,

Todd and Connie Lou

Saturday Morning on Top of Manila!


Saturday, July 27th, Metro Manila, Philippines

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Saturday morning marks our 10th day here in the Philippines.  It has been a very busy time, with a steep learning curve as I (Todd) attend meetings with various leaders and just start to scrape the surface of what will be involved in this new position as Communications Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Region.  It has been a time of adaptation, mostly with regard to climate, as we arrived during the rainy season and are learning to adapt to the heat and humidity.  We definitely don’t have to worry about dry skin – we are sweating most all of the time, day and night!  

There is adaptation to grocery shopping as well.   We are learning what things are available, what things are within our budget, and what things are not.  Connie and Courtney have spent a few hours in the grocery stores, cruising up and down the isles, finding the things they will need to make meals and set up our home.  In fact as I am in Metro Manila this morning, Connie and Courtney are with another missionary, being introduced to a new grocery store that is suppose to have a better selection.

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There is also adaptation to the traffic.  No this is not a parking lot, this is traffic, all ebbing and flowing down a street.  Motorcycles are everywhere, and the one above is working his way across the flow of traffic.  I am amazed that in the driving we have done over the past 10 days, we have only seen one accident.  There is just a universal common understanding between the drivers of who goes, who stops, and it all takes place in the midst of beeps and honks, motorcycles, motor tricycles, pedestrians, and street vendors.   Better than any video game!

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Monday night last week,  the World Missions Communications – Asia-Pacific team hosted a welcome dinner for Connie, Courtney and I.  It was held at Dr. Bill and Mill Kwon’s residence (Director of WMC-AP).  It was a great time of fellowship as we were able to become better acquainted with our team. 

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Last Sunday we were blessed with the opportunity to worship with the congregation at the Taytay Church of the Nazarene, located about 1/2 mile from the Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary.  They have an incredible ministry to their community.  Services in Tagalog and English, and then a Sunday evening service called “Generation Congregation” that reaches out to the youth and young adults.  It is impacting an entire culture that has been unreached.  In addition, the church has a weekly Saturday program where they reach out to around 250 children, providing a healthy meal as well as evangelistic outreach through bible teaching, games, and crafts.

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And now…why on top of Manila?  I am writing this morning’s blog as we are broadcasting “Perfect Rhythm” from the top of one of the tallest buildings in Manila. 

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The one hour, weekly broadcast, through Far East Broadcasting Company in conjunction with World Mission Broadcast, is hosted by Nazarene Youth Pastor and Philippine Radio Host, Jordan Escusa.  Jordan plays contemporary music that appeals to the youth culture, and then works in his message that is usually taken from what he preaches at Taytay Church of the Nazarene to Generation Congregation.  While broadcasting, social media is streaming.  Today’s message was on being a peace maker.  One of Jordan’s listener’s tweeted, “Tomorrow I will approach the person I have hurt, and will ask  for forgiveness.”  If we stopped right now, our mission would have been accomplished for the day.  While we are broadcasting in the Philippines, the reach is global, thanks to modern technology.  A listener tweeted in from Los Angeles, “I am always listening to Perfect Rhythm.”  (8-9pm Pacific time each Friday Evening.  How to listen online.

This is what it is all about.  Making Christlike disciples in the nations by all means possible.   Thank you for your incredible support and partnership with our family and with Global Missions as together with Christ, we make impacts for the Kingdom!

Posted from Todd while traveling.

Arrived in Taiwan – Next Stop Manila


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Just a brief update.   We had a great 12 hour flight over the ocean and arrived here in Taiwan just after 5:00am.  We are recharging our batteries (on the social media gear) and preparing to board again in about 2 hours 30 minutes for Manila.  Thank you for your prayers.  The worst part of the trip so far has been from Boise to Seattle, where we had to navigate around and through several bumpy clouds.   One particular turbulent bump was sufficient enough to harass me by knocking my earphones out of my ears while listening to Josh Groban.   Now as a veteran flyer…that got my attention just a bit.  I felt sorry for those passengers who weren’t as comfortable in rough air.   We will keep you appraised.

Posted from Todd while traveling.

Well…it is Wheels Up…and on our way…maybe….


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Such a mix of emotions today as the day that was “months away,” has arrived faster than we could ever have imagined.   This morning we finished packing up our final hand carries and action packers, and then started that difficult task of saying good by.   I can’t even begin to express the gratefulness we felt as family just kept arriving at the airport to see us off.  How blessed to look around the circle as we held hands and prayed for safety, not just for us, but for the many lives and families represented by those around the circle.  While we thank God for the tremendously strong family that we have, it also makes days such as this, that much more difficult – we don’t want to leave them behind.

Here are some of the quick highlights of the day.

– We arrived at the airport with our 9 action packers that weighed in at 50 pounds each.  The staff at Alaska Air were fantastic.  Initially they thought that we would only be allowed one bag, with charges of $400.00 for each additional.  This would definitely have been “game stopper.”  After a bit of negotiation and review of policies between the partnering airlines, it was determined that we would only end up paying for three additional pieces of luggage. Only $345.00 total! This was a real praise.

– Once at the airport several of our family members arrived for a send off.
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– Just as our flight was preparing to board, a large thunderstorm descended on the Boise Airport with intense lightning and heavy rain. We weren’t too concerned about the resulting flight delay as we have a 4 hour layover in Seattle before the next leg of our trip to Taiwan.

– In flight Update – as I write this post, the lights of Seattle are appearing on the horizon. Looks like we will be safely finishing this first leg of the trip very shortly.
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More to come!!!!
Blessings,
Todd

Watch it go up!


001The Asia Pacific Team is building the booth at General Assembly with the help from some great friends!  Today while Todd and Connie Lou were in the daylong Missionary Deputation  Meeting, Courtney went to the Convention Center and helped with the building of the booth!  She took the big camera to take pictures of the construction from the beginning.  The whole family will be there tomorrow finishing up building the booth and adding the final touches!

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A new twist on our deputation service!


Orleans, IndianaCourtney spoke to the Orleans, Indiana church about what it was like from her perspective as a missionary kid being evacuated from the middle of a war.  She brought a different perspective and gave a sweet tribute to her father for Father’s Day about having a Dad who supported his family even through an evacuation sending his family to another country and what that meant to her.

 

Courtney speaking at Orleans, Indiana

The NMI President took us to lunch at Spring Mill Park.  And we took some time after lunch in celebration of Father’s Day and Todd’s Birthday to walk around and take a boat tour of a cave, before driving up to Indianapolis to prep for the Missionary Deputation Meeting all day Monday and prepping for General Assembly.Todd and Connie in park

???The Park was absolutely beautiful and we enjoyed the time we spent there as a family looking at the amazing creation God made!  Caves are so interesting and different!