We believe that God has given each and every one of us a talent that He intended for us to use as a tool to tell others about Him. For a man named Sam, that talent is riding dirt bikes. A former Philippine National Professional Motocross Champion, Sam uses his love of the sport and his talent as not only a rider, but former champion to share Jesus with others.
Sam will be sharing along with Todd and I (Connie) at the Eastern and Northwest Work & Witness Conferences about how his father, an influential businessman, was impacted by a Work & Witness Team of corporate professionals that came to the Philippines and got down in the dirt and worked to build a church alongside the nationals. This prompted his father to take an inward look and stepping out in faith became a pastor, and eventually a DS as well.
Left for dead alongside the road in 1999 after a fatal accident that took the life of his father (coach/Nazarene Pastor/DS) (bus collided with the Team Yamaha vehicle) Sam committed to living life as a “second lifer” dedicated to being 100% sold out. God has used him to not only start a race ministry that was just recently featured on the Pilipinas Got Talent Franchise to millions of viewers (no exaggeration here), but also to pioneer an English service and Generation Congregation (GenCon) youth movement of training “Frontliners” to become disciple makers. He has gone to the skate parks and interacted with the “untouchables” several of whom are now licensed ministers. There are now 4 generations of leaders who are discipling leaders, the group has surpassed 200 youth.
Sam was asked to be a featured speaker for the Asia-Pacific Quadrennial Regional Conference in October of 2015, to share his vision and passion for reaching the lost in non-traditional manners. He has served on the board of trustees for one of our Nazarene Bible Colleges, has been instrumental in our Lay Ministries Training Programs, and as an ordained elder, is a very well respected member of the clergy here on the Philippine / Micronesia Field and across the Asia-Pacific Region.
Two years ago God prompted our hearts to come alongside Sam and his wife Faith in this unique ministry. Motocross was never our passion, but reaching people for Jesus is! We found that as we looked at what God had placed in our hands, the opportunities through this unique ministry, that God used and blessed our efforts.
Stepping outside of our comfort zone, we saw God step in and provide not only opportunities to share, but the words we needed for each encounter. Since that time, you will find us at the race track on Sunday mornings (motocross has now become our passion), talking with the riders, encouraging them, and true to form Connie will have her camera out taking photos of them practicing and sharing them on social media. As we share with them, we have the opportunity to share the love of Jesus as well.
Around 10:30 we huddle up with whoever is there to practice and we have church. Not your typical worship style, these guys are hot and sweaty and wearing all their gear. But God meets us there and lives are being transformed. Several come just for the Bible study even when they are not practicing, and some go get their wives and kids as well. Although this is not the type of church we grew up with, we wouldn’t want to be any place else!
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.
It’s Monday morning, following a weekend of tragedy. In addition to the multiple other atrocities happening across the Middle East, SE Asia, and the rest of the world, on our own home front, the media is aflame with the senseless murder of Christian artist Christina Grimmie and then what the news is calling, “the greatest mass shooting event in U.S. history.” What do we make of this. How do we respond? I opened the Word and began to ponder what the Lord would have to share. His Word is so timely. My reading program for this morning found me in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.
Praise to the God of All Comfort
“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NIV).
Lloyd John Ogilvie had some very insightful thoughts for this passage.
THERE IS A JOY TO BE experienced when we care deeply about people and their needs. This joy comes when we let our hearts mourn over the things which bring grief to the heart of God. When we are involved with God in caring for people, we are also recipients of God’s comfort.
The more we know of the person’s potential, the more we mourn over their failure in squandering life. When we know what life was meant to be, we ache for people to see it and experience it to the full. The mess people make of life is a source of mourning for us. What peace and power they could know!
We also mourn over what people do to one another. Our hearts ache when we see the news and observe the grotesque ways people hurt and destroy one another. We dare to get involved with the people in our lives and feel with them the pain of what other people have done. Discernment is a powerful gift to receive from the Holy Spirit. It enables us to see what is going on in our world and to feel the anguish of it. Comfort is God’s gift to those who share life this deeply with Him. Joy grows out of the realization that God is at work in people’s lives and calls us to communicate His love to them in spite of everything.
Today is a time when people, the ones that God made in His image, are hurting. The people whom God loved so much, that even while we were yet sinners, He sent His own son to reconcile us.
“7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7-9
Now is the time to comfort others with the same comfort that we have received.
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!
Where has the time gone? It is so hard to believe that we are just four days away from another spring speaking tour! On Thursday morning at 10:55am, Wednesday evening (N. America Time) we will, Lord willing, be climbing aboard our flight that will take us from Manila to Tokyo, to Seattle, and then on to Boise. We will pick up our car in Caldwell, Idaho, and then begin our drive north for the state of Washington. This spring will see us speaking at Faith Promise weekends, NMI Conventions, and mission services across the Pacific Northwest, Canada, NW Ohio, and Southern California.
Several of our dates are lacking specific details, as we have not yet received them. As soon as we do receive the information – it will be uploaded to the schedule.
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!
One of the primary responsibilities of the Regional Communications Coordinator (my job – Todd) is keeping the global church connected with what is happening in Missions on the Asia-Pacific Region. We have taken it a step further. Since I am so blessed to have a tremendous team working with me, we are wanting to provide updates from the mission work on every region! One of our interns, a graduate from Olivet Nazarene University, Rebecca Moisio, who has been working with us here in Manila since October of 2015, has been doing a tremendous job of putting together these news pieces. (Feature image is from the Myanmar District Assembly – another post will be coming about that trip!)
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!
To share God’s love through aviation and technology; seeing isolated people physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s name.