Friday, November 30, 2007

Prayer Requests at the End of November

We are enjoying having Joyce's parents here. We are trying not to keep them too busy. They have been helping the Plaxtons move into their house, have worked a little on the campus and Dale will be preaching at Agana Heights Baptist on Sunday. It was fun to go there last Sunday. Joyce and I had not been there in a while. We are still giving them time to read and work on jigsaw puzzles. The pictures are from last Sunday and were taken at Latte Stone Park in Agana. Here are some prayer requests...

  1. We are having a get-together and game day tomorrow with students from Guam Community College and University of Guam. Our students have invited several students from there to come over, play basketball, barbeque, sing and enjoy Christian fellowship. We have enjoyed having some GCC and UOG students with us in our chapels the last few days. Please pray that these students will see and experience Christ through our students.
  2. We have an administrative council meeting on Monday and Tuesday. We have several important issues to discuss including our process to reaffirm our accreditation. Please pray for God's direction and wisdom.
  3. PIBC still has a critical shortage in faculty and staff, especially in Chuuk. We need two master degreed Bible/theology teachers and two English teachers in Chuuk by August of 2008. We prefer a Masters degree for our English teachers but could use someone with a TESOL certificate. We are getting to the point where we would have to severely cut back our work in Chuuk. Right now we have just under 100 students in our two Chuuk sites.
  4. We are down to the last three weeks of the semester. The stress level is rising for teachers and students. Please pray that we will finish well.
We are so thankful for all the prayers and support for the ministry of PIBC. May God Bless.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

PIBC Thanksgiving Dinner Pictures

As promised here are a few pictures of of our PIBC Thanksgiving banquet. As you can tell I am excited to be back where it is warm and to be back with our PIBC family. We got to do most of the traditional Thanksgiving activities including talking to all three of our kids (by phone or computer), eating plenty of turkey and fixings (several times already), watching lots of football (though it comes on very early in the morning here) and sitting around with full bellies. Last night Joyce and I even went out and began our Christmas shopping. After my long trip it was nice to come home and have a couple days to recover. I am still getting up a little early but the jet lag is not too bad.

We still have a full house. We were all over at Tim and Melody Plaxton's new house yesterday. They are painting, repairing etc to get everything ready to move in this coming week. It has also been great to have Joyce's mom and dad here for the holidays.

Yesterday I went to see our PIBC basketball team play. We lost by 10 but we are qualified for the playoffs which begin next week. We have 3 1/2 weeks left in the semester. I sent out progress reports to all my Prophetic Literature students yesterday. Some of them have put off too much until the end and will have to work very hard to get everything in. We appreciate your prayers as we hit the home stretch of the semester.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I am back on Guam after four weeks away on a recruiting trip. We had a great Thanksgiving feast yesterday with our students and staff. As you eat your turkey, stuffing and cranberries we are well into our leftovers. I will post some pictures of yesterday's feast tomorrow since we left our camera with the pictures on it, at school. Joyce had to work today so she will pick it up on the way home. We are missing our family - one of the few downsides to the missionary business - so I will post some pictures of our family that I took while on the road the last few weeks. In the meantime, here are a few of the things that Joyce and I are thankful for as we sit here today....

  1. We are thankful that God called us to work in a warm place, especially after my experience of the last couple weeks. Steve and Anne we are praying for you to stay warm there!
  2. We are thankful for the way that God takes care of our families - especially our kids and grandson - even though they are far from us. And we are thankful for modern communications which allows us to have free video conversations with them. In the 80's we called home from Palau once a year on Christmas and it cost $4.00 per minute.
  3. We are thankful for our Micronesia family - the students, staff, faculty and friends at PIBC. This is just an example that God keeps his promise that when we leave things to follow him, like family, he more than gives it back.
  4. We are thankful for friends all over the world that continue to bless us, like so many that I saw on the mainland the last few weeks.
  5. We are thankful that we can have Joyce's mom and dad here with us for the next few months - even though my mother-in-law keeps reminding me of how much better the Cowboys are than the 49ers. :)
  6. Most of all we are thankful for eternally meaningful work and eternally meaningful relationships made so by our relationship with the resurrected Lord. And the bonus is that we also graciously get all things (Romans 8.32).
Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's Snowing!

I woke up this morning to the beginnings of a snow fall and the snow has continued to come down steadily all morning. We are under a severe weather snow advisory until 6:00 PM this evening. I enjoyed my five minutes out there in the snow and then came back inside where it is warm. I have decided not to do the shirtless snow picture this year. I am sure the entire world is breathing a sigh of relief there. :) I am praying that the weather does not effect my 5:30 AM Monday flight out of Newark. (I'll be back on my tropical island at 7:00 PM Tuesday.)


I had a good time last evening with Steve and Anne Stinnette after yesterday's meetings. (More on the meetings below) Steve will be seeing a doctor this week to see about a special contact lens that may enable him to deal with his eye problem without surgery. While he is receiving medical treatment he will be living at Schooley's Mountain where he and Anne will serve as missionaries in residence. They will be able to speak to the many retreat center guests about the global mission work of Liebenzell, especially Pacific Islands Bible College and hopefully transfer their passion for missions to many of the church groups (The LM-US retreat center hosts a lot of immigrant church groups from the surrounding area) that come up here on the mountain. We, of course, would like to see them back on Guam ASAP but we wait and pray for God's timing on that.

We were privileged yesterday to be part of the installation of Bill and Barb Schuitt as the new Global Director of Liebenzell Mission USA. They served with Joyce and I in Palau back in the 1980's as the principal of Bethania High School and they have served on several other fields as well. We are all very excited about what they bring to the mission and I am looking forward to ministering together with them. Bill will replace George Hege on the PIBC governing board at the upcoming meeting in March 2008.



Overall, I thought the meetings went very well. Here are some of the key decisions that came out of the meetings this weekend.
  1. PIBC is a partnership between the various Liebenzell Mission boards and the school. The Liebenzell leadership sees the need to expand the PIBC Board and include new partners in the support and running of the school. LMI will work together with PIBC leadership to find organizations and individuals who can partner with us for the continued growth of the school.
  2. The land ownership of the Guam campus will go to LM Germany and PIBC will have a long term lease with the mission.
  3. PIBC will widen its focus to some kind of a liberal arts major that will prepare our students for careers in the islands, especially teaching, and to produce biblical thinkers who will be Christian servant leaders in the church and whatever career they pursue.
  4. PIBC and LM-USA will cooperate more closely in fund raising and recruiting. I am looking forward to working with Bill and Steve on this.
We were also able to deal with a lot of smaller issues and discuss personnel. I believe a lot of gaps were bridged this weekend and we are much closer to a unified vision for PIBC and the work in Micronesia. This afternoon I plan to go out and do some shopping (I have a small list of stuff to bring back to Guam) with Steve and Anne and maybe stay indoors and watch a little NFL. Next post I should be back on Guam.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Global Committee Meetings

The global committee meetings actually began last night with a dinner to celebrate the 25 th anniversary of Hans Gegenbach with the Liebenzell Mission at Charlie Brown's steak house. Hans came in from Germany that evening with Liebenzell Mission International executives Detlef Krause and Martin Auch. Jake Koch, the director of Liebenzell Canada and several of the LMUSA staff and board joined us as well. We had a relaxed evening of catching up on each others' lives and talking about Liebenzell's ministries around the world. There were also more than a few funny stories and jokes told.

On Friday morning the actual meetings began. We had several PIBC and Micronesia strategy and personnel issues to be discussed. We are facing a crisis situation on our Chuuk campus because of a shortage of personnel. With our leadership spread across the world it is just good to once in a while to get in the same room, see each others' faces and hear each other's voices on the issues. I was thankful for the spirit of camaraderie and unity displayed in the meeting and I think we resolved many long burning issues.

After lunch we met with the LMUSA Global Committee. Again the issue (of my part of the meeting) was how the various parts of Liebenzell Mission could work together with PIBC and how we could bring new partners into the work. There seemed to be great agreement on the vision for the school and a renewed commitment to work together to accomplish it. I am excited about the new people coming in to leadership in Global Ministries and looking forward to see what God is going to do. Today's meetings ended with presentations about the mission's work around the world. I'm looking forward to the LMUSA Board meeting tomorrow.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pennsylvania

I have just returned to Schooleys Mountain from a one day trip to Pensylvania to visit friends. It was a long but beautiful drive through the Mennonite country. I first visited George Hege, former Global Director of Liebenzell USA in Reading. (I was in Redding CA and in Reading PA on this trip - hmm) It was great to see him and get caught up on how their church plant is doing. I always enjoy bouncing my ideas off George and getting his input. We also had a good Mexican lunch. Thanks George.



I then drove from Reading to Lewisburg to visit Graham and Joan Rogers. I had the opportunity to drive through some thick mountain fog but the trip was enjoyable. Graham and Joan pastored the Agat Community Church in Guam for many years and are old friends. I showed my Guam pictures and we did a lot of reminiscing about old times there. I also told him that we have several positions available for him at PIBC. After lunch today I headed back to Schooleys. I drove through the beginnings of a snow storm in the Poconos but made it back OK. Tonight the group from Germany will come in and the meetings will start. More later.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day One at Schooleys Mountain

I had a good first full day at Schooley's Mountain. First off, I have a washing machine where I am staying so I was able to wash and dry all my clothes. Then I had breakfast with LMUSA board member Norm Dietsch. We had a good time discussing the mission's strategy for PIBC and sharing "old missionary" stories. I then spent the rest of the day with our PIBC Palau Teaching Facility Coordinator, Rob Watt. Rob has been on furlough since June and will be returning to Palau in January. We were able to work in a little talk about football, but we mostly talked about setting up the Palau classes for the Spring, strategies for getting more people involved in the Koror church and ways we can help and continue work with our alumni. After dinner Rob headed back to Pennsylvania. I will be going there tomorrow to visit with former LMUSA global director George Hege and Guam friends Graham and Joan Rogers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ohio

I spent most of Saturday flying from Atlanta to Columbus Ohio through Newark, New Jersey. I stuck my coat in my checked luggage thinking that I would not need it until I got off the plane in Ohio. I thought I was going to freeze in the jetway in Newark. It is the first time I have been able to see my breath in a long time. Once I was on the plane and under a blanket I was fine. I was glad to have my jacket when we got to Columbus too. It was cold Saturday night and it was sleeting on the way to church on Sunday morning. The whole place was in mourning because Ohio State lost their football game and got knocked out of their #1 ranking. I got to watch a little football in the airport.
I stayed with Mark and Sue Hall in Columbus. They lived on Guam back in 1989-91 and are friends with long time missionary there Ernie Ladd. Mark and I have talked before about having him come out to Guam to teach a math course at PIBC. They also arranged for me to talk to the pastor at their church, Rick Williams of Violet Baptist Church in Pickerington Ohio. The church is considering a mission trip out to Guam. Talk about small world! The pastor is a good friend with Jim Ditty, the Southern Baptist mission director for Guam, who also teaches a music course at PIBC. We had a good discussion about how the church, the Guam Southern Baptists and PIBC could work together. It was a real blessing to meet the Halls, Pastor Rick and many of the people at the church there. (Why I took a picture of the inside of the church and not the people mentioned above - I don't know. Maybe my brain was too cold) Thank you Mark and Sue and people at Violet Baptist Church. I am looking forward to doing ministry with you.
Today I flew to Liebenzell USA HQ and am writing this post from the LMUSA office. More on that later.

TRACS Conference

Brad and I arrived at the TRACS conference on Wednesday afternoon. After registering and settling into our room we enjoyed the first seminars and the opening dinner. We left the evening concert a little early because both of us were pretty wiped out. I enjoyed renewing acquaintances with administrators from other TRACS schools and "picking their brains" about how they were doing things. with Guam being so isolated, this to me, is one of the most beneficial parts of the conference. Again the emphasis at the conference was on Institutional Effectiveness and ways to assess our effectiveness in fulfilling our mission statement and goals. We got a lot of good ideas about how to do that which will help us be prepared for our reaffirmation of accreditation. Sorry staff and faculty - a lot more paperwork! (You can barely see the reflection of me taking a picture of the TRACS sign in the picture)
On Thursday I attended a session on meeting the needs of international students. One of the presenters was an immigration lawyer who was especially interested in helping students at Christian colleges. When I explained our situation with our Jens and Karin Schulz' immigration status being revoked, he was excited to help us. We are now planning to have them apply for a different type of visa and hope that they will only need to be gone for a few weeks instead of a few months. Please pray for this.
On Friday Brad left for California. I took off for Ohio on (saw the Sac Kings get beat again by Cleveland on the late NBA game on the hotel TV) Saturday.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Adventures in Dallas and South Carolina

My last couple days in Dallas gave me a little time to spend with family and especially, my daughter Missy. Saturday night we got to fulfill a long time desire and go to a Sacramento Kings NBA game together. It was the Dallas Mavericks home opener and they annihilated the Kings but we still had a good time. Nobody bothered me about wearing my Kings shirt - maybe it would have been different if the game had been competitive. We also enjoyed watching football on the gigantic screen in the American Airlines Arena plaza and the Dallas skyline brought back memories of our time there while I was in seminary. I used to work in the tall building with the green lights. Missy took me to the airport on Sunday morning for my flight to Atlanta. Overall, Dallas was great. I enjoyed meeting Missy's boyfriend (I like him), seeing family and made a lot of good contacts at Dallas Seminary for possible future teachers. Thank you Lisa Tomada and Brandon Buie for all your help there.






I met Brad Boydston in the Atlanta airport and we rented a car (We got upgraded to a Chrysler Magnum - I think it looks like a hearse.) for the drive up to Columbia SC. Don and Melissa Howell are graciously hosting us for the 3rd year so we can recruit at Columbia International University. Last night they hosted a dinner for us so we could meet with and talk about PIBC to CIU seminary students. Several were interested. Today Brad and I got the chance to speak in several Bible, missions and TEFL classes there. Please pray that God will direct some of these students to us when they graduate. We have also been enjoying the mild Columbia South Carolina weather. Tomorrow we will have breakfast with Steve Bradley (he teaches every Spring semester on our Tol, Chuuk campus) and then head down to Atlanta for the TRACS conference which begins Wednesday.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

From Dallas Texas

I am writing this from the house of the Ramler's in Combine Texas. I arrived in the Dallas area on Wednesday night. Missy and her boyfriend Cliff (I was meeting him for the first time) picked me up at the airport. We had a good time talking and then I went out to the house of Joyce's sister, Janet and her family where I have been staying this week. (The picture is of me, Janet, Janet's son AJ, Cliff and Missy - Janet's husband Paul was driving to Abilene to rescue their son Kevin who was there in a broken down car so he missed the family dinner.) I was able to spend Thursday and Friday at Dallas Theological Seminary recruiting teachers. Thanks to former PIBC'ers Lisa and John Tomada I was well set up there with a lunch meeting and conference room to talk to people. I met several who were very interested in coming out within the next couple years. Please pray that God will direct some of them into ministry at PIBC. We still have an urgent need for Bible and English teachers at our Chuuk sites.

Today I will spend most of the day with my daughter Missy. She was able to get tickets to the Sacramento Kings-Dallas Mavericks game tonight so that should be a lot of fun. I have not been to an NBA game in many years. Tomorrow I will fly out to Atlanta where I will meet Brad Boydston and we will drive up to Columbia (South Carolina) International University. We will be recruiting Bible and English teachers there for a couple days before we head back to Atlanta for the TRACS conference on Wednesday. As always, I appreciate your prayers for finding people who can fill the needs at PIBC.