Saturday, June 30, 2012

Toasting Hot Dogs and Marshmallows

SAMSUNG            SAMSUNG            Mike and Sam dropped the kids off with me in the afternoon and later that evening we had a fun time toasting hot dogs and marshmallows with the kids. Here are a few pictures of the evening. In fact, we had so much fun that when Mike and Sam came later to drop off their laundry they stayed and toasted their own. It was another pleasant evening on Guam

 

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Joyce and the girls got the fire ready.

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We put the hot dogs on the skewers

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MMMM! Hot dogs toasted over a fire. Delicious!

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Next it was toasting the marshmallows for dessert

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It is very important to get the marshmallow to brown evenly for the perfect toasting

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Yes I believe we came as close as possible to the perfect toasted marshmallow.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Yap Ministry Team #2 – Jaynee Sam

SAMSUNG            Jaynee Sam, like Josh, made her second mission trip to Yap this summer. Jaynee was also a member of the Voices of Micronesia Team in the summer of 2010. On this trip Jaynee was mainly responsible for leading music, playing guitar and was one of the team’s cooks. She also helped with sports ministry, “I played a lot of volleyball,” and, like all the team members, focused on building relationships with the Yap youth. For Jaynee the trip was also a family reunion where she met her brother Jonathan, PIU graduate, teacher at Yap High School and church worker, and her sister in law Charity Sam, who is our Yap TF office manager. Charity’s father is Asael Ruda who has served a missionary from Chuuk to Yap for the last 20 years.

Jayne says her favorite thing about the trip was “facing and overcoming challenges including spiritual warfare and disagreements among team members.” She was very pleased that “everyone was able to be open and share their differences. The arguments and challenges made us closer.”

yap17 She loved spending time with the Yapese girls during the retreats. Relationships made during last year’s trip were “made deeper.” The first year laid a good foundation for very meaningful ministry this year. She also enjoyed being with family. For the first time she got to “just sit with my older brother and talk.”

Jaynee was thankful for the training she received at PIU. She had just taken the spiritual warfare class this past Spring and “I was prepared for what happened.” She was “able to encourage others because I was not scared.” She was also “used to it from living in the islands.” “Christ has already defeated the darkness. We only make them powerful when we fear them and let them deceive us.”

She was also thankful for what she had learned about how to organize a team in the classroom and that she was able to gain experience in doing it on the trip. “All PIU students should go on a ministry trip because it is one thing to hear about being a leader in the classroom, but it is another thing to really do it.”

yap14 She also shared how she had a “real experience of God answering prayer.” She needed to be in Chuuk this week for a family wedding but had given up because no seats were available. In fact, she decided that “I needed to love God more than family and trust Him to provide if he wanted me to go.” She then got a message that she had a ticket and a seat on the plane and is now in Chuuk for the wedding. She also had a major life event while on the trip. She was baptized by Pastor Asael last Monday. She “had never been baptized before” and realized her need to be obedient in baptism “from my PIU Doctrine classes.”

Jaynee graduated from PIU just last month and will spend some time in Chuuk to wait and see what direction God will lead her now. She asks for prayer that God will show her “what to do next.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yap Ministry Team #1 – Josh Ladd

SAMSUNG            Josh Ladd is a 2nd year student at PIU from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, though he was born in Palau. Josh served the team as the student leader and was responsible, along with Stella Fatag the staff leader, to plan, organize and administrate the team’s schedule, training, fund raising and program preparation. Josh was also the team’s main public representative and one of the preacher/teachers. Josh is now heading back to North Carolina for the rest of summer to have a vacation and rest up for his 3rd year at PIU in which he plans to be a full time student, resident assistant in the dorm and student recruiter for the advancement department. In the picture Josh is holding a carving made by the people of the Yap Evangelical Church to commemorate the partnership of PIU and the YEC.

Josh said that the challenges of this ministry trip were “tough enough to bring me to tears many times.” The “hardest part was being away from family in North Carolina when my grandfather died, but the people were really blessed” when he preached about “how my grandfather lives on in eternity and in me.” This year’s trip was harder for Josh than last year because “being the leader means overseeing the team instead of just hanging out with the people and doing ministry.” It was also tough to “discern when to speak and when to be patient and quiet when the team had issues.”

yap11 Josh was thankful that he was well prepared at PIU in the classroom and through his work this past year as a resident assistant in the dorm. In the classroom Josh learned to “exegete scripture to get to what the Bible is really saying, even in the Greek and Hebrew.” His experience leading men in the dorm “taught me how to do cross-cultural ministry.”

Josh’s favorite memory of the trip was “preaching that last night of the youth retreat.” He preached on Luke 9 about the requirements to be a real follower of Jesus and “challenged the youth to follow Jesus and be willing to give up whatever it takes to be more like Him.” After the message he saw how greatly it effected the Yapese youth.

Josh explains his motivation to go on this trip to Yap, “Yap is a place that God has put on my heart and I will continue to go there because I have seen God work in  mighty ways through the team there and there is a such a huge need for young people to go there to disciple other young people.” “We need to continue to encourage the church leaders of Yap. It is a blessing all around.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Return of the Yap Team

SAMSUNG            The PIU Yap ministry team returned last night from Yap after 6 weeks of serving the church and communities there. The team includes (left to right) Jessie Hartt, Jonie Jones, Leeman Sebastien, Grace Neth, Josh Ladd, Ransome Esah and Jayne Sam. Three other team members are still in Yap; Stella Fatag, PIU library assistant and recent PIU graduate Ceci Pedro who are both from Yap, and Davy Welle who decided to stay in Yap the rest of the summer to help the Yap Evangelical Church with youth ministry. Over the next few days I will be posting the ministry stories of each of these team members.

Monday, June 25, 2012

PIU, Pohnpei and Pingelap with the “Isles of the Sea”

islas-Carolinas-PingelapThis past week we have had a couple of our teachers in Pohnpei. Ken Dixon and Peter Knapp are part of the new partnership between PIU and the “Isles of the Sea” Wycliffe group that is working on translating the Bible into the languages of several of the Pacific languages that have never had the Bible in their “mother tongues.” In addition to working with people that are translating the Bible from some the little islands surrounding Pohnpei, Ken Dixon offered the PIU entrance exam on the main island of Pohnpei. We had 20 students take the exam (most passed it) and now many of them are working on getting their PIU applications done in time for the Fall semester. On the map of Eastern Micronesia on the right you can see Pingelap all the way to the right within the islands of Pohnpei State of the Federated States of Micronesia.

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Ken also gave me a copy of the Pohnpei Church of Christ’s monthly Bible readings brochure, translated, by the Isles of the Sea group, into Pingelapese for the first time. The cover on the left reads, “The Word of God, in the Pingelapese Language, July 2012.  The picture on the right shows the readings for July 4th (Luke 10.25-37) and July 5th (Nehemiah 8.13-18). We are hoping to be able to train some of the local translation workers here at PIU as they continue work to translate the whole Bible.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sunday Sermon–“Jesus the Lamb of God” John 1.19-51

The last two weeks I had the opportunity to preach at Faith Presbyterian and Reformed Church of Guam. Last week I preached on the prologue of John in verses 1-18. This week the subject was the beginning of God’s kingdom on earth as depicted in Jesus’ baptism and calling of his first disciples in John 1.19-51. I have been thinking quite a bit on these ideas, since over the last month my morning readings have been in John, and I recently finished reading “Simply Jesus” by NT Wright. (I used his perfect storm illustration to introduce the sermon.) The basic point was that Jesus’ baptism marked the “new age” with a new covenant and a new people of God. Jesus however did not begin the new age with an armed revolution as was expected but instead chose to spread the kingdom of God into the world through discipleship. The passage is divided into sections by the phrase “the next day.”

The first section of the sermon dealt with Jesus’ baptism and makes the point that Jesus is bringing in the “age to come.” John the Baptist came announcing this new age (v.23) and urged people to repent to be ready for it. When the delegation of Jewish religious leaders wanted to know the source of his authority for this announcement, John draws his authority from the Father who sent him (33), the Holy Spirit (32) and, of course the revelation of the Son of God (26-27, 34). God’s entrance into the world in the person of the Son announces the beginning of the new age. It is no accident that the next event recorded in John is the Wedding at Cana, a picture of the Kingdom banquet (Isaiah 55 for example)

In the second section John announces that Jesus is the “Lamb of God.” We tend to immediately go to the category of substitutionary atonement when we hear this phrase (and this is definitely an important part of the meaning of this) but John’s original hearers would have made a wider application. They would have been thinking in terms of the Passover and the Exodus – this was a new “4th of July” for God’s people. The Passover is a key theme and structural marker in the Gospel of John. The “lamb” would have reminded them of the “pass over” of the death angel, the judgment inflicted on Egypt and the redemption of Israel which began the nation. In addition it would have brought to mind that spiritual battle between God and Satan (plagues), the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the provision of manna (Jesus the Bread of Life), Parting of the Red Sea (Jesus walking on the water), a new law (new covenant), new temple (Jesus cleansing of the temple) all in an “already not yet” format which inaugurates with the giving of the Spirit and involves suffering and difficulty, crucifixion and death before glory and consummation as in the wilderness wandering.

Finally Jesus does this in an unexpected way. Instead of leading an armed revolution, as many “messiahs” of that day did, Jesus calls out a group of people to follow him as disciples in a “kingdom that is not of this world.” Jesus and John the Baptist are both examples of this Godly methodology. John, recognizing that discipleship must be centered in experience and relationship with Jesus, points his own disciples to Jesus. How many leaders today would be willing to give away their disciples to someone else? Three of Jesus’ sayings in this section point out Jesus discipleship methodology. First, he reaches out to them, “What do you need?” Then he invites them into relationship with Himself, “Come and See!” Finally he calls them into a ministry of learning from Him and emulating Him, “Follow me.” It is people in relationship with Jesus which will form the foundation of the church (42). Jesus tells Nathaniel that He is the “Bethel – “House of God” – that provides the meeting point between heaven and earth and connects people to God. Ultimately through the Holy Spirit we function in the same way. We become holy, moveable, portable temples to connect people to God wherever we go. This is  how the Kingdom of God will work in this age.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

PIU Yap Ministry Team Update

yap7 Here is another update from PIU Yap team student leader Josh Ladd. He uploaded this one to Facebook this morning.  The pictures I snatched from team member Grace Neth’s Yap picture album on her Facebook yap8page….

 

Hello everyone. Just to give another update from our trip: We have now finished the youth retreat and are doing the Vacation Bible school now in three different villages each day from 9:00AM to noon.

yap6  Tonight was an awesome night for our team. We got to have a fellowship with the youth from the youth retreat last week who made recommitments to follow Christ as well as those who committed for yap10the first time. We broke up into small groups after Pastor Asael shared for a bit. These small groups were amazing. I did not get to experience all of the groups, but in our 18 and older guys group we had some amazing testimonies of guys who are trying to follow Christ, but are already have struggles from temptations and friends and family. It was awesome to see guys open up and share despite being from different villages, classes, and islands. This is a huge step for these guys and something truly amazing to see.

yap4 yap5 It is very hard to think that our team will be in Guam in only one week from today. These past 4 weeks have flown by so fast. We are really going to miss the youth who are growing so much right in front of our eyes. However, our ministry is far from over here in Yap. We will still continue VBS until Saturday this week. We will also be sharing at Tomil Bible study again tomorrow as well as possibly having a village outreach ministry this Saturday night to the outer islanders in Yap.

Please continue to pray for our team:

1. yap9 Continue to pray for unity for our team and strength so that we can finish out our trip strong. We are very drained and tired from the week long youth retreat and have not been able to get much rest lately.
2. Please also pray for the youth here. They need to help each other. Here's what I mean - the youth leaders here can only do so much. When the youth are in the villages under peer pressure and struggles they are going to need to come together as God's people outside of only youth group to support each other. Pray that the Holy Spirit will raise up leaders among the youth themselves so that they will bring "youth group" everywhere they go. It is so hard for the young people here to live for Christ.
3. Pray for Ransome as he will be leading the Tomil Bible study tomorrow night. Pray for Davy as he will be speaking Saturday morning to wrap up VBS.
And pray for Leeman who will be preaching Sunday at our final church service.

4. This final prayer request is both a request as well as an invitation for anyone who would be interested in helping: There are two guys from youth here in Yap who greatly desire to come to PIU in the fall. Their tuition and living expenses should be completely covered with FAFSA and Yap scholarships if they are able to come. The only problem is their passport and plane ticket. The minimum wage here in Yap is a mere $1.25, which makes it extremely difficult to support oneself. Both of these guys are hardworking and one of them is a leader in youth. We have known them for over a year now and have continued to build relationships with them. All they need is a little help to get to Guam where their life will be completely changed as they learn about Jesus in a loving community. If you might be interested in helping these guys out please send me a message. If not, please continue to pray for them as well as the many interested youth here in Yap who are planning to come to PIU.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Meetings on Guam

SAMSUNG            I had a meeting today with one of our adjunct teachers at PIU. We assessed the previous semester and took care of business but also got to just chat a bit. We discussed some church and political issues and a little theology too. We met on the deck of one of the local coffee places (Tu Re Cafe). This was the view from our meeting venue. There was a nice breeze blowing and we watched the para-sailers and just sat there a while. The coffee was pretty good too.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Happy Fathers Day on Guam

SAMSUNG            Sunday, after I preached, Mike, Sam and the kids met us at churchSAMSUNG            and we headed over to that fine eating establishment, Taco Bell,  for a Fathers Day celebration with several friends from Faith Church. We enjoyed a couple hours of good conversation and posed for a few pictures. I think church, grandkids, a chalupa and then a nap is a great way to spend a Sunday!

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Mike and Courage enjoyed their lunch.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Youth Day on PIU Campus

  Usually things are pretty quiet on the PIU campus during the summer but yesterday (Saturday) was an exception. Several of the island’s Micronesian churches and youth groups got together for a youth rally on the campus during the afternoon and evening. The day was full of sports and music and then they held an evangelistic service in the evening. I was there for most of the afternoon events and it looked like there were about 100-150 young people there. It was good to see the campus alive with people again.

Mike and I manned the PIU booth for much of the afternoon, along with Lisa, Samantha and Charles. Titus took the picture of me.

Lawrence Yinolang (far right in the picture on the right) who leads the Ranch Christian Fellowship, where many of our students help lead ministry, was the main organizer of the event. The Liebenzell Impact Team (left) also was part of the event. I think the German and Swiss team members would have been more comfortable playing soccer than volleyball

PIU students and alumni did a lot of the work to make the event happen

Courage, Serenity and Titus enjoyed the afternoon too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Meeting with Pohnpeian Church Leaders

SAMSUNG            This afternoon I had the opportunity to address the leadership of the United Church of Christ Pohnpei. They are holding their executive meetings on Guam this week, and Saladier Ilai, SAMSUNG recent PIU graduate and a senior pastor in the UCCP, arranged for me to be able to come and talk to the Pohnpeian pastors about how PIU could serve the education needs of their church. Many of the pastors I had met before. In fact, several of them had been in the church that met with us at Yigo Baptist back in the mid-1990’s. They seemed very excited about having their students come to PIU this Fall, exploring setting up a Teaching Facility in Pohnpei, and several of the pastors asked me about enrolling in the PIES seminary themselves. A few of them plan to join us for our monthly PIU theological discussion on Friday and then will get a tour of the campus. Please be praying for God’s direction as we move forward on this. Nico Daams from the Wycliffe “Isles of the Sea” Group was also there (that is Nico and Saladier in the picture above right eating and smiling at the camera) to talk about the Bible translation projects going on in Pohnpei. Two of the Isles of the Sea guys who teach at PIU (Ken Dixon and Peter Knapp) will be headed to Pohnpei tomorrow to help with outer island translation work and will also be offering the PIU entrance and placement test to prospective PIU students there.

PIU Yap Ministry Team Update

Here is another update from the PIU Yap team written student leader Josh Ladd. I will try to get some pictures from the team to post soon….

Yap Day 19 (Sunday June 10)

It's hard to believe that we have already been in Yap for almost 3 weeks now. We are now over half way done with our trip today. Tonight at 7:00 will be the opening ceremony for the youth retreat that will go the entire week until next Sunday. The theme of the retreat will be "The Heart". This past week our team has been primarily preparing for this youth retreat by brainstorming and practicing for our programs that we will do over the retreat. We also had the privilege of leading the outer island youth on Friday afternoon, which gave us a lot of time to develop relationships with some of the youth who we will see the entire week.

Here are the main activities that our team will be involved with over the retreat. (These are also things that can be prayed for)

1. We will be doing 2 evening programs similar to PIU days on Friday and Saturday. Saturday's program will be summing up the entire retreat and will include a speaker. (Each night of the retreat one youth group gets to present a program with songs, actions songs, skits, and a speaker. We have been given 2 nights to present.)
2. Jesse will be doing one of the morning lectures. (these are the main speaking sessions on topics relating to the heart). His message will be on "The Solution to the heart."
3. Every day after the morning sessions our team members will be responsible for leading small group discussions relating to the daily message.
4. A different member of our team will be leading the daily devotion each morning at 7AM.
5. Our team will also have the option of spending the night with some of the youth groups - this is an awesome opportunity to get to know the youth.
6. There will also be a whole lot of opportunities for PIU recruiting. We will for sure have an afternoon session set apart for a PIU presentation and will also be helping some high school graduates fill our their PIU applications. (There is a lot of interest in PIU from the youth here since this is our second year in a row coming to Yap.)

There are many other activities our team will be involved with such as sports and planning of other activities. The bottom line is that this retreat is an awesome chance to spend a week sharing Jesus with the youth of Yap. Last year there were over 100 Yapese, Outer Islander, Palauan, and Chuukese youth who were in attendance. We are not sure how many will be coming this year, but whoever the Lord brings will be great.

In addition to the things mentioned above please continue to pray:
1. That our team will continue to stay united during our busiest week of ministry. Jesus prayed that all believers would be one so that the world would believe that the Father had sent him. Our team likewise must be united for this reason as well.
2. That we will have strength, patience, and joy throughout a week where we will no doubt experience a lack of sleep and a lack of personal time.
3. That the hearts of the youth attending the retreat will be open to receive and apply God's word.
4. For protection from any attack that Satan throws at our team. We continue to need your prayers in this area.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sermon on John 1.1-18

SAMSUNG            This morning I preached on the Prologue to the Gospel of John at Faith Presbyterian and Reformed Church. I based my message on the chiastic structure of the passage that I think I observed there. See below. I think it is interesting that John bracketed the human responses to Jesus (6-9 and 10-13) within his description of the incarnation of the Word (1-5 and 14-18) who perfectly embodies the glory of the Creator of the universe. My main point was that, just as each chiasm in the passage does, that we need to keep Jesus as the center and have “total buy in” (my interpretation of receive) to his kingdom program and do our part in it (witness). (Joyce took the picture)

  • In the beginning was the Word,
    • and the Word was with God,
      • and the Word was God.
    • He was with God
  • in the beginning.
    • Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
    • In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
    • The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

 

  • There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.
    • He came as a witness to testify concerning that light,
      • so that through him all men might believe.
    • He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
  • The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

 

  • He was in the world,
    • and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
    • He came to that which was his own,
      • but his own did not receive him.
      • Yet to all who received him,
        • to those who believed in his name,
      • he gave the right to become children of God—
      • children born not of natural descent,
    • nor of human decision or a husband’s will,
  • but born of God.

 

  • The Word became flesh
    • and made his dwelling among us.
      • We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,
        • who came from the Father,
          • full of grace and truth.
            • John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”
            • From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
          • For the law was given through Moses;
        • grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
      • No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, 
    • who is at the Father’s side,
  • has made him known.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Thursday Nights at our House

Thursday night at our house is grandkids' night. Joyce picks up Titus, Courage and Serenity right after she gets off work at the Japanese School, straps them into their car seats crowded into her little Ford Focus and hauls them to our house. Now that we have a little pool that is usually the first activity on the agenda. This week the popular game was grandpa throws the ball high in the air and the three kids scramble for it in the water. Serenity took a direct hit to the nose with the ball but it didn't seem to bother her at all. After everyone gets dry it is time for dinner. The popular menu items are always pancakes, "mac-n'cheese" or grilled cheese sandwiches.



After dinner it is time to watch a few cartoons and get into the toy box.  Grandma has an amazing collection of fun toys and grandpa has cable! Serenity's favorite show seems to be Go Diego Go. Titus is into Transformers.

Then it is time for a project and and a story. After that bedtime. On Friday morning Joyce does some "home-schooling" with the kids before they go back home on Friday afternoon. We enjoy the opportunity to spend some time with the kids and I know Mike and Sam enjoy having some time to themselves too. And yes Joyce is drinking a mango/carrot/orange smoothie made with fresh mangos from the tree in our backyard. We are pretty blessed.