Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trip to Tol Island

SAMSUNG            On the 2nd day of my time in Chuuk I had the opportunity to go out to visit Faithwalk Christian College on Tol Island. FCC is the former PIU Chuuk SAMSUNG            campus. We have agreed to a Memo of Understanding with FCC and the Chuukese church to begin offering classes there again and hope to begin in 2014. I had not been there in 4 years and was looking forward very much to going there and speaking with the 90 students that are currently enrolled there. The water had been rough and it looked unlikely that I would be able to go, but on Thursday, the water was calm and we were able to take a very pleasant boat ride across the Chuuk Lagoon. I forgot my hat, and got a pretty nasty sunburn, but everything else worked out perfectly. The islands are as beautiful as I remember and this was an answer to a prayer I have been praying for 4 years.


The water was calm and clear as we went across.


The students welcomed me and we enjoyed some good fellowship together.


ECC President Karsom Enlet accompanied to Tol. We addressed the FCC students together and talked about the reconciliation between PIU and ECC/FCC. I had the opportunity to talk about our plans to help the FCC students access PIU’s accredited program. The students seemed very happy about the partnership and the plans.


The library and other buildings looked pretty much like I remembered them. The library is pictured here.


We hated to leave but the students sent us away with friendly farewells.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chuuk Trip #1

SAMSUNG            I am in San Diego now (more on that later) but I began this trip last week with a quick flight to Chuuk. I stayed at the Truk Stop Hotel (owned by PIU advisory board members Bill and Kiki Stinnette) and the pictures are from the window of my room there. I had a good opportunity to talk with Kiki about PIU partnering with the Chuuk Women’s Council to SAMSUNG            help with degree completion and service learning for women. I also was able to meet twice with Noha Ruben and John Sound from the Chuuk Department of Education. We discussed helping the teachers of Faichuuk complete their AA and BA degrees to meet the deadlines of the US Department of Education. I also met with Yosta Lodge from Faithwalk Christian College about completing our partnership with the Evangelical Church of Chuuk and FCC (see posts here and here about our renewed partnership). I was invited to go out to Tol, see the students and prepare them to take the PIU entrance exam. Some pictures of my trip in the next post.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday Chapel at PIU

SAMSUNG            I am writing this post from Pohnpei and hope to upload it when I can find an internet connection.SAMSUNG            I was in Chuuk for three days without a connection, but I should be able to post from the restaurant at lunch time today. I will also have some info and pictures from Chuuk and Pohnpei in subsequent posts when I am able to upload the pictures and videos I have taken there. I do have some pictures from Tuesday’s chapel. Dr. Zobule was our chapel speaker and talked about being “salt and light” in our communities. He talked about how important salt is in places that do not have refrigeration, like the more remote Pacific islands. He challenged us to to be “salt in the community” to keep our cultures from “rotting and spoiling.” Dr. Zobule now has gone on to Yap and will return to the Solomon Islands this weekend. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Equipping Conference #2

SAMSUNG            Typhoon Francisco forced us to cancel day 2 of the PIU Equipping Conference. We were under tropical storm condition 1 most of the day Friday and the storm delayed our speaker’s flight from Australia until Saturday morning. Our speaker, Dr. Alpheus Zubule, arrived on Guam at about 6.30 AM Saturday and SAMSUNG            began his first session at 8.30. Despite the difficulties he looked wide awake and led us through three sessions on doing ministry in a non-western context. The sessions were very interactive and, as Dr. Zubule said, with all the different cultures gathered together in the room it was good to learn from each other.


Mike and Samantha did a great job as the MC’s and Coordinators of the conference. They gave out several door prizes courtesy of our sponsors National Car Rental, Faith Book Store and the Palmridge Hotel.

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We closed the sessions on Saturday with a panel discussion with all the conference speakers. Attendees were able to ask pretty much any question they wanted to ask. This led to some lively interaction. This is usually my favorite part of the conference.

Media Report on PIU’s Ministry Equipping Conference

PIU’s Ministry Equipping Conference got a nice write-up on the Pacific News Center web site. You can find the article here. They provided a nice summary and overview of the conference with some pictures of speakers and attendees.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ministry Equipping Conference Day #1

SAMSUNG            Last weekend we completed the 4th annual PIU Ministry Equipping Conference. It did not go exactly as we planned with the tropical storm warnings interrupting the conference as typhoon Francisco tracked south just off the east coast of Guam and then came back up north a few hundred miles off SAMSUNG            the west coast. Our speaker Dr. Alpheus Zubule, who was supposed to arrive on Friday morning, was held up in Cairns Australia because of the Guam weather. Our planned three day conference became a two day conference. Nevertheless, I thought it went well despite the circumstances. The theme of the conference was “Ministry in Context.”

SAMSUNG            Thursday night’s theme was “Reading the Bible in its Ancient Context.” PIU staff took the attendees through the story of “David and Goliath” SAMSUNG            highlighting the historical, grammatical-lexical, literary, and theological contexts. Mike Owen highlighted the ancient Near Eastern background of the text and its importance for understanding the message of the text.

SAMSUNG            Nico Daams, from the “Isles of the Sea” group of Wycliffe Bible Translators, addressed the lexical and grammatical context of the David and Goliath story. He also talked about the difficult issues that local Bible translators face as they try to translate place names and geographical features that have no relevance to people who live on a tropical island. Another difficulty the translator always faces is that each Hebrew word has a different range of meaning than the English (or island language) word used to translate it.

I was the third speaker in the lineup and had the opportunity to talk about the literary context of First Samuel 17.The passage is mainly narrative history. My main point in this was that biblical narrative history is unlike modern history books in that the stories are mainly about God – God is always the main hero in the story. Second there is a small poetic section in the story in verses 43-47. This highlights the main point of the story, which is about how God saves. The story is not about David’s bravery. The theme is “the battle is the Lord’s” and the main quality of a godly king is trust in God’s promises.

Here is my outline of the passage:

  • Intro of Goliath: Saul Runs 1-11
  • Intro of David: Response to Challenge 12-31
    • David and Jesse 12-15
      • Goliath 16
    • Jesse and David 17-19
      • David and Brothers 20-24
        • Goliath/Saul/Goliath 25-27  (Twist #1 – Saul should be the hero)
      • Eliab and David 28-31
    • David and Saul 31-39
      • David vs. Goliath Weaponry 40-42
        • David vs Goliath taunting 43-47 (Twist #2 – the inferiorly equipped soldier wins)
      • David Defeats Goliath – Weaponry 48-51
    • David and Israel Spoil Goliath and the Philistines 52-54
  • David Reintroduced 55-58

SAMSUNG            PIU Bible prof, Iotaka Choram, tied the evening together by talking about how to take the message from its biblical context and apply it to the context of the preacher’s audience. He talked quite a bit about the fear of the “spirits of the islands” that many Christians still struggle with. To see the battle of David and Goliath as really being a battle between the true God and the god of the Philistines should be a tremendous encouragement to the many islanders who struggle with this fear. God has defeated these spirits and they no longer need to be feared.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Grandkids Play in the Torrential Rain

Courage and Serenity enjoy the pouring rain in our driveway.

The typhoon is moving away from Guam but the rain is still heavy and we are still under a tropical storm watch. Nevertheless there is always an opportunity to have a little fun in the rain.

This Week’s Chapel

SAMSUNG            This week two chapels were planned, as usual, for Tuesday and Friday but Friday’s chapel has been cancelled because of the typhoon off the coast west of Guam. We did have a good chapel on Tuesday though. The Tuesday chapel was a continuation of our focus on Prison Fellowship Guam and the need to reach out to those who are incarcerated. Our speaker was Jeff Nelson who is a PFG volunteer, on the pastoral staff at Faith Presbyterian and Reformed Church and a PIU seminary student. Jeff focused in on how God has impacted many of the prisoners he has worked with over almost 20 years of prison ministry on Guam and urged the students to be involved in ministering to prisoners.


The ladies’ dorm worship team led us in a harmonious worship time with the able assistance of the AV team.


Jeff, left, challenged us from the Word to be involved and Ellis (right) gave an encouraging testimony about how God changed his life through the ministry of PFG in Guam DOC.

Typhoon Francisco Nearing Guam


Here are the latest satellite and tracking pictures for Typhoon Francisco as it nears Guam. So far we have had some high winds and lots of rain but everyone is OK. I have heard about scattered power outages but our power is on at the house and at PIU and we have been able to check updates on TV and on the net. The storm center is about 100-150 miles southwest of Guam and the nearest pass, at about 90 miles, is supposed to happen at 10 AM; about 2 hours from now. We had our first session of the Ministry Equipping Conference last night and hope to be able to have the other two sessions tonight and tomorrow morning. Morning classes are cancelled today and we will make a decision later this morning about afternoon classes and chapel. It is looking likely that they will be cancelled as well. Joyce and I have the grandkids with us and we are dry and safe. We would appreciate prayers that the typhoon not turn and head our way!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Article About PIU in the Marianas Variety


Today’s Marianas Variety newspaper had a very nice article about PIU today as we officially introduce our new VP of Advancement and Provost, former Guam senator, Dr. Sam Mabini. The article also contains a good overview of our programs and history of the school. Below are a few quotes from the article. You can read the original article on the Marianas Variety web page. I also post a picture of me, Sam and Nino, that was taken by Samantha while the MV photographer was out here yesterday afternoon.

“In response to the changing needs of the island communities in which it serves, PIU is expanding its course offerings, its degree offerings, and its vision to be a leader throughout Guam, Micronesia and the Pacific Region in providing accessible, transformational, and quality higher education,” said Dr. Sam Mabini, the university’s interim provost and academic vice president.

“For 37 years PIU has been the leader in providing biblical education to the people of Micronesia and now to an expanding circle of people in the Western Pacific, the United States and the rest of the world,” said the former senator, who assumed the university post on Sept. 13.

“We are proud that students enrolled at PIU genuinely get a rich multi-cultural experience, and develop deep relationships, through meaningful interactions with the student body, faculty and staff of PIU,” she added.

Thank you, Marianas Variety News Staff!

Umatac Fiesta

SAMSUNG            This Sunday we packed up the new PIU van and several faculty cars and headed down south to Umatac for the village festival. The mayor of Umatac had given our students and staff a special invitation to be his guests at the festival. Dean of Women Daisy SAMSUNGMurdock and several of our students have been going to Umatac over the last few weeks to help the mayor and his staff get ready for the festival. We enjoyed the day, the food and music were great, and the people of Umatac welcomed us warmly. The PIU students were invited to sing and the mayor gave us a recognition plaque thanking us for service to the village. Thank you Mayor Quinata for a wonderful day.


The tropical storm to the west of us made Umatac Bay a lot rougher than normal. There were several surfers out in the high waves.


The waves were strong enough to knock Big John off his carabao. He hung on though and got out of the water ok.


In fact he was giving carabao rides again a little later.


The students enjoyed the fiesta food and getting to know the people


They also sang a couple songs


PIU VP Sam Mabini and I introduced the students and shared a little information about PIU


Daisy received the recognition plaque from Mayor Quinata