Thursday, October 31, 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.

Wednesday, October 30, 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. 

Sunday, October 27, 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.

Friday, October 18, 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!

Wednesday, October 16, 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!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

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

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chapel at PIU This Week

SAMSUNG            It is hard to believe we are already done with week 6 of the 2013 Fall semester. We are well into our class syllabuses and into the Fall activities. Next week is our Ministry Equipping Conference and we are planning for the student’s “K2” spiritual SAMSUNG            retreat at the end of the month. This week was another good, but rainy, week with two enjoyable times of worship in our Tuesday and Friday chapels. Tuesday chapel music and worship was led by a group of our female students. Our speaker was our new VP of Advancement and Interim Provost, Dr. Sam Mabini. Sam talked about how important it is to step out into new things and work hard to make the most of the opportunities God brings our way. 


SAMSUNG            Friday’s chapel music was led by our Dean of Students, Rob Watt. Our speaker was Pastor Tom Van Engen from Faith Christian Reformed Church. Tom was representing Prison Fellowship Guam and challenged the students to be involved in advocating for and participating in restorative justice. The essence of the change made through Christ has to do with reconciliation with God and with each other. Our prison systems certainly do not reflect that. We, as God’s people, should be involved in helping the prisoners experience reconciliation. Many of our staff and students have been involved in this kind of activity and we want to continue to have this influence on the community.

Friday, October 11, 2013

PIU Has A New Facebook Page

Pacific Islands University has had quite a presence on Facebook for a while, but until yesterday we did not have an official Facebook page. We now have one and you can find it here: ( This will be our official page to announce projects, fund raising efforts and events. This will also enable us to get our message out in a focused way to potential students, donors and friends. Our first goal is to get 1000 people to like our Facebook page before the end of October. Please go on our page, “like” it, and invite your Facebook friends to “like it.”

NewPIUVanAlso our first project on this page is the PIU Van project as mentioned in my previous blog post. To find out more you can go to the “event page” for the Van Fundraiser and click on “get tickets.” OR you could go right to the van donation page on the PIU website. Either way we would appreciate your help and prayers for PIU and this project.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Update on PIU Van Project


One big difference between the students at PIU and those at an American Christian university is that most of our students do not have access to personal or public transportation. Thus, PIU needs to provide transportation for our students, not only for ministry and school events, but for their basic needs like food and necessities shopping, doctor and bank visits and other regular student needs. We began the school year with two old vans that we prayed would make it through the semester, but both broke down in the first week of classes. Due to the grace of our friends at Triple J Motors we were able to buy a new commercial van for the price of a family passenger van. However, we needed to raise $12,500 within 30 days of receiving the van. With the deadline of October 15th coming up next week we are still about $5000 short of meeting our goal. Please join us in praying for God to meet this need. If you would like to help us reach our goal you can make a donation by calling PIU at 671-734-1812, on line at, or you can come by the office any time on weekdays.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Congrats Nino!

Congratulations to Nino Pate our colleague at PIU.

The following is from an article in the Pacific News Center of Guam. You can read the whole article here.


Guam - Mr. NiƱo Pate, Executive Administrator at Pacific Islands University, a U.S. accredited institution located in Mangilao, was recently recognized as an International Peer Reviewer by the International Associate of Multidisciplinary Research, IAMURE International Journal of Social Science. Mr. Pate was recognized for his valuable contribution to the internationally recognized journal.

The IAMURE International Journal of Social Sciences publishes new discoveries in social sciences with research contributions from members around the world. It is an international peer reviewed journal for scholarly contribution and reference for advocacy and utilization.
Mr. Pate, also serves as a faculty member at PIU, currently teaching MATH 102 College Algebra. He holds a B.S. in Statistics, a G.D. in Econometrics, and an M.S. in Econometrics from the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP), Davao City, Republic of the Philippines.
Mr. Pate will complete an MBA from USEP in 2014, and is pursuing his Ph.D. in Development Research and Administration.
Pacific Islands University congratulates Mr. Pate for his achievements and recognition, and commends him for his continued dedication and work at the institution.

PIU Day of Prayer

SAMSUNG            Last Friday was the PIU “President’s Day of Prayer.” The day included an hour of prayer at 7 AM in pavilion, a prayer chapel and an evening hour of prayer. While prayer is always an important and frequent activity at PIU, SAMSUNGwe set aside a day each semester to devote ourselves to prayer for each other and for the mission and ministries of the school. This is also the day we especially recognize that the resources needed to make PIU successful can only supplied by the LORD. This year we combined the prayer chapel with a Guam Ministerial Association meeting on the PIU campus. It was a real blessing to have several pastors on campus to pray for for us and to allow us to pray for them.


In the morning hour we got together for an informal time of conversational prayer. (Right). Mike and Samantha led the more formal prayer chapel with worship music, classic prayers and group prayer for PIU faculty, staff, students, board and church community.