Friday, September 19, 2014

Owen September Prayer Letter

Greetings from Rainy, Shaky Guam,

10626578_863609113658734_1315602884287329045_nWe are only 3 weeks into our semester and things are really rocking and rolling… literally. This past week we had a 6.7 earthquake (originally rated at 7.1) that lasted for 42 seconds. Amazingly, there was very little damage to PIU, our house, or the island. Here is an article from our local newspaper about why big earthquakes cause so little damage here.  Pictured to the right is Joyce with students and staff riding out the earthquake in front of the administration building. It was quite a ride.

We are just beginning to settle into our routines and get back into the rhythm of the semester. This semester I am teaching Exegesis in Hebrews for the 4th year students. This is one of the capstone classes for the Bachelor in Biblical Studies program and each student will be required to do a major exegetical project and write a sermon on the passage. I am also teaching the Introduction to the Hebrew Language course for the seminary. This is in addition to my administrative responsibilities. Joyce is teaching the Remedial Reading course and supervising in the WeServe program that allows the students to do an in-house work study program to help make their tuition more affordable (see prayer request about that below). We are enjoying getting to know the new students and deepening relationships with the returning students. We are sad that some students were not able to return, most because of financial issues and we are praying that they will be able to return in January.

Here are some items that you can offer thanks and praise to God for and some issues for which we would appreciate your continued prayers. Your prayers and support are an indispensable part of our effective ministry with our students and in our communities.

Thank God for…

1. We have been able to find and hire a new Liberal Studies Program Chair and Director of Libraries! When we started the semester these positions were still open. Our accreditor requires that these be filled with qualified people to remain in compliance. Jamie Mason joined PIU as our Liberal Studies Chair during the first week of the semester. Jamie brings a wealth of administrative experience and local island connections from his many years of service at Guam Community College as well as several other schools. He is already making a major contribution as he helps organize our accreditation affirmation effort. Last week we hired Paul Drake as our new librarian. I was doubting that we would be able to find a librarian with the proper MILS degree in time for our mid-term accreditation visit, but God not only supplied a qualified librarian, he supplied one who also has a seminary degree – the perfect combination for our school. As Dr. Mabini, PIU Provost said, “What a difference having a Library Director!!! :D”

2. Joyce is doing well with her health. She had a bout with bronchitis from this flu that has been going around through our staff and students (please pray –many are suffering from this in the dorm) but she got to the doctor quickly and it did not morph into pneumonia this time. She is now back into her busy schedule. (She is still teaching English at the Japanese School of Guam too)

3. PIU is in the middle of our annual audit. It is critical that we finished the 2013-14 year in the black. We just heard this week that the auditor’s preliminary numbers place us substantially in the black!

Please pray for…10514258_10154614154335427_2265741394230938688_o

1. Our students. Please pray that they will make the adjustment to college work and lifestyle. For many of them it is the first time away from home or away from their home islands. Many come struggling with issues that range from  homesickness, family issues to abuse and addictions. Our student life team puts in a great deal of time each week to mentor and help the students and train our student leadership (student council and resident assistants) to help one another. Several of our students will also make first time commitments to Christ while at PIU. Pray that God will be working in the lives of our students.

2. Student Finances: Almost all of our students struggle with the ability to pay for education. It is our goal that no student be denied a Christian education because of finances. Seeing God supply for their needs is one of most important learning experiences our students have while at PIU. If you would like to be part of God’s answer to their prayer for their needs you can donate at the PIU web page or send a check to the address in the signature below.

3. Accreditation Mid-Term Visit. We will have our visit from TRACS in late January. Right now we are preparing our accreditation report which we plan to deliver to our TRACS representative at the end of October. This means that our whole faculty and staff, in addition to regular duties, are busy documenting everything we do to prepare this report. The copy machine also is being forced to work overtime. Please pray that we will be able to present a complete and accurate report to TRACS and that we will be able to bring everything into accreditation compliance before the TRACS rep comes to Guam in January. Also pray for our administration, faculty and staff as we put in the extra work to make this happen.

4. Grants: We have a couple grant applications that we are waiting to hear a response to. Two are from private foundations that provide scholarship money for our students. This is critical as most of our students, even though PIU keeps costs as low as we can, need about $1000 per semester to meet living costs in the dormitory. We are also waiting on a grant application from the US Department of Education that would provide a substantial sum to improve our technology resources, develop our counseling program and fund the re-establishment and building up of our teaching facilities in Palau, Yap, Chuuk and Pohnpei. The announcement date on this grant is September 30th.

5. Teaching Facilities: I will be on the island of Yap this week to talk with the church leaders and PIU alumni about the TF there and to recruit new students. Next week I will head to Chuuk to meet with church leaders there. We several opportunities in Chuuk to complete degrees for elementary and secondary school teachers in both the public and Christian schools. We also have an agreement with a local Christian college to offer our courses for them in our teaching facility on Tol. We need to find teachers and resources to get these moving. In Palau, the church is working with us to bring more students into the TF there and to develop a cohort of 10 church leaders to go through our Bible certificate program. We are also trying to begin a distance education facility in Pohnpei. There are so many people who need the programs we are offering but so many obstacles to getting it to them. Please pray because we do serve a God who specializes in overcoming obstacles.

6. Upcoming Annual Fall Trip: I will be heading to the mainland October 6-24 for my Fall conference, recruiting, fund raising trip. This year I will be in the Midwest and Southeast. Please pray that God will speak to the hearts of the people I will meet and prepare them for how they should partner with us at PIU. Here is my October schedule…

· 6th to 9th: Dallas Texas for a conference, meeting with foundation, teacher recruiting

· 9th to 13th: Manhattan Kansas for a Palauan Church conference. I will be speaking on the importance of developing a “whole Bible context” for Bible study.

· 14th to 20th: Carolinas for recruiting at two schools, fund raising,

· 21st to  24th: Orlando Florida for the TRACS conference

· 25th Back to Guam to arrive on the 26th.

Thank you so much for your partnership with Joyce and me in our ministry at PIU. We could not do it without the “whole body” working together. We appreciate your prayers very much and would enjoy your fellowship with us, even if it is from long distance.


Dave and Joyce

Pacific Islands University, 172 Kinney’s Drive, Mangilao, Guam 96913

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