Friday, March 31, 2017

Latest Prayer Letter From PIU

(Note: Below is the latest prayer and support letter from Pacific Islands University, written by interim president Howard Merrell. Howard has graciously consented to serve in this difficult position while I am receiving cancer treatment in California. I would add a prayer request for Howard that God would give him an extra blessing of wisdom and strength as he leads the school through this difficult time. This has been an unprecedented season of trial for the whole PIU family, that I attribute to a critical bout of spiritual warfare. I would ask for your redoubled prayer for the students, staff and faculty of PIU. Thank you for your continued support of the ministry of PIU.)

Dear Friend of PIU:
Thank you for your continued support of PIU. We are grateful.

I am asking you to join me in prayer. I pastored a small church for four decades. In that time I received hundreds of letters, and phone calls from leaders of ministries, some printed in four-colors on impressive shiny paper. I said then that if I were ever in a position like the one I’m in now, that I would never use the arm-twisting, tear-jerking methods that some of those communications contained. I sincerely hope that my current request does not appear to use those. That’s not my intention.

My wife and I serve at Pacific Islands University as missionaries with Liebenzell Mission USA. LMUSA’s heritage goes back to J. Hudson Taylor. He said something like, “God’s work, done God’s way, will never lack for God’s supply.” I believe that. Right now we find ourselves in short supply of what we think we need. Please join us in praying that God will refine us, and teach us more about the work He has for us to do and the way we should do it. James speaks to people going through trials. He says in Chapter 1 that when we face our trials with a Godly attitude, we will emerge better on the other side.

Please pray that we will learn from current difficulties.

We face difficulties in regard to finances, infrastructure, staffing, and student-recruitment. From what I understand, these are problems with which all smaller Christian colleges struggle. In addition to those concerns, our hearts ache because our President, Dave Owen, and a beloved teacher, April Stone are battling cancer.

Please pray for Dave and Joyce Owen and for April and Howard Stone.*

*As of this letter’s sending, April Stone has gone home to be with the Lord. As son-in-law Ken Dixon wrote in correspondence some weeks ago: “April is someone who truly treasures Jesus and lives for Him! She inspires us all.” PIU will miss this precious servant of the Lord Jesus who so selflessly touched many. Howard Stone, April’s husband and also dear teacher at PIU, appreciates prayers for him and his five children with their respective families.

I determined, as I began this assignment, to do everything I could to cherish and honor the people who serve the Lord at PIU. If I could, I would give all of them a raise, or provide them with nicer tools to use in their work. I can’t, but there is much that I, that we, can do. One of the most basic, yet most valuable ways we can honor those who serve here is to pray for them.

Please pray that the people God has sent here will know how valuable they are. These servants are like Epaphroditus in Philippians 2. Paul says to “honor people like him.” Pray that we will honor the priceless servants God has placed in PIU.

The bottom line is not found on the financial report. It is seen in the lives of our students, who grow and go, making a difference around the world.

Pray for our students, especially those who will be graduating in a few weeks. Pray that the Lord will lead new students to us. Please recommend our school to students who are interested in an education that not only informs, but transforms. Right now (through 4/15) applying students can save up to $340 on first time fees. Encourage them to call and find out more.

Pray that our rich God will supply us with what we need. Since He uses His servants to supply ministries like PIU, pray that God will move hearts to give as they are able.
One more thing, since you are part of the family, I figure that you take joy in the good things the Lord is doing in the lives of our students and alumni. We can rejoice in what they are doing in the communities where they serve.

Please join me in Thanking the Lord for Pacific Islands University.

By His Grace,
Howard Merrell, Interim President, PIU

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