Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from the Owen's and Cundalls! I know it is still Christmas Eve for you on the other side of the date line, but we have already opened our presents and are getting ready for Christmas dinner. May God bless you as you celebrate the incarnation of the Son of God. We wish we could be with you to celebrate together, but we look forward to the great Kingdom banquet where we all will be together to celebrate with the King of Kings!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

End of Year Prayer Requests

We have come to the end of another semester. I am almost done with my grading and we are getting ready for a few days of relaxation between Christmas and New Years. Here are a few things we are praying about and we would appreciate your joining us in prayer on these issues.
Please pray .....
  1. For our December graduates from the Guam campus McQuade Alfonso, Merong Hideoshi, Jonathan Sam, Twinsanne Sam, Randy Samuel and Benneth Ychiro. Some are considering missions opportunities. Others are planning to return to their islands to work in local churches or schools.
  2. For PIBC student mission trips to Saipan and Yap. The Yap team is on an outreach mission that involves using basketball as a forum for sharing the gospel. The second team has gone to Saipan for 10 days at the invitation of one of the Chuukese churches there. However, unlike the other PIBC mission trip this one is completely student organized. Pray that both teams are energized by the Spirit and represent Christ and the school well.
  3. For PIBC administration as we begin the process or reaffirmation of our accreditation. I am in the process of writing the self study proposal. This is a big job that will keep us busy throughout 2008-9.
  4. Pray for new students for the Guam campus. 6 graduates and some student movement has created some openings in the dorms.
  5. For our Chuuk campus. We have some critical personnel needs including a maintenance supervisor, English teacher and Bible teacher.
Thank you for your prayers for us this semester. It has gone by fast but we have seen God's blessings in many ways. We are thankful for some time to rest and focus on the incarnation of the Son of God. We pray that you have a blessed Christmas season and wonderful 2008.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Gospel According to Joyce's Class

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the empire for taxes. This was the first registration, taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone went to his own town to be registered. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David. He went to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him, and who was expecting a child.

While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord.

This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, that the Lord has made known to us.” So they hurried off and located Mary and Joseph, and found the baby lying in a manger.

When they saw him, they related what they had been told about this child, and all who heard it were astonished at what the shepherds said. But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean. So the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; everything was just as they had been told.

Biblical Quotes are from The NET Bible (Noteless); Bible. English. NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2003; 2003, S. Lk 2:1-20

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What Has Joyce Been Up To?

Besides taking care of me, Joyce has been pretty busy this semester. Weekdays she starts her day at the Little Lambs pre-school where she teaches eight kids between the ages of 3-4. Little Lambs is a ministry of Faith Presbyterian and Reformed Church. Their pastor Neil Culbertson is a PIBC Board member. Besides teaching 3 and 4 year olds to read Joyce has been getting them ready for Friday's Christmas program. Pictured here you can see her class in the Bethlehem stable with the manger that she made out of a refrigerator box and TV box. She has been getting her Mary and Joseph, three shepherds and two angels ready to say their parts on Friday. As I post this she is sewing the costumes.

About 1 PM Joyce usually heads over to PIBC. She has two Tuesday/Thursday classes: New Testament History (pictured) and Teaching English as a Second Language Practicum. She finished up her final in NT History and is putting the finishing touches on her portfolio for TESL. On the other weekday afternoons she either does homework, helps out at PIBC (she is really loving her teaching time in the PIBC ESL program) or does work around the house - mowing is one of her favorite activities.

We try to spend one night out every week. Last Saturday we went over to the Micronesia Mall to eat Taco Bell and see the Christmas Tree Light Show (talk about a cheap date!) We had a good time with Joyce's mom and dad and the Plaxtons. The light show was pretty good and we spent over an hour in the food court just talking. It was a nice break.

How does she get all this in? She is not superwoman, but she does get a lot done. I can tell you that pretty much every night as soon as her head hits the pillow she is out. I think she is planning on adding a room to the house over Christmas vacation!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

PIBC Mission Trips

This text is taken from the Pacific Islands Bible College web site. The pictures are from Mac Alfonso, (he is the guy with the pink guitar here) a student from Yap who will graduate this semester. He was on last summer's mission trip to Thailand and hopes to return for a longer term of service there. If you are interested to support these mission trips or the Christmas basketball/evangelism mission trip to Yap that will be going next week checks can be sent to Pacific Islands Bible College, PO Box 22619, Barrigada Guam 96921.

We are planning at least two summer mission trips that will be open to students from all PIBC sites and campuses. These mission experiences can be used as internships if students make the proper arrangements ahead of time. See you academic adviser.


Flag of PalauThis 12 member team will work alongside a German mission team assisting the Palau Evangelical Church with the annual Gospel Day celebration. They will be involved in children's ministries, youth ministries, Sunday School activities, and community outreach throughout the islands. PIBC is planning to have a booth and will be making presentations during the event.
Estimated cost: $570 for airfare plus personal items
Tentative dates: First week of June through June 29th

Flag of ThailandThis 10-12 member evangelism team will be working on a college campuses in Chiang Rai (northern Thailand) discipling new believers. They will have outreach opportunities in some of the area villages as well. The group will work alongside and live with a Campus Crusade for Christ team.
Estimated cost: $1,200
Tentative dates: They will leave soon after the Tol campus graduation (May) and return sometime toward the end of August.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

PIBC Presentation at the Korean Church

A couple nights ago we had the opportunity to talk about PIBC at the Korean Onnuri Church. This church has been very interested in the ministry of PIBC and has sent some of their church workers to PIBC for classes. They are also quite interested in doing ministry in Chuuk. This week they are having revival meetings for the purpose of raising their vision for ministry on Guam and the surrounding islands. They wanted to hear some Chuukese singing, (I don't blame them, they always sound great) so I brought 20 of our Chuukese students with me. It was a good time of experiencing a Korean revival service (English translation was provided through headsets), fellowshipping with church members and telling them a little of the story of PIBC.

The service was longer than we expected - lesson number 1 for us in Korean culture :) - and the students waited until almost 10 PM to sing their two songs. Of course they did a great job and represented the school well. I had the opportunity to invite the church to partner with PIBC and take some classes next semester. We are thankful for the offering they took for the school. And for those of you who are wondering... Yes, I do wear a tie when it is culturally appropriate.

After the presentation we barely made it to KFC for soft-serve ice cream. I promised all the singers, and our driver, Dean of women, Melissa Heck, that I would provide ice cream cones for everyone after the service. I appreciate the KFC employees waiting to lock up until we all got our cones. I had choco-dip. We got the students back after curfew but since they were with the president, it was cool. ;) I am hoping that we get more opportunities like this to build relationships with the many different churches of Guam.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Perfect Day For A Christmas Party

Yesterday was one of those nice days where everything goes well and life is good. We had our annual Pacific Islands Bible College Guam campus Christmas party yesterday at Tarague Beach up on Anderson Air Force base. The weather was perfect, slightly overcast, nice breeze and no rain. My "bamboo burger" was excellent and the desserts were fantastic. (I canceled out the desserts with a Diet Pepsi) We were among people we enjoy and love. (It makes up a little for being so far from family - although this year we even have Joyce's mom and dad out here for a couple months!) It was a really great day and I am thinking we will make it to the end of the semester. :)

The only thing that caused any sadness at all was that Mary Johnson , our English teacher and Academic VP will not be teaching for us next semester. The good news is that she will continue as our Director of faculty recruitment and development as she moves on to a new position with the Evangelical Lutheran Church mission. We are so thankful for the blessing she has been to PIBC in the four years she has been on our faculty.

The gift exchange was one of the highlights of the party. Everyone had a chance to "steal" gifts from one another. Joyce' s island candles were pretty popular. Melody Plaxton, Melissa Heck and I fought over a jar of chocolate biscotti with Melissa walking home with it. Melody and I each got to eat one biscotti. (biscottus?)

It was fun to see the kids open their presents. Of course no one could steal a present from a little child! You can see more pictures on Brad Boydston's blog.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Administrative Meeting

Thank you everyone who prayed for our admin meeting this past week. We held it from 10 AM Monday until 6 PM Tuesday and I think it went well. Yosta Lodge, our Chuuk campus director, came up on the 2-4 AM flight on Monday morning but still managed to stay awake through the meetings (we all struggled with that at some point). One of the critical issues we discussed was the needs of the Chuuk campus (pictured). This Fall, we have been running the campus (65 students) with only three full time faculty members, none of which are English teachers. Our maintenance guy there is a German volunteer who is leaving this month. We have critical needs for new Bible and English faculty members and a maintenance supervisor. Please also pray with us about internet access for the campus in Chuuk. We were promised wireless 64K access in September and it has not happened yet.

The Guam campus also has critical issues. This year we have 107 students on the campus. We are beginning to look at our 3 1/2 acre property and wonder if it is adequate for anticipated growth. We have thought about trying to buy the property next to us and about trying to find a completely different location. We are also in urgent need for more classroom space and a building which can function as a large meeting area, chapel, and church. We have a cafeteria building but have run out of money (things always seem to cost more than you budget for) for buying all the appliances needed to get it to function. The quad in the picture was donated by Gold Country Baptist Church to be used as our maintenance vehicle - Thank you! It is so exciting to see and hear the great things that God is doing in the lives of our students and we want to make our campuses better places to train them to serve their nations, islands and churches.

We continue to look for partners who will help us build servant leaders for the Pacific Rim. We are looking for new teachers and staff members. We are looking for financial partners who will help us pay for the projects needed to continue to provide high quality training to our students. We are also looking for individuals and organizations who will join with Liebenzell Mission and the island churches to lead and guide PIBC to fulfill its mission. Please pray for God's direction and ask him how He might guide you to be part of Pacific Islands Bible College. Please send me an email if you would like more information about PIBC or how you can be part of it.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

December Weekend at PIBC

We had a busy first weekend of December here on Guam. On Friday, Tim and Melody Plaxton moved over to their new house. They had been staying with us, and with various other faculty members, all semester and I think were more than ready to get into their own place. To celebrate they took all of us (Joyce, me and her parents) out to dinner at Shirley's (famous for fried rice). After dinner we went to Tumon hotel row to see the Christmas lights. We couldn't really get through to see them because the street was blocked off for a big dance contest. Since I don't dance well, Joyce suggested that we head to K-Mart for some Christmas shopping. We got our Christmas cards done there and I looked at some potential toy purchases for Titus but didn't find anything that met the standard. We are planning to put up our Christmas decorations later this week.

On Saturday morning the island church league basketball playoffs began. We drew Harvest Baptist as our 1st round opponent. They had beaten us pretty badly earlier. Our guys did a good job of hanging in there with them but a 21-4 run by Harvest at the end of the 1st half put us in a hole we could never get out of and we lost by 13. Even though this eliminated us from the tournament we still had a good season. It was great for the guys and our loyal fans to get away from the campus and hang around with people from other churches. The players and fans of all the teams should be commended for good attitudes and I think good fellowship was had by all. Sadly, that can't always be said about church leagues.

In the afternoon we had a game day and barbeque on the campus. Our students invited students from the other island colleges to come over and enjoy games and food with us. It was great to see that many accepted our invitation and enjoyed the afternoon with us. We are hoping to see our students doing evangelism through building relationships instead of just relying on programmatic and "hit and run" witnessing. And, yes I did get out on the basketball court with the students. I did not get back on defense or get out on the break very well, but I did hit a couple 3's. I wonder did they leave me open on purpose?

Sunday we went to Agana Heights Baptist Church. My father-in-law preached on faith in the morning service from Hebrews 11.1-16 and from the example of Mary the mother of Jesus. I preached in the evening service on love and unity from Ephesians 2.11-22. We enjoyed the time there and It was a good time for me to see many people I have not seen in some time. On the way home in the evening we stopped by the store to pick up some snacks for our PIBC administration meeting today. I would appreciate your prayers for the meeting (which starts in a little less than an hour) that God will give us wisdom and direction as we lead the school.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Prayer Requests at the End of November

We are enjoying having Joyce's parents here. We are trying not to keep them too busy. They have been helping the Plaxtons move into their house, have worked a little on the campus and Dale will be preaching at Agana Heights Baptist on Sunday. It was fun to go there last Sunday. Joyce and I had not been there in a while. We are still giving them time to read and work on jigsaw puzzles. The pictures are from last Sunday and were taken at Latte Stone Park in Agana. Here are some prayer requests...

  1. We are having a get-together and game day tomorrow with students from Guam Community College and University of Guam. Our students have invited several students from there to come over, play basketball, barbeque, sing and enjoy Christian fellowship. We have enjoyed having some GCC and UOG students with us in our chapels the last few days. Please pray that these students will see and experience Christ through our students.
  2. We have an administrative council meeting on Monday and Tuesday. We have several important issues to discuss including our process to reaffirm our accreditation. Please pray for God's direction and wisdom.
  3. PIBC still has a critical shortage in faculty and staff, especially in Chuuk. We need two master degreed Bible/theology teachers and two English teachers in Chuuk by August of 2008. We prefer a Masters degree for our English teachers but could use someone with a TESOL certificate. We are getting to the point where we would have to severely cut back our work in Chuuk. Right now we have just under 100 students in our two Chuuk sites.
  4. We are down to the last three weeks of the semester. The stress level is rising for teachers and students. Please pray that we will finish well.
We are so thankful for all the prayers and support for the ministry of PIBC. May God Bless.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

PIBC Thanksgiving Dinner Pictures

As promised here are a few pictures of of our PIBC Thanksgiving banquet. As you can tell I am excited to be back where it is warm and to be back with our PIBC family. We got to do most of the traditional Thanksgiving activities including talking to all three of our kids (by phone or computer), eating plenty of turkey and fixings (several times already), watching lots of football (though it comes on very early in the morning here) and sitting around with full bellies. Last night Joyce and I even went out and began our Christmas shopping. After my long trip it was nice to come home and have a couple days to recover. I am still getting up a little early but the jet lag is not too bad.

We still have a full house. We were all over at Tim and Melody Plaxton's new house yesterday. They are painting, repairing etc to get everything ready to move in this coming week. It has also been great to have Joyce's mom and dad here for the holidays.

Yesterday I went to see our PIBC basketball team play. We lost by 10 but we are qualified for the playoffs which begin next week. We have 3 1/2 weeks left in the semester. I sent out progress reports to all my Prophetic Literature students yesterday. Some of them have put off too much until the end and will have to work very hard to get everything in. We appreciate your prayers as we hit the home stretch of the semester.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I am back on Guam after four weeks away on a recruiting trip. We had a great Thanksgiving feast yesterday with our students and staff. As you eat your turkey, stuffing and cranberries we are well into our leftovers. I will post some pictures of yesterday's feast tomorrow since we left our camera with the pictures on it, at school. Joyce had to work today so she will pick it up on the way home. We are missing our family - one of the few downsides to the missionary business - so I will post some pictures of our family that I took while on the road the last few weeks. In the meantime, here are a few of the things that Joyce and I are thankful for as we sit here today....

  1. We are thankful that God called us to work in a warm place, especially after my experience of the last couple weeks. Steve and Anne we are praying for you to stay warm there!
  2. We are thankful for the way that God takes care of our families - especially our kids and grandson - even though they are far from us. And we are thankful for modern communications which allows us to have free video conversations with them. In the 80's we called home from Palau once a year on Christmas and it cost $4.00 per minute.
  3. We are thankful for our Micronesia family - the students, staff, faculty and friends at PIBC. This is just an example that God keeps his promise that when we leave things to follow him, like family, he more than gives it back.
  4. We are thankful for friends all over the world that continue to bless us, like so many that I saw on the mainland the last few weeks.
  5. We are thankful that we can have Joyce's mom and dad here with us for the next few months - even though my mother-in-law keeps reminding me of how much better the Cowboys are than the 49ers. :)
  6. Most of all we are thankful for eternally meaningful work and eternally meaningful relationships made so by our relationship with the resurrected Lord. And the bonus is that we also graciously get all things (Romans 8.32).
Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's Snowing!

I woke up this morning to the beginnings of a snow fall and the snow has continued to come down steadily all morning. We are under a severe weather snow advisory until 6:00 PM this evening. I enjoyed my five minutes out there in the snow and then came back inside where it is warm. I have decided not to do the shirtless snow picture this year. I am sure the entire world is breathing a sigh of relief there. :) I am praying that the weather does not effect my 5:30 AM Monday flight out of Newark. (I'll be back on my tropical island at 7:00 PM Tuesday.)

I had a good time last evening with Steve and Anne Stinnette after yesterday's meetings. (More on the meetings below) Steve will be seeing a doctor this week to see about a special contact lens that may enable him to deal with his eye problem without surgery. While he is receiving medical treatment he will be living at Schooley's Mountain where he and Anne will serve as missionaries in residence. They will be able to speak to the many retreat center guests about the global mission work of Liebenzell, especially Pacific Islands Bible College and hopefully transfer their passion for missions to many of the church groups (The LM-US retreat center hosts a lot of immigrant church groups from the surrounding area) that come up here on the mountain. We, of course, would like to see them back on Guam ASAP but we wait and pray for God's timing on that.

We were privileged yesterday to be part of the installation of Bill and Barb Schuitt as the new Global Director of Liebenzell Mission USA. They served with Joyce and I in Palau back in the 1980's as the principal of Bethania High School and they have served on several other fields as well. We are all very excited about what they bring to the mission and I am looking forward to ministering together with them. Bill will replace George Hege on the PIBC governing board at the upcoming meeting in March 2008.

Overall, I thought the meetings went very well. Here are some of the key decisions that came out of the meetings this weekend.
  1. PIBC is a partnership between the various Liebenzell Mission boards and the school. The Liebenzell leadership sees the need to expand the PIBC Board and include new partners in the support and running of the school. LMI will work together with PIBC leadership to find organizations and individuals who can partner with us for the continued growth of the school.
  2. The land ownership of the Guam campus will go to LM Germany and PIBC will have a long term lease with the mission.
  3. PIBC will widen its focus to some kind of a liberal arts major that will prepare our students for careers in the islands, especially teaching, and to produce biblical thinkers who will be Christian servant leaders in the church and whatever career they pursue.
  4. PIBC and LM-USA will cooperate more closely in fund raising and recruiting. I am looking forward to working with Bill and Steve on this.
We were also able to deal with a lot of smaller issues and discuss personnel. I believe a lot of gaps were bridged this weekend and we are much closer to a unified vision for PIBC and the work in Micronesia. This afternoon I plan to go out and do some shopping (I have a small list of stuff to bring back to Guam) with Steve and Anne and maybe stay indoors and watch a little NFL. Next post I should be back on Guam.