Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chuuk Trip

I am headed for Chuuk for a week to teach Survey of Prophetic Literature at the teaching facility there. I will also head out to the Tol, Chuuk campus to meet with the faculty, staff and students. This will be the first distance education class taught in Chuuk so I am excited about it. I'd appreciate your prayers as we venture into new territory. Please also pray for all our faculty, students and staff as we begin our semester in Guam, Chuuk, Palau and Yap this weekend. I'll post pictures and tell you how it went when I get back.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Start of Semester Prayer Requests

We have finished the week of marathon meetings and are now getting ready for the students to arrive next weekend. We are busy with everything from preparing the dorms, formulating advising sheets for the new curriculum, making final decisions on accepting students (as the late ones work feverishly to get all their application materials in) to getting class material ready. We always are strained from too few staff (how many times last week did we explain the necessity to do put too few pegs in too many holes?), but this year some unexpected losses and furloughs have made us extra thin staffed despite new teachers and staff on Guam. We know that the Lord always provides for the need and he certainly has supplied above and beyond with the students, so we are expecting him to bring in the staff an d resources we need. One of our jobs is to pray for this so here are some prayer requests to start off the semester.

  1. Steve and Anne Stinnette, our Guam Campus Director will be leaving at the end of September for eye surgery. Pray for God's direction and care for this and for Jens Schulz who will take the Guam Campus Director job in addition to being the chief financial officer for the school.
  2. My class. I will be teaching Survey of Prophetic Literature this Fall at three sites - Guam, Palau and Chuuk. The class will consist of 6 2 1/2 hour sessions at each site and the rest will be done by email, web page and computer chat. I will be heading to Chuuk Friday to start the intensive sessions there. I'll be in Palau later in September, The Guam sessions will be done on Thursday nights.
  3. Here are some of our biggest personnel needs...
    1. Guam Campus Director
    2. Teaching Coordinator for our Yap facility
    3. 2 Bible-Theology teachers for Chuuk
    4. English teacher for Chuuk
    5. Computer services (IT) person
  4. Pray for Joyce as she works with her kindergarteners in the morning that she will be able to minister Christ's love to them and their families and in the afternoon, as she works at PIBC that she will be able to help us get the resources we need in the community.
  5. Pray that we can balance work, ministry and personal relationships.
We do appreciate all your prayers. We could not do anything eternally valuable without them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

PIBC Teachers Conference 2007

Today was the final day of the Pacific Islands Bible College Faculty Conference. It was a good three days of fellowship, curriculum discussion, exchanging of teaching ideas and discussion of other various areas of teaching business. Because our sites are so far apart it is difficult to get all of our faculty together, so these times are especially valuable. We also welcomed new faculty members Melody Plaxton (English from Liebenzell Mission USA), Eric Sorenson (Theology from the Evangelical Covenant Church) and Christel Churchill (Math from the Lutheran Church Mission).

Much of the conference was spent receiving training on our Distance Education web site from David Ahlgren of Wave Media (pictured with us). Though David came from Oklahoma, he grew up on Guam. His name might be familiar to many of you who are familiar with our ministry because he was one of our foster kids in 1997-8. He went through typhoon Paka with us. It was really a blessing to have him here training our faculty and seeing how God has blessed his life. We also learned that we may have an internet connection to our Chuuk campus for the first time. Please pray about that. Our Chuuk staff might actually be able to use their DE training!

Michael, Samantha and Titus in LA

Michael, Samantha and Titus are getting settled into seminary life at Talbot. They will be there the next 3-4 years and then plan to return to Micronesia as PIBC missionaries. It was nice to have them out here the last couple years but we are excited about this next step in their lives. We also appreciate the technology that allows us to video conference with them. This allowed us to see Titus show off his new walking ability. Please pray for them that Samantha and Michael will be able to find jobs, that Michael's classes (he begins today) will prepare him for the ministry God has in store for them and that God will meet their living needs. Here is a video of Titus taking a few steps.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Back on Guam

We have hit the ground running as we prepare for another school year. Our major crisis has been finding a replacement for our Guam Campus Director, Steve Stinnette, who will be on the mainland for at least two years for medical treatment on his eye. We have decided to have our Finance VP, Jens Schulz also take on the task of Guam Campus Director. We are trying to recruit a local guy (hopefully a PIBC graduate) as his administrative assistant. We also have moved Brad Boydston into the position of Academic VP. Yesterday we had our Liebenzell missionary meetings (group pictured). It was a good time of fellowship, prayer and discussion of the work. Tomorrow we will begin our teacher's conference and orientation meeting. It will include seminars on distance education led by our former foster son, David Ahlgren.

Joyce has been working with the campus preparation crew. They have been working hard to get the dorms ready for the students to arrive. The picture shows the result if the "bug bomb" Joyce set off in the ladies' dorm. With so many of our staff being missionaries who were off island for support raising all summer, we have to do a lot of things at the last minute.

Thursday night we were reminded of why we are here as the students who went on the mission trip to Thailand shared about their experiences. They shared about cross-cultural learning experiences, making new friends, and, most importantly, leading people to Christ and having an opportunity to share their lives with them. It was obvious that this was a "faith-stretching" experience for each of the students that has already had a major impact on their maturity. We pray that they will "infect" the rest of the students and their church communities with their vision for fulfilling the Great Commission.

I will post my prayer requests for the start of the semester in the next post....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Weekend in Hawaii

Joyce and I arrived back on Guam on Tuesday evening after a productive weekend in Hawaii. We met Friday evening with Drs. Furushima and Lee (pictured with me, the president and chancellor of Hawaii Theological Seminary/California Graduate School). PIBC already has a partnership agreement with HTS through which we hope to offer Masters level courses on Guam in the near future. On Saturday I met with a group of Christian educators at the Bible Institute of Hawaii. We are looking at other possible means of cooperation that will enhance our ability to offer as many opportunities as possible for our students. I also had the opportunity to sit with the leadership of the Bible Institute of Hawaii to discuss a closer partnership. We are in now in the process of drawing up a partnership agreement that would allow us to have a teaching facility in Hawaii through BIH. Please pray for wisdom as pursue this partnership for the leadership of both schools.

On Sunday I had the opportunity to speak at Palisades Baptist Church, pastored by Mike Silva. I met Mike a few months ago to discuss ministry in Palau. We enjoyed ministering there very much. PBC is a very friendly church? We are praying that God will show us exactly what our cooperation would look like.

After church we met fellow Liebenzell missionaries, Sandy and Rose Simpson and their family. We had a good time of catching up with what is going on in each others' lives. We also got a chance to meet with Jeff and Layla Mesubed, PIBC alumni, who are now ministering at a Palauan Evangelical Church on Oahu. It was exciting to hear how God is working in their lives and hear how He is blessing them in their ministry. They asked for prayer as they begin a new Bible study ministry for Palauan young people.

On Monday we headed to the airport where we met new missionaries Tim and Melody Plaxton and Christel Churchill. We also met Jeff and Mary Johnson (our Academic VP) coming back from their summer home ministry. After a 7 1/2 hour flight we are all back on Guam and getting ready to hit the ground running for a new school year. We had a great summer but now we are excited and ready to go on a new school year.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

California Adventure

We spent our last day in California taking Michael, Samantha and Titus to the Disney California Adventure. (Thanks to a friend who got us free tickets). This followed three days of helping Michael and Samantha get settled into seminary. We were able to get them some baby furniture (I couldn't resist buying Titus a few toys - every boy needs a ball and glove and of course a little xylophone.) and put some food in their refrigerator. They have a friend who is giving them some furniture but they will not get it until September so we all slept on the floor. They were able to pay their school bill for the semester and first month's rent but the rest they are taking by faith. Please pray that both Mike and Sam will find a job by September 1st so they can meet expenses.

I also had an opportunity to visit another potential PIBC partner, California Graduate School of Theology. I was impressed with their high quality faculty and am looking forward to working with them.

Back to California Adventure... It was a lot of fun to experience it with a baby. Titus' head was turning every direction as fast as it could go taking it all in. Actually, I think his favorite ride was the tram from the parking lot. He also very much enjoyed the Monster's Inc. ride. He played with the mariachi band (percussion) and, since he wanted a balloon, grandpa bought him a big green Mickey Mouse balloon. It was a great family day. We are already missing our family, especially the little guy.

We are now in Hawaii meeting with some partners and potential partners. (More on that on the next post.) We will be speaking at Palisades Baptist Church tomorrow and hope to all spend some time with Juanita, Sandy and Rose Simpson, Liebenzell missionaries on Hawaii. We will fly back to Guam on Monday.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Commissioning and Leaving

We have now left Northern California and are with Michael, Samantha and Titus in La Mirada. Our last event in NorCal, yesterday, was the commissioning service for the Plaxtons and us and the traditional good-bye dinner. It was a good time of prayer, gratitude, hugs and looking forward to the new challenges ahead (the tri-tip was great too). There were also a lot of tearful good byes too. We will miss friends and family but are looking forward to being back on Guam and getting back to our friends and kingdom work there. Here are some of the goodbye pictures.

We have many great memories of the summer and a couple of strange ones. The strangest was the little skunk that walked right up to Joyce while she was sitting on the porch talking to her mom. This is all that was left of it when she finally tracked it down later.

We are enjoying being with Michael, Samantha and especially Titus. I am sure I'll post some more pics before we leave Friday but here are some good ones of my favorite little red-head.

And here is me with my favorite mascot.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Last Week in Northern California

We are packing and doing last minute shopping for our trip back to Guam next week. We wish we had more time to see friends here but school starts soon and we have got to get back to work. We had a real treat when we got to spend some time last Sunday with PIBC 2006 grads Jimmy and Gloria Isaiah (pictured with us and the Plaxtons). They are working with a Marshallese congregation in the Sacramento area. They picked up Happiness to spend a little time with him before they put him on a plane to LA to spend a little time with relatives there.

We then headed down to Vacaville and enjoyed spending a couple days with old friends Jeff and Christy McKim (pictured). We met them when our oldest sons (now 27) were in the nursery at Scotts Valley Baptist. I am hoping to get them out to Micronesia some day to teach at PIBC.

Then it was back to Shingle Springs to get ready to return to Guam. We spent a couple days at the Plaxtons helping them get their container filled and ready to go. It went out on Thursday and hopefully will be on Guam a week after we get back. Tim and Melody got tickets to fly from Hawaii to Guam on the same flight as us arriving on the 14th. Tomorrow, Sunday we will have the commissioning service for Tim and Melody, heading to PIBC Guam, and Erin Plaxton heading to a teaching ministry in Palau with Bethania High School.

We enjoyed a nice family dinner last night with my sister and her family - the Hartts, Joyce's mom and dad, my mom and dad and the Plaxtons. My dad makes great homemade ice cream. It may take several hours in the gym to work that off. Leaving family, I think, is probably the hardest thing about being a missionary. And this time we will be leaving a grandchild on the other side of the world. We are excited to go back to Guam but sad to leave behind family and friends.