Friday, September 28, 2007

Class in Palau

I have been down in Palau teaching Prophetic Literature this week. I arrived on Tuesday night and have been teaching a three hour session each night. I just finished my Saturday morning session and will finish the classroom portion of the course with another session this afternoon. I have five students in the class. We will have a get together after class today with all the PIBC-Palau students. Tomorrow I will speak in the Palauan service at Koror Evangelical Church. I have also had the opportunity to talk to a lot of our old friends and to encourage some of the new missionaries working at Emmaus and Bethania high schools. Last night Erin Plaxton (her mom and dad are working at PIBC-Guam) and her co-teacher at Bethania, Jenny, came over to the PIBC apartment for ice cream and conversation. I will get on the after-midnight flight on Sunday night and arrive back on Guam at about 5:00 AM on Monday.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend at PIBC

We usually have a prayer meeting every other Sunday night for the PIBC staff. Last night was our "going away" prayer meeting for Anne and Steve Stinnette. They will be flying back to the mainland on Wednesday morning for Steve to begin the process of a corneal transplant. They expect to be gone at least two years. It was a time of lots of stories, tears and laughter. We will miss Anne and Steve a lot but we know that God has a good plan in all this and we rest in that. After a good potluck dinner and time of sharing we had a good time of prayer for them and for the school. We also enjoyed singing several songs together led by Melody on the guitar.

We also had a little excitement as Happiness Lodge, a 4th year student, caught a pretty good-sized Guam brown tree snake on the campus. He and Joyce have been having a contest to see who can kill the most snakes for the last two years. This puts Happiness up 1-0 on Joyce for this school year. Of course everyone (well almost everyone) had to touch it before they took care of it. These snakes have been an environmental disaster on Guam for many years. We haven't seen so many lately, although I saw a dead one on the road this afternoon in our neighborhood.

We didn't sleep much last night because Steve came over to watch NFL football at our house. The 49ers-Steelers game came on live at 3:00 AM Monday. The 49ers have not been good enough the last few years to get on the national games televised on Guam so I was excited to watch my favorite team in action. Steve, Tim Plaxton and Hiob Ngirachemoi and I enjoyed the game, even though the 49ers got whipped pretty good. We also are now paying for eating hot wings and cookies before dawn. Hot wings and coffee are an odd mix, but what else would you eat and drink at a 3:00 AM football game?

Friday, September 21, 2007

3 Weeks Into the Semester

Joyce and I had a few moments this afternoon to talk by ourselves and we were amazed that we have already completed the third week of the semester. We began this semester at PIBC with a lot of challenges. The school was almost out of funds and most of the staff had been away all summer on home ministries and mission trips and we were way behind getting ready. But, somehow the admissions committee was able to get through the pile of applications and God supplied enough funds (even though without a cafeteria manager, we are paying for a cafeteria that we can't use) to get us into the semester. On the Guam campus we have 105 students with 63 living in the dormitories on campus. It is exciting to see our campus become a little more diverse. We have 5 full time American students now and several Korean and Chinese students.

We are getting back into our routine after coming back from the summer. When we arrived Eric and Christian Sorenson were staying at our house. They have since found their own rental house and are awaiting the arrival of the rest of the family next week. Tim and Melody Plaxton are staying with us right now until they can find a place to buy. They are out looking at houses and condos right now. We enjoy having them staying here but they would like to get settled in to their own place. I will be heading down to Palau next week to do the classroom portion of my Prophetic Literature class there. I would appreciate your prayers for that and for the Plaxton's house search.

Joyce is enjoying her eight kindergarten students at the Little Lambs Pre-School. She continues to teach there in the mornings and take three PIBC courses in the afternoon. What a cute group of kids!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Last Week on Guam

We have just finished the second week of the semester. It was a busy and eventful week. I began the Guam portion of my Prophetic Literature class on Thursday night. I have 12 students from the Guam campus, 6 from Chuuk and 5 from Palau in the class for a total of 23. Last week I did the classroom portion of the course in Chuuk and next week I will be in Palau to teach the classroom portion. The rest of the class is done by internet and email. The students access the class website to get their assignments, take quizzes and contribute to the weekly threaded discussion. Last week the discussion was on Isaiah 7-9 and the identity of Immanuel. This week we are discussing the meaning and application of the judgment passages. It is very challenging for the students in Chuuk and Palau to access the course on dial-up internet.

The week ended with a benefit concert for Steve and Anne Stinnette at Calvary Baptist Church. The purpose was to help raise money for Steve's corneal transplant. There were a lot of testimonials and tears along with the singing and fellowship. We were really excited that God provided $4200 for the Stinnettes during the evening. We are really sorry to see them go, but we are excited about what God will be doing through them while they are on the mainland. Keep praying for Steve's healing and God's direction for Steve and Anne. They plan to fly out of Guam next week.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Back From Chuuk

I got back from Chuuk on Saturday night. The plane was delayed an hour because of some kind of pressure problem. Thus, we flew much lower than normal which provided a very interesting view of the ocean and Guam (I was blessed with a window seat). This trip was one of my most enjoyable to Chuuk ever. Maybe one reason was that I actually got to teach a class! The Chuuk campus is off to a good start with 60+ students (they were still arriving during the first week) and my class started off the Teaching Facility in Weno. Here are some pictures from my time in Chuuk....
For the first time I got to ride the Truk Queen from Weno to the Chuuk Campus. This is the "school bus" that brings the students and their stuff out to Tol for the start of the semester. The ride was an uneventful 3 hour trip across the lagoon. Some of the students came out to the campus on their own family speed boats. The campus is accessible only by boat. It looks promising that we will have wireless internet there some time this semester. It seems funny to me that internet and cell phone, instead of power, water, sewer etc, will be the first infrastructure provided to this area of Chuuk.

The Campus is absolutely beautiful. This is the view from the apartment I stayed in while on campus.

The women arrived early on Sunday for the morning service. After the guys arrived I had the opportunity to preach for the opening campus Sunday service. I was also privileged to be the first chapel speaker on Tuesday.

We always eat well in Chuuk. This is the Chuuk campus cafeteria where I shared a lunch of BBQ'd chicken with the Tol students. I always enjoy the great hospitality on the Chuuk campus and at the TF. It is not a good place to lose weight! :) Especially for a guy like me who suffers from TMB (too many buffets).

I tried to burn off some of the food by playing ball with some of the guys. They just about killed me. What ever happened to walking the ball up the court? They did let me score a couple times. You can also see the library (white with red roof) and the classroom/women's dorm building (blue) in the background. Again you can see how beautiful and green the campus is.

Back on Weno, I finished the classroom portion of the distance education Prophetic Literature course. We had a 2 1/2 hour classroom session each evening with computer training offered in the afternoon. Three of the students had never used a computer before. I was pleased with how well everyone did adapting to handing in homework, reading and doing discussions on line. We are still waiting for the new computers to arrive for the computer lab in the Chuuk TF library (pictured here).

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Teaching in Chuuk

Hello from Chuuk. I am sitting in my room at the PIBC Teaching Facility in Weno Chuuk as I write this. We have completed three of the six sessions for the Survey of Prophetic Literature course. I will teach the remaining three sessions Wednesday through Friday night and then return to Guam on Saturday afternoon. It has been a challenge orienting the students here to doing their assignments on line, but they are catching on and I think in the long run it will be very beneficial to them. We have also had some great discussions as we seek to apply the messages of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel to the lives of these Chuukese students, many of whom are teachers in local Chuuk Christian schools.

I also had the opportunity to travel last weekend to the Tol, Chuuk campus. It is the first time I have been there for the orientation and the first weekend of school. The trip over on the Chuuk Queen and by speed boat on the way back were smooth and uneventful. I was able to speak in the campus Sunday morning service and in the first chapel on Tuesday morning. It was great to see the excitement of the new students as they registered attended their first classes. I am on a dial up connection so I will post pictures from Chuuk after I get back to Guam.