Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from Dave and Joyce. It is already 2009 on Guam, but we are still waiting for the new year to come in California. We are having a great time with the family on this vacation. We pray that God gives you a blessed 2009 as you serve Him.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Family Christmas Celebrations

Joyce and I have been enjoying our family Christmas celebrations. After taking off from Guam at 7.30 AM on Christmas Day we enjoyed a 2nd Christmas Eve in the airport in Honolulu. We then arrived in LA at exactly the same time we left Guam. We enjoyed our first Christmas celebration with Michael, Samantha, the kids, and Samantha's family right after our arrival. The next day we met Matt and Kristin and drove up to Northern California, El Dorado County, to do both Cundall family and Owen family Christmas celebrations.

The Cundall family celebration was first on Saturday afternoon. Except for our daughter, Missy, all the families of Joyce and her sisters were there. We got to meet Nathan's new fiance and Brittany's new husband and get caught up on what was going on in the lives in the Cundall extended family. Even Joyce's Uncle Gary and Aunt Lois showed up at the celebration and took the family picture on the left. Of course there was a lot of food, featuring ham, pies and of course caramel corn and caramel filled cookies - a Cundall tradition. The evening ended with some serious game-playing. Also pictured here is Joyce with her mom and dad and sisters, Janet and Judy.

Sunday afternoon was the Owen family gathering. My sister Jayne and brother Doug with most of their families (Missy and cousin Jessica had to work and missed the party) came to my mom and dad's place. Everyone, except Diane who took the picture, is there on the left. The usual craziness ensued, but I think everyone had a good time. We enjoyed the traditional and very competitive "horse" tournament. Titus did a great job entertaining everyone. The turkey based dinner featured the traditional noodles and candy-cane cookies (made perfectly by Nate). It was a really wonderful blessing to be with so much family for Christmas (me with my brother and sister on the right.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve

It is Christmas Eve here on Guam. I am slow getting into it this year with so many meetings, etc. but now the fudge is in the refrigerator, the candy cane cookies are on the table and every time I see Joyce, she is making or wrapping a Christmas present. I spoke this Sunday on "the mission of Jesus" from John 1.9-14. Jesus was a "light" as the perfect image of God "glory" in a human body, he "made his dwelling" with us so that we could receive "grace and truth" and dwell with him now and forever, and he came to "his own" to develop relationship with us "children of God" for us to grow into the image of our Father and work with him to call and make more disciples. God becoming human is the turning point of human history. Let's celebrate it well! Merry Christmas. (Picture is from the PIBC staff Christmas outing - thanks Hartmut)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dolphin Boat Trip

I have just returned from enjoying our annual PIBC-Guam staff Christmas outing/party. This year we went on the dolphin boat ride at Guam Tropical Dive Station. Pretty much all the staff was there except for a few who were sick (we missed you Tim, Calvin and Sudas). This is the third time Joyce and I have gone on the dolphin trip (I think 4th for Joyce) and we have seen dolphins every time but one. This time as you can see from the picture we got pretty close to the dolphins and watched them frolic around for quite a while. You can also see the village of Agat in the background.

After the dolphins went away, we anchored a short distance away, in a relatively calm area and did some swimming and snorkeling. Several of the staff pulled off some incredible dives from the top of the boat. I stuck with cannonballs. The water was about 20-25 feet deep, so clear you could see the coral on the sea floor and nice and warm. Once some of the staff brought crackers and little hot dogs, it was also full of a wide variety of little fish. It was cool to just float in the middle of all those colorful fish.

After the snorkeling were the banana boat rides. They are a little more fun with a speedboat, but most of the kids, including Joyce and Jeff Johnson, had a great time on the ride. Most of the way back they were pulling someone on the banana boat.

It was a great day. The weather was perfect and I think everyone had a great time. We live on a beautiful island so it is nice to get out and see it once in a while. It is also great to have some relaxed time just to talk about stuff not related to work. On the left here is Joyce with our "roommate" Daisy Murdock. Daisy will be one of our housesitters while we are in California. On the right is Josephine Mendiola (PIBC science teacher) and I in one of our deep theological discussions. I will post the picture of our whole group on the boat when I get a copy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

End of the Semester

The last final has been completed, the last dorm room has passed exit inspection, the grades are in (or at least they will be soon), reports and evaluations are done and the students, staff and faculty are breathing a sigh of relief. Christmas vacation is here. Actually it seems like just yesterday we were beginning orientation. In some ways it was a tough semester. We had less dorm students than we expected this year so we had much less money than was budgeted. But with some belt-tightening we got through and nobody seemed to lack what they needed. We completed our first four seminary classes. I have to say that my Basic Exegesis class was one of my most fun and rewarding experiences in all my years on Guam. I saw tremendous improvement in my students' ability to interpret and preach God's Word. We saw (or heard) great improvements in the English level of many students. In addition, we saw students make lifetime commitments to God, some first time commitments. This semester was time well-spent!

But now it is Christmas vacation and the students have departed to their islands or to relatives' places on Guam. According to today's PIBC Post the staff and faculty will spend their Christmases like this ....

  • Bill and Christel Wood leave Sunday morning for Singapore.
  • Peggy Duncan will be arriving this weekend from Chuuk and she will be staying at the Wood's house.
  • Larry and Sharon Bock leave on Monday to spend Christmas with their family in Texas. Larry will be returning for the start of the new semester and Sharon will be returning in February
  • Ned and Marisol Farnsworth's parents arrived earlier this week to celebrated Christmas with them.
  • Eric and Karyn Sorenson's parents arrived this week for Christmas.
  • Brad and Cheryl Boydston's three children will be joining them over the holidays.
  • Tim & Melody Plaxton's daughter Erin is visiting from Palau.
  • Hollie & Aaron Schaub are leaving Jan. 1st to go backpacking in New Zealand.
  • The long awaited return of Steve & Anne Stinnette is almost here! They've purchased tickets to return on Jan. 27th.
  • We will leave Christmas morning for three weeks in California with our family.
Not all the students leave and go back to their islands. Some stay with faculty members. We will have two of students (pictured moving in) Daisy (from Texas) and Mayumi (from Chuuk) stay with us until we leave for vacation. They will then house-sit for us until we get back in January. Tonight we had a little party at our house with staff who are staying around and the students staying with them. Melissa Heck, our Dean of Women and Laura Peters our receptionist came over with some of the students to eat and play games. I think they all came, except for one who said she didn't want to do "white people things." ;) I am not sure what that means. Vacation has begun!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Joyce's December Activities

Joyce has been enjoying an active, if not white, Christmas season. She went, with Cheryl Boydston and Mary Lou Carruthers, to hear some of the Christmas musicals at the local churches and to see an incredible Christmas display at the local friary. She was impressed that everything in the display moved. It also was quite high-tech with multiple flat screen displays and shows along with the more traditional Christmas displays. After the sight-seeing they went over to Agana Heights Baptist Church where they are joining with their choir for their Christmas Cantata. AHBC is pastored by PIBC faculty member Eric Sorenson.

She is also wrapping up the classes that she has been teaching this semester. Since the summer she has been teaching English at the Japanese school on Guam. The picture on the left is of her class doing a Halloween project. She is having a lot of fun with the class even though the kids are not as young as the ones she is used to. She also teaches ESL at PIBC a couple days per week. Monday the class went to the Niko hotel for a breakfast Christmas party (pictured below). I can tell the class has made a lot of progress in their English this semester. The pastor of one of the Chinese Presbyterian Churches on Guam, David Wu is part of the class and I enjoyed talking with him about working together with PIBC. Joyce and I will both wrap up our semesters this week as we are ready for Christmas vacation

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Pretty Normal Friday At PIBC

It was great to get back to my "normal" schedule at PIBC after all my travels and meetings. We only have one more week in the semester so I guess I won't be able to fall back into a routine until next semester. Nevertheless, Friday I got to attend chapel for the first time since mid-October. We have one-hour chapels every Tuesday and Friday at 11 AM. Yesterday Ned Farnsworth led a very creative chapel service. It included a piano duet (a Christmas medley of course) played by Joyce and Ned, a song in Spanish, dramatic readings of The Gift of the Magi by Ned and Luke chapter 2 by his English class. We also enjoyed singing Christmas carols together.

Friday evening we took out our PIBC family group to see the Christmas "winter wonderland" at Guam's two main malls. Guam Premium Outlet this year is offering "ice skating." It looks to me like they are skating on a piece of plywood with glossy paint on it, but the proceeds from it benefit Habitat for Humanity and it looked like the kids were having fun so it was all good. The students (pictured me, Giftleen, Gloria and Joyce) enjoyed the artificial snow that fell on us at the top of every hour. Last year the snow was wet and slippery. This year it kind of hit the floor and disappeared.

We then headed to Guam's other mall, the Micronesia Mall for the Christmas Tree light show. The big Christmas tree in the center of the mall lights up in computerized light show synchronized to some upbeat Christmas music, mostly Trans-Siberian orchestra which we always enjoy. After the light show, the gang headed over to Cold Stone Creamery to enjoy ice cream (generously provided by the financial partners of Brad and Cheryl Boydston) In the picture Joyce enjoys an oversized dessert with students Dave and Chuck. I would have to say it was an enjoyable way to spend a Friday evening!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

December Prayer Requests

I am now getting settled back into my "normal" life on Guam. With the many trips for recruiting, fund raising, conferences, and seeing our other sites, I was only in my office on Guam one day between October 17th and December 10th. It has been good to get reacquainted with staff and students again, not to mention Joyce! J It was great to see a lot of you as I traveled through California, Tennessee, Texas, North and South Carolina and Hawaii. I am always encouraged when I get to see and talk to all the people who are praying for us. With that in mind here are a couple things to pray and praise for us and our ministry here at Pacific Islands Bible College

  1. We will be taking a vacation using our frequent flyer miles (one benefit of lots of travel) to visit our families. Please pray for refreshment and a good time of connection for us.
  2. We are making some important decisions and plans for the future of our Chuuk campus and teaching facility. I presented one possible plan to church leaders in Chuuk this week to which they were favorable. We need God's direction and resources as we prepare to present this to our board.
  3. We will be beginning a major private donor fund raising program for PIBC in 2009. We have never done anything on this scale before and we are investing a good chunk of money into it. Please pray that God will supply needed funds through this so that we can grow PIBC in the direction we believe God is taking us.
  4. Dave is still doing a lot of administrative work, but I will get to teach 2 classes next semester (seminary Old Testament Survey and undergraduate Exegesis in Genesis). I will be preparing these courses over the next few weeks.
  5. Joyce is still teaching English at the Japanese School on Guam and in the PIBC remedial program. She would appreciate your prayers for good evangelistic opportunities.
  6. And finally, our big praise item: Matt and Kristin will be providing us with grandchild #3 toward the end of May. We are very excited and ask your prayers for baby, mom and dad.

Thank you so much for your interest in our ministry and for your prayers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Little Storm Coming

The rain and a little wind has arrived. We are hearing that we might have winds up to about 60 miles per hour later. Joyce brought the candy cane lights into the house. We didn't do a lot of outdoor decorating this year anyway. We won't put up the storm shutters unless we hear that the winds are going to be more severe than predicted. The picture is from out the front door in the admin office building at PIBC. The rain was coming down pretty good but let up for us to drive home. Since I like the sound of rain and wind it should be a very relaxing evening. We didn't plan to go anywhere tonight anyway. :)

Tropical Storm Headed Our Way

Our tropical depression was just upgraded to a tropical storm. We should be seeing winds around 35 miles per hour this evening. I heard about possible gusts up to 70 but we will see. Outside tarps and canopies will need to be take down, along with outdoor Christmas decorations but it doesn't look like something to be worried about. This picture of the projected storm track is from the navy's joint typhoon warning center web site. We will be praying that the storm proceeds on by us quickly and avoids hitting anybody else.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Last Day of Saipan Visit

I am getting ready to head back to Guam after an enjoyable visit to Saipan. I have been part of the TRACS team reviewing the self-study of Eucon International College as part of their application for accreditation. We have been reviewing every part of their program for the last four days. We stayed up late last night writing our report and then presented it to the Eucon administration this morning. We at PIBC will be undergoing a similar process this coming Spring as we complete the reaffirmation of our accreditation we received in 2004. I will be glad to get back to Guam this afternoon and have a couple days there before I head to Chuuk for some meetings with PIBC and church leaders there. The picture here is of me, our TRACS team, and Eucon board members with Benigno Fitial, the governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Saipan Trip Day 1

I arrived in Saipan last night for the TRACS accreditation team visit. We are evaluating Eukon International College. I was here three years ago as part of the team when we evaluated them for candidacy and now we are helping them get ready for full accreditation. I have not been back to Saipan since that visit three years ago and I am amazed at how empty the place seems now. Many businesses that were operating when I was here last time have shut down. When we were here for vacation with our kids back in 1995 we had a lot of fun in Saipan and it is sad to see so many things gone.

Today was the day to get to know the rest of the team. Tomorrow we will get down to business. But today we drove around the island and did a little sightseeing. I had an odd thing happen on the trip. We stopped at the Aqua Resort to pick up a map and I realized that the Aqua was the hotel where Joyce, Michael, Missy and I stayed in 1995 on our vacation. We took a picture there by the pool that I posted a while back on my Facebook page. I tried to stand in the same place today and have my picture taken there. It looks pretty much the same except the flower bed is gone. However, you can see from the pictures that some things have changed.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Joyce's Chauffeur License Test

Joyce took her test yesterday morning to get her license to drive the school vans. She thinks she passed the test, but we won't find out officially until December 3rd. She has been studying for the test for about a month. A couple nights ago she emailed me some examples from the study sheet that might illustrate why she had a hard time studying for the test. Joyce's comments are in red.

I am studying for my chauffeur’s license and take the written test tomorrow. It will be a miracle if I pass I think. Thought you might get a kick out of some of the study questions.

Definitely written by an ESL speaker and the spelling errors are on the study sheet.

5. No person shall drive vehicle when it so loaded or when there are in the front seat such a number of persons, in excess of three, cause obstruction the view of driverto the front side of vehicle as interfere of driver contraol. WHAT?????

13. Do not load at the rear of the truck it will cause frame bends and enough weight is taken from the front tires. O.K. I get this one

16. The tractor in direct line for the trailer with the fifth wheel opening line with trailer king pin. Come again?

20. Prevention of assuring its own stops smooth and gradual. They tell me if I just memorize these it will come in handy!

21. Stale lights means could change any time like when traffic light have been green sometimes before you reach. Im not making this up this is really what it says. I am laughing as I write this.

22. Side mirrors must show enough to see rears 200 feet back. This is my personal favorite.

24. Danger zone of vehicle directly infront of the cehicle in which vehicle cannot stop. Spelled just like that.

25. it take thew average of ¾ of a second from the time a you see problem to the time of brakes. I’m sure hoping that when I see the test this will all make sense.

33. The combinations of a unit of truck tractor and pup trailer have different vharacteristics than the semi trailer like improvised trailer. Wish me luck and enjoy a good laugh

There are 40 questions on the test and I can miss eight.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from Joyce and Dave!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration at PIBC today. Here are a few pictures of it...

As I read today in a cartoon... One day a year to give thanks for all God has given us is hardly adequate. Here Ned and I get ready to enjoy a little bit of it.

One of the great blessings for which I am thankful is a great missionary staff.

And some wonderful students.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fall Admin Council

My first order of business on returning to Guam was our Fall administrative council meeting. We normally have an admin council with our Guam administrators every Monday morning, but once a semester we bring up the administrators from all our sites for a meeting. So Monday-Wednesday we met. The picture here is from a committee meeting for the teaching facilities and included Yosta Lodge, Chuuk campus director, Noah Ruben, Chuuk remedial coordinator, Iotaka Choram, Chuuk TF coordinator, Jens Schulz, VP Finance and Operations and Rob Watt, Palau TF coordinator and me. And yes, we are sitting in the corner booth at King's Restaurant where we have a lot of our meetings. Also included in the meetings were Brad Boydston, Academic VP, Eric Sorenson, Seminary dean and Hollie Schaub, acting VP of human resources.

The two main issues discussed were the future use of our present Tol, Chuuk campus and the preparation for our reaffirmation of accreditation with TRACS (including the changes we need to make to add accreditation for our remedial programs, teachers education and other growth.) I will post more on these two issues later. I thought that it was a good and productive meeting even though I was struggling with jet lag. One of the greatest things about working at PIBC is that I am working with people who are focused on the kingdom of God, and who know how important it is to laugh fairly often.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Trip Stuff

I am back on Guam after a 32 day trip that took me from Guam to Honolulu, LA, Northern California, Nashville, Dallas, Columbia SC, Greensboro NC, back to LA, San Diego and back to Guam. I felt like this trip was the most productive of all the trips I have taken in the last few years. Normally we have 3-4 seriously interested people but this time we have more like 10-12. We have people that are interested to come out and help us in the following areas...
Teaching English as a 2nd language in Chuuk and Guam - 3-4
Helping us with making videos and other promotional material - 3
Long term Bible/theology teachers - 2-3 but several others that are pursuing it.
Short term Bible/theology teachers - many, everywhere I went, but we have at least one coming this summer
Short term mission trips - two church groups and other interested individuals
Development - We have made an agreement to work with a development consultant to raise private support for the work of PIBC. I figure that we need to raise about $500,000 in annual fund support and another $2-3 million in capital support over the next few years to do what we believe God is leading us to do.

In addition I met and talked with many interesting people, was encouraged by our faithful supporting churches and ministry partners and saw many instances of God working throughout the USA. Oh yea, it was also great to be able to visit with many of my family members too, including my cute grandkids! Still, it is great to be back at PIBC with the students and staff. (I do have a couple more trips to take in the islands before Christmas vacation.) I would appreciate your prayers for us as we end up our semester.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I am Back on Guam

I arrived back on Guam last night and, since I am up before dawn on Saturday, I have a little time to post to the blog and update you on what I have been up to lately. After Columbia SC, I flew back across the country to LA. I flew from Greensboro NC after Steve Stinnette and I had a chance to visit with Guam friend, Sonia Talato. Sonia reads the blog regularly, so I can say here - thanks Sonia for the hospitality. After the long flight we touched down in smoky LA. The smoke was so thick Saturday evening I could not even see the runway when we landed. The next morning when Michael, Titus and I went out to Starbucks (they drank healthy juice, I drank healthy coffee) ash was falling thick like snow and many people were walking around with masks or cloths over their mouths. The sun had an apocalyptic red color. The sky had pretty much returned to normal by Sunday afternoon. As you can see from the picture, I enjoyed some quality grandkid time on Sunday.

I will talk more about LA and what I did there in my next blog post. On Monday I drove down to San Diego to see Matt and Kristin and meet some people from San Diego Christian College and Southern California Seminary. When I was there Matt was teaching (pictured here) in a psychology class about Guam culture. He invited me to join him in teaching the class. Team teaching with Matt was a lot of fun and, of course, we are very proud of him as he is beginning his first year on the faculty there. We had a good time talking to the class about the island cultures and I had a good opportunity to make them aware of the needs and opportunities for teachers and counselors in Guam and Micronesia. That evening we went with the class to the Yokozuna restaurant (pictured below) in Chula Vista to introduce the class to Guam cuisine. It was fun to eat red rice and kelaguen in California.

I had a good opporunity to talk to several faculty/staff people there in San Diego. I also got to meet with our TRACS representative who will be coming out to Guam in May for our reaffirmation of accreditation visit. It was great to be able to introduce him to what we are doing at PIBC and help him get a glimpse at our vision for the school. I would appreciate your prayers as we are working on the self-study and other preparations for the visit.

My time in San Diego ended with breakfast with Matt and I headed back up to LA on Wednesday. I really enjoyed my time with Matt and Kristin and seeing what God is doing in their lives.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Spiritual Emphasis Days on Guam

Joyce sent me a couple pictures and a report on PIBC Spiritual Emphasis Days 2008. Every year the whole Guam campus goes camping for a week to get away and concentrate on spiritual/devotional issues and to have a little relaxation and fun. This year they camped up on Tarague Beach on the air force base. Joyce said everything went well - nobody got bitten by a snake this year! Tarague is one of the more beautiful places on Guam, and there are a lot of beautiful places on Guam! I know the students and teachers enjoy getting away from the books once in a while and many of the students make significant decisions for their lives at these retreats. As you can see Joyce is able to make friends with both students and the local wild animals - is she another St. Francis? Please keep our students, teachers and staff in your prayers as we all head for the finish of the semester in a few weeks. It is very warm in LA but I miss Joyce and PIBC and can't wait to get back. (In the meantime I am having some fun with the grandkids.)

South Carolina - Columbia International University

Travels continue... Yesterday I flew from Greensboro North Carolina through Newark to Los Angeles. After coming from Texas this week I met Steve Stinnette in Greensboro NC and we drove down to Columbia, South Carolina to meet students and faculty at Columbia International University. We were especially looking for faculty for our English (academic and "Bridge," remedial) programs on Guam and Chuuk. Of course we were also looking for faculty for our Bible/ministry programs too. We stayed with Don and Melissa Howell. Don is a faculty member at CIU and taught a course for us last summer on Guam and consulted with our board at the meeting in Palau. They always do a great job taking care of us.

We had the opportunity to meet with several classes at CIU and with several fauclty members in their offices. We are hoping to see several CIU faculty members in Micronesia teaching short term in the coming summers. In the English classes we presented the opportunity we have, especially in Chuuk, to help many young people raise their English level to be ready for college level study. Several students were interested and two met with us to talk about what they needed to do to come to Chuuk by next August. On Thursday evening Don and Melissa hosted a dinner for us to meet with seminary students about the opportunity to become faculty members at PIBC. We met with three couples, all of whom were quite interested in PIBC. We will be praying that God will lead them and continue to bring the right people to PIBC to fill our growing needs for faculty and staff. The picture is of Bill Schuitt (Liebenzell USA global director and chairman of the PIBC board) and I at the TRACS conference.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Back to Dallas Texas

After leaving Nashville, Saturday, I spent the last four days of this trip back in Dallas TX where we lived and went to Dallas Seminary back in 1988-92. I was there to recruit teachers and talk to the faculty about setting up mission trips and internships. I also was able to visit with PIBC alumni John and Lisa Tomada and a few other friends who have been out to PIBC - Brandon Buie and Jenny, and Joyce's sister Janet and her husband Paul. I was very encouraged this year by the opportunity I had to talk with several faculty members about what we are doing in the islands and how they could be involved. There seemed to be a lot of interest there. I also spent two days interviewing several students about the possibilities of being short or long term missionary teachers at PIBC. Please pray that God will direct these men and women to a great place of service (preferably PIBC)

While there I stayed with my daughter Missy. She is still working as a nanny and lives up in Allen. It was great to spend some father-daughter time with her and to get a chance to get to know her boyfriend, Cliff, a little. We also had fun watching some football together in the evenings. In the picture Missy and Cliff are showing their love for the Steelers and I am staying faithful to the 49ers even though they are 2-7 this year. Even her dog Sushi is a footbal fan. However, both of our teams lost this weekend.

Now I am at Columbia International University for the next couple days doing some more recruiting. One more week and I will be back on Guam.

Friday, November 07, 2008

TRACS Conference

Good evening from Nashville, Tennesee. This week I was attending the TRACS conference. TRACS is the accrediting agency for PIBC. I enjoyed the conference this year, especially the opportunity to network with other Christian college administrators. It is always encouraging to hear that other schools are going through similar things that we are and get some ideas about how they have dealt with these things. It was also good to have an opportunity to explore different ways that we could partner with some of these schools. There are several opportunities there. The first night we went on a river boat trip on the Cumberland River. I spent most of that trip talking with Dave Beck our TRACS representative setting up their accreditation reaffirmation visit for next May. I think it was a very profitable time. The lights of Nashville were also very pretty as we observed them from the river. I met our board chairman Bill Schuit (my roommate) and Steve Stinnette at the conference. We had a good time discussing several PIBC issues. While I thought the seminars this year were not as good as previous years, the networking opportunities made the conference worthwhile. The picture above was taken from the window of my hotel. It is not hard to figure out what the main denomination in Nashville is, is it?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Weekend in Scotts Valley

I have just arrived back in El Dorado, at my mom and dad's house, and will fly out to Nashville Tennessee tomorrow for the TRACS conference. I had been in Scotts Valley meeting with our friends at Gateway Bible Church and staying with my brother Doug and his family. I had a great visit with them as Doug and Diane took care of us Veeeery well.

On Friday and Monday I met with Jim Bartell and John McCabe to plan a Gateway project to help us renovate a house in Yap into a new PIBC Yap classroom, library, computer lab and office. Jim and John had a lot of good ideas about the project and brought a lot of enthusiasm into it. They are hoping to bring a small group of contractors out to Yap to work with local workers to get the job done in January-February. When we complete the project it will be a great benefit to PIBC and to the Yap church.

The main purpose of the trip was to speak at Gateway's service on Sunday. It was the first Sunday of "Missions Month" and I was honored to kick it off. They did a great job of raising awareness of the importance of each person in the church participating in missions, decorating the church and I was very encouraged by their obvious focus on the kingdom of God and extending it to the "ends of the earth." It was also fun to see so many old friends. Gateway has been supporting our mission work since we began in 1984 and we are very thankful for their faithfulness to us and to the mission. I was also encouraged by the enthusiasm of the Missionary Action Comittee (pictured left) as we discussed mission strategy over a delicious pizza after the service. Thank you pastors Dan and Fred for a great day. I am excited about what God is doing at Gateway!

I also had a chance to visit with old friends Jeff and Christy McKim. Jeff has been helping PIBC out with some grant writing and research so this was a good opportunity to touch base with Jeff on some fund raising opportunities. I spent Halloween with them at their house comparing grandchildren pictures and enjoying Christy's killer enchiladas.

If it wasn't so cold, it would have been a perfect weekend. I know the area needs rain, but why did it have to be so rainy (pouring) and cold when I was there? ;)

Friday, October 31, 2008

In Northern California

I flew from Los Angeles to Sacramento on Saturday fighting a nasty cold. On Sunday morning I was supposed to be speaking in two services at Gold Country Baptist but I awoke with no voice whatsoever. I figured since I came 8000 miles to be there I would give it a go and try to speak. The church elders prayed with me and I started to speak. My voice got stronger and stronger and I made it through both services. Afterwards, My voice went back to nothing for the rest of the day. I took Monday off and feel a lot better now. I had a great time at GCBC seeing a lot of good friends and receiving a lot of encouragement. PIBC owes a lot to GCBC as they support the Plaxtons, Mary Lou Carruthers and other short term projects and people in addition to us. It was great to have a Sunday to fellowship with them.

Tuesday I drove up to Redding with Joyce's mom and dad. I met that afternoon with Pastors John Murdock and Jacob Ngiraiblosch from Susanville and Palau. We discussed a strategy for training leadership for the many Palauan churches that are popping up all over the USA. I am hoping to get some of the young people in these churches out to PIBC in Guam. We will also work with the churches in the US to train Palauan leaders and hopefully send some PIBC people to speak at conventions and workshops in California and Texas. There are a lot of exciting things happening with the Micronesian churches in the States.

Wednesday morning I had the opportunity to speak at Shasta Bible College's chapel. It is always fun to be able to share about missions and opportunities to serve in Micronesia with the students there. They always have a lot of interest in what we are doing. The picture is of me with Dr. Keith Stone who is the missions prof there. In the evening I spoke at one of our supporting churches, 1st Baptist Redding. I got an opportunity to talk about missions with the kids in their AWANA club and then shared the vision of PIBC in the adult Bible study. It was good to renew relationship with Pastor Rob (pictured above) and the rest of the good people at 1st Baptist Redding.

This Sunday I will be speaking in the morning services at Gateway Bible Church in Scotts Valley.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Meanwhile Back on Guam

I am enjoying my time in Northern California and will post on that soon. Meanwhile Joyce sent me some pictures and news to report. First some sad news... Our dean of women, Ethel Laco (shown here 2nd from left, with May Vigil, Joyce and Melody Plaxton) was informed last week that her mother had gone to be with the Lord. When she made plans to go to the Philippines for the funeral she found that her visa would require her to stay outside the US for at least a year before she could come back. Though she was very sad about leaving her ministry here, she needed to be with her family at this time and so she left last weekend. We will really miss Ethel a lot. She did so much around the campus (Ethel always knows where things are and how things are supposed to be done), the students love her and she is a good friend. Please pray for her ministry to her family and, if God wills it, she would be able to come back to PIBC some day. Joyce says that everyone is already missing her. Please also be in prayer for May Vigil as she has flown to Hawaii for some medical treatment.

Here is a picture of Joyce's ESL class at PIBC. She and Kent Boydston team teach the class. Joyce is especially enjoying getting to know her Taiwanese students who include Pastor Wu of the Guam Chinese Christian Church, his wife and daughter. This semester has been a change for Joyce to move from teaching kindergartners to teaching ESL to older students at the Japanese school and to adults at PIBC. Kent is also teaching a group of students at the Korean Presbyterian Church. It is a good way for PIBC to reach out to the church community on the island and provide some help and to get to know Christians on the island outside of the Micronesian communities.