Sunday, June 29, 2008

Palau #2 - Ordination

There are many great things that happened this past week in Palau. Decisions were made in both the church and school meetings which I believe will have long term positive effects on the kingdom work in Micronesia. But, I believe the event I was most excited about was the ordination that took place on Sunday morning. This was the climax of the Gospel Days celebration and I believe that was appropriate because the church's recognition of the raising up by God of new young leaders is really what we are all about. The church ordained two new pastors, three new missionaries (in Palauan church polity "missionaries" function as a kind of pastoral assistants doing preaching, teaching and other pastoral work and assisting the pastors in the sacraments or ordinances. Often they are sent out to new or very young ministries) and three deacons. It was especially exciting to me that one of the pastors and two of the new missionaries were PIBC graduates.

Hedrick Kual, the PIBC valedictorian of 2005, was ordained to pastoral ministry along with his wife Prima. Hedrick was been ministering since his graduation as an assistant to the Koror pastor Billy Kuartei and English service pastor and PIBC coordinator Rob Watt. He has been preaching regularly in the PEC and been working with Rob training the deacons and other church leaders. Prima has directed the Gospel Kindergarten for many years. We are also thrilled that Hedrick will be one of our first students in the Master of Arts in Religion program in our new seminary. We also are hoping to employ Hedrick and Prima at PIBC while they are in our seminary program. We are still looking for scholarships to finance Hedrick's tuition since seminary programs are not eligible for federal aid.

Two of our graduates were ordained as missionaries. (L to R me, Merong, Mac) Merong Hideyoshi, who just graduated last month, will probably be working with youth in the church on the island of Angaur. He may also be teaching in the public school there. Merong is very gifted in music and often played guitar in the PIBC chapel and for kids' ministries. Please keep him in prayer as he begins this new ministry. Mac Alfonso, a December 2007 graduate, has already been leading the youth group in the Yap Evangelical Church since his graduation. He will be continuing to work with the Palauan and Yapese youth on Yap and assisting pastor Asael Ruda (2002 graduate of PIBC and Chuukese missionary to the Yap Evangelical Church) with pastoral duties for the three YEC churches. Mac has a heart for missions, has been on a several PIBC mission trips and hopes to be one of the first long term missionaries to be sent out from Micronesia. Mac was our chapel coordinator while he was a student and we are looking forward to and praying for what God will do through him.

Back From Palau

Joyce and I are back on Guam. We arrived at 4.45 AM after being up all night. The Palau-Guam flight leaves at 1.45 AM. After sleeping in a little - I got up about 10.15 AM - I am getting caught up on email, blogging etc. I am planning on making several posts over the next few days about our time in Palau. The main purposes of the trip were to attend the PIBC Board meeting and the Palau Gospel Days celebration. There were many other great things that happened during the week while we were there that I will talk about in later posts.

Actually the Palau adventure started a couple days before we went down when we picked up Bill and Barb Schuit at the airport on Sunday night the 22nd. Bill and Barb were our missionary colleagues back in the 80's in Palau and Bill was now coming back to Palau as the new Global Director for Liebenzell Mission USA and as a PIBC Board member. At the board meeting Bill was also voted in as the new chairman of the board. I am pictured here with them as they got off the plane on Guam.

We had quite a group fly down with us on the plane Tuesday night. Joyce and I, the Schuits, board member Neil Culbertson, Chuuk campus director Yosta Lodge, Guam campus director Jens Schulz and Don Howell from CIU all went through check in together and then we met Liebenzell International Director Martin Auch and LMUSA board member Howard Merrell inside the airport as they transferred flights. We had a good time of conversation as we waited to board our flight.

When we arrived we rode the Gospel Kindergarten bus to the Palasia Hotel where we stayed throughout the whole week. (This was our view from the Hotel) We (all of us with the mission and PIBC) were generously blessed with the Palauan's donation of the hotel stay and everything else we needed while there. Of course the Palauan Church also took great care of us with plenty of food and their usual wonderful hospitality. I am just sorry that we had to leave on Sunday night and miss the Monday trip to the rock islands. More later...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Headed to Palau

Joyce and I will be heading to Palau tonight to participate in the Palau Gospel Days and the Pacific Islands Bible College Board meeting. We will be there until Sunday. Joyce will be working with the kids' programs and doing some training for the children's workers. Our board meeting will begin Wednesday and end Friday evening.
Palau Gospel Days celebrates the 80th anniversary of the arrival of the Gospel in Palau in 1929. The church has actually been celebrating this all the month of June. A PIBC mission team has been there since the beginning of the month participating in the youth rallies and other activities that have been going on in many of the villages. This week will be the climax of the celebration. There will be several services, seminars, feasts and workshops going on throughout the week.
The PIBC board also has several important issues to discuss such as 1) our expansion into Hawaii 2) our crisis staffing situation in Chuuk 3) future plans for building on our campuses 4) our new graduate level program, 5) plans for reaffirmation of our accreditation and several other pivotal issues. I would certainly appreciate the prayers of all who read this blog. I hope to be able to give you an update while I am there but internet access is still a little bit difficult in Palau. If I can't update from there I will post as soon as I get back.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Joyce is Back

I picked up Joyce at the airport on Friday night. This was the 737 she flew on the LAX-Hawaii leg of the flight. We will be spending a lot of time at the airport the next few days. In a couple hours (5.45 PM) I will be picking up our LMUSA Global Director, Bill Schuit and his wife Barb at the Guam airport. Bill is coming through for the PIBC board meeting and will be on Guam for a couple days meeting with the missionaries. Then I will head back to the airport at 4.30 AM on Monday morning to pick up Yosta Lodge, our Chuuk Campus Director, who is also coming through for the board meeting. We will all be going down to Palau on the Tuesday evening flight to attend the board meeting and the Palau Gospel Days celebration. We will be coming back on Monday the 30th. Joiyce needs to be back to start her new job at the Japanese school, teaching English. I appreciate all your prayers for our upcoming meetings.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

End of Bachelorhood

I have not posted in a while, partly because Joyce still has the camera in California and partly because I am pretty much doing the same thing every day. I spend most of my mornings preparing for the board meetings coming up next week. (I have most of the materials written up and sent out by email but we are working on hard copies of the materials now.) I am still teaching Exegesis in Hebrews with Don Howell on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. We go out running on the other nights. It isn't boring. We have had some excellent theological and ministry issue discussions. I have many such discussions with the staff and faculty at PIBC but it is nice to get an off-island perspective once in a while. I am also having opportunity to have lunch with some of the staff here on Guam to find out how they are doing and to touch base with leaders of other ministries on the island.

This morning I helped Joyce take care of her on line check in (by IM with her in LA and me on Guam) for her flight tomorrow. She told me that Michael and Samantha finally got internet in their new apartment. Michael was able to post to his blog so I was able to get some new pictures of the grandkids to post here (Does Titus look like he is ready to follow the Owen tradition of being a teacher?). There are more on Mike's blog. I think the hardest thing about being a missionary is having family so far away. The older I get the harder that seems to be. I am looking forward to picking up Joyce at the airport tomorrow night. We will have a couple days here before we head down to Palau next week. I am trying to get rid of the big, black male cat that seems to have taken up residence in our laundry room. I have chased and scared him away several times but he keeps coming back, with his strong male cat odor. I haven't seen him in a couple days so maybe the room will smell OK when Joyce gets back. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Temporary Bachelor on Guam

For those of you wondering where I have been the last couple days - I guess a few people besides my mom read this blog - I have been a little busy with the Hebrews class and preparing the materials for the PIBC board meeting coming up in Palau in two weeks. Besides Joyce is still in California with the camera - where the kids and grandkids are - and I have no pictures to post. That is why I am a temporary bachelor. Don Howell, from Columbia International University is team teaching the Hebrews class with me and staying at our house. The class is meeting Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights from 6.30-9:00 which means the evenings are pretty much taken. We are going in to the PIBC office in the morning and then going out for a late lunch - or when we can work it, we eat at someone's house. Thank you Harald and Hannelore for a great lunch yesterday. Then we rest or do on line work in the afternoon. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday we do a 3 mile run at the Yigo fire station. Then in the evening we have a theological/ministry discussion and in bed by 10. I am enjoying the discussions a lot.

I am looking forward to Joyce coming back on the 20th and then doing some ministry together in Palau the next week.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Owen June Prayer Requests

Greetings from Guam,

I am back from a short trip to Hawaii and Southern California for some meetings and a time of vacation with our kids in SoCal (See below). I am settling back in and getting ready for a busy summer of ministry on Guam. Here are some important issues you could lift up in prayer for us. We would also appreciate it if you would share these requests in your church.

1. I am team-teaching a summer course (Exegesis in Hebrews) with Don Howell from Columbia International University starting on Monday. Please pray that Don would have a good experience here (he will also go to Palau with me in a couple weeks to consult at our board meeting) and that the students’ ability to preach the word will grow. We are excited to have a couple of the local pastors in the class.

2. Pray for me as I prepare for the Pacific Islands Bible College board meeting which will be in Palau June 25-28. We have many pivotal issues to discuss and we need to see the Lord’s direction for the future of the school. We will also be in Palau celebrating the 80th anniversary of the arrival of the Gospel there. Joyce will be training children’s workers as a part of this and working with the PIBC students who will be part of this ministry.

3. PIBC is sending out two mission teams this summer to Thailand and to Palau. Please pray that the students will be effective in ministry and that God will use this time in their lives to draw them closer to him and raise up long term missionaries out of the group.

4. Pray for our Chuuk campus teacher and staff shortage. We still need an English teacher and two Bible teachers there. In addition we have a business manager who plans to come from the Philippines who is having some visa problems. Please pray that the Lord will supply these needs along with our staffing needs in our other sites.

Thank you so much for praying for us. We need daily direction and strength to do what God is calling us to do and your prayers are an important part of that. Of course, we would love to hear from you too.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I'm Back on Guam - "Vacation" Retrospective

I arrived back on Guam about an hour ago - LAX to Honolulu to Guam - about 16-17 hours of airplane and airport time. The flight was pretty smooth with a 65 mph tail wind. I met Don Howell from Columbia International University, in the Honolulu airport and he is here at the house with me. He will be teaching a course for us, Exegesis in Hebrews, starting on Monday and consulting with our board later this month.

In one way I am glad to get back and get to work again, but I am already missing the kids and the grandkids. I peeked in on Titus and Courage before I left this morning (yesterday morning?) and the little sleeping angels made me think I should delay my trip back a few more days. I had a great time playing basketball and soccer with Titus and on our morning walks to get coffee. He is a bundle of energy and of course very smart too. Courage is a real cutie in her little pink outfits but I got her a baseball uniform too because not all girls "throw like girls." We got to see most of our family and I am really thankful for the couple weeks of family time. Joyce is having more of it the next couple weeks as she is staying there to be with her sisters and with the kids again.

We got to see a couple movies (Caspian and Indiana Jones). I am pictured above showing the Hulk who is really tough. One of our goals is also to eat at restaurants we don't have on Guam. So, thanks to Matt and Kristin having a lot of gift certificates for some of these, we made it to the French Gourmet, Appleby's (I got my Santa Fe salad), BJ's Pizza, Mimi's Cafe, Claim Jumper, the great Mexican place near SDCC, Panera Bread, Starbucks and of course the burger, fries and shake at In-N-Out. I also had good meetings with the people at Hawaii seminary, Talbot and San Diego Christian College that I am praying will bear fruit in the future. Now I am going to bed...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sacred Pathways

Something I have been wanting to do on my blog for a while is write little reviews on books I read. My selfish reason is that I think this will help me think through what I have read. My altruistic reason would be to help my friends find good books to read. My lack of time has been the main impediment to this, but I thought, as my vacation is ending, that this would be a good time to start. At Matt's graduation party I got into a conversation with the librarian at Southern California Seminary. I mentioned to her that my approach to God has always tended to be through books (of course the Bible being the #1) and the mind. God has been showing me in His Word that a relationship requires more than that and I was trying to widen the means of approach to God in my life. She recommended that I read Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas. Not only that, she let me borrow her copy. Thanks! I enjoyed the book a lot. The basic thesis of the book is that the preferred means of loving and approaching God differs from person to person based on temperaments and other factors. He sees nine basic sacred pathways that people take to approach God: naturalism, sensation, tradition, asceticism, activism, caregiving, enthusiasm, contemplation and intellect. Each person needs to identify the main path that fits their personality, learn from those that tend toward the other paths, use their main path and strengthen their weak ones. Thomas writes a chapter on each of the 9 paths that includes a definition, description, strengths, temptations of each one and a test to assess how strong each spiritual temperament is in you. I am sure it is no surprise to anyone that my main spiritual temperaments were intellectual and activist. Surprisingly, considering my waist size, I also came out pretty high on asceticism. My weakest were caregiving and enthusiasm. One of my goals this year has been to be more contemplative and the book validated that there was a need for that. This book is definitely a "broad brush" introduction to this subject and I would recommend it as a resource for people who are trying to begin to think more widely about ways to deepen their relationship to God. I appreciated the author's devotion to the authority of scripture and avoidance of extremes. It is not real deep, but it was a helpful introduction to the subject.