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.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Nice Week at Biola

I spent my first few days on the mainland staying with Michael and Samantha and the kids near Biola in La Mirada. Of course this means I spend a lot of time playing with the grandkids, but I also have been able to talk to some other people. I had a good lunch with Dennis Dirks, the Dean of Talbot Seminary. We talked about possible ways Biola and Talbot could work together. Then Michael and Samantha introduced me to several Talbot faculty members. I, of course, emphasized the opportunity for these teachers to come out to Micronesia and write their books while sitting under a coconut tree, and teach a couple classes for PIBC. There seemed to be some interest in that.

Last night I had the opportunity to interview a couple young people, Jen Rydzik and Eddie Chern, about the possibility of coming out to PIBC next Fall to teach in our remedial program (mostly ESL) and work with our students. I appreciated their enthusiasm and commitment to service for Christ and the church. We are praying together to see where God will lead us in this, but I'd love to see some energetic young people like them at PIBC. I brought my camera to take a picture of everyone at the meeting, but as usual, I forgot to take the picture. After the meeting I went back to Mike and Sam's place with a sore throat. I woke this morning with no voice whatsoever. I'd appreciate your prayers that it would come back before I speak at Gold Country Baptist this Sunday.

Titus has been helping me out with my morning coffee run to Starbucks. Here is a pic of him there. I notice that when I bring him we seem to get more free samples...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am in California

I left Hawaii last night and arrived in LA this morning at 5 AM. I had a good meeting in Hawaii with Randy Furushima, the president of HITS and am still hopeful that we will be able to run our programs in Honolulu and work with the faculty and students of HITS. I was a little disappointed that I did not get a chance to meet and talk with more of the people there. The picture is from the window of my hotel room in Honolulu. I am now at the house of my son Michael and his family. I have been enjoying renewing my relationship with my grandson Titus and granddaughter Courage. We have already read several books together, "rocked out" on Titus' new guitars (pictured), raced through the apartment and "shot" each other. Courage tries to get involved in all this and looks like she will take off crawling at any moment. My meetings here start tomorrow. I would appreciate your prayers for God's guidance.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Trip to the Mainland

I am starting to pack for my annual trip to the US mainland. I will be leaving early Monday morning. The main purposes of this trip are recruiting, fund raising, partner building, project coordination and meeting with some of our supporting churches. I will be gone from Guam October 20 to November 21. At least Joyce won't be by herself while I am on this trip. Larry and Sharon Bock are still staying with us (They have already agreed to stay for another semester in the Spring.) Joyce will also have some of the female students over for "relationship building" (cookie baking, girl-movie watching etc.).

Here is my schedule for the upcoming trip. If you are near one of these stops I'd love to meet with you. Maybe we could grab a cup of coffee together or something.

October 20-21: Honolulu Hawaii - Meeting with Hawaii Theological Seminary students, staff and administration. We are still working out plans for PIBC to acquire HITS.
October 22-25: La Mirada CA - I will be staying with Michael, Samantha and the kids and meeting with people from Biola/Talbot and some prospective teachers from Southern California
October 26: Speaking in the AM service at Gold Country Baptist Church, Shingle Springs CA.
October 26-27: Staying with my mom and dad in El Dorado CA.
October 28-29: Redding CA. Speaking at Shasta Bible College Chapel in the AM on the 29th and at First Baptist Redding Wednesday evening service. On the 28th I will be meeting in Redding with the leaders of the Southern Baptist group that came out to Palau last summer.
October 30-November 3: Scotts Valley CA. I will be meeting with the mission group from Gateway Bible Church to plan a mission trip/project in Yap and will be speaking at Gateway in the morning service on the 2nd. I will also meet with a friend who is working with PIBC on some grants and publicity projects.
November 4: Fly to Nashville Tennessee
November 5-8: TRACS Conference in Nashville.
November 8-12: Dallas Texas. I'll be staying with my daughter Missy, recruiting faculty at Dallas Theological Seminary and visiting alumni and friends of PIBC there.
November 13-14: Columbia International University recruiting English and Bible faculty.
November 14: Visiting friends in Winston-Salem North Carolina
November 15: Fly back to LA and back to Michael's house in La Mirada
November 16: Go to church with Mike and Sam and work with them on a possible mission trip for their church to Micronesia.
November 17-18: San Diego CA to visit Matt and Kristin; recruit at San Diego Christian College and talk with them about some cooperative efforts.
November 19: Back to LA and spend the day playing with the grandchildren
November 20: Fly back to Guam

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

PIBC Team at the Palauan Church

This Sunday Joyce and I went over to the Guam Palauan Evangelical Church to support our team of Palauan PIBC students who were making a presentation there. I know that sounds like a uni-cultural experience but it really wasn't. We had an American from Texas (Daisy Murdock) sharing about how God was calling her to Palau and the miracles that happened there this summer for the team that came from Susanville California to minister in Palau. We had a Yapese (Percia Ragagad) telling everyone that she was about to be from the Palauan island of Peleliu and a Palauan from Yap (Everly Ngirake;) sharing about his summer mission trip to Palau. Finally we had a Palauan (Joel Okada) talking about his summer mission trip to Thailand and his desire to be a longer term missionary there. Even though we couldn't understand some of the service in Palauan it was an encouraging multi-cultural experience.

The PEC-Guam is pastored by Andrew Immanuel, who was one of my students at Emmaus back in the 1980's. So it was great for us to get caught up with Andy and Julie and see how big their new twin boys have gotten. We were so encouraged to hear what God is doing at the PEC and to hear about the revival that is going on among the Palauans on the US mainland. I am hoping to meet with some of these Palauans when I am in California next week. After a good time of pizza and fellowship we went home Sunday afternoon encouraged by the good reports, joyful from the good fellowship and ready for a nap.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

PIBC Community Group

Last night we had our campus community group over to our house for a little barbecue and fellowship time. Joyce bbq'd the chicken, the Boydstons brought over some salad and dessert and we had a pretty good meal. Our community groups are a good way for the faculty and staff to connect with the students and for the on campus and commuter students to get to know one another better too. After dinner we watched a documentary video about how our present Guam PIBC campus was built back in 1998 by several volunteer groups from Germany and we talked about the investment and sacrifice Liebenzell Mission Germany and these volunteers had made so that we can be here. It was a good reminder. We also looked at old pictures, told jokes and stories. I think a good time was had by all.

This picture is of me with a couple of our commuter students, Rommel Carino and his wife Joy and three kids from the Philippines - and Esther (left-front) from Palau. We have several students now with families (we even have a couple grandparents attending PIBC - it is not just for 20 somethings) and it is always nice to have their whole families involved in campus life.

Alvin and Giftleen (on the left) and Mavrick (on the right also enjoyed the food and fellowship.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

PIBC's Proposed New Vision Statement

We have been working on our Pacific Islands Bible College foundational statements lately to bring them in line with the changes we have made in the school's program - general education, minors, seminary, remedial English and study skills - and planned programs, including a teacher certification program and a liberal arts/Christian world view major. In fact, we are also working on changing the name to Pacific Islands University. We would retain the PIBC name for the Bible College part of the university.
With that in mind we have come up with this vision statement (still a work in progress):
"PIBC aspires to be a leader in providing accessible, transformational, quality, Christian-based higher education to the people of Micronesia, the Pacific Islands, and to the ends of the earth."

Here is the rationale....
Leader: We still are the only accredited Christian college in the Micronesian islands and on Guam. We believe that PIBC will have a major part to play in providing a Christian influence in the preparation of young men and women from the islands to serve their communities and churches.

Accessible: We provide affordable, local, culturally sensitive and relevant education to the peoples of the Pacific. We are committed to providing American style education within an island context. We are also committed to meeting the academic needs of students who come from academically deficient settings with remedial education. Our students do not have to completely leave behind their islands and cultures to get an American style education.

Quality: We believe that we do not need to sacrifice academic level to make our programs accessible. Our island students are as capable and talented as young people anywhere else in the world. While we try to meet our students needs "where they are" our goal is to produce graduates who are able to function on the same level as those from similar schools throughout the world and are capable of taking leadership in the global community and church.

Transformational: We are a Christian college, and thus, our desire is to see all our students be uniquely "conformed to the image of Christ." We nurture the spiritual life of our students and challenge them to embrace responsible and accountable lifestyles that reflect a passion for the kingdom of God.

Micronesia... to the ends of the earth: PIBC is committed to training Micronesians. other Pacific islanders and people from the many cultures that call the islands home to be part of the command of Jesus to "make disciples" of the peoples of all the earth. Our prayer and goal is that our graduates would make an impact for Christ in their homes and throughout the world.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Last Sunday was the last day of my four week Sunday school series at the Guam Lutheran Church. It is always fun to teach there and not just because of the incredible view. (Michael and Samantha got married on the beach just outside the church.) Brad Boydston said he was watching a dolphin jumping just outside the reef while I was teaching. They have a great group of people there and the discussion is always interesting. I was teaching on "cults" (a greatly misused word and often meaningless or hostile in common usage) and decided, instead of just going through "this group is a cult because..." we would talk about what makes a group "cultish" and how can we avoid these kinds of beliefs and practices in our own groups and individual lives. The group pretty much ran with it and we had four weeks of lively discussion. I think everyone got something they could apply. In the picture Joyce is standing in our driveway as we get ready to leave for church. She made the dress!

Sunday night we went to the Wood's house to celebrate Bill's 70th birthday. We ate chicken and ice cream, visited with each other and had a hymn sing which featured Bill playing hymns in his own very entertaining style. It is a lot of fun and, in my opinion, our group sounds pretty good. There are so many of us now, that it is pretty much impossible to fit us all in any of our houses. It is a blessing to have so many (yes we still need to fill some positions) working at PIBC but, it is a REAL blessing to work with people you like and trust (and can carry a tune!).

Monday, October 06, 2008

Palau Independence Day

Saturday Joyce and I went down to Ypao park to celebrate the 14th Palau Independence Day. Pretty much the entire Palauan community on Guam was there and many of the candidates, or their representatives, for Palau president and legislature were there campaigning. Each of the Palau states sets up a booth overflowing with Palauan food and barbeque, there is Palauan music and dance and many other activities. We enjoyed getting to see many of our Palauan friends we have not seen in a while. The picture here with Joyce is of Asteria Dennis. Asteria used to attend Yigo Baptist when we were ministering there. We had not seen her in a while (how is it on an island this small you can go so long without seeing someone?) and it we were happy to hear that she and her family are doing well.

We mostly hung around at the celebration with John Aitaro and his wife Danette. John has been a student at PIBC for the last few years and works full time at one of the local hotels. They are also active in ministry leadership at the Guam Palauan Evangelical Church. John made sure that Joyce and I had plenty of chicken, pork, ribs, fish, shrimp etc. (John and I were both OK with the full food plates as we had scrimmaged with the PIBC basketball team the day before) The only disappointment was that we did not get there early enough before the taro leaf soup was gone. We brought home so much food we are still eating off of the leftovers. We also enjoyed getting to meet some other members of John's extended family and seeing other Palauan friends we had not seen in some time. It was a perfect day for it as the rain held off for most of the day and the clouds kept things nice and cool.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Blogs I Read

There are so many good blogs out there and web sites that are worth checking out (among others that are not so good and just wasters of time), that one cannot read them all and still have a meaningful life in the non-virtual world. I have to limit myself or I would be reading on line 24 hours a day and never get anything done. So I thought I would let you know the web sites I take the time to visit regularly.

Just look to the right at my links and you will see the blogs of family members and co-workers. I try to read those regularly so I know what is going on in their lives. You can get a lot of different perspectives about life at Pacific Islands Bible College and in Micronesia by clicking on the links to the right.

I do my social networking on Facebook. I am in the Pacific Islands Bible College, Biola, Dallas Seminary and Baymonte Christian School groups. Send me a friend request and I will connect with you.

My favorite theological web sites are:
Darrell Bock my prof at Dallas Seminary. He has a good post on the Christian response to the current US economic crisis.
The Scriptorium: The Torrey Program of Biola site. There is always interesting commentary here on theology, culture, politics and even some funny stuff
Ben Witherington: A prof at Asbury seminary and New Testament scholar who comments on a wide range of issues from scholarly theological papers to movie and music reviews.
Jesus Creed: This is Scot McKnight's blog. He is a Religion prof at North Park University. This is the best blog I have seen for reading theological discussion on a wide range of issues from a wide range of perspectives. His latest post on why he is not Roman Catholic or Orthodox was excellent.
N. T. Wright: This site has a good collection of NT Wright papers and audio. He always has an interesting perspective on things. Thank you Michael for sending me there.
Blue Passport: is a missiology blog by RG Lewis a veteran missionary and missionary-trainer. He always makes me evaluate my effectiveness in cross-cultural discipleship.
Ship of Fools: This is an English site that points out the funny and weird in the church. Guaranteed to make you laugh as you cry at the stupid things evangelicals do world-wide. I especially enjoy the Fruitcake Zone and Gadgets for God.

I do also spend some time on and to keep up with my SF 49ers, Sacramento Kings and Oakland A's.

Maybe some time we can talk or play a game of Challenge Sudoku on line!