Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Dave and Joyce

Merry Christmas! We opened our stockings this morning with Michael's family and are really blessed that Missy arrived yesterday so we could enjoy Christmas Eve and morning with her. We will be joining Matt, Kristin, Milo and Kristin's family for lunch today. After that we will head down to San Diego to enjoy time with all three of our kids, and their families, together. So let's celebrate and enjoy the day (start your diets in about a week like I will). We celebrate the most significant event in history, "the Word became flesh and lived among us!" God bless and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mike's Graduation

We flew into LA last Friday and met up with Joyce's and my parents in La Mirada. That afternoon we headed over to Michael's graduation ceremony. This will the first of 3 graduations for his family. At this graduation Michael received his MA in Biblical Studies. Next May Michael will get his ThM degree and, hopefully, Samantha will be getting her MA in Science and Religion next December. They plan to head out to Guam before next August to teach at PIU. Matt and Milo also drove up from San Diego to attend the graduation. Here are a few other pictures of the graduation and one of Titus' pre-school Christmas program.

Michael with his grandparents. Owens on the left and Cundalls on the right.

Michael shows off his theology hood.

Titus, with a little help from his mom, performs "Joy to the World" 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

PIU Staff - Faculty Christmas Party

Here are a few pictures of our PIU faculty-staff Christmas party which was held at the Guam Reef Hotel last Sunday night. (Joyce and I had our picture taken here right before the sunset completely disappeared.) We had a great time celebrating with our PIU family. One of the biggest blessings of being at PIU is the high quality people - staff, faculty, administration, missionaries, volunteers - that I get to work with. God has blessed us with some very gifted, talented and a bit eccentric (but that makes it fun!) people from all over the world at PIU. We still need more to join us!

Faculty-Staff Christmas picture. We have come a long way from just a few years ago when we could fit our entire faculty and staff in our small living room for the Christmas party.

I think Delight is smiling here, because he was able to "steal" back the gift that Evelyn wanted so much.

May Vigil (Library), Josephine Mendiola (Science Teacher), Sharon Bock (Office) Anne Stinnette (Office) and Mary Lou Carruthers (IT Director)

I am engaged here in deep conversation with Hartmut Scherer (Distance Education Coordinator), Larry Bock (Bible Faculty) and Tim Plaxton (Maintenance Director).

The remedial English teachers, Joyce and Jen Rydzik, pose in front of the Christmas tree.

Rob Watt (VP Student Life) and Melody Plaxton (Academic VP) lead us in singing Christmas carols.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

PIU Traveling Team at Bayview Church

The Pacific Islands University Traveling Team (Choir) sang at Bayview Church on Sunday. The group is ready and available to sing at churches on Guam during the Spring semester. They are raising support and preparing to take a "choir tour" to the US mainland (mainly California and the Southeast US) during June and July 2010. If you would like the team to come to your church or group on Guam, January through May, please contact us at PIU - 734-1812. If you would like to host the group during their time in the US this summer we would also love to hear from you. We are looking for a donation of the use of a van or bus during our time in California to move the team around the State. If you could help us out with that we would appreciate it very much. Donations to the team's trip fund may be sent to Pacific Islands University Traveling Team, PO Box 22619, Barrigada, Guam 96921. Maybe we will see you soon?! Don't worry. They don't let me sing. I am just introducing them.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Community Group Christmas Party

Friday night we enjoyed our community group Christmas party over at the Sorenson's house. Every year at PIU we divide up the students and staff into community groups that meet together for fun, discipleship and fellowship. This year we are teamed up with the Sorenson's, Suda's and Kalvin Assito and about 18 students. Since we are leading the team that is traveling to the US Mainland this summer, those students were also placed with us as our community group. This enables us to practice with the team as part of our community group activities. So, Friday we met for food (always!), Christmas games and to practice some songs for the teams' next performance at Bayivew Church. Here are some more pictures of our fun night below...

We had a lot of fun acting out the Christmas story. Everyone was assigned a part and had to act it out when Eric read it. We had people playing the all the human parts and the animals, but we also had to play the objects like the manger, the swaddling clothes etc. T'nel played a very precocious and large baby Jesus who kept "Mary" in a constant state of laughter.

The girls enjoyed looking at the Sorenson's picture albums

We approached singing practice with seriousness and high level of decorum.

Everyone, especially Keiny and the cat, was pretty tired by the end of the evening. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

PIU Basketball Banquet

Thursday night we celebrated our first annual (?) PIU basketball banquet. It was a fun evening reflecting on and celebrating the basketball season just finished a few weeks ago. Joyce, Jen, Melissa and Daisy planned and put on the banquet and did a great job. I think everyone enjoyed the spaghetti dinner and caramel corn.  The team gave me the privilege of being the speaker for the event. I got a chance to talk to them about what I have learned from sports that I have been able to apply to my life and ministry. I got a chance to talk with the guys about how God used sports in my life to reveal and help me deal with some of my personal weaknesses. We also had a chance to discuss some of the life lessons learned this basketball season (of course some were learned the hard way!). We also had some fun telling our sports stories. Yes, we all get better and better every time the story is told! I think the guys had a great time. It was sure fun for me to have time to interact with and get to know the students better. And yes, that is a tie I am wearing.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Reaffirmation of Accreditation from TRACS

Here is a piece of good news from the TRACS web site...


Pacific Islands University (172 Kinney’s Road, Mangilao, Guam, P.O. Box 22619, Barrigada, Guam, 96921) was granted Reaffirmation I Status as a Category III institution (approved to offer Certificates, Diplomas, the Associate, Bachelors and Masters degree, plus distance learning) with conditions.

The areas of non-compliance are:
  • Institutional Effectiveness (5.2; 6.5; 10.3a,b; 10.7; 11.2; 24.1 – 4; 24.5a-c; 24.7
  • Policies, Procedures and Publications (1.2; 1.5; 6.2; 8.9; 10.15k, q; 10.17; 11.9; 11.12; 11.15; 11.16c; 14.9; 15.7; 17.12; 17.19; 20.5d; 21.1)
  • Distance Education (12.1)
We are excited to receive reaffirmation and are now working hard on the three areas of non-compliance mentioned above. We must have our report in to TRACS by February 15th, so we would appreciate your prayers that we get this done well and on time. 

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Kids' Day at Pacific Islands University

Yesterday we held our annual "Kids' Day" at the PIU campus. Kids Day is a production of the Principles of Teaching class taught by Christel Wood. It is an opportunity for the students in her class to apply and practice the principles they have learned and serve the community while they are doing it. This has become a much-anticipated annual event and children from several of the Guam churches attended the day which included games, stories, verse memorization, singing and, of course, snacks. The theme of this year's program was "The Reason for the Season." From what I saw and heard, it was a great day, enjoyed by the PIU students and the children. PIU student Leeman Sebastian said, "I wanted to keep singing but I know the kids are tired already. I had the greatest time ever leading them in singing. Great times and memories to remember. Hope they were blessed and learned a lot from us. So they can grow up and be blessed and dream of become like us serving our LORD and Savior... Good job to my classmates in Principles of teaching class."

Friendly smiling PIU students take care of welcome, registration and sign-up.

Esther teaches the kids a memory verse.

Followed by a contest to see who can get put the scrambled words to the memory verse in the proper order

Daisy puts full effort into the Bible story.

Charles has the full attention of the kids as he makes an important theological point. 

Lisa Collins (PIU librarian) and Christel Wood. Every year we get feedback that Principles of Teaching is one of the best classes we offer in our curriculum. Thank you Christel!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Joyce Finishes Preaching Class

Many of you may be aware that Joyce is not only a missionary, remedial English teacher and English teacher at the Guam Japanese School, but she is also a PIU student. She has been working on finishing her BA, which she left off in 1979 at Biola to do the "wife and mommy thing," since 2003. She is getting pretty close to finishing. After this semester she will have five classes to go and plans to finish in December of 2010.

This semester she has been in the preaching class taught by Hartmut Scherer. She told me the other night that she wished she had been able to take a class like that long before because she has learned so much and, "now I see what you were doing and how you were able to do that all those years!" Last week was her final sermon. She preached on 2 Corinthians chapter 4. I sneaked in without notice to hear her and take a couple pictures. She did a great job, actually one of the better sermons I have heard in a while (maybe I am biased too). Her voice had the same pitch and cadence that she uses when she tells a Bible story to kids but I thought it really drew me into what she was saying. Her content was good and it was obvious she had done good background and exegetical research. So it appears that there is another preacher in the family!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner at PIU

Thanksgiving dinner at PIU has become a tradition. The school provides the turkey, the staff and faculty make the other traditional dishes and the students make rice. There is some singing and we have a short devotional but the main order of business is eating and talking. I especially enjoyed this time sitting with and getting to know Phil Atoigue (husband of our office manager Celia) and talking about our experiences playing high school football in California, Guam culture and many other very relevant issues (including our favorite kinds of pie). Here are some pictures of the event....

It is nice just to be able to sit and talk with the students in a very relaxed and fun atmosphere. Sometimes in all the business of running a school we forget how blessed we are to be working with such a good group of young people and that we have the privilege of being Kingdom workers. The students also like Joyce's native American outfit that she wears every year for this event.

There is always more than enough in the food line. I think this year I only went through the line 3 times. Everything was great, including Joyce's red hot jello and corn casserole. I especially want to thank May Vigil for bringing me a piece of chocolate cake after I had just said I couldn't possibly eat another bite. She was right, I needed to eat it.

The smiles would indicate that a good time was had by all.

In the spirit of the holiday, Joyce delivered a Thanksgiving plate to Mrs. Han who owns Han's Store, the closest store to PIU. Our students do a lot of business there and we appreciate Mrs. Han keeping an eye on them for us and being a good neighbor. 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Conclusion to Our Mainland Trip

After Texas we headed back to stay one day with Michael's family in La Mirada and make a couple more So Cal appointments. First, we headed over to Azusa Pacific University to talk with people in their student missions and ministry department about a program they have for developing mission awareness and skills in their students. We were thankful that they were willing to share that with us. We then had lunch with Doug Hart from Saddleback Church. They are interested to send a mission team out to Micronesia in the near future. After a day in LA we flew to Phoenix and spent a couple days there. We met our friend Matt Augee there. Matt arranged several contacts for us in person and by phone. We were able to interview a couple very qualified people for our much needed CFO position. Thank you Matt! We also spent some time with Brad and Cheryl Boydston. It was great to see them again. Even though Brad is now in Arizona he will be teaching a class for us this coming January. After our 2 days in Arizona we flew back to Guam.

Though the trip was long (5 weeks) we felt like it was worthwhile. We were able to make 96 (by Steve's count) good contacts which we are now in the process of following up. Please continue to pray for the financial and personnel needs of PIU/

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Trip to Mainland: Texas

After our time in the Southeastern US, Steve and I headed to Texas for some recruiting at Dallas Seminary and for some other meetings with old friends and (hopefully) new partners. We did two lunch meetings with students and had 3-4 students at each of the meetings. Several of the students expressed interest in exploring service with PIU in the future and two couples are now making plans to come out for a short term teaching assignment in the summer of 2010. We also got to spend some time with John and Lisa Tomada (John is a PIU alumnus and Lisa was our Dean of Women) and they are one of the couples planning to join us this summer. Steve stayed with them and we used their home as a meeting place.

On Saturday we headed out to Salada Texas to meet with a Palauan church group. On the way we met Hollie and Aaron Schaub and their new son, Sam. Hollie and Aaron were stationed on Guam up until early last year and Hollie served in our Student Life department mentoring our students. We had a great time eating pizza with them and getting caught up on what they are doing. We then drove a couple more hours out to Salada to meet with the Palauan group. Steve and I enjoyed fellowship with them and the opportunity to share with them the opportunities at PIU. Several were interested in distance education classes and a few in sending their young people out to Guam to attend here.

We also were able to meet with Roger Doriot who has been working for years in Papua doing Bible translation. We explored the possibility of partnering to speed the process of Bible translation and church planting on that island. Roger's goal is to get all these tribal languages translated by 2025 and he wants to use local people to do these translations. He will be visiting PIU early in 2010 to see if PIU is a good place to give these translators biblical and theological education. We are also excited about the possibility of partnering our PIU students with Papuans as missionaries to do translation and church planting there. Please pray for us as we seek God's leading and provision for this ministry. In the picture Steve and Roger (and me, I took the picture) are having a Skype planning meeting with Katherine Currie, our PIU grant writer - we do more and more meetings by Skype!)

I also enjoy coming to Texas because I get to stay with my daughter, Missy. I had a great time watching some football with Missy and Cliff on Sunday afternoon and Monday night. The good father-daughter time is a nice extra benefit of the trip. We also got to have dinner with Joyce's sister Janet and her husband Paul. (Sorry about the dark picture). We went to church with them on Sunday morning and I got a chance to show the PIU DVD to the Redeemer Bible Church mission committee and share with them a little about the ministry at PIU.

One more post on the trip to come!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I am Back on Windy Guam

I arrived back on Guam on Sunday night and am very glad to be home. It looks like I arrived just in time to get ready for the latest tropical storm that is scheduled to head our way on Wednesday evening. According to the Pacific Daily News the damaging winds should miss us, but we will probably have a breezy Thanksgiving. Even though I am back on Guam, I have not finished blogging about my just completed trip. Posts about our time in Dallas and Phoenix will follow!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Revolutionary War Battle Sites in South Carolina

After the weekend in North Carolina we headed south toward Columbia. On the way, we stopped in at Rock Hill to see Mickey Beckham our fund raising consultant. Micky took us over to Clinton Junior College to look at their library and other buildings that were built through the capital fund he helped them raise. Clinton is not a much bigger school than we are and Steve and I were impressed with their development. Their beautiful campus gives us a bit of encouragement about what is possible for a small school. This is their library pictured to the left. We would like to incorporate some of their ideas into the library we would like to build. After our tour of Clinton JC we went to lunch at the Front Porch Restaurant which is built in the style of a Revolutionary War period inn and we enjoyed some good traditional Southern-American food.

After lunch we went on a tour of some Revolutionary war battlefields. South Carolina is the site of several very important battles in that war. We walked on the site of the battle of Beckhamville in which the colonials attacked and defeated a British group that was forcing the colonials to make a vow of loyalty to the king and oppressing those that refused. The battle was a victory for the Americans during a dark period of the war. We also toured the battle of Cow Pens site which was another American victory. I also went to battle on this field- with a nest of red ants which took me a while to get off my skin and clothes.

Mickey is a Revolutionary War historian and one of his works is a historical novel about this period called "Colonial Spy." I read the book while flying around this last week and enjoyed it very much. I also learned a lot about the Revolutionary War period in history (Mel Gibson didn't get it quite right in The Patriot). We toured a church that was in existence during the War and looked at the monument and graveyard where many of the Revolutionary war soldiers from the area are buried. It was very cool to read the "Colonial Spy" and read about the very people whose names I saw on the monument and on their gravestones. Besides being educational the novel is fun read and a good adventure story. War certainly had its ambiguities even 200+ years ago. I would love to be there to see the annual re-enactment of the battle that Mickey organizes.

After the tour we headed down to Columbia to recruit some teachers at Columbia International University. We had a great time meeting with the seminary students there and speaking in the TESOL classes. Thanks to Don and Melissa Howell for their hospitality and help in setting things up there. We made several good contacts there that will bear fruit as soon as this summer. We also enjoyed breakfast with Steve Bradley. We are very happy that he will be teaching on our Guam campus next semester.