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.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Watching Some Weekend Football

After the TRACS conference I was able to take a couple days off to visit friends and watch a little football. Friday night I got to see Josh Ladd's high school football game (son of our former missionary colleagues in Palau, Ernie and Annette Ladd), and then on Saturday we went to the NC State vs. Maryland game. Here are some pictures from the games....

Josh's team Mt. Tabor beat West Forsythe 26-7. Josh played a good game with several effective blocks from the guard and tackle positions. Yes, that is Annette Ladd in the red coat in the foreground of the picture

We had great seats at the game in the 3rd row on the 50 yard line. NC State beat Maryland 38-31.

Here is Josh and I after the game. I had a great time visiting with him at the game. It was nice to have a little time to relax.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

TRACS Conference

The TRACS Conference began for us with our meeting with the TRACS Commission on Monday the 2nd. The TRACS commission is a group of administrators from TRACS schools who make the decisions about TRACS' granting of accreditation. We have been accredited with TRACS for 10 years now, so this would be our third meeting with the Commission. In 1999 the commission granted us candidate status and then in 2004 we were granted accredited status which lasts for five years. This time we were up for reaffirmation of accreditation status which normally would last for 10 years. We had completed our Self-Study document back in January and a TRACS evaluation team visited us in May. We then responded to the team's recommendations in the month of September. So Steve Stinnette, Bill Schuit, Howard Merrell and I met with the commission to discuss our school, respond to the commission's questions and hear their decision.

After a lengthy discussion, the TRACS commission decided to defer the decision on our reaffirmation until the April 2010 commission meeting. This means that we continue with our current accredited status and the commission is giving us three months to deal with some issues that we need to improve before they give us a 10-year approval. The main issue we need to work on is our assessment process and then tying our assessment to our long term planning and budgeting process. The commission was pleased with our finances, our development plan and our academics, but felt that the assessment area was important enough to delay the decision. As we left the commission applauded our efforts and encouraged us. We already have our staff working on the documents we will need to produce and present to the Commission in April. Please pray that we will be able to get this done well.

The rest of the TRACS meeting was enjoyable. I learned a lot from several good seminars including one on administering distance education programs and budgeting, planning and assessment. The meals (especially the chocolate cake) and the accommodations were very nice. I actually felt a little funny as a missionary being in a place as fancy as the Grandover Resort. But, the conference was pretty good this year and the time there was well spent in my opinion. One of the best parts of the conference is the interaction with administrators from the other schools. We always make some good connections.  I also won the award for being the attendee who made the longest trip to the conference. I win that often.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Development Meetings in North Carolina

We arrived in Greensboro NC late Sunday night and headed over to David and Jill Mayer's house in Clemmons. The Mayer's are mission partners of the Stinnette's and are very interested in helping the school. I appreciated very much their hospitality. Our purpose to be there was to meet with some of our board members (Bill Schuit flew down from New Jersey and Howard Merrell drove from Virginia) our grant writer and researcher (Katherine Currie drove over from Winston-Salem) and the Mayers (David is an architect who has volunteered to design our campus and Jill is an English teacher) to discuss a development plan for raising finances for the school and how we will use the finances to create a campus that will better meet the needs of our students. Our board had already approved a basic plan for this but we needed to "flesh out" the plan quite a bit.

David Mayer presented a design for the campus that would include the adjoining property that we hope to purchase, beautiful buildings (classrooms, library, admin, dorms and faculty housing), roads and parking and green areas. It was very exciting to me to see stuff, that had been only in my head, actually on paper. We have a lot of work to do and money to raise to make the picture a reality, but I am confident that as God has done miracles to get us this far, He will finish the process. We have already seen God move in a mighty way already to bring us people and resources and we expect to see more of it in the future.

One other development from the meeting was the finalization of our plans for our Summer Certificate in Basic English program on the Guam campus. Thanks to Skype, Jill and I were able to conference with Melody Plaxton on Guam. Our plan is to have Melody and Jill run an 8-week intensive CBE program on the Guam campus in June and July. The program will enable students from the Micronesian islands, Guam and Asia to raise their English level to qualify for entrance into PIU's (or other schools') regular programs. In addition, we hope to have other students who will be trying to improve their English level to enter Guam's job market.  We have already been able to recruit some ESL teachers here in the US who will come to Guam as summer missionaries for this project. Qualifying students will be able to use Title IV funds for this program. We are also working on getting grant money for students who do not qualify for Pell funds. We hope to have 40-60 students depending on how many teachers and staff we have recruited. We will be doing some student recruiting for the program next.

After two days of meeting I think we had everyone pretty much on the same page regarding the steps we need to take to develop PIU into what we think God is calling us to do. Please be in prayer for us as we move forward to raise the money and implement the plans. 

Weekend at my Mom and Dad's Place - Oct 30-31

I know I have not posted for a couple days. Sorry about that. I have been running around all the country for the last few days. I didn't have a cable to download my pictures (forgot it in Guam) but was able to borrow one, so now I can get you caught up on what I have been doing the last 10 days or so.

I spent the last weekend of October at my parents' place. It was a good couple days of relaxation and getting caught up on my email. Dad and I got to watch a couple of football and baseball games together and I was able to spend some time with my sister and her family. We had dinner at the house on Friday and went out for Chinese food on Saturday night (pictured).

Early Sunday morning we picked up Steve Stinnette and went to the airport. We spent Sunday flying from Sacramento through Los Angeles to Greensboro North Carolina.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Rest of My US Trip Schedule

Several people have asked me to post the schedule for the rest of my US trip, so here it is ....

November 3-6  TRACS Conference Greensboro NC
November 7-8  Winston-Salem NC
November 9  Meeting with Mickey Beckham in South Carolina
November 9-11 Columbia International University, Columbia SC
     Seminary Students Dinner Meeting at Don Howell's home  9th
     Missions and English/TESOL classes at CIU (Recruiting staff and faculty) 10th
     Drive back to Greensboro  11th
November 12-17 Dallas Texas
     Dallas Seminary: Faculty Recruiting 12-13th
     Killeen Texas: Micronesian Group  14th
     Redeemer Bible Church 15th
     Mission and Development Meeting (planning meeting with Roger Doriot discussing bringing Papuan  
     students to PIU and sending mission teams of Micronesians to Papua New Guinea.  16th
    Fly from Dallas to LAX 17th
La Mirada 18th Recruiting and Development Meetings
Phoenix Arizona  19th-20th  Development and Recruiting Meetings
Fly Back to Guam on November 21 and arriving on the evening of the 22nd

I would appreciate your prayers for success recruiting students, finding English, Education and Bible/theology/ministry teachers and a Chief Financial Officer, and finding donors for our annual fund (to hire more faculty and staff) and our capital fund (to expand our property and build a new library, classrooms, dorms and offices.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Week in Northern California

After Susanville Steve and I spoke in the chapel at Shasta Bible College. (Steve was supposed to take a picture of me too but he forgot so I only have the picture of him :) ) Steve's voice was shot but he made it through the presentation. He used candies and bottles of soft drinks to dramatize how most of the Christian workers in the world are working in the parts of the world that already have heard the Gospel. We then talked about how PIU is equipping missionaries to take the Gospel where it has not been preached. After the presentation I noticed that the Shasta students did not eat as many of the props as our students at PIU did. We also we were interviewed by Shasta Bible College President Dave Nicholas for his radio show. We appreciated the opportunity to talk about the school. We returned to the El Dorado County area that afternoon and watched a little Monday Night Football with my dad. During the next two days we had lunch with Phil Layton the pastor at Gold Country Baptist Church and dessert with Sarah Cain and her parents. Sarah is presently raising support to come out to PIU and help us with media and development. You can read about her ministry and support needs on her blog.

Wednesday was a driving and meeting day. We met Mike Brogna, the missions pastor of 1st Baptist Church of Stockton for breakfast and a discussion of possibilities for sending a mission team there. We then drove over to Foster City and met with Pastor Rob Hall of Central Peninsula Church. CPC is a supporting church of Eric and Karyn Sorenson. We are planning on having our PIU team stop there next summer and we are hoping that some of the CPC team will visit us on Guam in February. We finally made it over to Santa Cruz in the afternoon and met Jo Romaniello and Marci Martinelli at Peet's Coffee Shop. Jo and Marci will be coming over to Guam in January to teach counseling courses at the undergrad and seminary level and help us in our counseling center. We are excited to have them on that way. Later in the evening we stopped in at my brother Doug and his wife Diane's place for dinner and a place to rest. I had a good time watching the World Series with Doug and my niece Taylor. Thanks Doug for a place to crash.

The next morning we had breakfast with the Yap construction ministry team who will be coming out to Micronesia in January from Gateway Bible Church in Scotts Valley. Last year they made a lot of progress in renovating our Yap PIU classroom and will finish it this year. This year they plan to bring a few more guys. You can see from the picture how much more work needs to be done. We enjoyed lunch with Jeff McKim. Jeff has been helping us out with some grant researching. In afternoon I met a couple friends over in San Jose at Starbucks for coffee. Jack Welkley is an old friend from Scotts Valley Baptist days who was one of our 1st mission partners when we went out to Palau in 1984 and he has been a faithful partner ever since. We talked about some possibilities for him to come out and help us with finances some time in the future.

Finally we drove back to Sacramento where we picked up Amy, Steve's daughter at the airport and I dropped them off at their in-laws to spend a couple days. By the time I got back to El Dorado and my parents' place I was ready for bed. It was a busy two days but I was very encouraged at how God is putting PIU on the hearts of many people. We need a lot more people to partner with us and some to come out and help us, and I can see God raising up those people!