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.