Saturday, January 30, 2010

Video Post About the PIU Traveling Mnistry Team

One of our volunteer teachers, Jo Romaniello who has been staying at our house the last couple weeks, got to experience a fellowship/preparation meeting of our community group, the PIU Traveling Ministry Team on Friday night. She took some video as they sang and posted a video about the team, with lots of great singing by our students. Click on this link to her blog and enjoy.

Friday Chapel - God's Provision

Yesterday's chapel, after some lively action songs, was devoted to faculty, staff and students sharing their stories about how God had provided for them in the past. Even though PIU does its best to keep costs just a few hundred dollars above what the Micronesian students normally receive in federal and state financial aid, many of them struggle to pay their bills. Thus the purpose was to encourage students, who have school bill payments coming due soon, to trust God for provision and, at the same time, look for opportunities to be responsible for their own finances. Joyce and I were asked to share our story (ancient history I know) about how God provided for us through our time at Dallas Seminary back in 1988-92. We shared about how God gave us both opportunities to work to support ourselves and how God a few times "dropped money out of the sky." It was a good reminder to me that God also has the finances of PIU well taken care of. Meluat, one of our students shared how God provided for him to go to Thailand on a missions trip and one time even provided laundry soap!
Anne Stinnette shared about she and  Steve raised support when they first came to the mission field and a few of the minor miracles that God did as he brought them out to the islands. Hopefully all of this encouraged the students to keep trusting God through the difficulties of studying while being on the financial edge all the time. As they learn to trust God through this, they are being prepared for future ministry. So many times in the past we have seen God meet the students needs in amazing ways and we are confident that He will do so again.

We were also excited to receive our first Rising Tide annual fund contribution this week. The purpose of our new Rising Tide fund is to supplement the PIU annual budget so that we can hire needed administrators, faculty and staff that cannot be covered by tuition revenue. About 1/2 of our staff are supported missionaries or volunteers, but as PIU grows and widens our class offerings our need for more staff grows. Our goal is to find 500 Rising Tide team members who will give an average of $1000 per year to enable us to bring in the people we need to do the work God has called us to do. If you would like to contribute to the Rising Tide fund or the student scholarship fund and help us keep excellent Christian education accessible to the people of the Pacific islands send me an email at for more info.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Palau Trip

I am settling back into my office work (next post will be about our progress on our accreditation reports) after returning from my 4 day trip to Palau  (pictures here are the view from my hotel window) last week. The main purpose of the trip was to teach four sessions of Old Testament History class. The class will meet for 8 two hour meetings this semester and then do the rest of the class by on-line discussion, quizzes and journals. I do the class sessions on the Guam campus and Palau teaching facility. (I was hoping we would have some students in our Chuuk TF too, but we did not have any sign up for the class.) I also met Steve Stinnette there and we met with several Palau Evangelical Church leaders and with some interested supporters of the school. I plan to go back in late March to finish the class and follow up with the contacts made on this trip. I am thankful for an enjoyable and productive time there. Here are a few pictures ....

The PIU classroom in the Koror Evangelical Church. We are in the process of developing this room into an office, classroom and library that can be used by both PIU and the church.

I didn't take a very good picture of the students. We have 5 in the Palau TF taking the course along with the 9 Guam students taking the class.  All of them work full time jobs and attend class in the evenings and Saturday. We did sessions on Thursday and Friday nights and then 2 sessions on Saturday.

We had dinner Thursday night with Hiob and Leah Ngirachemoi. Leah spoiled us with several different fish dishes including a big plate of sashimi. MMMMM!

After dinner the whole PIU gang posed for a picture. 

Friday we met Edward Ngiratrang for lunch. Edward was one of my students when I taught at Emmaus High School back in 1984-88. Ed is now the principal of the school and we had a great opportunity planning ways we can have our schools working together. I also had a good chance that morning to present PIU to the Emmaus seniors. It was also good to see Nino again. Nino is working for us in Palau now while we work to get his entry visa into Guam.

Sunday morning I had a chance to preach in both the English and Palauan service at the Koror Evangelical Church. These kids, some of whom were baptized during the service, performed some songs and recited several Bible verses.

Hiob is the pastor of the KEC. The last three years Hiob was the Dean of Men at PIU Guam. It was great to be able to spend time with him for a few days. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Koror Evangelical Church Choir Performance

There are always many interesting and beautiful things to enjoy when you take a trip down to Palau. One of the things I especially enjoy is hearing the church choirs perform. I love the island harmonies. This video is from the service yesterday at the Koror Evangelical Church in Palau. The choir sang this number right before I preached. I am not sure what the name of the song is. Palauans can you help me out? Enjoy!

Opening of a New Semester

I am just back from Palau - I promise to post some pictures later - and had a great trip. I am way behind on things I want to post so before I post about Palau, I thought I should post a few pictures of orientation and the first week of school. We are already beginning the 2nd week.

We opened the semester with the introductory chapel last Monday morning. Rob and the student life team did a great job planning a Super Bowl themed opening chapel, with commentators, fight songs and over-the-top introductions. All the faculty and staff came out in football uniforms and hammed it up pretty well. Here are a few pictures of opening day.

The sportscasters introduce the team!

Joyce makes her entrance. We didn't tell her that she was wearing a basketball jersey!

Delight Suda instructs the students about how to avoid illegal procedure penalties in their financial aid applications.

The faculty-staff starting team.

Keeping the team focused on "Who are we? PIU!" and "What are we going to do? Train to Serve!"

The crowd seemed to be enjoying the game.

And of course there was a post-game meal.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Challenges for PIU in 2010 #1 - Student Development

Even though we don't begin classes until next week, the semester really began for us this week with student registration and administrative meetings. I am excited about the upcoming semester. It looks like our enrollment will be about the same with a slight increase in the seminary enrollment. We have new teachers and volunteers (short term and long term) who have been arriving all week. There are a lot of exciting things happening in the lives of our students and staff which I plan to talk about over the next few weeks on my blog.

But as we start the semester I want to look at some of the biggest challenges PIU will be facing for 2010 and the new semester. The reason I share them is so that you can be praying for us about them and, perhaps, God might speak to your heart to help us meet these challenges. I will list all 6 of them today, but focus only on the first one, so here they are...

  1. Student Development
  2. Accreditation Responsibilities
  3. Diversity in our student body, staff, faculty and programs
  4. Staffing
  5. Facilities
  6. Fund Raising
PIU exists to provide accessible, excellent, transformational Christian higher education and ministry training to the people of Micronesia, the Pacific islands, and to the ends of the earth. The mission of the school is to prepare men and women with a biblical worldview for leadership and service in life, work, and ministry in the global community and the church. Thus the focus of all those involved must be, “It’s all about the kingdom of God and how it can be built in and through the students”. 

This is always the main challenge of every semester and it is a challenge that is beyond human capability. It requires the work of God's spirit in each student and in the PIU community. We try to provide an academic, social and spiritual environment that promotes the work God's Spirit in the lives of all the PIU family as we study, work, play, serve and just live together focused on the Word of God. Over the years we have seen God make this "transformational" goal happen in the lives of students many times over and we pray that this semester God will work in a mighty way throughout our PIU family.

This is always the most important challenge at PIU. Without this, meeting the other challenges would be meaningless. So we ask you to please join us in prayer for God to work in the lives of our students and staff to develop us into people that love God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. It starts Monday at 9.00 AM with our semester opening chapel.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day at the La Brea Tar Pits

I am back on Guam now and had my first day back in the office today, but I wanted to make one more post about our recently completed vacation. One of the most interesting excursions we took was to the La Brea Tar pits in downtown LA. I had never been there before, despite the many times I have been to LA. Joyce had never been there either so we decided to take Mike, Samantha and the kids and go. The pits and the museum were amazing. The volume and variety of the fossils that have been found there is almost unbelievable. I could have spent a few more hours, than the almost full day we spent, looking at everything there. Here are a few of our pictures of our day at the Tar Pits.

Titus and I pose with the statue of the bear.  During the time period in which these animals were trapped in the tar pits, the LA area had a very different set of animals which were much larger than the ones that live there today. They have found only one human skeleton in the tar pits.

I was a little surprised at how geologically active the area still is. (I hoped that the volcano would not erupt while we were there - at least not without Tommy Lee Jones there to re-direct the lava.) You can see the gas bubbling up through the water in the picture.

This pit is an active archaeological dig. Basically the tar is pretty much jammed with fossils.

Here I am posing with the mammoth display in the museum. It is hard to imagine Southern California with cool weather and creatures like that walking around.

Titus and Courage enjoyed the saber tooth cat (not tiger - they were not tigers) display. Note that they are both wearing their Christmas present T-shirts from Guam. 

We spent a lot of time in the museum. There was a lot to do there with movies, displays etc. There were a lot of "hands-on" activities for the kids too.

The park was also very pleasant with a lot of open area. Joyce and the kids had a good time climbing the trees. It was a little weird to think of active tar pits right in the middle of a beautiful park right in the middle of LA. 

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

San Diego Wild Animal Park

One of our most interesting activities this vacation was a trip to the San Diego Wild Animal park. The park is pretty close to Matt's house so we decided to go while down there with all the family. Here are a few pictures of that trip.

Of course we started our day with a good breakfast. Here Aunt Missy helps Courage get a good start to the day.

Matt, Mike and Titus scaled the large rock in the parking lot.

Missy took a break on the limb of the tree. We all got a good work-out as the park is quite spread out and we probably walked several miles.

Milo and Courage did not have to do a lot of walking but they took frequent breaks too. Actually Courage does not walk much. Most of the time she is running.

The three Owen kids: Mike, Missy and Matt

Kristin and Missy in the botanical gardens. We spent a lot of time touring the gardens. The Wild Animal Park has a large collection of Southwestern US plants (creepy desert vegetation as Matt calls it). We had our picnic lunch in the middle of the cactus garden.

Everyone enjoyed looking at the water fowl display. Sorry, I didn't take pictures of the animals.

Titus gets up close and personal with a non-carnivorous animal (at least we hope so) in the petting zoo.

Titus also enjoyed riding the wooden animals on the carousel

After the wild animal park adventure we met with Guam friend Aaron Bryce (Matt and Mike's classmate who attended our church on Guam) and his family. In this picture L to R: Samantha (Mike's wife), Courage, Titus, Bradley (Aaron's son), Milo, Matt, Dylan and Aaron

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from Joyce and I. We have been on vacation in California so I have not posted for a while. We will be headed back to Guam on Thursday morning and then begin getting ready for the new semester. We have been enjoying spending time with our kids and grand-kids as we go back and forth between La Mirada and Mira Mesa, California. We are spending a couple days in the San Diego area with Matt and family before we head up to LA Wednesday night and then on to the airport Thursday morning. Here are a few pictures from our vacation. The picture on the left was taken at Disney Downtown. We went there Christmas night with Mike, Samantha and the kids to watch the fireworks.

Here are a few more from Christmas day....

Missy came in from Texas on Christmas Eve. Here she is helping Titus and Courage open their Christmas stockings. We did also make our annual pilgrimage to In 'N Out.

We had Christmas lunch at Marie Callender's with Kristin's family. It was good to see them again. We had them take a picture of our whole family, but Milo was asleep and didn't get into the picture.

It was a cold evening for LA but we had a great time at Downtown Disney. The fireworks were great, there was a very good piano player playing in the courtyard, and we sang along with the "holiday" carolers.

We also enjoyed a warm freshly popped bag of kettle corn. Here Titus figures out that he can get more kettle corn from his sister by being nice to her.


The day after Christmas we headed down to Mira Mesa to have another Christmas celebration with all the kids together. Being with family is what we miss most being out in the islands (we also miss great Mexican food, but we got that too) so this was a very special time for us.


The post would not be complete without one very cute picture of Milo.