Friday, April 30, 2010

PIU Faculty-Staff End of the Year Luncheon

As we get toward the end of another school year there are a few other things, besides getting ready for our Voices of Micronesia Tour, going on at Pacific Islands University. One of our fun traditions is the end of year luncheon. The purpose of the luncheon was to celebrate another successful year, thank our faculty and staff for their hard work and say good bye to those who will be moving on to another ministry after the end of the semester. The luncheon this year was held at the Onward Agana Hotel buffet - Great tempura! We have such a great group of people working for us at PIU, who view what they are doing here as a ministry and calling. We are blessed every day by our PIU family! Here are a few pictures of the festivities.

"Grandpa Steve" Bradley comes out to teach at PIU every spring semester. We are so thankful for what he brings to our campus each time he comes. Anne Stinnette is presenting him with a "going-away, but come back again next year" gift. 

Ned, Marisol, Joel and Amelia Farnsworth have been serving at PIU the last three school years as Liebenzell USA missionaries. After a year furlough in the US they will return to Ecuador to work with the church there. We will miss them. 

Joyce, Jen Rydzik (Remedial English Teachers) and Daisy Murdock (Asst. Dean of Women) pose in front of their desks.

Steve Bradley (Bible Faculty) and Eric Sorenson (Seminary Dean) smile for our new camera.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Meet the Voices of Micronesia #9 - Jake James

I was told today that some of the churches that support Pacific Islands University are printing out these profiles of our VoM Team from this blog and putting them on the church bulletin board so that the church can pray for these students individually. This is a tremendous encouragement to us. We can tell that many prayers are being siad for is as we see God working in mighty ways in and for the team. We are thankful that we have raised about 75% of the needed $40,000 for the trip. We still need prayers that vans will be provided to move us around on the Mainland but we are confident that God will continue to supply. Thank you and let me introduce you to another member of the team...

Jake James
  Home: Uman, Chuuk Federated States of Micronesia 
  Age: 19 years old, Jake is a 2nd year student in the Associate of Arts in Biblical Studies Program and is the main keyboard player for the team.

Jake was born in Portland, Oregon and lived there with his grandparents until his high school years. At the time he thought that his grandparents were actually his parents, and he says, "They taught me everything!" His favorite thing to do as a young boy was to play basketball. He was the only 6th grader on his 8th grade team, but his grandparents would not let him stay out after 7 PM. So he had to sneak out of the house to practice. That year his team made it all the way to the league semifinals, but he had to miss the final games to attend a funeral. When it was time to go to high school, Jake moved to Chuuk to live with his parents and go to Xavier High School, and he graduated from Saramen Academy. 

Jake's grandfather was the senior pastor of his church in Portland and, every time the doors of his grandfather's church were open, Jake had to be there, whether he wanted to or not. But when he moved to Chuuk he was not required to go to church and did not for some time. But he remembered his grandfather's words, "wherever God is now, go seek him." These words led Jake to apply to Pacific Islands University and he has found that the devotions, chapel, fellow students and staff have helped him to come closer to Christ. At PIU he has learned to see God provide and says "I want to show people what God is doing inside me and give people a picture of Christ and how he is working in my life."

Jake wants to continue his studies after he completes his AA but he is still trying to figure out his future plans and he asks that you pray for him as he seeks direction for his life.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Meet the Voices of Micronesia #8 - Justin Marar

We are just a little more than two weeks away from our departure from Guam on May 12th. All the loose ends are pretty much coming together except one - we need ground transportation for the team once we get to California. We thought we had two large vans but that did not work out. Now we are attempting to rent two 12-passenger vans. We need them for two months - from May 12th to July 17th. Please be praying for us on this, or, if you can have access to this kind of transportation (21 people) please let us know. The time is getting close. In the meantime I would like to introduce you to

Justin Marar
   Home: Weno (Witam), Moch, Tolowas, Udot, Fanapanges and Satawan islands, Chuuk, FSM
   Age: 21, Third Year Student in the Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies program with a Minor in General Ministries

    Justin is the younger brother of VOM Team member MayMay Marar and is one of the team's keyboard players. 

Justin grew up in the home of his grandparents in Weno, Chuuk.  It was a Christian home and he remembers hearing about Jesus from his grandparents at a very early age. He went to Mizpah Christian High School, and it was while he was there he attended a spiritual retreat and was led to make a decision to trust Christ by Mizpah principal, PIU alumnus Steioshy Manuel. After graduating from Mizpah Justin attended the PIU Tol, Chuuk campus for two years before transferring to the Guam campus for this school year. One of his favorite activities is playing basketball and he has been playing in leagues for several years. Most of his basketball has been on outside playgrounds. His first time in a gym was in 2007 when his team won the Chuuk championship. Justin also enjoys music and was a member of the "Brothers in Christ" band. 

Justin was a late addition to the VOM team, to fill the need for another keyboard player and more male singers, and so his lost passport and too short time to raise support was a concern.  His new passport has already arrived and the money for airfare was also taken care of. His grandparents had sent twice as much money as was needed for his sister's airfare and they were wondering why. When Justin was added to the team the money was already there and the question was answered. Justin is excited about this opportunity to use his musical talents to serve God and to let people know that, though "Chuukese people are quiet," they have a lot to share with the world spiritually and culturally. 

Justin is not sure what he wants to do after he graduates from PIU, but he thinks he might want to teach or work for a Christian organization. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Schedule for the Voices of Micronesia Summer Trip 2010 (So Far)

I promised to post what we have so far on our summer schedule and now I am finally getting to it. This schedule includes the dates that we have confirmed so far. We are working on a few others and would like to fill in between these dates with other performances. We would love to bring our group to missions meetings, schools, community meetings, "get togethers" in homes - basically any group small or large that is interested to see and hear what is happening in Micronesia and at PIU. If you are in the area where we are performing please come and see us. We would love to meet you or to see you again. The pictures here are from the team's performance last Sunday at the Namomwaw Chuukese Church in Yigo, Guam.

Schedule for the Voices of Micronesia Summer Trip 2010 (So Far)

May 12           Arrive LA (We arrive 1 ½ hours before we leave)

May 14           First Baptist West Los Angeles AWANA Club “Passport to Missions”

May 16           Grace Evangelical Church, La Mirada, CA.   AM Services

May 23           Ocean Hills Covenant Church, Santa Barbara, CA  AM Services

                       Private Community Center, San Luis Obispo  Evening

May 28 - 30    Susanville Southern Baptist Church, Micronesian Group  Susanville CA

June 1           Shasta Community Church, Redding, CA

June 2           Glenburn Community Church, Glenburn, CA

June 4           Baymonte Christian School, Scotts Valley CA  8.45AM-1.00PM

June 5           Barbeque. Romaniello's, Boulder Creek CA

June 6           Gateway Church, Santa Cruz, CA  AM Service        

June 6th         Taping in the TV studio Santa Cruz, CA  4-6pm

June 8           Neighborhood Church Ladies luncheon, Castro Valley CA

June 13          Central Peninsula Church, Foster City, CA  9 AM to 2 PM

June 15          East Bay Fellowship VBS, Danville, CA

June 16-18     Gold Country Baptist and Camino Community Church, El Dorado County, CA

June 19          Antioch Community Church, Antioch, CA

June 20          Hillside Covenant Church, Walnut Creek, CA

June 23          Crossroads Covenant Church, Concord CA

June 27          Central Peninsula Church, Milbrae, CA  AM Service

                      Biola Congregational Church and Kerman covenant Church, Fresno, CA 

July 1-5         Youth Sports Ministry meeting San Diego, CA

July 7-9         Southern Baptist Churches,  Killeen/Salado,TX

July 11          TBA, Dallas TX

July 13-15       TBA, Phoenix  AZ

July 17          Return flight LAX to Guam

July 25      Dave and Joyce at Westside Church in Redding

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Meet the Voices of Micronesia #7 - Grace Neth

It is hard to believe that we are only three weeks away from getting on the airplane and heading from Guam to Los Angeles to begin the 8 week US tour of the Voices of Micronesia. Today we practiced the different parts of the presentation including dancing, singing, skits, testimonies and multimedia coordination. We have a way to go before we are ready but it is coming together. The most exciting thing is to see the growth in the confidence and sense of mission in the team. I am looking forward to spending the summer with them. So let's meet ....

"Princess" Grace Neth
  Home: Weno-Sapuk, Fefen Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia
  Age: 18, Grace is a 1st year student, majoring in Biblical Studies with a minor in Elementary Education

Though Grace's family is from Chuuk, she was born on Guam and moved to Chuuk after her parents separated when she was five years old. One of her favorite memories from childhood of her time spent in Chuuk is net fishing with family members. They would throw out the net and her job was to scare the fish and chase them into the net. She moved to Hawaii at age 8, where many of her family members are pastors. She also remembers being introduced to Christ as a child when an American pastor invited her to attend a Vacation Bible School. She stayed in Hawaii to attend high school and it was there where she heard a Chuukese pastor give his testimony. Grace says that this "opened my eyes" and she prayed to make a commitment to serve Christ. Since then, "being a Christian has given me peace within myself and with my family and I have learned to accept God's decision and thank him for every situation."

Even though Grace is naturally "loud," preparation for this trip has taught her the importance of going, asking and doing to see God work because "it is important to ask, if we want God to answer." She has learned to trust God and gained a stronger confidence in His working in her life as she has seen Him supply "little by little." She wants to "make an impact for Christ on at least one American" on the upcoming trip and gain some cross-cultural ministry experience. She is hoping to get some direction from God for her life mission.

Grace's future goal for after graduation from PIU is to go to Azusa Pacific University and get a graduate degree in education and possibly use it to minister in Chuuk.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meet the Voices of Micronesia #6 - Kita Mokut

I was back on campus today after a, comparatively, relaxing three days in Yap. There are many things happening, but today on my schedule was to interview 5 students for this series of blog posts. One of the unexpected joys of doing this series is that I have been able to spend time one-on-one with each of the students on the team to talk about them. I am learning a lot of things about Micronesians and their cultures that I didn't know and, even better, I am getting to know the students as unique individuals and deepening friendship with them. This is something I miss having to spend so much time in the office doing administration. We have an amazing group of students here. So let me introduce you to....

Kita Mokut
  Home: Polle in the Faichuuk region of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia
  Age: 19, Kita is a 2nd year student in the BA in Bible program with a minor in General Ministries

Though Kita was born in Chuuk she spent the first 13 years of her life on Guam. Her parents were separated before she was born and her mother moved to Guam. She did not get ever get to meet her biological father during her childhood years. This caused some resentment toward her family and she became, in her own words, "a problem child." Her maternal grandfather heard about her problems and had her brought back to Chuuk in October of 2003. These grandparents planned to put her into Catholic school but plans were quickly changed. Her biological father heard that she was in Chuuk and came to get her. She says, "For the first time I felt loved and secure with my real father," so she went with him and she lived with him during her high school years. When she lived on Guam she had not heard about God from her family, but in her father's family it was different. Her grandfather is a leading pastor in Chuuk and he led Kita to Christ. She became "a different person" after her commitment to Christ and being able to spend time with her father's family. She saw clearly the difference between a Christian family and one that does not have Christ at its center.

After attending Berea Christian School from 8th to 12th grade, Kita had many options for college. She wanted to go to school in Japan, but when she visited the PIU campus at Christmastime she knew that PIU was where God wanted her to go to school. Through the preparation process for this trip she has really learned to trust God. Her mother told her that the trip would cost too much money and she should not get her hopes up to go. Her response was "this amount of money is nothing to God, let's watch him supply it." The provision of her needs for this trip has been a real witness to her family. This is the first time Kita will see the US Mainland and the first time she has been on a mission trip. But she likes to try new things and take risks in life. She is looking forward to meeting Americans "who aren't missionaries," and wants to "return the favor" to the American missionaries who reached out to Chuuk by reaching out to "lost ones" in America.

After she graduates with her Bible degree, Kita would like to earn a 2nd degree in accounting and return to Chuuk as a teacher or get a job in a bank. Either way she wants to bring Christ's light to the people of Chuuk wherever she is employed.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Meet the Voices of Micronesia #5 - Leeman Sebastian

I just got back a few hours ago (5.30 AM) from a trip to Yap, FSM (I will make a post about what is going on there later), but wanted to continue my series on the members of our Voices of Micronesia team. Today the team made a presentation at one of the Chuukese churches on the Northern end of Guam (pretty close to our house in Yigo). The church is pastored by PIU alumnus Sona Esanamau and was an enjoyable service of high volume singing, testimonies and other traditional items, all done in Chuukese style. The service was three hours long but there was so much going on it didn't feel to long to Joyce or to me. The VOM team presented several songs, a testimony and I preached with team member Keiny Aisek serving as the translator. He did well, considering that I am difficult to translate.:) We appreciated very much the generous gift given by the church to help finance the VOM project. So now I introduce you to....

Leeman Sebastian
 Home: Ngerchelong, Republic of Palau
 Age: 21  Leeman is a 3rd year student majoring in Biblical Studies with a minor in Christian Education
  Leeman is serving this school year as the student worship leader for chapel and is one of the guitarists and ukulele players for the Team. 

Though Leeman's family home is the village of Ngerchelong on Babeldaop island in Palau, he was actually born and raised in the former capital of Palau, Koror. He grew up in a marginally Christian home and occasionally attended the Koror Evangelical Church. He went to public high school and didn't really have much to do with God even though he had made a profession of faith as a child. This changed when he was suspended from school as a high school senior. In the midst of this difficult time his father rented a house next door to them to a Filipino couple who were attending the Pacific Missionary Aviation Fellowship there. This couple ministered to Leeman and invited him to attend their church. He began going to church there and became involved in leadership of the youth group. He had planned to attend the University of Guam after high school but friends, his church and family advised him to go to school at PIU. He decided to go to PIU for one year only, but when he got to PIU he found "the atmosphere there was so good I wanted to stay." He is thankful for the "many good people" God has brought into his life through PIU. 

Leeman has learned a lot about God's faithfulness through the preparation for the VOM trip. Last week he gave his testimony at chapel about how God supplied the money for his airfare after a night of prayer the night before the deadline for having his money in. You can read more about this on Leeman's blog, Leeman Sebastian: How'd I get here?. Leeman is also looking forward to deepening relationships with other members of the VOM Team and seeing how God uses them to bless churches and individuals in the USA. He also expects God to do some life-changing work on him and prepare him for future ministry in the next few months. 

Leeman's long term goal is to become a youth pastor in Palau to disciple and minister to struggling young people just like he was helped when he was a teenager.  

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Meet the Voices of Micronesia #4 - Keiny Aisek

I hope you are enjoying this series introducing our team members of the Pacific Islands University Voices of Micronesia traveling team. We will be in California for about 6 of the 8 weeks we will be on the US Mainland. We are still looking for some mid-week (all the Sundays are booked but we have several weekdays available) dates. The team would be available to come, sing, perform or just hang out with you at mission meetings, bible studies, community events etc. Some of our friends have organized desserts and/or bbq's to introduce the ministries of PIU to their friends. So now let me introduce you to...

Keiny Aisek 
 Home: Nema, in the Mortlock Islands, Chuuk, FSM 
 Age: 25  Keiny is a 5th year student and will graduate in May with a BA in Biblical Studies with a minor in Elementary Education

Keiny grew up with his 2 brothers, 7 sisters and adopted cousin on Nema in the Mortlock Islands of Chuuk. His dad was not a Christian but his mother was a deaconess in the Nomoneas Church. Keiny was introduced to Christ by his mom and he learned a lot about the Christian life from her. One of his early memories was of losing his father's money. His dad was fishing and asked him to hold on to his pants. Keiny didn't realize that his father's money was in the pocket of the pants and it fell out and was lost. To avoid punishment he ran into the jungle and stayed there for 2-3 weeks. His mother had to find him and talk to him to reconcile him with his father. This is why Keiny appreciated the male Christian role models that he found when he began to attend school on the Tol campus of Pacific Islands Bible College. He enjoyed being with people who "treated him like a real son." He also began then to read from the Book of Proverbs each morning, a habit that has continued to the present day. Keiny sees his time at PIU as a life-changing experience.

Preparation for this trip has given Keiny several unique opportunities. He met the former governor of Chuuk to ask for financial support. Not only was the governor willing to support him, they spent a long time talking about what Keiny was doing and learning at PIU and the former governor has asked Keiny to be involved in his efforts to reach out and help troubled Micronesian youths. Keiny is looking forward to this summer's trip as an opportunity to promote Micronesian Christian life. He wants to help Americans understand how Christians in Micronesia live.

Keiny's longer term goal is to return to Nema and teach in the elementary school there and be a Christian male role model to the young people there.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Meet the Voices of Micronesia #3 - MayMay Marar

This is the third post in this series introducing the 15 student and 6 staff members of the Pacific Islands University Voices of Micronesia team. I am very excited to be able to buy the tickets for the airfares this week. The team is continuing to raise support for traveling funds (gas, food, lodging) once we get to the US Mainland. Most of our lodging is already set up but we will still need a few places to stay along the way. So let me introduce you to...

MayMay Marar
   Home: Weno (Witam), Moch, Tolowas, Udot, Fanapanges and Satawan islands, Chuuk, FSM
   Age: 22, Graduate Student - Master of Arts in Religion, BA graduate in December 2009

   MayMay is also a staff member. She works in our advancement office as alumni relations director.  

MayMay grew up in a Christian home, going back and forth during her childhood between Chuuk and Hawaii. She went to public school in Hawaii, but when she was in Chuuk she went to Berea Christian school. She remembers many good times as a child hanging out with her cousins, many of whom are PIU students or alumni. Her grandparents introduced her to Christ by taking her to Sunday School when she was small. Later, while living in Hawaii she "went away from Christ and disobeyed" but still wanted to go to the, then PIBC campus, on Tol Island in Chuuk. During her second year on the Tol campus, MayMay made her decision to trust Christ. That was when she moved from "knowing about Christ" to "personal relationship with Christ." 

So far the preparation for this trip has taught MayMay to trust in God to provide for her needs and she has seen Proverbs 3.5-6 happen in her life. One of her main goals for the trip is to grow in courage to speak boldly in front of people, and not be so shy, so that she will not be kept from speaking up for her faith. She is also looking forward to meeting many new people. 

MayMay is planning to get her MAR degree with an emphasis in Christian Counseling, so that she can return to her islands and help people deal with the many social and personal problems there. She also said that I need to make sure to tell everyone that she thinks, "PIU is the bomb!"

Friday, April 09, 2010

Meet the Voices of Micronesia #2 - Meluat Meluat

This is the second post in my series introducing the members of the Pacific Islands University Voices of Micronesia team. The team will be presenting their program which includes original music, personal testimonies, relevant biblical messages, and other forms of Micronesian culture as they tour California, Arizona and Texas from May 12th to July 17th. So let me introduce you to....

Meluat Meluat
   Home: Ngaralong and Koror, Republic of Palau
   Age: 27, 3rd Year Student, expects to graduate in December 2011

Meluat was raised with his three brothers and two sisters in, what was then the capital city of Palau, Koror but his family was from the village of Ngaralong on the island of Babeldaop (the 2nd largest island in Micronesia after Guam). His parents were divorced when he was six years old but Meluat has fond memories of family overnight trips to enjoy the beautiful rock islands. He attended Emmaus High School (where Joyce and I taught 1984-88) and graduated in 2001. He became a Christian at Emmaus when one of the faculty there introduced him to Jesus Christ. After high school graduation Meluat joined the US Army and, after basic training in Texas, was stationed in Germany. He also did a five month deployment in Israel. After leaving the army he worked for four years in the Palauan Evangelical Church. 

After starting at PIU in the Palau teaching facility, he transferred to the Guam campus to attend PIU full time. Meluat's time in the army gave him a desire to learn to work with people of diverse cultures and he has participated in several mission trips as a PIU student, including last summers' trip to Thailand. He says that the preparation for this trip has helped him improve his time management and people skills. Though he is used to working with Americans from his time in the army, he is a "little nervous" because he has never done ministry in America. His goals for this trip are to represent PIU and Christ well and to show what Micronesians can contribute to the global kingdom of God. He sees this trip as preparation for becoming a missionary and an opportunity to make friends and partners for future mission work. 

His goal after completing his bachelors degree in biblical studies is to be a missionary to unreached peoples, probably in Southeast Asia.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Meet the Voices of Micronesia #1 - Jayleen Nakamura

Today I am beginning a new series on my blog introducing you to the members of our Voices of Micronesia team that will be touring the US mainland (mostly California this time) from May 12th until July 17th. Each post will introduce you to a new member of the team....

Jayleen Nakamura
  Home:   Weno and Satawan, Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia
   Age: 20, 3rd Year Student

Jayleen spent her pre-school years living on the island of Satawan with her grandparents. Her earliest memories were of working in the taro patch and going fishing with her grandfather. When she was in elementary school she moved back in with her parents in the district center on the island of Weno. Her parents were "very religious" but her father's family is Catholic and her mother's is Protestant, so Jayleen was very confused about what the Bible said and what it meant to be a Christian. When she finished elementary school her family sent her to Palau to attend Bethania Christian High School. It was at Bethania where her confusion about what it meant to be a Christian was cleared up and Jayleen began a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jayleen says that the experience of preparing for this summer trip has helped her learn to trust God and be patient to listen and wait for God's direction in her life. She is looking forward to the experience of doing ministry in a culture different than her own, eating food that is different from the rice and spam that she is used to and seeing things she never thought that she would get to see. She is excited to see how her life can impact American Christians.

Jayleen's goal after graduation is to be a missionary to unreached people groups, perhaps in Africa. She plans to get additional training as either a teacher or in the medical field after she gets her BA in biblical studies.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

April Prayer Requests

We are already well into the first week of April, Easter vacation and PIU Days are history and we are in the last third of the spring semester. Wow, the time has gone by quickly. We are already working on graduation, the end of the semester and the summer sessions and other summer activities. I know that many of you who read this blog are praying for us, so here are some prayer items for which you can be praying for us for this month.

  1. Our Voices of Micronesia Traveling Team will be leaving to go to the West Coast of the US Mainland and to Texas on May 12th. The tickets need to be paid for by April 12th and some of the team members still need to raise some money for that. We are also busy getting our program practiced and ready. All our Sunday dates are filled in but we are still hoping to schedule some appearances during the week throughout California. Please pray that each team member will be able to raise their support and that the trip would be a real blessing to everyone we minister to. We hope to see you if you are in the areas where we will be. (Schedule to come soon!) 
  2. Pray for the students to finish the semester well. Some of my OT History students are behind in their on-line work and have a lot of catching up to do.
  3. Also pray for our faculty and staff to finish the semester well. Many of us are working in more than one area of responsibility and that can be stressful.
  4. Pray for the students who made decisions for Christ at last week's Easter retreat. Some students made some real break-throughs in their lives and now we need to follow up together to help them sustain it. 
  5. We are still looking for a qualified person to run our school finance office and office operations. See our school website for more details and other ministry opportunities at PIU.
  6. Pray that God will bring the right new students to us and that we will have wisdom as we make decisions regarding which students we will be accepting for the 2010-11 school year. 
God has been working at PIU this year and we are thankful for all of you who support the school by investing in us financially and with your prayers and friendship. Thank you!