Thursday, September 30, 2010

Voices of Micronesia Chapel

The Voices of Micronesia 2010 made their final performance at the Pacific Islands University Chapel on Friday September 17th. The VOM presented most of the same program they did on the US Mainland this summer and several then shared what God had done in their lives during the summer ministry trip. It was a great way to cap off the VOM experience for all of the team members and a few of us got a little emotional as we reminisced about the trip. It was a life-changing experience in many ways for the students who went on the trip and we had the opprtunity to see God work through us in many, unexpected as many students shared, ways. Don't worry that VOM is done though. We are already beginning the process of picking the VOM 2011 team and they hopefully will be performing near you some time soon.

The guys enjoyed the worship dance.

Keiny Aisek, 2010 PIU graduate, gave a testimony about how God called him to minister with the Palauan pastor in Susanville CA to reach out to the Chuukese community there. He has already begun his ministry among the Micronesian groups in Northern California. Please pray for him that God will work through him as he reaches out to the many Micronesians that live on the West Coast.

When Joyce gave her testimony she took a picture of the audience...
...On both sides of the chapel. Joyce shared how she was so thankful for how God ministered to our family through the Voices of Micronesia team. 

Diving Classes at PIU

Pacific Islands University is now an approved site for dive instruction by the Professional Association of Dive Instructors. This week we began teaching our first dive instruction class taught by Fred Schmidt. We will be teaching three 1 unit diving classes this Fall semester. For now the classes fit into our BA in biblical studies curriculum as general education electives, but next semester they will become part of an 18 unit recreational ministries minor in the BA program. We are also working on getting the dive program approved by our accrediting agency as a stand-alone 25 credit certificate program . Eventually we plan on offering the dive classes as a part of a BA in Recreational Ministries program. The pictures here are from an introductory day of dive instruction provided to PIU students a couple weeks ago.

The students receive instruction before hitting the water.

Fred instructs about equipment as the "Dean of Diving" Eric Sorenson readies his mask.

Into the water

Into the warm Guam waters

Ceci enjoyed her first dive.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chuuk trip #3 - Agreement with Mizpah Christian School and Logan Memorial Church

The main purpose of the trip to Chuuk was to complete a partnership agreement with Mizpah Christian School and Logan Memorial Church. MCS and LMC will host the PIU teaching facility and computer lab in their building and PIU will provide access to the computer lab and internet to the students as Mizpah. In addition PIU will help Mizpah with teacher recruitment and development. We already have several students from Mizpah at PIU and with the help of the staff there we believe we will be able to get more students from Mizpah and from the other schools on Chuuk. We also hope that Mizpah will provide a place for our Chuukese PIU alumni and former students to complete their degrees in our distance education classes. We also hope to have Mizpah be a base for helping the Chuuk Department of Education with teacher training.

The biggest challenge for PIU will be to find the personnel to run our teaching facility in Chuuk. We are looking for someone with a masters degree or higher (preferably an MDiv or ThM) to coordinate and teach PIU classes in Chuuk. In addition this person could work with the high school and church. We would also like to find an English teacher who could teach our remedial courses and, in the high school to help the high school students meet our entry requirements. I will also be looking for high school teachers to supplement the local faculty at Mizpah. We are already talking with some Christian colleges in the US about sending their graduates and interns to Chuuk to meet these needs.

We at PIU are excited about the new partnership and are praying that God will bring us the people and resources needed to be effective.

Chuuk trip #2 - Alumni and Friends

We always get to see a lot of people we know when we head to Chuuk. We always stay at the Truk Stop Hotel and by just sitting in the restaurant (by the way, some of the best, freshest sashimi in the world there) we see, every day Pacific Islands University alumni, families of current students and old friends from many years of ministering in the islands. Sometimes we see so many we have to eat two lunches to have time to fellowship with all of them. This trip was no exception. Here are some pictures....

On Saturday night we were taken out for dinner at the Blue Lagoon Restaurant by Enepo and Sue Mokut, parents of PIU student Kita Mokut. We had a great time getting to know them. We found out that Sue is the sister of one of my Chuukese students at Emmaus high school when I was teaching in Palau back in the 1980's. Enepo is a former policeman who is now a Chuuk state legislator and pastor. We had the opportunity to tell them about their daughter's adventures with the VOM team this past summer. Thank you Mokut family for a great evening. I did take very seriously the imposing "wait to be seated" sign guarded by an armed Chuukese warrior.

We also were able to see several of our alumni on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Three of our alumni took us out Saturday afternoon for ice cream, and we took them out for pizza on Sunday afternoon. Meyou, Alicia and Smileen served as our drivers and tour guides as we took a tour of the malls and freeways of Weno, Chuuk. The top speed right now in Chuuk is about 2-4 miles per hour with the extensive construction going on all over Weno. Meyou did manage to avoid some of the ruts and holes and showed us the homes of many of our students as we drove. Meyou showed off her mechanical skills too. We were very encouraged to hear that all three girls are working at Mizpah School and we also had the opportunity challenge them to pray about some missionary opportunities that are opening up for our graduates.

We also had the opporunity to fellowship at Logan Memorial Church on Sunday and share some news about what is happening at PIU. As usual the music was incredible. This young lady did a great job with a solo and I wish I had a picture of the 30+ men that sang together accompanied by electric guitars and bass in a country-rock style that had everyone tapping their feet. It was so good they had to sing it twice.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chuuk Trip #1

Last week Steve Stinnette and I headed down to Chuuk for the weekend. The main purposes of the trip were to finalize our agreement with Logan Memorial Church and Mizpah Christian School to run our Teaching Facility in Chuuk (more on that in the next post), meet with alumni, recruit students, and meet with other church and government leaders and friends. When we arrived we met, in the hotel van, two teachers from San Diego State who were there to participate in a graduation for the SDS distance education program. We had a good conversation in the van about how to run a DE program in Chuuk. When we arrived at the hotel we were surprised to find that the graduation guests were already there and the ceremony was ready to start. We were also surprised to find ourselves on the stage as "honored guests" and participants in the program. It was fun and one of our alumni, Mecky William (pictured here with Governor Simina of Chuuk), was one of the graduating students.

One unexpected blessing of attending the graduation was the opportunity to meet with Mokut William the president of the Evangelical Church of Chuuk and grandfather of PIU student Kita Mokut. We also got to meet Kita's father (in the middle in the island shirt) Enepo Mokut, at the graduation. We had a very good conversation and it was very nice to be able to reconnect with Mokut.

We also were able to meet Gardenia Aisek the Director of Education for Chuuk at the graduation. Steve has worked with her before, but I was meeting her for the first time there. She invited us to come to her office later that afternoon to talk about how PIU could help in Chuuk. We talked quite a bit about the "teacher crisis" in Chuuk. Many teachers in Chuuk are working without completed associates and bachelors degrees. We talked quite a bit about how PIU could help with that. We would love to be able to provide the needed teacher training. Our biblical studies program already has an elementary education minor with 18 credits of teacher training and we are developing an AA in liberal arts program. Eventually we plan to have a full teacher training program. We are hoping to be able to supply both our current and planned programs there in Chuuk. We are looking for someone to run our teaching facility in Chuuk and for someone to lead and develop our teacher education program. If you are interested give me a call at PIU at 671-734-1812.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Celebration for "Ben the Builder"

Later in the afternoon. after the service at Faith Church, we headed over to Lisa and Joe Collins' house for a surprise party for Ben Boudreault, my nephew, to celebrate his passing the contractors' licensing test. Ben came out to PIU last Spring as a short-term volunteer and decided to come back as a student for the Fall semester. Ben also works as a half-time maintenance man. Joyce and Lisa planned the dinner and party to celebrate Ben's success and he was very surprised. I think he especially enjoyed the "Ben the Builder - Yes He Can" sign
Several of our PIU facullty and staff showed up for the celebration. Eli and Zach Collins (left) welcomed Ben along with Mike, Sam and family to their house. On the right Mary Lou, Samantha, Ben and I enjoy some Polish hot dogs and pasta salad together.

(left) The ladies, Sarah, Jen, Sam and Lisa, enjoy some conversation in the living room. Mike and Pastor Jeff Johnson also had some time to visit.

Of course, everyone wanted to hold, or have their picture taken with, Serenity. On the left Joyce, Miri Collins and Serenity pose for a picture and on the right Serenity and her mom give us a smile

and here are a couple more of Serenity at the party...

Ministry at Faith Church

A week ago Sunday I was asked to preach at Faith Presbyterian and Reformed Church in Mangilao. Faith Church has been a long-time and faithful partner of our ministry at PIU so I always enjoy it when I have an opportunity to preach there. Currently, Faith Church is in a pastoral search. Our good friend Neil Culbertson, who was just starting his ministry at Faith Church in 1984 when we first came through Guam, has moved to Tacoma Washington to take on a new pastorate there. It was kind of strange to be there without seeing Neil and Janie-Lou, but we always get to see a lot of friends there. I preached my sermon on King Asa from 2 Chronicles 14-16. It seems that often, as in the story of Asa, opportunities come disguised as difficulties and the road to blessing often goes through the way of trouble and pain.
Some of the Voices of Micronesia team came along with me and sang a couple songs
Meyou (left) poses with Charles and Jayleen before she heads down to Chuuk on the evening flight. Meyou graduated with her BA last May. You will see her again when I post about my just completed Chuuk trip
Of  course we also need to pose a couple pictures with Titus and Courage too.

Fun Fair at Micronesia Mall

I know many of you are wondering where I have been lately. I have been traveling and have been very busy with the first couple weeks of the semester. I will blog about that soon. I thought the easiest way to break my blogging fast would be with some pictures of another outing with Titus and Courage. (I know my mom would approve) We seem to be doing a lot more babysitting than we used to do, but we don't mind too much. Last Friday night we gave Mike and Sam a "date night" and took the kids over to the Fun Fair at the Micronesia Mall. They have some nice rides and it is pretty easy to spend $20 on the grand-kids before you know it. After all these years living on Guam and, often eating at the food court right there, this was the first time I actually walked into the fun fair.
There is a pretty good merry-go-round there.

Courage was not too sure that she wanted to get to close to the velociraptor
There were even a few fast rides there. 
I know I need to increase the shutter speed, but I thought that it made a nice effect
Courage enjoyed driving. She wanted to get on every car-related ride there. I have some more pictures and will post them on Facebook.