Monday, February 28, 2011

Almost Completed PIU Driveway Phase 1

We have been enjoying the completion of phase 1 of our driveway project for about two weeks now. Well, we are almost done with phase 1. We are still waiting for a bid for our gate. Local fencing contractors are so busy nobody has had time to come out and make a bid on the gate. This morning we were discussing fabricating it ourselves. We are also beginning to raise money for phase 2 and 3. Phase 2 will complete the driveway all the way past the administration building and provide some needed parking. Phase 3 will complete the driveway all the way over to the library and will provide some parking on that side of the campus. In the picture left, Robin and I are checking out the just completed driveway a couple weeks ago. On the right you can see part of where phase 2 will go just beyond our car.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Few More Pictures from my Birthday Weekend - Super Bowl Party

Another tradition here on Guam for us, in the last few years when the Super Bowl has been right near my birthday, is another birthday celebration with the PIU staff on Super Bowl Monday. The tradition includes breakfast foods - the game started this year at 9.30 AM on Monday - coffee, hot wings, and triple chocolate birthday cake. Rob Watt made some nuclear hot wings this year and we had about 30 people in our house enjoying them and the game. As usual we had a good mix of the fans of both teams. I, as always, wore my 49er jersey. This year we celebrated the birthdays of Dean of Women Daisy Murdock and student Josh Ladd along with mine during halftime.

The living room was packed.

My grand-kids enjoyed the game too.

There are a lot of different NFL loyalties at PIU. Robin displayed the Houston Texans. Rob had his throwback Steelers jersey but didn't wear the helmet this year. You can also see Sarah Brubaker in a couple of pictures proudly wearing her Eagles jersey. 

We even had a Terrible Towel in the house.

Josh and Serenity were totally into the game
Sarah Cain (wearing the uniform of the right team) and Daisy enjoy the game. I think we all had a fun morning.

Some Pictures from My Birthday Celebration

I have been planning to post a few pictures from my birthday celebration a couple weeks ago, but I have been a little too busy until this morning. Mike and Samantha took us out to the Hard Rock Cafe in the Hotel Row in Tumon. I had never been there before. And, I admit, I have never had an Elvis impersonator sing "Happy Birthday" to me before accompanied by dozens of Japanese tourists. It was a fun night, the burgers and nachos were great, and it was a nice break in my normal routine.

I enjoyed getting out with the family.

The kids enjoyed giving me the presents and cards they had made.  I was truly surprised when Courage gave me a bag of her homemade granola. Note also that I got a new 49er hat. 
I did have to stand on a chair and listen to Elvis, the waitress and several Japanese tourists sing to me in order to get my birthday hot fudge sundae. I shared it with everyone! 

Serenity's favorite part of the evening was looking at the fish in the aquarium in the hotel lobby. She sat there like this for quite a while. 

The other two grand-kids enjoyed playing in the hotel lobby. I am not sure that this was the way the designer intended this furniture to be utilized.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Meeting with PIU Alumni in Yap

The best time I had all week in Yap was the alumni breakfast at the ESA restaurant on Saturday morning. First, were we eating good food at one of the most beautiful places to eat in the world. You can see a little bit of the view from the restaurant patio of the Yap lagoon in the picture. It really is an amazing spot. But the best part was that I got to enjoy the morning with seven of our alumni living on Yap and hearing what they are doing. All of them are serving in the church, and part of the reason for this meeting was for them to plan their Children's Day outreach to the church and community. All of them are also involved in supporting the ministry of PIU for which I am very thankful.

Here they are. In the first row: Left Lydia Kadguyed, director of the church's kindergarten; Middle Charity Sam, office manager for the PIU Yap Teaching Facility; Right Percia Gillee, elementary school teacher in the Yap public schools; Back Row: Left Jonathan Sam, teacher at Yap High School and assists the pastor at the Yap Evangelical Church; Me; Middle Mac Alfonso, missionary from the Palauan Evangelical Church doing youth work and elementary school teacher in the Yap public schools; Next to him Jonathan Tamag, Coordinator of federal programs for the Yap Hospital and regular preacher for the Yap Evangelical Church and Right Asael Ruda, missionary from Chuuk and head pastor for the Yap Evangelical Church. It was great to see all of them again and I was very encouraged to hear what God is doing in their lives.

Counseling Seminar on Yap

I have been away from my blog for a few days. This past week was our PIU annual board meeting. I will be blogging about that soon - and I will post some pictures from other February events here too- but I wanted to make a couple more posts about my recent visit to Yap. One of the main purposes of the trip was to accompany Jo Romaniello and Marci Martinelli to Yap so that they could lead a seminar on counseling for several different groups of care providers in Yap. There were about 20 participants in the seminar from the Yap State Hospital, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Department and other Yap government entities. The seminars were coordinated by Jonathan Tamag, a PIU alum, who is now the coordinator for federal programs at the Yap Hospital. In addition Jo did another seminar for various government workers on family therapy and substance abuse issues. You can see more pictures and read Jo's account of the seminars on her blog. I was very happy that PIU could have an opportunity to serve the local community of one of our island neighbors. We are hoping that we will be able to do more of this in the future.

Jo designed the conference to be "hands on" with a lot of discussion, so that it would deal with the issues currently being faced by the counselors in Yap. We got a lot of feedback" that the seminars were very "relevant" and dealt practically with the problems they were seeing on Yap. On the left Marci makes a point in one of the discussions. On the right Jo wraps up the conference assessment.

Jo and Marci also had the opportunity to share with the Yap Church youth group on Friday night. Marci gave her testimony, interspersed with a lot funny stories, and encouraged the young people to talk with each other and their leaders so that they can help one another overcome temptation and become what God is calling them to be.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Trip to Yap #1

Last Tuesday night (it was 11.59.59) I left Guam to arrive on Yap very early Wednesday morning. My main purpose for going was to take care of several business issues in order to get our Yap Teaching Facility functioning again. The Yap TF was destroyed by typhoon Sudal in 2004 and, while we have taught a few classes, we have been pretty effectively shut down in Yap since then. For the last two years we have had ministry teams from California and local work teams from the church in Yap renovating the building. We still needed to take care of some other issues like getting a business license, setting up the computer lab and and generally getting things ready to start teaching classes here in May. In addition Jo Romaniello and Marci Martinelli, counselors at PIU, went to Yap with me so that they could teach a counseling seminar for the Yap hospital and other service groups. I will devote my next post to their seminar. The picture here is of the computer lab with our TF office manager Charity Sam and her husband Jonathan accessing the internet.

One of my main tasks was to secure the business license. As you can see from the picture, Charity is holding the completed business license. Another task was to take care of the immigration issues for volunteers Hardy and Irene Sunderwald so they can come this Spring to teach some PIU classes in Yap. We were able to submit a visa waiver letter and we are hoping and praying that it will be approved by Yap immigration soon enough for them to come. Another key prayer request for us is for the restoration of the Yap scholarship to PIU students. We had several Yapese students on the Guam campus when the scholarship was available to them but not many in the last three years since it was removed. The issue was that we were just a Bible and theology school and the Yap government wanted to focus its education efforts on other areas. Now that we have approved liberal arts programs we have re-applied and would ask that you would pray that our Yap students would be able to recive this scholarship that they need to pay for their education at PIU. Interestingly, even though we "just" had a Bible program in the past, many of our Bible graduates are now teaching in the Yap public schools, fulfilling what the Yap government had identified as their greatest need.

I also had the "fun" of setting up the computer lab. Most of it went smoothly. The router took a little while, two hours, because it needed to be reconfigured. Once we did that it took only a few minutes to get things going. We now have a wireless DSL internet connection for our students to use for research and classes. I tested it by Skyping today and was able to use full audio and video. I am excited about the possibilities this opens up for our distance education programs.

As you can see from the pictures we still have a lot of work to do. The empty room is the classroom. While we are all ready to go with on line classes now, we still need to buy three tables, chairs and a teacher's podium to be ready for classes to be taught. We have moved part of the library into the TF from where it was stored after the typhoon but we still have some more to move. We also have books for the Yap library stored on Guam. I am hoping it will be ready when I come back to teach Old Testament Introduction in May.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Driveway at PIU #2 - Preparing and Pouring the Concrete

After the digging and forming work was done for the driveway in the middle of the week we planned to pour the concrete on Thursday. However we were rain delayed until Saturday. This made Saturday a very long day for all the work crew. But amazingly, everything was ready when the concrete pumper came and the project was completed in a day with a cooperative effort of students, staff and volunteers. Here are a few pictures from the day's work...

The morning began with tieing in the rebar. Everly here shows the right way to do it.

Right in the middle of the morning PIU had a basketball game so several of us took an hour to cheer on the Tide.

I got back in time to sign the check to pay for the concrete. Now it is paid for and ready to pour.
That pumper could pour that concrete pretty quickly. The guys had to work fast to get it smoothed

Robin has the water hose ready to go to keep the concrete moist

Ben and Everly give it a nice smooth finish

Joyce and Courage watch as the guys make sure the rocks all are pushed down through the concrete and we get it smooth. 

Watching the tandem parachuters come down was also very interesting.

We were thankful that Paul donated a whole day on Saturday to get the concrete poured correctly

The pumper truck poured most of the driveway but could not fit into the gate to pour the end of it and connect it to the road.

The guys got a little extra time to prepare the last part of the driveway for the rest of the cement

Eventually the new truck showed up for the last part of the pour

The driveway was connected up to the paved road outside the gate.

The concrete was worked with care

The job was almost done!

It's done! Now we wait 24 hours for it to dry - a week before heavy trucks can drive on it.

New Driveway for PIU #1

One of the big jobs completed with the help of the Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley team this past weekend was a new driveway and parking area for the Pacific Islands University campus. This filled a great need on campus. According to the PIU news page on the school web site...  On the left - PIU VP of Student Life Rob Watt discusses the project with contractor Paul Kwan and Ryan, Jim and Kerrie from the California team.

Anyone who has visited our Guam campus during rainy season knows how bumpy, mucky, and miry the road into campus can get!  However, that is all history now.  Volunteers, PIU students, and staff all worked together during the first week of February. With the funds God provided via the generous donation of a local merchant, the entrance to PIU has been transformed from it’s former gravel-and-dirt surface to a smooth, broad, beautiful entrance for all to use.

This post will feature pictures of the preliminary work and the next post will have a bunch of pictures of the completion of the project.
 Paul and Celia Atoigue watch as the project begins. We are so thankful that Paul volunteered his time and expertise to us to get the project completed.