Thursday, June 30, 2011

Enjoying the Grandchildren

With the renovations going on at the other house we get to spend a lot of time with the grandkids. During the month Mike and Samantha have been staying with us we have seen Serenity go from her first tentative, wobbly steps to speed toddling. Her favorite thing to do is to turn off the cable box while her brother and sister are watching cartoons or I am watching sports. It is hard to get mad at her since she always does it with a smile on her face and gets so much joy out of it. We are enjoying getting to witness her development. This is the first time we have been able to experience so closely one of our grandchildren go through this stage. Serenity is also the only one in the house who gets to stand on the table while she eats breakfast.


Courage has become an interesting conversationalist. She has an explanation for everything and she is pretty much certain she is right. She also spends a lot of time dancing. This picture is from a trip to Agana Mall she made with grandma.


IMG_8996 I have also been having a lot of fun playing games with Titus. It is no fair that he always gets to be the good guy and I have to be the bad guy and somehow he always seems to win when we play soccer. The stick he is holding is his “anaconda.” It eats all of his plastic dinosaurs. Titus insists that when we watch a sports event that one team has to be the “good guys” and the other one is the “bad guys” and I have to identify which is which for him. He is certain that the good guys never lose.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Renovations #4

We are getting closer to the completion of the renovations of the house where Mike, Samantha and the kids live next to PIU. Joyce has been using most of her free time to get the place finished in time for them to move back in during the next weekend. The workers have been doing the tiling, plumbing, wiring etc. We have been very pleased with the quality of the work and are thankful that Mike, Sam and family are going to move back into a much more livable space. When they finish I will make an “all done” post.

Here is the sink for the new bathroom. I think Joyce has really enjoyed the opportunity to spend so much time in hardware and home improvement stores this past month.

One of the last big jobs was the tiling of the new bathroom.

We had to get the septic tank pumped so that the new plumbing could be connected to it. We were just happy that there were not any major issues to be taken care of with that. Joyce took some pictures of the inside of the septic tank but I will spare you from seeing them.

The pass-through window and the doorway between the kitchen and dining area are completed.

Yesterday the workers were there installing the faucets and bath and shower head.


They also installed the water heater. We wanted to get a new more efficient water heater but for now we had to go with just having the old one reinstalled.

This is the outside entrance to the bathroom. The sidewalk is almost completed.


The bathtub now has all the faucets and shower head all installed.


All this stuff that was in boxes stored in the living room a couple days ago is now installed and ready to be used. We are close to being done!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lasagna and Old Testament History and Poetry

Last Tuesday we joined lasagna (and several other tasty items) with Old Testament discussion in the PIU Old Testament Survey class. As has been the custom in most of my seminary classes, we have a couple of the class sessions around the dinner table. Usually the dinner classes are the wide-ranging discussion sessions and this was no exception. We have just finished the historical section of the OT and are beginning the wisdom/poetical books. So the discussion was a summary of the historical and introduction to wisdom literature. We discussed the differences between the way history was written in the ancient Near East and the way it is written today, the relationship between Deuteronomy and the Joshua-Kings narratives, and the “big message” that the writers wanted Israel and us to learn. All this discussion took place as we ate lasagna, salad, French bread and several excellent desserts. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

The OT Survey class began the day after graduation on May 10. We have 6 class sessions and a weekly on-line class forum. In addition, each student must write 4 book analyses, 3 theological book summaries, 2 book sermons and 2 background papers. Six students are taking the class this time. We always have a couple extra people show up for the dinner discussions. The class will end in the middle of August. We will have one more dinner discussion section when we are ready to discuss the prophets at the end of July.

Samantha made some amazing chocolate cookies for us. I tried to discipline myself to not eat too many. It was funny when Samantha came out for breakfast the next morning and told Titus that he could not eat cookies for breakfast, I was standing there with a half-eaten cookie in my hand. But how often do we get homemade chocolate cookies?

Saturday, June 25, 2011


While the house is being renovated Mike, Sam and the kids are staying with us. This also means that their dog Seneca is also staying with us – in the backyard, not in the house. The main reason that it was insisted that the dog needed to stay with us was that it was pregnant. Well, last week it gave birth to one puppy and the kids were thrilled. I was a bit squeamish about touching the dogs but the kids certainly were not.




Here is my pet on the right. I saw this little guy in my office on Tuesday. The web we found in the corner of the office indicated that the spider had been busy in the evening. We left it alone and it maintained its position on the wall all day Tuesday. I have not seen it since. I have a lot of respect for this spider because it seems to be a survivor. Note that it has only seven legs. They are not poisonous or harmful and perform a valuable service by eating the insects that are.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

PIU Team Returns From Papua

_MG_1498Yesterday the PIU team returned from a 4 week trip to Papua in Indonesia. The team consisted of PIU student Meluat Meluat, graduates Jayvina Chimwetiw and Daniel Assito (PIU assistant dean of men) and former PIU student Joyleen Haser. I interviewed Meluat this afternoon and most of the information and all of the pictures on this post come from him. He said that the team had a lot of expectations as to what would happen on the trip, but the only expectations that were met were: that they would “go to the unknown, experience hardships and frustration and they would learn many new things.” The main goal was to learn and Meluat said they did learn a lot about “culture, language, how the Gospel moves through a culture and to unreached tribes, and the difficulties of the mixing of the Papuan tribal peoples with the Muslim culture of the Indonesians.
_MG_7267The team was very blessed to arrive in the Papuan highlands just as the churches there were meeting for the 50th anniversary of the entrance of the Gospel into Papua. Meluat said he was “humbled to see the names of the missionaries who first brought the Gospel carved into the memorial. They were heroes in that place.” The picture is from the celebration in Ninia. Many of the people there wore the traditional Papuan clothing.
_MG_8276The team was able to participate in a large youth summer camp and get to know many of the Papuan youth. Most of the ministry they did in the camp, and throughout the whole trip, was relational. Papuan youth’s “big need is comfort and having someone come alongside to help them confront the many changes and challenges happening in their society.”

_MG_8341The team was able to do some church ministry, singing, sharing and preaching. This is normally the kind of thing that makes up the majority of a PIU mission trip. However, this trip was mostly devoted to learning about Indonesian and Papuan culture, building relationships, and encouraging the people they met. Meluat says “there were several Papuans who would like to come to PIU and get a good education but most cannot afford to come.” He asks for prayer that God would provide a way for these students to come to PIU and get a good biblical education.
IMG_0941The team was also able to make good connections with the leadership of the GIDI (the Evangelical Church of Indonesia) Church. In the picture Meluat and Daniel celebrate a new church dedication with a meal of sweet potato, taro, pork and vegetables on a banana leaf plate with the president of the GIDI church Lipiyus Biniluk and with Markus Kave, a missionary from Papua New Guinea who has been serving in Papua as a missionary for the last three years. Meluat was “amazed that the people funded the new church by giving their crops first to the church and then feeding themselves on what was left.”
According to Meluat the Gospel has had a “great effect on Papua. The 270 tribes with 270 different languages have been brought together by the Gospel, not politics or government.” They face tremendous challenges in the future but he wishes the Micronesian churches could learn to “hold their people accountable and work together with other denominations” as the Papuan church does. He feels a strong challenge to work with “the people in the jungles, not the people in the cities.” He feels he can be effective because “there is almost no culture gap between the Micronesians and the Papuans.” We are looking forward to seeing what the next step in this relationship will be.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Test Post

Picture 87I have been having a lot of problems uploading pictures to this blog. The new picture uploader has been creating all kinds of problems for me. It uploads the pictures OK, but then refuses (sometimes) to load them into the blog. I have tried it with IE Explorer, Chrome and Firefox and get the same intermittent, frustrating problems. I read in one of the forums that Windows Live Writer was a way of avoiding the problem. So I am going to give it a try and see if this would be a good way to make blog posts. If anyone out there has a better solution to the problem please let me know by posting a comment or sending me and email. If you see this post with a picture of me then Windows Live Writer worked – at least this time.

House Renovations #3

This week the tiling, electrical and fixtures are getting done. The work is proceeding much faster than we expected and it is looking better and better. In this picture you are looking from the dining room into the kitchen through the new pass-through window that was just cut in the wall. The guys are also working on plumbing and wiring. Here are a few more pictures of the progress being made.
The new outside door to the bathroom is hung. Mike is really enjoying having a doorway that is actually straight.
The new bathtub is installed and works!
The electrical box is installed. The new box will run all the power for the kitchen and bathroom. When we put the air conditioner on the old box 5 years ago it really overloaded the system. The breakers would blow when the stove and AC were on at the same time. This should alleviate that problem.
The pipes and conduit are being run on the outside of the house.
These pipes will run underneath the sidewalk extension.
The pass-through window is close to being completed.
Joyce provides punch and cookies for the workers.
The tiling of the kitchen begins....
And is finished. This is the view from the bathroom into the kitchen.
Here is another view of the newly tiled kitchen floor.

Sports Day at the Japanese School of Guam

Last weekend was the "Sports Day" at the Japanese School of Guam where Joyce works. She has been teaching English there part-time for the last couple years. This year she took Titus and Courage with her to the event and they were allowed to participate with the students in the games. One of the really fun things about living on Guam is that our kids, and now our grandkids, get to participate in cultural events from so many different countries. Courage and Titus both enjoyed competing with Joyce's students and it looked like a fun day for all.

I am really not sure what they are doing here.

Titus and Courage get ready to run in a race.

And.... collect their prize.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

House Renovations #2

The next step in the house renovations was to bring in the fill and pour a concrete slab on top of the kitchen and bathroom floors that will pretty much make all the floors in the house level. Here are a few pictures of that process. The fill was delivered from our neighbors and friends at Hawaiian Rock. We appreciate very much that they gave us a "PIU employee discount."

The new kitchen floor base. This raises the kitchen floor about 18 inches. No more worries about taking a tumble when someone tries to go from the living room to the kitchen.

Here is the bathroom as the fill was being poured in. They poured some in and then put plastic over it before they poured the rest in.

In this picture you are looking from the bathroom into the kitchen. The kitchen already has the concrete poured. The bathroom has all the fill poured in and is waiting for the concrete.

And here is the bathroom with the concrete poured. The next step will be the fixtures and then the tiles.

Meanwhile the kids are enjoying staying at grandma and grandpa's house. Here they enjoy some swimming time in the backyard.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

It is a real blessing for both Joyce and I to have fathers that tried to raise us under the leadership of Jesus Christ. We are both thankful for our dads. I included this picture of me and my dad (with family and PIU students) from last year's Voices of Micronesia tour because a lot of what we are and what we do now comes from what we learned as children in our homes. We are also thankful that we have dads that support, encourage and pray for what we do in ministry even though we do it on the other side of the world. Thank you dad. Happy Fathers Day!

We are also blessed to have Mike and family here and we enjoyed our Father's Day together yesterday. I thought I would include a picture of the card Titus made for his dad for Father's Day. (He dictated it to Samantha). I think it is a nice sentiment.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Renovations #1

One of the things keeping us busy, well keeping Joyce busy, this summer are the renovations on the house where Michael, Samantha and the kids are staying. We bought the house a few years ago because it was right next to PIU and would provide a good place to house faculty. It was pretty run down and needed a lot of work. The two main needs were the bathroom and the kitchen. The one bathroom in the house is so small that one can actually wash their hands in the sink while sitting on the toilet. The kitchen was about 18 inches lower than the rest of the house and was a falling hazard for kids, babies and adults. One former resident had already taken a fall there. The plan was to convert the laundry room to a second much larger bathroom and fill, put down a concrete slab, and tile the kitchen to bring it up to the same level as the rest of the house. We started last week while I was in Taiwan. Mike, Sam and family moved in with us and Joyce has been enjoying her new role as construction contractor.

Joyce went to Benson's to pick up materials. She had the store employees to load our little car, while Titus, Courage and the neighbor kids unloaded the pipes. They really did!

This is the "before" picture of the laundry room.

Here they are clearing out the old cabinets, sinks and connections.

The kitchen has been cleared out and ready for the pipes to be laid to go under the fill and concrete slab.