Monday, August 29, 2011

Student Orientation and Welcome at PIU

Today we held our new student orientation activities and tonight was a welcome dinner for all the students at PIU. Here are a few pictures of the days’ events.

The events included some large group meetings and some small group “get to know each other” sessions.

There were several volleyball and basketball games played in the afternoon and under the lights.

There was also plenty of time for the students to sit together and talk

And, of course, there was plenty of ribs, chicken, potato salad and rice. It is great to have the students back on campus. I am looking forward to a great semester.

JR Update: JR is on His Way to the Philippines

As I write JR, May and Tony Vigil are in the air, flying to the PI for transfer to Saint Luke’s Hospital. This hospital has the facilities and resources to give him the advanced care he needs. We anticipate that he will be there for several months. This is a tremendous answer to prayer, but JR and his family have a lot of work ahead of him as he works toward recovery. Thank you to everyone for praying and donating for his expenses but there is still a need for more prayer and financial help. The picture was taken right before JR was taken to the airport.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Serenity’s 2nd 1st Birthday Party

I know I posted a couple weeks ago about Serenity’s birthday party at the ICU in the Naval Hospital. Last week we had another family party at our house. Joyce still needed to give Serenity her birthday present. Besides, as a proud grandpa it is hard for me to resist posting pictures of her. I think she had a very good time at her party.

Daisy, PIU Dean of Women, has been staying with us the last few weeks, so she joined the party too along with Mike, Samantha, Courage and Titus.
We all enjoyed another Texas sheet cake
I think Serenity enjoyed her present from grandma very much

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fall Registration at PIU

We just finished what is usually one of our busiest weeks of the year – Fall registration at PIU. Most of the students went through the registration lines last Wednesday through Friday, student orientation begins tonight and classes begin Monday night. There are still a few students who are not here yet and we always have a few who apply and register late. We are encouraged to see so many new students and to see others who will be interested to come in January. It was also great to see faculty and staff step up to handle all the chaos and, demonstrating the image of God, bring order, beauty and development of relationships out of it. I think we are ready to get the semester started.  


Wednesday was registration for new students, Thursday for commuter students and then Friday took care of the returning students living on campus. On the left, our registrar and PIU catalog expert, Urte Scherer, makes sure that Ceci has the right classes on her schedule for her program while Kita greets the camera in the background. On the right, English teacher Sarah Brubaker handles academic advising for 2nd year student Jesse Hartt. 

In the meantime our maintenance crew, Mo and Tyler with help from student and staff volunteers, made sure that our facilities are ready for the students. They added a couple new rooms in the women’s dorm and fixed what was broken last semester.  Mo is in his last semester in our seminary and Tyler is a 3rd year student in the biblical studies program. Here Tyler is replacing ceiling tiles in classroom 1B.

JR Update: Headed to the PI on Monday

Good news! It looks like JR’s stay in the 2nd floor unit at the Naval Hospital will not be very long. Arrangements have been completed and JR will be going to the Philippines at 4 PM on Monday with his mom and dad. He will be heading to St. Luke’s Hospital where he can get the treatment he needs for his head trauma and therapy for his legs. Thank you for praying for that. Joyce and I went up to visit him this afternoon at the hospital and when we got there he was out for his walk (in his wheelchair) on the cliff line, where we got this picture. It has been enjoyable to watch the JR we know start to come back. Sometimes he seems to be all there, cracking jokes and making comments and other times we have no idea what he is talking about. This, we have heard, is pretty common with head injuries. Right now, he is not able to drink or eat through the mouth because of the tracheotomy. This has been really difficult for him and for all of us. He really needs to eat to gain weight and strength. Please pray that they will be able to take care of this when he gets to the PI as soon as possible. We are all amazed at how far he has come in the last 40 days, but we also know he has a long road of rehab, healing, adjustment and therapy to go. Thank you for your prayers and please keep praying.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Faculty In-Service at PIU

This past week began with two days of faculty training sessions. New acting VP of Academics Christel Wood (Christel is now “retired” since 2005 but has been teaching two classes per semester since then as a volunteer, and has agreed to be our acting VP until we can find a new one) oversaw the training session. Both of the main sessions this year featured a speaker from California coming to us via Skype. We were a little afraid of technical difficulties (the router died two days after the sessions finished) but the technology worked, the snacks were excellent and the conference went off as planned.

Our speaker the first day was Maria Keckler from San Diego. She is Director of Instructional Technology for a consortium of K-20 Christian schools and ministries, which include San Diego Christian College, Southern California Seminary, Christian Unified Schools of San Diego, and Shadow Mountain Community Church and Ministries. Her sessions were designed to help our faculty construct our traditional and on-line classes effectively to help our students become lifelong intentional learners. Basically, she taught us how to teach using new technologies in a way that would maximize student learning. Many faculty members mentioned to me that they thought the training was valuable and they planned on implementing several of Maria’s suggestions into their classes.

Our 2nd day speaker was Jo Romaniello, a family therapist from Santa Cruz. Jo has already been out to our campus twice to teach counseling courses for us and to help us set up our PIU counseling center. Jo led the faculty and staff  through several lessons on effective communication and conflict resolution. We had several opportunities to practice our listening skills on each other. Joyce and I even got in some meaningful communication during the workshops! Again I think it was very helpful.

We also had short sessions on organization from Nino Pate, using on-line library resources from our librarian Lisa Collins and an short session on using our Moodle site from Hartmut Scherer. I thought the time was well-spent and the training was effective. It was great to see all the faculty and staff together after the summer break and I am looking forward to another great year working with them.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Update on JR Vigil

Over a month after his July 20th car accident, JR was moved Tuesday from ICU to the second floor regular ward, Room 209, of the Naval Hospital. He is getting disconnected from more and more of the tubes and machines. Things seem to be coming together for flying him off Guam to the hospital in the Philippines. It is possible that he will leave for the PI as soon as Monday. Please pray for less agitation for him and that he will be able to relax and trust the doctors and nurses. Please also pray for May and Tony (his mom and dad) for strength and wisdom as they work so hard to meet JR’s needs and make the arrangements for his care.

If you would like to contribute to the costs of JR’s treatment here is the address to send checks.

JR Vigil Medical Fund
Calvary Baptist Church
1196 N. Marine Dr.
Tamuning, Guam 96913

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Renovations #6 – Cabinets and Kitchen Sink

I have had a few people ask me, “Whatever happened with the renovations over at Mike and Sam’s house?” I thought I should post on that before I get fully into the posts reporting on the start of the semester. At some point in late July or early August we ran out of money to complete the project, but Joyce is very resourceful and managed to come up with most of what we needed. They finished the tiling in the kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms so they could move back in early August. She and Mike were able to do most of the cabinet work, with a little help from cousin Jesse and some of the other students. She needed to hire Rene again to do the kitchen sink and plumbing. Their house is pretty much done now. I will post some pictures of the completed house soon.

  They assembled the cabinets from a kit

Mike and Sam are happy to have a completed kitchen before the start of the new semester

Serenity is also happy to have a spot from which she can see the whole kitchen

Saturday, August 20, 2011

RA Training

This past week has been the real beginning of the new semester (which officially doesn’t begin for another week). The campus has been quiet all summer with only a few students living on campus and only a few small classes being taught. This past weekend several students arrived, with most of them coming for the RA training sessions conducted by our PIU Student Life team led by Rob Watt. Our Resident Assistants are students who work with our Deans to take care of our students, disciple and lead them. This year one focus of the team is to have the students take more responsibility for their own lives and for serving and discipling one another. This week the RA’s discussed school rules and procedures, leadership principles, counseling and biblical principles of discipline and responsibility so that they can take leadership in the dormitories this year. We have a good group of student leaders this year and I am excited about the potential for what God will accomplish in our students this semester.

One aspect of the training is to have the student leadership team meet each evening for dinner at the house of one the faculty members. Thursday night the team met at our house for barbecued chicken and ribs (Yea!). We shared with them a little bit about the history of the school so that they would understand how much has been invested in their lives and education. I think they were motivated to make the same investment in the students who will be coming later this week and into the future of the school. I really enjoy having the students back and am looking forward to seeing the whole group come in this coming weekend!

Work Day at PIU

The Fall semester is almost upon us! This week we began student leadership training (see next post) and next week we will meet for faculty in-service on Monday and Tuesday before the students begin coming in later in the week. Actually a few have already begun to arrive. As is our tradition, the last Saturday before we begin orientation is a work day to put the finishing touches on getting the campus ready for the new semester. With the renovations of the women’s dorm we needed a little more than finishing touches, but, as you can see, the ladies were more than ready to do their part. We had a good turnout of faculty, staff, students and volunteers despite the dark rainy weather. And as usual, we had a lot of fun together.

Librarian, Stella Fatag, beautified the flower garden in front of the library

The craftsmen repaired benches and hung bulletin boards

  Sharon Bock got the front office ready for registration while our new acting Academic VP Christel Wood coordinated the re-arrangement of our faculty offices.

First-year PIU English teacher Joey Charles seems to have a profound idea here, though he may have a screw loose too. ;)

Bible teacher Iotaka Choram cleans joyfully (Right) as the guys work on the living room and kitchen of the guys’ dorm

Serenity helps her mom with classroom cleaning and then the rest of us take a lunch break

And the job is done! At least for the moment. Joey enjoys the more “spacious” faculty office area while classroom #1 (right) is ready for excellent, accessible and transformational learning to take place.