Monday, October 31, 2011

Final Day of the Preaching Conference

The preaching conference concluded on Saturday October 22nd. The day began with breakfast at 8 AM and we immediately got down to business. The subject of the days’ three sessions was “Deep Preaching.” That is, how do we preach sermons that deeply impact the preacher himself and then the people in his audience? Kent emphasized the “preacher’s closet” where he invites the Holy Spirit to work the message of the Word into his life and into the sermon itself. Preaching is not just an academic exercise. It needs to be empowered and directed by the Spirit.

The Saturday session moved from the “Top of the Reef” to the ballroom. We went from 8 AM to 3 PM and the day’s events included an excellent lunch and breakfast. During the conference we were also able to give away several valuable door prizes that were donated by the Reef Hotel, National Car Rental and Faith Book Store. Of course, we also gave away PIU T-shirts and other merchandise.

The last session of the day was a question and answer time. Even though we had already had a long day the session actually went beyond the scheduled time because there was so much audience participation.

I am so thankful for the hard work of our office and advancement staff to make this conference happen. Our operations director, Celia Atoigue, did a great job taking care of the hotel and food arrangements and contacting the donors of the door prizes. Samantha Owen did a great job on the brochures and publicity materials. All of our staff did a great job to make the conference happen. We also appreciate Kent and Nola coming all the way from California to be our speakers. As we cleaned up and assessed the 2011 conference we are already planning for the 2012 PIU Preaching Conference.

Friday Night at the PIU Preaching Conference

   The Conference continued on Friday night as Dr. Edwards spoke on the theme of “How to Preach the Bible. Several of the pastors that were unable to attend on Thursday were able to be there on Friday night. Even though Kent had a full day of ministry, he spoke with enthusiasm and many of the pastors told me that it was an even better session than the previous night.

Joey Charles began the session with some music during the meal. We also had PIU professors make short presentations throughout the conference about the courses they would be teaching during the Spring semester. If you are interested in taking PIU courses next semester on-line or on the campus give us a call at 671-734-1812 or check our web site at 

VP of Student Life Rob Watt and his team did a great job handling the sound and other program logistics of the conference.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday Events

DSC04283The 2nd day of the preaching conference was full of events before the actual evening conference events. In the morning PIU hosted a breakfast for pastors and wives to meet and talk with Kent and Nola Edwards. The monsoon rains in the morning held down attendance (we were plowing through “deep” water on our way there) but we had a lively discussion about how pastors and wives should complement each other’s ministries. I forgot to take pictures of this event because I was working hard on my Chamorro Scramble.

After breakfast we hustled Kent and Nola up to the campus for the chapel service so that Kent could be our chapel speaker.

The lunch event was our monthly theological discussion group meeting in the PIU library. This time we had lunch provided by several gracious donors and a good group turned out to discuss with Dr. Edwards, the theology of preaching, the place of preaching in the modern church, church polity and several other theological issues relating to how the church should accomplish its mission. The discussion was lively with local pastors, PIU staff and faculty and several students contributing questions and opinions. Next month (November 18th) we will follow up    with further discussion of ecclesiology.

Friday, October 28, 2011

PIU’s 2011 Preaching Conference

   Last weekend (October 20-22) Pacific Islands Evangelical Seminary presented its 2nd annual Preaching Conference at the Guam Reef Hotel. The theme of the conference was “Preaching for a Change in Micronesia.” Our featured speaker was Dr. Kent Edwards, Professor of Preaching & Leadership and the Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Talbot School of Theology / BIOLA University and past president of the Evangelical Homiletics Society.

The theme of the first night of the conference was “Why Preach?” With the beautiful view of the Guam coastline all around us as we sat at the “Top of the Reef,” Kent encouraged and motivated the attendees, representing most of the ethnic groups that live on Guam, to be diligent in preaching the Word. I think everyone was “fired up” for the rest of the conference when they went home that evening. Several of our PIU faculty, staff and students also attended the conference. More in the next post!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Curriculum Changes

Our curriculum at PIU is in a constant state of assessment and revision. Every course is evaluated by students and the administration, along with the programs they are part of. We also are getting continual input from our island communities about what they would like to see us offer. Sometimes this results in major changes to the curriculum like last year’s addition of a BA and AA degree in Liberal Studies. Usually the revisions come in much smaller increments. This year we are looking at some of the “emphases” in the BA programs. Each BA degree student takes an 18 unit “emphasis” within their biblical or liberal studies major. These emphases include General Ministry, Missions, Education, Teaching ESL, Pastoral Ministries among others. This month our curriculum committee has been meeting to evaluate these emphases to see which ones should be added or subtracted.

One emphasis that we are working on to add for next school year is Bible Translation. Last year we were approached by missionaries from Wycliffe who asked us if we would be willing to add a Bible translation training program to our curriculum. After several meetings we decided to pursue it and we are now in the process of setting up the classes and requirements of the emphasis within the biblical studies program. We are working out an agreement with Wycliffe to supply the teachers for the Bible translation classes and we are hoping that we will be able to train national translators within our BA in Bible program. This would open up the possibility of students coming from many other Pacific Island nations. Please pray for us that we would follow God’s direction and timing on this.

Mike Preaches at Faith Church

PA150214 This summer and Fall I, and other PIU faculty, have been helping out Faith Presbyterian and Reformed Church by doing some preaching in their Sunday morning service until they can find a new pastor. On October 16th the elders there asked Michael to preach so, of course, the whole family went there to support him, including several PIU students.  We also took a couple pictures. He preached from the story of the Gibeonite deception from Joshua 9. I have heard him preach before in chapel and in Palau and I always enjoy it. I think the people at Faith enjoyed it too since they asked him to come back this coming Sunday.

Mike is the first preacher I have seen who preaches from an I-pad.

Staff and Faculty Prayer Meeting at PIU

We believe that prayer should be a very important part of the daily lives of everyone at PIU. So, we have a habit of regular prayer together. Besides the Days of Prayer and the informal times of prayer, the PIU staff and faculty meet twice a month for corporate prayer. On the first Sunday of the month we meet just for prayer and on the 3rd Sunday of the month we enjoy a fellowship meal along with the prayer time. We have been doing this for as long as I can remember at PIU and I believe it is an important part of what we do here. Staff, faculty and guests join together to pray for each other, the students and for the school’s ministries. We also pray for each others families, supporting churches, island churches and other issues in the islands. We pray at 6 PM on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month. If you are on Guam we would invite you to join us or, if you are in another part of the world, just join us from where you are.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Trip to Underwater World

PA150208Guam has a very nice indoor walk-through aquarium called Underwater World. We have been there several times but we always enjoy taking visitors there. A couple Saturdays ago Joyce and I took the Benson’s there. As usual, this was one one of the most, if not the most, popular of our outings. We spent a good chunk of the afternoon looking at the great collection of fish there. We even got to see the sharks feeding.  Visitors walk through tubes that allow you to be under the fish which provides a really different perspective.

PA150206The grouper is humongous.


There are some pretty strange and exotic fish to see.

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And some colorful ones


They even have a “petting zoo.”

At the Inarajan Pools

PA100168Another nice spot to go for a swim on Guam is the Inarajan Pools. These natural pools provide a great place to swim, dive and, on the shallow side, do some snorkeling. It is amazing how many different kinds of ocean life you can see in that shallow tidal pool. Joyce and Daisy took the Benson’s there on a beautiful day. I took the Edwards there a week later, but it was raining and we weren’t able to get out and enjoy the place. So all the pictures are from Joyce and Daisy’s cameras. 



The diving platform is one of the most popular features of the pools. The picture on the left provides proof that missionaries can walk on water.


Taking guests on these tours and hikes is hard and grueling work, but someone has to do it!

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Guam has a lot of cool stuff for a kid to do. We even have our own monitor lizard in our driveway.

At the Beach

PA070109Life on Guam is not all work for our guest teachers. This time Matt Benson brought the rest of his family with him to Guam, and they were able to go on several fun excursions. PA070097Here are a few pictures from a day at one of Guam’s popular swimming, hiking and snorkeling areas, Shark’s Hole.  Joyce and Daisy were tour guides and the group also included Samantha’s mom and one of Joyce’s coworkers from the Japanese School of Guam.

PA070099 Ransome and Davey volunteered to stay behind at the parking area and watch the car. They were able to get some studying done under the shade of a coconut tree while they waited.

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Joyce, Jonathan and Joshua enjoyed the warm, clear water


It is a great place to enjoy the scenery, collect shells or play with the small creatures.

Tuesday Chapel

At PIU we have chapel every Tuesday and Friday at 11 AM. (You are welcome to join us if you are able) We always enjoy a guest speaker and so we get our guest teachers into chapel whenever one is visiting. Matt Benson spoke to us last Tuesday on making our lives a message for the Kingdom of God. We often think of the Gospel just in terms of what we say, but we also communicate the message through what we do and how we live. The message was a real challenge and encouragement to all of us.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Some Family Pictures

PA020077Late last month we had two big family events – Titus’ 5th birthday and Samantha’s parents moved to Guam. That was an occasion for some family pictures a few of which I include here. The one on the left we had taken after church at Bayview Baptist early in October. On the right is a picture I sneaked in while Mike and Sam were having a studio family picture taken. We had pictures taken including all the grandparents too. We will have to wait until Christmas for the professional portraits.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         We took a coupOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         le other pictures out at Bayview. The kids were having a great time on the new playground equipment. The grandparents enjoyed watching them having a good time.

Airport Pickups and Dropoffs

Wow we have had a lot of activity around PIU lately. Maybe you have been wondering where I have been, but I promise to get my blog caught up on the last couple weeks of activity here. I have plenty of pictures and to post and I will try to get them up here as I travel the next few days. One of the things Joyce and I really enjoy about living here on Guam is the opportunity to have so many visitors. We do a lot of airport runs (as many as 50-75 in a year) and have had people from all over the world staying at our house. So many interesting people and so many good discussions! In October we have been privileged to host the Bensons from Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee and Kent and Nola Edwards from Talbot Seminary in La Mirada California. The students also like to come out and provide a melodic welcome to our visitors.

The Benson’s arrived soon after the beginning of October and stayed at our house for a little over two weeks as Matt taught the Introduction to Missions course for our Pacific Islands Evangelical Seminary. We enjoyed getting to know Matt, his wife Melody and their three children Jonathan, Joshua and Emi. Matt not only taught his class but helped us quite a bit as an administrative consultant. We hope we will be able to get the whole family back out here again soon.

This  week we enjoyed having the Edwards with us for the preaching conference. I will be posting several times about the conference soon. On Guam many of the flights come in at odd times, especially the ones from the Micronesian islands and sometimes the ones from Japan. The flight that the Benson’s and Edwards flew in on landed at 11.45 PM. Nevertheless the students really enjoy coming out to properly welcome our guests. See below…



Joyce, finds a good way to relax while waiting for the late-night flight!