Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Friday Board Chapel

  SAMSUNG            Friday is the final day of the annual board meeting and, in some ways, is the most fun day. The meeting is done by 11 and the board then leads the chapel service. Each board member SAMSUNG            speaks and gets an opportunity to share a little about their own spiritual journey with Christ and their calling to PIU. The students get to express their thankfulness to the board with some beautiful music. I am always encouraged by this chapel and this year was no exception. After chapel the board shared lunch with the faculty and staff and we spent about two hours interacting. I took a lot of pictures so you can see what our board looks like in action. :)


Groups from the men and women’s dorms provided music


Siska Hutapea is now our only female member of the Board of Trustees and mentioned that she had brought beauty to the Board. She is also the chair of our finance committee and we are very thankful for her active participation as a local Guam board member. Bill Schuit is the Global Director for Liebenzell Mission USA. He provides valuable missionary experience to our board. He was a teaching colleague when we started teaching in Palau in 1984.


Hiob Ngirachemoi is a pastor from Palau and represents the Palauan Evangelical Church on our Board. He also spent three years on the Guam campus as our Dean of Men. He is also one of our graduates from the days of MIBS. John Robertson told some stories in chapel about his days growing up as an MK in India. He is a very active local Guam board member who provides very valuable construction knowledge and experience to our board.

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David Mayer (left) thanked the students and staff for praying for him during his recent job search. He mentioned how grateful he was to have people all over the world praying for his job situation. He will be moving to Atlanta soon with a new job there as an architect. Vincent Parren represents the Yap Evangelical Church on the PIU Board. He is also the father of a current PIU student. I am not sure why I did not get a picture of Harald Gorges during his chapel speech. It was probably because I was laughing so hard I forgot to take a picture. Harald knows how to tell funny stories. He represents Liebenzell Germany on our board and has many years of missionary experience in Micronesia.

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Mike introduced Howard Merrell our board chairman who also delivered the message for the chapel service. Howard spoke about how we as human beings are “treasures in ordinary containers.” He illustrated by having Ransome “guard” a treasure of chocolates in an ordinary basket made of leaves. Howard urged us to guard the treasure God has placed within us. It also fits PIU well. From outside we don’t look like much but God is working in a powerful way on this campus. PIU is “gold in a paper bag.”

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Board Meeting Barbecue

SAMSUNG            Last Thursday night the board invited students, alumni, staff and faculty to join them for dinner. They generously provided the funds for the chicken, ribs, potato salad etc. and we enjoyed a good night of fellowship together. I know the board members enjoyed the evening.SAMSUNG            We appreciate the hard work the board does for the school and they enjoyed seeing some of the “fruit” of that labor as they had a chance to meet and get to know our alumni and students and find out what they are doing. They also had the opportunity to “shoot some hoops” with the guys. Here are a few pictures of the event. Most of the pictures, especially the good ones, were taken by Billy Edwin and posted on the PIU alumni page.

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The food was great.

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On the left board chairman Howard Merrell and PIU Bible teacher Iotaka Choram discuss some deep issues. On the right Joyce does some damage to a piece of chicken

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It was a beautiful evening for a barbecue

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Left: Food lineup, Right: “Grandpa Steve” Bradley, John Aitaro and Delight Suda

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No PIU event is complete without some singing

Annual Board Meeting #2

SAMSUNG              Just a couple reflections on our recently completed board meetings. Board meetings can be difficult times because, since we are a small non-profit Christian college, we are always struggling with maintaining excellence with too little resources and too few people. We often cannot do what we want to do and sometimes we really have to stretch to do what we need to do. We never have easy solutions to our problems and we have to make difficult decisions. Sometimes there are issues that people disagree on. In those areas, nothing was different about this board meeting. We had to deal with all those issues. We do need to increase our financial resources so we can bring in the people we need to meet the needs of our students. All these difficulties were in front if us.

SAMSUNG            But this year I did not come out of the meeting worried (yes I sometimes succumb to that temptation) or feeling frustrated. Part of that is that PIU seems to have turned the corner with increased incoming student numbers and an upturn in donations. But the real reason for the difference, was the way our board worked with a godly optimism in tackling the issues in front of us. I can’t remember a board meeting when we spent so much time in prayer. I think it was also a blessing that the board members were able to spend more time with faculty, staff, students and alumni instead of being in one room the whole time. I was also encouraged by the board’s willingness to be more involved throughout the year as they headed back to their homes.

SAMSUNG            We still face some stiff challenges ahead. But we also have many opportunities. We were encouraged by the participation this year in our meeting of Senator Shelten Neth from Pohnpei as he brought to us the desire of the Pohnpeian Church to be part of PIU. We heard reports of what our graduates are doing throughout the region and what the PIU students are doing and plan to do. This year for me, the board meeting was a good time to focus on what God is doing through PIU and what He can do through us in the future. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Annual Board Meeting

SAMSUNG            PIU held its annual board of trustees meeting last week (Feb 20-22) on the Guam campus. PIU has board members from the US Mainland, Guam, Palau, Yap and Germany. Our board members include (back row left to right) David Mayer, Howard Merrell, John Robertson, Bill Schuit, (front row left to right) Hiob Ngirachemoi, Siska Hutapea, Vincent Parren and Harald Gorges. Board member Martin Auch was not able to be at the meeting. This year we missed Mary Johnson, who was a board member for 5 years, and before that was a faculty member and administrator at PIU. She left the board this year after moving from Guam to Arizona. We are very thankful for her faithful service to PIU these many years. We also remembered former board member Neil Culbertson, who recently went home to be with the Lord. He was one of our founding board members and served PIU for many productive years. I am very thankful for a good group of board members who are dedicated to serving God’s kingdom in the Pacific islands and to leading PIU to become what God has called us to be. More on the board meeting in the next few posts.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

“Covenant Players” Chapel

SAMSUNG            We are right in the middle of our annual board meeting this week, (I will make some posts about that later) butSAMSUNG            I wanted to post about an interesting chapel this week.  We had the Covenant Players here Monday and Tuesday for a drama workshop and a chapel presentation. I think this is the 3rd or 4th time they have come to PIU and we always enjoy them. I know the students (and staff) learn a lot about how to do effective ministry/teaching dramas from them and their chapel presentations are always thought provoking and have a powerful message. I especially enjoyed the “Twilight Zone” style skit.

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The student chapel band made some worshipful music. Serenity sat next to me and enjoyed the music and the drama



The students who participated in the drama workshop acted in a skit about the Parable of the Soils from Matthew 13.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Guam in World News

223400_10151342188394335_899484479_nGuam is not often the venue for world news (though it is in a very strategic spot between the US and Asia) but this week we were the subject for two major stories that have rocked the island a bit. Both happened on Tuesday, February 12th.  

The first took place in the morning just as President Obama was making his State of the Union address. It seems that two Russian bombers with nuclear tipped cruise missiles circled Guam. F-15’s intercepted them and escorted them away to the North. You can read about that here and here.

The second was a bizarre multiple murder that took place in the tourist area of Hotel Row in Tumon. The culprit’s weapons were his Toyota and a knife. You can read the news report here, and here you can see an interview with one of our PIU teachers, Joey Charles, who was an eye-witness of the events. One of our PIU students, Kevin Graham, wrote his thoughts about the tragedy here. The story was also covered by CNN, USA Today, Fox News and most of the other major news outlets. The latest local update of the story is here.

There is a lot of talk about how this will effect Guam tourism and the promised military buildup on Guam. We prayed this morning at church for the families of the murdered Japanese tourists and, as always, for the government of Guam. All in all, I still feel just as safe on Guam as I did in most places I have lived on the US Mainland.

Music Chapel

Last Tuesday was a music chapel at PIU, in which different combinations of students get together and lead the PIU family in singing. This time they also shared what music, worship etc. means to them. I recorded a few of them on my phone from the 2nd row. They sounded great and I was blessed by their efforts.  In the one above Scott Refilong shares his thoughts about worship (a bit Platonic Scott!) and the group sings.

In this video Kita Mokut leads us in singing a song she wrote a couple years ago.

Then the Ranch Fellowship group sang enthusiastically. I made another video of the guys’ trio but cannot figure out how to rotate the video. When I figure that out I will post that one too. Smile

Friday, February 15, 2013


cousergwen2Joyce and I are very blessed to have five grandchildren – 3 granddaughters and 2 grandsons – with another granddaughter on the way who should arrive in March. Of course, we are very excited about that and Joyce will be using my frequent flyer miles again to be with Kristin when she has the baby. Grandsons are great. Titus will always be my first grandchild and there is something about that which is very special and creates a unique relationship.Leila I enjoy my time with Milo. He is so much like Matt it feels like déjà vu. I wish I could spend more time with him. The relationship with granddaughters is not better than with grandsons. It is just different and I don’t know how to explain it. SAMSUNGI just enjoy it. I get to spend a lot of time with Courage and Serenity here on Guam and we are looking forward to spending time with Leila when I am in Dallas in a couple months to do some recruiting. I did get some pictures during Valentine week which I needed an excuse to share. So here they are. The picture on the upper left was taken yesterday in the PIU office with Gwen, the daughter of our Executive Administrator Nino Pate. On the right, is the Valentine’s Day card, from Leila, that our daughter Missy sent us from Texas. The picture of Serenity on the tricycle was taken in chapel on Tuesday. My devotional reading this morning said this, “Grandchildren are the crown of old men”  AMEN!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Welcome to Guam Rob and Leyla Watt

SAMSUNG              Well, it is actually “welcome back” to Rob and a first time welcome for Leyla. Rob has worked with SAMSUNG            PIU for many years, first in Palau and then the last three years on Guam. Leyla is from Turkey where  she and Rob were married almost two years ago. We have been praying for her to get her visa to the US since then and our prayers were finally answered when she and Rob walked out of the airport door at about 1 o’clock this morning. The students waited excitedly for about an hour to welcome Leyla to Guam properly with leis, hugs and lots of singing. We are glad to have Rob back on campus at PIU and thankful to see Leyla for the first time. Yes, Rob, now we know for sure that she is a real person!


Leyla and Rob were welcomed with hugs and kisses


Joyce and Leyla (left). The ladies (Samantha, Daisy, Joyce and Leyla) in the airport parking lot before everyone headed home.


There is no doubt that Leyla and Rob had, by far, the largest and loudest welcoming committee in the airport last night.