Sunday, May 27, 2007

May Graduates in May

Our friend May Vigil, who works in the library at PIBC, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies on May 15, 2007. We are posting this today in honor of her birthday, May 28. She has been a wonderful friend to us, and Joel and Amelia love her very much. Right now she and her husband and her sister's family are vacationing in Australia. Have a great time, May and Tony, and we will see you soon. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

New Bathtub

Finally, after looking for months, we found a big wash tub that we will be using as a bathtub for Joel and Amelia. It cost us $12 at the Korean store. It's big enough to bathe both of them at the same time, if necessary, and can double as a mini-swimming pool. They seem to enjoy it, and it is Joel's favorite color, RED!

Fruit Lover

You can see from these pictures how much Amelia loves to eat fruit. People often ask us about what kind of tropical fruit we eat in Guam. Unfortunately Guam has very little arable land, and almost everything comes in by import, including fruit. Nonetheless, at times we splurge and buy it anyway, or people give it to us. These mangoes are locally grown, and the watermelon was given to us by our friend May, who bought it at the commissary on base.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Farewell Friends

We have been blessed during the last eight months to spend time with the Cepeda Family. Ned knew Vince and Audrey from his days of working at the Iglesia Bautista Betania in Reading, PA before moving to Ecuador in 2001. Vince and Audrey served there as youth workers for a few years in the 1990s; subsequently they came to Guam for pastoral work. Vince and our pastor Tony Pérez studied together at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA. Now Vince and Audrey and their children Benjamin, Joseph, David and Leah have headed off to Alaska where Vince is the National Guard chaplain at Fort Greely. We will miss them, but we thank God for the time He has given us together, and we know we will meet again on either side of heaven.
Benjamin, a gifted pianist (Ned had the privilege of seeing him and Joseph play in their school's piano recital), also shows his artistic talents on the Magna Doodle while David admires his work.
In this picture Audrey keeps an eye on Amelia and Leah. Joel told us he was sad that his friend Leah had to leave Guam. As parents that gave us a good-sized lump in our throats, but we think it is important for our children to learn these lessons in life early. Perhaps Joel and Amelia will grow up to deal with change in their lives better than their parents.
Before leaving, the Cepedas donated a bed, a sofa, a washer and a drier to PIBC. Thanks so much for your generosity. Our maintenance director was hopping on one foot, from excitement, of course!
Adiós, amigos. Hasta luego.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Firefighter Ned

This month we teach the two and three-year-olds at our church, Bayview Baptist Church. Today we used the illustration of a fireman to show the children how they can help others. We told the story about how Paul's nephew warned his uncle of the plot against him in Acts 23.
Marisol sits and plays with the children. We enjoy talking with them. Sometimes we find their comments a bit alarming. The past two weeks some of them have been talking about bombs and blowing people up. Although I understand that "boys will be boys" and that some of them come from military families (I don't always know which ones), that is a bit disturbing to me because they are two and three. At what point do we desensitize our kids to violence in the world? I don't really think children that young understand the destruction brought about by bombs. We should probably weigh our words before talking about certain topics around them and guard their TV viewing a bit more.

Beach Bums

Yesterday we went to one of our favorite spots, Ypao Beach, with Auntie M. The water was clear, although not as clear as usual. I spotted quite a few fish while snorkeling and also some sea cucumbers and snakelike creatures.
As you can see from this picture, Joel adores his Auntie M. She is a wonderful friend and confidante to us and lives next door. She's only a "secret door" away and dispenses jelly beans quite liberally to our kids.
When we stopped at Wendy's on the way home for a bite to eat, God treated us to this lovely rainbow. Much better than the take-out Taco Supreme Salad I ordered. They forgot to include the tortilla chips. So I used Ritz crackers instead. Not exactly the same thing, though. . . .

Swimming in Style

Micah Ngirachemoi is one of Joel and Amelia's on-campus friends. Micah's father Hiob is Dean of Men, and I am his assistant. His mother Leah participates in a ladies Bible study with Marisol on Friday afternoons. He recently received a swimming pool as a gift and regularly invites Joel and Amelia to swim with him. Here the three of them are swimming with Luka Rauchholz.

Amelia's Friend Mamu

The other day we were eating lunch and Amelia started looking out the window and saying "Mamu." We didn't realize what was happening until we looked ourselves and saw Mamu on the roof of the women's dorm next door, waterblasting the accumulated dirt and grime away. Mamu is a student from Asia who became a Christian after he came to Micronesia to study English a few years ago. Now he is a student and a maintenance worker here at PIBC. He will be here during this summer, and Amelia is glad to have her friend nearby. We thank the Lord for what He has done in Mamu's life.

Ecuadorian Connection/Conexión ecuatoriana

I remember when I first arrived in Ecuador in 2001, everyone kept talking about a man from Holland named Peter Vaas. He had been a volunteer who helped paint the Bible institute as well as worked on many other projects. Everyone had been impressed with the quality of work and his servant's heart. Little did I know that five years later I would be working with him at Pacific Islands Bible College in Guam. Now Peter has graduated (as valedictorian) with his BA in Biblical Studies. (The BA stands for Bachelor of Arts, not Bad Attitude, for the record! When I graduated from Houghton with my BA in Communications/Spanish, that was the joke!) He will be returning to the Netherlands later this summer to begin a masters program at the prestigious Free University there. His work as the maintenance supervisor will be missed, as will his kindness and humility and his friendship to us all.

Cuando llegué en el Ecuador en 2001, todos hablaban de Peter Vaas, un voluntario de Holanda que había estado un tiempo trabajando con la Misión Liebenzell. El pintó el Centro de Capacitación Bíblica (CCB), entre otras cosas. Ni me imaginaba que un día trabajáramos con él en Pacific Islands Bible College en Guam. Ahora se graduó con las mejores calificaciones y se regresa a Holanda durante el verano para empezar un masterado. Le vamos a extrañar; ha sido un siervo fiel en su trabajo como supervisor de mantenimiento. ¡Dios te bendiga mucho, Peter!

Double Impact

Two sets of twins have been studying at PIBC this past year. Next year will have one set less, unless we receive a new set as incoming students. Here Emeraech (right) is celebrating her graduation (Associate of Arts in Biblical Studies) with her mother and twin sister Mesikt, who will return next fall to continue her studies towards a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies. Way to go, Emeraech, and God bless your future plans!
The other set of PIBC twins are Twinsanne and Twin Son Sam. Twinsanne represented Micronesia in the 2004 Olympic Games in Sydney, running in the 100M. She brushed shoulders with the likes of Maurice Green and Marion Jones in the Olympic Village. Wow, what an experience! She will be on the ESL team in Thailand this summer. Her brother Twin Son spent lots of time with me in Evangelism class. I really enjoyed getting to know him.

Happy Birthday to Kalvin!

We celebrated Kalvin Assito's birthday on Thursday with a small celebration. Kalvin is one of the men's RAs (Resident Assistants) and also served as the discipleship leader for the group that Ned participated in this past year. He will be a member of the missions trip going to Thailand from mid-July to mid-August. He and his fellow team members will take part in evangelistic activities at the Mae Fa Luang University in Chiang Rai. Please pray for them.
Charity (left) helped us make a Three Milk Cake (Pastel de Tres Leches) for Kalvin. This cake, original to Nicaragua, is a favorite of the students since we introduced it to them on Ned's birthday back in April, especially Jonathan, seated next to Charity. Joel opted for the chocolate cake.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Balloons and More Balloons

Following the graduation ceremony the students presented Joel and Amelia with a whole bunch of balloons. They have enjoyed jumping on them, popping them, hiding in them, and throwing them into the air. Each day we have a few less but still enough to fill up part of our living room. Dorothea and Roland Rauchholz's son Manuel and granddaughter Luka are now on Guam and came to visit us. What a blessing to get to meet them. Luka likes balloons, too. Thank you, PIBC students, for filling our lives with joy. . .and balloons!

Graduation PIBC Style

We survived graduation and I didn't stumble too badly through Pomp and Circumstance, other than forgetting to sharp the first "F" I played. I have never felt comfortable playing on electronic keyboards, and that is what most churches seem to have these days. We were happy to be able to celebrate graduation day with the 13 graduates, 9 earning Bachelors of Arts in Biblical Studies and 4 Associates of Arts in Biblical Studies. Please pray for our graduates as they go on to serve the Lord in different places in Micronesia and beyond.
Here we are with Jayleen Maycry, the female student who has been helping to watch our kids during English class. She is weighed down with multiple leis presented to her following the ceremony. As you can see from the picture, leis are not just made from flowers. At the present time a popular kind of lei is made from candy. I hope our graduates have good dentists that they can entrust their teeth to. We are sad to see Jayleen leave PIBC, but we are happy that she will bring glory to the Lord through her future work in Chuuk.

Here are some of our Yapese students (Mac, Sonny, Percia and Lydia) surrounding Yapese graduate Stella Fatag. Stella is a good friend to our kids, and we will miss her. Although she will participate in the missions trip to Thailand, her future plans are undecided. Please pray for God's leading in her life.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Farewell Cookout

The Farnsworth family was happy to take part in a farewell cookout on Friday night. Melissa snapped this picture of us as we were enjoying our local food (rice, chicken, ribs and potato salad). I am still grading English papers, so the farewell for me has not kicked in yet. Oh, the joys of teaching!

Baccalaureate Island Style

Where can you have Baccalaureate sitting under a coconut tree? No, not on Gilligan's Island! At Pacific Islands Bible College, of course.

Here is a picture of my family with a governor's wife from the Republic of Palau (on the left); Anne Stinnette, who leads a Bible study for Marisol and Leah, the Dean of Men's wife on Friday afternoons; and Emeraech and Mesikt Oderiong's mother (on the right), here in Guam from Palau for graduation. Emeraech and Mesikt are twins and were two of my students in Evangelism class this semester. Emeraech will graduate tomorrow with her Associate of Arts in Biblical Studies, and Mesikt will follow next semester.

Please pray for me tomorrow as I will play at the graduation ceremony. I hope not to stumble too badly through "Pomp and Circumstance" and the hymns that I must play. I am terribly out of practice. Look for a full report coming soon to a blog near you!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Student Friends

This is our friend Mac. Here in this picture he is helping to set up the tent for the Baccalaureate ceremony. He is our Student Council VP and the leader of the University of Guam witnessing team that I have been driving for this past year. Tonight he will help us to show a movie in the main classroom. We are showing the third part of Back to the Future complete with popcorn. A wonderful leader and friend, Mac will be working here on campus until the middle of July when he will join his teammates on the summer missions trip to Thailand. He will be serving on an ESL team in northern Thailand. Please pray for him and the rest of the team.
As Assistant Dean of Mean (our neighbor Melissa pointed out this typo; it should read Assistant Dean of Men. Perhaps it's a Freudian slip. You'll have to ask the men under my care. HA!) at Pacific Islands Bible College I have been so blessed to work with the men students. Last Thursday night Marisol and I invited them over to the house for men's devotions. We had a small snack for them, which they seemed to enjoy, but really the snack was for our ears. Micronesian men sing with beautiful harmonies, and Marisol commented how wonderful it sounded from the next room where she was playing with Joel. Please pray for these men during their varied summer activities, that they would be faithful examples of the Lord Jesus Christ and diligent in resisting the temptations that we all face.
The three ladies in the pictures above are Lydia, Marda and Breechlyn. As Children's Ministry Coordinator this year, it has been an honor for me to work with the students who do children's ministry in the local churches. Lydia, Marda, and Breechlyn have been serving faithfully at the Pohnpeian Church every Sunday morning. I would drop them off at 9, and the service would usually start at 11 and go until 1 or so. They worked in a small room without air conditioning with 40-50 children packed in. To say that they have worked admirably under difficult circumstances would be an understatement. We invited them over for dinner on Wednesday night and really enjoyed our time with them. All three of them have been good friends to us, and especially to Joel and Amelia. Please pray for them as they will be working this summer, Lydia in Yap and Marda and Breechlyn here in Guam.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Good Example to Follow

Last week we had a delightful visit with Dorothea and Roland Rauchholz, retired missionaries who spent over 30 years serving in Micronesia. They were here to help celebrate 100 years of the presence of Liebenzell Mission in Chuuk. It was such an honor for us to have them in our home. We prepared a Mexican dish called "pozole" for them (Write us for recipe if interested!). Dorothea explained to us that when they were living in Chuuk years ago when their children were small, many people advised them that they should send their children to a German boarding school so they could get a good education that would serve them well later in life. She and Roland talked and prayed about it and decided that they wanted to send their children to the local school because they did not want to put a barrier between themselves and the people they were serving in Chuuk. Their selfless desire to put the local people before their own needs had a tremendous payback. Today their children are serving the Lord in different positions around the world. One, who has been living in Chuuk with his family, is finishing up his dissertation in Ethnology.

When she told us that story, I got a huge lump in my throat. How many times do I fool myself into thinking that I am doing the best thing for my children when really I am doing it for me and my selfish pride? Dorothea and Roland's testimony reminded me that God is much bigger than my own desire to be a good parent. I still have much to learn about parenting, and I feel blessed to be able to learn some of those things from godly people like Dorothea and Roland. Please pray for them as they are now back in Germany after spending more than three months abroad.
I hope we get to spend more time with them someday. If not here on earth, then certainly in heaven!

Star Student to the End

I, Professor Ned Farnsworth, usually of sound mind and certainly at this important moment, do hereby declare Mrs. Ruth Marisol Bedoya Palacios de Farnsworth to have the highest average in the Spring 2007 English for Academic Purposes (EN 105R) class at Pacific Islands Bible College. She also earned the second highest grade on the final chapter exam (the highest average goes to Mr. Ektor Phillip. Way to go, bro!) and the highest grade on the myth story. Thank you for all of your prayers for Marisol. I am very proud of her hard work and perseverance! She is planning to continue with Freshman English next semester. Please continue to pray for her English acquisition.
Picture taken by Master Joel Mark Farnsworth at "Two Lover's Point" Observation Tower (ocean behind us) while we were trying to keep Amelia from escaping! If you come to visit us (hint!), we promise to take you here.

Monday, May 7, 2007

La princesa de la casa/Resident Princess

Me di cuenta que la mayoría de las fotos son de Joel. Aquí hay una de Amelia comiendo una galleta de avena que su mamá hizo. Todos dicen que es una niña preciosa y que vamos a tener que correr a los chicos un día. Espero que aquel día se demore todavía. Pero reconocemos que ella es la princesa de la casa.

I realized that most of the pictures on our blog are of Joel. Here is a recent one of Amelia. She is eating one of her mamá's oatmeal cookies. Everyone says that she is precious and that we will need to chase the boys away someday. I hope that day is still far from coming true. But we do recognize that she is our resident princess.

Best Student/Mejor Alumna

Tomorrow Marisol needs to turn in her myth story for my English class. She is my best student. I am so proud of her for her hard work. Despite being a wife and mother and helper in the children's ministry, she still manages to get her work done on time and with a smile (well, most of the time!). Her myth explains why there are stars in the sea (starfish). Please pray for her and the other students as they take their final chapter test on Thursday. And then I get to grade them!!!

Mañana Marisol tiene que entregar el mito que ella escribió para la clase de inglés. Es mi mejor alumna. Estoy muy orgulloso de ella. A pesar de ser esposa y madre y ayudante en el ministerio de niños, ella entrega su trabajos a tiempo y con una sonrisa en la cara (¡pues, la mayoría del tiempo!). Su mito explica por qué hay estrellas en el mar (estrellas de mar). Oren por ella y los otros estudiantes cuando tienen que hacer su último examen el jueves por la mañana. ¡¡¡¡Y después yo tengo que calificarlos!!!!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Guilty Pleasure!

Last Friday night the female staff of Pacific Islands Bible College had a Ladies Night to talk about marriage, dating, and relationships with the female students. I stayed home and put Joel to bed. Then I watched the final two episodes of the third season of "Homicide." (We do not have any TV reception here, so the only TV we get is by VHS or DVD). My mom used to ask me why I watched "Homicide" because in her mind it was a depressing show. To me it always dealt with serious issues in a meaningful way (racism against immigrants, the consequences of adultery, male/female work conflicts, etc.), plus the writing was rivoting and the performances were stellar. That was really the last TV show I had a true passion for.

I enjoyed having the time to do that, to have some down time to escape from students arriving late to class,; grading papers, tests and quizzes; and dealing with discipline issues as Assistant Dean of Men.

Here I present to you a list of my favorite TV drama series of all time. Some are more acclaimed than others. But these are shows that have been special to me throughout different eras of my life.

1. The Waltons--this is my all-time favorite, especially the early years. I have even met many of the cast members over the years at reunion events. That was fun!
The rest of these are in no particular order.
2. Little House on the Prairie--this series diminished as the years went on, even more than "The Waltons" did. But I loved watching the characters grow and comparing the stories to the "Little House" books, which I continue to read to this day. I just finished the series of books about Rose Wilder Lane, Laura and Almanzo's daughter.
3. Homicide--described above and filmed on location in Baltimore.
4. I'll Fly Away--lasted two seasons, a highly acclaimed series that took place during the fight for civil rights in the 1960s, filmed in the Atlanta area. Later shown on PBS, which added one concluding TV movie. I visited some of the filming sites during a trip to Atlanta some years ago.
5. The Paper Chase--only lasted one season on CBS and starred John Houseman, who won an Oscar for the role of Professor Kingsfield, which he reprised for the series. Later rerun on PBS; Showtime later filmed additional episodes with some of the same cast, but I never saw those episodes.
6. The Rockford Files--I loved this show with James Garner and his unlikely friend Angel (Stuart Margolin) who always managed to mess everything up.
7. Tour of Duty--Vietnam era series which showed the ups and downs of a platoon. The first season was filmed in Hawaii with seasons two and three in CA. Purcell was played by the same actor who played Elizabeth's boyfriend on "The Waltons," Tony Becker.
8. Shirley--late 1970s series with Shirley Jones playing a widow with three or four children. As far as I know, this series has never been rerun. Shirley sang the theme song, which I think was called, "Where the Love Is."
9. Law and Order--this series goes on and on. For me it has lost some of its appeal since Jerry Orbach left for a spinoff and then died. It is supposedly in danger of cancellation this year. But the theme song is inimitable.
10. Trapper John, MD--this is a "MASH" spinoff that lasted several years with Pernell Roberts as a mature Trapper John and Gregory Harrison as Gonzo, a type of young "Trapper John" character. My parents and I used to watch this on Sunday nights after church, and that memory helps to endear this show to me. Judy Garland's daughter Lorna Luft played a nurse in the final seasons.

Wow, that was fun. I would love to hear from some of you about your favorite drama series. I am sure that I forgot some good ones. Stay tuned for my favorite comedy series, movies, and Broadway shows, coming soon to a blog near you.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Joel's Special Friend Part 2

Today Jayleen really made Joel's day. He has been collecting the Wizard of Oz figures from the McDonald's Happy Meals (We passed on the toys that were supposed to be for the boys, the Ninja Turtles). We managed to collect 7 of the 8. We had 6 and then a McDonald's employee named Junalynn dug through all of the toys and found Daisy Munchkin for us last week after the promotion ended. Joel still wanted the 8th one, the Wicked Witch of the East. She makes a brief appearance in the beginning of the Oz sequence from the feet down until Glinda gives Dorothy the ruby slippers that belonged to the witch. Dorothy's house did her in.

Well, today, Jayleen surprised Joel by bringing the figure to give to him. She got it a couple of weeks ago in her Happy Meal. Well, to say that she made Joel happy would be a considerable understatement. This afternoon we acted out the whole movie, songs and all, using the 8 figures. That was really fun. By the way, the wicked witches are happy and friendly in our play, by Joel's request!

I made a mistake, which my wife pointed out to me in the last post. Jayleen is heading to Thailand for college campus ministry this summer. Her team will be there for one month, and they will serve alongside Thai Campus Crusade for Christ staff. There is another team from PIBC going to the Marshall Islands. Please pray for them. Any financial contributions would be greatly appreciated, as their funds are limited. College attendance has a way of doing that.