Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

We are already in 2009. Since Guam is "where America's day begins," we beat you into the new year. Here is how we spent New Year's Eve, in case you were wondering.

During Joel and Amelia enjoyed water games and picture-taking with the neighbors.
We enjoyed Calvary Baptist Church's candlelight ceremony following the communion service. We all needed to give a word of thanks for something in 2008.
The church also sponsored a chili bake-off for New Year's Eve. Much to my delight, I won the all-around division with a new recipe, Microwave Mexican Chili. This was my second win in a cooking contest, the first being the first place winner in a Latino cooking contest in Reading, PA. There as the lone non-Latino entrant I won with my Mexican Pozole.
Amelia was very proud of the piñata remnants that she rescued.

Christmas Men's Night

The second annual Christmas Men's Night was held on Friday, December 12. Joe, pictured to the right of Mamu, was one of the guests of honor as a December graduate of PIBC. Melissa and Stella are in the background.

The food was good, as always. Micronesians know how to throw a party! Grandma and Grandpa were impressed by the guys' hospitality.
Grandma and the kids enjoyed the entertainment.
Jireh-lynn, Hiob and Leah's one-year-old daughter, absolutely loved the cupcakes, or at least her face did.

Pastor Hiob participated in the Scripture Song Composition game in his inimitable style. We handed out the verses, and the contestants needed to create their song on the spot. Fun game!

Urte enlisted me to help her sing her song which used an echo style. All of us enjoyed the party and look forward to next year's celebration. Thank you, men, for the invitation!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Third Birthday, Amelia!

On December 19 we all had a good time helping Amelia celebrate her third birthday.

Joel helped Amelia blow out her candles.
Of course, we considered it a blessing to have Grandma and Grandpa with us on this special occasion.

Amelia adored the apron that Grandma sewed for her.

A few friends joined us for a small party in the afternoon. Here the guest watch Amelia open her presents.

She immediately wanted to model her new jewelry.

Roxanne, Joel and Micah helped us sing "Happy Birthday to You."

After the cake we all went outside to play.

Marisol posed with two of her best friends, Carmen and Melissa.

Grandma and Grandpa enjoyed chatting with Wanda, Hiob, and Betty. Wanda is a retired Liebenzell missionary putting the finishing touches on her autobiography, Hiob is my colleague and Dean of Men at PIBC, and Betty is coordinating the translation of the Bible in Nukuoro (Ponpei). They are all dear friends who serve the Lord in different capacities.

Orchid Orquidia

As an experiment, soon after moving to this place late last year Marisol tied some orchid plants up to the tree. She's been watering and fussing over them.

We were so excited to see buds on December 19 during Amelia's birthday party.
Now it's blooming. Way to go, Marisol! I'm very proud of her patience and persistence.

Friday, December 26, 2008

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night

Joel appeared as a sheep in the two presentations of our church's Christmas pageant this year.

Mary and Joseph pondered the birth of their Son and Savior of the world, Jesus.

Our friend Jason wrapped his wonderful voice around the poignant lyrics to Michael Card's "Joseph Song" that I hadn't heard in many years.

Joel and his friends await the cue for their entrance.

Gabriel exclaimed, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord."

The heavenly choir sang, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace goodwill to men."

The shepherds followed the angels' advice and went to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus with their own eyes.

The shepherds and Joel rested after their part in the play ended.
Our little lamb posed with his proud Grandma and Grandpa. They were glad that they could be here to see Joel in the Christmas program.


One of our PIBC students, Matias, and I have been in an accountability relationship this semester. It has been a great blessing for both of us as we have grown together to each other and to the Lord. Please pray for us that we can honor God in all we do. "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17).

2nd Annual Christmas Chapel

I supervised the PIBC chapel program on Friday, December 12, but I had much help from my friends. Read on!

Gloria read the results of a Christmas Mad Lib after "How to Wrap a Christmas Present," with great effect.

Joyce and I played a Christmas medley duet. My mother was very kind when she said, "I heard only a couple mistakes." Good thing she didn't have the sheet music in front of her!!! Thanks, Joyce, for your participation and patience!
My English students (from left, Grace, Erten, Joe, and Mavrick) helped me to present a rendition of Luke 2:1-20.

I performed a dramatic reading of O Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" and sang the Glad song "One Quiet Moment" about Mary and Joseph's quest to Bethlehem and parenthood.

Back by popular demand was the Von Trapp Farnsworth Family singing "Mi burrito sabanero," which recounts the story of a young donkey on his way to Bethlehem to visit the baby Jesus.

Christmas Day

Hope your Christmas Day provided many Kodak moments. Here is a retrospective of our December 25:

Now Amelia doesn't want to eat her food on anything but her new Strawberry Shortcake plate from Grandma and Grandpa.

Opening our presents provided a lot of smiles and laughs.
Grandma and Grandpa showed off their new island wear.

Thanks to some great long-distance consulting (Thanks, Skype!) with my Uncle Dave, we were able to roast the turkey (my second ever), and it turned out rather succulent, if I do say so myself.
Amelia and Joel had their own special table. Marisol joined them for part of the time.

We savored the meal and the fellowship with our guests.

We finished our Christmas Day by delivering a plate of homemade cookies to our neighbors and singing Christmas carols as an added attraction. Hopefully I didn't make too many mistakes on the guitar.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad

De nuestra casa a su casa, Feliz Navidad. From our house to your house, Merry Christmas! Jesús es la razón para la celebración. Jesus is the reason for the season!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

International Prayer Night

On the second Saturday of each month we spent two hours praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. Organized by our friend Laura, this has opened our eyes to the needs and our responsibility to pray for them. Here Daisy, Myumi and Leah were among those who prayed during our last meeting of the semester.

Community Group Fun

It has been nice to be a part of our community group at PIBC this semester. Here is a recap of some of our recent activities.

In November we had a special guest from Chuuk, Yiotaka (left), pictured here with Hartmut. Yiotaka shared with us some of the challenges and blessings he faces as the coordinator of the PIBC Teaching Facility in Weno, Chuuk.

Joel spent time with Percia, who was one of his friends during the Palau mission trip.
Amelia fell in love with the rocking chair at Urte and Hartmut's house.

Our PIBC community group took a tour of the Sea Haven, a medical, dental and optical relief ship that travels around Micronesia serving the islanders who do not normally have access to these services. Pacific Missionary Aviation provides this free of charge in the name of Jesus Christ.

This is a familiar site around Micronesia. People almost always remove their shoes before going inside someone's house, but I didn't know that we would have to do it to enter a ship!
Here is the dental chair. Marisol would be very comfortable sitting here as she as had several trips to the dentist in recent months. On this ship the visiting doctors and nurses volunteer their services.

PMA worker Melinda explains to our group of the medical procedures that have been done on board.

Stella was more than a little hesitant to go downstairs on the ship.
Joel liked wanted to try out the furniture in the dining room.

Amelia and Marisol climbed up one of the ladders in the ship.

We wanted to have a group picture taken in the captain's control area.

"Oh, say, can you see?" Joel and Amelia have had lots of practice sing that song during home school the past few months.

This is a family shot we had taken on board the ship.

Joel got comfortable on the top bunk in the staff sleeping quarters. He and Amelia really enjoyed their tour.

Two Saturdays ago we had a small Christmas party at our house for our community group. Chelsea and Maybelline came early to help us to make the potato salad. They also helped with other tasks as well to keep us on schedule. Thanks, ladies.
As you can see, Marisol and her helpers put out quite a feast. Chicken, ribs, potato salad, cookies, cake, iced tea, lemonade, etc. Yummy, Yummy, muy delicioso.

Joel was happy to be reunited with Safelyn. She had to miss some of our meetings due to illness.

Joe and Tjay sampled some of the goodies.

Leeman, Joel and Joel smiled for the photographer.

Micronesians love to take pictures. Urte, Hartmut and I were just innocent bystanders.

Mom and Dad were being Micronesian, at least while the party lasted. They have really enjoyed spending time with the students.