Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Finally Presenting. . .Citizen Marisol!

Some of the 48 new citizens repeating the oath of allegiance. Photo courtesy of Pacific Daily News.

Today, May 1, 2oo8, Ruth Marisol Farnsworth became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America. The judge began the ceremony by reminding us that it was the 50th Annual Law Day. I am sorry, Dwight D. Eisenhower, but I did not even know that Law Day existed. While as a family we are relieved that our dealings with U.S. immigration are behind us, it does not come without a tinge of sadness. Marisol had to give up her Ecuadorian citizenship, which is a significant loss because it is part of who she is. The U.S. does not allow dual citizenship for Ecuadorians, although it does allow for Canada, Great Britain, Mexico, and some other countries. Still, we remain convinced that U.S. citizenship was the best option for her to avoid future problems in the constantly changing post 9/11 immigration laws.

Here we are, one nervous father and two bored children. The ceremony was not, shall we say, kid friendly. It included a generic prerecorded video from President George W. Bush and a keynote address by a local senator who spoke a long time without saying much. Plus we sang the trite "God Bless the USA" instead of the expected national anthem or "America the Beautiful." Perhaps one should suspect such pomp and little substance from official ceremonies.

Thank you for all your prayers for Marisol and our family during this LONG immigration process.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It's a Bird, it's a Plane, it's a PIBC Rocket!

Presenting the PIBC Elementary Methods 2 class (Math & Science) on the day of their first rocket launch at Eagle Field. It turned out to be a fun and educational day for all of us. Professor Kathy has done a wonderful job of incorporating creative hands-on activities into her lessons to train Micronesia's future teachers. They've also visited the planetarium and taught local Korean children a regular Friday afternoon science class. Kudos to Kathy and PIBC!

Students Benny and Ethel are proud to get their rocket ready for launching.

Kathy snaps a picture as Brad sets up the next rocket for launch. Benny points high in the sky. Is he looking for Superman or a stray rocket? The man to the left of Kathy is Bill, a teacher at St. John's High School who helped Kathy's class to run the launch, and he donated the launcher and ignitor to PIBC. Thanks, Bill!

Another rocket soars into the air while the excited PIBC students look on!

Marisol, Joel, Amelia and PIBC student Jayleen run after the rockets that have landed in the field. Sorry this picture was taken from so far away, but I didn't want you to miss a vital part of the rocket launching process.

A Visit from a Coconut Crab

As we were pulling out of our driveway this morning, I noticed something moving from the area where the car had been parked. We all jumped out of the car and went over to see what it was: a coconut crab. We were all delighted and wanted to share this picture with you. If you want to see one in person, please come visit us in Guam.

Almost Good-bye to Good Friends

Last night after staff prayer meeting Marisol went to find our children who were playing at the house of some of our friends who live on campus. Our lives have been touched by Perry, Joy and Ganya.

When she arrived at their house, Amelia was dressed up like a fairy. Look how fast our "little girl" is growing up!

Ganya is one of the first friends that Joel made when we first moved to Guam in September 2006. It will be VERY hard to say good-bye to her. The life of missionaries is filled with hellos and good-byes.
Joy has been, and IS, a huge asset to PIBC. Marisol and I worked closely with her last year during the PIBC Adventure Club on Wednesday nights. Since then she has served as the Sunday School Coordinator at the Palauan Evangelical Church of Guam and organized one of the best Vacation Bible Schools I have ever seen in my life last summer. Joel and the other kids LOVED it. We will miss her and her family, but we are very happy that they are returning to Palau after she graduates on May 13 to continue their life work and ministry.

PIBC and UOG Together!

This semester I have been unofficial "advisor" to the PIBC students who form part of the University of Guam (UOG) ministry. They travel to UOG every Monday and Wednesday to talk to the students there about spiritual matters and their faith in Jesus Christ. On Saturday our students hosted some of their student contacts from UOG. The event consisted of a short service with singing and sharing, a meal, and a fun time with skits. Here the UOG students perform a very funny skit. The picture does not do it justice. Congratulations to the PIBC ministry team for a job well done!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Visiting the USS Frank Cable

My Ministry Introduction class experienced an exciting day as we wandered onto Guam Naval Base as guests of the navy chaplains.

First we stopped at the chapel, and Chaplain's Assistant Chris showed us around and explained how the chaplain's ministry works in organized weekend meetings.

From there we headed over to the port itself and saw the ships and submarines during a tour of the USS Frank Cable, home to 1200 sailors who spend about two years onboard, sometimes in port and sometimes at sea.

We posed with (left to right) Chaplain Louis, Chaplain Assistant Paul, and Chaplain Andrew. All of the chaplains and their assistants were very generous and gracious as we asked questions and tried to keep up with them as they gave us a tour of the ship. (Somehow I managed to cut most of Brendan from the picture. Sorry, Brendan!!!)

Sarah, Ginny, and Cece wanted to have their picture taken in the captain's chair. . .

. . .and again on the far side of the anchor, "the most dangerous part of the ship (because of its weight)," according to Chaplain Andrew.
This trip gave me a new admiration for the chaplains serving in the military. Theirs is a strenuous and challenging job to serve men and women for the glory of God in a pluralistic society that requires ministering to people where they are. Thanks for all you do.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

We found this toad outside our house the other day. Normally they do not come out during the day. They especially prefer rainy nights. It reminded us of the time when I was in Yap on a mission trip; we lived on campus back then. Marisol went to eat at Harald and Hannalore's (they live on campus, too) house for New Year's Eve and left the carriage outside. While they were eating, a toad hopped into the bottom of the carriage. Later that night, after returning home, Marisol heard a strange sound and discovered that there was a toad inside the apartment. She chased it into the bedroom, closed the door, and slept with the children in their room that night. The next day our maintenance director at that time, Peter, helped to catch the toad. Since then, we have not had a repeat performance, and we hope to keep it that way. It sure makes for a funny story, though.

PIBC Days Report: Better Late than Never!

PIBC Days are held every spring at Pacific Islands Bible College to celebrate the founding of our school. Student Council divides the students and staff into three teams for three days of activities and competition. This year's theme, "Stand Your Ground," was based on the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the book of Daniel 3.

Each of the three days ends with a special program led by one of the teams. The first night featured the Abednego team. Ginny and Percia performed actions to a song in perfect synchronization.

Here is a picture of the entire A-Team. They won this year's competition. Congratulations, Abednego!

The second night's fellowship was under the direction of Meshach. Here a group of ladies sing a song they composed especially for the occasion.

Meshach placed second in this year's PIBC Days competition. Way to go, Meshach!

Team Abednego (or Azariah) enthusiastically marched onto the basketball court for the beginning of Saturday's events.
The students listen as President Dave Owen shares a brief history of PIBC, comparing the PIBC presidents to the first three presidents of the United States of America. He would make a historian proud.

The men faithfully carry the tent to shade the spectators for the track and field events.

Marsa crosses the line in victory in the Women's 100 meter dash. Look out, Beijing Summer Olympics, here she comes!
Alvin inches Jeremeia to win the Men's 100 meter dash heat.

Joel and Amelia take a pretzel and juice break during the Track and Field Day activities.
The Shadrach men show their strength in the Tug of War.

During Shadrach's evening program pre-chosen contestants participate in the Hat Dance. Similar to Musical Chairs, Ned used the game to show how countries hostile to Christianity are eliminating Christians one by one. The game introduced his message from 1 Peter 3:13-17 about suffering for doing good and not evil.

Ned snapped this picture of the crowd at the beginning of his message on the closing night of PIBC Days.
Shadrach survived the fiery furnace with God's help. Look at the neat decorations designed and conceived by Melissa.

This is our team after the final evening program. SHADRACH ROCKS (even though we came in third place)!!!

A Day at the Zoo

During Easter break we decided to visit the Guam Botanical Garden and Zoo in Tumon. It ended up being an unforgettable day for our family and not just because the donkey bit Ned's hand while he was feeding it. Read on for the rest of the story!

At the entrance to the zoo was a grassy mound that Joel and Amelia ran up and down with great delight.

The first animal that we saw was uncaged and changed from brown to green at will. That is right: a chameleon.

The children were interested in the llamas until they heard that they spit. Then they rushed away.

Joel and Amelia and the Spanish moss posed at the entrance to an authentic Japanese installation dating from the World War 2 period.

The admission price included an empty tuna can full of dry fish food to (you guessed it!) feed the fish!

Amelia wanted to feed Clarabelle the Caribou (water buffalo). Hey, it cost only 25 cents.

Ned Turns 43!

April 4, 2008 was the day that Ned Stephen Farnsworth, also known on the PIBC campus as "Super Skinny," turned 43. He spent a nice day with his beloved family and friends. Thanks for the cards and kind wishes. If you see Robert Downey, Jr. (the actor), wish him a Happy Belated Birthday. He turned 43 on the very same day.

Grandpa Ray and Grandma Barb

We spent a wonderful evening with Ray and Barb tonight when they came over for dinner. Ray and Barb visit PIBC every spring. He is our librarian and helps to open and maintain Christian libraries all over the world. They recently took trips to Russia and Kenya for that very purpose. Amelia and Joel LOVE Ray and Barb. Although we miss our own parents very much, we thrill at the fact that our kids have MANY SETS OF GRANDPARENTS IN THE LORD. You can see the wonder in Amelia's and Joel's eyes. That is a HUGE blessing for our family.


Notice the look of relief on everyone's eyes. This picture was taken the day after Marisol passed her citizenship test. Now we can FINALLY concentrate on potty training Amelia.

Easter Memories

Joel and Amelia present our 2008 Easter tree that THEY decorated.

Amelia, Joel and Marisol paint Easter eggs in an annual Farnsworth tradition.
Here we are in our finest Easter duds. Joel took this picture for us.

As we did last year, we made Resurrection Rolls with our friend Melissa or Auntie M. It's a good time to reflect on the true meaning of Easter. Please let us know if you want to know the recipe.

Amelia and Joel are on a mission: looking for eggs.

Amelia and Joel wanted to show off the eggs that they collected. As you can see, we had a nice Easter. Sorry for the late Easter update.