Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gardenia Sitting

Joel took this picture of a gardenia that we are watching so it doesn't die during the summer break at PIBC. When we brought it over to the house, it was almost dead from lack of water.

Two hours later the same flower was completely open like this. It smells beautiful. Ned's mother would be proud. She has a gardenia plant in PA.

Joel's New Friend

Joel has a new friend who regularly visits his family, who live next door to us. The friend's name is also Joel, which can be a bit confusing. He pronounces his name JOE-el, which is the common pronunciation here in Guam.

The Family Keeps Growing!

Here is a picture of Gisela, Marisol's sister-in-law. Gisela and Marisol's brother, Wilo, serve at the Iglesia Emanuel in Atuntaqui, Ecuador. Please pray for their ministry there. Gisela is expecting their first child in August. Marisol's parents are thrilled, and so are we!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Books and Movies

Currently I am reading Julie Andrew's autobiography about her early years, entitled Home. I can imagine her reading her story out loud with her impeccable diction (maybe I should buy the Audio Book). She offers her impressions of World War Two as a young British girl growing up as well as her contributions to the British version of vaudeville, appearing for the King and Queen, etc. She does not gloss over the sad parts of her family life, including her parents' divorce and her stepfather's (and later mother's) alcoholism.

The other book I am making my way through is The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis. I had hoped to have The Chronicles of Narnia finished by the time Prince Caspian came out, but alas, I am only in the third book of the series. We hope to watch the movie as a family, having recently watch the BBC version which came out a while ago. Marisol read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader for Freshman English.

My friend Lori sent me I Am David by Anne Holm for my birthday. It is a wonderful story about a young boy who escapes from a concentration camp in Eastern Europe and has to arrive to Denmark to be reunited with his mother. Written from his point of view, I Am David became a movie starring Jim Caviezel (Jesus in The Passion of the Christ) and Joan Plowright. I prefer the book to the movie for its vivid word pictures.

I finally read The Book of the Dun Cow, a goal for many years. Its author, Walter Wangerin, claims that it is not an allegory, although it does use the setting of a barnyard to show the fight between good and evil. I did enjoy reading it, but I found the narrative somewhat dense to chop through at times. Still, the dialogue and characterizations of simple barnyard animals are genius.

For my English class this semester we read a biography of the missionary to China, Gladys Aylward. She was not accepted by the mission board in China because of her age and her perceived inability to adapt and learn the language. Gladys ended up going BY TRAIN THROUGH RUSSIA ON HER OWN to China and spent the rest of her life there until expelled by the Communists. She and another woman opened an inn to minister to the men from the mule trains. Later she began adopting and caring for orphans and led over 100 of them through war territory to safety. Her life story definitely inspires. She is played by Ingrid Bergman in Inn of Sixth Happiness, although Hollywood severely dilutes the message. Gladys herself hated the movie.

The final book I have read of late is Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory. Gregory sets up his story by having Jesus send a dinner invitation to a man, who doesn't know Jesus invited him. Their conversation centers around the man's reservations about Christianity and Jesus' responses. Short and concise at 100 pages, the book could be a great resource for a Sunday School class or Bible study or a great gift for a friend. I really enjoyed reading it.

Two nights ago Marisol and I watched Juno. Juno is a high school student who becomes pregnant and goes about trying to find the "perfect" couple to adopt her unborn child. She befriends the husband and later finds herself disillusioned when the couple's marriage falls apart, but she honors her commitment. The language and situations are a bit unconventional at times (a possible warning depending on your viewing habits), but the story offers an alternative to the movies that condone abortion on demand without painting a rosy picture.

Do Re Mi

PIBC was blessed this semester by a group of dedicated men and women who volunteered to teach free music classes on Tuesday afternoons. Not only did they teach music, but they brought snacks to share each week. Ned took guitar lessons and advanced quite a bit in his ability to play. However, he must make considerable progress to catch up to Phil Keaggy.

Welcome Back, Mac!

I was pleased to pick up Mac from the airport. Although he graduated in December, he came back to Guam for his graduation ceremony. Currently Mac is serving the Lord as youth director at his church in Yap. We miss him and were glad to see him for a few days.

Graduation Revisited

The Student Council (STUCO) held a party in honor of the graduating seniors. A highlight for all of us was watching the Yapese students (and some friends) perform a traditional stick dance. Look at the beautiful grass skirts that Mac's grandmother made. We spent a lovely time of fellowship together.

PIBC chose me to be the Master of Ceremonies during PIBC's Baccalaureate ceremony. I tried to keep things moving. I guess I'll know how well I did if I am asked in the future.
I must admire the graduates for their patience and stamina during the Baccalaureate program. By that point they really want to have the graduating activities over with.

A tender moment occured when the ordained pastors among the PIBC staff prayed for the graduates.
During graduatiion the underclassmen sang a special number. I played "Pomp and Circumstance" and the hymn "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" without making two many mistakes. That hymn is very difficult because of the counter melody in the chorus.
The co-valedictorians Twinsanne and Joy presented an artful valedictory speech in tandem, going back and forth between the two. Nicely done, ladies!
The graduates glow after receiving their diplomas. Notice how comfortable our friend Mac is in his sneakers.

Joel and Amelia greet their special friend Jayvina after she "moved her tassel." She is "all smiles," after rightfully so: she earned the spot as Salutatorian in the PIBC Class of 2008.
Marisol spent a moment with Charity following the ceremony. Charity was one of our faithful Kids Club workers during our first year at PIBC. We really enjoyed working with her, and we know she will be faithful wherever she will serve the Lord.
Joel congratulates Kalvin, one of our male Resident Assistants who will begin a new job with PIBC working in Security and as an Assistant Dean of Men in the fall. Welcome to the PIBC staff, Kalvin! Now Ned won't have to go over to PIBC late at night to lock the gate! Hurray!

Getting Ready

The Palauan Mission Team 2008 is busy preparing skits and songs and children's ministry. A couple of the students are still raising funds, and we definitely need to purchase all of the plane tickets by tomorrow. Please pray for God's provision for the students who still need more money. Time is running out! We leave next Thursday, June 5, and will be in Palau until Thursday, July 3. Thanks for your faithful prayers.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Goodbye to Ganya and Family

Ganya and her Daddy came over to visit. They will be moving back to Palau soon. Ganya's mom Joy was co-valedictorian at PIBC's graduation last week. We will miss them.

Look how handsome our "little prince" is.
The children enjoyed being together again one last time before Ganya's family moves.

Every and Perry relaxed while the children played.

Ganya wanted to help Marisol and Joel transplant flowers. Doing yard work can be contagious!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How Time Flies!

Two years ago this month I received my MDiv from Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, PA. It's hard to believe that I finished my second year on the staff at Pacific Islands Bible College last week. I thank God that I can serve Him and be part of what He is doing in the lives of men and women in Micronesia and beyond. Thanks to my family for supporting me in what I do. They are a blessing to me.

Big Brother

One of the PIBC students, Everly, is living with us until we leave for Palau on June 5. He will be joining us for the mission trip. Joel and Amelia are thrilled to have a "big brother" for three weeks. Everly is Palauan, but he grew up on the island of Yap. Because he knows the culture and language of Palau, he will be a great asset for our mission team. As a family we are happy for this opportunity to get to know him better. Here he is enjoying some ovos with the kids. We have an ovo tree in our yard. Marisol is very happy because she had missed eating them since we left Ecuador in 2004. Even Amelia's baby likes them or maybe she ate too many. . . .

For the Love of Ministry

This semester has been full of fundraising activities for the two mission trips, one to Palau in June and one to Thailand from June to August. First we held carwashes at two different locations in Guam, asking for donations. One man even gave us a chair!!!

Leeman, Jonathan and Lydia make good heralds along Marine Corps Drive.

Even though they are not members of the mission teams, Russell and Tjay donated their time to help. Thanks, guys!

Another fundraiser was a concert that we called "PIBC and Friends." We raised over $1000 during a freewill offering that we collected. I served as the Master of Ceremonies for the program.

One outstanding group that performed consisted of Tim, Mollyann and Alvin (no, not THAT Alvin).

The mission teams also participated. The Thailand team sang a special number.

The PIBC Traveling Ministry Team sang. . . .

and performed a skit to Michael W. Smith "Alleluia."

PIBC Instructor Melody shared her talents with everyone to the glory of God! I always tell her she reminds me of Maria in The Sound of Music when she plays her guitar.

Our most recent fundraiser happened last week. The students painted the Liebenzell Mission House on campus. It's not easy to work for money or ask others for donations, so I am proud of these students. We are praying that all the money comes in that they need in order to participate in their trips.

Guam's Democratic Caucus Makes News

Many of you may be surprised to know that as U.S. citizens living in a U.S. territory (all native Guamanians are U.S. citizens), we are unable to vote for president. We have one non-voting representative in the House of Representative. However, Guam sends delegates to the National Democratic (and Republican) conventions this summer. That is the reason for the Democratic caucus which took place in Guam on Saturday, May 3, 2008! With the fight for delegates between the two Democratic candidates, Guam received quite a bit of media attention.

Hillary's supporters were all volunteer, unlike Obama who hired a small staff of two or three. She was well represented, though, by her volunteers who placed signs like this all over the island.

Obama ended up winning the 2008 Democratic Caucus in Guam by only 7 votes. Talk about close! I wonder if it had anything to do with the beer that his supporters offered to prospective Obama voters as they passed by. That troubled me! What would they do if someone had an accident after leaving the polls? I'm not sure what Hillary's people were serving!

Island Night at AWANA

For Island Night at AWANA Joel and I wanted to do something special, so we asked our Yapese friend and PIBC student, Percia, to make mwar mwars for us. They are the traditional floral crowns made on the island surrounding Guam for special occasions. Percia did an excellent job. Thanks, Percia!

Joel smiles with his fellow Cubbies.
Joel and I posed with our matching outfits, well almost!
Amelia wanted to take her turn to wear the mwar mwar, too, after Joel and I returned home.

Final Chapels

Our campus pastor, Hiob Ngirachemoi, asked the graduating seniors to speak in chapel during the month of April. It was such a blessing to hear their testimonies and challenging messages. Mondale shared from the life of Epaphroditus in the book of Philippians.

Everly served as Master of Ceremonies for the final chapel of the 2007-2008 school year.

The program featured a song in Pidgen English by the PIBC male students, "Holy Spirit."

Monday, May 19, 2008

AWANA Finishes Strong

This semester I helped in AWANA Club at our church. Joel's group, the Cubbies, needed another teacher/helper, so I volunteered. It was my first experience with AWANA, and I enjoyed it very much. I participated in Christian Service Brigade at my church and received the Herald of Christ Award, which is CSB's equivalent of the Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. It was a great experience for me, and we are very pleased that Joel is learning so many Bible verses at a young age. We review them as a family at mealtimes.

The second to last week of club we had "Get Wet Night." I'm sure you can imagine how much fun the three-and-year-old children had with their friends.

Joel especially wanted to get his leaders wet. He was quite a threat to Miss Karen. Sorry for the blurry photo. They are in action!
Joel refilled his water gun as fast as he could to make sure no one went home dry.
Joel also blew bubbles with Miss Jan. He loved going to AWANA and only missed one meeting all year long.
Miss Jan awarded the patches and pins to the Cubbies. Joel completed his "Jumper Celebrations" book and will pass on to the Sparks group next year. He will miss Miss Jan, Miss Kathy and Miss Karen, and yes, yours truly as well, although he can see me any time.

AWANA celebrations are never complete without the obligatory refreshments. A good time was shared by all the parents and their Cubbies!

Green Thumbs in Guam

Someone gave us a tomato plant, so we decided to start a garden. Here Joel and Amelia are picking the first two cherry tomatoes. Grandpa would be proud. Every year he has a contest with a lady from his church in PA to see who has the first ripe tomato. This year the Guam faction wins the prize!

Joel was thrilled to harvest his very first cucumber from our cucumber patch. It is one of his favorite vegetables.