Thursday, August 21, 2008

Important Anniversary

The Jewish community is celebrating an important milestone this week. Friday, August 22, 2008 is the 354th anniversary of the arrival of the first known Jew who settled in North America (New Amsterdam), Jacob Barsimson. Our family supports the ministries of Jews for Jesus ( and Chosen People Ministries (, who reach out with the life-changing message of Jesus as Messiah to Jewish people around the world. We can not recommend these valuable organizations highly enough. They offer presentations in churches regarding the link between Jewish customs and the gospel and also labor diligently in many other ways, handing out fliers in cities and leading Bible studies with interested people. Please check them out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This Bud's Not for You!

It is troubling to me to see all the beer commercials during the Olympic Games. Everyone is always fit and trim and glamourous in those ads, and consequences are nowhere to be seen. Of course, the statement "Please drink responsibly" is printed at the end for all to see. The only problem is that most people need a magnifying glass to read it. Do we really need alcohol sponsorship of athletic events? To me the two contradict each other. Most serious athletes avoid alcohol consumption or highly curtail it. There have been so many of these commercials running all day long. Because of our time zone, the prime time coverage is in the morning when many children are watching. Often the beer ads run back to back. PIBC is collaborating with Pacific Abundant Living Ministries, a faith-based anti-tobacco and alcohol social service agency in Guam, and I serve as the PIBC staff facillitator. Our statistics show that 36% of Guam's youth are drinkers and 19% are binge drinkers, which means that they have four or more drinks on one occasion. 17% of middle school students reported having their first alcoholic drink before the age of 11. Do the beer companies really believe that they need to extend their market and ruin more people's lives? Think about it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More Olympic Coverage

Well, Michael Phelps did it. He passed the previous Mark Spitz record from 1972 by obtaining 8 gold medals in one Olympics to Spitz's 7, setting 7 world records in the process. I must admit that I felt disappointed in NBC's coverage of the medal ceremony for Phelps' 8th gold. Since it was a relay event (4X100m), couldn't the camera pan over to Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, and Jason Lezak during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" instead of staying on Phelps the entire time? Phelps knew that he wouldn't have been there if it had not been for the incredible performances of his three teammates. Didn't someone tell NBC about that? Phelps mentioned during one interview that he received 10,000 messages on Facebook! Talk about being popular. Phelps seems like a well-balance person. I liked his quote after his final medal: "If you dream as big as you can dream, anything is possible."

Dara Torres showed herself to be a class act when she helped a fellow swimmer at the beginning of her final individual race. The swimmer's suit had ripped, and Torres went over to tell an official about it and calmed the other swimmers down as they waited. She won two silvers on her last day of competition, the oldest female swimmer ever to medal at an Olympics. She said she would tell her two-year-old daughter not "to put an age limit on her dreams." Well stated from a gracious human being.

I loved watching the U.S. woman eight rowing team as they won the first gold for the U.S. since 1984. During the medal ceremony all eight were singing the national anthem as it played. Call me sappy, but that was an emotional moment for me.

Angelo Taylor, Kerron Clement, and Bershawn Jackson swept the 400m hurdles for the U.S. Taylor thanked God for the opportunity, and Clement and Jackson said it was a blessing to win. All three seem to have their feet planted squarely on the ground in a place where many egos seem to be working overtime. I must mention the coach of the silver medalist in the women's pole vault. He reprimanded Jenn Stuczynski for her second-place finish, making it seem as if it were more about him than her. I felt so sorry for her.

And poor Nastia Liukens had to settle for the silver medal in the gymnastic uneven bars. She had tied with China's He Kexin for first place at 16.725, and a convoluted tiebreaking system gave Kexin the edge. I read the procedure online, and it seems quite arbitrary and somewhat unfair. Just don't ask Bela Karolyi about it. He said, "That makes no sense. They said they improved the scoring system. Look at this." His wife, Martha, the head coach of the U.S. gymnastics squad, had no comment. Liukens was gracious enough because she realized it wasn't Kexin's fault, but she looked as if she had just had the wind knocked out of her.

Still more to come.

Mr. Veggie Tale and Miss Dorothy

Here are some more Farnsworth "kid" pictures. Enjoy!

On Sunday morning Joel posed with Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber in his Veggie Tale outfit.

Amelia posed with her Toto doll outside in the flower bed. There's no place like home!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sing, Sing a Song

Even during the summer we manage to keep our musically talented students busy. Here's a recap:

Two weeks ago a group of 17 students participated in the final program of Blessing Guam, an event designed to draw the churches together and encourage each other in their goal of reaching a diverse population (Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Chuukese, Yapese, Palauan, American, etc.) for the Lord. It was an encouragement to all of us that we are not alone in this great task!

On Sunday we sang at a YWAM-sponsored mission event at which Kalvin shared about his six weeks this summer in Thailand with the PIBC team. They worked with Campus Crusade for Christ national workers. Elilai from our Palau team spoke about our experiences there. I introduced the students at both events. I guess my Communication degree from Houghton College serves me well after all.
Special thanks to Dave and Joyce Owen for the photos!

¡Bienvenida, Zoe Victoria!

Nuestra sobrina en Ecuador naciĆ³ el 9 de agosto. Se llama Zoe Victoria Bedoya y sus padres orgullosos son Wilo y Gisela. Muchas felicitaciones.

Our niece in Ecuador was born on August 9. Her name is Zoe Victoria Bedoya, and her proud parents are Wilo and Gisela. Congratulations to all!
Gracias a Diego y Mercedes por la foto. Thanks to Diego and Mercedes for the picture.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The House that God Provided

Our friends Erik and Nancy gave us a playhouse for the yard before they left for their next military assignment in Virginia. Joel and Amelia love playing on it. Thank you, Lord! We are enjoying the final few days together as a family before my responsibilities at Pacific Islands Bible College start kicking. Next week the meetings begin in full. Please pray for me that I can serve the Lord joyfully as I fulfill my responsibilities at PIBC.

Olympic Mania

We are enjoying the Olympic Games. Thankfully, one of the three channels we can get is KUAM, the Guam NBC affiliate. The only bad result is lack of sleep because the rebroadcast here goes until 12 or 1 in the morning. We have caught a few events live during the morning.

The opening ceremony was quite impressive, complete with the moving boxes that had people inside and 2008 drummers. I was a bit disillusioned later to learn that the fireworks display was superimposed and the Chinese girl singer was lip synching, but such is "show business," and the Chinese put on a good show. I wonder how much that program cost to produce.

Four years ago we cheered for the U.S. and Ecuador during the parade of the athletes from the different countries. This year we cheered for those two countries plus Guam and Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia, where many of our students come from. We are becoming a more international family as time goes on.

Yao Ming and the boy hero Lin Hao led the Chinese delegation. Lin saved two of his classmates during the devastating Sichuan earthquake earlier this year that claimed over 70,000 lives. He may look tiny next to the statuesque frame of Ming, but I am sure that Lin has been a giant in the eyes of his classmates and now is in the rest of the world also.

Along with my joy I could not resist being saddened as well. Of course, China wants to put on a "good face" for the spectators. In the government's eyes, this includes silencing anyone protesting official policies. Voice of the Martyrs magazine reports that this year has brought about a huge crackdown on the Christians in China. One pastor's door was soldered shut, effectively maintaining him on "house arrest." When our brothers and sisters in one place suffer, we should all suffer. Christians in China are considered rebels. That puts them in a similar category as those who protest the government's policies in places such as Sudan and Tibet.

Michael Phelps has certainly provided some drama for this 29th Olympiad. His first of seven gold medals (so far) in these games came when Jason Lezak overtook the French swimmer Bernard in the final stretch of the 4X100m relay. What emotion! And today when Michael outreached Serbia's Milorad Cevic for the win in the 100m Butterfly. Wow! It was great to see the mutual admiration that Phelps and Mark Spitz have for each other during a joint interview with Bob Costas.

We will continue to watch and enjoy the Olympics for the week that remains. Today Jefferson Perez of Ecuador obtained the silver medal in the 20,000m race walk. He won the gold medal in Atlanta in 1996. I particularly like watching the track and field events. It brings back memories of my track days in high school and college.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Little Red Lighthouse Missent to Guyana!

This past week we finally received a book from Amazon that we ordered back in May. We thought it had gotten lost somewhere. Sure enough, the postal service mistook GU (Guam) for Guyana. It came to us with the stamp "missent to Guyana." Our packages are taking vacations in new and exciting places. We ordered "The Little Red Lighthouse" for Joel and Amelia because it was one of the sites that we saw in New York last summer on the Circle Line Cruise with the rest of the Liebenzell USA missionaries.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Resident Puppeteers

Recently Joel and Amelia have begun to prepare puppet shows for their parents, us! We enjoy watching their creativity and enthusiasm. It brings back memories of when my neighbors, my sister and I would present plays in our neighborhood. I guess the proverbial apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

Bayview Children's Luau

On Wednesday night our church, Bayview Baptist, held a Children's Luau. Each child was supposed to invite friend. We invited a family, but unfortunately they weren't able to attend. Maybe next time.

We arrived early and helped Valerie and the other ladies to decorate the room in a Hawaiian theme.

The children started the evening by making leis out of paper flowers, straws, and yarn.

Even our new interim pastor and his wife, Mike and Judy, sat down with the kids and made leis. I was impressed, and I'm sure it meant a lot to the kids.

We eat hot dogs, chips, fruit and cookies, a perfect menu for children!

Here are our "hula kids" playing with their friend Lina.

Joel showed us how "limbo" he is! Look how much fun he had playing the game. After the games we watched a puppet show. We had a great time helping and enjoying the luau as a church family.

"S" Stands for (Church) Services

During our time in Palau we shared in many different church services, encouraging believers in their faith and informing them about the work of Pacific Islands Bible College. Sometimes the German Impact Team accompanied us, and sometimes they held a separate service elsewhere at the same time.

We participated in our first church service at Koror Evangelical Church. The church holds two services, one in Palauan and one in English for expatriates who live in Palau, from the Philippines, the U.S., Japan, and other places.

Chris and Nico shared a skit with all of us at Airai Church. Chris played the grandson to Nico's "Grandpa," who kept asking the question "And then?" to show the importance of preparing oneself for eternity. Very effective! (Thanks for the picture, Nico!)

One church, at Airai, held their evening service outside. There was a space down the middle, so we split our team in two parts and sang "in stereo." The team members didn't like this arrangement because "they couldn't hear each other sing."

At Ngchesar we presented an action song (motions acted out while a song is playing) by Casting Crowns, "Who Am I?" Joel helped, too.

Nico shared his testimony at the church in Ngerechelong. Hearing these testimonies made an impression on Joel's heart that led to questions about salvation and eternal life. He accepted the Lord on June 24, 2008.

One Sunday at the church in Aimelik, some of the Palauan ladies sat off to the side to watch our program.

Tanja, Percia, Jonathan, Leeman and Elilai performed one of our action songs, "Never Be the Same."

Leeman and Percia helped to present the "Chair Skit." It powerfully demonstrated the power of God's forgiveness over sin. We really enjoyed our time sharing with our Palauan brothers and sisters at the different churches.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

August 3 is Mom and Dad's 51st Anniversary. Last summer we all spent their 50th together in PA. We gave them a free week at Sandy Cove in MD, which they redeemed this summer. Mom told me that she and Dad went parasailing and enjoyed it very much. It astounded me, but their sense of adventure impressed me. I only wish that they had remembered their camera. Have a great anniversary, and thanks for everything you have taught us through your godly example.