Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Trapped on Schooley's Mountain!

Anne and I drove up to the Liebenzell Mission headquarters over the weekend to see Dave Owen, the PIBC President, who was in the States for a few weeks on a PIBC recruiting trip. When we woke up Sundat morning, it was snowing hard. It snowed hard all day. Dave and I took pictures. You can see his wimpy pictures on his own blog. I say "wimpy" because Dave ducked out late last night under the pretext of "flying back to Guam." So this morning when I woke up, there was 6-8 inches on snow on the ground, and Dave didn't get to see it because he had wimped out and left for Guam. Now Anne and I are stuck and cannot leave as early as we wanted to. We will try soon, however, as we have to get back to Newark. Dave, just kidding about the wimping out stuff. We really were excited to experience winter so soon. Dave will be back in the tropics in less than 18 hours, so I have to kid him a little bit because after he left, it really started to come down really, really, fast and hard. These pictures are for all of you guys in Micronesia to look at and feel cool. I just looked at your beach shots from this past weekend and felt warm. OK, I'll be back with you in a few days after we get out of here!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Some Valuable Lessons

Dr. Cohen is the contact lens fitting specialist at the Wills Eye Institute for the new SynergEyes keratoconus lens that Dr. Hammersmith recommends I try. Thursdays are the only days she does contact lens fittings. Yesterday was Thursday. When I arrived yesterday at the Wills Eye receptionist’s desk for my scheduled appointment, I was met with the words, “Dr. Cohen has been called out of her office on an emergency. We have to cancel your appointment and reschedule another one. The next available appointment is not until January.”

Now, I must admit I was immediately disappointed and began to tear slightly as I stood there at the counter, the thought racing through my mind that I would have to wait another two months just to get fitted for a contact lens that might not even work anyway. My disappointment was evidenced by the cry that emitted from my heart, “Oh, God, no, no, no!...came halfway around the world…waiting 5 months…so close!” But after a brief moment, it’s like I felt a hand on my shoulder. I actually looked around to see who had touched me, and when I saw no one, I knew the Lord was there.

It was a moment that was bigger than just the moment. Now my devotions in Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest were beginning to make sense. He is doing something deeper and broader than possibly giving me sight. I have been looking at the individual aspect of the thing – getting my sight back; He has been inviting me to get into His stride, run along with Him at His pace (which means I also follow where he goes). It was an invitation to trust Him with the intimacy of His presence in the stuff of daily life. Could I give up my agenda and trust God when He says, “Wait?” Or did I need a visible answer?

When Jesus heard that His buddy Lazarus was sick and was asked to come heal him, His first response was to “wait” and stay where He was for two more days. Why? It didn’t mean Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters any less, or that He was no longer capable or interested in helping. Jesus wasn’t looking at the individual aspect of the thing; He was running in stride with His Father! That meant risking His friends misunderstanding His love and His Father’s way when it differed from theirs. Wow.

As I began to ponder some of these things, I was interrupted by the receptionist’s voice. “Sir, we can get you in two weeks, on Nov. 15. Is that OK?” I smiled, breathed a sigh of praise to the Lord, said, “Sure, that’s perfectly fine,” and decided the Lord’s pace is certainly more exciting than mine anyway!

So, I thought it might be good to give you a little glimpse into my heart, with the hope you might benefit and be encouraged in your journey of running with the Lord.

Hebrews 12:1-3.


As you already know, I am here to see doctors at the Wills Eye Institute. When we arrived, I learned that I needed a referral from a regular doctor first. So we found a regular physician that gave me the referral. It was too late to keep the original Wills Eye appointment, so we had to trust the Lord to get another appointment at Wills Eye. The Lord provided an appointment this week. I saw Dr. Hammersmith.

After extensive tests, Dr. Hammersmith
recommended the following: Try fitting me with a new hybrid type of contact lens called a SynergEyes lens, which has a hard middle and a soft outer edge. (Note: the SynergEyer is not the same as the Energizer. That's the bunny!)

If the SynergEyes lens won’t fit, or I can’t see with this SynergEyes lens, step two is to shave off the scars on my cornea with a laser, and then try the SynergEyes lens again. If the SynergEyes lens still won’t fit and/or I still can’t see with the SynergEyes lens after they shave the scars off, then they will do a cornea transplant.

I have an appointment with the SynergEyer contact lens specialist on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Some Waiting Activities

On one Sunday afternoon, we drove a little bit north up into Pennsylvania, and got stuck in the middle of an Amish traffic jam. No, not really. But we did have to share the road with several dozen Amish buggies, many of which, we're sure, were either on their way to a Sunday meeting, on their way back from a Sunday meeting, or maybe they were just taking a Sunday drive, just like us.When we were in Philadelphia waiting for Steve to see the eye doctors a few days ago, we decided to do a little sightseeing. Philadelphia was the first capitol of the United States, and the place where the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution took place. Here is Steve giving some political advice to one of the original delegates from Virginia. He was drinking a cup of cider. Steve already finished his.
Here we are standing in front of Independence Hall, where the "signings" took place.
Philadelphia was the home of Benjamin Franklin. There are many statues in Philadelphia, some of famous Virginians, like George Washington and Steve Stinnette. But you have to be careful, because a lot of people like to imitate the statues. Such a thing was being attempted when the picture below was taken. See if you can tell which one is the statue and which one is the imitation.

Our Place of Waiting

So while we're waiting for things to happen with the eye doctors, you may be wondering how our situation is. We live in the basement apartment of Don and Anne's house. Here's a picture of the apartment from the outside. We have our own bedroom, an office, bathroom, and a living room with a wood stove. Let's not forget the wood stove. It's what's been keeping us warm during some of these 30 to 40 degree nights! We have our own seperate outside entrance that we can use if we want to come and go without going through the upstairs part ofthe house.

The back of their house borders on some nice "woods" - that's stateside terminology for "jungle." There are miles and miles of trails winding their way through the woods, with deer all over the place. We even saw a fox a couple of days ago. We take walks, and sometimes I even attempt to run (jog, actually) along the trails. So far we haven't gotten lost, even though it would be easy to do so. There are a few streams that we have to cross. Here's a place where we cross almost every time we go hiking.

And of course, we've had to dress in warm cloths because it's not exactly "boonie stomping" weather! I'm waiting for it to snow.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Our send-off from the Guam airport was very special. Here are some PIBC guys who sang, "Is Your Home in Micronesia?" which is the first song we heard and learned when we arrived in Micronesia 29 years ago. Oh, by the way, I'm dressed in a sports jacket because we were given buddy passes to fly in Business Class, and I needed to look "businessy." I DO NOT look forward to having to wear one of those things with a tie! After checking in, we went upstairs and were met by some PIBC gals, who continued to bless us with cards, leis, and prayers!

We spent some time with our North Carolina family, the Talatos from Guam. We ate breakfast with Sonia and her niece, Tiffany, a freshman at UNC Greensboro, at a place where they serve grits! The next day I flew to our Liebenzell Mission headquarters at Schooley's Mountain, New Jersey, checked out the apartment we'll be moving to after my 'eye thing' and got a P.O. Box at the Schooley's Mountain Post Office. Mike and Jane Galley took me out to lunch for Chinese food!

After visiting our moms in Virginia, we arrived in Newark (pronounced 'New Ark'), in the northern tip of Delaware. We've been here in Newark with our host family, Don and Anne Rodgers, for about 2 weeks now. Don is a friend from our Campus Crusade for Christ days on Guam. He was in Guam with me from about 1980 to 1983. I remember one time Don accidentally shooting a spear from his spear gun through the front door of his apartment when he as living across from the University of Guam. It's funny what 'stick's out' in your mind about someone after 27 years! He's been working with the U.S. Center for World Missions for a lengthy time, where he also met and then married an Anne.

There are a few perks living with a family who are connected with the U.S. Center for World Missions. We got to attend a session and spend some time with its founder, Dr. Ralph Winter, who was in the area last weekend. While there, I met another long-time Crusade friend - Tom Newhouse. OK, get ready all you PIBC students who are interested in missions - he said it would be fine if we sent a team to work with him in Cambodia. He prefers a longer term commitment, though. Anyone interested?

One of the things I had to do immediately after arriving here was cancel the appointment I had with the corneal specialist on October 10. The reason was I needed first to find a doctor here who would write me a referral - it's required to go see a corneal specialist. I finally found one, he gave me a referral, and now I have another appointment to see the corneal specialist on October 30. Whew! Finally!

One of the things we've been doing is getting ready for winter - I've been told it gets cold here! The Rodgers use a wood stove to keep warm during winter, so guess what we did? Chop wood! Stack wood! Haul wood! Wood! Wood! Wood! For 3 days! It was great!

Did I forget to tell anybody that I love NASCAR? Yep, I've been an automobile racing fan ever since I was riding a bicycle. There was a special dinner at Dover Downs, a NASCAR speedway. The first thing I'm going to do when my eyes are fixed is GO FAST!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

An Old Journal Entry

Last night I was reading through the pages of the old journal I wrote while I was in the Middle East 26 years ago, trying to "witness without getting caught." I read many encouraging entries, but one stuck out in particular. I don't know where it came from. I'm sure it's not original with me:

"If God places me in great perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure, much strength?"

It sounds like a great commentary on 2 Corinthians 4:8,9: "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going."

I recorded a whole page of Scripture on how God cuts to heal, not to harm; how He may wound us, but He always bandages the wound. Why? Many before me have so eloquently stated the reason, "The cracks in our lives are what the light shines through!"

The next verse, verse 10, states it this way, "Through suffering [our interpretation of what's going on], these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Micronesians as a Mission Force

We’re both back on Guam now. Since arriving, a little “pre-typhoon” whipped through the area, not doing much damage but stirring up a little trouble by knocking power out all over the island for a day. However, a more significant stirring occurred, a spiritual one, silent perhaps, but deadly nonetheless to the Kingdom of Darkness. Two PIBC Mission Teams took off for the Buddhist country of Thailand, a first for us in that no missionaries went with them. It was an all-Micronesia effort - except for one Filipina. For the first time, we can actually say that Micronesia is making the transition from being a mission field to becoming a mission force as these teams ventured forth into the area of the world called the 10/40 Window – a phrase used to describe where most of the remaining unreached people live. Maybe no one noticed but us, but it happened. This was a major milestone for Anne and me – something for which we’ve been working all these years. And it happened last week. These Micronesian students trusted God to raise their own financial support and they went. Please check out more details on our PIBC website: http://www.pibc.edu/.

Summer Briefs (or, a Brief Summer!)

Anne and I intended to go along, but we both thought it was wise not to in light of Steve’s recent eye developments. So we didn’t go. We’ll share more about that in a moment, but before we do, we’d like to say that our time in the States was great – too short, of course. We spent time with our moms, attended the Liebenzell Missionary conference at Schooley’s Mountain, NJ, Steve took two separate trips out to Sacramento to see the eye doctor (and Amy and Matt, of course), and in our spare time (laughter here), we got to see a few supporters and friends and visit a few churches – which was absolutely great and encouraging when it happened! You can check out these and other stories below.

The Next Challenge

Back here on the PIBC Guam campus, everyone has just left for vacation or is still off-island except for one faculty couple and us. Yes, it’s a challenge to get the campus ready for next semester with so few people. But the bigger challenge for us, however, is the one the Lord is walking us through at this moment involving one of Steve’s eyes.

It could affect the future of our lives and ministry in a dynamic and significant way.

As some of you know, Steve has had a condition in his left eye for at least 12 years, called keratoconus, a disease which causes a thinning and major distortion of the cornea. Normally, he can function pretty well with a perfectly fitting contact lens. But the cornea has progressed to the point where, apparently, a contact lens will no longer fit. With nothing in that eye, his vision is off-balanced and distorted; he has bad depth perception, limited visual awareness and basically cannot function normally. And then there’s the pain. According to Steve, in the pictures below, the left image is what he would see with his “good” eye, and the same thing with his “bad” eye to the right:

Now try imagining seeing both images at the same time.

Here’s a good representation of what he sees at night when looking at bright lights, again on the left with his “good” eye, then on the right with his “bad” eye:

Steve say’s it’s not that clearly focused, but the multiple images, which at times can be as many as 20 to 30, is accurate. And again, he sees both at the same time. He says the July 4th fireworks in Sacramento were spectacular this year (he watched them with his left eye only)!

So what happens next? Working through our Guam based health insurance, last week a Guam ophthalmologist gave him a referral to visit a cornea specialist, either in the Philippines or in California (since Guam doesn’t have one). But that’s about all the insurance will cover. “We” have to come up with his airfare, room and board.

Then if the cornea specialist recommends a corneal transplant (which we’ve been told he will need sooner or later), we’ve learned that our insurance also doesn’t cover that, so “we” would have to come up with a way to pay for that, too. Our research reveals that this kind of surgical procedure, with regularly required visits to the doctor the first year, costs around $22,000. Plus, the healing and recovery time, with accompanying vision care, can take up to two years. Since there is no one on Guam who can do this surgery, it would mean leaving Guam for this length of time and moving to the States.

But first, a visit to a cornea specialist. Then the next step will be determined.

Help Needed!

So what can you do? You can begin by praying. As we’ve listened and talked to the Lord about this for 12 years, He’s chosen not to provide an instant healing for the eye. He very well could, but so far it hasn’t seemed to be part of His desire or plan. So don’t choose the lazy prayer only, “God, provide healing!”
Yes, pray that, but don’t stop there…
We’d appreciate prayer for grace for the daily stuff…
For our continued spiritual growth in the Lord…
For wisdom in making the best decisions that would bring God the most glory, and lives to reflect this…
For the finances, for certainly $22,000 plus airfare, moving, etc. is a little too much for our budget right now…
For a sense of God’s leading in the midst of this. The Great Commission isn’t done yet. We would like to see this not as a retreat from the ministry in Micronesia, but an expansion of our vision to see the Great Commission fulfilled worldwide…
And for PIBC, and the students, and the faculty and staff we might have to leave behind for a while.

Thank you for your prayers, support, interest, understanding and desire to stand with us in these matters. We appreciate you greatly. We’ll keep you informed.

In Christ Jesus,
Steve & Anne Stinnette
P.O. Box E
Hagatna, GU 96932

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Thai Mission Team Update

These are the members of one of the teams from PIBC that Anne and I will be traveling with in Thailand. Hiob is a Palauan pastor, as well as one of PIBC's Dean of Men. Joel is from Palau, and Kalvin, Jayleen and Smileen are from Chuuk. There is another team of five traveling to another area in Thailand. The Lord has brought in all of their financial support. This team leaves from Guam July 15. We will be at the Mai Fa Luang University in Chiang Rai, at the northern tip of Thailand, next to Myanmar, formerly Burma, for a month, living in the dorms, making friends, sharing the love of Jesus. Pray for us.

With Amy in Placerville

I took a couple of trips out west to California to visit a doctor about my eyes. Amy and her husband Matt just happened to move down to the area where I needed to be, so I tanked up on a lot a time with them. One day Amy and I visited the old town of Placerville, where we stopped at a candy shop. Isn't she beautiful?

Fun with Our Moms

One of the benefits we received by being in States was spending time with our mothers. Anne spent a lot of time roaming Virginia backroads with her mom in Daleville, VA, and Steve with his mom in Madison Heights, VA. Steve and his mom went to Dollywood, in TN, a country and western theme park, the D-Day Memorial in Forst, VA, Red Hill, the home and burial place of Patrick Henry, and Va. Tech, where Steve went to school one year.

Liebenzell USA Missionary Conference

The main reason we came to the States was to attend a conference sponsored by the mission organization we are with, Liebenzell USA. Missionaries who are serving in Ecuador, Ireland, Micronesia (of course), Spain, a Creative Access Country in East Asia, and Oregon gathered at Schooley's Mountain, NJ, for a week of fellowship, biblical teaching (by former Columbia International University President Robertson McQuilken), and strategy sessions. Several other missionaries serving in other countries couldn't make the conference. One of our favorite activities was taking a boat tour around New York City

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Catching Up from Last Christmas

Welcome to the "Stinnettes on Guam" blog. Anne and I hope this first posting will "catch you up" with some of the events and news in our lives and ministry since last Christmas.

The first thing we would like to share with you is about our daughter Amy's wedding. Her wedding on Dec. 17th was simple yet elegant, just like her. There were several special moments during the ceremony. Both fathers, Steve and Matt's father, Brad, served Matt and Amy communion and had a private moment of prayer with them, dedicating their lives and their marriage to the Lord. The mothers, Anne and Matt's mother, Susan, did a more public dedication using the Filipino tradition of a veil (in this case a piece of Anderson tartan) and cord. Please pray that the Lord would open doors to the work and ministry He has for them.

In January, our son Jason and his wife, Kristy, and their daughter Kelsey, moved to Guam and are currently residing with us until they can get settled on their own. Jason is working for an electrical contractor and attending “Electrician” classes at the Guam Trades Academy two nights a week. We never dreamed we’d have the gift of having family nearby. Pray for them as they get settled here on Guam and that the Lord will guide them daily.

Since returning from our Christmas whirl-wind trip to the States for Amy and Matt’s wedding, we have continued trusting the Lord in our work with the students at PIBC. A great way for you to catch up with what has been happening on campus is for you to check out the PIBC website. You can do this by clicking on this PIBC link.


We will be heading to the States on May 16 after our Spring semester is finished and graduation is over. The original reason we are doing this is to attend a missionary conference required of all the Liebenzell USA missionaries serving in several countries. Since we have to come back to the States for this conference we will try and see some of you and spend time with our moms. Please pray for Steve’s mom Barbara who has had 2 strokes recently. Steve will leave for Guam on June 30 and Anne on July 11 so they can lead a mission team to Thailand (see below).


Some of you will remember the problems Steve had with his left eye a few years ago. The condition, called keratoconus, flared up again last month. This makes it necessary for Steve to travel to Sacramento, CA, the first week of June to visit a specialist there. Please pray for a successful visit.


This summer PIBC is sending out three missions teams; one to the Marshall Islands, which is halfway between Guam and Hawaii (3000 miles to the east of Guam), and two to Thailand.

The Marshalls team will be participating in the 150th year celebration of the Gospel first arriving in the Marshall Islands, from June 17 to July 2. Our students will be participating in youth rallies that could be attended by as many as 5000 to 8000 Marshallese youth. Please pray that the Lord will use our students to spark a revival that will run through these islands and turn the church from the traditionalism that has invaded, back into a living body of believers.

The two Thailand teams will be at their ministry sites from July 15 to August 15. Anne and I will lead a team of 4 students at an English-speaking international university in the northern province of Chang Rai, assisting missionaries there in evangelism, follow-up and discipleship. A lay couple from a Guam church, Randy and Lynette Copp, will be leading the team for the last two weeks.
The Evangelism Team is pictured here: Steve and Anne, Joel from Palau, Jayleen from Chuuk, Kalvin from Chuuk, Smileen from Chuuk, Sato from Yap, and Randy and Lynette Copp.

The second Thailand team of 6 students will teach English in a middle and high school in a northeastern Thai town called Nong Khai as a platform to share the Gospel.

All of these teams are in the middle of raising their financial support needed for airfare and living expenses, all in all about $1200/student. Please be praying that that the Lord will meet these financial needs as well as prepare each team member’s heart to trust Him with the challenges they will face.

If you would like to help one of these teams financially please let us know and we will send you the information on how to do so.