Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thailand Mission Team Update

School may be out but those on the mission team going to Thailand this summer are working hard. Each morning they work on campus to earn their room and board so that in the afternoons they can receive training and preparations for their ministry with Thai university students. Their plane tickets are purchased, their visas have been secured, they are training faithfully, and trusting fully that the Lord will provide the $5000 still needed for their living expenses for 2 months in Thailand. God is using these trips to show our students that He wants them to be part of becoming the Micornesian mission force - their worldview is growing! If you feel that the Lord wishes you to be part of the answer to their prayers you can send checks to PIBC at P.O. Box 22619, Barrigada, GU 96921.

TRACS Accreditation Team Visit

PIBC enjoys the privileges of being a fully accredited educational institution through TRACS. Every so many years the school undergoes a reviewing process to make sure we are continuing to uphold the high standards necessary to provide the best Christian education possible. It also permits our students to receive the financial aid they need through US Pel Grants. The team that arrived all work at other Christian colleges and are committed to helping fellow schools to be the best they can be.
Most of the team flew in from the US mainland (one came from Saipan) and inspite of jet-lag worked very hard during the 4 days the
they were with us. They left us with commendations (jobs well done), recommendations (things that must be done) and suggestions (ideas that might help). Most of the recommendations can be accomplished with minimal effort. A couple of them will involve hiring for a few key staff positions. Steve's area of responsibility in Advancement and Fund Development for the college will be directly involved in fulfilling these positions and he would appreciate your prayers as he seeks the Lord's provision through gifts and grants for the school. The picture to the left is of the TRACS team and some of the PIBC faculty and staff. Can you find both of us?

Death and Life

Sunday morning May 17th as several of us from PIBC
were just starting Sunday School, we received a call
from Tim and Melody, our fellow Liebenzell missionaries and co-workers at PIBC. They had just gotten
a call from their oldest daughter with news no parent ever wants to hear. Their second daughter had been murdered. So once again, the PIBC family had to face the
reality of life and death for the second time in two weeks. Again we grieve together; this time the tragic circumstances make it a bit harder to bear, but Tim and Melody know that their daughter gave her life to Christ and is with Him and freed from the things she struggled with in this life. Please pray for them as they, and their third daughter, Erin, (who has been teaching at Bethania Christian High School for Girls in Palau for the last two years) leave for the States in the morning and prepare to bury their daughter/sister. They are so grateful for the prayers and love of the saints who have surrounded them with the love of Christ. Melody said the other day, "I do not know how people face these things without Christ." Neither do we.

Minutes before we received this call, Dave and
Joyce Owen, (our PIBC president and wife) had
announced that their 3rd grandchild was on the
way into this world. They received this picture several hours later of Milo Draven Owen, born to their oldest son, Matt, and his wife Kristen.
Congratulations to all!

We are reminded that men and women are born and then leave this world again so shortly. We only have a short time to make choices whose consequences are eternal. We must love those around us enough to share the eternal hope of forgiveness and salvation that is available to all
who believe and receive Christ Jesus (John1:12)

Wedding Bells at PIBC

On May 16th, 4 days after graduation our Valedictorian, Sonny (from Yap) married Elilai (from Palau and raised on Guam) another of our PIBC students. It was a wonderful ceremony and celebration held at the Palauan Evangelical Church on Guam. One of the symbolic events in their wedding was the pouring of two colors of sand together into one container. This was to show the blending of two cultures, two families, and two people into one in Christ. Pray for this young couple as they seek to glorify Christ in their marriage. Unlike most Micronesians Sonny and Elilai took the time to prepare for marriage through extensive pre-marital counseling with their pastor and to have a public church wedding to proclaim their vows before God and men. We are so very happy for them. They will continue to live on Guam while Elilai finishes up her degree at PIBC.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

PIBC Graduation Day - May 12, 2009

On Guam, we never have a dull moment. Graduation gowns were ordered in plenty of time to arrive on island for our graduation. But all that arrived was the diploma covers and the valedictorian's stole. Each day we'd check the mail - nothing. Finally, we realized we needed a Plan B. Joyce Owen began calling alumni to ask to borrow gowns and caps for the occasion. Our alumni came through. But we still needed tassels. The only tassels we could find were small and royal blue (the school colors are hunter green and gold). So how do we make them work? A craft box of ribbons and some creative thinking by a group of students and staff came to the rescue and we were set. Remember the missionary motto: BE FLEXIBLE!!! (For pictures of this process click on the link to Melissa Heck's blog in the right hand column of this page.)

But the Lord's presence was very much a part of the day and that is what made it so very special. Steve first met our valedictorian, Sonny, when he took our Astumbo Community Church Youth Group to Yap years ago. Sonny was 10! What a privilege it has been to see God's work in the lives of many of our students for even longer than the years they have been at PIBC. In many cases our current students are the children of those we saw come to the Lord in the early years of ministry here in Micronesia. What a faithful God we serve!!!!

The picture above is of Lydia, one of our students from Yap. She is decked out with more than 10 lbs of leis made of flowers, candy, money, yarn and soda can tabs and more. This is a very common tradition among the islanders and we are always amazed by it. We have seen students who could not even see through the stack of leis around their necks and heads. Their caps seemed to be floating on top of a stack of leis. Lydia has probably as many on her arms as she has around her neck. Breathing was easier that way!

This is the last graduating class of Pacific Islands Bible College. In July, we become Pacific Islands University which will include the Bible College, our seminary, and a liberal arts college. More on what the Lord is doing in that area in later posts.

Here are some more great pictures from our graduation that appeared in the Pacific Daily News.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In Memory of...

Kathy Newell, the Education and English Language Acquisition professor at PIBC, went to be with the Lord this morning. [You can find more details on Kathy by clicking on the PIBC link to the right side of the screen.] As you can imagine, the entire PIBC family and many others on our island are in shock and are grieving. Please pray as the Lord leads you for the Lord to be glorified and people to come to Christ as the reasons she lived are shared in memorial services, for the students as they try and finish up their final exams, for those finishing up her responsibilities, and for the faculty and staff as we finish up the semester and prepare for the accreditation team arriving in less than 2 weeks. We rejoice that she has finished the race set before her and she is face to face with Jesus, yet there is a huge hole in our hearts because we miss her already. Yet the Lord in His mercy knew we'd be grieving today and led our president, Dave Owen, to share a message at chapel yesterday on trusting the Lord even when things don't make sense. Many have commented today on how timely that message was even though this application was not even thought of yesterday. Thank you Holy Spirit for being our comforter and guide in all things.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Thailand Mission Team

We thank the Lord for providing the airfare for our third team from PIBC to Thailand this summer. They will be in the country for 2 months as they continue working along side of the Thai Campus Crusade staff. This year the team is being lead by Kalvin, a PIBC almuni and now assistant dean of men. They have been getting ready in many ways: being faithful in their studies and personal relationship with Christ, learning to share the Gospel with those with Buddist backgrounds, talking about culture, language and food (picture above was take at a field trip to a Thai resturant for a "taste test"), praying, and trusting the Lord for the funds for the trip (this has included doing work projects and car washes). Pray with them for a speedy issuing of their visas, for the funds for their in-country expenses, and for a fruitful ministry while in Thailand. It is our prayer that the Lord will raise up full-time missionaries for Thailand and other countries from among those that go on these mission trips.