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.