Friday, February 26, 2010

Steve's Fall Trips

Steve spent much of the Fall Semester traveling to fulfill many of his responsibilities at PIU. His first trip was to Yap to meet with church leaders and to encourage alumni in their walks with the Lord. Below is the building that is being refurbished to be PIU's Remote Teaching Facility in Yap. It is also the house that we stayed in during our first trip to Yap in the summer of 1978. While living here we both felt the Lord calling us back to Micronesia, which He brought about a year later. What a gift He gave us in placing us in this part of the world and allowing us to see His hand at work over time. The children of those we saw come to Christ that summer are now at PIU!!! Steve's next trip was for 5 weeks as he and PIU's president, Dave Owen traveled and spoke at several colleges and seminaries. Here Steve is sharing a message on the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) at Shasta Bible College in northern California.

They also met up with Micronesians that are living in California, Texas, and Arizonia for a time of mutal encouragement and to share with them what PIU has to offer.

Another of the purpose of the trip was for meeting with our accrediting agency TRACS in Forest, Va. Pictured below are Steve, Howard Merrell (PIU Board Member from Covington, Va.), Bill Schuit (Liebenzell, USA Director and Chairman of the PIU Board), and Dave Owen (PIU President and fellow Liebenzell missionary).

There was also a time to dream and plan for the expansion of the Guam campus which is bursting at the seams. Steve and Dave met with Bill and Howard as well as Katherine (PIU grant writer living in NC) and David and Jill Mayer with this in mind. David is an architect and has volunteered his expertise to help with the expansion plan. He and wife Jill are planning to head to Guam this summer for the first time. Jill will help teach in our summer English program.

The traveling PIU duo then took some down time to learn some history from Micky Beckham, an institutional financial consultant and avid history buff, that has helped set PIU on track in the Fund Development areas that Steve now oversees.

Since its inception, PIU (formerly PIBC and before that MIBS) has always had as its main purpose to train Christians to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ effectively wherever the Lord takes them, no matter what vocation they pursue. Thus missions has always been an integral part of our focus. Another aspect of the trip was seeking opportunities for our students and alumni to complete internships or longer terms of service outside of Micronesia. In the picture below, Steve is speaking with a missionary to a Southeast Asian country about the possibility of sending some of our students there and they sending some of their people to PIU. God keeps doing "more than we can ask or think". Some days it is hard to keep up with Him.

They were also able to see several of those near and dear to all our hearts who are now "Stateside". Brad Boydston (former academic dean and current distance ed. teacher) and his wife Cheryl (former business office staff) now serving the Lord in Laveen, Az. outside of Phoenix are pictured here. They also met up with Aaron and Hollie Schaub and their new son Sam (see link to the right), Matt Augee and Dan Fields who had just been in Guam for our Spiritual Emphasis Days, and the Barretts who served in Guam and Palau with us in our early years in Micornesia.

The trip was very successful and they returned with more than 100 contacts and many possibilities to pursue.
Pray with us all as we continually seek God's direction and purposes for PIU.
Pray for:
- those prayerfully considering joining the faculty and staff of PIU
- US residents considering PIU for their education
- the expansion of campus facilities
- wisdom on how to best serve the churches of Micronesia
- the growth of our students spiritually and academically.
Pray also for the Lord to raise up a CFO to oversee the school's financial operations as this is our greatest need at the moment. If you know of anyone who has experience in this area and a heart for missions, please let us know, as you might be part of God's answering this prayer.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Thanksgiving is always a special day on campus. Very few of us have extended family on Guam so our celebration together is extra special. We usually meet in the main classroom around noon where we will sing, pray, share things we are thankful for, or even have a short history lesson on why Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Then it is time to open the table. For the most part traditional American dishes are prepared (including 6 turkeys) by the faculty and staff, but a feast here is not complete without fish and rice so those can also be found. Fellowship around the tables is sweet. It is a time for faculty and staff and students to get to know each other better outside the classroom.
Each year the students have a Christmas party that they organized and put on for themselves. Crazy skits and gift exchanges are part of the festivities. The faulty and staff have just as much fun but in a different way. This year we reserved at room on the top floor of the Reef Hotel with an incredible view of Tumon Bay at sunset. After enjoying the view 5 of the ladies (May, Josephine, Sharon, Anne and Mary Lou) posed for this picture before we sat down to eat a
scrumcious meal.
Delight, our financial aid officer did what most of us really wanted to do - he began his meal with dessert! After the meal we had a white elephant style gift exchange and had lots of laughs. It was a great evening with some very special people who have sacrificed so much to answer God's call to teach and work at PIU.
Below is a picture of almost all of us. We are both in the picture, but a bit hard to see. Those who aren't in the picture are the hundreds of you that live elsewhere that make it possible for us to be here. Thank you so very much for caring about the peoples of the northern Pacific here in Micronesia.

Other Activities

Students often raise money for their activities through the means of car washes. On an island where salt spray is often in the air, cars are in constant need of a hose off, so this is a popular way of raising money for all groups. Between $300-$500 can be raised in a few hours on a Saturday. The Luthern Church of Guam has been very gracious in allowing our students to use their parking lot and water supply for which we are most grateful. There are a lot of cars cleaned and a lot of fun had in the process.Most of our students are from off-island and have no means of personal transportation, so unless relatives or the faculty and staff take them off-campus they are not able to leave. Thus outing days are always looked forward too. Some favorite activities are a day at the beach, swimming, snorkling, hunting sea cucumbers to eat (a delicacy we Statesiders just don't really appreciate), or just enjoying the shade and a BBQ. Below is a picture of one of the beautiful blue starfish that are abundant in the waters around the island.
Occassionally we will head out on a trip around the southern end of Guam and when we do we always make a stop at Ft. Soledad in the village of Umatac. It was in this bay that Magellan "discovered" Guam and brought it to the attention of the Western world. One of the attractions at Ft. Soledad is Big John and is 31 year old carabao (water buffalo) Bessie, whom he has dubbed the "fastest horse on Guam". Big John will also open a coconut for you to drink or sell you local bananas or other fruit. Here Jen Rydzik, our remedial English teacher, is taking a ride on Bessie and listening to Big John tell her about his village (one of the oldest continually lived in villages on the island). On some of the other blogs you can access from our page, you can watch a video of another ride that was taken on Bessie. The remains of an old Spanish fort are also on this site.
Often as we explore the island together we are treated by the Lord with a rainbow - His almost daily reminder of His faithfulness to keep all of His promises.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Other Happenings

Along with their regular classes our students are involved in other activities also. Each student is involved in an off-campus ministry. Some are in churches, but many are learning that there are many ways to reach out to people in the community. Many of our students are involved in the Big Brother, Big Sister program at one of the local middle schools each week. Others work with the UOG Campus Ministry. This last summer one of the young women and Anne helped teach a Violence Prevention Program based on Christian priniciples to middle school children in one of the northern villages (still haven't recieved pictures for this, I promised earlier). Those students who are enrolled in the education minor for teacher certification do their student teaching in the public and private schools. Here Judson is spending a day at one of the local Christian pre-schools. Another ministry some of our students are involved in has been called the Traveling Team for the last couple of years. They represent PIU by visiting local churches and sharing music, testimonies, information about PIU and sometimes even the main message for the service. This coming summer the team, now named Voices of Micronesia, will be visiting churches and other groups in the US on a promotional tour. Pray for their preparations. More details coming soon.
At the end of each semester the Principles of Teaching class taught by Dr. Christel Wood (standing with red shirt) prepares for and executes a Kid's Day outreach to children. Many of the come from the neighborhood surrounding the school. This is always a special event and looked forward to by one and all. Our students did an excellent job and about 70 children attended. Here Meluat is telling this group of children a Bible story. Several children indicated that they received Christ as Savior during the day's activities.
And of course there are always times when we get together just for fun and to get to know each other better. For the last couple of years during Fall semester the ladies get dressed up and have what we call Mystery Dinner Night. The women students are broken up into 5 teams. The evening is run like a progressive dinner of sorts. The women staff and faculty are assigned to one of 5 sites around the campus. When it is time to start each team is sent to one of the 5 sites to start at. They know they will have a portion of their dinner at each site, but they don't know which course they are having or in which order, thus the "mystery". At each site, the teams eat and do an activity. Some activities are games and others are "get to know each other" sharing times prompted by a set question or two. Below the team pictured is having a snack and drinks and they shared with each other answers to a preset question. Everyone had a great time and the evening ended by having all teams meet in the main classroom for one last game.
The game was hysterical to play and to watch as teams of 2 tried to hold slips of paper between the body parts labeled on the pieces of paper. The team that won managed to be connected in at least 10 ways at the same time. Below Miyou and KeiKei are trying to hold two different slips between their foreheads and their cheeks at the same time. What a special privilege it is to share life and ministry with these precious ladies!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spiritual Emphasis Days

uEach year in the Fall PIU holds Spiritual Emphasis Days. It is a time for us all to set aside the academics and concentrate solely on our relationships with the Lord. Often we rent a "ranch" on a beach and ferry every one there. Sometimes we have guest speakers and sometimes different faculty or staff share the main messages. This year Matt Augee of Phoenix, Az. was our main speaker. Matt was part of our CCC staff team in 1985 as we prepared for Explo '85, the worldwide teleconference. His time on Guam changed his life, he tells groups. We were reconnected with Matt not to long ago when he met a mutual friend in Hong Kong. After meeting with Matt several times Steve invited him to come to Guam and be the speaker for this years Spiritual Emphasis Days. Matt used many props to explain Biblical principles that the students have often studied. But his illustration brought these truths to life in fresh new ways. Many students shared that for the first time they really understood how these truths related to their every day lives. In the picture below Matt is about to pull many odd types of tennis balls out of his bag to teach the lesson that there is no partiality with God - a much needed reminder in a school filled with many nationalities (many of which have a history of mistrust apart from Christ).
This year our venue was to be camping in the fields of Bayview Church which has a fantastic view of the Philippine Sea (the ocean area to the west of Guam). And were using the sanctuary for the large group meetings. But as often happens here, Plan B went into affect when the outer winds of a typhoon which was by-passing the island drenched the island in heavy rains. Fortunately the church's leaders gave us permission to move the girls into their Servicemen's Center for the 2 nights and allowed the guys to sleep in the sanctuary.
The days were filled with large group activities, small group discussions, worship, messages, and plenty of time to get alone with the Lord. Laughter and tears were also very much apart of our times together. Below Anne's small group is working on a cooperation exercise. Each person had specific instructions which none of the others in the group knew. We had to work together to build a Lego building of at least 6 layers with out speaking or making any sounds. It was much, much harder than it seemed it would be, especially since some of us were told to take pieces off that others had put on. This exercise had many applications, one of which is we are being fitted together into a holy temple (Eph. 2) and we are to build one another up.
When Matt came, he brought his friend Dan Fields, a brother in Christ, and a professional photographer with him. In the days before the Spiritual Emphasis Days, it was my privilege to take these men around the island so that Dan could capture the essence of the island. He also took many incredible pictures of our students and staff. You can view the more than 800 pictures he has posted (from more than 10,000 he took) at
It was exciting to see the Lord work in the lives of the students during this time. Even more it has been exciting to see the lasting fruit and growth in their lives.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Long Awaited Up Dates

For many different reasons we were not able to keep up with this blog this last semester and for that we apologized. It is our goal to do much better this semester. We have "borrowed pictures from our co-workers so that we can give you a glimpse into life here. We are so grateful for each and everyone of you that support us in prayer and giving and as Paul says, we "make mention of you in our prayers" often. You are making a difference in God's kingdom and we want you to know that. Several of our students who thought they had a relationship with God through His son, Jesus Christ, began true relationships with Him this last semester. We feel that this is in direct answer to your prayers and ours as a staff and faculty of PIU.
Every other Sunday night, the staff and faculty meet for prayer and fellowship. We have out grown most of our homes as a place to meet. Another answer to prayer as God sends us co-labors. Keep praying to the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers.
Nightly devotions are an important part of campus life. Some times the students meet in small groups and some nights they meet together. This is a picture of an all women's devotion night and the girls are doing an "action" worship song that is a favorite - "O, My Feet Are Made for Dancing"
Chapel is held every Tuesday and Friday at 11 AM. These times are a set aside for all to worship and be encouraged by the Word and prayer. When Steve discovered that he had severe osteoparosis, the leaders of the school called for a time of prayer over him. What you can't see is that the whole of PIU is link in prayer - each with a hand on the person in front of them with these in the center with their hands on Steve. God's grace has been sweet and He is providing strength, encouragement and a treatment plan we can afford for him.
Often Friday's chapels are lead by the students. Here is a picture from one the skits they shared that went with the message they had prepared. Our students are quite creative!