Monday, May 30, 2011

Baccalaureate & Graduation 2011: PIU

Sunday, May 8, PIU held it "Graduates' Worship Service" at Onnuri Korean Church in Mangilao, Guam. Here at the left are the ladies that graduated . . .

. . . and at the right are the men.

The salutatorian for the graduating class of 2011 was Joyce Owen. She provided a message of inspiration as she challenged her fellow graduates to follow and serve God with their gifts.

There were also a couple of musical presentations . . .

. . . and I had the privilege of presenting the "Teacher of the Year" award to Steve Bradley.

The next day, in spite of heavy rains and some complications (including an island-wide power outage only minutes before graduation was to begin on campus) we held graduation, beginning almost right on time. At the right you see some of our graduates with our president, Dave Owen, and some local visiting dignitaries: a local judge, the President of Guam Community College, and the Mayor of Talofofo.

Many of the faculty members wore their college regalia in honor of the occasion. Left to right, Hardy Sunderwald; Nino Pate; me; Eric Sorenson.

This year, the Lt. Governor of Guam provided a speech and we took a "Kodak moment" to get his picture with our seminary dean, our "tied" valedictorians, and our president.

It was a great celebration, followed by a lovely reception that the PIU faculty and staff worked on together, providing snacks and beverages so that families could linger with their graduates, chat with friends and PIU staff members, and just enjoy the celebration.

Please continue to pray for these young men and women who have had the privilege of obtaining their college degrees. Many of our AA graduates will return in fall to continue on and get their BAs. I also know of one BA graduate who is considering taking classes to get his MA degree. Pray for these future leaders of Micronesia, that God would use them to help their communities and be a blessing, honoring Him with their lives.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

End of Spring Semester at PIU

Well, another semester has ended at PIU! We have been busy with a lot of "odds and ends" types of activities, so I thought I'd post just a few photos and some captions to bring you all up to date.

At the end of spring break, our dive class put on a lovely barbecue and beach day at Family Beach! They had dive equipment on hand and some folks got to try it out to see if they might like it!

On a Friday night, some of us ladies (staff and students) took a trip to Leo Palace Resort and got a private karaoke room. We sang, had snacks, goofed off - you know - just generally had a great time together!

Afterward, we hung out in the lobby area for a short time and took some fun pictures - it is a really beautiful place!

Another semester's end event was a gathering of PIU faculty and staff for fellowship and appreciation of one another before many left island for the summer.

The gathering was held in the home of our librarian, Lisa. Each person was honored with a certificate of appreciation naming a character quality that was appreciated in that person by all the others. It was a fun night!

For those of you who have followed our blog for four years, this may be a familiar sight! Every year (sometimes more than once), a bunch of the students come to our house for a BIG cooky making night! Here you see three of the girls with our HUGE batches of cookie dough. This time, we were baking for graduation.

After we got the dough done, a couple of staff members and their families arrived as well as a carload of more students. Tim had barbecued ten pounds of ribs and about the same amount of chicken - with rice, cole slaw, and fruit added, we had a nice "last day of school" celebration! Our tiny little boonie cottage was really packed with 24 of us for dinner! But it was so much fun!

And with students more than happy to gather in little corners and on the floor, seating was NOT a problem!

By the time the evening was over, we had all eaten our fill . . . including the helpful participation of all present in conducting a "quality control check" of the cookies as they came out of the oven!

(Don't worry - we made plenty for taste testing AND graduation!)

By the time I baked more of the dough Saturday, I had plenty of chocolate chip cookies and snickerdoodles to share for graduation the next Monday, May 9!! I also got two large cakes baked and in the freezer for Sunday decorating!

Sunday evening, after baccalaureate, I came home to frost and decorate a large cake for the next day's graduation ceremony. The graduates chose "Forever Faithful" as their theme for graduation, as you can see on the cake at the left. I found my cake decorating skills had gotten quite rusty since the days of having little kids around the house and annual birthday parties, but it turned out just fine!

Check back in a few days - I hope to have baccalaureate and graduation photos up by then! :-)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hello April! What Happened to March?

This is just a random set of photos of what has been keeping us from blogging lately! I didn't realize it had been 6 weeks! So - some random thoughts and shots:

Tim recently celebrated a birthday - and although I won't tell you which one, I will tell you it was one of the most memorable ones he's had here on Guam. Our librarian and her three children cooked up a yummy birthday cake, the kids made a banner, and they all blew up balloons to give Tim a "birthday surprise" here at PIU during our lunch break on his special day. He was smiling all afternoon! (And I think I caught him sneaking back for extra cake at least once or twice later that day!) Thanks to all who shared in this special event! (Special thanks to Lisa, Zac, Eli and Miriam.)

You probably can't see the close-up detail in this shot, but this is me - Melody - after starting on water blasting our house to prep for painting. I thought it always looked like "so much fun" when I saw Tim doing it on the roof, school walkways, etc. before - so I begged to try it. HARD WORK! That power washer has a kick! DIRTY WORK! I was instantly peppered with dirt, leaves, anything that washed off the wall AND the ground at the bottom of the wall. WET WORK! I was soaking wet in 3 minutes flat! COLD WORK! YIPEE!! :-) It was a breezy late afternoon - even 86 degrees with 75% humidity can feel cool when you're soaking wet and there's a bit of a breeze!!

Incidentally, we got the whole house painted and the trim and edge brushing are nearly done. Tim also put up new porch lights and it looks terrific!

What do Tim and Melody do on a day off? (Besides working on the house!) Hmm - well, one thing we did recently was to enjoy some toasted March-mallows (hee-hee . . . yeah, it's a BAD pun!). Did we go camping? No! Did the local Girl Scouts come and talk us into making S'mores? No! Did we randomly find a bag of marshmallows on the discount rack for 99 cents and take them home on impulse to toast over our gas stove's burner? Yep! Why not? Why save the good stuff for once-a-year camping trips?

At the start of spring break, all the faculty, staff and students of PIU took a couple of days for fun, food, and friendship - there were games by day (friendly competition) . . .

. . . and also some great skits, songs and speakers by night.

Tim and I had the joy and blessing of celebrating our anniversary over PIU's spring break! We got to stay at a local hotel and play "tourist," visiting a few places we hadn't, took in a movie, ate out, and . . . (scroll down)

. . . I (Melody) got to kayak for about an hour as well! (Tim watched from shore and had coffee. What do you mean you aren't surprised?) :-)

What's that? Lovely centipede!! Yeah, we get some nasty critters here on Guam! (Not the cat - she's not nasty - just feisty!!) We measured the centipede - nearly 6" long. YUCKY! I for one was thankful it was on the OUTSIDE of our slider! Our cat, Iggy, might have gotten more than she wanted if the centipede had dared to enter the house!

Well, I think this is a GREAT place to end this entry! Thanks for checking in to see what life is like here on Guam. We only have a few months left to enjoy Guam's beauty and the great staff and students of PIU as we'll be moving home to California this summer. We hope to see many of you soon.
Till then, have a great spring! Looking forward to sharing with more of you in person!
Melody and Tim

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saying "Good Bye" to Sarah

In January, Sarah Cain came from our home church in California to spend some time working short term at PIU. Sarah is in the support-raising phase as a Liebenzell missionary and will be working in our advancement department as head of media/promotions. It's hard to believe that her weeks here have flown - and as of just about an hour ago, she has now flown too! Having her here was such a blessing - much like having one of our daughters for a visit. So this short blog is just to let those of you in CA know that she's on her way - and below are a couple photos of her farewell.

When we asked her yesterday "What do you want to do for dinner your last night?" her response was, "Hey, I hear that place, Hoa Mai, has the best lumpia on island. Can we go there?" It didn't take any arm-twisting to convince us! Note our lovely "feast" from last night - and for those of you who don't know what lumpia is, it's a Filipino style eggroll. They are in the foreground on the plate. You take a large lettuce leaf, line it with some thin rice noodles, top it with bean sprouts and then the lumpia - roll it up in the lettuce leaf and dip it in fish sauce or sweet & sour! Mmmmm!

When we got Sarah's bags checked in, we made our way upstairs where Mary Lou and some of our staff and students were waiting to send Sarah off. It was so sweet for them to do that - mind you, we got up at 4:20 a.m. to get her to the airport on time, and these folks were already at the airport when we arrived!!

Oh dear! It's already time to say goodbye??? Here I give Sarah a last hug and then she had to get in line to clear security. (Note the lovely hair do - on Sarah, not me - a creation that two of our students made last night on campus when Sarah went to say good bye there.)

We waited as long as we could while Sarah went through the long line to the security check point. Here Mary Lou poses with her.

"Hmmm - so, which one is my boarding pass? And which one is my ticket? Where am I going? Do I really have to leave?" :-) Sarah, you're a ham!!
(. . . and we're sure going to miss you!)

One last photo before she disappeared into the crowd!

A little over an hour later here at home, I heard her plane pass overhead - Glen, Linda - she's on her way!! :-)

Pray for Sarah as she works to raise support to come out to join the staff at PIU on Guam.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Concrete Operations

Concrete pouring day dawned clear and bright! When we got up before 6 a.m. on February 5th, we were concerned since the week before had been so wet! We were so thankful that the weather station reported that this day would be the only clear oasis in a week of rain! Friday - partly rainy - Sunday - more of the same - but Saturday: beautiful! As you can see by this photo, only half the forms, moisture barrier, and rebar tied up to adobes were prepared. But a great number of student and staff volunteers soon took care of all the needs!

While waiting for Hawaiian Rock's trucks to begin to arrive to pump the concrete mix, the students and others were not idle. We'd had a lot of rain all week, so much of the prep work had been delayed off and on. Here, Eseuk pounds in a piece of rebar to hold some forms in place while Everly holds it steady. Grateful, Mondale, and Soram look on.

By about 11:00 a.m. the preparation was done and the pumper truck equipped with a HUGE pumper arm arrived and got ready for the exciting moment that the first of the concrete mix would begin to get pumped into the forms over the rebar. A few minutes later, it was hooked up to a cement mixer that arrived and the driveway began to appear! YAY! No more potholes!!!!

Tim enjoyed being a part of this project very much. It made for a few very long days before and during the pour for him, Robin Sukrow (Santa Cruz) and several of our PIU students, plus the backhoe operator that did the grading, but I know they all agree that it was well worth it!

Probably the busiest time of this job was the "middle section" when half the concrete had been poured, more was on the way, and we still had rebar to lay! Our students were amazing - they worked tirelessly all day on this project from about 8:00 a.m. when some of them came out to help with the middle section of rebar, until about 4:30 p.m. when the last truck left. (Here, Mr. Kwan, volunteer from the Korean church, guides the gooseneck from the pumper to make sure we get a nice, even fill.)

While we were waiting for another load of mix to arrive, some of the guys finished laying the last of the rebar, setting adobes up under each place where the rebar crossed and tying them to the rebar with wires.

The last truck of mix arrived and was poured near the edge of the road. All totaled, we used three and a little-more-than-a-half trucks of mixed concrete. BIG project!

Students worked hard on making sure the concrete was smoothly finished. Robin helps here with "floating" the surface while Grateful and Ikol do some trowel work.

After it was all done, Tim, Mo, and a couple other students (and maybe a few additional staff members) made sure the concrete was kept moist for a couple days. Voila! A new entrance!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Special Projects Bless PIU's Campus

Termites, rain, sun - they take their toll here on Guam. When our volunteer team came from Santa Cruz (Kerry, Ryan, and Jim), this is how the steps to our Study Center (computer lab) looked (see right).

This is how the area looked after stripping off all the old, rotten boards. The guys put a nice moisture barrier down beneath the stair risers to prevent evaporating moisture from rotting the wood as fast from underneath.

Lastly, they replaced the old, rotten boards with nice, new lumber. Tim and Mo will seal the wood off and we'll have great steps that do double duty as "bleachers" for watching basketball games. Thank you, Kerry, Ryan and Jim!

Another project was one for which a local woman donated funds for materials: Pouring a nice concrete entrance, driveway to the classroom building, and parking pad for handicapped students and/or visitors. This is what it looked like before the project began.

After a few delays (rain; sick backhoe operator; broken hydraulic line on the backhoe had to be repaired), we were finally able to get the project going. With the help of Robin, a contractor also visiting from Santa Cruz, Rob, Tim, and many of our male students worked relentlessly for 3 days to get this project going and done. Grading was a HUGE part of that. Then setting forms, moisture barrier, rebar and adobe "floats" to suspend the rebar.

Here you see the rest of the area getting prepped for pouring - and God's blessing of a rainbow in the sky over the project! :-)

Yesterday (Saturday here), after a long day (6:30 a.m. to about 5:30 p.m.), the preparation was completed and the concrete poured. We must have had at least 12 of our young men from PIU out helping all day! I'll have photos of the pour up in one to two days! We are so thankful for all those who made this project happen! But mostly to God, who provides us with good things always!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Photo Journal "Island Tour" of Guam

Hello again to those who follow this blog! Surprise! It's only been about a week and here I am posting the promised photos of our island tour with our visitor, Sarah, from our home church in California, and Mary Lou, PIU missionary (also from our home church) who is our IT person. I will use larger than usual photos and minimal comments so you can enjoy the tour with us! So read on and join us on a pictorial journal of Guam!

(Photo at right)
Our tour began on Sunday, January 23 as we drove southwest from church and stopped at Asan Beach. This is the beach where the American troops landed on July 21, 1944 to rout the Japanese troops who had invaded Guam and enslaved the citizens. This date (July 21) is now celebrated here annually as Liberation Day - Guam's "4th of July!"

(Photo at left)
Since we'd just gotten out of church and it was past 2:00 pm at this point, the next stop was Jan Zs, a great little restaurant on a harbor near the south end of Guam. We all enjoyed what we ordered. Sarah and Tim had fish and chips - Mary Lou and I each ordered one of Jan Zs' famous burgers!

(Photo at right)
Satisfied with a great meal, we piled back in the car and continued south and then rounded the turn at the tip of the island to begin going north. Most roads on Guam (other than in the business districts) are similar to what you see here: 2 lanes through the jungle.

(Photo at left)
Our next stop was Magellan's Bay in the village of Umatac. The village was in "fiesta" mode with island music blaring at the village center near the beach and families were scattered around the area enjoying the beautiful weather. Sarah posed by a roadside cross on the sea-side of the road across from the village's Catholic Church.

(Photo at right)
We then ALL wanted to pose in front of the cross with the bay in the background. Left to right: Mary Lou; Melody; Tim; Sarah.

(By the way, that peninsula in the background is where our next stop will be - Spanish Fort, which is at the top of the ridge.)

(Photo at left)
Fort Soledad, the Spanish fort above Umatac Bay has been around since the early 1800s. It was damaged by some of the war activity in 1944 and was used by the Japanese during the war.

(Photo at right)
Sarah made friends with a pregnant caribao while we were at Fort Soledad's ruins. Lest you think that was a typo, no, it's not a caribou - those are more like deer. A caribao is what the southeast Asians would call a water buffalo.

(Photo at left)

At the same park, some local Chamorros have built a little palm house with local fruits for visitors to sample. here are some bananas and

(Photo at right)
The volunteer who was working at the little house was slicing star fruit for us all to sample. It was delicious! We liked it so well, he generously gave us some to take home to enjoy. We sliced it up at work on Monday and shared it at lunch time.

(Photo at left)
As we continued on the road, we stopped at a favorite place - a little bay (Agfayan Bay) just south of Inarajan Pools where there is an outcropping called "Bear Rock." Here Sarah poses with the bear seeming to be in the palm of her hand! :-)

(Photo at right)
It being a warm day, we stopped at a local market in Inarajan to get a cold drink. This is a typical little store - most villages have at least one, and some as many as 4, 5 or even more little markets, depending on the size and population of the village.

(Photo at left)

As we left Inarajan, we drove past the oldest known Protestant Church on Guam. All that remains of this little Baptist church, constructed in the early 1900s, is the front wall, but it's very picturesque.

(Photo at right)
As we continued north, we came through an area where there were a couple of helicopters, Coast Guard boats, and emergency vehicles. We did not know what was going on until the next day when the news and papers announced that a fisherman was washed over the reef and lost at sea. Sadly, he was never found. This was an all to solemn reminder of the risks of the rough seas that surround Guam at many times of the year and the dangers local fishermen face.

Thanks for checking out our blog! The tour was over all too soon, but here on Guam and at PIU, the adventures never end. Check back in a week or two for more on what's going on here this spring!

Melody and Tim