Part of what we have had to deal with is an emotional roller-coaster ride. We are here because my good friend, Dave Owen, President of PIU, is sick. He discovered his ailment, yet undiagnosed, when he landed in the mainland USA for Christmas break. He and his wife, Joyce, were not able to return to Guam. You can read Dave's report on his health here, and a previous report from me on how I got here, here. Our presence at PIU-Guam is because of bad news. What we are doing is trying to insure that the Good News goes forth more effectively in a needy part of the world. I know it sounds Seseme Street-ish, but since we are here, we are not there. In our case there at least two "there"s. We miss oour home in VA, though at for the past week, our hearts have more often turned to Palau, where we were scheduled to be until a couple of weeks ago.
In the kind of situation in which we find ourselves, survival is the first measure of success.
We have made it through the first week. I was able to get a syllabus adapted to the class I am teaching and actually teach two sessions. I have participated in many meetings, some ad hoc--grab a couple of key people, and take 5-10 minutes to make up our mind--and others planned. I spoke in chapel, and led a prayer meeting. Like a guy trying to swim in rough surf, I have read a lot in preparation for the class, Critical Thinking, that I'm teaching. For a time the more I read, the higher the water of what I need to rose. I have managed to keep my nose above the surface. It remains a challenge, but I see glimpses of daylight. We have attended one worship service and a small group meeting of our church, here on Guam.
Perhaps we are like the guy who jumped from the twenty story building and made an announcement as he passed the tenth floor, but we are doing OK. We went on a date last night. Dinner and a movie. It was nice.
- We have been received here with great kindness.
- All of the staff have been great to us, but in particular I praise the Lord for the great relationship I'm building with VP for Business Affairs, Nino Pate', and Administrative Assistant Scott Refilong, a 2016 graduate of PIU, and a former intern at our mission, Liebenzell USA.
- We praise the Lord for good health. We have done a pretty good job of walking for exercise.
- This is by far the best experience we have ever had in getting over jet lag. We attribute it to the prayers of many being answered.
- The survival story, from above.
- (Above the din of roosters from the "farm" next door--they raise roosters for the ring, not the the table--I hear the cooing of a dove. Nothing extraordinary back home in VA. Here in Guam, though, the accidental introduction of the brown tree snake during the World War 2 era all but eradicated the bird population. Hearing the dove just seems like an indicator of God's grace.
- It seems almost profane to ask you to pray for our health, when our friend is so sick, but we do ask that. I'm not foolish enough to think that I'm essential. I'm not, but a lot of folk are depending on us right now. Pray for Dave first, then for us.
- Pray that we'll continue to figure this out.
- Pray for meaningful, life-changing connections with students and staff.
- Pray for the staff of PIU. We are not the only ones who are very busy. Everyone, here, is carrying an extra load.
- Beyond the survival mode, which requires a lot of our attention right now, there are bigger, longer-term matters, some of my colleagues are working on things that could change PIU for the better for decades to come.
- One of Jim's students was visiting him, here in the living room of our apartment. This guy is already a leader not only of a church, but of a network of ministries. What we are doing has potential downstream that is beyuond what we can imagine. Pray for our students.
Kathy and I are very thankful for those of you who partner with us in this venture. As we start each class session we remind the students that there is a group of people who make it possible for us to be here. We pray for you.
By His Grace,
H. (for K. too)