Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Celebrating Graduation

Watching the twenty-four beaming graduates really made it all worth the effort. Imagining where God will lead these young men and women and the potential influence they have for the Kingdom brought the daily routine of teaching and grading into perspective. Beginning with the Baccalaureate Service on Sunday afternoon, with Eric chosen to preach, and culminating with Commencement on Tuesday, PIBC celebrated its largest graduating class since its inception in 1976: 23 bachelor’s degrees and 1 associate’s degree. Some of these students will further their schooling, some will go back to their islands and teach or work in government, and some are still figuring it out (some things are the same here as everywhere!). A few are heading to either Thailand or Palau on one of our school mission trips, and one student, after traveling to Thailand for his second trip, will return to PIBC as Assistant Dean of Students.

Despite the rainfall at the outdoor commencement ceremony, it was a perfect day (the workers had covered the whole area with canopies so the sound system was well under cover). The place was packed with several hundred beautifully dressed people from all over Micronesia as we gathered together to thank God for his goodness. The college degree you and I almost take for granted in the US is a cause for tremendous celebration in much of the rest of the world, including out here in Oceana. Few and far between are Micronesians with a college degree – what a thrill it is to know that we’ve had a part in adding to that number. For that matter, you play a part too, as you support us with your prayers and giving. We urge you to keep it up because the work of the Lord here is bearing fruit! Pray not only for us and PIBC, but include these new graduates, asking that they will stay the course and make an impact for Jesus Christ.After the ceremony, the students were smothered in leis made of candy, money and flowers. This was obviously a very important tradition. In the next picture, you can see how incredibly creative the students are. They used wooden skewers with Kleenex-made flowers and wild fern to form flower arrangements. And, in the last picture, you can see how wild fern has been stapled to the steps leading up to the stage. Fern also lined the walkway leading to the stage.

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