Sunday, June 29, 2008

Of Guests and Dolls

PIBC and its environs tend to become a vast wasteland during the summer. Only a few of us remain on island to "hold down the fort." This year, among a handful of others, it's been left to us. The blessing we hadn't counted on, however, is the presence of volunteer guest teachers offering summer school classes. Don Howell, a New Testament professor, was on site for a couple of weeks, and we were blessed to be able to entertain him a few times. He was wonderful to our family. Currently, we're enjoying a similar relationship with Armin and Carolyn Reese who are on island teaching computers. We've done the beach and the other standard sites, but, like Don, they have been a blessing to us as well. Besides their computer consultation, it turns out that Carolyn is pretty handy with needle and thread. Here's the story . . . .

For her fifth birthday a few years back, Noelle's very caring and special Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Nass, gave her what quickly became her favorite book: The Ticky-Tacky Doll. It's a child's book about a little girl's close relationship with her little handmade doll. Noelle must have read the book a hundred times. She's eight now, and living in Guam, but recently The Ticky-Tacky Doll re-surfaced from among the other books we brought to Guam, and Noelle went back to it like a long lost friend; only now she's become convinced she needs her own ticky-tacky doll. Mom wasn't exactly sure how to make one, and we didn't bring enough material, but Noelle persisted. Enter Carolyn Reese. Getting ready for the beach one day, she heard about Noelle's dilemma. After a quick glance at the famous Ticky-Tacky book, she and Noelle started to work. This time tomorrow, the cloth should come to life.

So we've found some wonderful surprises this summer in the presence of three new friends, come to volunteer their knowledge and skills with PIBC. Much to our surprise, these people have also been a great blessing to us.

By the way, if you have the master's degree qualifications required to come and teach short-term, let us know. We don't just need Bible teachers, but science, English, computer, history and other teachers as well. Your presence is sure to be a blessing!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Back at It!

We're off and running with our summer intensive classes. Eric is teaching Doctrine 4 (the church and last things) with 11 students, and I'm teaching Counseling with eight students. What a difference managing a class of eight compared to having just taught it with 22! Also, what a difference to only have two cultures represented (Palauan and Chuukese) compared to the five cultures represented in my spring class. But, the best part for me, is the incredible opportunities this small class size allows for interfacing. As I type that word "interfacing," I am immediately reminded that that word would undoubtedly not be known by my students. This, actually, is my greatest challenge--to change my vocabulary. I have to laugh because it took me years and much education to acquire my vocabulary, and now, it is my greatest impediment to effective communication. One of my students who had Eric as his professor last semester, informed me that Eric has been more successful at adapting his vocabulary to fit an English as a second language population. When I brought this up to Eric, he articulated that he is forever running synonyms through his head as he teaches, scrambling for the clearest word. Maybe I should get a synonym finder book!

If you know us well, you probably already know this; if not, here is the exciting news: our son, Teyler, and my mom, Judy, will be arriving in Guam on July 3. They will be spending a month with us! Yippee!! We are all SO EXCITED. We literally have a countdown that records to the second how much time until their arrival. They will get to experience first-hand our work here, and we will relish our time together.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tragic News

I had gathered a bunch of pictures and information for our next blog and was ready to post it when I was met with an email this morning stating that Kate, the 19-year-old daughter of my college friend, September (Voss) Vaudrey, had been killed in a tragic car accident. This news sucked the breath out of me. I spent the rest of the day crying and calling out to God on behalf of my friend and her family. I have never met Kate, but I have read about her vivacious personality and her incredible artistic talents and love for our Lord in the Christmas letter I receive annually from the Vaudreys.

It literally made me physically sick as I imagined what this precious Christian family must be going through. Only a few days ago we had received from them a 50 pound care package loaded with “junk food” (our kids were ecstatic!) and toiletry items such as deodorant, shampoo, and lotion (I was thrilled!), sent in a HUGE duffel bag and delivered by an Azusa Pacific University missions team as it was passing through Guam on their way to work in Yap. Kate and her sister, students at APU, kindly made the logistical arrangements to get us the care package. As I look at the junk food overflowing the duffel bag, and I remember the joy our family experienced in getting such a fun care package and the fun we are having eating our daily rationed snack, it is unimaginable to think of the depth of loss this family is facing.

There are no trite words or platitudes for this situation. And so, I cry out to God on behalf of my friend and her family, that our God of all comfort and the Father of compassion will hold this family in His gentle arms (2 Corinthians 1:3).

I've attached their latest update as a testimony of their on-going faith, and also to solicit your prayers on their behalf.

Kate Vaudrey Update: Monday, 2:18 am

Dear Friends and Family,

Katherine Rachael Vaudrey died this morning. Her heart beat its last as it was removed by the transplant team.

I have always suspected that there could be no worse loss than that of losing a child. Thus far, the pain of losing Kate is every bit as awful as I would have anticipated.

The rest of our kids-- Matt, his wife Andrea, Bethany, Sam, and September were with September and I this evening as we all said goodbye to Kate before they wheeled her away to the OR. The unity and pride of my family leaves me with a level of gratitude that nearly matches my level of grief.

Kate brought life to every room she entered. Tonight, she has brought life into the bodies of several dying people. As I type this note, a patient at Northwestern Community hospital is being prepped to receive Kate's liver, it will save his life.

Also as I type, they are prepping a patient at another facility that will receive Kate's pancreas and one of her kidneys. This will likely save his life.

And finally, as I type this note, there is a 26 year old woman getting her hopelessly diseased lungs removed at Loyola University. Yesterday she was told that she had less than 24 hours to live, unless they find an organ donor match. When she wakes up later this morning, she will be breathing with Kate's lungs. It will save her life.

Countless numbers of you have sent texts, emails, cards, food, etc.... Thank you! We have not had the time or emotional space to respond to any yet. But please note that we appreciate every one of them.

I believe that September, the kids and I are in a good place. We are overwhelmed with sadness and loss. But as we think through the other alternative ways this scenario could have played out, we are feeling a renewed appreciation of God's love, provision and sovereignty.

At this stage we are anticipating a reception and a memorial service this coming Friday and Saturday at Willow Creek Community Church. We will send you details once they are known. We would be honored if you would join us.

We so appreciate you!
Scott and September