Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Miscellaneous Guam

1) In the first 1-1/2 years of living on Guam, the three drivers in our family hit four boonie dogs. "Boonie" (homeless) dogs are prolific on the island.

2) Essentially Guam has two seasons: rainy and REALLY rainy. The temperature remains pretty much the same year-round--HOT! We are currently in the REALLY rainy season. Thus, at the last practice, nine-year-old Noelle's soccer coach instructed the players to either bring a change of clothes or a large towel to future practices so that after a deluge, they can "fix" themselves. And I'm not about kidding when I write "deluge." You can't imagine the velocity with which the skies open-up! But, being a rain forest, rain is not an impediment to Guamanians--the play goes on despite it!

3) Karyn started home schooling our girls (9 and 12) last week. Besides teaching core subjects, she is teaching a year-long unit study on ancient history (Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans) and a unit study on the human body. If you have any recommendations (or donations) of resources, they would be appreciated. (Karyn laments the loss of the incredible stateside libraries.)

4) When Karyn gives the girls a break from school, she has to threaten them to get them to go outside because they complain it is too hot. One of their favorite things to do outside is jump on the trampoline while spraying each other with the hose. Because it is the rainy season right now, there are a LOT more mosquitoes. This is an added incentive to NOT go outside. Besides, Eric reports that the vicious weather is slowly destroying the trampoline's canvas straps like jungle insects devour a carcass.

5) This week Eric begins teaching Prophetic Literature and Spiritual Foundations for Ministry. His administrative responsibilities as dean of the seminary are in full swing again, and he's back in the pulpit at Agana Heights Baptist Church each Sunday.

6) Food lasts significantly longer now that our son, Christian is no longer living with us. He remained in the States and joined his older brother, Teyler, at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. We were sad that we couldn't be with him at his parent/student orientation; however, we are exceedingly grateful that, at least for this year, God has provided the funds for him to attend such a solid, Christian college. Furthermore,we are thankful that he has a loving and doting grandmother (Karyn's mother) who sat with him in our stead at his orientation.

7) Registration for Pacific Islands University is about over, save for a few stragglers. From all accounts, it appears we will have significantly higher registration than we had expected; some 115 students. The college is abuzz with activity and excitement as we enter into the 2009-2010 school year. Expectantly we await the mighty and life-transforming work God will do not only in our students' lives, but in each of ours as well.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Back on Guam

After two and one-half months in California, we are back on Guam. While in California, we spoke in a different church up and down the California coast EVERY Sunday. Since we have to raise 100% of our own support for our work here, we are hoping that as a result of these efforts, we will have gained additional supporters. We actually really enjoyed the opportunity we had to worship in different churches, to meet new people, and to reconnect with old friends. But, alas, the time came to say goodbye to California and to return to our work on Guam. Although we very much looked forward to returning to our work at Pacific Islands University, we dreaded having to say goodbye to our family. It was especially sad for us to leave behind our son, Christian, who just turned 18 in July, because he will be joining his brother, Teyler (21 years old), at Westmont College in a couple of weeks. Below are some pictures of the goodbyes which probably speak louder than any explanation.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Ticking of the Clock

Without a doubt, I think the hardest part about being a missionary is being separated from family and dear friends. Don’t get me wrong; certainly there are other factors that are challenging. Different foods, different bugs (and many more of them I might add), different weather, and a different culture, just to name a few. Regardless, these challenges pale compared to the pain of residing 6000 miles away from those dearest to one’s heart. Recently, I have heard the incessant ticking of the clock: eight days or 192 hours, seven days, or 168 hours, etc. before Departure Day, aka D-Day. Enjoying the company of extended family, I will suddenly feel my heart seize up and the ache of a broken heart—the realization that I will lose this easy camaraderie in a matter of hours. My eyes swell with tears and our boys (18 and 21) laugh and roll their eyes and our girls (9 and 12) snuggle closer. I envy the boys’ ability to compartmentalize the impending pain of D-Day. I suppose when I was their age I could have done the same. And yet, I notice that they clear their calendars so that our last few days here can be spent together. I observe the cuddling and vying for “who gets to sit by brother” when it’s time to be seated. Clearly, they too hear the incessant ticking of the clock. Although I’m dreading D-Day, I’m also looking forward to being back on Guam and continuing our work there. I’m anxious to look into the gold-studded smiles of our students. I’m eager to hear the melodious singing coming from the dorm rooms, and I can hardly wait to pour my heart into what I teach in the classroom. One thing that is constant through all the changes our family has encountered in the last few years, is God’s faithfulness. He is truly faithful, and despite the pain of having to say goodbye, I am truly grateful for the privilege and joy of working in Micronesia. "Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim his praise in the islands" (Isaiah 42.12).