The first week here in Guam has passed and it was very full!
As I, and others faced daily and/or ongoing challenges, I am struck by the way the people here help and support one another. The story that touched me this week was that of Moses and the defeat of the Amalekites, from Exodus 17. Joshua was fighting the Amalekites and as long as Moses held up his hands the Israelites were winning; when his hands lowered the Amalekites won. Moses battled with his tiredness. Then Aaron and Hur put a stone under Moses and he sat on it and they "held his hands up --one on one side, one on the other -- so that his hands remained steady until sunset." (17:12) Joshua and the Israelites were victorious! This struck me as what 'counseling' really is all about: coming alongside to encourage and support one another to do what God calls us to do. In this story I find meaning for the work I am doing here and for the field overall.
To pick up from the last entry:
Tuesday: Melody and Tim Plaxton hosted the four of us for dinner. It was a relaxed evening -- well maybe not when their curious little cat with the "Hitler" moustache scratched Marci's hand! Of course the food and graciousness of our hosts blessed us, and continues to humble me with its magnanimity.
Wednesday: I started class prep by wodering if I back in the states teaching??? WHY won't this projector work??? Seriously, that WAS an all too familiar groaning moment, but-- it quickly unwound to being far more relaxed. Marylou, our IT Maven, showed up and things were up and running before the students even arrived (on time, of course)! Class was exciting and, as suspected, our multi-ethnic group (a student each from China, Bangladesh, and from Guam/native Chamorro) made for wonderfully varied perspectives and great discussion! So, when Eric e-mailed me on Friday to ask if I would accept another student from the island of Chuuk I was ready to give it a chance. Lest my former students reading this think I've gotten too soft ....I agreed "only if the student could get up to speed by Monday." One of the other students jumped on board immediately and did what she could to help get her classmate up to speed --I had the new student's big assignment in my e-mail by Saturday!! "Holding up his hands?"
Thursday: I was able to get off campus to do a bit of necessary shopping and then prepared for a birthday celebration for Joyce. We went to the "Top O' The Mar'. A Mongolian BBQ. You gather up all your meats and veggies, and then top it with sauces and take it out to the chefs to be cooked as you enjoy a spectacular view! Yum! I already love one of the local favorite sauces -- a spicy sauce "finadene". I have to learn how to make this back home. One recipe I saw for this calls for "boonie" peppers (doni sali), although none of the finadene I've had seemed very hot!
Friday: After chapel I went home to rest! A good thing too since one of the other teachers, Jen, took Marci and I off to the "Chamorro Villiage" that evening. The really jumpin' night is Wednesday (when I teach), so I'm glad there is something on Friday. We saw a great looking coconut crab (a land crab that lives in the jungle feeding on coconut), some Chamorro dancing, bought some local things, and had some Thai food......oh yea...coconut milk and fresh coconut....YES, I'm addicted to it already!!! No crab jokes please.
Saturday: A "boonie stomp" out to "Shark's Hole" and the "Lost Pond". Our group included Anne, Joyce, Rob (oversees Student Life), Perry (a missionary from Oregon, here until mid-Feb), Marylou, Marci and I. We did some snorkeling.
Reaction to snorkeling: .....oh....WOW! Speachless. OH WOW1!!
I really didn't know there were fish like that! Thank you God! We hiked out to the hidden pond and collected shells on the beach. What were some of the highlights? The praying mantis eating the butterfly, sand crabs, green tailed skinks, "walking" trees (trees that put out roots and migrate themselves towards the sun), dragonflies, a very poisonous centipede, flowers, sand crabs, amazing coral, blue-green sea, coconuts growing new palms. I learned that coconuts are three sided and always land so they can immediately put out a new shoot!
Sunday: Marci, Perry and I went to worship at Agana Heights Baptist Church, where Eric is currently preaching. We split up and we went to a woman's bible study --- solid and grounding in Genesis. Our youngest participant was 4 months old! ;-) Then the service....it's been quite some time that I have been to a service where all the music was from a hymnal! There is a slogan here that "America's worship begins in Guam". The dawn does after all, begin here...... ;-) After the service we were invited by Cil (one of our PIU staff who worships there) to join folks for lunch.
This Sunday there were some baptisms of three high school students. After sharing in that experience, one question comes to mind:
What does it take to help someone respond to God's call into His kingdom?
"Holding up his hands"
Our great commission to spread the Gospel. Why?
The expression on the last slide of one of the newest members in His kingdom is all the answer we need.
Blessings from Guam! Jo