Mary Johnson sent me a few more pictures from the trip to Chuuk last weekend. She was teaching an English class on Tol, while I was meeting with pastors on Weno. I got to ride with her on the boat to Tol but then turned around and rode back to Weno for my meetings
Our campus on Tol is about a 45 minute boat ride from Weno (Weno is about 1 1/2 hour plane ride from Guam -- Guam is about 18 hours flying time from California). The Tol campus is a beautiful retreat or camp setting -- without electricity (except with a generator which runs a few hours everyday) or Internet (yet). The isolation combined with the tropical weather (heat, humidity, storms) makes it very difficult to run a full college program there. That's one of the challenges we're struggling with.
Chuuk is one of the four states in the Federated States of Micronesia. Weno is the capital of Chuuk and with 15,000 people the largest city/village in the FSM. Most people in the FSM live out on more isolated islands. There are about 75,000 people in all of the FSM.
PIBC is the only accredited four year college with a physical presence in the country -- and we only have a biblical studies program -- although we've begun to offer minors in several areas such as elementary education, teaching English as a second language, pastoral studies, missions...
Chuukese make up the single largest block of students on our Guam campus so there are lots of connections with Chuuk. Many of our students have studied at either the PIBC Weno teaching facility and/or the Tol campus before coming to PIBC Guam. PIBC also has teaching facilities in Yap (another state in FSM) and in Palau (an independent Micronesian island country).
Mary and her husband Jeff are ELCA missionaries. Jeff is the pastor of the Lutheran Church of Guam and Mary is the vice-president of academic affairs at PIBC. However, at the end of this semester Mary will be leaving PIBC to oversee the English language programs that the Lutherans have throughout Asia. The Johnsons will continue to live on Guam and she'll be a good resource for me since I'll be taking over her VP responsibilities. I'm sure my high school teachers would all be astonished that I would become the chief academic officer of any school -- but out here we often make do.