Welcome to the PAMI family….or as some might say–“pamily.” Upon first arriving at the PAMI Bible school in Sorsogon Province (Emmaus Bible Institute), the students may serenade you with the song “Welcome to the family,” as done to short-term teams that visited in 2009 and 2013. Indeed, one of the things that makes our mission unique is the family feel that it has. And one of our main goals is expanding the family of God. You can be part of the family and help to expand that family by getting involved through prayer, donations, or sharing your time/talents through participating in monthly board meetings or events, or helping with service opportunities.
A different family aspect to the mission is that it was started in December 1981 by my uncle and aunt, Norval and Ardelle Thorud. Another aunt and uncle, Izzy and Howie Allen, joined the board in early 1982. I got involved by 1984. I remember attending the Urbana Missions Conference in 1984 as a recent college graduate, asking God how I should get involved with missions after Billy Graham spoke, and feeling that God indicated to check further into what my own relatives were doing. I’ve been attending monthly board meetings ever since. My physical family board members have all passed on, but I still view other PAMI members as family too.
I twice accompanied my uncle on two-month-long visits to the Philippines, in 1989 and 1991, becoming more familiar with the people and places there. I was voted to succeed my uncle as president of the PAMI board in 2004. And I’ve been back to the Philippines for three-week-long visits in 2004, 2009, 2012, and 2013.
While my schooling and professional background are in engineering design and science teaching, I’ve had many years of Bible Study Fellowship and church involvement. I count it a privilege to administrate PAMI as a part-time volunteer, to uphold the dozens of trained Filipino PAMI pastors and workers in the field. I count them as fellow brothers and sisters in God’s family. In 2012 I felt like I even became “blood brothers” with one of our pastors, Chito Mendizabal, when I donated blood for him during his fight with cancer.
Some other aspects besides family feel that make PAMI unique are as follows:
In conclusion, I wish to point out that the PAMI family is composed of one body with many parts, each having different skills/roles, but working together to further God’s kingdom and glory. There are many servants both in the Philippines as well as in the US (and other countries) that are all valuable parts of the team. In particular, I wish to acknowledge John Miller as the one who set up this website, and thank him for sharing his technical talents and artistry. John is a friend from my home church, a fellow traveler on the 2009 Respond Trip, and a fellow PAMI board member. I encourage you to explore this website to get to know PAMI better, and to consider joining our “pamily” and get involved.
A fellow servant of Jesus,
Mike Thorud, president of the US PAMI board