As Thanksgiving approaches, let us together express gratitude and praise to God as we review His hand at work in a recent month-long visit to the Philippines by a team of four from Minnesota and Wisconsin. This post includes the Powerpoint, 32-minute summary video, and copies of team Reflections shared during a Missions Sunday school hour on Nov 19, 2023 at Prairie Hill Evangelical Free Church. Note that three of our team (Mike, Tyler, and Jess) are from PHEFC.
This slide show starts by noting that PHEFC supports the family of PAMI Pastor Rafael and Elsie Dominguez, who live and serve on the campus of PAMI’s Emmaus Bible Institute. It also includes several slides from last year’s Missions Moment on PAMI’s partnership with Operation Christmas Child, before moving on an overview of highlights of this year’s visit.
B) YouTube link to a 32-minute trip summary video by Mike Thorud: PAMI Visit 2023
This video starts with excerpts from the 40+ hours of travel to get to EBI (27 hours of flights & airport layovers from MSP to MNL, followed by 13 hours of driving from MNL to Sorsogon City). The first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday included visiting the Sorsogon City pier site/lighthouse, celebrating Shabbat (since Jack is a Messianic Jew), music with Compassion kids, prepping for camp with Bulabog Church youth, and Emmaus Christian Fellowship Sunday service. Then there was the 5-day all-PAMI youth camp, followed by visiting various PAMI churches and their outreaches, starting with the Bulan Church where we visited homes of members, participated in a Sunday worship service and youth fellowship, and began conducting a kids program in Bulan church and two of its daughter churches (Fabrica and MonteCalvario churches), and an outreach by the ocean. This kids program was done 21 times, and the flavor of them is uniquely captured by intermixing clips from several of them. The songs all have a common theme of God’s Light. Towards the end of the video, the team with their entourage is seen walking through a Barcelona neighborhood near the home of the Garduque family, and then kids from one of their outreaches share a heart-warming song with actions in their own dialect. Some women in Sister Judy’s Accommodation near Manila dance to this same song as part of their morning devotions. These are women who will be doing two-year long assignments as Overseas Foreign Workers in Asia or the Middle East. Pastor Raf conducted a child dedication for the baby of one of these OFWs. By the way, Sis Judy is a graduate of EBI that has a successful business recruiting, preparing, and placing OFWs. Sis Judy provided the white van that we traveled in, accompanied us much of the time, and provided us lodging in her Accommodation the last two nights. Even though she has already done so much to help PAMI, she says that our visit and commitment inspires her to help even more. The video ends with people of EBI singing to Sister Jess for her birthday, along with various PAMI workers at a picnic singing “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
C) Team Reflections:
Note that Tyler and Jess got engaged two months after the visit.
While other posts covered reports from Bulabog (Ptr Marlon Gabion), Prieto Diaz (Ptr Benjie and Elah Camar), and San Jose Bulusan (Ptr Lorenzo and Abigail Fugen), this post includes miscellaneous other reports. Click on links below to see reports from various PAMI ministry locations from throughout the year (some are Word files and some are pdf files).
Bulan Partition of Churches (Bulan Church and its daughter churches, overseen by Pastor Virgilio Fulo):
Emmaus Bible Institute Partition (overseen by Sister Ofel Mendizabal):
Other Churches Partition (overseen by Pastor Gumer Gile):
This post has info about the ministry of Pastor Marlon Gabion of PAMI’s Bulabog Church near Emmaus Bible Institute. You can see that he is quite active, is good at reporting and providing pictures, and would be an interesting pastor for someone to sponsor. Pastor Marlon is 36 years old, graduated from EBI in 2013, pastored the Bulabog Church since his cousin (Pastor Nanding Gabion) passed away about 9 years ago, teaches EBI classes (both regular and modular extension classes), serves as a Compassion Padaba teacher, and coaches the Emmaus Christian Fellowship community basketball team. Besides heading the Bulabog Church, he also teams together with Pastor Benjie and Elah Camar, and various EBI workers and Compassion staff. The following pdf file has highlights of Pastor Marlon’s ministries from January to July of 2022. Along with a lot of other things, it includes more pictures from the PAMI youth Cluster Camp that was highlighted in the previous post.
More recent info from Pastor Marlon includes the following:
Dec. 12, 2022: Hello Brother Mike! How are you? How’s your preparation for this upcoming Christmas? Yesterday Bulabog church celebrated its 9 year anniversary since I started in 2013 there. I’m very thankful to God for always guiding me in that ministry, specially how to handle situations when they arise inside the church. I’m grateful in every season in our ministry–every year passing by is a different experience. I’m always excited for every additional year added by God because I’m praying and hoping that every season there are new souls added in the church.This year we only have a simple preparation and celebration due to bad weather of a typhoon. I’m only asking to the members to just bring food. We combine also a simple Christmas party celebration.Thank you very much for our budget that you are giving for our Christmas party.
Scroll through the following pictures from the Dec 11th celebration:
This is modular in Bulan last November. The subject that I taught was the book of Acts
I’m very thankful to God for safe travel last month every time we go there to teach in modular with pastor Raf, because last month always a heavy rain.
Here in Emmaus with sister nova and sister cristy (modular class)
Also here in Emmaus next week is an end of first semester classes. I’m thankful to God to finish the first semester in my teaching class, but I’m staying here because December 25 maybe we have a child dedication. I cancelled my plan to spend a Christmas holiday with my family because I have some activities this coming December 25–maybe we have a child dedication in our church.
On behalf of Bulabog family, thank you very much brother Mike and Pami board and supporters for always giving support of our ministry–in prayers, financial and guidance. May the Lord bless you in return for all the effort you’ve done. Once again thank you very much, and Merry Christmas in advance to your family. God bless.
As stated in the December 2022 PAMI newsletter of the last post, one of the highlights of the year was the PAMI youth Cluster Camp held by the seashore in Candumaay, Sta Isabel, Matnog, with theme Time of Refreshing. Although a little late, I’ve been meaning to post this wonderful photo summary composed by Adonis, the brother of Sis Espie.
Additional photos of the cluster camp can be found in the pdf of the next post on Pastor Marlon and the Bulabog Church, as well as July postings of PAMI’s Facebook page:
Pastor Benjie and Elah Camar live near EBI and the PAMI Bulabog Church (part of the municipality of Sorsogon City), and are involved in ministry in these places in addition to starting outreaches a few miles away in the neighboring municipality of Prieto Diaz that they plan to eventually turn into a church plant. Sister Elah is especially active as a Compassion case worker/teacher. Click here to see a pdf report with a lot of pictures of their ministry activities and family situation.
The most recent activity of Pastor Benjie and Elah Camar has been to do a 5-day kids club in Prieto Diaz, which was sort of a Daily Vacation Bible School right before the school year started:
Soon to follow after this will be the distribution of Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes from Samaritan’s Purse, along with follow-up discipleship. You can see in the background of some of these pictures that the boxes are already on site, but they are awaiting the teaching materials to arrive from Samaritan’s Purse before dispersing.
Thank you to International Christian Literature Distributors of Minneapolis, MN ( www.icld.org ) for sending two batches of five balikbayan boxes each, totaling over a ton (2000 lbs) of Christian printed materials. This included study Bibles, reference/study/devotional books, kids books, teaching materials, and other media. Sister Ofel Mendizabal, director of PAMI’s Emmaus Bible Institute, has been distributing this literature to various pastors and Christian workers of PAMI and other missions/churches throughout Sorsogon Province from January – June 2022. Some books were given to EBI students, and some distributed to attendees of Province-wide workshops and seminars of partner organizations that are fairly often hosted at EBI.
The first five boxes arrived on January 9, 2002 and contents sorted into stacks for distribution:
EBI students were happy to each receive a couple items each:
Bags of books distributed to various pastors and ministry leaders:
The second batch of 5 boxes arrived March 27, 2022 and contents sorted into stacks:
Books distributed to attendees of March 30-31, 2022 God’s Appointed People seminar hosted at EBI:
Books distributed after Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child teacher training hosted at EBI in April 2022:
Books distributed after Faith Comes By Hearing Bicolano Proclaimer audio Bible training hosted at EBI in early June 2022:
After all these distributions, Sister Ofel still has 10 more bags of ICLD books yet to give away. All these materials provided and sent by ICLD are much appreciated. We send a big thank you to John Stacknik and the rest of ICLD’s volunteers, and all those who donated these wonderful resources.
For more pictures of ICLD book distribution, you can view previous blog posts:
Or see the following Distribution of ICLD Books pdf file listed in the following December 22, 2018 post:
Here’s a summary of 2021 PAMI highlights that was included in donor year-end statements:
Thank you for your gifts and prayers for PAMI in 2021. John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son..." God is a giver, and he wants us to be like him. We give because God gave first. Our giving is a way of saying thank you for all that we've been given by God.
Despite the continuing challenge of COVID, much was accomplished this last year. 172 people were baptized (about twice a typical year)! The first graduation of the new Emmaus Bible Institute Modular extension program was conducted on December 20, with 21 students in 6 locations who completed 12 months of weekly classes. EBI also continues its regular 4-year program, with 16 on-campus students. Weekly on-line ukulele music lessons have been ongoing since April. 160 Compassion sponsored kids continue to be served with home-based visits by case workers/teachers. Food distributions were conducted, along with some in-person feedings. Several balikbayan boxes were sent with books, CDs, games, toys, school and office supplies, hygiene supplies, clothes, and laptops. New chapels were constructed in San Jose Bulusan and Juag Island Matnog. And we are soon ready to buy the property of the PenaFrancia Sorsogon and Candumaay Santa Isabel Matnog churches. It’s through the partnership of dedicated Filipino workers and faithful supporters like you that all this is possible.
Here’s the latest PAMI publication that was also included with donor year-end statements: