Trip Presentation and Team Reflections

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.

A) Powerpoint

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:

Jack’s Reflection

Tyler and Jess’s Reflections

Note that Tyler and Jess got engaged two months after the visit.

Mike’s Reflection

PAMI and Emmaus Lutheran

This post includes info put together for Emmaus Lutheran because PAMI was their featured mission for the month of June, but others might appreciate it too. Emmaus Lutheran is a long-time supporter of PAMI and currently sponsor the Garduque family that serve in Barcelona, Sorsogon, Philippines. Here are three pdf documents:

A little history of the connection between PAMI and Emmaus Lutheran

Garduque family update for Emmaus Lutheran

August update on Garduques

Here is a link to the June 15th worship service from Emmaus Free Lutheran Church of Bloomington, MN because it includes an 8 minute Faith Moment interview between me (Mike Thorud) and Pastor Kevin Olson about PAMI (Philippine-Asian Missions Inc.), of which I am the volunteer administrator. This interview is located about 2/3 into the service, at about the 40 minute mark, if you want to scroll the cursor directly to it. Or you can start listening from the beginning to first hear some great worship music and a message from Pastor Nick Dyrud from John 12 on God Be Glorified. Just like Jesus submitted to the Father’s will by accepting the cross in the face of strong emotions leading up to it, so we can avoid being controlled by our own emotional trying times by submitting them to God, and accepting what Jesus did on the cross for us.

Here are my notes for the interview. This includes additional info that didn’t all make it into the interview in the church service video.

Videos of team cheers at all-PAMI youth camp

Here are videos of the cheers of different teams at the all-PAMI youth camp held in San Roque, Bulusan on April 9 – 13. Read More

Videos from Mabini/Anog ministry to children and youth

Here are videos of ministry to children and youth in Mabini and Anog: Read More

Evangecube tool used by Ptr Gumer and those he disciples

Evangecube is one of the simple evangelization tools used by Ptr Gumer Gile and those young people that he disciples.  By going to you can see or order things like that from e3 Resources.  Here is one of their training videos that shows how the Gospel message can be easily shared using the evangecube:  eCube_Training_Small
Below are some photos of it being used: Read More

VVMI/VVM Minneapolis visit and Ptr Lorenzo film showing testimonies

L to R: Colin Edwards of VVMI, John Stacknik of ICLD, Darwin Banyani of VVM, Mike Thorud of PAMI

As mentioned in the previous posting, we were happy to have visitors in Minneapolis from VVMI/VVM. Darwin Banyani came all the way from the Philippines and Colin Edwards came from central Illinois.  About 22 enjoyed their presentation at Emmaus Lutheran church on Sunday evening, October 28.  I also enjoyed seeing them give a short presentation at International Christian Literature Distributors on Wednesday, October 24.  We’ve recently been talking with ICLD about distributing Christian reference books to Filipino pastors via balikbayan boxes.
Darwin is the VVM field director based out of Baguio in Northern Luzon, and Colin is the VVMI U.S.A. executive director.  VVMI stands for Vernacular Video Mission International, which supports production and use of culturally relevant Bible-based media with local dialects throughout the world (see ).  While VVMI started with field branches in the north and south ends of the Philippines, it now includes partnerships throughout the Philippines, and other countries in Asia, Central and South American, and Africa.  Some interesting cross pollination has included dubbing South American VINA finger puppet Bible stories for children into other languages for use in other countries.

As part of VVM’s Church Mobilization Initiative, VVM has reached out to new areas of the Philippines the last couple years, including the area where PAMI is located.  In fact, Darwin has spent a couple months setting up a small branch office/studio in Irosin and worked with PAMI pastors like Gumer Gile and Lorenzo Fugen.  Colin has also visited Irosin.  Pastors Gumer and Lorenzo have helped with dubbing films, doing a lot of film showings, distributing Bibles, and conducting follow-up Bible studies.
Here is a VVM CMI report that includes a lot of testimonies from PAMI film shower, Ptr Lorenzo Fugen:

July to December 2014 Film Showings Report and Testimonies

Click here to see a report of 31 film showings by Vernacular Video Ministries, held during July to December 2014. 
Vernacular Video Ministries partners with local churches to conduct film showings of Christian movies dubbed in local languages.
The report contains pictures and heart-warming testimonies, including some from PAMI Pastor Gumer Gile of Irosin Church, Pastor Jess Huab of Patag Church, and Pastor Lorenzo Fugen of Bulusan Church.

Ministering to Kids on Bankawan Island (a video sample of a Kids Time)

By the Grace of God, we were able to stick fairly close to the schedule listed in the Feb 25th post entitled “Short Term Mission Trip.”  During our 3 weeks in the Philippines, we went to 10 major towns in the provinces of Sorsogon and Northern Samar and conducted a 30 – 90 minute Kids Time 16 times, with a total attendance of about 750.  This video is a sample of one of those Kids Times, conducted on Bakawan Island, one of the most remote places that we visited.  You get there via a banka (outrigger boat) by traveling across the bay from Lavezares, Northern Samar.  This is one of the outreach locations of Pastor Randy Rivera, who was originally invited a few years ago by people there that listened to his radio program broadcasted from Allen, Northern Samar.  One of our companions was Pastora Lordy Querobines, who was our interpreter and has parents living close to the Lavezares waterfront.  The last picture of the video shows her father knealing by a big batch of muscles that he gave to us, and were later used in a soup for super.

Videos from PAMI Potluck

The 30th Annual PAMI Potluck was held on Friday, October 12, at Emmaus Lutheran Church.  In case you were not able to attend, here are some videos for you to watch:
PAMI October 2012 Potluck Part 1: Legacy of Grace
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Philippine-Asian Missions, Inc. (PAMI) by interviewing board members and Filipino workers about the early days. Also remembering those PAMI people who have passed on, including field director Pastor Chito Mendizabal, first missionary Norval Thorud, first board president John Krizan, and other U.S. board members.

PAMI October 2012 Potluck Part 2: Highlights from Mike Thorud’s June 2012 Philippine Visit
(highlights related to being with Pastor Chito & his funeral, plus potluck hymn singing)

PAMI October 2012 Potluck Part 3: Other Highlights from Mike Thorud’s June 2012 Philippine Visit
Here are more pictures and video from Mike’s month-long stay in the Philippines in June 2012. It includes a visit to the PAMI Bulan Church (& Casiguran and Irosin along the way). It also includes a couple ministries of Emmaus Bible Institute–the Sirangang outreach and 140 Compassion Padaba children. It finishes with beautiful singing by two women with angelic voices.

Pastor Chito passes into Eternal Glory

Mendizabal Family - April 2012

Chito Mendizabal

July 1, 1968 – June 15, 2012

PAMI field director, Pastor Chito Mendizabal was called home to be with the Lord last Friday, June 15, after a long battle with lung cancer.  PAMI president Mike Thorud has been in the Philippines since the beginning to June to be with Chito and his family in this difficult time.  Below is an E-Mail letter from Mike to PAMI supporters.





Dear PAMI friends,

I’m sorry I haven’t given an update about my trip to the Philippines until now. Things have been very busy and a little hectic. I’m very glad to be here at this time (it seems to be God’s timing).

Although there have been many positive aspects to my time here, it’s with great sadness to inform you that our beloved field director, Pastor Chito Mendizabal went home to be with the Lord last Friday, June 15 at the age of 43 years old (his 44th birthday was to be July 1st).

The suddenness of Pastor Chito’s death was a bit unexpected, although not totally surprising with how gaunt he was due to the effect of the stage 4 cancer in his right lung. Read More