Pacific House of Mission (PHM) is the organized form of Hawai’i’s very first Mission bringing military youth ministry to the islands.
In 2007-2008, long before PHM’s technical founding, the Vision for this ministry was sparked in the hearts of Kevin and Casey Schmidt as they began to observe that Hawai’i’s population of U.S. military teenagers was simultaneously: (a) larger in number than any other overseas location in the world, and (b) at the same time the most underrepresented number in the world in terms of organized ministry to them. Through research, visiting, relationships, and prayers, Kevin and Casey further learned that (c) many novel requirements—unique for Hawai’i—needed to be appreciated and adopted in order to build survivable ministry there.
Over time, Kevin and Casey mobilized a broad coalition of people to launch the actual Mission, which finally had its landing on June 2, 2009. Without a singular organization to govern the whole Mission, Kevin and Casey themselves helped steer its many partners into these twin distinctives for the new Mission: (1) a “community-building” type model for ministry, and (2) an “ecumenical-audacity” model for the constructing of a more public and more diverse Common Witness of Jesus Christ.
Members of their new Mission’s diverse coalition included an entire Sending-Community out of Fort Leavenworth, over 100 financial donors across the country directly supporting the Schmidts, an organized Receiving-Community of sponsoring families on O’ahu led by Mick and Lori Smith, a start-up grant from the Army Chief of Chaplains in D.C., the particular advocacy of Major General Robert Castlen Commander of the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, a duet of coordinating Agencies such as the contract-bundler MCYM and personnel-coordinating agency World Outreach (YFC), and a local-to-Hawaii nonprofit which supported the Schmidts with health insurance in exchange for their own services to Hawai’i’s campuses. Soon, dozens of local volunteers, plus recruited staff persons Nate and Michelle Cox, also enjoined themselves to the broad coalition under the Schmidts’ leadership.
“In Hawai’i today there are over 7000 military teenagers living thousands of miles away from where they last called home.”
The need quickly became evident for a single organizational “roof” to arise over this Mission and its broad coalition, as the ministry began to expand and as it came under pressure to purify its original distinctives or forfeit them altogether. In an effort to bolster its affections for “community-building ministry” and for an ecumenical public-witness of Jesus Christ, the Mission’s broad coalition sanctioned the forming of PHM, officially founded by Kevin and Casey on September 12, 2012. PHM was originally birthed for the triple goals of (1) serving as a local-to-Hawai’i financial booster club for the Mission, (2) supporting Catholic persons for ministry who otherwise had no agency for employment in it, and (3) contributing to the overall goals of the greater coalition. With the continued strengthening of the Mission’s distinctives, however, a real conflict arose concerning the Mission’s community-oriented values. In a show of overwhelming love and support, PHM was entrusted by the Mission’s coalition with an expansion of its 3rd goal: PHM would govern as the first ever organizational “roof” of the entire Mission for military youth ministry in Hawai’i.
This role PHM assumed on March 20, 2013. With its first two employees already hired 6 months earlier—Kevin Knight and Alike Andrade (both Catholic staff persons as per PHM’s original purpose)—PHM now also hired on Kevin Schmidt as the senior Staff and Ministry leader of the overall Mission, who himself served under Kevin Knight’s role as PHM’s first staff President. Within the next month, additional staff for the Mission was added, and since its assumption of leading the overall Mission, PHM has continued to strengthen its original distinctives by maturing its training programs, internships, biblical curriculum, and development of ministry teams.
In Hawai’i today there are over 7000 military teenagers living thousands of miles away from where they last called home. Even since the Mission’s founding, the generations have exhibited some interesting changes, and the people of PHM see how God has been fitting the Mission, in her distinctives, to bring increasingly effective ministry for all those students here. As it declares in Isaiah 42:12, Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim His praise in the islands!