Hi, I'm Pai
What’s up guys! My name is Paidiwanashe Mushayamunda.
Let's practice saying it.
(My first name means, “what God wanted”)
Lucky for you, I go by Paidiwa or Pai for short.
I saw you take that sigh of relief.
I wear many different hats for ALIVE and I love it that way. One of those is Outreach Coordinator. Going into the community and meeting people where they are is a core element of ALIVE, as well as who I am as a person. It's my sweet spot.
I’m also the connections team leader so I bet you’ve seen me trying to convince people to serve on an ALIVE Team. —I dare you to say no to me. And every once in awhile you’ll see me up on stage pacing from one end to another, screaming into the microphone on a few occasions. Legend has it that the last time I was on stage, I yelled so loud that the microphone literally shut off. I get really energized by large groups of people and that tends to show up through my body language. But what better reason to be excited than for the name of Jesus!
I’m originally from Zimbabwe, Africa. My family and I moved to the United States when I was 10 years old. Talk about culture shock! I was born in the capital city of Harare and can proudly say that I enjoyed an adventurous childhood. From role-playing power rangers in my backyard to almost crashing a car (don't play around in stick shift vehicles) into our church, my friends and I had a blast. Most of my childhood consisted of going to my dad’s home village during breaks. Being a city slicker, I would look forward to going to the village to climb mango trees, build bow and arrows and play soccer with my many cousins.
The 7-hour trips that we would take to our village during school breaks were not just to see family. My grandfather was the village headman or village chief, and since his passing, the title has now gone to my dad who is the first born male. This title requires that you take ownership of the welfare of your village and its people, and every once in awhile, be a mediator for disputes. With a desire to see the gospel portrayed through word and deed and to improve the lives of those living in poverty, my father and his brothers formed Mushayamunda Development Christian Foundation (MCDF). I believe this is why I’m passionate about social justice and community development. At a young age, I was exposed to what it means to be the voice for those who don’t have one.
Not just pouring money into a program, but becoming part of a story that seeks to empower people because they are made in God’s image.
This passion has led me to focus my studies and gifts on how I can better serve impoverished communities. Going to Milligan College for my undergrad studies was one of the most formative experiences in my life. I became a sociology major, minoring in humanities and legal studies. Learning about unique cultures and how they affect the world around me, has helped me better understand my role in the story of God and also helped me to embrace my identity as a third-culture kid, having been raised in two very different cultures.
Post-graduation, my journey to serve continued in Appalachia. I spent a summer working for Appalachia Service Project, which is a Christian organization that repairs and builds homes for low-income families. I formed lifelong relationships with families as we restored 12 homes! Back in Johnson City, I worked for Dawn of Hope, a nonprofit that helps the intellectually and developmentally disabled.
By getting to know these people on a personal level, I was able to see them the way God sees them,
and as I look back, I recognize how God has always placed a desire in me to be with the “least of these.” I feel His presence when I am with the poor, the outcasts, and the forgotten. Jesus tells us this Himself, and I'm convinced it's what I'll do for the rest of my life. That’s why I'm now in graduate school at ETSU studying Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofits. This is equipping me to be a better servant. One who continues to love people and seek the presence of God.
Another passion of mine that's obviously equally as important is the greatest sport on earth. When God created it, He said it was beyond good. I love FOOTBALL. It's soccer for you Americans. I’ve played it all my life and I was fortunate enough to play at Milligan College.
Something that might surprise you is I’m probably the biggest Manchester United fan in town. (They're a soccer team in England) I remember being inspired by Ryan Giggs' swift moves as a young boy. One of the greatest joys I've ever experienced was watching them live when they came to the US, and I’m not gonna lie, I got a tad bit emotional watching my heroes play. My dream is to one day watch them in their home stadium in Manchester, England.
I’ll probably cry on that day.
It’s a big deal, okay!
So that's me in a nutshell. I’m looking forward to bringing you further into the "Life of Pai" as I contribute to this blog. Next time you see me, be sure to say hello. You’ll impress me if you can say my entire name :)
PS I recently started a personal blog. So if you want to continue to follow me and my journey, be sure to check it out. Thanks for reading guys!