Our Staff

Jim at BG StadiumRev. James Merillat

Jim grew up on a farm north of Archbold, Ohio (NW corner of the state).  During his high school days he played football and threw shot-put and discus on the track team.  During a shop class in 8th grade Jim sensed that he wanted to be an Industrial Arts teacher…so that became his ambition.

After he graduated from high school in 1979 he enrolled at Bowling Green State University  (Bowling Green, Ohio) to major in Industrial Education.  While at BGSU he became involved in a Christ-centered campus ministry called “Active Christians Today”.  The godly pastors and leaders of ACT encouraged him in his faith and discipled him.  During his last semester of his senior year Jim sensed a calling from God to go into the ministry.

So in the fall of 1983 Jim headed off to Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, Kentucky).  That is where he met his lovely bride…Pam DeWitt (a Christian Education major).  They continued to date throughout his 3 years at Asbury and in August of 1986 they were married.  Their first ministry together was at the Kapaa Missionary Church (Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii).  In 1989 they moved to Indiana where Jim served as the youth pastor at the Granger Missionary Church (Granger, Indiana).  In 1998 they moved to their current ministry at the West Valley Missionary Church (Yakima, WA).

Jim and Pam have one son, Caleb (born in 2000).  Jim enjoys woodworking and playing the 5 string banjo (Scruggs style).  He is an avid football fan of the BGSU Fighting Falcons (Talons Up!) and the Cleveland Browns.  His life verse is Colossians 3:23-24 (NLT) – “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”  Jim gave his life to Christ on June 22nd of 1979…and forever his life was changed!

Pam 2Rev. Pam Merillat

Pam was born right here in Yakima. But her roots at West Valley Missionary Church go even further back. Her mom Barbara attended WVMC (then called Harwood MC) as a young girl, and her dad Leonard began his pastoral ministry here.

Pam asked Jesus Christ to be her Savior and Forever Friend when she was 3 years old. She grew up learning that when life changes or is scary, or even sad, GOD IS GOOD, and He cares for those who trust Him. Through the death of her mom, getting a new mom, and eventually moving to Ventura CA, Pam knew that God was with her.

Pam graduated from Ventura High School in 1978, expecting to study nursing. But God had different plans. He directed her steps to Azusa Pacific University, from where she graduated in 1982 with a degree in Bible and Christian Education. Knowing that she was called to Christian ministry, she continued her education at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore KY, pursuing a Master of Arts in Religious Education. It was during her second year at Asbury that Pam “fell” for her future husband (and personal Good Samaritan), Jim Merillat.

Pam and Jim were married in August 1986, and for the last 30 years have shared extraordinary love and adventures – complete with twists and turns while walking by faith (our life-long theme) together. They were privileged to serve churches in Hawaii and Indiana, before coming to West Valley Missionary Church in 1998.

Pam and Jim have one son, Caleb, born December 2000, who is pure joy to them. She loves being a wife, mom and worker for Jesus – as a pastor’s wife, Children’s Pastor, parent band volunteer, and substitute teacher for the Yakima School District. Pam really enjoys playing the piano, and the challenge of learning new instruments. She also likes to read, walk, cuddle with their 2 cats and do light gardening.

Psalm 37:23 is true, The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (NLT)