pattons July-Aug-Sept 2009
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” II Cor. 5: 8,19
Andy has finally finished his theology course, which completes his CEIM (Center for Excellence in International Ministries) requirements. For those that are curious, the course covered fundamental theological concepts and how to convey those concepts and teachings in a variety of cultures.
“Love your neighbor…”
We’re living in a new neighborhood where many of the residents know each other and interact on a regular basis. When we first arrived, we had several neighbors come to our house to welcome us to the neighborhood. Some of the folks represent the third or fourth generation from their families to live in the community. One elderly lady explained to us that the plots of land were originally advertised as being for people of color. There are several retired couples that live here. We definitely came in as the “new kids on the block.”
Carol has been getting up very early in the morning to walk with some of the ladies from the neighborhood. They call themselves “The Walking Angels.” On these walks they: discuss all kinds of subjects, pray for their sick loved ones, and encourage each other in their walk with the Lord.
As a family, we are making efforts to get to know and reach out to all of our neighbors- going to association meetings, attending social functions, borrowing and lending yard tools (that alone creates all kinds of bonding), and checking on folks to make sure they’re okay. Our neighbors are curious about who these “missionaries” are and what exactly it is that missionaries do. There is one family that has a son Charlie’s age, and we sense that they are very open to talking about spiritual issues. Pray for us as we build trust and a relationship with them.
“For of such is the kingdom of heaven
|Rosita and Paul ||Paul and Maria
At the end of July, I traveled to Peru- first to Lima and later to Iquitos. The days in Lima were very full, as I accompanied our friend and world missions supporter, Paul Diamond, on his visits with 2 different Compassion children. One young lady, Maria, is now 17 years old. Paul was 17 when he started supporting her, and supported her for 13 years. It was the first time they had ever met. During those years, Maria became a believer. She recently graduated from the program. The second young lady,
Rosita, is only 5 years old. Paul and I spent a full day with her as well. We had a wonderful time getting to know the girls, their families, and the Compassion workers. It was especially humbling to learn how family members of the girls had come to trust Christ as a result of their connections with Compassion International and the local churches in Lima that play such a critical role in facilitating the ministry.
Our taxi driver for three days was a believer from a large church in Lima. We had a great time, sharing stories of the power of God in transforming our own lives as well as those of our friends and family. There is a church in a poor suburb of Lima that is almost entirely made up of ex-convicts and ex-prostitutes. The members had such powerful testimonies that hearing them brought tears to my eyes. God is truly magnificent!
How good it is for brothers to dwell in unity...
After spending a couple of days in Lima, I flew north to Iquitos. I was able to take Bibles, pastoral help books, and vitamins for some pastors and Christian workers there in the jungle. The main purpose for the trip to Iquitos was to participate in the pastors’ seminar our mission sponsored on building a strong team. We are working on establishing a stronger working relationship among the pastors of the churches, as well as a stronger, more co-operative, team relationship between the pastors and the missionary team. Originally, we
were going to discuss the 5 typical dysfunctions of a team, but decided to put a positive spin on it, so we talked about the 5 characteristics of a good team. It proved to be a good first step in achieving our goal.
While in Iquitos, I was also able to visit missionaries and friends. Some friends are going through some very trying times, while others are experiencing tremendous harvest. It was a blessing to get an update on the prison ministry and outreach to the children of the drug-traffickers and prostitutes that one brother is carrying out in the city. I took him some counseling books, which, he has since reported to me, have been a huge help in counseling with the prisoners. Another brother shared with me his desire to go to the hospitals of the city with coffee, snacks, and toilet paper (the TP was my idea), to begin visiting anyone and everyone to share the
gospel there. I can tell you from personal experience that the hospitals in Iquitos are an entire mission field in and of themselves.
|Sundown in Iquitos||Plaza de Armas - Iquitos
But my God shall supply all your need...
We have lost a couple of key financial supporters in the last 3 months or so. It was due primarily to hard economic times that they were experiencing, so we feel bad for them and pray that God will continue to supply their families with what they need. Pray that God will give us wisdom and trust in His sovereignty in this new situation. It is truly amazing how God has supplied for us and protected us over the last 5 years as missionaries!
-> The ESL (English as a Second Language) classes as we begin them in October to serve as an evangelistic tool.
-> The Spanish Bible study that Andy will be teaching that begins in October.
-> For Carol, as she works as the director of the homeschool co-op, which currently has 35 families.
-> Sports outreach – Andy is coaching a youth soccer team in a league that is designed to expose children and young people to the love of Christ. All 6 of our kids are playing in the same league, on 3 different levels.
-> Important meeting, to be held a month from now, with the Upper Amazon missionary team to discuss the direction and focus of our ministry there.
-> Our Bible Institute (IBBI) in Iquitos needs an interim director, or leadership team, for the first half of next year.
-> That our oldest daughter, Emily, would make wise choices.
Serving Our Lord With Gladness