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First Summit Baptist Church
of Charlotteville, New York


Patton Postings

March-April 2012

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
The floods have lifted up their voice;
The floods lift up their waves. -Ps. 93:3

Aerial view of the flooding around Iquitos

Houses flooded on the outskirts of Iquitos
Dear Friends,
We really cannot thank God enough for His protection and provision in numerous ways. Although there has been flooding in many places around the city of Iquitos and along the rivers, due to the record-high levels of water, our house has been safe from everything. We are thankful that help has begun to arrive in the form of teams and financial aid from the international community to assist in the situation. We are thankful that God has given us so many opportunities to share his Truth with a wide variety of people. We are also thankful that our monthly support has increased, as some supporters have increased their giving, and we have picked up a new supporter.

Andy’s ministry trip to Flor de Punga and two stopovers in the town of Requena was a wonderful blessing. Andy traveled with our friend, Marcos, and they first were taken by van to the town of Nauta. From Nauta they took a fast speedboat to the town of Requena. The boat took several shortcuts which afforded the travelers the chance to see alligators, dolphins, and a myriad of jungle birds. Once in Requena, they searched for a boat of some kind to take them to Flor de Punga. They ended up hiring a peque-peque boat (which is a wooden dugout with a Briggs and Stratton-type of motor with a shaft and propeller on the end) to take them to Flor de Punga. The peque-peque also took a shortcut through a massive swath of flooded jungle. This time the travelers experienced seeing dolphins, pirañas, and huge jungle trees. They also had to deal with large whirlpools and very strong currents, which put them in several precarious situations. The boat had no roof, and the sun was blazing all day. And, there was no padding for the wooden boards that the guys had to sit on. Having no food or water or “pit stops” or relief for their sore legs, hindquarters and lower backs for six hours, made them very happy to finally see “Punga” on the horizon just as the sun was going down. It was a beautiful sunset too. But, it was all worth it due to the incredible time Andy had for two days with the brothers and sisters of Flor de Punga and several surrounding villages. Andy preached the messages for both nights of special services for the dedication of the new church building. Also, on the second day, he was invited to the meeting of the leaders of several churches located up and down the river from Flor de Punga. They looked for assurances from him that he would return and that we would not forget about them or abandon them. The leaders also expressed their desire to continue to strengthen their ties with the other villages and churches that are close to Flor de Punga. Everyone was unanimous in their desire to receive Biblical training and asked Andy whether he could help them obtain that training. On this trip, as has been the case almost since we arrived, Andy was presented with several excellent witnessing opportunities- with shop keepers, boat drivers, employees of the transportation companies, and fellow travelers. Most of these folks approached him or broached the spiritual subject with him before he had a chance to approach them. It has been amazing. Please pray for the seeds that were planted in those who did not make a decision at the time, but are still thinking about it, and for those who expressed a desire to place their trust in Christ- that their decision was sincere.
It appears that the Lord has led us to the church that has both a Sunday school program and a youth group that is challenging our kids in their Christian walk and is at the same time liked by our kids. The kids have been inviting a couple of their friends who are “searching” to the youth group, and these friends continue to attend on a regular basis. Usually Carol takes the kids to youth group, so she has gotten to know many of the young people. Andy fills in for the same church’s pastor when the pastor is away on missions trips and other ministry trips, or when he just needs a break from preaching. Carol has enjoyed getting to know the ladies and the children there as well.
The last couple of months have included a lot of speaking for Andy. As you already know, he is teaching a class at the Bible Institute. There was a seminar on Christian Ethics that he taught for two days at one church. Then, he was the chapel speaker at a Christian high school. He was invited to speak at another church’s 46th anniversary celebration. Yet another church asked him to preach because their pastor had just had eye surgery and could not prepare his messages. Andy was invited to preach on three more occasions at two other churches- filling in for their pastors. It is not unusual for him to be asked to preach at one church in the morning and a different church at night. He has realized that he needs to always tuck a couple of prepared messages in his Bible for those times when he is called upon to give the message at the last minute. That is precisely what happened to him, again, about three weeks ago. Praise the Lord, he “happened” to have brought a message with him. He was feeling very ill at the time, but God gave him the strength to carry through.
A medical team of 8 will be arriving in Iquitos on the 20th of May. We have been making preparations for their arrival and setting up their ministry time here. We were able to purchase a good number of medicines from a government-sponsored pharmacy who gave us everything at a much reduced price. We have made arrangements to have clinics at two villages on the Iquitos-to-Nauta highway. The plan is to also have clinics in three different river villages. Please pray that we will be able to find the needed transportation and interpreters, which are the two neediest areas that remain to be taken care of.
Pray for us as we are continuing to reach out to several families who are open to spiritual things and who have shown interest in learning more about God’s Word. Recently, the man who is in charge of the coliseum and soccer stadium and who knows Carol and the kids from gymnastics, recognized Andy from his teenage days when Andy trained with the professional soccer team here in Iquitos, and the man has asked us for Christian reading material because he wants to learn more about our “religion.” That is just an example of several other similar witnessing situations/opportunities that have presented themselves.
We want to thank each and every one of you for praying for us. Remember to pray for our health, which overall has been fine. Our monthly support still remains below what is required, but we are grateful for the increase that has occurred. If you could remember our parents and their health: Carol’s mom, Thelma, and Andy’s parents, Fred and Rachel, as they each have some physical challenges.

May the Lord richly bless you.
E-mail: apatton@abwe.cc
Following a shortcut to Flor de Punga New church building for new church plant, “La Fe”