Marc & Charin Patton - Serving the Lord in Hungary
With school back in session, everyone is very busy. Esther is in her senior year of high school, so has a lot of extra school programs going on as well as drivers ed. Hannah is in ninth grade and had to choose a second language to study, so she added Spanish to go along with German, which she has studied since first grade. Of course, she is already fluent in English and Hungarian. Charin continues to teach three days a week at two public schools in Dorog. She enjoys teaching, but doesn’t have much free time with work, family and ministry. For me, a new year of Bible Institute has begun, and all of our regular church programs are up and running again. Nancy and Ben are busy in their studies, as they both began their junior years at Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida.
Focus on Tata:
During the past few months I began talking to the leadership team in Tata about beginning the task of looking for a full-time pastor. We agreed that the time is right, and on September 18th, I made the announcement to the church. Although most of our people knew that this time would eventually come, there was still a certain sense of surprise and even tears shed. Now two weeks later, I think that most have come to terms with this news, and it is my prayer that the church will move forward with unity. Please do not misunderstand: I am still pastoring the church in Tata, and I will be leading them through this time of transition. We want to find the right man for the job, who will maintain the philosophy and direction of the church and build on the foundation we have laid. We do have a plan in this regard, but we are going to take our time and go through the formal process, because I believe it is vital for the church to choose their next pastor and not have him “thrust on them” without their full consent. So please pray for the church in Tata and our leadership team, as we begin this process.
Please pray also for our building project in Tata. Tata has the finances to support a full-time pastor, but currently all that monthly surplus is flowing into our building project. We really need to complete the building, so that that money will be freed up to pay the new pastor’s salary.
The end is in sight, but there are still several projects to be completed. The key projects are the insulation and painting of the exterior of the building, the expansion and remodelling of the mens and ladies restrooms, and the tiling of our hallway.
We also need to purchase 100 new chairs for the auditorium, as we are using a combination of old chairs, and plastic lawn chairs borrowed from Esztergom. If you would like to help us complete these final projects, please send the funds to Global Faith and designate them for the “Hungary Building Fund.”
Closing of Nagysáp:
I have mentioned in previous prayer letters that our church plant in Nagysap was struggling. Our regular weekly attendance had dwindled to one faithful adult, and a handful of not so faithful children. Over the past few years we have tried several different types of outreach to jumpstart the ministry there, but nothing has brought a breakthrough. We do not like to “quit,” especially as we have invested a lot of time, money and energy into this ministry, but we finally came to the conclusion that these could be and should be invested elsewhere. We do not consider the past eight years a waste. We had two very clear professions of faith, who are still active in church. We also had other professions of faith, where we did not see much fruit, but God knows the heart. Scores of other adults and children heard clear presentations of the gospel. Gergo and Marci (and others) also gained valuable experience in the ministry.
Missionaries do not like to speak of their failures, but I believe it is important to be open and honest about our ministry. During our 23 years of ministry in Hungary we have been a part of two very successful church plants, but we have also been a part of two failed church plants. It is difficult to explain why Esztergom and Tata succeeded and Nyergesujfalu and Nagysap did not, but we are trying to learn the lessons that need to be learned, so they can be applied to future churchplanting efforts. But above all we realize that any success that we have is due to the grace of God, and we rejoice in the fruit that He has given us. And we are looking forward to stepping out into other churchplanting endeavors over the next few years. So the closing of Nagysap has not discouraged us, it has rather freed us up to pursue other areas of outreach.
Well, more could be said, but we will leave the rest for our next letter. Thank you for your prayers.
Serving for His Glory,