The Pattons - Missionaries to Hungary
2016 was an exciting year in our ministry, so I’d like to give a bit of an overview of the past year and also share our vision and plans for the new year.
We had a very eventful year in Tata. The biggest news, of course, was the selection of Gergo Szimon to be the new pastor. On December 11th Gergo, who has been working as my assistant pastor in Esztergom, was voted in by a strong majority to be the pastor of the church in Tata. We are currently in a time of transition as Gergo and Rose are looking for housing and planning their move. Please pray that they would find suitable housing at a good price. During the months of January and February we are sharing the preaching and pastoral duties. I am planning to hand over the ministry officially on February 26th, and he will begin full-time in March. I have been pastoring the church in Tata for 9 years, so this is a big transition for us and the church, but we are excited to see how the Lord will use Gergo and Rose in their new ministry! We are also looking forward to being able to invest more time and energy into our main church in Esztergom. During the last year, we baptized four converts and added another by Christian experience. There were also four babies born so many baby dedication services! Good progress was also made on our building project. The courtyard/playground area was landscaped, and paving stones were laid, our open-air terrace was enclosed and turned into a hallway, new doors and windows were installed in the old building, and the outside of both buildings also received a layer of insulation. There are still projects to be completed, but that will give Gergo something to work on in the next year or two!
We continue to face many challenges at our main church in Esztergom. On the positive side, we baptized four new converts in Esztergom as well, and also added another by Christian experience. On the challenge side, we had ten members either move away, or drop out, so our attendance has declined. We are thrilled to be able to send two young couples into the ministry, as the Csiha family moved to Oroszlany in December, and the Szimon family moves to Tata to take the church there, but from the perspective of our church in Esztergom, we are saying goodbye to two of our finest young couples and hardest workers. We are praying that the Lord will raise up others to take their places and fill their areas of service in our ministry.
In Esztergom we also ordained two new deacons this past year. In 2017 we will be moving forward with a five member leadership team. I am very grateful for these laymen who have a high commitment to the Lord and our church. We are also seeking to develop new leaders to take the place of those who are moving on to other areas of service. Our theme for 2017 in Esztergom is “Looking up, pointing up.” It is our desire to have an upward focus, as we look to the Lord in worship and prayer and also in hearing and obeying His Word. The Lord has brought several new seekers over the past year. There are about 15 unsaved people who are attending on a fairly regular basis. We are praying that this year will be the year when many of these commit their lives to the Lord and to the church. Please pray with us that 2017 will be a year of revival and growth in our church!
Other ministry opportunities:
One of my ministry goals is to influence other churches in Hungary in the areas of missions and evangelism. In 2016 I had many opportunities to speak in churches around the country. I preached at churches in Pilisvörösvár, Mátraszőlős, Pesterzsébet, Bicske, Zalaegerszeg, Oroszlány, Budafok, Fót, Komló and Debrecen. I also taught a week of classes at Word of Life Hungary Bible Institute.
I also recently published my first book in Hungarian. It’s title in English would translate into something like this: A Biblical View of Sex and Sexuality. I preached a series of messages with this title at our churches in Tata and Esztergom which was well received,
and I felt led to put the messages into book form. I was able to find a Hungarian Christian publisher to undertake the publishing and distribution. The book came out of the printers on December 22nd, and we have already sold many copies. I am praying that the Lord will use it for His glory and honor. It has also opened up opportunities for ministry as I have been asked for an interview on the Baptist Radio station in Budapest and also had a church ask me to come speak on this subject.
We were thrilled to have Nancy and Ben home for the holidays. They are both doing very well in college.
Ben has been persuing a degree in music, but during the past six months the Lord has really been directing his attention toward missions. He is actively seeking the Lord’s will concerning his future. Please pray that the Lord would make His will known to Him. It was a special joy to have Ben preach for me in both churches on January 1st. Esther will be finishing her senior year in June, and we will be taking a brief furlough in July-August to get her settled in the US. She will be joining Nancy and Ben at Trinity in Jacksonville, FL. Charin continues to lead our children’s ministry and worship ministry in Esztergom, and also teaches English at two public elementary schools. Hannah is in 9th grade and active in the youth ministry. It is a privilege to serve the Lord as a family!
Serving for His Glory,
Marc, Charin, Nancy, Ben, Esther and Hannah Patton