Thursday, January 4, 2018

January 2018 Prayer Letter



Happy New Year from Hungary! We had a great year in 2017, and we are looking forward to even greater things in 2018!

Quick Trip to the States:
Our son Ben and Kelsi Brock were married on December 16th in Jacksonville, Florida. The wedding was beautiful, and we were so glad to be a part of it. Ben and Kelsi asked me to share a brief Gospel message at the beginning of the wedding, and Kelsi’s father performed the ceremony. There was also a very special time when Ben and Kelsi had both sets of parents say a prayer of blessing over their marriage. I think the entire wedding was very Christ-honoring, and we look forward to seeing how the Lord with use them in the future. Please pray for them, as they have many important decisions to make in regards to their future ministry plans. 

After the wedding, we headed to Indiana to spend the Christmas holidays with Charin’s family. We were able to visit my parents in Tennessee on the way to and from Indiana. Nancy and Esther were also able to join us for this trip along with Nancy’s boyfriend, Keith. We always value these family times that we have together.

The only sad note to our trip was that someone broke into Charin’s parents’ house on December 23rd while we were all away. The thieves took dozens of presents from under the tree and also snatched up my laptop on the way out. A police report was filed, but nothing has been found. I replaced my laptop, but unfortunately some of my work was not backed up, so the loss is frustrating. But we are grateful for the Lord’s protection, and that there was only loss of possessions, not loss of life or limb.

Back in Hungary:
We only missed two Sundays during our trip to the States. Both services went well. Our men reported a really good attendance for our Christmas service. I was back in the pulpit for New Year’s Eve, and we had a great service to close out the old year and ring in the new. Our theme for the new year is „Greater Things in 2018” based on the words of Jesus in John 14:12. Please pray with us that 2018 will be a year of „Greater Things” in growth, salvation decisions, answered prayers and changed lives.

Serving for His Glory,

Marc Patton

Patton Family + Keith in Chicago

Ben and Kelsi with parents and grandparents

                                                                        

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

November 2017 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends,

Here is our November prayer letter. You will find a version with pictures for printing in the attachment.

Harvest Time:

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. James 5:7

People often ask me what it is like to minister in Hungary. One thing I bring up is the need for patience. Hungarians are usually very slow to make a decision for Christ. Baptism is also a big decision, as it means an official break with the church of their upbringing (usually Catholic). The value of patience was demonstrated by our most recent baptismal service.

On November 19th I baptized two converts. Andras is a 75 year old man who began attending our church eight years ago. He was from a Catholic background. It took several years for him to make a decision for Christ, and then several more years before he was ready for baptism. He thanked me for my patience in dealing with him.

Johanna is a 22 year old young lady, who began attending church four years ago. Her father was a Lutheran pastor, so she was raised with a knowledge of God but without a true relationship with Him. It took several years before she was ready to give her life wholly to Christ, and then another year before she was ready for baptism. Over the years we have learned to be patient and let people progress at their own pace. We have often experienced that putting pressure on people early for a decision will often drive them away. It is always a joy when the breakthrough comes, and we are able to reap the harvest for which we have patiently waited.

Exciting Family News:

Our son, Ben, and his fiancé, Kelsi Brock, will be married in Jacksonville, Florida on December 16th. We will be in the US from December 13-28th to be there for the wedding and then to visit family for Christmas. Please pray for smooth traveling and also for Ben and Kelsi as they begin their life together.

With Thanksgiving approaching, please allow us to express our thanks to all of you who partner with us through prayer and support. You are a blessing!

Marc Patton and Family

Johanna 

András



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October Prayer Letter

Dear Friends,

Fall greetings from Hungary. Here is the news from this past month.

Bible Institute:
We launched a new four year cycle of our Bible Institute on September 9th. Our Bible Insitute meets one Saturday each month for six hours of classes in the areas of Systematic Theology, Bible Survey and Practical Theology. The three classes this semester are Bibliology, Old Testament Survey 1 and Personal Evangelism. I am teaching two of the classes and Gergo Szimon is teaching the OT Survey class. At our second meeting on October 7th we had 16 students present from five churches. Two of the students drive more than 2 hours to be here for the classes. I am excited about the opportunity to influence churches through this ministry. Our stated goal is to prepare effective workers and leaders for our churches. Please pray that the Lord would have His hand of blessing on this ministry.


Small Groups:
After our summer break we relaunched our small group ministry in September. We were excited to be able to start a new group with a focus on single adult ladies. We trust it will be a blessing. We also launched a group in our home as well. We are trying to focus on drawing new people into our small groups who have not really been involved. I have also been preaching a 7-part Sunday series called „Uncommon Community” preaching through the „one another” passages in the New Testament. It is our goal to see our church function as a strong, healthy community that is able to integrate new people into our church family and disciple them into becoming committed followers of Jesus Christ.

Preaching Engagements:

By turning the church in Tata over to Gergő, my Sunday mornings are now free. This has given me the opportunity to accept more out of town speaking engagements. In September I preached in churches in Felsopeteny, Sopron and Szekesfehervar. I had the opportunity to take the teens with me to Sopron, and they sang and provided special music. It is my goal to use these opportunities to stir the fires of missions, evangelism and healthy church life in these churches.

Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.

Marc Patton


Gergo teaching in our Bible Institute

Young people singing in Sopron

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September Prayer Letter

Dear Friends,

Here is our September prayer letter. 

Summer Furlough:
We had a great time during our summer furlough. What a blessing it was to be together with all our children at the same time once again! We were also able to spend time with our parents and many other relatives. We spent a lot of time on the road covering about 8,000 miles in 8 weeks. We presented our ministry in 13 churches in the states of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. I also had the opportunity to speak in college chapel at Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida. One of our goals for furlough was to get our daughter Esther settled in for her freshman year at Trinity. Nancy and Ben are both seniors, and they are looking forward to graduation next May. It was definitely strange for just three of us to return to Hungary on August 29th. Hannah began 10th grade here in the Hungarian schools.

Wedding bells:
We really hit the ground running upon our return to Hungary, as we had two weddings to conduct on Saturday, September 2nd. So that entailed two wedding rehearsels the day after our return, and two wedding ceremonies and receptions that Saturday! Everything went very well, and we got a lot of positive responses from both family and friends. In both cases there were many lost family members present, so we are praying that the Lord will water the seeds that were planted.

Busy Fall Schedule:
On Saturday, September the 9th we will launch a new cycle for our 4 year Bible Institute. We have students signed up from several area churches. Please pray that we will be able to influence many churches through this ministry.

We also hope to launch a couple of new small groups this fall. We believe that small groups are a great tool for fellowship, discipleship, prayer and leadership development. We are praying that we will see at least 80% of our Sunday regulars actively participating in our small group ministry.

Please pray also for us to see new people reached and souls saved and baptised this Fall. Thank you for standing with us in prayer and support!

Marc

Patton Family - August 2017

Wedding - Salomé and Balázs

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July 2017 Prayer letter

Dear Praying friends,

The past two months have flown by. It is hard to believe that soon we will be on our way to the US for our summer furlough. Here are the highlights of the past two months:

Esther’s graduation:
Our middle daughter, Esther, graduated from high school on May 5th. In Hungary they do the graduation ceremony first – and then your final exams, so Esther spent the past seven weeks studying and taking her final written and oral exams. She passed with “flying colors,” so she received her Hungarian diploma on June 24th. She will be joining Nancy and Ben at Trinity Baptist College in August to begin her studies there. It will be hard to say goodbye, but we are excited to see how the Lord will use her in the future.

Marriage Retreat:
We had a wonderful marriage retreat in Lachtal, Austria. 14 couples were able to attend. Lachtal is a ski resort in the Alps, so the location was beautiful. The Lord gave us wonderful weather, so we were able to enjoy taking a hike in the mountains. The teaching was excellent. The theme was “Love and Respect.” It was a huge blessing for Charin and me to be there as participants (not teachers), so we were really able to relax and enjoy this time together. Thank you for your prayers and your special gifts that helped six couples be able to attend who wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise!

Baptismal Service in Tata:
It has been great to see that the church in Tata is doing well under the leadership of Gergo Szimon. Gergo was able to do his first baptismal service there on June 18th and baptized four young men. We visited the church on June 25th and three different couples announced that they are expecting babies in the next year! The church is full of young couples, and there is tremendous potential for future growth. Please pray for continued blessings there.


Ben and Kelsi:
Our son Ben and his fiancéé, Kelsi Brock, were with us from June 15-July 2nd. We had a great time together. This was our first time to meet Kelsi in person. She is a great young lady with a heart for the Lord. They will be married in Panama City, Florida on December 16th. Ben feels like the Lord may be leading him to come back to Hungary as a missionary. During his time here, he not only preached at our churches in Tata and Esztergom, but also at a youth meeting in Pecel. He also met with various pastors and leaders during his time here to discuss possibilities for future ministry in Hungary. Please pray that the Lord would guide them as they seek His will for their future.

Bible Institute Graduation:
In June we completed the fourth year of our four year Bible Institute. Our Bible institute is now 12 years old, and we just completed our third four-year cycle, thus we were able to pass out certificates of completion to 10 students. It was exciting to hear several of the graduates express how much they learned and grew through this ministry. We have students not only from Esztergom and Tata, but also three other churches. We will be launching a new cycle in September. Please pray that the Lord will give us a good number of students. We have another church interested in participating and sending some students. We trust that this ministry will be used to strengthen other churches as well as our own.

English Camp 2017:
June 26-30th we held our annual English Daycamp for children, teens and adults. This was one of our biggest attendances ever. We had about 70 children attend in the morning, and about 35 teens and adults in the evenings. The Lord gave us a great team of teachers and helpers, so the camp ran very smoothly. We had several families and teens come to the following Sunday service. Our biggest prayer is always for fruit that remains. Please pray that the seeds that were planted will bring forth fruit in the future!

Summer furlough:
As previously mentioned, we will be in the US for almost 2 months this summer (July 6 – August 29). Please pray for the following requests:
- Our church in Esztergom to do well in our absence.
- Safety in travel.
- That we would be a blessing to the churches we visit.
- Esther to get settled into her new life in the States.

We appreciate your prayers. God bless!

Marc


Esther's graduation
Marriage Retreat

Tata - baptism
Us with Ben and Kelsi in Esztergom
English Camp!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May Prayer Letter

Dear Friends,

Here is our May prayer letter. You will find a version for printing with pictures in the attachment:

Highlights from Esztergom:
There is a really good spirit at our church in Esztergom. A few weeks ago I preached a message on prayer. I had people write down the biggest prayer request that is on their hearts. I then asked them to come forward and pray for these requests and then drop them into a box, so that we could continue to pray for them. It has been amazing to see how many of these prayers have been answered. Almost every week we have had someone share a testimony about God answering prayer or working in their lives. We have also started having a special prayer meeting once each month, and I have been pleased by both the attendance and fervor in these prayer meetings. We are trusting God for great things!
 
Another great encouragement has been the launch of another new converts class. I almost never launch a new class until I have at least one person who has expressed an interest in baptism. Despite the fact that no one had approached me yet this year, I decided to go ahead and announce a new class anyways to be launched on April 23rd. What a pleasant surprise it was to see seven people show up for the first class! I am not sure that all of them even have a clear understanding of salvation yet, so please pray for souls to be saved, and many of these to be baptized in the near future.
 
These past few months, Charin and I have enjoyed doing the young adults’ small group. Easter Monday is a holiday in Hungary, so we had a bowling outing with them and then had them over to our house for a cook out and games. It has been great to develop a deeper relationship with these young people. It is sad that so many of our young people move away after high school. We are hoping that some of these young people will stay and be active members of our church.
 
 
Tata and Oroszlány:
As you know Gergo Szimon took over the church in Tata in March and Marton Csiha moved to Oroszlany in December. I was able to get together with the two of them on April 26th. It was great to hear how the Lord is working, and also their plans for the ministries in these two locations. Please pray for both churches to move forward for God’s glory.
 
Extended Ministry:
One of our ministry goals is to influence other Hungarian churches in the area of missions, church planting and evangelism. The Lord continues to open doors in this area. March and April were incredibly busy in preaching and ministry out of town. During the past two months I preached, taught or served in some capacity in churches, pastor’s meetings, or conferences in Pecel, Baja, Bicske, Gyor, Veresegyhaz, Arad, Dombovar and Pesterzsebet. Please pray that the Lord would use these opportunities to encourage pastors and churches to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission! I will be speaking to several more groups of pastors and leaders in May and June, so please pray for these opportunities, as well.
 
Summer furlough:
As previously mentioned, we will be in the US for almost 2 months this summer (July 6 – August 29). One purpose will be to get our daughter Esther settled and ready to start her first year of college. She will be joining Nancy and Ben at Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida. We will also be visiting family in Tennessee and Indiana. We will be reporting in churches, as well. We have a few openings for ministry which I will list below. Each one is somewhat limited geographically, but please feel free to contact us if one of these dates would work for you. (For the Sunday services we would need to be within a 2 hour drive of the location mentioned). 
 
July 9th – Sunday evening – Pensacola, FL
July 12th – Wednesday evening – Chattanooga or Knoxville, TN
Aug. 2nd – Wednesday evening – South Bend, IN
Aug. 6th – Sunday morning – Nashville, TN
Aug. 9th – Wednesday evening – Knoxville or Chattanooga, TN
Aug. 13th – Sunday evening – Thonotosassa, FL
Aug. 16th – Wednesday evening – Jacksonville, FL
Aug. 20th – Sunday evening – Palm Coast, FL
Aug. 23rd – Wednesday evening – Jacksonville, FL
 
We appreciate your prayers. God bless!
 
Marc Patton

Young Adults Small Group

Group of Hungarian Pastors and Leaders in Arad, Romania

Monday, March 13, 2017

March Prayer Letter

Dear Friends,
 
The past few weeks have been very busy as I travelled to Germany and Romania, and also spent a week teaching at the Word of Life Bible Institute here in Hungary. I am happy to be back home for a bit. We have much to share about how the Lord worked in the past two months.
 
Gergo’s move to Tata:
Our church in Tata now has a new pastor! Gergo Szimon first came to our church in Esztergom in 1996 when he was a 7 year old boy. It has been an amazing privilege to see him grow up in our church, get saved, baptized, called to preach, receive his Bible training, get married, serve as my assistant pastor and now enter the pastorate. It was definitely a highlight of our ministry on February 26th  when we had a special service in Tata and officially handed over the pastoral duties to him. The church also gave us a nice farewell with many gifts and kind words. It was an emotional service for us, as we have invested nearly ten years into this congregation. 
 
Gergo and Rhode found a nice apartment in Tata and moved in on March 1st. Please pray for them during this transition time that the Lord would give them the wisdom and strength they need to lead the church. Please pray also for the church to accept their leadership and for there to be continued unity in the church.
 
Young Adults:
For Charin and I, we now have the challenge of leading the small group for young adults here in Esztergom that Gergo and Rhode had been leading. We have about 8-10 single young adults in this group, and we have really enjoyed connecting with them on a deeper level. Please pray that we will be effective in leading this group, and that we will help them deal with the issues unique to their age and situation.
 
Vertical Church:
I would also like to share how God has worked in a completely unexpected way in our ministry. This past summer I read the book Vertical Church by James MacDonald. The Lord used this book in a special way in my life. I saw areas in our churches and ministries where we were too man-centered and “horizontal”, and the Lord kindled a passion in my heart to see our churches become more vertical and more focused on God’s glory. In our monthly leadership meetings we began studying the Vertical Church principles together, and our church leaders also caught the passion. Together, we have begun working at moving our church more in this direction, and then an amazing thing happened…
 
In October, I had a Hungarian pastor friend of a large and influential church preach for us here in Esztergom. During the afternoon, he shared some struggles he was going through, and I handed him a copy of the Vertical Church. That seemingly minor decision started a chain of events that has been building in momentum ever since. This pastor was so moved by the book, that he asked me to come speak in his church about the Vertical Church the first weekend in January. He also began talking about the book with other Hungarian pastors. More invitations began arriving for me to speak about this subject. Lord willing, by the end of May, I will have spoken on this subject in two churches, three pastors’ meetings and also a national conference on evangelism and church planting. We have also begun developing a relationship with Harvest Bible Fellowship Europe which has its base in Arad, Romania. It has been fascinating to see the Lord opening doors in this area, that I wasn’t even seeking to open, and we are curious to see how the Lord will lead in the future. We are definitely excited about pastors and leaders developing a greater passion for God’s glory. Please pray that the fire and vision would continue to spread.
 
That’s all the news for now. We appreciate your prayers and support!
 
Serving for His Glory,

Marc Patton and family

Pattons and Szimons