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Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We are continually reminded of the grace of our Lord and how unworthy we are to serve Him and be called His children. He knows all our sins and failures, yet despite this He can be glorified through our lives.

The last few months have been busy but exciting for our family.  Mark and the boys completed the house for Pastor Oscar in the village of Canculuncos.  The church also celebrated their one year anniversary, and Mark was able to preach for this special service.  There were over 100 in attendance to hear a message from Colossians which explained who Christ is and why He died on the cross.

In February, we enjoyed a visit from a doctor friend and his family from Kentucky. They arrived with all seven of their children, to the delight of ours!  We were able to hold several clinics during the week, including one at Betania Clinic, a ministry of a church here in Siguatepeque, and at Emanuel Children’s Day Home for the children and their families, as well as the surrounding neighborhood.   We also returned to the village of Canculuncos for two days.  This was the first clinic to ever be held in this village.  They have to travel to the next town for medical care.  All the children were seen and given vitamins, as well as many adults.  The children from both families stayed busy during this week helping out at the clinics as well as working hard around MEDA.  It was a great time of work, ministry, and fellowship!

In the providence of the Lord, Mark was forced to preach his first sermon in Spanish.  It was not his plan, but He knew Mark was ready, and none of his trustworthy translators were available.  He mostly read the sermon, but it is a big step toward being able to preach completely in Spanish without a manuscript.  He should now have more opportunities to preach as well as he does not have to be dependent on a translator. The Lord is giving him many opportunities to put this into practice, as we have begun teaching a new children’s class at church on Wednesday nights.  We are teaching through the book Fundamentals of the Faith by John MacArthur.  Please continue to pray for Mark’s ability to proclaim the Word in Spanish.

In the near future, we have many opportunities to visit various villages.  Next weekend we will be traveling back to the village of  Las Lagunas, where Mark will preach for their weekly church service.  We were pleasantly surprised by a phone call Saturday afternoon from Pastor Nabeli who serves in Las Lagunas.   His wife had just given birth to their daughter two days ago here in Siguatepeque, and they had missed their bus.  We were able to give them a ride back home and enjoyed an afternoon of fellowship with this sweet couple and their new baby, Daniela.  Their village is only 15 miles away, but due to the poor mountainous road conditions, it is a one hour trip each way.  We are also excited about visiting many villages who currently have no church.  These village visits are always a highlight for our family!

As an update on the adoption process with Iris, we have met with a lawyer and are in the process of first becoming a foster family.  We have our first meeting with child welfare or IHNFA this coming weekend.  The lawyer expects the entire process to take at least a year.

We truly appreciate the support you have all shown for our family.  We know that many of you give sacrificially to make it possible for our family to be here serving Christ. You are a vital part of this ministry.  Please pray that our family will be faithful to our Lord and honor Him in all we do.

Merry Christmas from the Patterson family!

After sixteen years of sweeping up Legos, army men, and airsoft pellets, we are suddenly sweeping up lip gloss, pink ponytail holders, and teeny, tiny Polly Pocket shoes.  The Lord has blessed us with the arrival of a little girl!  She arrived on November 13, all 45 pounds of her!  Please join us in welcoming eight-year-old Iris Lohana.  As you can imagine, this has been quite a change for our family of rambunctious boys, but she fits right in, and can quickly transform from princess to pirate!

We appreciate your prayers as we begin the adoption process, and for all of us as we adjust to this exciting reshaping of our family!

May the Lord bless your family and draw you closer to Him!

Much has happened in our home even since our last post. When we returned home from Cancaluncos Mark and the boys had the idea of building a pulpit for the church in Cancaluncos. If you recall from the pictures that we posted, their pulpit is made of cinder blocks. We still have a lot of wood left over from the crates we built to ship our things to Honduras. Mark and the boys cut the 2×4’s down to 2×2’s to make the frame, then covered it in plywood, and stained it. Our family will be returning to the village next Wednesday to deliver it to the church and meet with Pastor Oscar again.

On Wednesday Levi became our first son to receive a cast. He and one of his brothers were playing on the top bunk and he fell off and fractured his wrist. We are thankful to the Lord that more damage didn’t occur to his body. Please pray that his wrist will heal well and quickly.

Yesterday we had the privilege of having another missionary family in our home for dinner. Paul and Beth have been missionaries in Honduras for 45 years. It was a thrill for us to get to know them better and see how the Lord has used them over the years. Paul has literally been all over Honduras ministering in very remote villages. He is still very active in village missions and is currently working in three towns. Mark has the opportunity to go with Paul to one of the villages this Monday to help mark the foundation points for a new church they are building. If the Lord permits Mark will also have the opportunity in the coming weeks to go with him to weld trusses for a church roof in another village. Please pray for our family as we have these opportunities to minister to people in these villages. Please also pray that we will be able to learn much from these faithful servants of Christ.

Tomorrow we will have our final conference of the year at MEDA. We have over 100 people signed up to attend. Please pray for Carlos Montoya as he teaches, also pray that those who attend will be biblically instructed and encouraged. We look forward to seeing Pastor Nabeli and Oswaldo again from Las Lagunas. Oswaldo called Mark the other day and stated that they will be attending. It’s always a joy to see these brothers and spend time with them.

Thanks again for praying for our family and for your support. It is because of your faithfulness that we are able to minister here and be involved in different ways.

Pattersons Visiting Canculuncos

Canculuncos

“The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9…so went our summer!  In July, the influenza (the swine variety) made a visit to the Patterson household.  Although most recovered quickly, Christy experienced complications.  After seeking treatment here, we felt it would be best to return to the States for further care, where she was diagnosed with asthma, post viral syndrome, and a high iron count.  We are happy to report she is doing well and almost completely recovered.

During our two-month stay in Florida, we were able to visit with friends and family, as well as take the boys on some outings, such as canoeing, and swimming.  We also had the opportunity to raise money for Emanuel Children’s Day Home by hosting a car wash and bake sale.

Although we enjoyed our time in Florida, by October, we were ready to return home.  Upon our arrival, we were surprised with a welcome party by our church family, complete with delicious Honduran food, hilarious games, and sweet words of encouragement.  What a blessing it was to be back among our precious friends.

We jumped right back into ministry, including several preaching opportunities for Mark.  He is continuing his study in II Peter at our church, and was able to preach at another church one Sunday night as well.  He has also begun a discipleship Bible study with a man, Michael, who recently began attending our church.

Emanuel Children’s Day Home has added a few new faces, and it is always a joy spending time with these precious children.  Christy was honored to serve as a madrina at the 6th grade graduation of one of the girls.  A madrina walks onto stage with the graduate as she receives her diploma.  Sixth grade graduation is a very important occasion in Honduras, as many children are unable to receive a higher education.  Kathy is an orphan who, along with her younger brother, has been passed around to relatives the last few years.  She came to live with her aunt about nine months ago, and has been attending the day home as well as church.  She is a bright, joyful girl and graduated with honors at the top of her class!  Please pray for the Lord to provide a way for Kathy to continue her education.

Shortly after our return, we heard of a village of indigenous Lenca, living about an hour and half away, who are struggling financially.  They are farmers, with corn being their main crop.  They take their corn into the nearest town and sell it all.  Because corn is a staple in most homes,  they then turn around and purchase their own corn at a higher price to feed their families.  As a result, they barely scrape by.  There is a young man, Oscar, who has moved to Canculuncos to serve as their local pastor, but as the village is unable to fully support him, he may have to leave.

This past Monday, we had the opportunity to visit Canculuncos.  We were immediately surrounded by talkative, smiling children who took our hands, and proceeded to take us on a tour, introducing people, pointing out important buildings, various plants and animals, and even showing us where two men were murdered.  As we walked along, they shared Bible verses and songs they have been learning in Sunday School, as well as some of their favorite foods – squirrel soup and roasted iguana!  One of the women brought us a snack, a delicious cooked vegetable somewhat like a sweet pumpkin.  Mark was able to spend a lot of time talking with Pastor Oscar. He does not own any books to help him study the Scriptures, nor does the church have a Sunday School curriculum.

Thank you for your continued support of our family which allows us the privilege of serving the Lord here in Honduras. Please pray for the people of Canculuncos and for the Lord’s direction in how we can minister to them.

Be sure to check out the new photos in our Photo Album.

I know that we just posted something yesterday, but we couldn’t help but let you know about this exciting news.

About a month ago I was standing outside our church talking with a group of people. Our church was going on a picnic and we were waiting for everyone to arrive. While we were waiting a young man approached us, pushing his brother in a wheelchair. The man started to speak with me in English. I had the privilege of speaking with Carlos for about 45 minutes.  Carlos is a rough looking fellow. He has tattoos all over his arms, along with many scars on his face and arms from fighting. I found out that he learned English in the United States, where he lived for 6 years. He has been in and out of prison twice. His brother in the wheelchair was born handicap, which makes him unable to speak or walk. Carlos also had his 11 year old son with him.

I told Carlos about the gospel – how we are all born sinners and separated from God. I explained that Christ came to take the wrath of God in his place and that He died on the cross for his sins. I gave him a gospel pamphlet in Spanish and invited him to come to church the following Sunday.  

As were were pulling out of the MEDA road the next Sunday and heading to Church I could see Carlos, his brother (Jose) and his son (Jonathan) walking down the road. I waited for them to catch up with us and gave them a ride to church. After church I spoke with Carlos and told him about Christ again. He listened and had several questions. He also invited me and Pastor Melvin to his home that week. 

Pastor Melvin and I visited Carlos’ home and again had the opportunity to proclaim the gospel of Christ to him. I explained to him from the Bible how no one can earn God’s favor. That he could not do enough good things to make God happy with him or earn God’s forgiveness. I also talked with him about the law of God and showed him in Scripture that the law does not save us. Rather, the law only condemns us, it shows us that we are sinners and cannot keep the law of God. Therefore, we all stand guilty before God, we have all broken His law and deserve His judgment. I then explained how Christ took the judgement that we deserve upon Himself and that we need to place our faith/trust in Christ alone for our salvation. Carlos expressed his appreciation for our visit and talking with him about Christ.

Carlos was again at church the following Sunday and this past Sunday. After church yesterday I asked Carlos if he had been thinking about what I had explained to him. He replied that he had and that he wanted to place his faith in Christ. I asked him questions to see if he understood what that meant and afterward he prayed and confessed his sin and his need for Christ to save him. 

Please pray for Carlos that he would mature in Christ and the knowledge of the Word of God. Also, pray for his brother, Jose, and son, Jonathan.

Thursday morning at 2:20 A.M., we awoke with the feeling something was not quite right, then realized the walls and our bed were shaking!  As most of you have probably already heard, we experienced a 7.3 earthquake off the coast of Honduras.  There have been a few more since then, along with aftershocks, but praise the Lord our family is safe.    A few pieces of pottery were the only casualties in our home.  Please remember to pray for those who were injured or lost loved ones and homes.

In March, we returned to Florida for our first furlough.  We enjoyed our time visiting with friends and family.  We also had a wonderful time of fellowship with the believers at Grace Bible Church of Tampa, Grace Bible Church of Brandon, and Clarkson Community Church.  We thank everyone for their gracious hospitality and love shown to our family.

Although our time in the U.S. was full of activity and precious memories, we were ready at the end of the month to head home to Honduras and settle back into a normal routine.  Arriving back in Honduras, however, found us on-the-go once more, but this time in the daily aspects of our ministry and life here.  It is such a blessing to be back among those we love to serve.

We arrived home at the end of the dry, smoky season here in Honduras.  The river nearby was dry and we were thankful for the well here at MEDA that supplies us with the clean, fresh water we need.  It is easy to take for granted that water will come out of the tap, but we were reminded of how precious that water really is.  As the rainy season has now begun, we find ourselves amazed at how thankful we are for mud!!!

We returned right just in time to celebrate Semana Santa, or Holy Week.  Parades, parties, and picnics mark the remembrance of our Lord’s Resurrection.  Our church had several activities planned, including daily 5am prayer meetings, an exciting church picnic, a Lord’s Supper service, a movie night, and a sunrise service and breakfast.  This allowed us more opportunities to get to know people, either by praying with them side by side or competing against them in some rowdy picnic games!

We have had several exciting conferences in the last few months, including one on Revelation taught by our friend from our church in Florida, Ken Fuller.  Ken was accompanied by another friend from church, Rhich Nelson, and we enjoyed a continuation of our fellowship with dear friends.  We also enjoyed the annual Women’s Conference taught this year by Ester Pidal from California, and a conference on Creation taught by Henry Morris.  His wife, Jan, accompanied him, and Mark and the boys enjoyed hosting them for breakfast each morning while Christy returned to Florida for the Home School Convention.

Christy arrived refreshed and renewed after her visit to Florida for the Home School convention in May.  She continues to teach a children’s class at church and helping with the Emanuel Children’s Day Home.   We are pleased the Lord has provided enough money to continue until at least the middle of October.  It is always a blessing to visit the day home, see the happy faces, and receive their loving hugs!  Christy is also getting to know the mothers of these children, and is excited to see some begin to attend church.  Recently, the mothers took time off work to attend a Mother’s Day Party in their honor.  It was a blessing to see these hard-working moms enjoying precious time with their little ones.  Dinner was served and our pastor’s wife, Alejandra, taught a lesson from God’s Word.  Please pray for the funds needed to continue this ministry, and for the salvation of the children and their mothers.

The boys are trudging forward with school (no summer break for us, which allows us to remain flexible in our ministry).  One of the benefits of our life here is the wide variant of learning available to the boys.  Not only do they learn vital life skills as they work alongside Mark, such as plumbing, carpentry, auto mechanics and welding, but they have the opportunity to meet, serve, and interact with godly men and women from all over the world, as well as benefit from the teaching of prominent authors/speakers.   Their newest duty is the training and care of a 7-week-old German Shepherd puppy named Maya.  She will be our newest guard dog here at MEDA, and she is keeping them on their toes.  As long as they can keep her away from the transmission fluid, I think she’ll do just fine…

Mark has been working hard as always on projects around MEDA, including laying irrigation pipes, construction projects, and keeping up with repairs.  Besides preaching opportunities at church, he also recently was able to speak in the chapel seminary, and is beginning an evangelism ministry within our local church.  We are excited about ministering in the village of San Marcos.  Currently, there is no local pastor living there.  Please pray for His Word to go forth and for wisdom as we make plans to serve the people in this remote mountain village.

Bunk Bed

The boys and I are making a bunkbed for a family in town

Levi Sanding Wood

Levi sanding wood for the bunkbed

Josiah Sanding Gate

Josiah refinishing metal gates

Caleb Using the Router

Caleb routing the wood for the bunkbed

Maya - puppy in training

Maya - puppy in training