Vision Of River Ministry

Vision Of River Ministry

fb20161204It has been our dream for years to build a wider river ministry in partnership with our existing Brazilian churches. This is a vision that has yet to be realized, but one the Lord has placed on my heart. It has been a long road but this year we seem to be making some headway and need your most fervent prayers over the next few months.

As in many churches December and January are business meeting months for many churches, including churches here. Over the next two months we have five churches considering building a ministry alliance with us. This would be a more formal agreement and deeper commitment to reaching the people on the river with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Why do I need the help? It is a big task that requires a small army of volunteers to just reach a hand full of closed communities out here on the river. The vision is to work through the local churches to plant culturally relevant churches out here on the river. It needs to be Brazilian at the core with our Brazilian brothers leading this effort for it to succeed over the longterm. This is what is starting to happen. Through our work on the Island of Cotijuba they see hope and what the Holy Spirit can do through them. Please pray that we can develop this partnership that will last for years to come and that Jesus will raise up workers for the coming harvest on the islands of the Amazon.

Gold And Money

Gold And Money

fb20161203bThe Brazilian Real (Dollar) has not been a stable currency like the American dollar.  When you become a missionary you learn all about exchange rates and the banking systems of at least two countries.  Like anyone living on a limited income, we try to stretch our money as far at it will go. So exchanging dollars for Brazilian reais is always in the for front of our minds. Unlike the USA dollar that has looked the same for most of my lifetime that is not the case of the Brazilian currency.   Here the bills have changed their look, feel and size over the years. The question you always have to ask – is it real?

Since we were in Brasilia the capital, we stopped by the central bank.  They have a money museum. It show all of their different currency for the past 400 years. Over the past twenty years their currency has crashed twice and they have issued new currency. Their displays featured a number very creative bills that no longer exist. Then there is the display cases of existing bills and the many different formates that they have taken. Then there was the Gold section. Brazil is one of the larger gold producers in the world. In the state we live in they have one of the largest open pit mines that looks like the days of the California gold rush.  The have put out a number of gold coins over the years but these are not sought after items.  In the culture we live such luxury items are not part of life and because there is so much thievery many people were only fake jewelery. It was great to see all this gold but for most of the common folk gold and money are not dependable.

Standing Room Only

Standing Room Only

fb20161202Our not so little group is learning to tell the Story of God, and it is great to see. The group has grown to the point if we got everyone together we would run out of chairs. I understand that last week while I was away it was standing room only. These are great problems to have as we see the Father draw these people to Jesus.

A group of eight from our band of people went and visited the sponsoring church and this helped energize the group. I think just to grasp the understanding they are now part of a much larger body of believers is an inspiration to them. One that is helping them share the stories of Jesus they are learning and inviting other to join them at the Bible Studies and Spiritual Family time we have. It is exciting to watch. Please keep all of this in prayer. We are a target for the enemy and he like to make things difficult.

Falling Short On Support

Falling Short On Support

fb20161111As Fall sets in we notices for the first time in many years that our support is slipping. A number of our supporters have died, retired or lost their jobs along with a number of small churches closing. We are asking our facebook friends to consider sending us a one time donation to help us out.

The Lord has blessed us with a group of new believers and our hope is that in February we will see a number of them baptized. Our work in expanding to other islands is just taking off. Yes it cost money to keep us here in the field. So we need your help.

Please consider a one time gift. Link Donating to the Pattons

Our Vote Was Not Counted

Our Vote Was Not Counted

fb20161109One of the realties of serving overseas is that there are some American rights you just lose. We tried to vote through absentee ballet but it looks like as times in the past the Brazilian Postal system has lost our mail. Many times we do not get mail that people send and mail we send never arrives.

As to political conversation in Portuguese it all seems to get lost in the translation. So we become very disconnected from one of Americans citizen right, to speak our voice into the political system. This is all part of our calling. Here in Brazil the Brazilians ask us all the time if we voted in their elections, we can not, we are foreigners. As foreigners we have no voices in their very corrupt political process.    So on election day we are reminded that we foreigners far from the land we love and many of the love ones we cherish.

This week Jacob sent a audio track of the heart beat of our grand child. It brought tears to our eyes and joy to our hearts. It reminds us though of how far away we are from family and the fact we can not be there.

Mission Trip Arapiranga

Mission Trip Arapiranga

fb20161106The team to the island of Arapiranga was a great success in October. We had most of our students show up on the team in an effort to reach this small river community with the stories of the Gospel. For many this was their first time visiting a poor river community. They themselves come from poor city neighborhoods so poverty was not an issue, but life on the river is very different from their life in the city. We had the opportunity to participate in a kids church program and then follow the kids home and visit their parents and families. Then the kids help our teams visit neighbors which enabled us to visit most of the homes in this small river community. The team shared stories with most of the adults on the island and they loved it. The doors seem to be so open. Pray that God will help us organize more teams to visit on a regular basis.

The Story Behind The Cloth

The Story Behind The Cloth

fb20161105The Story Cloth is a work of God and a real blessing that He has given to us. Wayne has been work with two pastors as to what stories we should use for our new training effort. Wayne has been working with these men for years. It took quite a bit of time to just developed our list of 24 stories that would work for us, but to find an artist to draw 24 graphics for us was even harder. We pulled on all our contacts and no one had the time to take on this big task. As we prayed we watched artist after artist turn us down. Then word got out to a young artist living near the Monkey Island Church whom work with.  She had made plans to attend our first training class in September. The week before she heard of our need and just starting drawing from the list of stories she had been given. Friday night she showed up with a pack of 24 graphics to hand us. What an unexpected blessing.

Then we had to get it printed. This was another God send. The graphics firm we had used the the past had gone out of business. The new places we looked at wanted three times the price. It was a search in futility. Then as in one of the God coincidences we discovered a place that would make them for the same price we got three years early.  Praise God! This all has been a faith journey and now our students have a great, locally made tool, to help then open the conversation and tell the greatest story every told.

Oct Training A Success

Oct Training A Success

fb20161104 It was exciting to have all new students for our second installment of our Bible Story Training. This group of students was much more expressive than the last. One of the things I like to stress in our classes is expressive story telling. The Brazilian culture is very expressive when it comes to telling personal stories. People really get into telling these events of their lives with a lot of hand movements, dancing around and acting out what happen. It brings great joy to my heart when I see one of our students catches on to the idea that the Bible is a story that needs to be told in their own style.

We had 14 students that attended our training program. It started Friday and ended Saturday afternoon. There was sining, praying and a lot of story telling. We have a story cloth that has 24 stores on it. It is a great tool and one that has a story all to it’s self.

Robbed On The Bus

fb20161101Yesterday Ellen return home a little late because the bus she was on got robbed. This is a daily occurrence here in the big city, so much that people do not even bother to call the police. Police enforcement is non existent in our area. A young man came on the bus with a big knife and demanded that everyone put their valuables in his sack. He pulled rings and watches off peoples hands and demanded money and cell phones. Ellen took her wedding ring off and sat on it. She turned over her cell phone and wallet and then the robber moved on to the next person. So we are praising God that nothing else happen. She was a little shook up, but for the most part ok. This is why we ask for your prayers for safety. There are pirates on the water and thieves in the city. Please keep our safety in your prayers.

The Changed Life of Valdamir

fb20161012As you follow the path that the Holy Spirit leads you down, he takes you places you would not expect. Valdamir is one of these lives that the Holy Spirit has opened the door for us to share the Good News.   He has his own bicycle repair shop at the center of the island that also makes small repairs to motor cycles as needed. The shop is small and not much to look at. (The picture features Pastor Jeu, Valdamir, Valdamir’s son in-law) I remember a number of conversations with him over the years as he repaired our bikes. He talked about going into the big city Belem to attend a church there, but his life seem to be very unstable. We did not know what a disaster his life actually was.

Pastor Jeu, who is part of our team, was having his motorcycle tire fixed by Valdamir and asked if he was interested in studying the Bible.  He reluctantly said yes. At this point it was a depressing time in his life. His wife had separated from him and he was drinking heavily. His wife informed us that he would go on drinking binges for days and then get straight with religion. This would last for only a short time before the old habits returned. This resulted in a marriage that was on and off the rocks on a regular basis.  Our team started studying the Bible with him once a week, and only him.  Valdamir was a tag on Bible study on Tuesday nights. The team would study with one family up the road and on the way back stop a Vadamir’s bike shop to study with him. This went on for several months. If he was not there the team would book him for another night.

It did not seem like the team was making any headway with Valdamir.  After all these weeks they had not seen his wife nor could find out her name. He just would not talk about her. Then a rain storm changed everything. As our team left the first Bible study and a heavy down pour started,  so they became drenched. They showed up at Valdamir’s bike shop looking like drowned cats. He was not there so they went over to his house and knocked, his wife answered the door and took pity them and inviting them in. This was the first time they had met his wife and got to know a little about her. This chance meeting seem to have a big impact on the situation there,  and now our team was praying for both of them.  As things moved forward there were times that the Bible study included him and his wife with a few of their grand kids. Though the turmoil was not over. The team arrived one Tuesday only to be informed that she had not seen her husband for three days. She suspected he was off drunk, but encouraged them to return in a few days. This is where Valdamir’s life changed.

fb20161012aThis is the point where Valdamir cried out to God and his desire to drink was broke. He also seem to have a stronger desire to know more about this God and His Word. Now the study time included a variety of his family members, though not on a consistent basis.  His wife now attends our weekly womens gathering, and on Wednesdays we have a Spiritual Family gathering and it is common for Valdamir to bing his wife, grand kids and kids to meetings. He is proclaiming Christ has changing his life and he is excited about his transformation. The joy in his voice and smile on his face only adds to the validity of his testimony. Pray for Valdamir. Our next planed baptisms will be in February, pray that him and several of his family member will take that next step of faith and be baptized on the beach here on the island of Cotijuba.