Tuesday, May 7, 2019

May Prayer Letter

Wedding News:
Our daughter Nancy was married on April 22nd in Jacksonville, Florida. We are very happy for Nancy and her husband, Keith Wood. They both love the Lord and look forward to serving Him together. The wedding was beautiful, and it was great to celebrate together with family and friends. Although our time in the US was short, we felt like we were able to spend a lot of time with all of our kids. Nancy and Keith plan to move to California this summer, where Keith will be in graduate school. Ben and Kelsi are nearing the end of deputation and are hoping to leave for Zanzibar by early summer. Esther just completed her second year at Trinity Baptist College.  We are excited to see each of our children pursuing God’s plan for their lives. 

Budapest church plant:
We are now holding core group meetings every Sunday afternoon in downtown Budapest. Almost every week we have someone new visit who is interested in joining our church plant. Daniel and I have been meeting with these individuals to answer questions and to see if they will be a good fit with our philosophy and vision. We now have 31 adults on our list of potential members, with 13 who have committed to the church plant thus far and many others are still praying and seeking the Lord’s guidance in this area. Please pray that the Lord would lead us to exactly those people whom He wants to be a part of a new church in downtown Budapest. 

Baptismal Service in Esztergom:
On March 24th I had the privilege of baptizing Gyorgy Pusztai. We have been praying intensively for the unsaved husbands of our church members. Gyorgy was one of those. He began attending church regularly, and at first seemed unmoved by the preaching. It was a joy to see a dramatic change in His life over the past year, as he moved from a passive observer to an active seeker of God. We are now praying for his adult children to come to the Lord.

Vertical Church Conference II.
Some of you may remember that we held a nationwide Vertical Church Conference last year in Kecskemet, Hungary. We had a remarkable turnout last year of about 400 participants from more than 90 churches. We will be holding our second conference this Friday and Saturday (May 10-11) once again in Kecskemet. We have been amazed to see even more interest this year. We have more that 650 registered from about 140 different churches! We sense a true hunger for the glory of God to be manifested in our churches in a fresh, new way. This year’s conference theme is discipleship. Please pray for the presence of God to be manifested in a special way, and that the Holy Spirit would fan the flames of greater passion for worship and missions!
Wedding picture of our kids

Gyorgy Pusztai at his baptism

Monday, March 18, 2019

March 2019 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends,

Here is our March prayer letter. 

Our ministry in Hungary is now divided into three major areas: Esztergom, Budapest and national ministry. We are excited to see God working in all three.

The past few months have been time of transition in Esztergom. After 23 years of meeting on Sunday afternoons, we moved our Sunday services to the mornings at 10.00 AM. It was amazing to see a noticeable increase in attendance from the very first week. We have had visitors almost every week, and one new family has begun attending regularly. God seems to have confirmed that this was the right move for our church, and everyone has been adjusting their Sunday schedules accordingly. The other big transition was having our new worship pastor take over the leadership of the worship team. Daniel Révész was officially installed as worship pastor on March 10th. He and his wife have been settling in nicely into their new roles. Charin has been leading the worship team for the past 9 years and will still be a part but without all the pressure and responsibility of leading.

I sent out a separate email in regards to our first vision meeting which we held on February 23rd with 21 participants. Since then we have been trying to meet with each team member individually to get to know them better, answer questions, and also see how they can best fit into the church planting team. On March 17th we began holding core group meetings at a Christian coffee shop in downtown Budapest. They have a small meeting room that we can use for our services. We were pleased to have two new people come on the 17th. We will now be meeting weekly on Sunday evenings at 5:00 PM. Please pray that the core group will grow in unity, commitment and number over the next few months. We are really amazed at the great group of people the Lord has given us already!

National ministry:  
On March 1-2 Daniel and I drove down to Stara Moravica, Serbia to hold a mini Vertical Church conference at the Hungarian Baptist ministry center there. There are only 4-5 Hungarian speaking Baptist churches in Serbia, and I don’t think any of them run more than 50 in attendance. We had a good group of 20-30 representatives from these churches spend two days learning about how to develop a more God-centered focus in their ministry. We got a lot of good feedback from the participants and hopefully this weekend will leave a lasting impact on the churches there.

Family News:
Our daughter Nancy will be married to Keith Wood on April 22nd in Jacksonville, Florida. We are looking forward to a quick trip to the States (April 15-26) to be there for the wedding. We will also be able to spend time with Ben, Kelsi and Esther. Please pray for safe travels and a beautiful, God-honoring wedding!

We appreciate your prayers and support!

Marc Patton

Daniel and Agi Revesz

Group in Serbia

Monday, February 25, 2019

First Budapest Vision Day

Dear Friends,

Thank you for praying for our first vision day in Budapest. It was an incredible day. Many of the people had never met each other, and it was amazing to see how the Lord gave us a spirit of unity through the course of the day. The worship was tremendous. I don't think I've ever heard 21 people sing with that much passion. The prayer walk also went extremely well. We broke into three groups and walked to three different points in the city to pray for each other, the lost people around us, the church plant and the city of Budapest. It was great to see the fervency of the prayers of the people in our group. The sharing of the vision also went well. The Lord helped me communicate the vision of a church with a passion for glorifying God by making disciples. Our small group discussions gave people the opportunity to dig deeper into the vision and also share their own thoughts and ideas. As you can see in the attached picture, the Lord has given us predominantly young people between the age of 20 and 30. I am thrilled to have them to help us reach out to their generation.

What are the next steps?

1) We will be doing follow up visits with all the participants. We have asked them to pray for the Lord's clear leadership in whether or not they should join our church planting team. We will be meeting with them to answer questions and get to know them better. It is my hope and prayer that the vast majority of this group will join our church plant and form the base of our core group.

2) We hope to begin holding weekly core group meetings in mid-March. It seems that Sunday afternoons will work best for most of our people. We are currently looking for the best venue for these meetings. We will be looking at a couple of possible locations this week, so please pray about that.

And one more request:

Our new worship pastor will be joining me in holding a two day Church Conference in Serbia this Friday and Saturday. This will be my first time to serve in Serbia. Please pray that God will give these churches a vision for God-centered churches with a passion for worship, evangelism and discipleship. By the way, the churches we are ministering to are Hungarian speaking churches located in northern Serbia near the Hungarian border.

Thanks for keeping us in your prayers.


Who said church planting can't be fun? 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

January 2019 Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,

Here is our latest prayer letter. You will find a copy suitable for printing in the attachment.

Family News:
Our biggest news is that our oldest daughter Nancy got engaged during the Christmas holidays. We are very excited! She has been dating her fiancé, Keith Wood, for about three years now. Interestingly, Keith’s parents are missionaries in Germany, and like Nancy, Keith grew up on the mission field. They have both graduated from Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida, and Keith is currently working at the college in the admissions department. Nancy works at a local credit union and continues to work on developing her writing career. The wedding will take place on April 22ndin Jacksonville, so we will make a quick trip back to the States for the wedding. Please pray for the preparations to go well and for a great, Christ-honoring celebration!

December was a tremendous month at our church in Esztergom. We had a new family of five begin attending. They are believers who have been looking for a church home. They seem excited and have already plugged into a small group. We also had a university student from Budapest begin attending. He is a classmate of one of our young people. He is not yet saved but is definitely seeking the Lord. I have begun meeting with him weekly, and Lord willing, we will see him saved soon and also be able to plug him into our Budapest church plant when we get started there. 

Preparation for Budapest:
Preparation for our church plant in Budapest has been picking up momentum. Several new people have expressed interest in joining the church plant. We currently have a group of eight from our church in Esztergom. We also have thirteen others who either live or study in Budapest. Eight members of the core group are university students in Budapest. One of our goals in planting the church is to reach out to the university students, as we know that they are the future leaders of Hungary. These eight young people should give us a good open door into university ministry. On February 23rdwe will be gathering the whole team for the first time. This will be an all-day event where we will share vision, get to know each other, discuss plans and spend intensive time in the Word, worship and prayer. Please pray that God will form us into a cohesive unit who can work well together to build His kingdom in Budapest. In March we would like to begin holding regular mid-week meetings to build the core group and spend time in prayer together. Please pray that we will find the best location for these meetings. Rent in downtown Budapest in not cheap!

Let me close by expressing our gratitude for your prayers and support throughout this past year. We could not do what we are doing without your help. 2018 was a great year of ministry, and we are looking forward to even greater things in 2019!


Nancy and Keith

Some of our church planting team

Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,

The past two months flew by and now Christmas is right around the corner. We are so excited that Esther, Ben, and his wife, Kelsi are able to be here for Christmas. Nancy will be working and staying in Jacksonville during the holidays. 

National Ministry:
We recently had two big events related to our Vertical Church movement. The first was a regional conference held in the eastern part of the country. On October 27thnearly 200 people packed out the Gyula Baptist Church for the one-day conference. Many of the Baptist churches in this area have been struggling with a period of decline, so we were asked to come and stir the fires of revival. I opened the conference with a message from Ezekiel 37 on the Valley of Dry Bones. A supporting pastor from the US spoke on worship, and one of my Hungarian partners spoke on personal revival. The Lord moved in a special way, and we received a lot of positive feedback from those who participated. 

The second event was our Vertical Church Pastors Workshop which we held in Pecel, Hungary on November 27th. About 35-40 pastors gathered to learn more about how to lead their churches in a more God-centered way. We had sessions on worship, prayer, evangelism and leading positive transition. We also spent time in concentrated worship and prayer. Our new worship leader, Daniel Revesz, led the worship. It was great to work together with him and see his gifts and heart for worship in action. We really sense a hunger in both pastors and leaders to see God work in a new and special way in their churches. 

Our new worship pastor and his wife spent most of November working on their move to Esztergom. They have been very busy remodeling their apartment and getting things moved over from Debrecen. Hopefully in the next week or so they will be finished. We are excited about having them plug in and begin their ministry here.

We have also had a number of visitors in church over the past weeks. Several have expressed interest in coming back. Please pray that we will see a new period of growth in our church. We also had the unsaved husband of one of our church members make a profession of faith. This is a huge answer to prayer! Please pray for Gyorgy to be strengthened in the faith. We hope to see him baptized early next year.

Preparation for Budapest:
We continue to work at putting together a church-planting team. I recently connected with a family of six, who will be moving to Budapest next summer. They are excited about the opportunity of being a part of a new church. I also met with a couple of university students who may join our team. Please pray that God would bring us just the right people to form the foundation for this new church. 

Let me close by expressing our gratitude for your prayers and support throughout this past year. We could not do what we are doing without your help. We wish you all a blessed holiday season! Christmas is such a wonderful season both to celebrate Christ and point others to Him!


Preaching in Gyula

Daniel leads worship at pastors workshop

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October Prayer Letter

New assistant pastor:
I mentioned in my September prayer letter that we were praying about hiring an assistant pastor who will be able to help both in Esztergom and in our future church plant in Budapest.  Daniel Revesz is a talented young man who feels called to serve the Lord in the areas of music and leadership training. He has written many songs in Hungarian and recently put out his first CD. He also has a good feel for God-centered worship. We are thrilled he and his wife Agi have agreed to join us, and they will be moving to Esztergom the end of November. Please pray for their move and transition, and also that their ministry will be a blessing to our church in Esztergom and the Budapest church plant. 

Esztergom news:
We decided to use the month of October to focus on evangelism and outreach. We are doing a four week Sunday series called „Changed Lives.” This past Sunday we had a special speaker, Lajos Boros, who spent more than 30 years of his life in prison. It was while in prison that he heard the Gospel and got saved. He began ministering to the prisoners while still in prison, and since being released in 2015, he has been travelling around the country sharing his story. We had many visitors come to hear him speak, and we are praying for genuine decisions and fruit that remains. 

National ministry:
Text Box: Word of Life StudentsSeptember was a very busy month of preaching and teaching outside of Esztergom. I did a Vertical Church retreat for a Budapest church on September 1-2nd. September 9th I did an evangelistic service for the Baptist church in Komárom. On September 11th I hosted a group of about 15 Hungarian church planters who wanted to learn more about our ministry. September 18-21 I taught the second year students at Word of Life Bible Institute on the Christian Family. September 29th I preached at a Worship Conference in Balatonszemes. September 30th I preached a special Thanksgiving Sunday at the Baptist church in Matraszolos. I do enjoy these opportunities, but as we begin moving forward on our church planting plans, I will be cutting back on this type of ministry. 

Preparation for Budapest:
I am very grateful for a new church that has agreed to partner with us in the church plant in Budapest. Their support is allowing us to bring on Daniel Revesz as worship pastor. Charin and I also had a good meeting with a young couple in Budapest who are considering becoming a part of our church planting team. I also met with three pastors who pastor Baptist churches in downtown Budapest. They gave me some good feedback, and in at least two cases I think they are open to providing a certain level of help to us. We can definitely see the Lord going before us opening doors.

We value your prayers now more than ever. Thank you for standing with us!

                                                Marc, Charin, Esther and Hannah Patton

Daniel and Agi Revesz

Word of Life Hungary second year students

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Friday, September 7, 2018

Breaking News - Budapest Church Plant

Breaking News!
Lord willing we will be planting a new church in Budapest, Hungary within the next year! This is something we have been thinking and praying about for about 5 years now. We believe that the time has come to move forward in this direction.

Why Budapest?
Budapest is the center of Hungary in virtually every aspect: politics, education, economy, religion, culture, and finance. With a population of 1.8 million people it boasts nearly 1/5th of the population of the country. Operation World estimates that only 2.8% of Hungarians are evangelical Christians. If we apply that statistic to Budapest, that leaves more than 1.7 million people there who need to hear the Gospel!

Our Vision:
Our vision is to plant a truly vertical church in the heart of this great city that points directly to the majesty of our God and His Son Jesus Christ. We desire a church centered on God’s glory that is passionate in worship, faithful to the Word, fervent in prayer and bold in its witness; a church that makes disciples who love God, love each other and serve their fellow man. But our vision is not only for a worshipping church, but a sending church as well. It is our goal to see this church become a center for leadership training and church planting that will have an impact on the entire nation and beyond.

Our Timeline:
We are currently working on developing strategic partnerships for the church plant. I am also seeking out key individuals who will form the base of our core group. Lord willing, we will begin holding vision meetings early next year to work on building a strong core group with a goal of launching the new church in the Fall of 2019.

What about Esztergom?
I will continue to pastor the church in Esztergom. I will pastor the church in Budapest as a second church, as I did with Tata in the past. I am currently hoping to bring on an assistant pastor, who will be able to help me carry the load in both Esztergom and Budapest.

Our Needs:
We are seeking both individuals and churches who will partner with us especially through the next three years during the preparation, launch and new church stage. We desperately need a strong prayer base who will commit to praying for this church plant on a regular basis. We also need financial support for equipment, rent, ministry related travel, and advertising. If you would like to be a partner in the Budapest church plant, please drop us a line at pattonhungary@yahoo.com. We would love to hear from you!

Marc, Charin, Nancy, Esther and Hannah Patton