January 2015 – The Year in Review
Furlough and Support:
2014 was an amazing year in regards to our support. In October, 2013 we began our transition to a new sending church and mission board. We were soon faced with the need to replace about 50% of our support. It was quite remarkable to see how the Lord met this need. Several supporters increased our support significantly. We also had a number of new churches join our support team. We are very grateful for the help of Pastor Messer and others at Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville for their help in connecting us with new supporters. We are also thankful that we did not need to take an extended furlough to meet this need. Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support during this transition time.
This past year was a time of transition for our family as well, as Nancy and Ben began Bible College in the US. It has been a major adjustment to have them gone, and we are still trying to get used to having just 4 chairs occupied at the dinner table. We were very grateful that they were able to return to Hungary for three weeks during the Christmas break. It was great to have our family together once again. Both Nancy and Ben have adjusted remarkably well to life in the US. Their grades were excellent, and they both are doing well with their jobs. It is exciting to see them grow and mature.
Esther and Hannah continue to do well. They are both very involved in the youth ministry at church. Esther also plays the piano and helps in Sunday School. Charin is busy teaching at school three mornings each week. She also is very involved in the music program, Sunday School program and Ladies ministry at the church. I am very grateful for Charin. She is a great wife, mother and helper in the ministry.
Esztergom Baptist Church:
2014 was an interesting year in Esztergom. We baptized two adults and two teens. We also added another family of four to the membership. Nevertheless we lost more people than we gained. Most of the core of our youth group graduated and headed off to college. We also had several adults leave the church, some who had even been with us almost from the beginning. Both attendance and offerings were down about 15%. I believe we have made some positive adjustments and that we are moving in the right direction, but we have still not see a real turn around in regards to growth. Please pray with us that 2015 will be a year of growth – both spiritually and numerically at our church in Esztergom.
Tata Baptist Church:
At the same time Esztergom was struggling, Tata has been flourishing. 2014 was another year of amazing growth. God continues to bring us new families who are saved and looking for a good church. He also continues to bring us lost people who are seeking the Lord. Our average attendance is around 70, and we have even hit 80 on some Sundays. We have outgrown our current auditorium and are making plans to build a new one. Even our offerings almost doubled over the past year. Our focus in 2015 will be on our building project and also integrating the new converts into our church family.
Nagysáp Baptist Church:
Our church in Nagysáp is going through a time of rebuilding. Two of the most faithful families moved away, and several others dropped out. Nevertheless there have been some positive signs as well. Some of the children we have been working with for years are now teenagers and have made professions of faith. The soccer ministry is also going well. We are very grateful for the faithfulness of our team in Nagysap despite the hardships and setbacks.
Our Bible Institute in Esztergom continues to do well. We usually have 16-18 students from 5 different area churches. I also continue to teach one week each school year at Word of Life Hungary’s Bible Institute. This past year I was asked to join the teaching staff of the Sunergosz Bible Institute which is operated by the Baptist Union. I will be teaching both hermeneutics and homiletics during the spring semester. Sometimes I feel like I have taken on a bit too much in this area, but I hate to turn down opportunities to influence the future leaders of Hungary.
I continue to mentor Gergo Szimon and Marci Csiha on a weekly basis. Both are involved in our church plant in Nagysap as well as our main church in Esztergom. I also had another young pastor from the town of Toalmas, Hungary ask if I would mentor him. He has been driving to Esztergom one day a month to spend a few hours in mentoring. It is a privilege to invest in these young men, and I believe it will pay dividends in the future.
A Look Ahead at 2015:
1. Esztergom – We are planning a big evangelistic outreach for Easter. We are also planning a big event to celebrate our 20th anniversary of the church in September.
2. Tata – We hope to have the building plans completed and turned in by the end of February. We would really like to begin construction of our new auditorium in May and would love to have it finished before winter sets in…
3. Nagysap – We are focusing on reaching new people – especially adults.
Thanks again for your faithful prayers and support of our ministry!
The Marc Patton Family
Family picture - Christmas 2014