A Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year. We thank the Lord for His allowing us to serve Him here in Suriname these 25 plus years, and thank you for your prayer support over the years as well. We are reminded again of God’s love as shown in His gift. John 3: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. I John 4: He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. II Corinthians 9: Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
This is one time that we are able to reach out to others, sometimes in ways that are difficult at other times of the year. The Patton bakery has been in full operation for about two weeks, churning out banana bread, and cookies which we give to others along with tracts or Sranantongo New Testaments. I went for a follow-up to my Chinese cardiologist carrying banana bread. He greeted me with a big smile. “I know what this is - homemade bread. I remember it from last year!” As I mentioned that we will be relocating in the USA, he asked me an insightful question. “How do you view your years here. Have you accomplished what you hoped to do?” I mentioned some of the things that the Lord has been pleased to do through our ministry. He said further: “You have planted a lot of seed here.” I answered: “Yes, and some has taken root, but some has not yet done so - especially in YOUR heart.” He laughed and said that there is still hope that it will sprout. I hope so. I don’t know how many things Liz has made, but they are a lot. She also used the time as a ministry to have a young lady from our church work with her, and also the daughters of the lady who helps us by cleaning twice a week.
Last night we had our annual Christmas dinner. Some of the ladies of the church cooked, and they catered a few things, including a roasted turkey. The food was very good. I ate too much and skipped breakfast today. Tomorrow I will be preaching at the morning service at Winti Wai. We will be attending the evening service at the main church, where Michiel Raafenberg will be preaching. Br. Michiel has been out of country for 6 ½ years working for the Suriname state department. He set up a new embassy in South Africa and then was under-ambassador in Washington for 3 plus years. We are glad to have him back and joining the preaching staff again.
Monday is a national holiday - 2nd Christmas. Isn’t that neat? I think it is very European. We now have a total of 20 official national holidays - including special days for the South American Indians, the Bush Negroes, some Muslim and Hindu days, some national days like Independence Day and the Day of the Revolution! We will be going to Moengo for our annual missions meeting next week and stay 2 days with Kim and Ethan before returning on Saturday, December 31st. I will be preaching at the main church on Sunday, and at Sunny Point the following week.
We do have a few special prayer requests in addition to our regular requests for health and strength, spiritual growth, and safety driving.
Funds to complete the repairs on the Efraimzegen church. Some inside beams and supports of the roof must be replaced as well as the entire ceiling of the building, including the children’s area which is semi-open. Total cost estimated around $4200.00. We have perhaps about half thanks to some generous offerings, including one from a college roommate.
The relationship between two preachers is less than satisfactory and needs prayer. We are continuing to work on the resolution.
The main church needs to step up their giving to meet their monthly needs, especially after we have left
We continue to work on preparing to leave, and preparing for the transition to a new location and work. We would appreciate your prayers. Leaving is not going to be easy because this has been our home for 26 years. These are our people and we have had our lives intertwined with theirs as we have grown together. We know that the Lord will help in both the departure and a new adventure in His will. We do not question that our departure is what He wants.
Again, may you have a blessed Christmas and New Year!
In Him and Content: Bob & Liz Patton Missionaries to Suriname since 1986