From the Bannockburn Gazette…
“Todd and Jana Patterson, missionaries to Slovakia, visited the Growing in Grace Sunday School class at the Evangelical Free Church of Naperville on Sunday, October 4th. Todd finished a five week series on the book of Genesis and the class hosted the missionaries along with their two beautiful children, Elisabeth (7) and Max (5), for a pot-luck dinner. Afterwards John and Lois Rabb invited them for an afternoon of conversation … and a good time was had by all.”
For the past five weeks I’ve had the chance to teach a series on the book of Genesis for a Sunday School class in Naperville and really did have a good time. Les and Grace Wittekind are the organizers of the class. They do a great job of leading this group that celebrates the grace of God, life, and love every week they meet. The birthdays go uncounted but while we were there we witnessed the celebration of two 50+ anniversaries. Their love for life and each other comes through clearly in their fellowship and in their outreach to the community.
Just being able to participate in their fellowship was a great blessing for us these past five weeks but this teaching gig was also a blessing because of the encouragement we received after each and every lesson. We heard things like, “I’ll never read the Bible the same way again,” “I’ve read this so many times before but now I can read it fresh because of the new perspective I’ve gained,” or “I’d love to sit under your teaching; you’re well prepared and you can tell you love what you do, it really comes across,” or even, “I’m looking forward to see what God does through your ministry.” (I know, it sounds like I made all those up.) It’s quite a boost to receive that kind of encouragement when we’re in the middle of raising support for our return to Slovakia.
Another great blessing is the fact that the lessons were based on my research in the book of Genesis. From their reactions, it looks like my dissertation has the potential to be more than just some heady, ivory tower, esoteric, (insert synonym), research that has no application to the church. It really looked like these people were getting excited about reading and understanding Scripture. Wow, talk about a teacher’s high.
Finally, we received some encouragement on the ministry development front. First, we received an invitation to share with a small group. Second, we were informed that Naperville as a church is enthusiastic about supporting our ministry. (Thanks to Pastor Dale and Pastor Rick for taking the time to show their support on a busy ministry day.) And last but not least, a good friend opened up and gave me some solid and pointed advice about doing a better job of making our financial needs known and challenging people to participate in our ministry.
Our thanks to the Growing in Grace Sunday school Class! Full of life, full of love, full of wisdom.