TEACHING BY EXAMPLE: A MISSION TO AFRICA
Sue Hodnett - Baptist State Convention of Michigan
AFRICA – Michigan Baptists prayed for Pastor Tim Patterson, BSCM Executive Director/Treasurer, as he taught by example the importance of going on mission trips. “Michigan, North America, and the world are on God’s heart, so they should be a part of our plans,” Dr. Tony Lynn, BSCM Director of Missions, posted on Facebook.
On January 8th, Pastor Tim wrote, “At this moment I am somewhere over the Atlantic with my son, Micah, as we fly to Kenya and Tanzania. Please pray that over the next few days we will impact many with the Gospel and make a difference in the Kingdom’s work in Africa.” When asked why he decided to go on this mission trip, he responded, “Sabrina and I have taken our sons on many mission trips, there is tremendous value in showing our family the needs of this world.”
Micah Patterson is a professor with Youth Ministry International (YMI). He has a heart and passion to reach the adolescent orphans of Kenya and Tanzania. Micah shared in a prayer request, “The second part of my trip is what I am
Micah Patterson, Country Youth Coordinator of African Inland Church of Tanzania Rev. Abel Lugayila, and BSCM Executive Director Tim Patterson
(Photo courtesy Sue Hodnett)
most excited about. We will have the opportunity to visit and meet with several orphanages in Kenya. I am excited to hear what it is they believe the local church can do to help them better serve their teens within the orphanage.” Micah’s love for the Lord is obvious through his desire to help others. During the trip the team was able to meet with an orphanage director to develop a partnership for a new ministry program to adolescent orphans, the forgotten generation. Micah and the team were blessed to have this next step in place that they might begin ministering to the youths transitioning out of the orphanages.
Tim Patterson teaches youth pastors in Tanzania.
(Photo courtesy Sue Hodnett)
While in East Africa, Pastor Tim and Micah along with the YMI team, taught youth ministry classes to prospective youth professors in Tanzania. Micah shared, “Dad is preaching and doing a great job at chapel to about 35 pastors and leaders at Nassa Theological College, which is located about 2 hours outside Mwanza, Tanzania.” This training partnership with church planters around the globe will help them to reach out to youth in their church planting efforts. In Tanzania, Patterson taught several courses for a bachelor degree program in Youth Ministry to future professors for the African Inland Church Denomination of Tanzania. Upon graduation these new professors will begin teaching at 3 Bible colleges in Tanzania. Classes were held on the campus of the Nassau Theological College near Mwanza, Tanzania by the shores of beautiful Lake Victoria.
Patterson shared his stories and pictures from the trip with the office staff. He began with sharing a video from the classroom with the student leaders in colorful dress singing and dancing. Although the staff could not understand what they were saying, it was very clear that they were giving praise to our Lord and Savior. He shared stories from his encounter with many students as he encouraged and taught them. “They showed very little emotion, but I knew they were engaging in the conversation and sensed the moving of the Holy Spirit in our sessions.” There were pictures of beautiful landscapes, mountain ranges, lakes and grass fields. We saw photos of animals native to Africa, giraffes, elephants, zebras, and birds of all kind. It was a time of celebration as Pastor Tim delighted in sharing his adventure.
“All is good. My hotel has mosquito netting. I will sleep well tonight!” he had posted while on the trip. When asked what the meals were like, Pastor Tim showed a photo of 5 bowls on an overturned crate and responded, “This was an excellent meal, this was the good food.” The beans and rice were recognizable to all. As he continued to click through the pictures, his smile soon disappeared, he began to shake his head and spoke softly. The images were of the heavily populated area of the city, poverty, poor housing, dilapidated and dirty areas. These were the slums where filth and sewage ran between the houses in open trenches. Hoses that carried the household drinking water lay caked in sludge. Silence had fallen across the room because there were no words for this. The group longed to go back to the beautiful pictures and pretend the latter didn’t exist, but they do exist - in Africa, North America and even in Michigan. The slums and hopelessness are on God’s heart, so they should be a part of Michigan's plans too!