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You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light. (Psalm 18:28)

July 2020 Newsletter


This Month's Featured Writer

Joan Patterson

Hello. My name is Joan. You might have read my testimony in a previous newsletter months back.

My husband, Steve, is a friend of Bob Olynyk. They met on Facebook as they both were friends with Evangelist Kemigisa Dinah of Fort Portal, Uganda, East Africa.

Dinah founded a ministry for widows and orphans and Bob, Steve and I have a soft spot for children.

Steve was sent by the Lord to be honored as a donor to the ministry and to preach a message from God.

(He developed blood clots from the 15- hour flight but used his illness as a springboard to proclaim the message of Christ.)

Some time afterwards, Steve met Bob as Bob was on his way to his southern headquarters in Florida. After talking to Steve, Bob was impressed to give him a prophecy.

Later that evening, Bob called to tell Steve that he believed the Lord would be sending us to Uganda. He said I would be overwhelmingly blessed.

( The ministry, God's DesireMinistry, is building an orphanage and are including an apartment for Joan and I. Only God knows if we will go or not!)

This last year, Bob was impressed upon by the Holy Spirit to have me write down my testimony as a newsletter. It was quite an undertaking for me as I am not the writer in this family: Steve is. But, I managed to do it! I was blessed. I think the Lord wanted me to get it all out in the open so I could be purged of it! I hope others were blessed.

This month, I want to emphasize the love and grace of God and how He works, on His own and with our cooperation, in our lives.

I met Steve in 2013 at a church fellowship called The Journey. It proved to be a real journey of faith and love for us both!

Steve was recently divorced but I was unhappily married. I had been deceived into a relationship that produced two children and lots of misery and 40 some years of pure perseverance in agape love.

Steve impressed me in that he came all by himself without a woman dragging him to church.

I gave him a STRONG'S BIBLE CONCORDANCE and STRONG'S BIBLE DICTIONARY that I thought was appropriate for a man whom I perceived to be a true man of God. I had gotten them at a local thrift store where I enjoy shopping.

Steve showed no particular interest in me other than as another Christian sister. This was another thing that impressed me. I was used to getting looks from men which were not pure. Not Steve.

Over time, we did became Facebook friends. This was the Holy Spirit at work.

Steve told me of a man he met at a Bible Study who held his own Bible Study at his apartment in Royersford. The man was Ed Fisher.

I knew Ed from The Way, the Christian group where I had first encountered the Lord.

Let me tell you of my upbringing.

I was raised in an abusive environment. I am one of five and a triplet!

When our mother found out she had three babies instead of one, she was not happy! Just the opposite. She was very upset. They were poor and she was afraid her husband would be angry!

They did get some attention from the newspaper and some companies gave them things but it did not affect her attitude towards us. We were unwanted and we felt it all of our lives. We were beaten every day, separated from the others and not fed well.

The three of us developed a bond such as prisoners of war developed for mental and emotional survival! Every day was " how do we survive today?"

I met a guy named Jerry. He had a Corvette. Riding with him made me feel cool! Actually, for some unknown reason at the time and throughout my life, I felt special, like a star, but I did not know why. It was not because of any earthly reason I had experienced.

Jerry and I married. I married for the same reason my mother did: to get out of the house. But, I did feel love for Jerry.

The love soon ran cold and Jerry returned to running with his friends and smoking pot. My home experience did not prepare me for living a normal life.

One evening, Jennifer, one of Jerry's old girlfriends and her husband, Jim, stopped by to witness to us. They told us about the love of God and how God knew our names. I was so excited! My own father never knew my name and now I hear that the Creator of all things knew me. Knows me.

I was sold on Jesus but Jerry was not.

After coming home one night with a hickey on his neck, I realized our marriage was doomed and we divorced.

I went to live with my sister. She questioned me about our love life but I could not tell her what she hoped to hear.

One evening, as I was walking home, I met a guy with a Bible in his hand. He said he was going to church and invited me to come along. I was delighted. Thrilled. I was headed for church and the God who knew my name!

I enjoyed church immensely. I made friends and everyone was so nice. We sang praises to God and learned the Scriptures.

This was The Way and they were enveloped in the study of the Bible! The word!

My new male friend eventually asked me to share a small apartment with him. I figured I was safe living with a man of God. I was naieve.

One really bad result of our home life was that we were not allowed to speak and we never dared to say " no". So, I agreed to live with him and soon found myself pregnant.

We married and a year later, I was pregnant again and learning that my " man of God" was not what he appeared to be.

Our relationship became abusive and I could have had him arrested, but chose not to. Our church did not even allow divorce.

Jesus was in my heart but my home life still was not good. Before long, I had an affair. I was ashamed and embarrassed afterward and was guilt ridden for a long time. That's how the devil works. He uses our real needs to deceive us into wrong actions. People need to be loved, appreciated and noticed. I would come home after working hard and Ron would barely, if ever, look up and welcome me home. Steve greets me enthusiastically every time I walk through the door!

My son, Ronny, and I were very close. He was really angry when he found out about the affair!

One night, when he went to pick up his baby daughter, the boyfriend of the mother confronted him. Ronny took a swing but the other guy was much bigger and knocked him to the ground, killing him.

This devastated my husband even worse than my affair!

I was naturally upset but I knew Ronny knew the Lord and was safe in His arms. I had a great peace about it.

I was undergoing counseling for the affair and now, for Ronny' s untimely death.

During counseling, I was told that I had select mutism, a childhood anxiety disorder that rendered me unable to speak in certain situations.

My counselor, Heather, as well as Christian women from church were a great help to me.

One time Heather, who is very loving and soft spoken said " You think you're tough, don't you?" I was taken aback. Heather was trying to get me to examine myself. She wanted me to look where Jesus my heart!

She gave me a list of things to do: Connect. Fellowship with your sisters in Christ. Feel free to love your church family.

Stay. Don't run! Let yourself feel.

She understood that, coming from an abusive home, I had shut down emotionally.

Heather used Scripture to heal. She said " File it away. Save it. Go back to it".

The Lord was saying " the old rules you lived by when you had to care for yourself no longer apply. You no longer are caring for yourself. I am taking care of you and I have a new and better plan!"

He ended by saying " My ways are not your ways".

Another friend, Pam, had a word from God for me. She said, " I see Jesus putting his fingers under your chin and lifting your head up and saying to you, " I am so proud of you. You are not invisible. You are not worthless. You have a heart of compassion. You are not small, though you are quiet. You are not small. You are mighty. I see your obedience, Joan. I love you. You are my little girl and I am so proud of you."

This was my life before I met Steve. These are the things that gave me a stronger than ever desire to have a love like that of Jesus, with skin on. This was Steve, but I was still married.

My husband began having stronger stomach pain than usual. He had problems for a long time and was taking lots of antacid tablets. But the pains grew worse. Ron was hospitalized. He died eight days after the doctors discovered stomach cancer in him.

Around the same time, Steve's girlfriend broke up with him.

Steve spoke lovingly of his sweetheart and all I could think of was " I wish I was loved that way". Now, the Lord told her He didn't approve of their relationship.

Steve had received a word from a friend saying :" Steve, you need a wife. Not somebody far away but someone around the corner." I was two blocks away. " Just around the corner".

After Ron died, Steve lost his job because of the blood clots he got from the 15- hour flight to Uganda. He had recurring bouts of pulmonary emboli that weakened him, disabling him from work.

His car was off the road and he could not afford the needed work so I offered to take him around...but told him to drive.

This gave me great pleasure and I was really getting to enjoy his company.

In talking to his ex, she asked if he and I were dating. Steve jokingly answered, " we might as well be. We're together all the time".

I never knew anybody like Steve. He had a normal childhood around people who loved him. He grew to be a man of God who could think for himself. He was kind and smart. I admired that greatly plus HE LOVED JESUS!

Steve also married a person who turned out not to be what he expected. He thought she would be as enthusiastic for the Lord as he was and would raise their children in the Lord. After 29 years, she was looking around for someone else and they divorced.

Numbers are important with God. Seven is the number of spiritual perfection. Eight means " new beginnings".

Steve said that he and his wife had no sexual relations for seven years. Perhaps God was perfecting him.

Then, after his girlfriend broke up with him, he said he heard Jeremiah 29: 11, eight times.

God spoke through Jeremiah about a good plan that he had for his people; a plan for prosperity and good things, not evil.

Steve sensed God saying, " You tried it twice, without consulting Me. Now we'll do it My way". This was the start of the new beginnings.

Steve took it slow out of respect in my losing Ron. I thought he was just being " cool"; playing hard to get. I should have known better. He really is a man of God and the man of my dreams.

We know our relationship is of God. It came about so perfectly. We became friends first and now we are also lovers.

Steve said " You will always be my sister- in Christ first and foremost."

That's my man of God!

Joan prayers / comments -

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