Tuesday, June 27, 2017

One Wild & Crazy Guy!

Jeff Patterson biking for 32.1 miles
You see that guy?  Yeah.  That one ... right next to this opening paragraph.

He is crazy ... in a GOOD way ... about a lot of things.

He is passionate about Jesus, his wife, his kids, his church, his community, exercise and Next Generation Ministries.  People can say they are crazy about a lot of things, but the only way to accuratly observe a person's values is to watch their behavior.  And when you watch Jeff's behavior you can verify that he is, in fact, crazy about everyone and everything on that list.

Recently, on June 17th, Jeff turned 39 years old and did a triathlon on behalf of Next Generation Ministries.  He swam 1 mile, biked 32.1 miles, and ran 6.2 miles for a total of 39 plus miles.  The rest of this blog is an open letter, written and submitted by Jeff, to explain why he did such a crazy thing.

Friends ...

I write to you today to say thank you for supporting the Loneliman 39.3 fundraiser for NGM.

AND ... to note that there is still time to join in on the fun!  Give today!  😊  Even of we haven't met, your birthday gift does NOT go to me; it's all goes to fund Next Generation Ministries.

I wanted to do a triathlon (a collection of endurance events I enjoy) for a purpose beyond myself.  I am friends with Paul and Pam Hunter.  They are people that I immensely enjoy and love.  So, being a part of their team in the mission of NGM ... Changing Uganda One Person At A Time ... made a crazy idea seem wise.

Some people have noted that I must be borderline crazy to want to do three hours of strenuous exercise for fun.  Yes, this is my favorite kind of birthday party.  Yet the joy that I got to experience with Paul and others along the route made this a far from lonely experience as you can see from the highlight video Papa Paul captured and edited with love and creativity. In fact , after competing in multiple endurance races, like triathlons and marathons, I must say this was the LEAST LONELY I've ever been during a race.

Here is why:

  • A great support crew at the swim start reminded me of Veranda Time at Plot 80 Mvule Crescent in Jinja, Uganda, with the Hunters.  It was a good place to BE before setting out to DO.  Lasting endurance is fueled by our identity in Christ.
  • Exiting the Clackamas River after a mile swim to make the first transition with my Mom and Paul there reminded me of the river of relationships that is Next Generation Ministries.  You see, Paul and Pam are merely a part of Team NGM. They lead us, but we get to be part of this river of relationships connecting resources to needs.
  • All the gear in place reminds me of the numerous projects in Uganda which really serve to develop people in God's image.
  • Switching between multiple events speaks to the various roles and responsibilities Paul, Pam, and other members of the Uganda NGM Team must embrace daily.  They are quick, flexible, adaptive.  It is not about them!
  • Riding 32.1 miles through five "villages" on country roads and state highways reminded me of the busy intersections of our lives and all the villages near Jinja and Kampala ... and how we as NGM must all keep moving forward, battling apathy, fatigue, and resting in God even as we work hard at the pace of the Spirit.
  • Every mile I prayed for different people and opportunities.  From the One Step Course participants and leaders to each supporter who gave.  There were external inputs (music to distract), just simple grind of the road and the joy of the Spirit to keep going strong.
  • The whole course was generally UP hill ... meaning if I stopped it would be hard to get going again.  That is why with fundraising Paul and Pam  shall get a bit of momentum this Summer before returning to Uganda. Once back living and ministering in Uganda, as spiritual parents, they won't be able to solicit funds much.
  • Embracing hard things on purpose is what grows us.
  • Running the last 6.2 miles (10K) back and forth on the road neighboring Grace Haven had a mix of generations right there cheering and riding alongside.  They are the next generation and it is for their future and flourishing with God that we invest in Kingdom work like this. Whether in Oregon, the United States, or Uganda, the options every young person has to follow Jesus Christ into God's good will is worth every ounce of our investment.
  • Setting out knowing I could finish these three hours strong came from months of prep work to be generally healthy and fit ... consider this like a journey with a "General Fund."  All the projects and disciple-making demand a healthy home, finances, a generous baseline of funding. I didn't' fall across the finish line. Finishing well is what we want Paul and Pam to do!
  • Leadership is lonely, man!  To keep giving with courage and generosity and wisdom demands a whole team of Jesus-loving people who are in this with the Hunters.  I get to be one of those.  You can too!
  • Asking for help along the way ... a couple of "pit stops" reminded me of the need to connect with people and have needed supplies.  Some asked me what I needed and I provided the goods.  Paul and Pam rarely ask, and never ask for themselves!  I am asking for them.

You see, the Loneliman 39.3 was "fully funded" before I set out ... but, because I probably set the bar too low ... a bigger goal is needed.  In reality, going far beyond $5,000 really helps them

So, I am asking YOU, please give and let's multiply the Hunter's joy and all those who look to them for leadership. They are far from lonely on this journey, yet leading without proper resources is a drag.  Let's give and give some more!  The Hunters and the beautiful people of Uganda are worth it.

We get to be a part of Team NGM as together we see God change Uganda one person at a time!

YOU and everyone you know can give any amount - from $39 to thousands - at purecharity.com/loneliman.  I am keeping the fundraiser open the rest of June.

Enduring with you,
Jeff Patterson

Jeff & his wife Kari
are followers of Christ
and live by grace for disciple-making

1 comment:

  1. Big thanks to you Jeff and all who are "lifting your hands" in this cause.


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