Beloved Friends and Family in Sudan:
Greetings from Australia. It is impossible for me to return to be with you in person in time for Patrick’s service as transit is 4-5 days at a minimum. But my prayers and heart and love are all with you- as are the prayers from many people from all over the world. My heart grieves the loss of one of God’s dearly loved sons and a mighty man after His heart. But we do not grieve because of having no hope. We do not grieve because of defeat. We grieve because we have loved deeply and separation is painful. But grief and sorrow right now are only ours- JOY is all Patrick knows looking on our beautiful Jesus with no veil of time or space to separate him ever again from the One he loved more than anything.
I met Patrick my first few weeks in Sudan in October 2006. My first impression of him was of a strong gentle man who was very tall and stately in his white Nuba dress. We were having a conversation during which he stopped to take time to pray for a woman in pain who walked by in the middle of us talking. Such tenderness and faith captured my attention. He did what Jesus was doing in the moment ministering the hurting one’s needs in prayer. Over the following weeks and months, he and Betty have become some of my dearest friends and together we have prayed and stood and wept and cried out for God to move in this nation. And move He has and move He will.
Patrick was our founding director of Iris Ministries Sudan and we would not be a fraction of what we are today without his loving involvement, faithful service and wise guidance beyond his years. He loved with the heart of a father and lived out the journey of His Father’s heart in the earth. He gave all he had to give every day. His life is a testimony that has left a legacy that will bear nothing BUT great fruitfulness for the Kingdom from this time unto eternity. His ministry with the Sudanese Pentecostal Church, IAS and Iris has left a legacy written on the hearts of a generation, a legacy that will not be lost or forgotten.
Patrick is now enjoying all heaven celebrating his homecoming after a race well run. His journey brought him home sooner than anyone of us wanted to see. For we who continue here in the faith that becomes sight, we know we have a brother, a friend, a leader, a husband, a father who now cheers us on with heaven’s great cloud of witnesses. For what Patrick stood and lived for- the message of love he carried and championed even in the face of hate and threats- let us also stand and live for and continue on in to see nothing less than the revival that filled his vision fill ours as we gaze together on the face of our Jesus.
Patrick once said to me with the absolute ferocity of faith in his eyes: I will never be defeated nor will I speak words of defeat! My dear brother, I am going to miss you for a time while I can’t see you on this earth but indeed you were not defeated. God lives in your legacy and every seed that you ever planted in all of our hearts is waiting, growing, leaping forth into a harvest that will change this nation. You loved to the end. You forgave to the end. You believed to the end. You never gave up. And in that you won!
To our Iris family and all who knew and loved Patrick with us- I love you so much. I am with you in spirit. My tears are joining with yours. I will be praying with you even though I am in Australia. In celebration of Patrick’s life, even though we grieve for our loss, let us not entertain defeat or any lies of the enemy. Let us not entertain anything less than the fullness of the truth of God’s heart. He is here. He weeps with us. And as far away as it may seem right now- His joy will come again. Even as the rain will soon come to water the ground and prepare it for harvest, His joy will come and be our strength even in this place of loss. We will take time to seek the face of Jesus and let Him comfort, heal and surround our hearts in love. And then with all of faith’s ferocity, we will continue on to see His Love that is stronger than fear, cancer, curses and death itself bring Life to the nation and peoples of Sudan.