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“Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.” —2 Corinthians 8:11
Over the past few years, many of us had significant events like school, church, weddings, and funerals that were interrupted or even canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patrick Fluty from Grace Church of Medina, Ohio was one such victim of a COVID-induced plan change. As someone with many gifts such as cooking, maintenance, and friend-making, he had planned to visit the Chateau in France and serve there. His intention was to check out the ministry, serve there for a while, and pray about long-term involvement in the future.
Then of course when the pandemic hit, France joined the rest of the world in closing its doors to outside visitors. Patrick had to adjust his plans, so he instead focused on learning French with the Duo Lingo app and watching French movies.
Though the unexpected change of plans could have been discouraging, that didn’t stop Patrick from carrying out his church’s slogan of “Know it, Live it, Give it away!” He faithfully continued serving his church as a small-group leader. During this time, he met Grace, who was also a small-group leader. Grace was working as a counselor at a local ministry, and Patrick was attracted to her heart for helping people who were hurting. As time went on and the two of them got to know each other better, a romance blossomed. They ended up dating, and were married in November 2021.
After getting married, they decided to consider exploring overseas missions, so they started preparing. They became members of their church so that they’d have a dedicated sending community. They met with their Missions Pastor to invite him into the process. And they reached out to an Encompass mobilizer to start their journey on the pathway to deployment.
It has now been three years since COVID derailed Patrick’s plans to explore ministry overseas, but now he’s pursuing it again—this time with Grace by his side. Rather than allowing that dream to fizzle out, it has doubled! The couple now plans to go on an exploratory trip to Ireland in the summer of 2023 to see how their unique gifts might fit in there.
Even when unexpected obstacles show up and everything seems to be in flux, the mission field still remains ripe for the harvest. Patrick wasn’t planning to wait three years before going overseas, but he was faithful in the waiting, and God gave him a few blessings along the way.
Patrick and Grace are seeking God’s direction for their future and invite you to join their prayer team.