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Pat Storey Newsletter (Fall 2021)

Pat Storey Newsletter (Fall 2021)

Hello!!

I hope you are all doing well and are happy to see temperatures dropping as the calendar moves to fall and closer to winter. Christmas will be here before you know it and definitely before I’m ready!  

We at Teen Missions have had an exceptionally unique summer. TMI’s summers are always unique, but with all of the covid protocols, this one was more so than ever before. But God is so good and we had one of the best summers ever! God honored our desire and determination to refuse to let Satan win this year. It would have been easier and even understandable to cancel another TMI summer, but that’s not what any of us here wanted and God gave His blessing.

Teen Missions put in several extra requirements this year to try to keep covid from entering Boot Camp. We required every team member and leader to come with a negative covid test.  We closed the property and did not allow any visitors this year—even Commissioning night and we limited the number of people that were allowed to leave the property. We required masks in the food and dish lines and prayed constantly that the virus would not have any effect on this year’s Boot Camp!

Of course, in order to fly overseas, we all had to be tested within 72 hours of our flights, so Passport Health came and tested all 300 team members and leaders and then things really got interesting. The results began coming in and when all was said and done, 43 people tested positive and were not allowed to fly with their teams. That was a sad and tearful morning for nearly every team. Some teams were canceled for various reasons—almost all related to covid and some were combined to make everything work. 

So the Dream Team was created and those team members, plus seven leaders, stayed in Florida. A few had minor symptoms, most battled fatigue, but many had no symptoms, so they worked here at our Headquarters and got a lot of work done for us. All teams were asked to quarantine for 14 days upon entering their country which was not a huge problem because we were all going to a Teen Missions base where we knew we would be taken care of if anyone came down with the virus while on their team. That meant that for most teams, they could still do some work around the base even if it wasn’t what they had originally planned.

My team consisted of 20 team members and four leaders. We lost one girl to the Dream Team which meant 19 team members went to Tanzania on a footwashing team. We carried with us about 40 duffel bags (50 lbs each) full of shoes to give to needy kids, teenagers and even adults. During our quarantine, we were able to help the staff and students as they were harvesting beans and a couple of other odd jobs at the base which, by the way, has a fantastic view of Mt. Kilimanjaro! After the 14 days were finished, we were able to do several days of footwashing clinics where we washed feet, performed general first aid and gave new shoes and socks to each one. This is a very rewarding ministry and many come with serious health problems that we can’t begin to help them with, but we CAN pray for them and sometimes give them something to bring a fever down or stop their pain.

One little boy was brought to us and the girl taking care of the medical part of the clinic that day knew there was really nothing she could do. His face was badly burned and he was in a lot of pain. So she did what she could and prayed for him. Just before we left Tanzania, we began getting reports and pictures of the little boy who was miraculously better and continued to heal quickly from then on! We all knew that it was not because of anything we did, but God answered our prayers and the little guy is healthy again. God is so good!

There were many instances where God used our situation to bring glory to Himself and to teach the team members how faithful He is, when we put Him first in our lives. One of the most rewarding things for the leaders on these teams is seeing the spiritual growth and maturity that happens in a teen’s life as a result of their servant’s hearts as they spend their summer serving Him and others. Our 19 team members were no exception and I will always remember each one of them and the fact that this was one of the best summers I have or will ever experience.  

Each team is allowed a couple of days for sightseeing and we were able to take this year’s team to visit the Ngorongoro Crater. If you haven’t heard of it, you should look it up. It is just inside the Serengeti (although it is not technically part of the Serengeti National Park) and has become its own ecosystem where you see a plethora of animals—lions, elephants, zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, just to name a few. It was a wonderful experience for the team.

After sending the team home, I was able to enjoy my new home back on Heavenly Street for a couple of weeks. Then I had the privilege of travelling with our President, Richard Barber, and his wife to Zambia for our African Summit. We were able to get the coordinators from all of our African bases there, except Madagascar and Cameroon, for eight days of training and fellowship. It was a refreshing time for them as they almost never get a break from their bases.  

I’m always very impressed (as I’m sure I’ve said before) with our staff and the work that they do with such passion and integrity! We asked one of our Malawi coordinators to speak to us on Sunday morning. Now this man is loved by everyone who knows him—everyone! They call him “father” in Malawi because he is such a wise person who cares deeply for people. He is highly respected by everyone. When he began to speak to us, he started by saying that he, himself has not even begun to serve God. We had been hearing from our other coordinators about what God has been doing in their ministries around Africa and some of them have made huge sacrifices in order to successfully develop the Teen Missions ministries there. He was saying that he doesn’t feel as if he has made the same level of sacrifice as many of the other coordinators. He went on to talk about Abraham, who obeyed God when He told him to move from his home without even knowing where God was taking him (Genesis 12). He had a willing heart. Abraham was ready to sacrifice his own son and Isaac, his son, was ready to be the sacrifice if that’s what God asked of him. Romans 12:1 asks us all to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. This example of giving our lives to serve God and other people may just be the key to bringing a new spiritual generation. These people who serve God day in and day out at the Teen Missions bases around the world are a great inspiration to me and to many others!

So our time in Zambia was spent doing a lot of training—boring stuff, like going over policies, procedures, finances, but we also spent a lot of time discussing the different aspects of the ministry and also challenging and inspiring them to look to expand the ministries in each of their countries.

After our time in Zambia, we travelled to our bases in South Africa and Tanzania to meet the staff and get a feel for the property and work there. I had never been to South Africa and was very happy to see what was happening there. Obviously, I had been to Tanzania before, but our President and his wife had not, so this gave them the opportunity to meet the Tanzanian staff and to see how the ministry there is going. 

As I write this, I have been home now for about a week and a half and I’m enjoying living back on Heavenly Street, even though I do sometimes miss living on the TMI property. I will be taking a trip for deputation in a couple of weeks so will be “on the road again”. I’m sure I will get to see some of you then. I wish I could see all of you, but know that I appreciate your prayers and financial support more than I can say. I never once dreamed that I would be doing anything like this during my lifetime, but I am so thankful that God has given me the opportunity to help Him affect lives all around the world. It is quite humbling and overwhelming when I really stop to think about all He is doing through Teen Missions and I’m amazed that I get to be a small part of it.

Once again, thank you all for your support. I am truly in awe each time I think about how many of you are faithfully giving to allow us to keep doing what God has asked us to do!

Serving with you,

Pat