Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Letter at Frank's Funeral by Wes


I want to thank you for being the example for me that you were. You were a loving husband, a wonderful father, a proud grandfather, and a devoted servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday morning it was clear that you were soon to leave us for that long-anticipated journey called “eternity with God”. You challenged me that morning, and not only me, but also Chip, and then my son, Wes Jr. You knew you were dying, and you were ready to go. You called all the shots that day – your last day. You made all the decisions, and you departed this life with dignity, love, and devotion.

Friday was 40 days since you had last been at home. You had entered the hospital on Father’s Day, June 21st. That was also the Lord’s Day. It was also your brother Kenneth’s birthday. 40 days… you fought, you struggled, you led, you followed, you cried, you laughed… you lived and loved throughout those final 40 days. You made sure that Chip and I would take care of mom. You told us you were proud of us. You told us how much you thanked God for your daughters-in-law, Jully and Ginna. You told us how much you loved your grandchildren, Morgan, Wes Jr, and Kaity.

During those final weeks you constantly told us, and anyone who would listen, that you wanted to honor the Lord Jesus Christ no matter what happened. Dad, you did just that. You finished strong. Just as Caleb was described no less than six times in the Old Testament as one who “wholly followed the Lord”, you too wholly followed the Lord to your final breath. As Caleb claimed the promises of God at age 85, promises that the Lord had given him 45 years prior, you too claimed the promises of God to the end of your life. You desired to finish strong, and with the Lord’s strength, you did just that.

Mark chapter 4 recounts the story where the Lord Jesus went with the disciples in the boat to other side of the lake. That story reminds us during the sudden storms of life when all hope is gone, that is when God’s glory is on display. During those 40 days, day 19 was the day in which all hope was lost. There was nothing that man could do. You were not expected to live more than 3 or 4 days, perhaps a week or so beyond then. And yet somehow, you wound up going to a rehab center after 33 days at the hospital. The last two weeks we had with you was a miraculous gift from God. It was far greater than any best-case scenario we were given on July 10. And yet, we had 21 more days with you.

It was a gift from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. From the God of Daniel. And the God of Shadrach, Meshack, and Abed-nego. The God of Moses, and Adam, and Paul. The God of Joshua and Caleb. The God of Frank Patterson. The God of Wes Patterson.

I told you Friday morning that you were just like Caleb. And I thanked you for being that kind of father to me, that kind of grandfather to my son, that kind of husband to my mother, that kind of servant to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

You never wanted to be in the light. You wanted to point others to the light, the one true light – the Lord Jesus Christ. He is that light, and you reflected that light of God on everyone around you. Thank you for honoring our Saviour in this way. Thank you for teaching me to look to the Lord and not to man. Man will fail us, and we will fail our fellow man. But Christ will never fail us nor forsake us.

You lived what you preached. You taught me that words never matter unless your life backs them up. You lived your faith. You claimed the promises of God throughout your life. You have taught so many brothers and sisters in the Lord to study the Scriptures and to follow Christ and to step up and do the same to others. You lived the Paul and Timothy principle – to teach others how to go and train others to teach. It was never about you, but always about the Lord Jesus Christ.

40 years ago you and mom made your first trip to a foreign country in service to the Lord. Seven weeks in Brazil, summer of 1975. The subsequent impact you have had on students of the Word reaches so far that we can’t even begin to fathom. Of course, it was never your ability. It was your availability. You were available to be used by the Lord. Brazil, Bangladesh (for 14 years) , Colombia, at least two trips to Myanmar (formerly Burma), at least two trips to Ukraine, three times to India, and the last trip was to northern Iraq in 2008 during a war, at age 67. And we cannot forget the North Carolina communities of Winston-Salem, King, and Lexington.

You have these verses bookmarked and underlined in your Bible. Job 19:25-27 says, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”

Dad, your yearning has been transformed to reality! And I could not be any happier for you than I am at this time. Yes, I miss you greatly. But I know that I will see you again one day. And as you taught me throughout my entire life, I know the first one I shall see in that coming day will be the Lord Jesus Christ.

Everything in Scripture points to Christ. Thank you, Dad, for living your life with the same objective. I am so thrilled for you, Dad. I’ll see you soon!!!

With all my love,

Your son Wes

(August 3, 2015 at Salem Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC, read by Nat Thompson)

Letter at Frank's Funeral by Chip

The greatest lesson my father ever showed me was that of team work. His partner and the love of his life, my mother, was a testament to how God established the family and the importance it was to be given. Their true love and commitment to one another stayed the test of time and circumstance, as they lived out their lives together. He and mom lived a dedicated life to God first and then to one another that was so seamless that we never remember when they weren't together or in agreement on anything. Quitting was not in their vocabulary and commitment to remain faithful to their God and one another was their consistent standard. For that testimony of the team mom and dad made I will be forever grateful.

In light of this team work according to godly standards, the lessons dad always felt important to teach us throughout our lives and through his personal example and investment of time is that, 
  • "Real growth is often experienced through great personal trial and sacrifice."
  • "Nothing in life that is worth having will come easy, so don't expect it to."
  • "Ultimately, if you commit to a task work as hard as you can to complete it as unto the Lord for He will judge the results of your effort and the motivation of your heart in the end regardless of how things turned out."
  • "God will always be with us, if we are actively abiding in Him."
These practical life lessons and the appropriate use of scripture to back them up was how we learned to live life to its fullest. Dad would say, "Life has difficult moments, but in all reality living life is simple...just do right. If you don't know what right is...ask for help, but keep yourself out of the way and let God do what He deems necessary in your life." A favorite passage that he would often share was found in 2 Timothy 2:15 which says,
  • “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Dad would remind us that it is God's truth that lights our way, sets us free from our chains and shows us how to live and for Whom to live. All we have to do is accept God's offer. However, we will never truly appreciate nor understand what that truth means without study, so study, study and study some more. It is through the diligent focus of God's word in our lives that we understand what He expects of us and tells us what we can expect from Him. It is only in this manner that our lives are approved for His service.

Ultimately though God's glory was what dad sought for most in everything he put his hand to do. When talking with dad many times his life simply mirrored 1 Corinthians 10:31 which says,
  • "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
With this mindset as his focus everything else fell into place, no matter what it was. This unfailing standard was what drove dad to go and do all that he did during his life.

While in the hospital and shortly before he had the tube inserted into his throat he said to mom and I one day that he believed God had brought him there because this was now his mission field. He was just as clear on his purpose then as he was until he was promoted home. We often witnessed how during his hospital stay in the first 33 days dad spoke to every doctor, nurse, counselor, case worker and housekeeper who came by or into his room and he always asked them of their spiritual condition. Then he would share what God had done for him during his life. As a result we estimate that he had spoken to at least 100 people during his month stay and 10 of those days he couldn't talk at all.

So clear was his focus and love for the Lord and His call that he couldn't keep quiet. What a joy and privilege it is to call Frank Patterson my father and my hero!

(August 3, 2015 at Salem Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC, read by Nat Thompson)

Frank Patterson: Obituary

Vanza and Frank Patterson
Francis Oliver “Frank” Patterson, Sr. passed into the waiting arms of His Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on July 31, 2015. Frank was born June 25, 1940, in Blairsville, Union County, Georgia, the fourth child of Wilma Lee Stephens and Clinton Willie Patterson. Raised on a farm in the north Georgia mountains, Frank moved with his family at age 10 to High Point, NC. He was a graduate of High Point Central High School, Class of ’59. At age 16, Frank recognized his need to place his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as his one and only means of salvation. The desire to please his Saviour would become the major driving force in his life. He joined the US Air Force in April, 1960, and was discharged in January, 1964 having served in Brunswick, Maine and then later Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro, NC. He met the love of his life in 1961 when visiting his father in the hospital in High Point, NC. Vanza Davis was his father’s nurse, but a year later would become his bride, on June 1st, 1962. Frank and Vanza were married in Trinity, NC, around the time of his transfer to Seymour Johnson AFB. They had two sons, the eldest being Francis O. Patterson Jr (Chip) was born on May 27, 1963 in Goldsboro, NC. The younger was Charles Wesley Patterson (Wes), born February 5, 1968 in Decatur, GA, a suburb of Atlanta. Frank’s early career endeavors involved insurance sales, and furniture sales. However, in 1971, Frank and Vanza moved the family from Tucker, Ga to Winston-Salem, NC for him to attend Piedmont Bible College. Their hearts’ desire was to serve the Lord in any capacity, and eventually this led them to become missionaries on foreign fields. Frank spent a few weeks in Israel during the early ‘70’s with a team from Piedmont Bible College. In the summer of 1975, he and Vanza spent seven weeks in Brazil, believing that was where the Lord was leading them to serve full time. Frank graduated from Piedmont in 1976, and the family moved back to Decatur, Ga. In 1979, the family moved to the southeast Asian country of Bangladesh, arriving there on the 4th of July. He was involved predominantly in the government liaison work in those early years, but was also very involved in teaching and discipling young believers. By the mid ‘80’s he oversaw the planning, development and opening of a hospital in the northwestern part of the country near the town of Natore, Bangladesh. That hospital continues to thrive to this day. Frank and Vanza retired from service there in 1993, but continued working in local churches and colleges as the Lord opened doors. Occasionally, Frank made trips for months at a time to foreign countries to teach in Bible colleges, as his heart’s desire was to train young believers to study the Bible and continue the work in their own lands among their own people, as he believed the work was always greater than himself, and should be able to continue without him. Countries that Frank invested himself personally into the lives of men and women for that very purpose, include Myanmar (formerly Burma), Ukraine, India, Iraq (in 2008), and Colombia. The first three of those included multiple stints of service, all of which were three to four months at a time. Frank loved to teach, and he loved to learn, and he did both to his dying days. He received two masters degrees, and his doctorate (DMin) from Liberty University, the latter of which occurred in 2005 at the age of 65. He also served as the Alumni Coordinator of Piedmont Bible College, as well as several years of teaching at Calvary Baptist Bible College & Seminary in King, NC. He developed curricula for many purposes, most of which involved courses for use in churches and colleges. For many years he served the elderly saints in the several churches in which he and Vanza attended. Frank loved his family more than life. He always made over his grandchildren especially. Frank is survived by his bride and the love of his life Vanza, two sons Francis Oliver Patterson, Jr. “Chip” and wife Jully, Lynchburg, Va., and Charles Wesley Patterson, Sr. “Wes” and wife Ginna, Winston-Salem, NC; three grandchildren, Morgan Muszall and husband Shane, Wes Patterson Jr., and Kaity McCormick and husband Jayme; one sister Jean Kilstrom, Grayson, Ga.; one brother Derral Patterson and wife Frankie, Loganville, Ga.; one special nephew George Lee Davis Jr., Lexington, NC, and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by two brothers, Baxley and Kenneth. The funeral will be held at Salem Baptist Church, 429 South Broad Street, Winston-Salem, NC, on Monday, August 3rd at 2:00 PM, with visitation prior to the service from noon to 2:00. Burial will be at Forsyth Memorial Park following the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home, 101 Hospice Ln, Winston-Salem, NC 27103.

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