Advance Magazine
Fall 2020

Class of 2020: Zachary & Elaina Patterson

Not everyone could serve in the world’s primitive locations, but the Pattersons* are uniquely equipped for just this type of ministry. They’re driven to reach people who would never hear the gospel unless someone specifically went to them.

Both Zachary and Elaina grew up in rural areas, where they learned to love the simple life. Their early home lives emphasized living for God. So when they went off to college, they had already surrendered to God’s call to ministry. They married after graduation but didn’t have a clear picture of where God wanted them. A burden for the world’s remote locations was in their hearts, so they slipped out of their comfort zone and moved to the South Pacific islands to work among multicultural populations.

There, they became involved in a church plant. Many in the congregation came from islands even more distant, further exposing the Pattersons to the needs of remote peoples. The Pattersons’ experiences stretched their faith from the start. They went as Abraham did, not knowing God’s exact purposes but trusting Him day by day. While waiting on God to provide housing, they and their small children lived in a campground for several months. Living daily in dependency on God was the hardest experience of their lives—and the most beneficial. It taught them contentment in living on very little, and it was a season of their greatest spiritual growth.

Returning to the US after several years, the Pattersons had clearer direction: the South Pacific was a taste of what was yet to come. After researching remote people groups, they learned about a field that had a large potential of finding completely unreached people. Their plan is to gain experience working alongside a BMM couple already serving there while they seek God’s specific location to start churches within the field’s remote locations.

The Pattersons’ sending church has been a firm backer of them and a wonderful training ground for their future ministry. Their pastor strongly emphasizes missions and discipleship, and he encourages each church member to make unsaved friends. Zachary and Elaina each pursue “life-on-life” evangelism and discipleship with many people in their area. This, too, is a taste of what’s to come, when they’ll pursue disciples for Christ on their future mission field.

* Names have been changed. 

Fall20 Islands shutterstock 155192591

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