Events May Be a Surprise to Us, But Not to God

Missionaries John Mark and Judy Hatcher have been serving the Lord in Tournefeuille, France since 1999. They define their ministry as “disciple-making.”

Missionaries John Mark and Judy Hatcher have been serving the Lord in Tournefeuille, France since 1999. They define their ministry as “disciple-making.”

April 3, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

You may have noticed that my return address on this letter is in Indiana. Sometimes we are surprised by events that suddenly arise, but our heavenly Father is never surprised and uses all for our good and to display His glorious love to folks around us.

I mentioned at the close of my March letter that Judy had remained in the US and to be with her sister Peggy. Peggy, who has outstandingly displayed the light of Jesus in ministry to others, has been diagnosed with cancer in various parts of her body. The oncologist and radiologist quickly began radiation treatment on one tumor on her spinal column to keep it from causing paralysis. Judy had mentioned to me that they might go out for lunch to celebrate the end of these treatments on March 17. About 7pm France time March 17, I called Judy to ask her where they were going to celebrate and received shocking news.

“I am at the emergency center. I broke my kneecap. I am scheduled for surgery on Monday. My leg is immobilized at the knee and will be for 6 weeks after surgery.” Judy had accidentally fallen as she went to get the car following the last treatment. This, of course, meant that Judy could not drive and care for her sister. She needed assistance herself. She did not say a word about me returning to the States. A few minutes later our youngest daughter called from Chicago having just spoken to her mother on the phone. “Mom said to not jump up and buy a ticket to the US.” This is a true reflection of Judy’s attitude. She never wants to complicate anyone’s life or interrupt the Lord’s work. However, at that moment, it was obvious to me that the Lord’s work was for me to care for Judy and Peggy.

Within an hour, our son Philip, who works with us had bought a ticket for me to fly to Evansville early the next morning. I left the house at 4:45 am the next morning having spent the few hours before leaving in contacting folks, making arrangements for replacements and packing my bags. I missed the the 8:30 am men’s breakfast at our house that morning and a first-time counseling session with a couple from our church scheduled at 11 am. Philip, Amanda and the folks from church who have really stepped up to the plate have left our mind at ease. A man that for several years we discipled several hours each week early in our ministry in France is leading the Bible study in Mazere. I am including a picture of that Bible study the week after I left taken by Douceline. She is the lady with whom we started there who now leads a couple of evangelistic lady Bible studies. The man on the left is the replacement leader. He is also in the process of planting a church with another pastor on the south side of Toulouse.


Bible Study in Mazere: The man on the left has been leading this Bible Study since John has been in the States. He is also in the process of planting a church with another pastor on the south side of Toulouse.

God uses events that are a surprise to us to move us and others around us along the race that is set before us. In the process, we see God’s amazing grace. He displays His love toward us through Himself in us and through His children. Our lives have been touched by the help of many around us here in Evansville. The Lord has also already opened doors of service for us here. My personal life has changed. Suddenly being removed from our usual place of ministry and facing an opaque future has a somewhat stunning effect. But, I have found that there is great joy in cleaning house, washing dishes, taxiing and giving personal assistance to those you love.

Our youngest daughter and her family are in Tournefeuille to visit us! They had bought tickets months ago for this epic visit. So, they are staying at the house we rent and call home. They are having a great visit with Philip, Amanda, Abigail, Nathalie, Camille and Emily. The house is also the church meeting place which means that the space has double usage and needs to be set up for each meeting. However, in order to make Lydia and family’s stay less stressful, various church families have volunteered to host church meetings during these three weeks.

Amanda and Philip have given raving reviews of the services in the last two weeks and the evidence of God’s people there growing in Christ as they read and apply His word to their lives. We are grateful beyond words for what God is doing.

Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for Judy’s sister Peggy who is now undergoing target medical treatment for her renal cancer. Ask God to display His glory and love through all of us.

Until the next surprise,
John and Judy in Evansville

Stateside Address
John and Judy Hatcher
1901 Shepherd Dr.
Evansville, IN 47715

Field Address
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France

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