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
jmhatcher@aol.com

Field Address
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France
JMHatcher[at]aol.com

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Rotating Bible Studies in Mazere, Sowing in Hope

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.”

September 7, 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I hope this finds you well and enjoying the Lord’s faithfulness. It just dawned on me that I have not written a letter this month to update you on what God is doing here. I have been affected a bit by sciatica the last couple of months and it is difficult to type at the computer. So, I have gotten out of my regular routines. This is not all bad. God uses all things for His glory! Thank each of you for the regularity of your giving and praying for us. Each of you is also living life in a physical body on a fallen earth and it is not always “a piece of cake”. We really do appreciate your faithfulness and pray for you.

One of the things that I can do is walk. So, I walk and walk. Besides keeping me in shape it also opens up doors of opportunity. During the past few days I have had a number of good conversations about spiritual matters and about what we are doing here. These have been with people that we know and whose path I crossed as I walked or new people that God has brought into our lives.

During the month of August we have had unusually well attended meetings. Normally at this time of the year many are on vacation, but this year seems to have been different and we have had excellent services and Bible studies.

Normally we do not have youth outreach meeting in August because there are few young people at home. However, our granddaughters were in contact with many of their friends who were already back home so Philip and Amanda decided to host an “early” youth meeting. We were all thrilled by the 14 young people who came and participated. About half of these are unsaved and from homes where there are no Christians.

Bible Study in Mazere

This Bible Study in Mazere started around 2004 when John & Judy started driving down about an hour from their home to have weekly Bible Study with Douceline.

Bible Study in Mazere

In addition to this Bible Study, Douceline also now leads two evangelistic Bible Studies with other ladies.

I am enclosing a couple of pictures of the Bible Study last night at Mazere which is about an hour south of us. You will see that we are eating. Douceline, the young lady in whose home this outreach started turned 43 yesterday. In the last couple of years some of the folks who were invited by Douceline asked if they could host it in their homes. So, this Bible study now rotates among 4 homes. You might find this strange, but it actually is a blessing. When members of the group host, they take “ownership”. They are more likely to invite their friends to their home. This study first started about a dozen years ago when Judy and I started driving down weekly to have a Bible study with Douceline, a believer who had just moved from our area to a job in Mazere, who knew no other believers in the area and was very discouraged. In addition to this Bible study, this single lady now leads two evangelistic Bible studies with other ladies.

There are multitudes who need Christ so we just keep sowing; asking God for wisdom to do so effectively. Our church in Tournefeuille is now reaching out to 7 other communities.  This is not much when you consider the fact that there are about 35,000 communities in France that need the Gospel. We sow in hope and God produces!

May the Lord richly bless you,
John and Judy

John and Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France
JMHatcher[at]aol.com

Click here to donate to BFM.


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Missionary Update: John Mark & Judy Hatcher in France [December 2015]

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.”

December 4, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May this find you enjoying the blessings provided by our Creator and Father. We have certainly seen God at work this month. We thank each of you who expressed your concern and who have prayed for us following the attacks in Paris. This along with the killings in the United States of America has dominated the news here. These events remind us that humanity is broken and that there is no hope outside of Jesus Christ. The events have opened doors of opportunity to talk about the hope that we have in Him.

Our Youth meeting the weekend after my last letter to you was very good. Our discussion was about God speaking to us in these last days by His Son and what we learn about God in Jesus. The majority of the 15 young people who were present are not Christians. They come because they have been befriended by the youth from the church who are Christians. It is very encouraging to see the missionary spirit in those who are saved.

We have also been blessed by a renewal of desire to serve in the members of our congregation. Last Sunday we spent the entire service presenting the outreach and disciple making activities. Several believers committed themselves to serve in Sunday school, youth meetings, home groups and other areas of ministry. This past month two prayer meetings and a college age Bible study that meet in homes during the week have been started and are going well.

We are very encouraged, as well, by the meetings in the city of Mazere.  A couple and a lady in the group have asked to host meetings in their homes so we are now meeting on a rotating basis in three different homes in this area.  It is great to see the participants taking ownership and showing concern for the salvation of their acquaintances and families.

This month Judy received her long term residents card. We have worked toward this goal for over ten years. Up to this time we have had to spend several days each year on the process of renewing our annual “visitor permits”. I received my long term residents card at the beginning of this year.

The Hatchers visited a museum where Douceline is chief staff.  (Left to Right: David, Pennie, Douceline, Judy)

The Hatchers visited a museum where Douceline is chief staff.
(Left to Right: David, Pennie, Douceline, Judy)

On Tuesday of this week David, my brother from Brazil and his dear wife Pennie arrived to spend a week with us. They were last here about 13 years ago. We have had a very enjoyable time visiting and talking about what God is doing around us.

Please continue to pray for Eva, the young mother that I mentioned in my last letter and for her husband. She has now been confined to bed in the hospital for two months to avoid an untimely delivery. She is thrilled that she has been able to witness to her doctor. I was even able to talk to him about our ministry here during one of our visits to the hospital. Her husband, who is also a believer works hard as an aeronautical engineer and they have a two year old son at home.

I am including a photo of our visit to a museum where Douceline is chief staff. She is the single lady who hosts our Bible study in Mazere and who in addition has a couple of evangelistic Bible studies with unsaved ladies.

Thank you for your faithful support and prayers. May God richly bless you, work in you where you are and provide for all of your needs.

Your fellow servants in France,
John and Judy

John and Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France
JMHatcher[at]aol.com

Click here to donate to BFM.


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Missionary Update: John Mark & Judy Hatcher [October 2014]

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

October 6, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The beginning of September in France is referred to as “la rentrée” which translates into English, “coming back into”. It refers to the fact that everyone comes home for children to start school. It is also the time of the year when we restart most things that run on a weekly schedule. We are encouraged by the what has taken place this month.

Last Sunday we had a church dinner and the time of fellowship with God’s people went very well. Individuals who normally do not come were here, as well. This makes it possible for them to get acquainted with people who are members of the church. Outsiders are more likely to return to a meeting where they know someone.

Making meaningful contact with people is an essential part of making disciples. This is a reality of our ministry that is underscored in the Scriptures: “Go ye therefore”, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Paul in Athens) “in the market daily with them that met with him.” We pray for God to give us these contacts and we try to “walk circumspectly” (looking around) for those that God brings across our path.

Church dinner comboLast week we had dinner with a couple of our neighbor families to discuss teaching English to the young children. The dinner allowed us to become better acquainted with these neighbors and we will be teaching their children simple English one afternoon each week. When you love and serve people they listen to what you have to say.

Wendy, the single missionary who works with us, hosts “English Night”. Teenagers and adults come because they want to improve their English (and enjoy a meal). We help Wendy with this because we want tell them about Jesus. This past Saturday we had an excellent discussion with those who were there about the dysfunction of human beings without God and God’s intervention to restore our ability to love and do right. Among those there was a young man in his mid-thirties who’s father was 16 at the time of his birth, a young lady who recently failed in her studies to be an interior designer and is now working as an aide in a nursing home, and a social worker; individuals who need Christ.

Tonight our Bible study in Mazère about 45 miles South of where we live was well attended. We began a study on the Sermon on the Mount. Douceline, who hosts this study in her home, meets with two ladies on other days for regular one-on-one Bible studies. There is evidence of God’s grace in many ways in the lives of the people who participate in the Bible study including the spiritual growth of the hostess.

Your giving demonstrates your love for God, us and people who need Christ. Your giving enables us to minister in five different cities. Your prayers are answered as God empowers His Word.

Let us all not weary in well doing for in due season we will reap if we do not faint!

In France,

John and Judy Hatcher

John and Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France
JMHatcher[at]aol.com

Click here to donate to BFM.


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Missionary Update: John Mark & Judy Hatcher in France [April 2014]

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

April 1, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today is known in the USA as April fools day. It reminds me of what martyr missionary Jim Elliot wrote in his journal, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” This may well reflect what Matthew Henry repeated about his father who was a kind and charitable man, “He is no fool who parts with that which he cannot keep, when he is sure to be recompensed with that which he cannot lose.” It certainly comes from the teachings of our Lord and Savior who told his disciples, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” This is what we all should be doing with the lives, time and wealth of all kinds that God gives us.

We never know exactly how God is going to use our investments. The “preacher” in Ecclesiastes concludes, “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. . .In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” So, I will tell you about one of the fields where we are sowing seed and why we are encouraged by what we see.

About 10 years ago, Douceline, a young lady believer whom we had met when we first came to France called us. She had taken her first job in the town of Mazere where there was no congregation of believers of any kind. Away from other believers she was very discouraged. She was born the year her parents trusted the Lord. Both of her parents were previously atheist. Since we had some weekday evenings open, we decided that it would be a good investment into her life to have Bible study with her in her apartment one evening per week after work. After about 2 years of weekly round trip drives of 2 and ½ hours and a couple of hours in Bible study each week, Douceline seemed to have a change in outlook. She began to see herself as God’s agent in this town.

John Mark and Judy Hatcher AnniversaryAbout this time she met a lady through her work at the city library who was nominally Catholic and whose oldest child was to start catechism classes. Douceline suggested that Judy could teach them about Jesus from the Bible. The lady thought that would be a good idea and dropped the kids off at the apartment an hour before our Bible study. Judy had children’s Bible classes with them for an hour each week before our adult Bible study. Douceline started inviting people she met; a few came and very few returned. But, we have continued. For several years we took a guy with us from our area who was a new believer. He now has two Bible studies in Toulouse each week and has led others to the Lord that he is discipling. He is a pastoral leader in his church.

Patricia, the mother of the two children Judy taught, never came to the Bible study but Douceline is now having evangelistic Bible studies with her. Douceline is quite a missionary and is witnessing to several other people on a regular basis who do not come to the Bible study. We have probably had 50 people come do this Bible study over the years. A widow lady in her early 70s who comes has trusted the Lord. She is the only believer in her extended family. She daily watches and witnesses to her 9 year old granddaughter whose parents are atheist. One newly married couple young believers participates, she is a school teacher and he is a carpenter. A lady about 60 comes who is a nursing assistant in a senior citizens home is the only believer in her extended family. A young man who has come is reading his Bible and seeking. Douceline’s parents participate and are reaching out to several others. This has opened the door with their older daughter and her family. The children from this family are enthusiastic participants in our Youth meetings. We are supposed to have a new participant next week at the Bible study in Mazere. There are believers, there are disciples, there are missionaries because your support enables us to be available here and because we believed God wanted us to invest part of our lives into a discouraged believer.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” The completion of this story and millions of other like it will be experienced in heaven…our Fathers house!

May God bless you. Thanks for investing in this part of the world.

Investing in France,
John and Judy

John and Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France
JMHatcher[at]aol.com

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Missionary Update: John Mark & Judy Hatcher in France [February 2014]

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

February 5, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We feel for you who are having a harsh winter in the USA. The weather here has been milder than usual for this time of the year. Thank you for your participation in the proclamation of the Gospel here in France.

All of the Bible studies and meetings are going well. I am including a picture of a ladies Bible study that meets in the home of Wendy Hinzman on Thursdays at noon. The tall young lady on the right is a member of our congregation who is a chiropractor. Her office is near Wendy’s house so the ladies meet there during her lunch break on Thursdays. They have Bible study and then eat their sack lunches together for a time of fellowship. All of the ladies in this Bible study are believers. We are encouraged by the growth that we see in them. Everyone in this Bible study also serves in ministries to children and some are involved in reaching students and other outreaches.

During the month of February we encouraged folks to read a book of the Bible they had never read before or had not read for some time. The interesting thing is that some who did the reading have not made professions of faith. Our hope is that they will soon trust the Lord and express this faith by following the Lord in baptism.

These ladies in France hold a Bible Study every Thursday at noon on their lunch break.

We have had a youth meeting since our last letter and another one is scheduled for this coming Saturday. The Lord continues to bless this means of outreach as those who come return and bring friends. Our the Bible discussion for the next meeting is “The Two Great Commands”.

The most recent Bible study in the city of Mazere (a one hour drive to the South) was packed out. Four people who do not usually come were there. Two of the four were fellows that were in our Bible study in the past. One, who is nicknamed “Jeff” has really grown in the Lord and is now holding two Bibles studies weekly. The two other special guests were individuals who have been saved as they studied the Bible with Jeff. One was saved two years ago and the other just six months ago. It was really encouraging to see God at work through Jeff whom we had discipled earlier. Jeff wanted to bring the two individuals so they could see how we do the Bible studies. We certainly want to follow the Apostle Paul’s admonition to Timothy “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” We are happy when we see evidence that it is taking place.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Judy Archer and her family. Glenn’s move to glory will certainly leave a void in our hearts, but we are thankful for the fact that He is no longer suffering as he did during the past months. May the Lord’s Spirit comfort all of those who are touched by Glenn’s absence.

Your fellow laborers,
John and Judy

John and Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France
JMHatcher[at]aol.com

Click here to donate to BFM.


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