Santavenere......doesn't the name just roll off your tongue? It's a great last name and as most of you know, it belongs to our dear brother Patrick. Or Pat. Or Pster.
Pat has more than just a fancy, cool-sounding name though. He has a humble, teachable heart that desires to please God, even in the little things. When I first met Pat, he was asked to serve with Alpha as a group leader by one of the pastors. He was a bit unsure of stepping into this role and felt very unqualified - which was really the perfect place to be for the Savior to use him. He was aware of his weaknesses and lack of experience in leading and therefore very dependent upon God. I am so thankful that He chose the path of faith and trust and got involved in Alpha because God has used him mightily. Just ask the multitude of folks - of all ages - that have been the recipient of his compassion and care.
Over the years, I have joyfully watched Pat grow in both his leadership and service within our church family. In our care group, he is often one of the first to humbly confess his struggles and sin. He is also quick to encourage others and point out where he sees God at work. He prays for others with a childlike faith. He initiates meaningful conversation and can have a blast talking about "nothing".
Just a few weeks ago, a friend invited others to her home to pray for a team of people from our church that were in India on a short-term missions trip. I wasn't sure who would show up but it did not surprise me to see Pat walking through the door to join our little group of women to pray. There was pizza and a big salad so I should have known..... :-)
That night, Pat's humble leadership was on full display. Us girls were happily yapping away about all sorts of things and he gently guided our conversation to a place where specific prayer requests were shared for the team. Before any of us had the chance to experience an awkward moment wondering who would "start", Pat initiated and led the prayer time. After quite a while, when it seemed like the time was coming to a close, Ellie (the dog) did something that caused all of us to laugh and after that interruption, I felt for sure we were done. Someone asked, "Are we done praying?" Pat spoke up and kindly said, "no" and he continued in prayer. It was a small thing, but I greatly appreciate the direction he brought at that exact moment.
To God be the glory for the humble leadership of Patrick Santavenere!
*A special thank you to Carolyn McCulley for providing me with this photograph of Pat in Bolivia...with his sombrero!