To India and back, AFA couple humbly serves
Rusty Benson
AFA Journal associate editor

Among other areas of service, Lennae and Devin (above) work with audio and video at their local church.

May 2019 – How many American couples can say they first got to know one another on an island in the Persian Gulf?

Sounds exotic, doesn’t it? But it really happened – in God’s providence – to AFA staffers Devin and Lennae Patrick.

In 2011, Devin and Lennae were each headed to India to serve at Southern Indian Outreach. She was traveling from North Dakota, he from Mississippi. Arrangements had been made for them to meet in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, then travel together to a city of about a million people in the state of Karnataka in southern India.

“We were not seated together, but we did have a four-hour layover in Abu Dhabi,” Lennae said. “That’s when we started getting to know each other.” Abu Dhabi is a populous city located on an island just off the western coast of United Arab Emirates.

Lennae said that although neither experienced an immediate special connection, they were eager to get acquainted since they would be among a handful of Americans who would be working on a campus that included two schools, a residential home for children, a home for indigent widows, and a church.

When they arrived in Karnataka, they joined a community of American Christians who often ate and socialized together. That camaraderie provided natural encounters for their relationship to grow.

American to Indian
From 2005 to 2008, Lennae had worked as an office manager for a statewide youth ministry in North Dakota. Connections at that ministry eventually led her to India.

Her tasks at the mission in India involved working with students at a church and teaching English, the trade language of the nation, to international university students. The students were generally highly educated and came from nations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The classroom proved to be a fruitful opportunity to build relationships around the gospel.

Devin, originally from southern Michigan, had worked a number of administrative positions, mostly for Christian ministries. During a 10-year tenure at the Assemblies of God headquarters in Illinois, he was tasked with promoting a Southern Gospel radio station. Eventually that radio experience led to a job with American Family Radio in 2007.

Not long after Devin joined the AFR staff, he had the opportunity to travel to India where he was exposed to the work of Christian ministries among the poor. When the one-year opportunity arose to serve the underprivileged of India, Devin walked through the door of faith and landed on the other side of the globe.

At Southern Indian Outreach, he served as personal assistant to the director. His job at the complex often required technical abilities with computers, internet technology, audio, and video.

“I also spent a lot of time riding scooters through city streets to visit families and businesses with the ministry director,” Devin said.

After a life-changing year, Lennae and Devin returned to America on September 11, 2012. Their only definite plan was to get married. That happened a month later.

Three weeks after the wedding, Devin returned to AFR as a radio show producer. Lennae came to work at AFA in 2013. She oversees the purchase and inventory of merchandise in the AFA store (afastore.net).

Back home
The couple misses India and its people, but not the lack of amenities like a hot shower rather than a “bucket bath,” or a good steak.

“Spending a year in India among people from cultural and religious backgrounds so different than ours forever changed the way we look at the church and the Great Commission,” Lennae said. “Where we once saw large groups – Hindus, Asians, or Indians – now we see people with names like Asha, Parvathi, and Reza – individuals hungry for the gospel.