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Tulsa Marketing Exec ‘Retires’ to Support Missionaries

By GENE LIVERMORE
Contributing Writer

LOOKING AHEAD: Former Tulsa business executive Patty Colwell looks forward to her future as a missionary for Gathering Hearts.


Courtesy GENE LIVERMORE


When Patty Colwell served first as an investor relations executive, then, advertising and marketing executive in Oklahoma and Texas in the 1980s, serving as a missionary never crossed her mind. Now – 40 years later – Colwell will retire as global marketing director for John Zink Hamworthy Combustion, and she can’t wait to serve alongside Christian missionaries in Honduras.

“My husband and I never thought we’d retire,” she explains. “We knew we’d likely change employers but never quit working.” Patty is married to Tim Colwell, the Tulsa community outreach partner for Williams. While Patty will assume the role of Tulsa-based U.S. administrative director for Gathering Hearts for Honduras, Tim will continue his post at Williams, where he has worked for the past 10 years.

“As we started reaching retirement age, Tim and I kept asking, what’s next in our lives? What do we want to do that’s meaningful and lasting in this next chapter?” Patty says.

Four years ago the couple went on a short-term mission trip to Honduras and were welcomed by former Tulsans Gary and Cheryl Kuney, who formed Gathering Hearts 18 years ago. In 1999, the Kuneys felt a call to move with their young family to help people in the aftermath of a hurricane that devastated the Honduran economy. They never left.

Gathering Hearts provides job skills training in a poor barrio along a busy highway to Honduras’ major port city of Puerto Cortes. The Kuneys’ mission center also serves nearby villages with a medical and dental clinic, computer classes, sewing and carpentry classes, and elementary education classes so children don’t have to be separated from their mothers in a country where gang activity is rampant. The Gathering Hearts Conference Center and Dormitory opened last fall to host teams of medical missionaries, short-term mission teams from U.S. churches and outside groups, like Engineers Without Borders, who install water purification systems in nearby villages. A mission church serves the nearby villages and provides fellowship and training for those who have been impacted by the Gathering Hearts’ ministry.

Recently, Gathering Hearts opening a sewing factory to provide village women jobs to support their families and woodworking projects for young men as an alternative to joining gangs. In her new role, Colwell will create markets to sell these Honduran-made handbags and other products that will provide more jobs for these desperately poor people who are anxious to learn and improve their job skills. She also will serve as the U.S. representative for the ministry and help arrange for visiting groups wishing to serve on short-term mission trips to this country that’s only 3-1/2 hours away by air.

“I’ve been studying about legacy, what sort of legacy do we want to leave behind,” says Colwell. “To me there can be no greater legacy than serving the Lord and helping these beautiful people who are so anxious to hear the gospel.”

Colwell can be reached at Gathering Hearts for Honduras’ Tulsa office, 918-520-0825.

Updated 07-24-2017

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