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God with Us!

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).  Matthew 1:23 (NIV)

God with us!!!!  What an amazing truth!  May our hearts bow together before the throne of the Holy one who loves us so much He is With Us!

We rejoice in God’s presence with us in:

1) the amazing retreat for Conectadas Con Dios at our church in Monterrey, MX! God touched the 44 women who attended in wonderful ways!  This Saturday, December 13, Conectadas con Dios is having an evangelistic breakfast and we hope for the new women who attended the retreat plus more to attend!!  Please pray for God to continue to show up and for there to be MUCH FRUIT for His Kingdom!!

Front and center is Iraida, a newly baptized believer from Conectadas con Dios, and her neighbors and friends who are seeking God!  Our pastor's wife Susi, meets with them every Wednesday morning showing them the way to Jesus!!!

Front and center is Iraida, a newly baptized believer from Conectadas con Dios, and her neighbors and friends who are seeking God! Our pastor’s wife Susi, meets with them every Wednesday morning showing them the way to Jesus!!!

2)   seeing what God is doing in our home church in Monterrey, MX!  However, we ask you to pray fervently with us for yet another significant and potentially very difficult meeting that is scheduled for December 14.

Last Saturday evening the married ministry from our home church had their Christmas party and had a great time!

Last Saturday evening the married ministry from our home church had their Christmas party and had a great time!

 

 

 

 

 

3) We rejoice in God with us through You!  Our most recent churches visited were in three different states: Iowa, Georgia, and Illinois!  We enjoyed reconnecting with Valley View Baptist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa!  It was so refreshing to see their youth enthusiastically and efficiently serve a Thanksgiving dinner to about 90 folks, including neighbors and visitors as well as church people!  While visiting Eric’s mom for Thanksgiving in Georgia, we were able to share our ministry with her Sunday School class; and this past weekend we had the privilege of being with Bethany Baptist in Harwood Heights, IL!  While there, not only did we have the privilege of sharing in worship and Sunday School times, we had the the privilege of attending a concert of Puerto Rican Jíbaro (folk) music where a church member participated!  Thank you Kathi, for your great work of coordinating our visit!

4) May each of you have a blessed Christmas as you celebrate God With US!!  We are anticipating Christmas in Georgia with Eric’s mom, Jeff and Sarah!  And then we are looking forward to time with our daughter, Angela, and her family in Mexico City for New Years!  Thanks for your prayers for us as we travel and for God to give us great times together!

We say with Paul:

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6

We are thankful for so many blessings!  Join us in thanking God for:

1.  The Conectadas con Dios retreat that starts today and for a great leadership team who wants to serve Him and others! Please continue to pray for God to do a mighty work in the 45 women who will attend the retreat, some of whom are not believers!

Last year's Conectada retreat!

Last year’s Conectada retreat!

2. That there have been some positive steps taken in the difficult situation in our home church.  Please pray for God to do a work of humbling and healing hearts in the days to come!

3. Continued great visits to Lakeside Church in South Range, WI, the Global Outreach team of The Chapel in Libertyville, IL and Homewood Church of Homewood, IL.  What a joy these visits have been to our hearts!  Thank you for your faithfulness!! 

A big thank you to Jen and Paul at Lakeside Baptist for their gracious hospitality and for Jen's creative planning for their missions conference!

A big thank you to Jen and Paul at Lakeside Baptist for their gracious hospitality and for Jen’s creative planning for their missions conference!

4. For your amazing support of our ministry throughout the 32 years we have been serving with Converge Worldwide!  We are currently at 100% support, for which we are amazed and humbly grateful!  However, we have been advised of some upcoming changes in giving which will drop our support levels.  Our desire is to return to Mexico in May of 2015.  In order for that to happen, we need to find some new donors!! Please pray with us that God will provide just the people we need to complete our support team in the next few months.

We specifically need:

5 donors who would commit to $100.00 a month or

10 donors who would commit to $50.00 a month.

If God lays on your heart to join our team in this way, please click on the following link and you will be guided in that process.  Or send us an email and we will help you out.

http://www.convergeworldwide.org/give/54914

 

 

 

 

This past weekend 59 people (adults, young people, children) from our home church in Monterrey, Mexico went on a mission trip to a needy town about 2 hours from Monterrey.  They had a marvelous time sharing the gospel, providing health care services, and doing construction on a church building.  Please pray for the seeds sown to bear much fruit!

Missions trip, Nov.1-2, Iglesia Bautista El Divino Salvado

Missions trip, Nov.1-2, Iglesia Bautista El Divino Salvador

Conectadas con Dios (Connected with God) is the new women’s ministry  at our church and they are preparing for their second women’s retreat from November 21-23!  About 50 women have signed up (a 50% increase from last year), and the theme is Strengthening us in His Presence! Please pray with us that God will be in charge of every detail of the retreat, and that each woman present will be motivated to become more like Jesus every day of her life!

Conectadas retreat 2013!  We trust this year's retreat will bear much fruit with joy!

Conectadas retreat 2013! We trust this year’s retreat             will bear much fruit with joy!

Eleven days ago I sent out a prayer letter requesting intercession for a difficult church meeting and for the surgery of our friend Olga.  The surgery went well!  Thanks for continuing to pray with us that Olga’s platelets will stabilize and that she will recover completely!

The church meeting was indeed difficult, and although the outcome was an important step forward in the life of the church, it brought to light the depth of disfunction that still lives on.  There will be some important meetings over the next week,  so please pray that God will anoint key leaders with His power and wisdom to  say and do all that is right. We want to see long-standing obstacles dealt with biblically so that this church can move forward to good health and fruitfulness!

We are so grateful to each of you for your partnership with us!  Over the past several weeks, our visits with Grandview Church of Estherville, IA; with Trinity Baptist of St. Paul, MN; with Elk Grove Baptist of Elk Grove, IL; with Evangel Baptist of Wheaton, IL; and with Grace Church of Cloquet, MN have been such a blessing to our lives!  Thank you for opening your hearts and homes to us and for being our partners in ministry.  You are such a gift from God to us!  We thank God for each of you and are so grateful for these opportunities to renew our connections with you!!

Sunset on Chub Lake in Northern Minnesota!  One of the many gifts God has given us this year!

Sunset on Chub Lake in Northern Minnesota! One of the many gifts God has given us this year!

 

“Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us Exalt His name together!” Psalms 34:3

The recently married Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Johnson!

The recently married Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Johnson!

September started off with a great big bang of joy as we celebrated Jeff and Sarah’s wedding,  having our family here and seeing many dear friends!!  Thanks for praying for them as they adjust to life together and that God would use them mightily for the expansion of His Kingdom!

And God has been good as our adventures continue this year of traveling and visiting YOU!!  It is a blessing to our hearts to re-connect with many of you and to be making new friends!  God is so amazing and it is good to see His hand in so many ways as we travel!  Thank God with us for this opportunity, and please pray with us that we will be used in each church we visit for His honor and glory and for His Kingdom purposes!

With dear friends Pastor Ruben and his wife Angelica from Iglesia Bautista Melrose Park..a church that participated in Cosecha before we returned to Mexico.

With dear friends Pastor Ruben and his wife Angelica from Iglesia Bautista Melrose Park..a church that participated in Cosecha before we returned to Mexico.

In September we visited:

  • Iglesia Bautista Melrose Park: a refreshing time of fellowship (and delicious food!) with friends who we grew to love during our years in Chicago!
  • Stromsburg (NE)  Baptist:  a time of getting to know wonderful folks who began supporting us before they knew us!  We had a sweet time of fellowship with them (and great food!), and it took Janet back to her “farm” roots!
  • Calvary Baptist in Yankton, SD: What a joy to visit another one of our newer supporting churches and have a chance to create bonds with new friends who have been so gracious to us!
  • Bethel Baptist in Galesburg, IL:  a faithful supporter of our ministry since 1982!  We are so grateful for their on-going support through the years!  We were so encouraged meeting new friends and re-connecting with families that knew our children when they were young!  And a special thanks to dear Agnes who hosted us and took us fishing!!

To see our new 3 minute video that gives a brief overview of our ministry, please click on this address: http://johnsonsmex.wordpress.com   and click on the video link!

Please remember to pray for Susi and Elias, and our other Cosecha pastors and wives, that God will continue to work in powerful ways to advance His Kingdom!!

Please remember to pray for Susi and Elias, and our other Cosecha pastors and wives, that God will continue to work in powerful ways to advance His Kingdom!!

What a blessing it has been to begin visiting you!  We began our church visit adventure at Bellevue Baptist in Chicago, where we started our fulltime ministry straight out of Bethel Seminary in 1978!  It was a delight to be there and see dear friends from those years, and see many new faces!

Pastor Fullwood, Gladys and Gaylon..dear, dear friends!

Pastor Fullwood, Gladys and Gaylon..dear, dear friends!

We have also visited Faith Baptist in Washington, Iowa and were able to participate in an outreach to a a neighboring trailer park;

First Baptist of Sister Bay, Wisconsin, where we participated with the church in an outreach to international students;

and we attended an outdoor baptism and church family picnic after the morning service when we visited First Baptist of Byron, Il!

It is just a delight to re-connect  with you and to make new friends as we visit and share what God is doing in Mexico and what we long to see Him do there!   It was especially encouraging and humbling when a sister from Byron said ” I pray for you every day!”

We are still in the process of arranging visits with our churches, so please encourage your mission’s committees and pastors to respond to our scheduling requests!

Please keep Cosecha pastors and wives Elias and Susi, Mario and Elisa, Ezekiel and Paty, and Samuel and Neria in your prayers. God is at work in their midst, but there are still on-going power struggles.  We ask you to join us in praying so that God’s grace, truth and love reign in power in each of these churches!!

Elias, Susi, Samuel, Neria, Mario, Elisa (missing Ezekiel and Paty)

Elias, Susi, Samuel, Neria, Mario, Elisa (missing Ezekiel and Paty)

 

September 1 is a BIG DAY in our family!  Our son, Jeff, and Sarah Shannon will be married!  Please join us in praying that God will be glorified in every detail of the wedding celebration, and that the new Johnson family will be used powerfully as agents for His Kingdom!

Jeff and Sarah

Sarah and Jeff

 

Please keep the Christians in Northern Iraq in your prayers!!!  

One of our "New Horizons"..the view from the deck of Neil and Carol's home where we enjoy our morning coffee!

One of our “New Horizons”..the view from the deck of Neil and Carol’s home where we enjoy our morning coffee!

Thank you for praying for us as we traveled from Monterrey, Mexico to Rockford, Illinois!  After an adventure crossing the border, we had a delightful time re-connecting with family and friends on the trip up here!  We’ve driven about 4500 miles so far, going to Minnesota for missionary retreat and Georgia to visit Eric’s mom!  We have had a good time spending time with Sarah (our soon-to be daughter-in-law), her parents, and our son Jeff.  We miss our family in Mexico and our dear friends there, and keep them all in our prayers!

  • Praise God with us for the good first month He has given us!
  • Please pray for God to guide us clearly as we prepare materials so that we can be effective in communicating during these months of state-side assignment!
  • Please pray for a dear friend from our home church in Monterrey.  She is struggling with low platelets and may face surgery.  She is the wife of the head deacon of our church, so not only is it a difficult situation, it comes at a stressful time in the life of our church.  Please continue to pray that our home church  El Divino Salvador will come through this struggle to see much fruit for God’s Kingdom!
  • Please pray for us to be able to schedule our church visits in a timely manner!
  • Eric is currently at a retreat with others who are involved in the Re-Tool kit process.  Please pray that God will use this time for generating inspiring ideas of implementation for when we return to Mexico.

Thanks to each of you for your faithful financial and prayer support!!  We are looking forward to seeing many of you during this year.

Thanks so much for your faithful prayers for our home church.  We see that God is at work in bringing more unity to the leadership of the church!  It has been a rough several months, but please continue to  pray with us that God will have an amazing victory and use Iglesia Bautista El Divino Salvador to bear MUCH FRUIT for His Glory!  Please keep praying the same  for the other Cosecha churches and for God to encourage the hearts of the dear pastors and wives we have had the great privilege of working with these years!

Ivan, the new leader of the worship ministry at our home church, with his wife Priscila and daughter Elliane.

Ivan, the new leader of the worship ministry at our home church, with his wife Priscila and daughter Elliane.

 

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We also had a great meeting with our Red de Amor (LeadNet) pastor’s wives, and we see them opening up more and more and really finding that they have a safe place to share, to be challenged, and to grow!  Please pray now as our Monterrey leadership team plans a breakfast for pastors’ wives for the Mexican Baptist Convention annual meeting which will be held here in Monterrey in July.  

We had a great time at the annual field council of our Converge missionaries in Central Mexico and at the discipleship workshop in Guadalajara!  Thanks for your prayers!!

We have a few more requests for you:

    • We’ve met four times with our neighbors, Irma and Fernando, and hope to meet at least once more with them before we leave.  They have heard the gospel, and are now “meditating” on their response!  Please pray for them to give their lives to Christ  and to follow him with their whole heart!
    • We plan to leave for the States on June 14.  Friends from Monterrey have offered to take us to Laredo where we will rent a car and drive up to Rockford, IL for our year in the US.  We are anticipating time with family and friends on the way up!  Please pray for our safety and health and for God to use us for His purposes!
  • We are going to need a cellular phone while in the States.  My specific desire is for an iPhone 4s, unlocked and compatible with AT&T.  (I know that is VERY specific, but it would serve us also in Mexico) If you know of anyone who has a phone plan and will be upgrading to a new phone and might have this or something similar, please send me an email!!
us, Ivan and Susan Veldhuisen, our IM director from CWW, MeLinda, Dan and Marcos Nelson, Barb and Lynn Conner

us, Ivan and Susan Veldhuisen, our IM director from CWW, MeLinda, Dan and Marcos Nelson, Barb and Lynn Conner

 

A delightful surprise from our Red de Amor (LeadNet) leadership team!

A delightful surprise from our Red de Amor (LeadNet) leadership team!

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