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“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!

“Janet, I don’t know how to thank you for your prayer support”  wrote our missionary friend from Spain last Saturday morning.  She said that right after she sent her request for prayer, her team received help from the Red Cross, and after that they were able to minister to many of the women.  And the women were more receptive than ever to hear God’s message!  It is an extremely difficult and dangerous situation, but she is being faithful and seeing God at work.  So thank you to each of you who prayed!  God answered!!

Thanks also for praying for the difficult situation in our home church where we continue to see attitudes that bring us much sadness.  The battle is not yet over.  We ask you to continue to pray for God’s Spirit to reign in each life, and for His purposes to be accomplished.  Please pray for Elias and Susi, our pastor and wife, for strength, wisdom and peace in the midst of the turmoil.  We can tell that this is taking a toll on them.

Tomorrow evening, (Wednesday, May 14, which is also our son, Jeff’s, birthday!!!)  our neighbors, Irma and Fernando and their children,  will come to the house for another evangelistic Bible study.  We are encouraged with their openness, but pray with us that they will commit to being followers of Jesus before we leave on furlough, June 14!

DSC01514Our Cosecha pastors and wives will meet here at the house tomorrow for one of our last times together before we leave.  Please continue to keep them in your prayers so that God will encourage and strengthen them and will bring indeed a big harvest for His glory.  As we have shared previously, this has been a challenge for them all, but they and we are all trusting God for MUCH fruit!

This Saturday a former student of ours from the seminary, Dinorah Mendez, who now has a doctorate from Cambridge and is a professor at the Mexican Baptist Seminary, will present a workshop here in Monterrey on History of the Baptists.  Please pray with us that there will be an excellent attendance, and that many of the “false beliefs”  about what it means to be Baptist which have caused so much of the conflict that we see in our Cosecha churches will be exposed and that the truth will set many free.

This Saturday is also our next LeadNet (Red de Amor) meeting for pastor's wives.  As we prepare to leave on furlough, please continue to pray for the leadership team to keep the ministry moving forward, in order to  encourage and equip these faithful servants of the Lord!

This Saturday is also our next LeadNet (Red de Amor) meeting for pastor’s wives. As we prepare to leave on furlough, please continue to pray for the leadership team to keep the ministry moving forward, in order to encourage and equip these faithful servants of the Lord!

 

We leave next Monday for our annual Field Council meeting in Guadalajara, then we will make a quick trip to Mexico City to see Angela and her family for a few days.  Please pray for God to be in charge of every detail of our trip and guide each decision.  On Saturday the 24th of May, while in Guadalajara, Eric will give a conference on small groups and discipleship at FACTOR FE.  At least 30 are signed up to attend, so please pray for there to be much fruit as a result!!

Thank you for praying for Sunday’s meeting at our home church, El Divino Salvador.  Thank you to those who sent words of wisdom and encouragement!

The nominating committee did NOT present candidates because they are not in agreement as to who they should be (!) and asked the church to give them until April 27 to present the candidates.  The committee has set a reasonable profile for the leaders, based on biblical qualities, but there is opposition to using that profile by the “old guard”.  One of the founding members of the church stood during the business meeting and said that only the “saints” who had gone on to glory could fulfill the qualifications, so there is no need to set standards. Eric met with (and will meet again tonight) the assistant chairman of the deacons, Brother N,  about following biblical practices in choosing leaders.  As Eric pointed to the example in Acts 6, Brother N said “I don’t agree.” (with what the Bible says.)  Therefore, we ask you to continue to pray for God to do a miracle and restore unity, and put the people He wants in positions of leadership so that His Kingdom will grow and He will be glorified!

Please pray this passage from Ephesians 3 with us:

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ezequiel, Samuel, Mario and Elias (Cosecha pastors) were able to become certified coaches for Natural Church Development due to your generous giving!  They all are very grateful for the opportunity!

Cosecha pastors Ezequiel, Samuel, Mario and Elias  were able to become certified coaches for Natural Church Development due to your generous giving! They all are very grateful for the opportunity!

Please pray that God will protect and encourage these pastors and their wives with His hope and power and give them grace to persevere in very challenging times!

 

The last time we wrote we asked you to pray for a meeting with Brother D at our home church here in Monterrey.  That meeting did not go particularly well, which leads to our big request for prayer for tomorrow:

There will be a business meeting after church to name the new ministry and department leaders and there’s a group of very tradition-bound members who currently control the finance and building committees and are intent on maintaining control.  Their influence is, unfortunately, a major hindrance to the church’s health and growth. So, if you and your church would pray for God to move that control out of their hands and into His hands, that shift will be a HUGE step forward for the life, ministry, and future impact of our home congregation here in Monterrey.

 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory,that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.  John 15:7-8

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