Saturday, March 29, 2014

Papua New Guinea Trip Video

A Note from David....

Every moment is an opportunity to display Christ. The challenge is being intentional, Gospel-driven, with a church-planting mindset.  You are someone's direct answer to prayer.  The question remains "Will you be obedient to Christ's command to go to your neighbor, your friend, your community, your country, the world?"  Are you being intentional and making choices in your life that fulfill the Great Commission to share the Gospel to all the world and to be a witness to all people?  

It was an honor and a humbling experience to be part of a team that traveled to serve in Papua New Guinea and come alongside Alex & Kelley Sisson (missionaries from Birmingham, AL who serve with To Every Tribe).  For over 25 years, these men in Papua New Guinea have prayed for someone to come and teach them the Bible. This is the 4th year God has answered that prayer and allowed the Sisson's along with teams from To Every Tribe to equip these pastors with the necessary skills to share the Gospel and plant churches among their own people.  I am excited to be able to show you a small taste of what I experienced in the 26 days I was blessed to be there.


  • PRAISE:  Sidney's surgery was a success as they were able to fix the problem and take away the pain she was experiencing.  She did lose all hearing in the right ear from the surgery but we still give God the glory for His hand of protection.  
  • PRAISE:  All 3 kids did great on their first time flying in an airplane and Gretta and the kids successfully navigated all the airports and made their flights without any problems!  
  • PRAISE:  Thankful that God provided and took care of us all while I was in Papua New Guinea and Gretta and the kids were back in Alabama for Sidney's surgery.
  • PRAYER:  We have 8 weeks of school left until we graduate. Pray for us as we end this training program and begin making plans for our transition to the field.
  • PRAYER:  For more people who are willing to join our monthly support team as we prepare to move into a foreign country and take the gospel to people there. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

PNG Trip Update & a Praise!

David is currently in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the middle of his mission trip.  I have been blessed to receive a text a day with an update from him.  Some of the highlights from his trip so far include:  several days of construction at the missions station, cutting down trees with machetes, enjoying the unique sights and sounds of life in PNG, the beautiful landscape, a week of training pastors to teach the Gospel, eating tacos made with crocodile meat, seeing a bat with a 6 foot wingspan and more!  David is now gone to a village to live for a week. He will be "off the grid" for the next 6 days while he is in the village.  He was blessed to meet the pastor he will be living with before the pastor's training conference and David said they have hit it off well so far. Please continue to keep him in prayers!  He is having a wonderful time being His hands and feet in PNG and wanted me to convey his thanks to all of you for your prayers while he is gone.  Lord willing, he will be back home in Texas March 13th and he said he can't wait to share pictures and videos from his trip with all of you.  

OUR PRAISE:  4 days before David was scheduled to leave for PNG, we took Sidney to the pediatrician for what we thought was a possible ear infection.  She was having pretty constant pain in her right ear and said she could not hear out of that ear at all.  The pediatrician informed us that her ear was clear and not infected but she did notice an abnormality in her right ear.  Sidney has a history of cholesteatoma's (cysts) in her right ear and all signs indicated she might have another one.  In 2010, she had a cholesteatoma and by the time they found it, it had eroded away her mastoid bone and they had to put a cartilage plate and a titanium piece in that ear so she could hear again. Due to her extensive history of ear problems and surgeries, we called her pediatric ENT in Birmingham, AL who has taken care of her since she was little, done all her previous surgeries and explained the current problem to him to see what he would advise regarding her treatment. He tried to refer us to a colleague of his in San Antonio (about 4 1/2 hours north of us) but that did not work out.  So after much consultation with her doctor and prayer, we made the decision for the kids and I to come back to Alabama while David was in Papua New Guinea for Sidney to see her pediatric ENT since surgery would be the only option if it was a cholesteatoma.  
So, we saw David and the team off for Papua New Guinea on Tuesday afternoon and the kids and I were blessed to be able to fly back to Alabama very early Wednesday morning.  We arrived in Birmingham around 10AM Wednesday morning and my parents picked us up to take us to their house. This trip was the kids first flying experience and they all 3 loved it as you can see by the pictures above.  
We saw Sidney's doctor at Children's Hospital on Monday morning and after a very thorough exam and a CT scan it was determined she did not have a cholesteatoma which was a huge praise!  We had so many people praying for Sidney so we know that this news was nothing but answered prayers.  However, Dr. Hill informed us that her ears did in fact still need surgery.  He said he could look in her ears and tell she was hurting pretty bad so he scheduled surgery for the next morning at 7:30AM.  
Sidney did great with his surgery (above is a picture of her not too long after surgery).  The Dr. said he is hopeful she will regain her hearing in the right ear and that this surgery will be a success for her.  The earliest he would see her for a post-op visit is March 14 and if all goes well we will be flying back home to Texas on March 19th.  It is truly amazing the grace, comfort, peace and strength that the Lord can give you when you need it most. I know we had tons of prayer warriors faithfully praying on our behalf on Monday & Tuesday and I can honestly say I especially felt them during those 2 days.  Having David on the other side of the world, Sidney having surgery, Abbey and Wyatt to still be there for because they were sad David was gone, and trying to balance it all was only possible because of prayer, our loving and gracious God, and much help and encouragement from my parents.  Sidney is doing well post surgery and already back to her usual sweet and sassy self!  We are so thankful for her wonderful doctor in Birmingham, how the Lord used him to help get her well, and for each of you who prayed for us throughout all of this.  

  • For more people who are willing to join our monthly support team.  We are currently at 33% of our monthly living goal. To join our team, visit this link and choose our names:  Johns, David & Gretta.
  • That we would trust God's direction for our lives and for patience as we continue to wait to hear from our application for a possible missions opportunity after graduation.
  • Pray for David while he continues to serve in Papua New Guinea.  Lord willing, he is scheduled to arrive back home in Texas on March 13.  
  • Pray for Sidney as she continues to heal from her surgery and that her hearing will be restored in her right ear as well.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Papau New Guinea Prayer Guide

On Tuesday Feb. 18, I will be leaving for my trip to Papau New Guinea. I am very excited to have this opportunity.  I will be serving in the Eastern Highlands of Papau New Guinea and will be gone for 24 days.  Lord willing, I will be back home in Texas on March 13. I would appreciate your prayers for me, the team, as well as Gretta and the kids while they are home.

Want to know how you can pray specifically each day of my trip? Click here for my PNG Prayer Guide.  Thank you for all your prayers and support that make this trip possible.  I look forward to sharing a full report with you including pictures and videos after I return.

Monday, January 27, 2014

January Missions Update

We were so blessed to be able to go back to Alabama and spend 2 weeks for Christmas.  We enjoyed time with family, friends and had several opportunities to share about our mission work and training.  Thank you for all the prayers as we traveled and for those of you who helped make our time in Alabama so special.
I (David) will be leaving for Papau New Guinea on February 18 and returning March 13.  My trip is now paid in full and we would like to thank each of you who sacrificially gave to help make this trip possible for me.  Please continue to keep this trip covered in prayer that God would accomplish much through our time in Papau New Guinea and that He would give us wisdom and insight as we bring the gospel to the villages we serve.  We will be sending out a Papau New Guinea (PNG) Prayer Guide soon and would appreciate you keeping me (and Gretta and kids who will remain in Texas) covered in prayers each day while I am gone.  I look forward to updating you upon my return. 
We were blessed to have Dr. David Sills as a guest instructor this month in training classes.  He taught on the subject of Culture and Contextulization working off his experience of reaching and teaching through his mission work with the Quechan Indians and other tribal groups.  This class was enlightening and very valuable because Gretta and I had worked with Quechan peoples in Peru in 2011.  They are an oral culture meaning stories, poems, songs, etc. are passed down through word of mouth.  Dr. Sills taught how important it is to get to know the culture and customs of the people group we are serving on the field, the need for Oral Bible Storying (which we have received training in) and why discipleship plays a key role in ministry.  This class and training provided us with great tools as we prepare to serve an oral culture people group.  
It is with much excitement that we are able to share with you that we have a possible direction for the next step in our lives after we complete our training with To Every Tribe in May.  We have submitted our initial application for a potential missions opportunity and our application is currently under review!  Our job would be disciple making that leads to church planting (which would be our primary objective) with an unreached people group. We know you are anxious to hear where this opportunity is (and we can't wait to share that with you) but at this point, we are still in the early initial stages of this process so we are very limited on what details we can share.  However, we would appreciate your prayers over our application and necessary steps as well as wisdom and patience for us as we are walking through this process and continually praying for God's direction for us after graduation.
We have a new missions video!  If you haven't had the chance to watch the latest video you can watch it by clicking the "Our Missions Video" tab at the top of the screen.  It gives you an overview of our training, a brief glimpse of life at the Tex-Mex border and why we desire to follow the Lord's calling to reach the nations with the gospel message of Jesus Christ.  

We are currently at 33% of our monthly support need.  If you would like to help support our mission work, you may do so by clicking the "Partner With Us" tab at the top of the screen and scroll down to the link to donate online.  All gifts (one time gifts and monthly support) are tax-deductible!

We thank you for your continued partnership with our family in our mission work and we appreciate you keeping our family lifted up to the Lord in prayers.  

"Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith.  
For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross."  Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Spring Trip to Papau New Guinea

I (David) have been blessed with an amazing opportunity to travel to Papau New Guinea February 19 - March 14, 2014.  Details of this trip are found below and I am asking you to please keep this trip covered in prayer. I need to raise the funding for this trip in a short amount of time and ask you to please consider partnering with me to help meet the financial need for this trip as I go to train indigenous pastors and spend time in solo village living there. Thank you for your prayers and financial support.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Greetings from the Tex-Mex border!

We hope this update finds you doing well and we thank God for your partnership in our mission work.  The past few weeks have been filled with learning more about church planting using the 7 commands of Christ, creating multiplication strategies with a focus on everything we do being able to be reproduced in the culture we are serving and a focus on what it would be like to serve in a "closed" country with emphasis on how we would be the church in that culture and remain faithful to the commands of Christ in that environment.

In October, David was blessed to serve in a different village in Mexico.  He went a little further down into Mexico and served in a different "Village M".  They had the opportunity to share the gospel with several different people in the village, held a praise and worship session and learned of a need for bilingual Bibles.  One of the men even gave David a Mexican riding crop to bring home! 

Several of you have asked about things we could use in our ministry and for our family.  We have added a list of items that would be helpful to our ministry as well as personal and fun items for our family.  You can view the list on our partnership page

We are also looking forward to being back in Alabama for the Christmas holidays from Dec. 20 - Jan. 3.  We hope to see many of you during our time there and look forward to sharing more about what God is doing in our lives.

We thank you for your continued partnership in our mission work and for keeping us lifted up to the Lord in your daily prayers.  We are currently at 26% support and if you would like to partner with us financially and help us reach our goal of 100%, click here for more information

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 2013 Update

Our 1st month of school is already behind us!  The picture above is our required reading books for this year.  As you can see, this is going to be a very busy school year for us.  This month we've been learning more about Exposition in Missions.  We had some training in this last year but will be doing much more of it this year.  Our focal books for this particular study were Matthew and Acts.  We also had a week of instruction on "Biblical Theology of the Heart" which was very beneficial not only for life on the mission field but so much of it could be applied to our everyday lives as well.  This has also been an exciting time as we are getting to know the new missionary families on campus and making new friends from all over the US & Canada.  Of course, it was good to see all of our friends from last year again and we are enjoying sweet fellowship and building relationships with everyone through our mentor groups, classtime, chapel and Ekklesia.  
Hurricane Ingrid decided to make landfall in Mexico the same exact time our teams were scheduled to be in Mexico.  Due to the unknown impact of the hurricane, we delayed departure by one day.  Despite heavy rains and some areas of flooding, our team was able to make it into "Village M" for their trip.  They reconnected with the believers there and also had the opportunity to share the gospel with 3 people they had never shared with before in this village.  They also are continuing discipleship efforts with the believers in this village.  As always, God is good to us and our team and God's hand of protection was most certainly upon our team on this particular trip.  Please continue to pray for "Village M", for the Christians in this village, for our team and for To Every Tribe staff as they make decisions concerning the advancement of the gospel in this area.  
We had our annual To Every Tribe "Ladies Day" last week and it was such a blessing. We spent the day at Chachalaca Bend (our new campus) and enjoyed an encouraging and fun day together. The theme of our day was "Let's Get Real".   Mrs. Jane spoke to us about the "reality" of life on the field as a missionary/wife/mother, I led 2 sessions of praise & worship that focused on the realities of who God is and what He has done for us, we enjoyed a delicious lunch and fellowship time, we played a fun "icebreaker" game, we made a scripture craft and we spent time in small groups for prayer.  While we all love our husbands and kids immensely, it is certainly a treat and such a special time to just be with other ladies and spend time together away from the everyday routine of life.  
For God to give us clear direction as we move forward in this last year of training
For "Village M" and the advancement of the gospel there
That in the midst of super busy schedules, we still find ways for "family time". 
For the Lord to raise up more monthly supporters on our behalf.

We are currently at 30% of our monthly support need. 
Choose our name (Johns, David & Gretta) under Gift Designation