Tuesday, February 2, 2016

January 2016 Missions Update

Children's Ministry
We were blessed with an opportunity to attend the Texas Baptist Preschool & Children's Ministry Retreat in Granbury, TX on January 17-19th.  We were encouraged by a wonderful keynote speaker, Dr. Michael A. Evans, Sr. of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield, TX.  We enjoyed the various breakout classes that were offered such as how to balance family and ministry and our favorite class "Growing in God's Word" that was presented by Lifeway Kids and taught us the levels of Biblical learning for children.  We were able to meet many different children's ministry vendors and see the latest products and curriculums as well.  It was a great time of spiritual renewal for us personally, for our ministry to children, and it gave us renewed vision for reaching the children in our local community with the gospel message.
(the Baptist church in Oak Ridge, Roatan, Honduras)

Roatan, Honduras Mission Trip 
The Lord gave us an incredible opportunity for our family to go to Roatan, Honduras (one of the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras) on a mission trip Jan. 23-30th.  Our team was able to come alongside the believers at Oak Ridge First Baptist Church.  We served the children in Oak Ridge through a mini Vacation Bible School each morning and David taught the youth group in the afternoon using David Platt's Bible study for students called "Follow Me". David preached on Sunday morning at Oak Ridge First Baptist and on Sunday night we got to enjoy a joint worship service there with all the churches on the island.  Tuesday night we were asked to share our testimonies with the people there and on Thursday night we experienced a wonderful prayer service.  God blessed us through the people as they cared for our team.  There is a great need for a pastor at the church, for male leadership, and for discipleship on the island. Please join us in prayer as we seek God's will for our family as the people of Oak Ridge have asked that we would come be missionaries on the island to help meet these needs.

Partner With Us 
We are so grateful to each of you who are literally "holding the rope" for us to be here serving in missions and ministry.  We appreciate both our faithful prayer partners and our financial partners.  If you would like to help support our family's mission work (all donations are tax deductible), you may send donations to:
First Baptist Church
RE:  David & Gretta Johns
300 E. Ocean Blvd.
Los Fresnos, TX 78566

We thank each of you for your continued partnership in our mission work and for keeping us lifted up to the Lord in prayers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Looking Back & Looking Ahead

Looking Back......2015 Ministry Highlights:

  • Started a new outreach ministry called "Hands & Feet" that helps meet physical and spiritual needs of families in our local community.
  • Partnered with the local high school Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) for various events.  David has also been working with Coaches Outreach for the high school sport coaches as well.
  • Hosting monthly events designed to reach the middle school and high school age youth of our church and local community. 
  • Abbey started a weekly time of fellowship for ladies of all ages and this fellowship time is open to church members and those in our local community. 
  • In July, we hosted a missions team from Decatur, AL that helped us in so many ways in our community evangelism and outreach and they did many projects at our church as well. 
Looking Ahead.......
On February 7 (which also happens to be David's birthday) he will be ordained in an official ordination service at First Baptist Church of Los Fresnos at 11:00AM.  We covet your prayers for him and our family over this very important step in our mission work and ministry.

On January 17-20, we will be attending the Texas Baptist Children's Ministry Retreat in Granbury, TX (about an 8 hour drive away).  This is a conference for those who work in Children's Ministry and we are looking forward to learning how to be more effective in reaching children with the gospel, getting new ideas for ministry, and seeing the latest children's ministry materials too.  Our pastor and his wife graciously volunteered to keep our kids so we can attend this conference and we greatly appreciate their help with the kids so we can attend this conference.  

January 22-31we will all 5 be going on a mission trip to Roatan, Honduras. This
will be the kids first international trip. We will be working specifically in the area of Oak Ridge, Roatan with a church there that currently has no pastor. They are also in great need of training of the nationals there, discipleship, and they are asking for a missionary family to come live in Oak Ridge to pastor the church and do mission work in the area and on the island. Each morning during our trip, will be doing a mini-VBS and then working with the youth in the afternoons. The evenings will be spent in the community with the people getting to know more about the daily life and specific needs of this area. We ask you to pray specifically for our family as we travel and serve there and more specifically, that the Lord will show us His will for our family and our future.

On February 10, Gretta will have surgery in San Antonio. She has a basal cell skin cancer on the side of her nose that continues to come back and MOHS surgery is now the only option to get it completely removed. We will be in San Antonio February 9 & 10 for her surgery. We are thankful to have caught it in the early stages but we still do not know how extensive the actual procedure will be. Please pray that it will not be a very complex procedure, that it will heal well with minimal scaring (she is not a candidate for plastic surgery like some patients have to repair the area), and that her recovery will go smoothly and quickly so she can continue to be active in our home & ministry.

To learn how you can partner with us in our mission work or how you can bless our family, click the "Partner With Us" tab at the top of this page.  Thank you and God bless you!  

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Looking back at 2015

As 2015 comes to a close, we look back over the last year and once again stand in amazement of who God is and how He continues to work in our lives.  The doors the Lord has opened for us to serve Him and spread the gospel have been amazing.  The new ministries He has given us the opportunity to start this year to reach people here locally with the love of God and the gospel have been wonderful and the chance to serve Him each and every day right here at the Texas-Mexico border is a blessing!

We knew when we made the decision to become full-time missionaries that there would be sacrifices, some easy and others hard.  We counted the costs and knew that we could lose our lives, lose our children, we would lose precious time and memories with our families, etc. but we also knew that following the Lord's calling in our lives was worth all the risks.  Over the past year, there have been mountaintops and valleys in our mission work.  This journey has not always led us where we thought we were going and outcomes weren't always what we anticipated or expected but there have been blessings amidst the curves life can throw us. There is no way to tell what's coming around the corner so you simply move forward in full faith trusting God for whatever lies ahead.   God has been SO faithful to us and He has revealed Himself to us so clearly over the past year. The God that you read about in the Bible (the healer, the comforter, the faithful one, the sustainer, the omnipresent, etc.) is still the same God today!  So it is with excitement and anticipation, that we look forward to 2016.

One song has really spoke to us the past few months as we think about what all the Lord has done and allowed us to do in 2015.  It is the song "Never Once" by Matt Redman and the words say:

Standing on this mountaintop, look at just how far we've come
knowing that for every step, you were with us
kneeling on this battleground, seeing just how much you've done
knowing every victory, was your power in us
scars and struggles on our way, but with joy our hearts can say
yes, our hearts can say...

Never once did we ever walk alone
never once did you leave us on our own
you are faithful, God you are faithful

Kneeling on this battleground, seeing just how much you've done
knowing every victory was your power in us
scars and struggles on our way, but with joy our hearts can say
yes, our hearts can say...

Never once did we ever walk alone
never once did you leave us on our own
you are faithful, God you are faithful.  

We want to say a huge "THANK YOU" to each of you who so faithfully keep us lifted up in prayers each day too. Prayer is one of our most important weapons against Satan and we covet your prayers for our mission work, our ministries, our outreach to the people here, and for our family.  To those of you who are "holding the rope" financially, THANK YOU because we couldn't be here doing what the Lord has called us to do without our financial ministry partners.  We pray that 2016 will be a blessed year for you and your family too.  We look forward to continuing to serve the Lord in 2016 and appreciate each of you who make it possible for us to be here.  To God be the glory! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Family Update - October

The seasons change, and you change, but your Lord abides evermore the
same, and the streams of His love are as deep, as broad, and as full as ever.”
~ Charles Spurgeon

October was a very busy month for our family with multiple ministry opportunities to our students, our local community, and an evangelism outreach event too (you can read about those in other posts below). Our weekdays are busy too with youth band practice on Monday nights, Knitted Together (a ladies fellowship started by Abbey) on Tuesday nights, we both teach a class on Wednesday nights, Nursing Home Ministry on Thursdays, and on Fridays we try to spend time with the kids and do something as a family. Of course, Saturdays are often filled with ministry activities and we both teach on Sundays. Oh, and we homeschool in the midst of all that and the kids recently started mixed martial arts classes two days a week to learn self-defense too!

You may be thinking "busy" but BLESSED is what we call it. Blessed to have the opportunity to be so active and involved in our church, our community, and in the spread of the gospel in this

We have some fun moments that we've been blessed to share recently too. 
 Wyatt found a live eel at the beach! We got pictures of it and then moved away.
The kids all got good reports at their yearly checkups.
Alabama beat Texas A&M ....in Texas! (ROLL TIDE)

We watched the entire super moon lunar eclipse from start to finish.

We thank God for our faithful family and friends who are “holding the rope for us through both prayer and financial partnerships.  We could not be here doing what we are called to do without each of you who so faithfully lift us up in prayers and give financially to our family.  We thank God for each of you everyday in our family worship time!  

Trip to Honduras

Our kids finally have their passports! 

For several months, we had been praying about a door that was opened to us to take a trip to Roatan, Honduras. The kids did not have their passports and honestly, we just didn’t have the funds to make that trip for a family of 5. We told our pastor that we would pray about it and seek God's will for this matter.  In late July, we received an unexpected call that we had been given a monetary gift through an organization and that we could use this money toward a mission trip or missions project. We had not told anyone about this trip because honestly we didn't know if it would work out and we didn't want to get everyone all hyped up for nothing if it didn't come to pass.  So receiving this phone call and this donation was nothing but the Lord answering our prayers!
Mrs. Rhonda, us, and Mrs. Norma (not pictured is our pastor)

So January 23-30, our entire family will be going to Roatan along with our pastor and his wife, and our friend Mrs. Rhonda from our church here who grew up in Roatan. We will be working specifically with the Oak Ridge First Baptist Church there and we are doing a mini-VBS for about 30 kids in the area and David will be teaching the “Follow Me” by David Platt curriculum. We will also have the opportunity to lead worship and David will preach on Sunday night. 
Roatan, Hondruas is one of the Bay Islands of the Carribbean.  It has cruise ship ports on both ends of the islands but once you leave the resort areas, the majority of the island is not as well-to-do or have such wonderful amenities.  It is like many of the other cruise destinations of the Carribbean.  Approximately 65,000 people live on the island and there is an extremely high poverty rate on the island.  
The area we are going to has a church but they have no pastor, the people there are in
great need of discipleship and Biblical training (hermeneutics), and they are asking for a missionary family to come work on the island and work with the church. 

We ask you to join us in prayer in 2 ways regarding this trip. It is a two-fold trip for us as we will be going to serve the people there and share the love and joy of Jesus with them but also it will be a scouting trip for us to see if this is a place the Lord would have us serve long-term as missionaries. Will you please join us in prayer over not only what the Lord will have us do while we are there that week but also for possible long-term work in this area of Honduras?  We would appreciate that greatly!  

Community Fall Festival

 This year, the city of Los Fresnos hosted a Community Fall Festival at the local park. It was open to anyone in the community and our church hosted 4 game booths at this event. We dressed up as clowns and hosted the bean bag toss and the duck pond. 
It is always so much fun to get out and have fun with kids and families in our local community and share the joy found in Jesus with them. We had a great time with the kids and families who came to play the games, we gave away over 2,500 pieces of candy, and we handed out 200 LifeBooks with our church information on them too. 
Of course, our kids wanted to dress up for Halloween too.  Abbey was a "time traveler" from Doctor Who, Sidney was a "loveable monster", and Wyatt was a "mutated gorilla".  They got to go around and get candy and play games at the Fall Festival.  Then Wyatt and Sidney went to a friends house (whose backyard connects to the local park) and played with their kids and Abbey helped us run the game booths.  Since Dia de Los Muertos is highly celebrated by many in our area it was nice to be part of a family-friendly alternative for people on Halloween and participate in the community Fall Festival.  

Praise on the Hill 2015

As the remnants of Hurricane Patricia moved into our area, we were scheduled to take our youth group to “Praise on the Hill”, a free Christian music concert in a town about an hour away. The
weather was less than stellar on the day of the event.  It had rained for about 24 hours constantly and in our area it floods easily.  Despite the torrential rains, some flooding, and winds, we headed to this concert with had 7 students go with us. At one point, we were driving 25 mph on the freeway (speed limit is 75mph on this road normally) because of standing water and horrible visibility due to rain.  Some of the exits off the freeway were blocked and closed due to flooding. It was c-r-a-z-y!  When we finally got to the location, the parking lot had a lot of water in it too and we were a little concerned it might be worse when the concert would be over 6 hours later.  We got drenched getting from the parking lot to the arena but we made it safely and the kids were excited to see all the performers.  
There were several worship bands from local churches that did worship experiences prior to the headline shows. It was fun to get to worship with them and see their different styles of worship too.  The headline performers at this event were both popular Christian artists that are played on the local Christian radio station. We got to see Moriah Peters & her "fierce female band" first and they were great! Then the last performance was by the very popular group, For King & Country and they put on a phenomenal night of worship.  At one point, one of the lead singers walked through the stadium and he came and stood on the bleacher right in front of Wyatt and sang for about a minute right in front of us!  
(Moriah Peters)

(For King & Country) 

We especially loved how both Moriah Peters and For King & Country shared testimonies and encouraged those in attendance to remain pure until marriage and that love was worth waiting for. That is such a powerful lesson that students just don’t hear often enough from people other than their parents.  King & Country even taught the students that they were "priceless" and they even have a necklace you can buy for your child to remind them that they are "priceless" in God's eyes.  

We left the concert around 10:15pm and drove home and thankfully the rain had stopped about 3 hours into the concert so it was a much nicer ride home.  We got home around 11:15pm and were very exhausted but had a great time.  We praise God for His hand of protection over us while we traveled and for the opportunity to take our students to this great evening of worship.

The remnants of hurricane Patricia continued to roar through our area throughout the night and at one point during the night David & I woke up because we kept hearing a "bumping" noise but we never could figure out where it was coming from.  The next morning, we found the large tree at the end of our house had fell during the night from the winds.  The Lord truly had His hand of protection over our home and our children because the tree fell just in front of the house.  The branches were laying up on the kids bedroom (which is probably the bumping we had heard during the night..the wind blowing the branches around against the window).  If the tree had landed on the house it would have been right on the kids bedroom.  In the picture below you can see how it fell and the window you see is the kids bedroom window!  We live in the church's missions house for missionaries and it is SUCH a blessing for us and we thank God for how he spared our home and spared us any damage too.  God is good...and all the time...God is good!