Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Christmas


It is hard to believe we have completed the first (of 4) semester of missionary training with To Every Tribe.  We look back on the past 5 months and stand of awe of what God has done and continues to do in our lives.  Being in South Texas has grown us in so many ways and we pray that our time here continually molds and shapes us into the people God desires us to be.  The training we have received so far has been wonderful and challenges us to dive deeper into the Word as we prepare and plan for taking the gospel to people that have never heard the name of Jesus Christ.  We've lived on campus and made new friends from all over the US and Canada who have become our "Texas family" and we hope will be lifelong friends.  We leave on Dec. 21st to go home for 2 weeks for Christmas break to spend time with our family and friends.  We look forward to being back in Alabama and seeing family and friends we haven't seen in almost 6 months.  We will return to campus to begin our next semester of training on January 6th. 

We all know Christmas isn't about the gifts, latest gadgets or toys. It is about remembering the birth of the greatest gift (and really the only gift we will ever need), Jesus Christ.  He came to earth to save us from an eternity set apart by God.  For Jesus, giving meant giving everything!  Sadly, there are people all over the world who have never even heard of Jesus Christ and live a life in danger of being eternally set apart from God.  We are self-supporting missionaries with a desire to take the gospel to these people and our goal for January 2013 is to be 100% supported.  

By partnering with us financially, you are giving to help fund our mission work and most importantly, you are providing us the opportunity to stay here at To Every Tribe and continue our 2 year missionary training.  You are investing in mission trips to "Village M" in Mexico and later this Spring in Oaxaca, Mexico where we go into these villages and take the gospel of Jesus Christ to places that have never heard it.  We are already seeing lives change from our monthly trips into "Village M" and we know there is still lots of work to be done in Mexico. You are allowing us the opportunity to take Dental Training in January so we can learn how to set up dental clinics and actually do dental work in places that will allow us to minister to people in those regions and share the gospel with them as well.  By financially investing, you are taking an active role in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) even though you may not personally be able to be on the field with us, you are still on the front-lines with us through financial sacrifice and prayer on our behalf.  

 Sponsor $100 a month
 Sponsor $50 a month
Sponsor $75 a month
Sponsor $25 a month
Sponsor $10 a month

To donate, simply CLICK HERE and then choose our name under Gift Designation, Johns, David and Gretta. Then give as the Lord leads you to.  Some of you may be able to do $10 a month and some of you may want to do more than $100 a month. If you aren't able to sponsor us monthly, you can also do a one-time gift donation. Some of you may be looking for an end of the year gift for tax purposes. No matter what, we thank God for each and everyone of you who are willing to pray for us and those who are willing to financially invest in our ministry and help us complete our training and take the gospel to unreached people groups in Mexico.  Jesus Is Worth It!  


Friday, November 30, 2012

November 2012 Update

Greetings from the Tex-Mex border!  “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”  (Psalm 34:3)  We find it hard to believe that we have been in Texas almost 5 months now.  In this season of thankfulness, we look back on these past few months and have so much to praise God for and so much to be thankful for.  We are so thankful to each of you who are faithful prayer partners on our behalf and for those of you who are financially investing as well. November was a blessed month for our family!

This was our first Thanksgiving away from our families and we did miss being together with them.  However, our church here in TX invited us to a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch & we enjoyed a great meal there. Then we had a delicious afternoon Thanksgiving meal here on campus with our To Every Tribe family too. We were doubly blessed for our first Texas Thanksgiving!

Don Richardson went to Papau New Guinea in 1962 to take the gospel to the Sawi tribe, a group of warring headhunters.  He and his family lived with them for 40 years and he wrote the famous missions book, “Peace Child” about their experiences.  It was such a privilege to have him as our instructor for a week.  He had a wealth of knowledge to share, amazing stories of God at work and we learned so much not only about the need for missions in Papau New Guinea but were encouraged about taking the gospel to hostile people groups as well.   He came to our home for dinner one evening and the kids loved listening to him share about his life too.
David and I were blessed to attend a full week of classes taught by Vern & Carla Sterk.  They were missionaries for over 40 years in Chiapas, Mexico (considered a restricted nation by the Voice of the Martyrs) and worked with tribal people there.  They taught us contextulization, how to handle persecution, about families on the mission field, daily living in a tribal village and much more.  Abbey also attended their EthnoMusicology class with us as she enjoys playing guitar. This class taught how to take the music of the people and help them write Christian songs/hymns for themselves. We enjoyed having the Sterks in our home one evening for dinner as well and getting to spend more time with them learning more about the unreached in Mexico.

Our team was blessed with safe travels and another good trip into Mexico this month to work in "Village M".  They spent time in discipleship and prayer with the 3 Christians there, had a Bible study with the people, were able to start a few new Bible studies with villagers there and had the opportunity to witness to a man in the village who is a homosexual.  They were also invited into several homes for studies this time too.  God is moving here so please keep praying for “Village M” & our team as we travel there monthly.  
We have added a brief missions video to our here under “Our Missions Video” tab and we would love to for you to watch it and share it with family, friends or churches who might be willing to pray for and partner with us.  Lord willing, we will be headed back to Alabama for Christmas.  We plan to arrive in Alabama on Dec. 21 and will be there through Jan. 4th.  We hope to see lots of you while we are home over Christmas holidays! 

Thank you for praying for our family, our ministry and for all your support.
We enjoy hearing from you & are praying for each of you. 


Monday, November 5, 2012

October 2012

Life on the border is treating us well here in south Texas.  As you probably noticed, we made some changes to our missions blog and there are now tabs at the top that you can click to learn more about our family, see our school calendar, how to partner with us, prayer request and about the missions agency we are serving with.

David and I got to enjoy some wonderful training classes in October.  We both spent a full week with Dr. David Edgington learning about Biblical Counseling and how to work alongside other missionaries on a team.   Then David spent the next week in Mexico working in "Village M".  David Depew taught a week on Ethno-Theology and then David Morris spent a week teaching about "Christ in the Old Testament".  That's a lot of David's right? The training classes this past month were so rich and wonderful and it is such a privilege to be here learning and growing.

As a family, we are learning about Biblical Storytelling.  David is receiving instruction in their classes and the kids and I are learning it together during some of the Friday afternoon classes.  It has been truly amazing to see how quickly the kids have caught on to this way of orally sharing the gospel and I have no doubt they will be great at sharing it on the mission field soon.

Speaking of kids, we started an entirely new homeschool curriculum this week.  We needed something that worked with our busy schedule here yet gave the kids everything we felt like they needed each day.  We are all excited about this new material. We are continuing to build relationships and friendships with the other families here on campus and enjoy having friends and even some of the instructors over for dinner too.

After visiting around for quite a while, we have found a church family to worship with during our time here in south Texas. We are attending First Baptist Church of Los Fresnos and really enjoy it.  The preacher is a former missionary in Venezuela and our Sunday school teacher is originally from Tennessee (he still has his southern accent!).  It is a bilingual congregation, as most churches down here are, and we are enjoying getting to know the people there and building relationships right here in our community.  David and I also have plugged into their music ministry so David is playing guitar and I am playing piano on Sunday mornings. We feel very blessed to be part of this congregation during our time here.
We've been having a little bit of fun despite our busy schedules too.  We've been enjoying watching  Alabama Crimson Tide football games each Saturday night here on campus with 2 other families that are also from Alabama.  We took the kids to the Los Fresnos' OctoberFest at the local park on Halloween night and they had a great time playing carnival games and getting candy.  Then we had a birthday party/costume party for one of the girls on campus so we got to all dress up that weekend too.  We also visited the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville for the first time and it was awesome!  We were given a 1 year family membership so we will be going to the zoo as often as we can over the next year because we loved it as much as the kids did.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us and our ministry.  

"Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." - 1 Pet 1:13

Friday, October 12, 2012

October Trip to "Village M"

The house we stayed in at "Village M"

This week, I went with our team into Mexico and spent 3 days in "Village M". This was our 2nd trip into this village and this trip was a little longer than our trip last month as we were gone for 3 days, 2 nights. Thankfully, we had no problems of any kind but coming back into the US, our team and vehicle were searched before we could pass through.  They passed us on through no problem after the thorough inspection of course!  This trip we had some great opportunities and were able to begin establishing more relationships with the villagers there. I want to share some highlights of our trip this week with you.  

Some of the group ran into a lady named "E" as they were walking down the road and they stopped to talk to her.  She asked if they were "religious" and they said we are "Christian missionaries".  She asked if they would be willing to study the Bible with her so later that evening, they went over to her house to study with her.  They had a good Bible study with her and she openly received what they showed her during that time.  There was also another lady who happened to be in the house where they were studying the Bible and while she did not participate in the study, she listened intently to everything being said.  

One evening, we were blessed to be invited to dinner and Bible study with "R & C" who live in "Village M".  They fed us fried fish, rice, tortillas and a delicious green salsa that "C" handmade for dinner and it was all very good.  After dinner, we studied Acts 17 focusing on idolatry because they had a Catholic idol in their home.  After our study together and talking with them, we felt like they had a clear understanding of the one true God and we were able to share the gospel message with them before we left. We are planning to continue studying with them on upcoming trips.  

We got to speak with "R", the town alcoholic.  He was sober enough at the time we had the opportunity to talk with him that we could all share our testimonies with him and present the gospel with him. He knows that his alcoholism is a problem in his life but he feels like he doesn't have the strength to stop drinking and live life without alcohol. While we were studying with him, there were several other men around who are all known to drink as well and they got to hear everything we were telling "R" too.  

One afternoon, a few of us went over to the fish processing building that was destroyed by the hurricane.  The building sets on the coast of "Village M" and is now vacant.  We spent 2 hours there praying over the village, the people in the village, for doors to be opened, for the gospel seed to be sown, for hope and joy to overtake this village as the gospel message penetrates this area, etc.  
A view of the village as it sits on the coast

Please pray for each of these people and for all the villagers in "Village M" as we go back each month and continue building trust and relationships, continue discipleship and Bible studies and plant seeds for the gospel in this area.  It is a joy and privilege to be going to "Village M" and we are excited to see what God has in store for us during our time there throughout this year. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers!  To God be the glory!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

August Missions Update

Missionary training school has officially started and it is going well. We are still adjusting to a new environment and new schedule but each day gets a little easier. We survived "Orientation Week" and it was actually really fun. We enjoyed getting to hear everyone's testimonies which reminded us how great God is and reminded us why grace is so important. Each afternoon they took us to do something "fun" as a group. Of course, the kids enjoyed those outings a lot and we enjoyed getting to spend time with all the people who will be here with us going through training classes this year. We are already learning so much through the first few weeks of our training classes each day too. Our schedule is very busy and we have lots of studying to do but we are truly enjoying it. The picture above is just our required reading list for this year so that alone will keep us busy not to mention all the various classes we are taking each week too. We are also learning Spanish since the area we live in is primarily Hispanic and we are also going down into Mexico each month. We are really happy to be here and be training to take the gospel to unreached people groups in hostile regions.
We were able to participate in some local community work in Los Fresnos as well. To Every Tribe partnered with a local church and other people from the community to participate in "Serve Our Schools". We met at 8:00am at a local park and enjoyed breakfast tacos and doughnuts together. Then we walked to Los Fresnos High School and planted 70 Oleander bushes along the fence line by the highway. This will allow the school to eventually have a little more privacy and it also added more beautification to their campus. After we got done planting, we came back to the park and had a little celebration and several community leaders came and spoke. It was great to be able to work right here in our new community and it was a great opportunity for our children to serve with us and see that mission work is everywhere...not just in other countries!
Our family has been assigned to a "Mexico Team" and once a month, our team will travel several hours down into Mexico to do mission work. Our team has 4 single people, our family and one other family. We will be working in a small fishing village of approximately 150 people where there are currently only 3 Christians. There is no school, no major businesses and this area is still trying to rebuild from a hurricane that came through years ago. Each month, our team will spend approximately 4 days working in this village. Our prayer is that we will be able to establish relationships with the local people there, start Bible studies with them and take the gospel into this area. Gretta and the kids will be able to go on some trips with us but not on all of them due to safety reasons. Please pray for "Village M" with us as we minister there each month over the next year.
And how are the kids adjusting? They really like it here! There are over 30 kids on campus (ages 3 months - 15 years old) with us this year so they have tons of new playmates. They started homeschooling and Abbey is in 6th grade, Sidney is in 4th grade and Wyatt is in 2nd grade. They have had to learn to adjust to a new homeschool schedule as they often have classes, chapel, Mexico team meeting, etc. during the day as well. One of their favorite things to do here is "tarantula hunt". One afternoon, I joined the kids (and a few of their friends here on campus) for a tarantula hunt and filmed exactly how this is done.  You can check out how to go tarantula hunting on our video. They are also enjoying having the beach (South Padre Island) just 20 minutes away and although our schedule doesn't allow for much time at the beach we do take one afternoon/evening a week and go to the beach as a family for some quality time together and away from campus.

  • For good health - physical, mental and spiritual
  • For financial support - we still need monthly supporters
  • Our ministry with "Village M" in Mexico
  • That we can learn Spanish more fluently so we can communicate better
  • Our marriage and family as we continue to adjust to life as full-time missionaries
  • That God would send more workers into His harvest
"I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out
in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light"

Thursday, August 16, 2012

We're in Texas!

Thank you to each and everyone of you who covered our family in prayer last week as we made the move from North Alabama to South Texas. We had a very good 2 day trip, no problems of any kind, didn't get lost one time, the kids did great and David and I both survived driving 19 hours in separate vehicles too. The picture above was my view for the entire trip. I got to stare at the back of the moving truck the whole trip! We arrived in Los Fresnos, TX around 9:30pm Friday night. There were people in the parking lot waiting to greet us and introduce themselves which we thought was pretty neat. Inside our new apartment, was a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies with a cute little "welcome to To Every Tribe" note attached. We were so tired that we came in and went straight to bed. Saturday morning we started unloading the moving truck and had so much help unloading that we couldn't get boxes into their hands fast enough. The sense of "community" and "family" is huge here and everyone is so friendly and helpful.

We are now living on campus at To Every Tribe which is a missions agency that mobilizes and trains missionaries for pioneer church planting among unreached people groups. In particular, To Every Tribe targets the most remote and most difficult-to-reach groups where the Gospel has not yet penetrated.
The landscape in Texas is certainly different from where we grew up and have always lived in Alabama. South Texas is pretty flat and there are not lots of trees. The ones that are here do not grow very tall and the palm trees seem to be the biggest trees in this area. There are lots of cactus (which Wyatt loves seeing) and the wind blows constantly. We live so close to the ocean now that we get to enjoy that wonderful ocean breeze everyday.
These beautiful Bird of Paradise flowers are just outside our door on campus so we get to look at their beautiful colors and unique design every day. It reminds me of the words found in Psalm 104:24.
This is the door to our new apartment on campus with To Every Tribe! Yes, we brought a little piece of Alabama along with us (Roll Tide!). We are still working on unpacking, organizing and settling in. We are almost there but still have a couple of days work ahead of us. The apartment came furnished with furniture so we just have to find a place for all the clothes and stuff that we brought. Thankfully we have one more week before training classes actually begin to give us a little time to get totally done, relax a little and familiarize ourselves with our new area a little more too.
Since South Padre Island is just 30 minutes from our house we drove down there one afternoon just to see the ocean. It is a natural beach (much different than Panama City Beach, FL where we love to go) but it was still the ocean and still so beautiful and peaceful. We can't wait to go back and spend a day playing in the ocean, collecting seashells and having fun as a family. The drive over to the beach was a nice little break from unpacking and organizing too!

And how are the kids liking our new place?? They are loving it so far. There are so many kids here of all ages for them to play with and they go outside as soon as breakfast is over and only come in to eat or go to the bathroom. We haven't started homeschooling yet so they get to play all day right now but in a few weeks we will begin homeschooling so their daily routine will change somewhat.

  • Continue to keep us in your prayers! Pray for us as we prepare to begin training classes and start homeschooling. Pray that everyone will continue to adjust well to our new place, new surroundings and new friends.
  • Pray for us as we find a church here locally. It isn't like growing up in the "Bible Belt" where there is a church on every corner so we are visiting different churches right now and praying for God to lead us where He wants us to be the next few years.
  • Pray for financial support on our behalf. We are self-supporting missionaries and we came down here literally stepping out on faith that God will provide the funds we need to be able to stay. We did not have a house to sell (we rented) and we literally sold most of what we had in our home and came down here with the money we had in our bank account. We believe God's Word to be true and we claim scriptures like Phil. 4:19, Matt. 6:31-32, Luke 12:7. We are also praying for churches that may want to partner with us in some way too. If you would like to help us financially you can donate online (choose our name under Gift Designation: Johns, David & Gretta) or we can receive mail at our new address below:
David & Gretta Johns
602 W. 6th Street
Apt. 5
Los Fresnos, TX 78566

We realize we do not know what hardships we will face as we seek to serve the Lord. We do realize much risk and sacrifice are part of this step but that no matter what we go through the joy of the Lord will be our strength - for where the cost is great, the joy is greater. Jesus IS worth it! We look forward to what God has in store for us the next 2 years as we complete our missionary training at To Every Tribe. We are already loving being in TX, are getting to know some wonderful families that are here with us and we look forward to beginning our time of training and studying the Word as we prepare to take the Gospel to unreached people groups.

We pray that God continues to bless each one of you too!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May Update

Today we traveled to Gardendale First Baptist to worship there and to get to hear David Sitton, President of To Every Tribe (our mission board) speak during Sunday school. David delivered a powerful message that showed the need for taking the Gospel to unreached people groups, showed the difference in unevangelized and unreached people groups and challenged us with the words of scripture found in Matthew 9:35-10:1. He reminded us that we all have a role in missions....some are the "goers" the ones who take up the call themselves to pierce these areas of darkness with the Gospel, some are the "senders" who help get the "goers" on the field through prayer or by being a financial martyr to help send missionaries by financially supporting their work. No matter what role you take on, we all have a part to play in mission work.

After church, we enjoyed a fantastic lunch at Jim & Nick's BBQ with David and 4 members of the board of directors of To Every Tribe. Not only did we enjoy delicious food but we got to spend about 2 hours talking with them personally. We had a great time laughing together, sharing and being encouraged by them as we learned more about the ministry and the needs throughout the world. We are now even more excited to be moving to Los Fresnos, TX in just a few months to begin our missions training.

We are praising God for those of you who have already financially sacrificed to help support us and our upcoming mission work. To date, we have raised $1200 toward our mission work and we thank you for your financial contributions and sacrifices so far! We still have a long way to go before we move. At present, we still need to cover the remaining tuition costs: $12,500 and we still need monthly supporters to help cover monthly living expenses/on-campus housing. Would you prayerfully consider being a financial martyr and helping support our mission efforts with To Every Tribe? You can donate online (choose our name: Johns, David & Gretta under gift designation) or you can email us at and we will be happy to send you more information about how you can partner with us as well.

Our prayer cards have arrived also and if you would like one of those, please email us as well and we will be glad to send you one in the mail. These are great to post somewhere that you will see them frequently so you can be reminded to pray for us, our mission work and the ministries of To Every Tribe on a daily basis. Even if you can't financially support us, we'd love to have you on our "prayer team" praying for us each day!

Thank you for praying for our family as we seek to follow God's calling in our lives and we can't wait to be updating you from south Texas in just a few months! Also, take just a moment and watch this great video: Jesus is worth it!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Arise and Go

Our family is preparing to embark on an exciting journey as a full-time missionary family and we would love for you to come along with us! For the past few years, we have been involved in various ministries within our church and local mission work. However, God has burdened our hearts for mission work on foreign soil and taking the Gospel to unreached people groups throughout the world.

Unreached people groups are those among whom Christ has not been named; there are no self-reliant churches and no meaningful access to Christ and the Gospel among them. The Joshua Project has identified 16,689 different people groups on the earth today. Two thousand years after Jesus issued the Great Commission, 6,898 people groups are still considered unreached. This means that approximately 2.8 BILLION people currently have little or no access to the Gospel message! These are the people we want to live and work among.
In July, we will move to Los Fresnos, Texas (near Brownsville) to become full-time missionaries with To Every Tribe. They are a mission agency with a rigorous, 2 year missionary training program called The Center for Pioneer Church Planting (CPCP). We will live in an on-campus apartment and will go through various training classes. In fact, approximately 40% of our training time will be spent outside of the classroom - with on the job training in the countries of Mexico and Papau New Guinea (above Australia). We will be able to put into first-hand practice the church planting concepts we have been taught in our classroom studies by working in these areas of unreached people groups.

First and foremost, our family needs your prayers! Transitioning to a new state, new friends, new home, new environment and leaving our family and friends will be hard....especially for our 3 children. Beyond that, the emotional, physical and spiritual rigors of attending training classes, studying new languages, investing in the community, homeschooling our children and going into Mexico and Papau New Guinea to serve is not something we would ever undertake without prayer! Please pray for our family as we transition into this new role that God has called us to.

Second, there are financial needs that we are trusting the Lord to provide. We will be sending out support letters very soon and we are currently seeking churches that would allow us to come share our passion for mission work with their congregation either on a Sunday, Wednesday or in a small group setting. The cost of tuition for our 2 year training program is $13,700. We will also have a monthly housing bill of $625 as well as basic living expenses (food, insurance, gas, etc.) that total around $700 per month. Will you please join us in prayer that our financial needs will be met and that Christians hearts will be touched to support our mission efforts?

As we prepare to train, study and reach out to people who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ, we want to keep you on the front lines with us. By asking for your involvement, we are committing to you as well. We will communicate regularly to you with updates and prayer requests through this site. We will be transparent and accountable to you and To Every Tribe with every aspect of our finances. We will study diligently, work hard, invest deeply and live passionately and we will do it all for the glory of God ~ because Jesus IS worth it!