Saturday, August 31, 2013

Our final year of training has begun!

We spent the last week in "Orientation" for our final year of training here at To Every Tribe.  This year's orientation was quite different from last year but we found that it was really fun, kept us on our toes and was family-friendly too. Not only did we cover most of our 41 page training manual in great detail but they also had some really fun activities planned each day too. We will give you a little recap of our fun week.
We are typically in a "drought" condition most of the time here in south Texas.  It rarely rains and when it does the ground is so dry it just soaks it up quickly. However, last week it rained a ton and I mean....hard, flooding rains!  We desperately needed it and we are thankful for it but it made for yucky weather for orientation week.  Each day they had a "team building" activity in the afternoons.  On Monday, they sent us outside to play frisbee golf.  The catch was that we were going to be playing in knee-high grass, it had rained all morning, they didn't let us see a map of the course or show us our targets and we were going to be blindfolded when it was our turn to throw.  We had to rely solely on our teammates to direct us which direction to throw, how hard to throw, how to find the frisbee after we threw it, etc.  It was lots of fun and quite challenging.  By the time we were done, we were all eat up with mosquito bites, soaking wet and yet all still smiling and laughing.  
Tuesday afternoon, they sent us to the beach and we had a time of praise and worship and a discussion on Christian conduct.  Then they gave us our team assignment which was to build a Mayan temple in the sand that was 2 feet at the base and had steps leading up to the top.  The catch was....we had no sand tools or anything to use to design it with. We had to scavenge the beach to find items we could use to build it.  Our team built a pretty good one considering our lack of tools and we even included a head that had rolled down the stairs from one of the sacrifices (we buried Wyatt in the sand so all you could see was his head....and he loved it!)  We were pushing for all the creativity points we could get!  
The entire day Wednesday was spent in financial training so there was no team activity that day.  Thursday, they sent us on a scavenger hunt but the catch was that all our clues were written in coordinates so we had to use "geocaching" skills to figure out where to go.  They sent us all over Los Fresnos and Brownsville to 6 different locations.  Each stop had a task or tasks you had to complete in order to get your next clue.  We had to act out a story from the Old Testament at the local park, figure out what 2 people were saying who were speaking nothing but the Flemish language at the zoo, find a pirate statue in the local tourist gift shop, come up with the most creative basketball shot at the sports park, complete 3 tasks in the local library and figure out how to negotiate and handle being extorted (which is a common issue in foreign countries) at a local gas station.  

Our new calendar for this year's training is posted on the "Calendar" tab if you want to see some of the main courses we will be taking.  We are excited about some new changes in the training this year.  We will be in "Mentoring Groups" this year and we are looking forward to learning and growing from our mentor.  They have also implemented 2 new things for women:  a monthly missions practicum day designed specifically for ladies and things we may encounter on the field and the ladies will have a monthly Exposition in Missions class to learn the method of TNT Training (Training National Trainers).  Our "Village M" team added a new family from Colorado and we have a new translator who is a single girl from Flordia.  We are looking forward to getting to know these people better and serving in "Village M" together.  

As you can see, we are very excited about this last year of training!  We are still working to reach our need for 100% support.  If you would like to partner with us, you may do so here.  Simply choose our name (Johns, David & Gretta) in the Gift Designation box.  Thank you for continuing to keep our family in your prayers and please continue to pray for the people in "Village M" as well.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

We've Been on the Move!

We were blessed with a wonderful trip back to "sweet home Alabama".  We were able to spend 5 weeks visiting family and friends and sharing about our mission work and all the Lord has done in our lives the past year.  It was a privilege to be able to speak at 3 churches and also share with a youth group and a children's ministry program during our time in Alabama too. We made some great memories with family and friends and are thankful for every opportunity we were given to share and visit.   

It was good to get back home to Los Fresnos though and settle back into our lives and ministry here.  We have a huge praise to share with you too.  Our church here in Texas has a "missionary home" (much like a church parsonage) and they have very graciously offered to let our family live in their missionary home for the next year! The house sits right across the street from the church and is only about 5 minutes from To Every Tribe's new campus at Chachalaca Bend.  They are allowing us to stay here rent/utilities free which is a huge financial blessing and helps us out tremendously.  
The main entrance to our new house!

The very next day after we arrived back in Los Fresnos, we began packing up our campus apartment and moving into our new house. We spent several days packing, moving and then deep cleaning our campus apartment. We are very thankful for the year we had of living on campus with all our fellow missionaries and their families and we will miss the "community" atmosphere but we are also very excited to have a home again too.  The kids are enjoying a fenced in backyard to play in and we are all enjoying having a lot more space to call home.  

I will begin homeschooling the kids on August 19th. We have a 7th grader, a 5th grader and a 3rd grader this year and they are looking forward to a new school year.  Last year was a hard year for us in homeschool because we were all adjusting to a new place, new schedule and the fact that David & I were both going to school too! We are anticipating a better homeschool year this time as we all know more about what to expect, we feel comfortable here now and we've learned to all "school" together sometimes!  

Our last year of missions training will begin on August 26th.  We are excited to see what all God has in store for us as we complete this last year of training and as we continue to work in Mexico each month too.  There are lots of new families coming to campus within the next few weeks to join To Every Tribe and the end of August will be an exciting time of year for us as we begin our last year of training and make new friends too.  
One year ago last week, we sold most of what we owned, left behind everyone and everything that we knew to be "home", packed up and moved to south Texas.  We never visited Texas or To Every Tribe before our move.  We just stepped out on complete and total faith that this was the direction the Lord was leading us and the door He had opened for our family and we wanted to be in His will.  We left Alabama with just 3% support (and a lot of people thought we were crazy!) but the Lord was so faithful to us this past year and He sustained us in every way so that we were able to stay here despite our low support. We are excited to also share with you that within the past year we have gone from 3% to 25% support! While we still have a long way to go (100% is our goal!) we continue to trust the Lord to raise up faithful financial partners on behalf of our family.  If you would like to partner with us financially, you may do so online by clicking here (choose Johns, David & Gretta for your gift designation) or email us your address and we will mail you a support form.  

Thank you for praying for our family as we continue training, working in Mexico and serving the Lord. Please continue to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters and the people in "Village M" in Mexico and for the seeds that have been sown there. We will be returning there in September. Pray for the Lord to raise up more workers willing to go into His harvest also.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.  

"And they sang a new song, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.'" (Rev. 5:9)