August Newsletter

School children
Back to School…?
Does anyone else feel like the summer has disappeared too quickly?  It seems like each new summer speeds by more quickly than the last.  Along with all my normal summer activities such as a youth mission trip, visiting family, weeding, picking, and processing veggies, I have also had the chance to share with friends about the ministry God is calling me to in Senegal.

It has been such a blessing for me to share with many of you about this journey God has me on.  To  be honest, before I began this process I was a little nervous about sitting down with people, sharing my ministry in detail and talking to them about ways to partner with me.

But God has really blessed and encouraged me through each and every person I have gotten to share with!  It’s so special to sit down with follow brothers and sisters in Christ and explain to them about the ministry of the Day Center to the street boys.  Then I ask them to pray about how they might partner with me to bring the love of God to each of these little boys.

It’s humbling to see others giving of their resources to support me and to ultimately bring the hope of the gospel to street boys half a world away.

studyingAs summer comes to an end my  thoughts have been turning toward the beginning of a new school year.  But sadly, in Africa many children never have the chance to go to school.  The street boys spend much of their day out on the streets of Dakar begging and apart from memorizing parts of the Koran they receive no other schooling.

One of the goals at the day center where I will be serving is to give the boys as much education as possible.  On a weekly basis they are being taught God’s word and the basics of reading and writing.  Although, there is only a small amount of time available for the boys to study weekly any education they receive helps give them the dignity and self-respect they need and want.

I feel so blessed to be a part of reaching out to these precious boys!

Final Thoughts

Earlier this month I had the privilege to be a part of the bi-annual mission conference at Faithbridge Church in Park Rapids, MN (my home church).  Two years ago I was on the planning end of the event and remember working with my team to encourage and lift up our missionaries.  Well, the team this year did a great job of making all of the missionaries that attended feel loved, encouraged, and appreciated!  It’s amazing to me how God leads each of us to serve Him in so many different ways.

In August I was also blessed to help a former missionary to Venezuela with a “Man Junk” sale/yard sale.  Nancy was a missionary for a number of years and wanted to encourage me on my journey, the way she had people encourage her, so she decided to have a sale and donate to money to my one-time expenses!  She has truly been an encouragement and blessing to me!

In September I am hoping to meet with many more friends from church to share with them my heart for sharing God’s love with the street boys of Dakar.  I also hope to have the chance to meet with a few local churches.  The last weekend of September my family and I are headed to New Jersey to visit extended family and friends and share with them about my ministry plans.  It should be a perfect time of year to travel and I am looking forward to a road trip with my family!

 “So where are you at in your support raising?”   Great question!  I know many of you are anxious to hear where I am at in the process of leaving for Senegal, so here’s how far along I am….

13% – Monthly support

51% – One-time Expenses

Thank you to all of you who have already joined me on this journey and I’m looking forward to seeing who else God will call to join me in sharing His love with the  street boys of Dakar!

Thank you for your prayers,

Kim Johnson

 

Learning to swim

Let go and let God…?

I’m sure many of you have heard this saying a time or two, maybe even used it yourself.  Many people quote it as if it where scripture…but it’s not.  I think the idea being communicated is biblical if balanced out by other biblical teaching.

This morning in church my pastor shared about “Moving from a spectator to a participant in the Christian life”.  Do you ever feel like you are simply floating along in your walk with God…not really going anywhere?  Maybe it’s time to move from being a spectator and time to become a participant.  In 2 Peter 1:3a we read, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life…”  Do you really believe that God has given you a divine power to lead a godly life?

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4

Before we come to know Christ there are many things sinful things that come easily to us…we don’t have to try to be better at lying, disobeying, manipulating, etc.  But after we have come to Christ we are “to be made new in the attitude” of our minds…but this doesn’t just happen without work.  Sin comes easily to us, but righteousness and holiness take work.*  God calls us to be more than just spectators in the Christian life, he wants us to active participants.

Here is an illustration that my pastor shared this morning that really helped me understand how “Let go and let God” isn’t the best motto in our walk with God.

We all know that becoming an Olympic swimmer take a lot of hard work and dedication.

If your goal is to win a gold medal, you aren’t going to get up when you feel like and head to the pool for some float time.

The same is true for those that want to life a Godly life…it’s going to take a lot of hard work.  In the beginning of Ephesians 4, verses 1 and 2, Paul urges us “to live a live worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”  This is not an easy thing to do…but remember,  “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life…”

Ok, so back to… “Let go and let God”.  I think many times people use this saying as an excuse to simply float, it’s time to stop floating and start allowing God’s power to buoy us up in the water as we learn to swim.

*I should note that I am not referring to our eternal state before God.  I believe that at the moment of salvation we are justified in the sight of God and seen as holy in His sight by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I am referring to the work of sanctification (or being made holy) in our lives.

June Newsletter

Imagine after arriving in the city the man, your teacher, tells you that you have to go out and beg every day. You soon find out that your teacher is not a very forgiving man, when you fail to beg enough he beats you. Life is hard and lonely. being five years old and being sent to the city with a man you have never met before. Your father and mother tell you to be good and study hard. Little do you know that it may be another ten years before you see your parents again.

This scenario is a reality for thousands of little boys in Senegal. Much of their day is spent on the street begging and hope is in short supply.

But at the __________________ Day Center, ___________________ Dave and Denise __________ are working to bring hope to the street boys of Dakar. At the center, boys come for a meal and leave with the love of Jesus shining in their eyes.

God has blessed me with a family that loves me and a place to belong. I have felt God calling me to serve him as a missionary for many years and as I’ve been waiting on his timing, he has been growing and preparing me for ministry. I am so excited to be heading to Senegal to work with the Dave and Denise. The boys that come to the center need the love and hope that only comes through a relationship with Jesus.

What I’ll be doing:

  • Learning Wolof (tribal dialect) spoken by many people including the boys.
  • Shopping for food.
  • Playing with the boys.
  • Encouraging the Senegalese Christians that work at the center in their walk with God.
Final Thoughts

I’m really looking forward to what God has to teach me in this newest part of my journey with Him. I know that it will be hard at times, but He never said it would be easy. I’ve had concerned friends ask me if it’s really safe to go work in Africa with street boys…yes and no. Are we really safe anywhere? Not really. But I love a statement my pastor shared years ago that has stuck with me. “The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.” I’m trusting that God will be with me through every step of this journey and that he will protect me!

Would you be praying about how God could use you to be a part of my team as I minister in Senegal? I look forward to sharing more with you in person!

 Thank you for your prayers,

 

    Kim Johnson

Siloam Mission

Siloam Mission - Winnipeg

Siloam Mission – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Summer finally here!  Yay!  I just arrived home from a wonderful 10 days with our church youth group.  We spent a week serving people experiencing homelessness at Siloam Mission in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  They have an awesome program called Under the Radar geared at educating youth on the causes and effects of homelessness.  Our group really enjoyed serving Winnipeg’s less fortunate as they were put out of their comfort zone and learned Siloam is serving in so many ways in Winnipeg!

Here are some of the ways that we served during our time there:

  • Helping with food prep in the kitchen which included chopping veggies, making croutons, stirring soup, peeling potatoes, making homemade tortilla chips, etc.
  • Serving meals to the patrons…and offering smiles!
  • Picking up garbage on the street with those who have experienced homelessness and hearing a little of their life’s story.
  • Making phone calls to thank those that support Siloam financially.
  • Sorting clothing donations and having tons of fun trying on some crazy clothes!
  • Helping patrons select a “new” set of clothes.
  • Doing some major cleaning at a warehouse building owned by Siloam.
  • Washing walls, door frames, window frames and sills, dining room chairs and tables…all at The Madison a new transitional housing project.

God was really at work in the hearts and lives of our students and through their times of service, devotions, testimonies, prayer, and fellowship…it’s such a blessing to see young people growing in their relationship’s with God and each other!

If you live anywhere near Winnipeg you should consider making a visit to Siloam Mission and volunteering for a day or two.  It’s a great way to be the hands and feet of Jesus!

“A connecting point between the compassionate and Winnipeg’s less fortunate, Siloam Mission is a Christian humanitarian agency offering programs and services at no charge to those experiencing homelessness.

Siloam Mission alleviates the hardships of the poor and homeless, assists in transitioning them into self-sufficient and generous lifestyles, and advocates nationwide on their behalf.”        

 www.siloam.ca

Steps

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Have you ever felt stuck? Like you weren’t moving forward? Or, maybe you felt like you were sliding backwards.

To be honest I think we all feel this way at some point in our lives or maybe many times. But the good news is that that even if you are feeling stuck today, God is still at work in your life. Isn’t that great! Whether or not you have asked Jesus to lead you through life, God still loves you and is directing your steps. He is drawing each of us closer to Himself. One step at a time.

I made the choice many years ago to give Jesus control of my life, by asking forgiveness for my sins and asking Jesus to be a part of my life in a real way.

It’s amazing for me to look back on my life and see how God has always been directing my steps. I haven’t always felt like I was making progress and I haven’t always trusted God’s direction in my life like I should. It’s easy to get discouraged or to think that we know what our lives should look like. But thankfully when we follow God’s leading he doesn’t let us down.

Recently, I returned from Appointee Orientation at World Venture, a big step on my journey as a missionary. One of the things I really enjoyed about this training was the chance to meet other men and women who God has lead into missions work. Hearing pieces of their stories and how God has been directing their steps was truly a blessing! Sometimes it helps to be reminded that we are each on a journey with God and although our journeys may look very different we each have our ups and downs or moments of uncertainty. But the key to being faithful is allowing God to uses us to bring Him glory…no matter what the journey looks like!

The Journey

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I want to share with you about the journey God has me on.

To start let me take you back to when God first began to open my eyes and heart to other cultures…
I grew upon a Christian home and at the age of 12 had the chance to go on my first mission trip…which really opened my eyes to the world of missions. But this was just the first step on a journey I didn’t yet know I was on.

Throughout high school and college God used many different experiences to affirm my interest in missions. After college I got involved in serving in my home church and even though I was still looking ahead to mission work, I began to wonder if I could stay here and serve. (I am truly a homebody at heart.) But I knew that God had placed in my heart a passion for missions and I needed to pursue that!

So last spring I began working with World Venture, a missions organization. They helped me work thru my giftings and interests to find the perfect ministry for me.

That ministry is working with street boys in Western Africa. I will be working with the boys at a day center, helping meet their physical and spiritual needs. The boys that come to the day center aren’t orphans, but most of them have little to no contact with their families. Traditionally parents send their sons into the city to study and live with a teacher. But sadly, many of the teachers are just looking to live an easy life at the expense of the boys. Many are not fed or cared for and as part of their training they are forced to beg and if they fail to beg enough, many times they are beat.
The day center provides a place for the boys to call “home” by providing them with a meal, education, games, and most importantly the love and hope of Jesus!

I am very excited that God has called me to minister to these boys and amazed how he has worked out the details of my life to lead me to this point! I can’t wait to share more of my journey with you in the future!

DIY Toothpaste

This isn’t my toothbrush!

Happy Easter! How thankful I am that we have a reason to celebrate! Everything I believe is based on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago…it’s the joy of the ages!! Jesus is Lord and has power over death and the grave!

Here the recipe for a simple toothpaste I have been using for the last year or so. Before I made this, I searched around the Internet looking for a good recipe for homemade toothpaste. The following recipe is a mix of some that I liked the best and has been adjusted over the past year. We like it and I think it works well.

Actually, after I had been using it for just a month or two I went to the dentist. Normally I have a lot of plague, but it seemed better this time. So I asked my hygienist about it and she agreed, then I told her about my homemade toothpaste, which she found interesting. I’m looking forward to going back in a few weeks, I’m curious how my teeth/gums are holding up after a year of no commercial toothpaste.

DIY Toothpaste:
2 Tbsp. Coconut oil
3 Tbsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Xylitol or Stevia
10-15 drops Essential oil
1 tsp. vegetable glycine (optional)
1 Tbsp. Hydrogen Peroxide (optional)

– Measure and soften coconut oil. If it’s a hot day the coconut oil should already be soft enough.
– Stir in the sweetener. I use xylitol which is supposed to be really great for your teeth, but stevia is a good alternative.
– Add essential oils of your liking, you may need more drops depending on how strong you want your toothpaste to be. Peppermint and cinnamon are classic toothpaste flavors, but don’t be afraid to try something new! I’ve thought about making an orange-peppermint flavor for kids. Or, if you have sensitive teeth or gums adding some clove oil may help.
– The glycerine and peroxide are optional, but they do add something to the feel of the toothpaste. The glycerin helps the toothpaste be a little more smooth, but I’ve made it with and without. For me the peroxide is a must! It makes the toothpaste foam ever so slightly as you use it, which makes it have that bubbly cleaning feeling of commercial toothpaste.
– Now comes the fun part…try it out! I never get tired of trying out my newest batch of toothpaste.

This makes right around 1/2 cup. I store mine in a “Glad” container with a lid that is easy to remove. I would love to keep it in a cute little jar, but since it’s in the bathroom I would be afraid of it falling on the floor and breaking. This seems to last quite well, although sometimes I have to add a drop or two of oil near the end, as the flavor dissipates a little.
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Well, I hope you have fun trying this out and I you have any questions or suggestions feel free to share! Oh, just a reminder, I’m in no way trained in dental health so you may want to research homemade toothpaste for yourself.

Here is a link to one of the main recipes I started with.

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything, I have a list of things I’ve been wanting to share with you. I’m hoping to have some time in the next few weeks to catch up.

Gifts from God

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I’m so thankful for the sun rising earlier and setting later!  It’s amazing how something so simple can make such a difference your day. Those of you who live in Northern MN, or other areas that are farther North, know what it’s like.
Just a few short months ago the sun wasn’t rising until after 8am and was setting before 5pm. So, when I woke up at 6:45 on Sunday morning and it was already light outside, it felt like a gift from God. Then on my way to church all the branches and fence posts were covered in frost and the sun was shining it’s way thru the fog…I felt like God had created that moment in time just for me.
Have you ever experienced moments were you felt like God was handing you a gift? I hope you have experieced moments like I did the other morning on my way to church. But if you haven’t maybe today is that day! Take a look around you…maybe God has given you a gift and you’ve been to busy to notice. Many times when I fail to notice each of the gifts God gives me in a single day. Sometimes it’s because I’m too busy and other times I’m just ungrateful or unwilling to see the ways God wants to bless me.
My willingness to see and accept God’s gifts in my life shouldn’t be dependent on how I’m feeling. But rather, I should be seeking to glorify God in everything. Only then do we see the gifts God has for us!

I pray that today you will chose to give God the glory in your life and that you will enjoy the gifts that only He can give!

Bible reading in 2013

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It seems that each new year brings a new adventure in Bible reading for me. But to be honest that hasn’t always been the story. Growing up I knew the value of reading my Bible daily, yet I never developed the discipline of studying God’s word on a daily basis. In high school I was convicted how important regular Bible reading was, but I was still quite irregular in my commitment. My first year of college I read through the Old Testament in the Fall and the New Testament in the Spring, both for Bible survey classes. But my personal time of reading was still somewhat inconsistent. It wasn’t until Christmas of 2008 that my Bible reading habits changed.

On Christmas day that year my grandpa passed away, it was quite the shock, but thankfully he had been a Christian for many years. So although it was hard to have him gone, it was a blessing to know that he knew and loved the Lord and that he would be with him for all eternity. While at my grandparent’s church, the pastor challenged the congregation read one chapter of Proverbs everyday. I don’t know why but the challenge stuck and a habit was formed. Everyday (well almost) of 2008 I read one of the 31 chapters of Proverbs. In 2009 I read through the New Testament and in 2010 I attempted to read through the Old Testament, but I got slowed down and only made it through 2 Chronicles. Last our youth pastor challenged the students to read through the Bible in a year.  Reading God’s Story – A Chronological Daily Bible This was a great new way to read the Bible, I really enjoyed the chronological approach to Bible reading. If you have never read the Bible chronologically before please check out the link above, it’s not to start, January is an easy read!

So, what does 2013 have in store for my Bible reading journey? My goal is to read a new book of the Bible every month. If it’s a short book I will read the book multiple times throughout the month. The idea is to become more familiar with multiple books, rather than just having an overview of the whole Bible or a few favorite verses from each book. I’m also hoping to read one Psalm per day. Both of these ideas came from listening to Christian radio.

If your journey looks anything like mine I challenge you, make this new year the year to get into God’s word!
I would love to hear about your Bible reading adventure!