Change is good…?

I’m not a big fan of change.  But God has brought me through many changes in my life.  Some of them normal changes that everyone faces at sometime or another…and some less common.

I don’t like change much more now, then I did as an 8-year-old.  I remember one night getting out of bed and crying to my Mom and Dad…why was I crying?  Because I didn’t want to grow up.  I experienced those same feelings many times throughout my growing up years, I can remember many nights thinking, “I wish I could go back to being a little kid again.” Finally in my mid to late teens I decided I didn’t want to go through the work of growing up again…so I had better get use to the idea of becoming an adult.

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It’s funny thinking about that now!  It seems so long ago.  I glad I can look back on my life and see how God works through the changes…how he has shaped me into the woman I am today.  But even still, I sometimes still find myself struggling to stay the same, to avoid change.

Some changes are so necessary in our lives.  Such as repenting of sin and choosing to allow God to wash us clean.  One big change for me this year has been moving to Senegal…choosing to face a big change in my life in order to follow God’s leading.  It is not easy and some days I wonder why God has asked me to make such a big change.  I’m so thankful that if I take the time to look back on my life, thus far, I can see God’s hand in it all changing me and shaping me.  I am choosing to respond with trust in God to the changes I face.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

By the way…do you like the changes I made to the blog? 😉

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“Here am I. Send me.”

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“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:33-34

2In January I spent 10 days at World Venture Headquarters in Littleton, Colorado.  During my first few days there I attended Pre-Departure training, which was filled with great information to help me prepare for this next chapter in my journey.  The sessions covered topics such as integrity, mourning, transitions, as well as logistical issues of moving to another country.

During my time in Colorado I also attended Renewal Conference, which is held annually for all World Venture missionaries on home assignment.  The goal of RC is to help us missionaries connect on a deeper level with God, each other and World Venture.  The first few days were spent in corporate and personal prayer, along with times of worship.  Later on in the week we heard from many of the World Venture leadership and missionaries, giving guidance and encouragement to each of us.

My time was blessed by all that I was learning and also by the friendships God placed in my life.  I was blessed by getting to know three other single ladies who are each on their own journey to locations around the world, it’s so nice to have friends who are headed down the same road you are.

I also got to meet the lovely ladies in the picture above, each of them have been serving God in Senegal for many years.  They were all so welcoming and encouraging to me and I can’t wait to join them in ministry!

 

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God has used so many different things to speak into my life and lead me to become a missionary.  For over a decade I have told God, “I will go. Send me.”  Now the time has come, God is sending me out.  If everything goes as planned the next newsletter you receive from me will be sent from Senegal!  It’s such an amazing feeling to look back on my life and see the gentle ways God has been directing my life and to see his faithfulness in getting me to this point.
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The question I have heard a lot recently is, “Do you have a departure date set?”  The exciting answer is that I do have a tentative date set.  It’s only tentative because I haven’t been given clearance to buy a ticket yet, but soon!

Another question I hear often is, “Are you getting excited?”  I have such a mixed reaction to this.  I am definitely excited for what God is doing in my life and I’m looking forward to seeing how he will use me in Senegal.  But, I also struggle with being anxious about all the changes that await me.  I know that moving to a new country won’t be easy and I don’t relish being away from my family and friends.  I’m so thankful to be able to look back at my life and see how God has provided for me and my family, it helps me remember that he will continue to provide.

Final Thoughts…

As I sit here writing to you it is 2 degrees outside, with big beautiful snowflakes gently falling and I am relishing the view.   As much as this winter has been cold and long, I know when I’m in Africa I will miss looking out my window in the winter and see the snow falling.  But I can’t wait to see what sights and sounds await me that I can share with you!

I truly covet your prayers over the coming weeks.  There are so many goodbye I must say, all with differing degrees of difficultly.  I know that God will see me through this step of following him, but I ask you to pray that those I leave behind with be reminded of the same thing!

 

One-time Expenses – 100%

Monthly Expenses – 90%

 

Thank you for your prayers,

Kim Johnson

 

 

August Newsletter

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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

 

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

Walking…

I decided last month that I needed to start taking a walk at least twice a week…but due a busy schedule, bad weather, etc, etc, I failed to begin my weekly walks.

My desire to start walking comes from a desire to be healthier.  During my senior year of college (2008) I spent evenings working out with a number of my friends.  We would lift weights, run around the gym or up and down the stairs, do crunches during movies, all which added up to me being the healthiest I have been as an adult.

In the past five years my exercise habits and hence my health has had its ups and downs.  This winter I began to feel especially sluggish, so this spring I began to realized that I really need to be more motivated to take care of my health.  Thus the bi-weekly walks.  Beyond my physical need to get out and walk, is my spiritual need to get out and walk.

One of my favorite ways to connect with God is to spend time surrounded by beauty of His creation!

Yesterday, I made the first of hopefully many walks this summer.  I didn’t walk as far as I hoped I would…but I’ll get better!  It was really nice to get outside, exercise, spend sometime talking with God and soaking in the beauty God has placed all around me!

Here are a few pictures remind you of some of God’s simple blessings in our lives.

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What are some of your favorite ways to connect with God?

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.