Lentil Soup – THM E

I am anxiously awaiting the cool season here in Senegal. A few weeks ago we had a break in the heat and it seemed as if cooler weather was just around the corner. Sadly the progress is slow going. Now I’m just hoping it cools off by the time my Mom arrives from Minnesota on November 23rd!

Yes, you read that right. My Mom is coming to Dakar! She will be here in 10 days from now! I can’t wait! It has been almost exactly 10 months since I saw her last. I am so excited to have her here with me for a few weeks! It will be fun to show her around and have her meet all my friends here.

In my excitement I am also trying to make sure I have food in the freezer so that we don’t need to be cooking the whole time. Although, we both do enjoy cooking and it will be nice to cook together again! So today I decided to make some Lentil Soup and freeze it.

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All of the ingredients ready to go. Except the tomato paste…I forgot to get it in the picture.

This recipe is one I threw together earlier this fall and liked it so much I have made it a few times. It’s really easy to make, so I thought I should share it! You can also make it more like stew by using less chicken broth.

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Now it’s time to bring it to a boil!

(I’ll try to add a picture of the finished soup when I pull it out of the freezer…I forgot to take one before I put it away.)

My Mom has been following the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating about 1 1/2 years and I have been trying to eat that way as much as possible since June. If you are interested in learning more you can check out the website by clicking here.  This recipe is considered an E, which stands for energizing. It would be really tasty with a slice of homemade sourdough bread! The the recipe I use is from Gwen’s Nest and is also a THM E.

So as you being to feel the chill of fall here is a great recipe to warm up with!

Lentil Soup – THM E

4 cups Chicken broth
1 1/2 cups Lentils (cooked)
or
[2 cups Lentils (uncooked) and 8 cups Chicken broth]
2 Carrots
1 med. Onion
3 cloves Garlic
2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
3 Bay leaves
1/4 tsp. Thyme
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/8 tsp. Turmeric powder
Salt and Pepper

——–

  • Chop carrots and onion. Mince garlic.
  • Add everything to a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat down, cover and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes.
  • If using uncooked lentil simmer for at least 1 hour.

There you have it…simple! Enjoy!

Old News

Wow! It has been way too long since I posted anything here. I got on today to look for my Homemade Soft Pretzel recipe and noticed it had been three months since I had written anything. Three months! So decided I had better get on and write something…even if I don’t feel like I have much to share right now.

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Traffic in downtown Dakar on a Tuesday afternoon. Often cars come within just a few inches of hitting each other.

After living in Senegal for over 15 months I think I have forgotten what would seem new and interesting to someone who has never been here. But I think if I try to look at life through your eyes I will find things to write about that will interest you. If you have questions about life in Senegal please leave me a comment and I will try to write a post about it! My life has been so full of new things since I moved here. Things I don’t want to forget…so even if its old news I’ll start sharing some of it with you!

Let’s go back 7 months ago today.

On December 25th, at 2 am I flew out of Dakar. I was headed home to Minnesota for my brother’s wedding! About 22 hours later, I was getting some of the best hugs of my life! What a sweet Christmas memory! I wasn’t expecting to be home at all during my two years here in Senegal, so it was extra special to be home for Christmas. God is so good! My brother’s wedding was such a special day and the time with all of my family was truly a blessing! I’m so thankful that God worked out the details for me go home for a visit and that he knows our needs even before we do.

Here are some pictures of my trip. I didn’t take all the pictures I should have…but I enjoyed each moment with family and friends! Which is sometimes more important than capturing the moments in a pictures right?

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Celebrating Christmas!

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Christmas dinner #2 – I loved getting to spend time with all of my nieces! They are getting so big!

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Coffee time with the soon-to-be bride and groom!

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Hugs from my big bro…the best!

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My beautiful Mom, dashing Dad and wonderful aunt on the day of the wedding.

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My old car all decked out as the wedding get-away vehicle.

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Fun family dinner…some of us look like we were having a little too much fun!

Toubab Cooking – Jewish Apple Cake

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Last Saturday I decided it was time to try my hand at some baking…just to make sure my baking skills were the same in Senegal as they were in Minnesota.  As of today I have been in Dakar for three weeks.  The time seems to have simply melted away.  Although it hasn’t been too hot, but it has been windy…so maybe I should say that the time seems to have blown away!

Here in Senegal it is hard to find good sandwich bread like we are familiar with in America and if you can find some it quite expensive…like — for a loaf! So making bread was high on my to-do list.  I was really hoping it would turn out good.  I was worried that the difference in climate and possible difference in ingredients would make it flop.  I used my recipe for Honey Oatmeal Bread and it turned out great!  The only thing I did different was I left out the wheat flour, as I couldn’t find it here.

I also wanted to make something sweet that we had all the ingredients for…so I made a family favorite, Jewish Apple Cake!  My Mom has been making this moist, cinnamon apple cake for as long as I can rem
ember.  But it was my grandma who first found the recipe in a local newspaper in the 1960’s.  The original recipe called for layering the cake batter and apples, but with having a large family and trying to save some time my grandma decided to simple fold the apples in instead!  As a young girl, I always remember my Mom getting complements  when ever she would make this cake for company…so it seemed like the perfect recipe to begin my time in Senegal!

I hope you enjoy making and eating this cake as much as my family and I do!

Jewish Apple Cake

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

4 lg. eggs

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

1/3 cup Orange juice (I used mango and pineapple juice)

2 tsp. vanilla

5 apples

4 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup raisins (opt.)

1 cup nuts (opt.)

——-

1/4 cup sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon – mixed together.  Use for dusting the pan.

——-

Instructions:

– Grease a 9×13 inch pan and dust with cinnamon/sugar mixture.  This works great on a variety of sweet breads and cakes!  Save any extra to top the cake.

– Peel, core and thinly slice apples…I like to use a variety of apples if I can.  Mix cinnamon (2 tsp.) and sugar (4 Tbsp.). Toss with apples until well coated.

– In a large bowl add flour, sugar and baking powder. Mix.

– In another bowl mix together the eggs, oil, juice and vanilla.  Then add to the dry ingredients.

– Mix until thoroughly combined.

– Gently fold in apples and the nuts or raisins.

– Pour into your greased pan and top with any extra cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour

Enjoy!

Toubab – a Wolof word for white person. (Pronounced: to-bob)

Quick story…so last week I visited a local market for the first time.  There were lots of cute little kids running around many of them would come up to us singing, “Toubab, toubab! Bonjour, toubab!”  Many of them may have only seen a white person a few times in their lives.  They were so cute and polite, some of them wanted to come up and shake our hands!  It made my first time to the market a memorable experience.

 

God’s timing

Hello friends and family!

Right now I am in Littleton, Colorado getting settled in for my last training with World Venture!  You may remember reading in my December Newsletter that I needed to reach 60% by the end of December in order to go to Pre-Departure training in January (and if I missed that training the next one wasn’t until June).  Well, as I have seen many times in the last 6 months God provided above and beyond what I needed.  As of today I have partners for 78% of my monthly expenses!!!
 
I will be in Colorado until the 24th of January and I will be home and will begin the final stretch to the finish line.  I am hoping to be ready to leave for Senegal in early March…but we shall see what God has planned! I have to have 100% of my expenses raised before I can leave, so please be in prayer.  I know that if God wants me in Senegal in March he can make that happen and if he has a different timing planed, then it will be perfect! 
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Here is a picture of World Venture’s headquarters where my training is taking place.  There will be 18 of us involved in this training, which is aimed at preparing us for the next few months ahead and transitioning to the mission field!  
 
Thank you all for your prayers…I am so thankful to have so many Godly people in my life!!!
 
 

December Newsletter

I love this time of year…first there’s Thanksgiving, then Christmas and finally New Year’s Day! Each holiday is different, but each one helps me turn my thoughts to God; what he has done, is doing and will do in my life.  I hope and pray that as each year passes I am better at recognizing the gifts God has given me and then presenting those gifts back to him.

This year I have approached the holidays with a different perspective than normal.  This new perspective comes from the fact that the next time I will possibly be at home with my family for the holidays is in 2016.  Even that is dependent on how God leads me in the next two years.

As I have pondered this truth it has made me all the more grateful to have this time with my family.  I would encourage you to enjoy your holiday celebrations with the same gratefulness!  Each moment that God has given us is precious and if God has blessed you with family and friends don’t take those relationships for granted.

It’s hard to believe that 2013 will soon give way to a new year.  I hope that throughout this year you have had chances to grow and mature in your walk with God.  I am looking forward to all that God has in store to teach me in the coming year.  There will be so many new things in my life in 2014!  It is exciting, but also a little scary.

Earlier this year one of my partners reminded of God’s command to Joshua to be “strong and courageous.”  He says it four times in chapter one alone. He knows how easy it is for us to lose sight of him and get caught up in our fears, but when we look to him and remember his promises we are given the power we need to be strong and courageous.  Let’s live our lives in His strength this year!

Sharing out of PovertyHe’s only six, but he said, “I have enough to share.”

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One day little Ouseynou told us not to give money to our littlest t boys if they needed help because they happened to be short on their quotas for the day.  Ouseynou said he had it covered.  We asked him what he meant and he said, “I have enough to share and I want to help them.”

What a joy it was to all of us to hear that this little boy, who has nothing but his begging can and flip-flops, cares so much for the littler ones! And this has now become a daily occurrence on Ouseynou’s part.

We are humbled and encouraged by such a selfless act by one of these terribly neglected and mistreated children of Senegal.  That such generosity can come out of such a miserable life could be a wonder, or it could be a testimony to the transforming power of the love of Christ and God’s word.

(Shared with permission from Dave and Denise McCarthy’s 2010 newsletter)

Final Thoughts…

I am so excited to share with you how God has been moving since I last wrote to you!   It has been such an encouragement and blessing to see my support levels continue to rise and to know it is only a result of God’s goodness.

One-time Expenses – 100%

 Monthly Expenses – 66%

In January and February I hope to finish up meeting with friends and churches.  Also, in January I will be attending my final training with World Venture at their headquarters in Littleton, Colorado!  I am excited to see how God will bring all the final pieces of the amazing journey together in the next few months.  If you haven’t gotten to visit with me in person about my plans I would love to get together with you, just give me a call or email me and we can set up a time to get together!

Thank you for your prayers!

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Family Time

The last two weeks have been full of fun family times!

Ok, so this isn’t quite what our Thanksgiving dinner looked like…but close!

My brother Mark and his wife Jenny arrived at our house the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and were able to stay until Saturday. What a blessing!!!  We enjoyed a nice visit together and an awesome Thanksgiving dinner.  I’m so thankful they were able to come and stay with us…life gets so busy sometimes that these moments of time are so precious!  

In some ways I feel like my time for special family moments is running out…

God has continued to provide the partners I need to begin ministry in Senegal.  I now have partners for 60% of my monthly support…which is an awesome feeling!  It’s so exciting to see God moving me forward on this journey!

Moving forward is good, but it can also be hard.  Starting this new chapter in the story God is writing with my life means that another chapter is coming to a close.  I have always had a hard time with knowing how to deal with change, so I have to keep reminding myself that God has always been with me and he will see me through these changes too.

So, my Thanksgiving this year was a little bittersweet…it will be three years before I am home to celebrate another Thanksgiving with my family.  But I am confident that God will see me through the times of sadness that I’m sure will come as I celebrate next year in Senegal!

Ok. Picture time!

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Hunting for the perfect Christmas tree!
Mimi – Angela – Papa

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Angela – Auntie Kim

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Here’s our perfect tree!!!

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The girls had lots of fun decorating the tree while Papa watched!

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Mimi’s good at reaching the high branches!

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Our puzzle project…didn’t quite finish it. Maybe next time!

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Angela…the little baker girl!

 

Fun Fact Friday

Here is a fun fact many of you don’t know…my sister-in-law Jennifer is writing a book series!

“The House of Envy” – Chapter 19

Jen has loved fantasies since she was little and about six years ago she began writing.  Her first book The House of Envy is geared toward young adult to adult women…it looks at where we get our sense of worth and beauty!  It’s a heartwarming and intriguing tale that will be enjoyed women, as well as men.  She is currently working on her second book which is geared toward men.

I feel so blessed to have a sister-in-law that is truly like a sister to me!  It’s hard to believe she has been a part of my life for 10 years already…I look forward to seeing our relationship grow and change over the next ten years.  Jen has been such a Godly example to me.   Through trials and joys I have seen her cling to God and continue to praise him…not always an easy thing to do!

Feel free to check out her blog and read a few excerpts of her book…I know she would love your input!

Here is a link to her blog…Inspired Allegorical Tales

This is a sweet children’s story she wrote not long ago…Actually Ashley

This is my niece…isn’t she a cutie?

“For such is the Kingdom of God”

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As God has called me to minister to street boys in Senegal, I am reminded of Jesus’ love for little children.  “Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19:14)

For me, love will include serving the boys through tasks that may not always be pleasant.  But no task was too small or beneath Jesus as He served here on earth. In Philippians 2:7, Paul says this about Jesus “He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.”  I am thankful for these reminders from the Bible about what ministry should look like!  I’m blessed by the chance to serve Him by loving his children in Senegal.

I am continually amazed with how much God loves each and every one of His children…you and me, street boys in Senegal, those living in war torn countries, the rich, the poor and those that may seem unlovable.  I have been reminded of God’s love for me numerous times over the last few months.  As I strive to follow Him and share with others about the ministry He has called me to it is easy to get lost in the daily grind, but each time I start to feel worn down, God brings something into my life to encourage me and remind me that I’m not alone.  He has set me on this path and He will be with me all the way…what a blessing!
Earlier this month my family and I had the chance to go on a road trip to visit extended family.  We had a great time visiting, fellowshipping and reminiscing!  It was really nice to be able to share with my family about the ministry I will be a part of in Dakar…and I have been blessed as God has led many of them to support me in this journey!  Knowing I have their prayers and support means so much to me!

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“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers I pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel.”

Philippians 1:3-5

 

Can you believe that the month of October is almost gone? Before we know it Thanksgiving and Christmas will be upon us.  I’m very thankful to be at home for the holidays this year celebrating with family and friends close by!  But I’m also looking forward to being in Dakar next year for the holidays.  

Final Thoughts…

As 2013 quickly draws to a close my mind turns to all of the things God has been doing in my life this year and all that 2014 will hold.  I am so thankful for all of my friends and family who have been praying for me throughout this journey…I can really feel God’s strength upholding me through each of you!

My hope and prayer is that I will be able to attend World Venture’s pre-departure training in January.  (This is a required training that I must complete before leaving for Senegal.)  To attend I must be at 60% of my monthly expenses.  If I am unable to attend in January I will have to wait until June for the next training.  Please be praying with me that God will allow me to reach my goal!

Also, if you have made a verbal commitment to support me but haven’t yet sent in a commitment to World Venture, please do so.  (Making a commitment doesn’t mean you have to begin sending in support yet…you can wait until I head out for Senegal, if you want.)  If you have questions, call or talk to me…I’ll be glad to help!

 

One-time Expenses – 90%

Monthly Expenses – 40%

 

Thank you for your prayers,

Kim Johnson
 
 

The Johnson’s Harvest Party – Minnesota Event Photographer

Here is a post from a dear friend about a Harvest Blessings Party we had at our house recently. Enjoy!!

Whispers of Light Photography

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”
— W.T. Purkiser

My lovely friend Kim is preparing to head out to follow a call into serving God in Senegal. She and her wonderful family are some of the dearest people you’ll ever meet. They thought it would be fun to gather together some friends out on their charming farm, and have a sort of harvest party– a time of fellowship to come together and thank the Lord for all that He gives.  Friends dressed in 1800’s style costumes, games, great food, a pie contest, a dance, and a whole lot of family-fun ensued, and I got to capture just a bit of the beautiful evening with my lens 🙂

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Thank you, lovely Johnson Family, for being such great friends to so many people, and for hosting such a special…

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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