Birthday Blessings

Happy b-day edit

Thursday I turned 29. This past week has been filled with blessings…birthday gifts from God.

The week before my birthday I was treated to lunch by some friends as an early birthday present! Not only did they buy me lunch…they also showered my with some very thoughtful gifts!

[PICTURES TO COME…]

All week God has been showering me with beautiful sunsets! These pictures are a poor replacement for the real thing…the color and layering of clouds has been truly breathtaking!

Thanksgiving edit

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and this year it was my birthday too! I traveled with some friends to our teammate’s house, about an hour and a half away, to celebrate the holiday together. On the way there my friends sang “Happy Birthday” to me and I received some lovely cards from my “nieces”! We also saw a monkey running across the road…that was a first! I wish I had a picture of that to share with you.

29th b-day! edit

I am so thankful that although I am far from home God has giving me “family” to celebrate special days with! Not only did I have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner and pie…I also had a yummy chocolate cake to make my day special!

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As a perfect ending to my day, I spent 1 1/2 on Skype with my family! It was so nice to talk to all of them! My 2-year-old niece sang “Happy Birthday” to me and gave me so many computer hugs and kisses!  Then the big girls joined the call and sang to me again! I can’t wait to see them all next month!

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Today I arrived home and was greeted by a surprise…I cake made with a mix and frosting my mom had sent!  I had no idea she had sent a cake for my birthday, it was such a sweet unexpected surprise! So my friends sang “Happy Birthday” to me and we had some chocolate cake together!

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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! 
Picture of working environment / staff candid photo
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!!!
 
 

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

 

Minnesota Summers

As I was driving into town today I was thinking of all the things that I enjoy about summer time.  Living in Northern Minnesota really makes you appreciate summer, as the winters can sometimes be unbearably long and cold.  Now, I’m sure there are some who live in states where their summer’s are HOT, like much of my extended family who live in New Jersey, that may say that our high 70’s – low 80’s is a bit chilly for summer.  But it suits me just fine.  I have also been savoring the changing of seasons here more, knowing that when I am in Senegal the seasons will be much different then I am use to.

To change the topic of just a moment…I’m sure many of you have heard of the book One Thousand Gifts – A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are At by Ann Voskamp.  I first heard Ann speaking about her book on one of my favorite radio programs, Chris Fabry Live.

Here is the publisher’s synopsis of her book,  “Drawing heartbreaking beauty out of the simplest of details, Ann Voskamp invites you into her grace-bathed life of farming, parenting, and writing—and deeper still into your own life. Here you will discover a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of living that is fully alive, and a way of becoming present to God that brings you deep and lasting joy.”

Last winter I read most of the book and while it was very good, I’m embarrassed to tell you I didn’t finish it.  I have a bad habit of reading most of a book but never quite finishing it (unless it’s a novel).  Another thing that slowed me down a bit was Ann’s writing style it very poetic and that made it a little hard to follow at times.  But, that being said, I still really want to read the whole thing sometime.

Anyway…ever since reading One thousand Gifts – A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, I have been making my own list.  But, so far this summer I’ve been very lax about actually writing anything down.  So, I’ve decided to share some of the things I’ve found myself being thankful for this summer.  Feel free to leave a comment with things you thankful for today!  The more we look for the beauty around us the more we see and know God!

 

1. The lush green of the fields, forests, ditches, yards, and gardens

2. The smell of strawberries fresh from the garden…I really wish I could bottle that smell for the cold winter days

3. A swarm of bees flying overhead, looking for a new home

4. The smell of dirt after a rain

5. Potlucks with dear friends

6. Hanging wash out on the line

7. The warm clothes just off the line that smell of summer and sunshine

8. Evenings spent with friends sharing how God is at work in my life…drawing me to Africa

9. Phone calls with a “little” brother far away

10. Watching my niece profess her faith in God by being baptized

11. Eating perfectly ripe raspberries out of the garden

12. Moments of working together with my Mom

13. Drives to work in the morning with my Dad

14. A perfect sunset

The list could go on and on…but to be perfectly honest, I have had to stop and consider what to write here.  God has given each of us so much to be thankful for, even when life is hard, but so often we take it for granted.  Or, at least I know I do.  I have been trying to soak in the little moments of joy that come my way so often, to acknowledge the gifts God sends my way every day.  Even when I am pulling weeds in the garden, washing dishes or mopping a floor, there are things to be thankful for.

I would truly love to hear some of the things you are finding to be thankful for…please take a minute to share!

World’s Best Homemade Pizza

After many years of trying to perfect our pizza crust my Mom and I finally hit upon a perfect recipe a few years back!  Now, I can’t claim that this crust is healthy but…pizza isn’t suppose to be healthy is it?  In the past we have tried to add in whole wheat, wheat germ, garlic powder, basil, etc.  But keeping it simple seems to be the best option it allows the full flavor of the toppings to shine through.

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Last week I got the chance to have my dear friend Leah and her new husband over for lunch.  It was a great chance to catch up with her and get to know the love of her life better!  She is really quite the woman of God and we always have such a nice time visiting…although our visits can be very few and far between. (If you want to you can check out her photography…a great new undertaking!)

It had been a long time since I had made pizza and I decided it would make a perfect lunch for my guests.  To help the lunch seem special I decided against the traditional pepperoni, sausage, or supreme pizza.  Instead, I opted for an elegant (Can I call pizza elegant?) chicken-bacon-broccoli pizza with an Alfredo sauce and a BBQ beef pizza.

I hope you will give this homemade pizza a try and enjoy it as much as my family and I do!

Ok, ok!  I know you are all saying, “When is she going to stop talking and give us the recipe?”  So, here is it.

Easy Pizza Crust

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp yeast

1 Tbsp sugar (or other sweetener)

1 tsp salt

2 cups of hot water (Hotter than lukewarm, but not too hot…it will kill the yeast.)

1 Tbsp oil (vegetable, olive, whatever)

– Mix together 2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Then add hot water and thoroughly mix.

– Next add the rest of the flour a 1/2 cup at a time mixing as you go. At the end use your hands to knead in remaining flour, then form into a ball.  Dough may still be sticky, but that’s okay it’s what gives this pizza a nice soft crust.

– Pour the oil on top of your dough, roll to cover.  Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm place to rise.

– Let rise for around 20 minutes, in the winter months it may take 30 minutes.

– Punch down dough and split evenly into two balls.  Form dough until it reaches your desired thickness…I use my hands for this part, but my Mom prefers using a rolling-pin.

– Now have fun and top with all your family favorites!

Bake @ 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes

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Isn’t it cute how the yeast made a heart!

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Make sure to mix thoroughly!

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Begin adding in the extra flour.

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Pour oil onto your dough – make sure to coat all the dough and the bowl.

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Here’s the dough split equally.

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All ready for toppings!

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Pizza #1 with Alfredo sauce and parsley.

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Pizza #1 with chicken, bacon, and broccoli added…all it needs now is cheese!

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We each enjoyed a piece of this marvelous pizza!

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Pizza #2 is so simple – I just fried up a pound of ground beef and added barbecue sauce at the end.

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Pizza #2 I topped the meat with cheddar and mozzarella. I was amazing!

This recipe for crust can be used for many great meals!  Try making bread-sticks, pizza pockets, or easy dinner rolls (just remember the baking time may be different)!!

I would love to hear if you try this recipe and what you think of it!