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!

Fresh laundry

Today was a perfect day to hang clothes out on the line!  Hot and windy…I think they will dry quicker on the line then in the dryer!  I don’t know about you but I love the smell of clothes dried in the hot sun.

Old-Fashion Strawberry Pie

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I have to start off by saying that I really enjoyed this pie!  I don’t know why I have never made a baked strawberry pie before…but I certainly will be making one again!

We had a great strawberry crop this year, harvesting 21 lbs of berries so far (I’m hoping to pick our last pound or two tomorrow), so I have been fun finding news ways to enjoy our berries.  Most years we  freeze some of the berries for a winter treat, make a strawberry shortcake or two and make some jam.  We did make our traditional strawberry shortcake, but I have also made a few batches of strawberry Italian water ice and most importantly this lovely pie!

When I decided to make a pie I started scouring Pinterest for the perfect recipe.  At first I thought I wanted to make a pie with strawberries topping a chocolate ganache, it sounded really yummy, but not quite what I was looking for.  Then I came across this recipe and realized that it was just what I was looking for!

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Dark Chocolate Strawberry Pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Pie Dough

2½ cups flour, plus ½ cup extra for kneading

2 tbsp sugar

½ tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, chopped into small chunks

2 tsp vinegar

5 tbsp ice-cold water

Filling

5 cups strawberries, rinsed and halved

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar (reserve ¼ cup for sprinkling at the end)

½ tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp quick tapioca

Juice from 1 lemon

¼ cup dark chocolate chips

2 tbsp butter

Instructions –

For the pie dough, combine flour, sugar and salt.  Use your fingers to combine (Or a pastry fork, it’s up to you…I prefer using my hands). Add in butter chunks and continue mixing until small crumbs form. Gradually add in liquid, until a dough forms. Don’t worry if it is too sticky.

Remove dough from bowl and knead on a clean floured counter for about a minute until it is no longer sticky. Divide dough into two even sized balls. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about one hour.

Roll out one batch of pie dough to fit into a greased pie pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the bottom of the pie shell.

Combine berries, brown sugar, ¼ cup white sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and tapioca.

Pour strawberries into the pie shell (You may not want to put all of the juices in with the berries, as it may cause too much spilling out).

Roll out the second pie crust and cut into strips. Form a lattice topping on top of the strawberries with the pie strips.

Cut the 2 tbsp of butter into tiny pieces and dot them in between the opening piece of the lattice-work. Sprinkle the pie with the remaining sugar.

Bake for 1 hour, 20 minutes.

I love this old rolling pie...it was my grandma's!

I love this old rolling pie…it was my grandma’s!

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My not so yummy looking filling.

Here it is with the chocolate chips.

I love a little sugar on top, it makes it look so special!

I love a little sugar on top, it makes it look so special!

The finished product.

The finished product.

Old-fashion Strawberry Pie!  Mmmm!

Old-fashion Strawberry Pie! Mmmm!

 

I did make one small change to the original recipe…I changed the cornstarch to tapioca.  I’m sure cornstarch would work fine too, but I had recently bought the tapioca to make another pie (one that never got made) so I decided I had better put my tapioca to good use.  It didn’t look very pretty before it was cooked, as I’m sure you noticed in the picture, but the pie turned out great so I think I’ll have to try using tapioca again in the future!

Also, I’m not sure if I will use chocolate chips again in the future.  I couldn’t really taste them, so I would like to see what it tastes like without the chocolate.

What are some of your favorite strawberry recipes?  I would love to give them a try!

Things to share…

So, I have a number of different things I keep telling myself I need to share with you.  But so far none of them have been posted!  I am definitely the type that works better when I know other people are expecting something from me, so I decided that I should tell you what I’ve been wanting to share, then I will feel obligated to get them posted on here!

Here’s the list:

  • Homemade laundry soap
  • DIY Powder Foundation
  •  World’s Best Homemade pizza
  • Old-fashion Strawberry Pie
  • June Newsletter (The beginning of my missionary journey!)

If you don’t see all of these posts in the next month put some pressure on me!!

I hope you all are enjoying your summer and are finding some time to slow down (even if it’s only for an hour or two).  Life is short…take some time to enjoy it!  Have a great weekend!

 

JULY 4, 2013

Google images

 

Happy Independence Day!  I hope you and your family enjoyed celebrating our country’s Declaration of Independence from England.  The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays…I love reading stories of those who were living during our fight for independence.  I can’t quite imagine the arrogance courage and love of freedom those men and women possessed, but I am so thankful that they fought, bleed and died to give us the freedom we enjoy today.  I pray that each of us will demonstrate the same strength of character needed to ensure that this great nation remains the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”

Here is a short excerpt from Wikipedia (I know…not always the most reliable source) on the history of Independence Day:

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a  resolution of Independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

Google images

Google images

Google images

 

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?

Canoeing the Crow Wing River

One of my most favorite outdoor activities is kayaking and if kayaking is not an option canoeing comes in at a close second. Earlier this week I got to spend three day out canoeing on the Crow Wing river with my church youth group. The weather was perfect and it was great to spend some time getting to know the students better!

If you have never been to Minnesota…sit back enjoy a glimpse of the beauty of my state!

If you live in Minnesota and haven’t found time recently to get out and enjoy our beautiful state, hopefully these picture will inspire you!  If we have to deal with ridiculously cold winters we should really make time to enjoy our amazing summers!

 

I spent 3 days on this lovely river with 20 amazing teenagers!

I spent 3 days on this lovely river with 20 amazing teenagers!

Taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of God's creation!

Taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation!

A glimpse of whimsy...

A glimpse of whimsy…

We had perfect weather for our trip, sunny and low 80's!

We had perfect weather for our trip, sunny and low 80’s!

Sorry this picture is a little blurry...but it was the best one I took.  We saw quite a few eagles along the way!

Sorry this picture is a little blurry…but it was the best one I took. We saw quite a few eagles along the way!

I love the site of canoes and a river.

I love the site of canoes and a river.

Over the course of two days I counted close to 200 turtles...I also saw 2 of these huge snapping turtles!  A few of the guys decided to catch this one!

Over the course of two days I counted close to 200 turtles…I also saw 2 of these huge snapping turtles! A few of the guys decided to catch this one!

Here I am drifting along...the river had a nice current so we didn't have to work too hard!

Here I am drifting along…the river had a nice current so we didn’t have to work too hard!

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