Friday, March 30, 2007
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Tuesday, February 27, 2007
We do want to share a couple of news updates not mentioned in the team news below. We were blessed to see two more baptisms this month. One of which was late last night at 12:30. The Leon missionaries were visiting some of our members at a funeral at midnight when we learned that our AIM students were baptizing someone. So, we jumped in the car, drove to the building and quickly started filling the baptistery with cold water. Talk about a crazy night!
Our small group study is going well as we have been blessed with a constant flow of people who seem eager to know Christ. We really do love our group and are excited to watch our contacts freely talk about Jesus in ways they had never done before.
Jessica and I have been studying with a woman named Patricia and her daughter Evilyn each week. Last week Patricia said that she was ready to accept Christ but has not yet done so. Please pray for Patricia as we are eager to see a new sister come to Christ and don't want to see the seed of the Gospel snatched from her heart.
There are lots of other things happening here in Leon, like an evangelistic campaign this week, our monthly prayer night on Wednesday, continued work with college students, teenagers, and families here in the city. All of these things require prayers and we ask that you will bring them before the Lord in your daily life.
That's all for us now. Please read the team news and see those images by clicking below.
To Read The New Leon Mission Team News -
Click On The Graphic Below
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
I hope everyone is having a good new year. This year we as a family are blessed with new partners and renewed commitments as we continue the work in central Mexico. As is the tradition, the holiday season is a bit slow here, but we have been blessed with some new works and some exciting possibilities for the future.
Several years ago when we first visited Leon, we had no idea what direction the work would go. Initially, I was drawn to college-aged ministry and imagined working in the northern side of the city among one of the universities there. However, as ministry began to take root, that dream for ministry quickly began to fade. Most of our contacts came from the southern side of the city. Eventually, contacts and Bible study groups began to bloom on the eastern and western parts of Leon as well. Still, the northern half of the city has largely remained an untouched area of the work. Since January is a month for fresh starts, I made a decision to give one to two days of my weekly work schedule to the northern portion of our city. Having just gone out a few times, already we have picked up several new contacts and two new studies. Please keep this new direction in your hearts. Eventually our desire is for all of the world (and all of Leon) to know Christ. Focusing again on the northern portion of Leon is a good next step to completing that dream.
We were blessed this last week with four new baptisms. It was exciting to see people giving their lives to God and demonstrating once again that Mexico is a country open to the Gospel. Our desire is for these new four babes in Christ to grow deeper in conviction and in love for God. Please pray as we work with our new brother and sisters in Christ.
January is a good month for cosmetic touches on the church, since so many people are away on vacation. This year, I set aside several weeks to work out the bugs in our songbook. Music has always been a big part of my life, so working on the songbook is really a joy for me. Although I am a little behind the schedule I set for myself, the nearly completed songbook should be a welcome improvement.
We are getting geared up again for another hard summer. I just got back from Mexico City at the end of the month to speak to some of the new AIM workers who will be visiting. Likewise, we have heard confirmations from three other groups who will be doing campaigns this summer. Please keep the workers for Leon in your hearts. Last year, our workers contributed to a massive evangelistic push in Leon and multiple baptisms. This year, we pray for the same results as we saw before.
That’s really all of the good news I have for this month. On the sad end, we did have to drop one small group weekly due to a lack of interest (although we are eager to figure out how to replace that group). So, as you can see, ministry (just like life) has its ups and downs.
We are blessed to have your backing in this work as ministry moves up and down at times.
That’s about all for this month. Please keep all of these things in your prayers. We continue to work here and praise God for your partnership.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Leon, Mexico has dropped down in temperature to the low 60’s, which reminds us that somewhere in the world there are brothers and sisters celebrating the Holiday season. I hope you have had a white Christmas season with lots of gifts and joy. Jessica and I have been very blessed this year with the birth of a baby niece and the support of our partners such as you. All in all, life has been good and we look forward to another prosperous year in Mexico.
These last 30 plus days have been pretty crazy for us here in Leon. Although we anticipated a slowdown in the work for December, we ended the year with some unexpected events, and a few expected ones as well. These events included our annual donation of food to the poor, a Christmas carol night, various Christmas parties to wrap up 2006, and our yearly ladies’ day. It is exciting as we look back over the last year and see how successful church growth has been in 2006. This time last year we were frustrated during the holidays to watch our numbers dwindle from 40 to 20. Although the holidays do mean less people in Leon every year, this time around we have seen our numbers drop to 60 people, a constant reminder of how blessed we have been this last year. Likewise, our events, small groups, and get-togethers have all shown both numerical and spiritual signs of growth this season, making 2006 successful in many ways.
The second annual Leon Ladies’ Day seemed to be very positive again this December. As you may recall, last year’s reunion was held in our church building and brought in Christian women from several Mexican cities who spent the day learning from God’s word with us. This year we rented a large facility, used our building to house the kids, and were blessed to see over double the amount of women that we did last year. Jessica, along with her teammates here, spoke about spiritual disciplines, while I kept the kids under wraps with games and activities. In the end, I believe the work was blessed by hosting the event and helped to further influence the country of Mexico for the cause of Christ.
Our large benevolence projects each year include a clothing drive in the fall, and food donations to the poor at Christmas. As always, Jessica headed up the drive and helped contribute to the seven boxes of food that were given to various families within the city. Although we use the event to help the poor of Mexico, we were blessed this year to see evangelistic fruit come out of the contributions. Like last year, following the giving of the boxes, we saw visitors in attendance that had received the donations. It seems that based on the success of our food boxes, they will be a permanent service that our congregation will offer each year.
Christmas time is as big of an event here in Mexico as it is in the States. This year we celebrated several Christmas parties (both among our workers and with members of the congregation). These events are always enjoyable and bless us with good memories and stories from Mexico. Likewise, we did enjoy a night of Christmas carols as a group from Mexico City came up to Leon to sing for a few hours one Saturday night. Although it doesn’t snow much in central Mexico, the holiday season is still alive and well here in Leon.
Finally, Jessica and I would like to pass into 2007 and out of 2006 by sharing with you our thoughts and prayers concerning the past and the future. Last year was so blessed for us and really helped to mold us into better people. It was a hard year with frustrations and trials, but a fun year too with successes and many adventures. We grew as a family in ministry and love for one another, while we saw our Spanish and relationships begin to blossom here in Leon. We saw the arrival of new workers, we were blessed with new partners, and we saw new Christians come to Christ. In the end, 2006 was a real blessing to us.
As for 2007, Jessica and I have some neat dreams and desires that we hope and pray to see come true. God has placed in our hearts the desire to adopt a child here and we look to begin that process this year. Likewise, we hope to begin furthering our ministries this year with more studies, more evangelism, and having a stronger more streamlined work. We anticipate the arrival of new AIM students this May, as well as future interns and workers. The future looks bright, and we pray that it will be a time of peace and joy for us. Our desire for you is that 2007 will be a peaceful and joyous year as well. We thank God for your partnership and we ask that you will always remember us in your prayers. We really do need your prayers and find ourselves at peace simply when we are told that you remember us before God. Again, thank you for your part in this work and know that we bring you before God in our prayers as well.
Chris and Jessica Johnson
Friday, November 17, 2006
NOVEMBER AND OCTOBER NEWS
Happy Thanksgiving to all from Leon. I assume that the Thanksgiving season finds you all well and eager to put on a few extra pounds. We have been blessed these last two months, having seen many new faces in the congregation and also many new directions in the ministry. Leon continues to be an exciting place for work, and we are excited to get to share that work with you.
This is once again going to be a combined newsletter for two months of work, simply because we were in the States for one week in October visiting our partnering congregation in Falls Church, Virginia (meaning that there was a little less to report during that time and a little less time to do the reporting). Our visit to Virginia followed a visit of our other supporting congregations in August, which is why these last two updates have been combined as they are. Jess and I try to make such trips once every two years and were glad to see all of our six congregations that support us this year. Thank you to all who have housed us, fed us, and helped us these last few months. Your service blesses us beyond that which you could know.
According to our yearly calendar, October and November are supposed to be months when things slow down here in Leon. Still, the work seems to be moving right along as we are constantly adding new events on a weekly basis. We were blessed during these two months to have an all night prayer camp, a male leadership day, a clothing drive, our annual missionary retreat and evaluation of the work, an October festival, and much more. We did break 100 people at church one Sunday (with 103) and also started working on what we hope to be a second church planting on the eastern side of the city. Yes, there is a lot going on right now. Some of this news has been documented in our quarterly team update, which can be read by clicking on the red and white "vision" picture below. Please feel free (after reading this update) to check out that news bulletin and hear what all of the Leon partners are saying about the work.
There are a few items that I want to highlight, which you really should know about. As mentioned above, in October we began a strong push towards a new work in a new part of the city. As we have been stating from day one, this work in Leon is to be a multiple church plant movement (churches that plant more churches). In September the decision was made to invest in a new portion of the city and in a new direction for the work. After finding a location for meeting in, and a family who could assist at that location, the Leon missionaries began a one year “test run” to see what would come of this new venture. Of course, our intention is to work to grow a fully functional congregation in this new local. Still, since this is the first time we have attempted to move outside of our current work, we are taking slow steps in the process. Please keep this work in your prayers as we are still learning how such a shift will take place.
We did just last week have our yearly retreat and reevaluation of the work. Like always, we were blessed with a candid and honest discussion of the good, the bad, and the ugly from the 2006 year. As is true with most evaluations, there were many things to get excited about and quite a few things to change. Still, I am happy about the new direction of our work for 2007. In many ways it seems that we are finally accepting where and how we fit best in the ministry and embracing those areas. It is good when you can learn how to streamline work. I feel that 2007 will be a much more streamlined year than 2006.
Our special events for these two months seemed to be very positive for the congregation here. At our prayer camp, I feel like we developed a real unity among the brothers. Likewise, at our leadership seminar, we were able to begin the process of developing strong workers for the mission at hand. In many ways, every event these past weeks have been successful, and any areas of change needed could only make the work that much more productive.
Of course, this is only a quick recounting of the work. To really get a good idea for what is taking place requires a first hand look. This is why I would like to again offer the invitation to supporters, partners, family, and friends to come and visit Leon. You are always welcome here and would be a blessing to us as you see what the work is truly doing. Put us in your schedule and let us serve you for once! Of course, regardless of your plans, you remain in our prayers and are a true blessing to our lives.
Thank you for your partnership,
Chris and Jessica Johnson
Saturday, September 16, 2006
SEPTEMBER AND AUGUST NEWS
September has been a very exciting month here in Leon as we finally get back in gear with life following a crazy summer and equally crazy survey trip to the States. Ministry has been very productive with several baptisms this month including those of Moises (an English teacher), Susana and her mother also named Susana (both very godly servants who have been attending worship here for a few months), and Yolanda (a contact made by one of our Mexican leaders in the church). I personally have been amazed to see a lot of good fruit coming our way these last few months and know that such fruit is the result of lots of hard toil. As we have toiled the field here in Leon these last couple of years by making many many contacts, by working multiple small groups throughout the week, by struggling through language learning and sermon preparation, and by maintaining all of the various aspects of “church” here in Mexico, we have finally begun to observe a harvest in the form of baptisms. Missions definitely is a multifaceted beast with many heads, thus requiring different types of workers and many forms of work. It is a blessing to know that God uses many parts of his body to accomplish his singular task. And yes, it is nice to see fruit coming from that toil.
The fruit in Mexico however comes in more ways than just baptisms as we have seen. Jessica and I are blessed to be starting up our second small group throughout the week. This is a double blessing in the fact that we had believed that we might be replacing one group for another one. Still, after weeks of debate, prayer, and discussion, it looks like we will remain in our small group with the Villalobos family on Thursday, while having a new Monday night group as well.
Another way that the fruit of missions in Leon has been blessed is that leadership is gradually changing hands from the missionaries to the Mexicans. We are currently in plans to transition the Mexicans over in power both in decision-making and in responsibility. This will be accomplished by establishing “men’s meetings” and by mentoring leaders into their various roles. Really, this is the ultimate goal of the work in Leon, that the Mexicans become capable of running with the work once the Americans leave. We feel that the time to begin this transition has arrived. Thus, by mid-November, decisions of the body will be made by the congregation’s leadership (which will include Mexican and missionary leaders). We feel it will be very productive for the congregation by not having the three missionaries making all of the decisions for the body.
Finally, September has been filled with several possibilities for the future that we are very excited to report. We have been blessed over the last two years to see pockets of growth within the city of Leon that are not directly connected in or around the location of our church building. On both the western and eastern most sides of the city we have discovered communities of people interested in joining our work. However, although they desire working with us, they are at the same time living so far away that travel towards our building is not always possible. This has caused us to begin considering where and how we could possibly begin a second church plant. Right now one option on the eastern side of town looks very possible and is being considered. Since our vision is to be a congregation that plants congregations, we feel a second church plant is very much inline with our work. Please pray for our decisions as we consider many alternatives to extending our work at this point.
August was a very productive month for Jessica and I. Our “tripometer” on the car read 4,000 miles by the end of the month, which sums up well what took place during August. For the few of you who may not know, Jessica and I went back to the States in August for 3 weeks to visit supporters and see family. The journey began by taking us from Mexico to Colorado where we spent a few days with Jessica’s family and visited her hometown congregation of Southwest. Then we were back in the car and off to Guymon Oklahoma where I preached and taught Bible class. Next it was Pampa, Texas where my parents live and where I presented our work to the elders. From Pampa we drove to Amarillo and were able to touch base with one of our supporters and speak about our building plans. Following a couple of days in the Texas panhandle, we swung out to Abilene to be with our collecting congregation, where I preached on Sunday morning and then raced off to Sudan for Sunday night and another bit of preaching. After two days in Lubbock with my sister, we drove down to Gatesville in the heart of Texas, where I taught Bible class. Finally it was a quick drive out to Houston so that I could present our future plans to our elders their and then preach on Sunday. Once all of the preaching was concluded we were able to see Jessica’s sister in San Antonio before our drive across Mexico.
Clearly, this was a lot of driving and preaching over a three-week period. I ended up getting to share our story in front of 5 different congregations and in 3 different meetings with elders and mission leaders. Since I believe there are some very exciting things going on in Leon, it is a fairly easy task. Still, it’s always a blessing to take a long trip without having car problems along the way. Also, it is a blessing to see renewed commitment by partners willing to assist in accomplishing the task of building up the body in Leon. God really did bless us! Thank you for your prayers.
While we were gone to the States, we were blessed to watch the work grow in our absence. There were three baptisms when we left Mexico those 3 weeks, and our partners did a great job picking up pieces that had been vacant during our absence.
Thank you for your continued partnership in the Leon work. Because of you, Jessica and I are able to continue working here in Mexico without worry of financial instability. Your service really does assist us greatly. As always, please keep the Leon work in your prayers as we cannot reach our potential without the constant petitions of our Christian brothers.
Again, Thank you-
Chris and Jessica Johnson
Saturday, July 22, 2006
July has been a great month filled with many opportunities and several new contacts. This month we were blessed with 2 baptisms while worship never dropped below 65. In fact, one Sunday we even reached 120+ people (not including 30 additional American visitors who attended). As you can imagine, we were a bit overwhelmed trying to fit this many people into a building equipped for seating 80 at the most. Still, it was a real joy to watch so many people clumped into our auditorium.
We truly have been blessed with various groups who have come and assisted in our work this last month. One congregation from Shawnee Oklahoma made a huge impact in Leon and resulted in at least four new contact families who have visited and studied with us. Another group from Lubbock, Texas helped us in an exciting VBS effort where yet more contacts are being made. Over all, the two groups made large contributions to a very successful summer season.
Small groups are starting to move along. Omar and Tana’s group has resulted in a new one-on-one study. Likewise, Shawn and Barb seem to be having success with their Friday group as new contacts have been visiting lately. Our group has remained fairly static while it has been generating new interest. Please keep these groups in your prayers as we continue to work to develop these in-house studies.
Of course, life here does continue to roll along. We are seeing a great work effort out of the new AIM students who are growing in their walk with God and ability to serve others. Likewise, the mission team here has been working double-time in these hectic summer months. The result is that we have seen some good fruit this summer. Our hope had been that baptisms would result from May, June, and July’s large mission push. It has been positive to see six baptisms since May and even more positive to observe the growth of leadership these past few weeks.
Jessica and I are right now planning on making a short three-week visit to the United States in late July and early August. It is planned that I will be preaching at five different congregations during this time and sharing our vision for the future work in Leon. Please keep this effort in your prayers as it will be a fast and furious visit. As always, Jessica and I highly value our partners and look forward to seeing many of you shortly. Because of our partners, we are able to assist our team in the task of world evangelism.