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