Most people who know us well know that for years, both of us have felt called to serve the Lord overseas. It's been a long journey of prayer and preparation; we had originally planned to move overseas just as soon as Isaac completed his seminary degree, but having Eliana join our family just eight months before his anticipated graduation shifted our plan a bit. Instead, we spent time growing as a family and learning more about different opportunities and tried to use the time to prepare as best as possible. And if you know us, you know that the past few years have often been frustrating for us. We have felt stalled in our position many times, and have struggled through this feeling....
But the Lord is faithful!! As we have entered into the process through our church of potentially being sent out as missionaries, He has been leading us step by step. Through months of training and conversations with our missions pastor, we have been encouraged to look with open hearts and minds at a team that has been working in Southern Europe which works with an unreached people group.
Without going into too many details, there is a well established team in Southern Europe looking to expand into other strategic cities. We don't want to make decisions now, but there are lots of little things pointing us in this direction. We've skyped with the team leader and were super encouraged by the vision he presented to us. We have some friends currently serving on the team there now. Some of our dearest CG members just got back from a mission trip and worked with the team there; they are also considering joining the team at some point.
Our next step in potentially pursuing joining this team is taking a vision trip, something our church encourages those in the Missionary Apprentice Process to do. Through this trip, we will meet many team members, gain a better understanding of what daily life would like, and hopefully catch a greater vision of God's plan for the nations!
We will be taking this trip in late September. There are several things you can do to help with the trip. First and foremost, we need you to pray! Obviously we are excited about this possibility, but we want to make sure this is where the Lord would have us. We need clarity and direction and peace of mind. We need to know the specific avenue He would have us to take to serve there (i.e. through an agency or through employment in a different business). We need to know how we will fit in with the team and how our skills will be best utilized to serve both the team and the unreached people group.
Second, we need to raise some funds to help us get there. We need to raise approximately $3500 to cover our plane tickets and other various costs. You can give through our church (and receive a tax deduction) in one of two ways:
1) Give online by going here. On the second page, you will see France05 (Johnson Family)- that's us!!! Submit your donation by typing in the amount in that box. Or
2) Send in your payment to: Sojourn Community Church
PO Box 406738Louisville, KY 40204
Make sure you mark France 05 Johnson on your check if you are mailing it in.
Finally, we will be having an online auction on facebook in August. If you would like to donate any items (services, homemade goods, handmade items, gift cards, etc), please let me know! We are still in desperate need of some items for the auction. And of course, bid (lots of money) on these items when the auction opens!
Please feel free to contact us with any questions about our trip. We look forward to seeing how the Lord works through this vision trip and what it might mean for our family.
A view of the area (taken by our friends also considering joining the team)