Jackie's Journey "Passport: Darien Jungle"

                                                           The airstrip in our Pucuro village

                                                          The airstrip in our Pucuro village

 Our pilot risked his life for mine…the flight of my life!

“When you are flying over the jungle in a single engine plane and the prop shears off, ripping the engine out of its mounts, it’s a good sign you are in trouble.  The next indication is engine oil spreading across the windshield, making it impossible to see.  Then when the torn engine cowling begins beating violently against the side of the plane, your life flashes before your eyes”.  So writes a Boot Camp missionary friend, Macon Hare in his 2013 NTM@Work Newsletter.

Sound like fun?

There are many unknowns in jungle travel.  For those of us on a remote post, there are particular challenges that as a single person I would have found the risk challenging; however, when I became a mother and responsible for the decisions made for my two little princesses, I became more skeptical and less intrigued with the thrill of the ride.

Sitting next to me in our tiny one engine flying craft was my five-year-old daughter, Christina and her two-year-old sister.  Their trusting and smiling faces strangely comforted me.  Leaving civilization behind, I looked out the window into the vast unknown and as we taxied down the runway I bowed my head, placing my confidence in the One who had brought us to share the gospel with these isolated people and had promised to  “…keep us as the apple of His eye, to hide us in the shadow of HIS wings. He makes the clouds his chariots and rides on the wings of the wind.”  Psa.17: 8; Psa. 104: 3 "Wings on the Wind" is the name our field had given our plane!  

For those of us living interior the plane is a lifesaving connection to the civilized world.  The hour flight over the clear blue coastline waters of the Atlantic Ocean and then the twenty minutes beyond over a solid wall of 150 feet tall Quipo trees inspired me to again acknowledge His Majesty and control!  Our missionary pilot was required to hit a tiny band aide airstrip that the Kunas, my husband and our partner, Jay had carved out of this dense blanket of trees.   My caring father had sent hundreds of pounds of seeds from the states to this remote area and had turned that slippery, mud-sliding landing strip into a functional beauty to behold!  

Our brave pilot made his approach by flying low, crossing the river; but not too low, being careful not to crash into the 18’ riverbank on the other side.  He approximated the length he had to land with the 150 ’trees looming up into the sky at the other end.  He would clear the river and abruptly drop and land safely on a tree-lined ribbon of a very short runway!   Creativity is defined as “finding ways to overcome impossible obstacles”.  He had been a “crop duster” before entering missionary service and I cannot express enough gratitude for this pilot’s creativity! 

          On the other side of the river is the cleared patch of jungle for the bandaide airstrip

         On the other side of the river is the cleared patch of jungle for the bandaide airstrip

Our village had experienced an epidemic that affected almost every man, woman and child.   The small clinic we ran was open early every morning and the people responded well to the anti-biotic injections and after two weeks, we were beginning to “see light at the end of the tunnel”.  People were returning to work and life seemed normal again.

One afternoon I began to run a fever.  For two days I ran a 103 temperature and nothing would bring it down.  I was not responding to treatment.   It peaked one morning at 106.  I needed outside help!  It was a two-day trip by dugout and then banana boat if we made timely connections.

We had awakened to the “storm of storms” with thunder and lightning that morning.  The sky and clouds were black.  The wind was fierce and the air was heavy.  In those early days we had a two-way radio that gave us daily contact with our pilot.  I could hear my husband telling him our circumstance…that there was no visibility, the windsock was standing straight up and it would be impossible to fly into our village.  He asked if there was a doctor in the city that could assist us over the radio until the weather lifted?  We would wait out the night and check again by radio early the next morning.  There was a pause and then…

  I heard the pilot say, “Hold on…I am coming!”

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We looked outside and knew it was impossibleBUT “Bush Pilots” are a rare breed.  True to his word, about two hours later in the storm-filled darkness of that afternoon, we heard a plane in the distance approaching our landing strip.

Our pilot, Scott Wolfe, had risked his life to save mine!

 That man had landed that plane on an almost invisible airstrip in the middle of the Darién jungle in the worst weather imaginable!   The doctors at Gorgas Hospital in the Canal Zone confirmed that had he not come for me when he did I would not be telling this story.  God had made the clouds his chariot and brought Scotty in on the wings of the wind!

Thank you, my all-knowing God and thank you for Scotty!!

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Panic to Promise!"

                   Crossing our river Pucuro

                  Crossing our river Pucuro

“The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.”

Psa. 142:11

My introduction to our new life in the village Pucuro was a “shocker”.   My youngest daughters disappearance from my arms in those first moments after arriving on the riverbank caused my entire being to experience sheer terror!  

 Skipping that one-day would have been the loss of a life-lesson that changed my life!

Missionary Boot Camp training had been deliberate in preparing me for this crisis.  My mind was reminded of the reason why we had come and the promise I had claimed two years prior to the moment I was living now!  “…Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease without fear of harm.”  The verse worked so well when we lived in the states!  This verse in Proverbs 1:33 is written by the “wisest” man that ever lived and it had always given me courage to keep on.

 Have you ever claimed a promise from God and then panicked when put to the test?

Two men from our mission had contacted these unreached tribal people two years earlier.  The Kunas had asked for someone to come and bring them the medicine and help they needed to keep their babies from dying at birth.  Some of the mothers were weakened by tuberculosis.  There were multiple infections and parasites of every kind…would someone answer that call?

Well…we answered…and they had taken my baby!

My heart sank as I scanned the agitated crowd in the dimness of the dark night.  Certainly no electricity here!  Pitch black, drenched bodies, dark faces, barking dogs, slushy mud path and no baby.  My heart pounding and unaware of my personal discomfort or how I must sound, I stood dripping wet in a downpour, screeching in a foreign tongue…calling into the wind for my lost child.

Completely overwhelmed by my loss I saw someone slip out of the darkness and run in my direction.  Stretching over people she placed my tiny girl back into my waiting arms.  I now had both babies against my breast and I breathed a sigh of incomprehensible relief, whispering a prayer of gratefulness to my God who keeps His promises! 

“He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those who walk blameless for He guards the course of the just and He protects the way of His faithful ones.” Proverbs 2:7,8

 Paul Little in How to Give Away Your Faith, wrote, “The statement that God is in control is either true or it’s not true.  But if it is true and we accept God’s revelation of Himself, our faith enables us to enjoy and rest in the certainty of His providence (will).”

 I stood up and turned to face my new reality and walked through the door of my brand-new jungle life!

It was good it was too dark to know who had inadvertently brought such distress to my spirit that night…but bless her, that same person had been used to quickly bring me to the throne of Grace for a thorough evaluation of my personal commitment to His “calling”! 

Gratefully, as a young mother, I was given the opportunity very early to place my heritage in the hands of an all-knowing God.  He had again asked me to “count the cost”.  I stopped wanting to “skip” life-lessons and began embracing them. I claimed those powerful promises in the Word that had always been applied to others and now…were all mine!

These are my grandchildren… my heritage…

that came from my two little missionary daughters many years later

…all seven of them!

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Posted on August 13, 2018 and filed under Motherhood, Spiritual Growth.

Jackie's Journey "My Worst Fear Came upon Me!"

                                            Baby Kim and her sister, Christina...Jungles of Panama

                                           Baby Kim and her sister, Christina...Jungles of Panama

“…Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”  Proverbs 1:33

Hang on to your hats, girls…this was one day in my life I could have skipped! 

Ever had one of those days???

Dusk was cascading over the torrential waters, enveloping our dugout into the dark silence of the unknown jungle.  Along the mangrove-lined shoreline we could hear twigs breaking and see shadows of what appeared to be dark, naked bodies racing us to the remote landing in the deep stillness.

For eight hours we had traveled upriver unceasingly, pressing on against the rapid flow of the Tuira River through lighting bolts, thunder and rain.  The river had risen 8 feet as we fought the current in our long journey up the contiguously inaccessible jungle waters.  Our goal to reach this isolated Indian village on the Colombian border in Panama was now within our reach!

Underneath the makeshift tarp that protected us from the worst of the violent storm were two little girls.  One, just three, was exceedingly excited and could not wait to get out of the wet boat and the other, just a few months old, was securely wrapped in my arms.  Our piragua was piled high with everything we would need for the next six months!

The boat brusquely hit the bank and as I stood, dripping wet, to face all the unknowns that had brought us to this sandy beach, the warm little bundle in my arms was abruptly yanked from me and disappeared into the darkness of the night!!  I quickly grabbed my once excited and happy three years old by the hand.  She was now very confused.  Her contentment was exchanged for eyes full of fear!  I pulled her close to me and began calling for my baby…

In that instant, the crowd pushed and shoved us up a short trail that led to our mud-floored, bark-walled house.  My insistent calls for my lost child were ignored and unanswered. 

As I stepped over the threshold of our unfinished new home, the rats…at least I prayed they were rats!... scurried among the barrels that had been sent a month ahead of us and now stored our rice and dried beans in the very open tin-roofed room.  The sound of the rain on that roof was deafening!

My worst fear had come upon me…Job 3:25,26.  I screamed again into the crowd for my tiny daughter and again received no response.  I lifted my three year old into my arms and determinedly turned to walk back through the crowd down to the rivers edge!

Where had my baby gone?   Who had taken her?!

                                     Immediately, my panic turned to terror…

The familiar promise in Proverbs 1:33 eluded me.  “…Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

What was happening?  Why had God allowed this?

 There are three Biblical Principles that came to mind regarding trials:

1.     Trials are common to all of us.  No one escapes unscathed.  “No temptation has seized you except what is common to men.  And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”  No excuses and no victims here! The real question is not why, but “Why not, Jackie, don’t you trust me?!  I will never leave you or forsake you…listen to ME, not your circumstances!.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

2.     Trials are given with divine purpose and will pass. “In this you may greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” 1Peter 1:6

3.     Trials are life-lessons NOT to be wasted!  “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4

C.S. Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce, “There are two kinds of people:  Those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your own way.’”

I was standing at the point of decision! My options were limited…

 What is your attitude toward the trials in life?

 Which kind of person are you?

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Posted on August 6, 2018 and filed under Character and Virtue, Motherhood, Spiritual Growth.

Jackie's Journey "It's All About Me!"

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It takes faith to stand in Gods face and “do your own thing”. To have an absence of the fear of consequence is nothing less than perverted bravery.  “I want to do it…but my better judgment tells me NOT to, but I do it anyway!”  Choices are unremitting.  They never stop!

Have you heard this one?  “Yes, I have temporal values,

but I’m totally committed to God”,

or this one, “I want to walk in humility,

but I prefer claiming my rights…I want it done MY way!” 

What about, “I want to be honest, but I don’t want to tell the truth?”

Or, “I want to be a servant to my family,

but on my own time!” 

After all, it’s all about me and what I want,,,right?

What would you call this line of thinking?

 

A Preference is when “I want to do it but I have the right not to do it,

if I don’t want to do it”.

Preference, in this instance, is the polite term for its real name…rebellion…in one of its many forms.  Rebellion is even called witchcraft in I Sam!  We see it in an independent spirit that says, “my plans, my will, my way, my time” We see it when our little two year old stands in our face and demands exactly what he or she wants under no uncertain terms!

In Sally Clarkson’s book “Ministry of Motherhood”, she wrote:

“Children don’t’ need sweet platitudes of faith that will momentarily pacify their emotions.  They need the authentic strength that comes from the true foundation of a biblical worldview and a proper understanding of the real Christ who is worthy of their worship!  They need an unwavering, internal moral and spiritual compass that will help them weather today’s storms (and tomorrows) and will guide them for the rest of their lives.  They also need to see what a real faith looks like when lived day in, day out, so they will have a pattern to follow.”

As you moms know, we are in a battle as never before, for the hearts and minds of these entrusted to us…the leaders of this next generation…

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On the dock after a perfect day on the lake

with my grandchildren…leaders of the next generation…

Our family pulls away from the demands of a busy life once a year to celebrate “family”.  We have just returned from one of those unforgettable few days!  We have a habit of meeting in the evenings after supper to open the Word.  The thoughts expressed here were part of one nightly discussion taken from the book of Ezekiel. 

There is no separation of “sacred” and “secular” to the disciple of Christ.  We are living a real faith, continually, so that our children have a godly pattern to follow or we are leading our children with no compass that will ultimately leave them unprepared for life.

 Can your children recognize godly faith and conviction

from the pattern of your life

 or

 Does a pattern of rebellion against God, your husband and God’s ways

 fit you better?

 Life is NOT all about us

…”no man has a right to do as he pleases until he pleases to do right.”

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Posted on July 30, 2018 and filed under Motherhood, Character and Virtue.

Jackie's Journey " Where the Battle Rages"

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What area of need in your life do you least like to face?

That area is where the battle rages!  The Bible gives us markers of a woman who lives under God-control.  It also gives us fruit of a life lived apart from God-control.  For example: Many women do not have daily Bible study habits because they are really not dependent on God. The average mom is too lazy, not too busy, to study the Bible to be more effective in the lives of her children and the world about her.

These are moms who do not pray as though it makes a difference because there is doubt that much will be changed, if anything.  They are ever learning but not changing in their character.   The old patterns never seem to die.  The average mom is too double-minded to listen and obey the simplest commands of scripture.       

In the Book of John there are 49 imperatives to love God.

This woman is a taker; not a giver.  She goes to church to get something to meet her need rather than to meet the need of another person with what God gave her during the week from her time spent in the Word. The nominal mom is too selfish or self-centered to make herself available to care for others first.

These women are not involved in sharing their faith or the Word with others.  The average mom is too proud to be faced with this sort of reality or too cowardly to take the rejection!

 Do you fit into any of these “mom descriptions”?

 Compromise is selling out who and what we are for what we hope to get, BUT what we hope to get is not what we want because we’ve been destroyed in the compromise process!

I was recently asked, “Jackie, do you consider every seriously committed Christian a disciple?”

The call to follow Christ hinges on our voluntary yieldedness to His will and way,

not

 “Can I just sit on the fence?” or “If I have to…I’m backed into a corner!”.

The seed of loyalty or of being loyal is in every person.  If wrongly cultivated there is divorce, dissension, division, disharmony, distrust, and disrespect… all come with turmoil…

“Consider it all joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  IF any of you lacks wisdom, she should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given her.  BUT when she asks, she must believe and not doubt, because she who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That woman should not think that she will receive anything from the Lord; she is a double-minded (compromising) woman, unstable in all she does!” “ Jas. 1: 2-8

Disloyalty is double-mindedness…unfaithfulness.  What we are loyal to defines our personal convictions.  Living in a state of compromise is saying I am living for God’s will and ways but the reality is, I am living for my bad habits (anger, selfishness, pride, personal convenience, drugs, alcohol, porn,…) Living with godly convictions is a belief we will not change, regardless of the circumstance. They are formed when we are certain God requires it…and that settles it!

It is not something we discover; it is something we purpose.

In a day and age where our culture and society dictate a philosophy of “all things are relative and we make our own truth”, it is imperative we choose to live by scriptural conviction.  It is fundamental and compulsory!

“God hates those who are double-minded.” Psa.119: 113

Will you purpose with me to develop single-minded loyalties in your commitment to God, as a soldier of the cross and as an extended arm to prepare our children and “God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ is built up until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God and we become mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Eph. 4: 12-16  

Our children and grandchildren are counting on us…

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Are You Living an Illusion?"

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How would you describe your Christian walk?  Up and down, peaks and valleys?  Good days and bad days?   Would you characterize your spiritual life as vibrant and free or continually battling your self-life (your personal rights, depression, unresolved relationships, entitlement…)?                                       

 Are you living a “Christian” illusion?

 If you want to learn of me, put your head in the yoke!

What?!  No way!  Who does that?

WHY… I’D HAVE TO GIVE UP MY FREEDOM AND SUBMIT

TO THE OTHER PERSON IN THE YOKE!  

ARE YOU CRAZY???

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and

I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn

from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you

will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and

my burden light”!  Matt. 11:28-30

 The Church will instruct us

The Bible will inform us

Prayer will empower and direct us.

But only…The Yoke will teach us how to live

 and respond “in the Spirit” to life situations

on a continual basis.

 Ezekiel 37:1-6 is a lesson on a “valley of dry bones”.  What does that have to do with my spiritual walk, you ask?  Lots!  Spiritual deadness is a permeating and engulfing phenomenon in our culture, churches, homes and hearts.  It sort of swallows us up like a tsunami!  Biblical Christianity is defined by our consistent attitudes in life practice.

 We carry seeds of decay through disobedience and rebellion toward God (i.e. anger, jealousy, self-love…).  We have adopted patterns through wrong influences and teachings (friends, music, ungodly worldviews, Hollywood, social media...).  Maybe we have been a believer since we cannot remember BUT there are places where we really do NOT know our own need.  Our life has become an illusion of biblical Christianity.  There is a measure of self-confidence and pride built on our bones…

 God says, “I will make breath enter you and you will come to life”.  God works out of Death!   Death to self!  His desire is to breathe life into our dead bones, moment by moment.     No illusion here…

An illusion is a lie; it is not real.  Disillusionment with our daily walk is a gift of God… a challenge to enter into the yoke with Him and His rest... learning from His gentle and humble heart.

 There are two yokes:

                                1) The yoke with Christ and righteous purposes

   2) The yoke with Satan and his kill, steal and destroy

 purposes  Jn.10: 10

      We choose who is in the yoke with us with every choice we make!

My husband asked me if every choice I make is a spiritual one?  For the life of me, I could not think of a single one that is not!  Can you think of one that is not a deliberate choosing of one kingdom or the other? 

 By taking Christ’s yoke upon us, we yield our right to do as we please, and we learn the wishes and commands of Christ our leader.

 God is not nearly concerned with what we are going through as He is with our response to what we go through.  His chief concern is that our attitude becomes consistent with His Son.  The question is:  Who do you choose to be in the yoke with you today?   There are only two choices! 

 Choose wisely, young mothers, little ones are watching and stepping into the same yoke with you.

“ It was for freedom that Christ set us free:

therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again

to a yoke of slavery (law/sin).”   Galatians 5: 1

 

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "A Silent Cry"

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“…and I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,

may have power to grasp

           how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

and to know this lovesurpasses knowledge…”  Ephesians 3: 18

If you are struggling this morning in some way that you do not understand…

this blog is for you…

Recently, a stranger placed a small book in my hand written by Amy Carmichael (a missionary to India 1867-1951).  Immediately, upon hearing her name, a vivid memory came knocking at the door of my heart.    

While we were in Boot Camp in Fredonia (make that "Freeze-don't ya"), Wisconsin!), preparing for missionary service I became so sick that I wasn't sure we would be able to finish the course.  Yet, my husband and I knew God had brought us this far.  There was a tribe, deep in the rain forest of Panama that had never heard the name of Jesus Christ and they were waiting for someone to come and bring His Name to them.

We had been seeking medical help for over two months.  I was in my first trimester with our first child.  My physical symptoms were severe, I had lost six weeks of missionary training and I was lost in my understanding of it all when diagnosed with an unyielding case of pneumonia!  The infection was suffocating my compromised lung and I would have to take a drug that could adversely affect my unborn child!  The choice was my recovering or possibly both of us not going full term!  I was confused and consumed by fear.  

  Have you ever been there?

Faced with impossible decisions?

Maybe you’re facing them right now…

At this juncture of my journey, someone gave me a quote of Amy Carmichael that stopped me in my tracks and I realized I had the concept of my Father's love and means of communication to me all wrong!   

If I cannot catch the ‘sound of the rain’ long before the rain falls, and going to some hilltop of the spirit, as near to my God as I can, have not faith to wait there with my face between my knees, though six times or sixty times I am told ‘there is nothing’ till at last ‘there arises a little cloud out of the sea’ then I know nothing of Calvary love!

I Kings 18: 41 says, “And Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of heavy rain’.  So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.  “Go and look toward the sea”, he told his servant and he went up and looked.  “There is nothing there’, he said.  Seven times Elijah said, ‘Go back!’  The seventh time the servant reported, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea’…The sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came…’”

I felt a little like Elijah may have felt when he was in danger for his life. Why didn’t I understand?  I should, shouldn’t I?  I was a missionary candidate (soon to be deployed!), I had spent a year at the University of Arizona, 4 years of Bible School, 2 yrs. of Boot Camp and Language School...I was completely committed to God with everything I knew, in all the light I had …But God always has much to teach me about Himself. I waited for Him at the front door of my heart and He silently entered through the back door and shattered my concept of Him and His promises!  He came with new light, new peace and new understanding of His divine nature. I re-focused, solely, on the author and finisher of my faith…

“There are times when something comes into our lives which is charged with love in such a way that it seems to open the Eternal to us for a moment...it may be a small and intimate touch, as the touch of the dawn wind or it may be the pain experienced in the storm of life along the way... But we know it is our Lord.  And then perhaps the room where we are, with its books and furniture and flowers, seem less ‘present’ than His presence, and the heart is drawn into His sweetness…

Can we ever cease to wonder at the love of our companion?  And then suddenly we recognize our Lord holding us in a new way?  Dimness seems to be more wholesome for us here...not understood by us.  After all, how little we see!  

 Confounded and abased, we continue to hold fast to the Rock and hide in the dust, before the glory of the Majesty of love--the love whose symbol is the Cross.  

And the piercing question then:  

What do I know of Calvary love?”

I am praying for you, this morning, for your sensing the whisper of His Presence in that "cloud out of the sea" in a new way and for the power of His healing.

“…and I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power to grasp

           how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love

           surpasses knowledge…”  Ephesians 3: 18

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Life Unraveling?"

                   "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in Him...Job 13:15"

                  "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in Him...Job 13:15"

Our village was tucked away near the Colombian border and we lived in the silence of the jungle and its peculiar sounds.   One late morning there was an unfamiliar roar in the distance.  A large military helicopter appeared and began circling our village, dropping low, looking for a place to land.  Before we knew what was happening, dust flew and the door slid open.  Men dressed in full military uniforms with machine guns jumped out and stormed into our house. Guns drawn, pointed directly at us, they began shouting commands with accusations!

 My life started unraveling before my eyes!  I quickly grabbed little Kim from her high chair and Christina came running, clutching my legs.  I reached down to reassure her, as Ralph stepped in front of us, whispering to me, “Remember, Jackie, this touched God’s hand first”. 

 We were being accused of being spies for the United States and they demanded we turn over our only means of communication to the outside world…our two-way radio!

I was trembling, imagining every plausible scenario of how we could be easily disposed of in the river and no one would know for months!  The truth that came surging into my consciousness was Job 13:15, “…though he slay me, yet will I hope in HIM”. 

 Still standing between the enemy and us, Ralph appeared calm and was resolutely  responding in Spanish…“We are not spies from America.  We have permission from your government to bring medicine to help this isolated group of people.” 

   How had this happened? 

What could we do?

 The next few moments stood still…their shouting gestures and my seeing no way of escape brought the verse in Job home to my heart.  I purposefully accepted His will, whatever that was going to be and instantly, peace prevailed.  What happened next was beyond belief!  To our utter astonishment, as abruptly as those militant soldiers arrived…they hastily, mid-sentence, without another word, turned and left!!  They did not ask for our passports or visas, nor did they take our rifles that were in plain view, hanging on the wall!  God had blinded their eyes and in an instant, redirected their path.

 In the aftermath of my processing through this current event, Ralph gave me a definition for “tribulation” that comes to mind every time I am faced with a trial and I just want it gone…no processing…just gone!  “Tribulation is God’s fastest road to maturity”.  Well… missionary life had definitely put me in the fast lane to grow up!  The more life I live, the more I realize how much growth I need!

 This is that definition in a “mathematical” formula that changed my life and the way I look at trials, inconveniences, suffering and contentment.  It goes like this:

 Trials + Acceptance of the trial with joy and thanksgiving = Growth/Maturity

 I can respond to trials by:

(1) Benefitting from them

          The pressure of trials produce (Jas. 1:2-4):

Faith

Patience

Perseverance

Maturity

Wisdom

Lacking Nothing!

                                          OR

(2) Reacting negatively to them and locking down emotionally with:  Impatience, Fretfulness, Why me?, Depression, Complaining, Rebelliousness or Bitterness. 

  I choose to yield with gratefulness this morning and to recognize any form of tribulation, as a means to fulfill a greater purpose for my growth and the benefit of others.  

  What is your response? 

 

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Transforming a Promise into Reality"

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Once born, a wildebeest calf has 15 minutes to stand and run with the adult herd, or it will be killed by predators (usually, hyenas).  The wildebeest mother will take on a pack of hyenas and sacrificially, single-handedly fight…until death…to preserve the life of her calf. Gothard, Character Sketches   There are countless “hyenas” that will be used to devour the life of these God is entrusting into our care.          

What is our commitment?

Our Alertness To His Will And His Way Is Imperative!

Being intentional is our only option!

“Life is a stewardship; not an ownership; A TRUST; NOT A GIFT. With a gift you may do as you please; but with a trust you must give an account (Ephesians 2:10).  God holds us responsible. We will answer to HIM!

                                                    AND…Time is short!! 

The journey of life brings trials, triumphs, tragedy and achievement.  Through all of this, a dedicated mother’s love remains constant.  .  Would you consider yourself a dedicated mom: a mom that is committed to the success of your child first, above yourself? I know we are fraught with the demanding activities, stuffed schedules and media consumption that keep us exhausted from one day to the next.  Are we, through it all, rejoicing mom’s that keep the ultimate goal in view?  By the way, what is your “ultimate goal”?  Do your children view the goal and actively participate, involved in “giving” of themselves or are they “me first”, “takers”, full of entitlement?

 Let me encourage you with all that you are in Christ and to give you the promise He left with all of us that bear the title MOTHER:  1 Thes.5: 24 says,  “Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it.”  However, it is a conditional promise…we have to let HIM!  On that day of accountability there will be NO excuses!    This is our call to action

How do we do this??

When I think “steps of action” I think work, HARD WORK!  In that same thought comes the comfort of new direction and hope for a positive change.  Each and every year approaches with stomping feet demanding actionSteps of ACTION!  

Are you ready, Mom’s?

Here is a test of our dedication and commitment…

(1) Do we “Walk Our Talk?!”  Or do we make excuses for our wrong responses!  Do we call impatience what it really is…ANGER? And how about overuse of social media…CHILD NEGLECT?  Or MISSED OPPORTUNITY?!  There are no “socially acceptable sins”… Rudeness is self-first; Discouragement (or “I deserve better”) is Entitlement (the very attitude we battle in our children!)  Purpose to pursue holiness; moment-by-moment… Mothers of conviction, not compromise!

(2)Are we open to Teachable Moments? Please note: Most interruptions are the teachable moments!  Purpose to take advantage of the moments we are least wanting to take advantage of!

(3)Are we Intentional and Consistent?  All decisions we make carry a consequence…positive or negative.  Purpose to teach your child this truth and in doing so, enable him/her to learn to hear the voice of God.  Dial your life into the kingdom of God…Have HIS purpose wrapped in HIS WILL, not your own!

(4)Are we Character-focused? Note the attitude in which the words or eyes are speaking to you…read your child’s spirit and you will identify the REAL NEED!

(5) Are we Grateful…regardless of the circumstance?  Gratefulness wards off discouragement.

(6) Are we diligently Prayerful?  “Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.  Lift up your hands to HIM for the life of your child”! Lamentations 2:19

 The definition of the word “purpose” means “resolute, unwavering, deliberate”…

Commitment requires sacrifice.

Whether a bush nurse, a missionary mom, a city mom or whatever our title may be…each of us is called to be a godly mother with a profound and sacrificial love for our children.  The calling is to “count the cost” and to love with the purpose of making these entrusted to us more successful than we could ever be for HIS glory!

 

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.~Jackie Johnson - 

 

Jackie's Journey "Never Give Up!"

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“Perseverance is a lowly virtue whereby mediocrity

achieves an inglorious success!” Ambrose Bierce

While attending Bible School, I met my husband and we were married a year later.  We had never heard of tribal people who had never had an opportunity to even hear the name of Jesus Christ!  Can you imagine?  God challenged us to take His Name to them!  My husband responded immediately to the need before him.  Yes, he would go!  He stood up quickly, as the seasoned visiting missionary, challenged the crowd for tribal missions; however, I stood frozen with my mouth wide open, in shock!  I could not believe his independent, instant response.   God had work to do in my stubborn heart.  My self-consumed willfulness held me captive!  

I was not equipped to live in the jungle…I hate spiders!  It took three days travel to get to this Indian village.  One and half days journey by banana boat (that’s right we slept on wooden benches) following the coastline, arriving in a remote small town to make a connection for the last ten hour day trek upriver in an open dugout canoe!  Let’s see, I have two babies less than three years of age fighting the rapids during rainy season!  Surely, there was someone in that crowd of churchgoers more mature than I am that is willing and ready to go…not me!  I, fearfully, contemplated another 24 hours before I silently knelt with my husband and acknowledged God’s beckoning whisper to submit to His will and His very clear call to GO

As a young student, untested missionary, wife and new mother I stepped out in blind obedience.  The unknown was my constant companion, as was my all-knowing God with His directing will and promises.  “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, so shall your offspring be.  Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead…since he was about a hundred years old…and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.  YET he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promises of God being fully persuaded that GOD HAD POWER TO DO WHAT HE PROMISED.”(Romans 4:18-21)

For over 50 years now, God’s pursuing love has driven us to claim the name of Christ.  First, to those living in the remote jungles of Panama, “in the farthest corners of the earth” (Psalm 65:8), and today, to those living in the asphalt jungles of the United States.

We have counted it a privilege to walk day-by-day wrapped in His strength, following where He leads us.  Joyfully persevering has become a fulfilling way of life… His receiving the glory is our reward…

What are you facing today that seems

unbelievably overwhelming and impossible?

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.