I have three graduating grandchildren this month. Catherine, my first grandchild, is graduating from high school and Christopher, her brother and Maverick are graduating from eighth grade. Eighteen years gone…like the snap of a twig!
Most graduates tend to stop thinking, reading and learning when they finish high school or college. The important part of education is to take what you learn and make personal life-applications that will better prepare you to face the world out there. The goal is to make you successful and a benefit to others in the process.
I was a graduate that went directly into Missionary Training after leaving college. We entered Boot Camp in Wisconsin and then a year and a half later we graduated again and left for Language School in Camdenton, Missouri to gain understanding on how to break down a tribal language. The following year we graduated, received all our shots for a foreign country, packed our bags and we were in Panama before I knew it and learning Spanish in the little town of Chepo, while waiting for Kim to be born and building our house in the jungle.
Still thinking, studying, reading and teaching, we headed interior with the intent of learning Kuna and developing an alphabet for this particular group of people. I had a six-month-old little girl on my lap when I first started my linguistic box. I had finished teaching my 4 year old to read and she was sure she was now ready for kindergarten! So far, no break in the studying, teaching and learning…the thinking part was on overload, but we just kept on…
“Pressing on toward the goal…
Forgetting the past
Reaching toward what is ahead…
The prize for which God has called us
Heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Of course there was a huge need to acquire the language of this group if they were to hear the words of God in their tongue and there was much time-consuming effort put into listening, pointing to objects and note taking, studying phonemes and learning speech patterns…I saw no light at the end of the tunnel!
Before the linguistic work was done we had opened up a small clinic with medicine donated from compassionate Canal Zone doctors who took pity on us and periodically flew in to help us. More studying, learning and reading! I loved helping the people when they were hurting and the clinic gave us an open door into their homes and hearts.
Returning to the US because of my health, we immediately were asked to help pastor a church in Gardena, California. We trusted the Lord for His timing to return to Panama and began to open the Word, study, teach and disciple in this very special church, as the Lord opened doors.
It’s been many years and ministries later and we have yet to stop learning, studying, reading, discipling...! We have pastored and planted churches here in the U.S., Mexico and Panama. We have worked in retreats, small groups, camps and dorms. We have seen God establish his work just about everywhere we have been and we have yet to find a place where we finally graduate and have no need to study, read or teach…
Life is the school and trials and struggles are the best teachers,
not the only ones, but the best!!
We will never graduate from a daily time in the Word.
We will never graduate from a daily conversation with God in prayer.
We will never graduate from the need to “walk in the light, as He is in the light”,
instantly obedient to His will.
We will never graduate from hearing and following His leading, as we reach out to
present the truth of His birth, death and resurrection to a dying world.
We are never meant to graduate!
We will never finish until the curtain closes the final time…
~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.