Posts filed under Character and Virtue

Jackie's Journey "Sacrifice...??"

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We are all living sacrifices…for something or someone…for good or evil!!

Some live life sacrificing for money; some for drugs and alcohol; some for reputation; some for self-gratification, etc.  Most dedicated mother’s sacrifice for their family. 

 My husband recently shared a verse with me that put the “rubber on the road” in my understanding of sacrificial living!  

 II Chronicles 12:14 says, “He did evil because 

he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord”.

 My idea of evil is unlimited in its ability to fill my imagination with what I see, hear and read in our frazzled culture today!  

In the light of God’s definition of evil, what are we really living for?

Are we shortsighted, committed to doing our own thing

 or worse yet, doing His will but on our own terms!?

 According to this verse, evil is defined as not setting our hearts on pleasing Godand His purpose for our lifenot seeking the Lord, first and always. All other pursuits are considered evil from God’s point of view!

 So… I asked myself…

In my life quest, I consider my pursuits sacrificial but

am I actively setting my heart on seeking Him first in every endeavor?”

 Isa. 50:11 promises us needless defeat and suffering 

when we “light our own torches to do our own thing”.

 As busy moms and grandmas, how often do we look for God’s purpose when we are being consumed by a whirlwind of activity all around us? We are teachers, comforters, taxis, counselors, nurses… you fill in the blank!

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 “All believers’ walk-in darkness”.  Isa. 50:10andThis means we are all shortsighted and blind to the immediate future. We tend to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.  By setting our hearts on pleasing God and having his purpose first in our life, we find sacrificial living fulfilling, understanding that “all things work together for those who “set their heart on seeking God”and are called according to his purpose”.

 Are we too busy in our “life of urgency”

 to look for God’s purpose in our next interruption?

 Is it a mute point when we are fractured with wrong attitudes

 and responses because we are being inconvenienced?


“I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.  

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened…”

 Can He listen to you?  

What do you set your heart on?

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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 "Jungle Monkey's and Tiaras!"

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Princesses Christina and Kim visiting our Kuna neighbors

 Village life was becoming normal on our Kuna outpost.  In the early morning, before daybreak and breakfast, the girls would run to the front door to trade packets of oil and sugar for fresh eggs. Ralph would pick up the Bible and begin reading to the girls until it was time for breakfast or the house filled up with people, whichever came first.  These excited little princesses would anticipate the daily trip to the river to swim and help me wash clothes. Moving toward the river we would wave to the small monkeys perched on the bikes on our porch and call out to the parrots shrieking from the mango tree above our heads. Carrying the wash back up the 12’ bank, my two little monkeys would help me hang the clothes on a line that extended from our outhouse to the tin roofline of our home. Later in the morning Ralph, with all of us in tow, would haul 5-gallon drums of water from the river above the village to drink, wash dishes and brush our teeth.

 If there was time before lunch, the girls and I would grab a princess storybook and we would enjoy a few moments of inactivity in the hammock strung across the middle of our living room. 

 Beth Moore in Living Beyond Yourselfshared “Every little girl has something in them that wants someone to say ‘You are Special!’  It is in me to believe, ‘I am supposed to be special’…could that be eternity set in the hearts of men?  A piece of eternity…something set in the hearts of little ones that says, ‘I am destined for royalty’…A real live King.  A real live Kingdom is coming.  Somehow a little child has that in them to know…little knights and little princesses—for the kingdom belongs to such as these…and children believe in Kingdoms.”

 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God preparedin advancefor us to do”.  Ephesians 2:10

 Even in the remotest of jungles my little girls knew they were special, with or without a tiara. God had made them that way.  As Christian parents, we want to encourage the belief that God created our little ones unique with destiny because He has given them the innate belief that they are one of a kind.  This opens the door to present the provision made for each of them to understand their need and become a child of God for eternity.  We encouraged this belief knowing our girls were created to do God’s will and to find His purpose for their lives.  

 As time goes on, little princesses search for other princesses in their world.  Soon they are introduced to the six plus princesses of Disney (that’s the book we had!).  They are swept into a world of romance, fantasy, and magic with the all to predictable evil and scary villain.  Most of us search for an alternative to give our daughters…I did!  I longed for a series of books that introduced my girls to bible-based, character-emphasized princesses that they could aspire to become. It was important that the books spoke to them in terms that they could understand that had eternal values targeted.  So I began to super-impose these principles into every book I picked up!

 Christina was three when we arrived in Panama and learned Spanish quickly in the few months we lived in Chepo, a Spanish-speaking community near the New Tribes Mission School about a 40-minute drive outside Panama City.  We had the privilege of living in Chepo while her Daddy made trips into the jungle to prepare our house for us.  We were, also, waiting for Princess Kimberly to be born and had many opportunities to become friends with the Spanish-speaking Panamanians; mostly, thanks to our blond, long-haired princess, Christina, who has never met a stranger!  Our nearest neighbor’s, Carlon and Angela, adopted us.  I learned to cook rice from Angela and Carlon became Ralph’s most loyal friend.  Both came to know Christ in our brief time there.   

 Shortly after Kim was born we moved into our Kuna village on the river Pucuro.  Christina learned Kuna faster than all of us because the children came daily to play with her toys on the front porch and they chattered like “Loritos”(little birds), continually.  As young as she was, she carried a burden for the hearts of her playmates and often engaged in conversations involving the reason why we had come and the need for knowing the true God.  

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Our screened-in front porch…the girl’s playroom!

 While living interior, we home-schooled daily and both girls were reading at four and able to do their required school work, days and weeks ahead of schedule.  It is amazing what can be accomplished when there is no electricity, T.V., cell phones, computers, ipads, instagram, pinterest, etc. Eventually, the Panamanian government sent a teacher to our village and a small school was built.  Christina could not wait to go with her friends and to be taught in Spanish.  She attended every morning!

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 Home-schooling a delightful and diligent student

 For us, jungle living had become home.  We had won the hearts of the majority of the Kuna community and had established a rhythm with them, their way of life and our family paradigm.  We had been blessed beyond measure…

 Are you at peace knowing you are where God has called you to be, 

doing what He has purposed for your life?

 What about your children?  

 Have you considered asking God for His divine direction 

in the life of each of your princes and princesses?

 

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,

 which God prepared in advance for us to do”.

Ephesians 2:1

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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 "Can You Imagine!"

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Life had become routine in the Darien jungles of Panama. The sounds of Howler monkeys, the screeching of magnificent multicolored parrots and the beauty of the bright colored Toucan had become commonplace.  One morning we woke up to find two little spider monkeys on the front porch crawling on the girls bikes! 

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I still could not reconcile with: the colossal spiders, the over-sized scorpions, the copious species of snakes, the blood-sucking vampire bats or the jungle army ants!  Nor would I ever find harmony with the dripping humidity and the ever-present roaches, chiggers and mosquitos!  However, I did learn to appreciate the large Iguanas for their tasty eggs.

 Daily, the Kunas would greet us, early, looking for sugar or oil and a morning visit.  We had become part of the community and they had begun to accept us.  We had brought healing medicine, oil, and sugar after all! 

 The Indians had, somewhere along the line, become part of our family and we had become attached to them and their way of life.  We had learned so much from them and were amazed at their physical strength compared to their small stature.  Their ability to take one bullet and return with a deer or two bullets and return with two deer was uncanny.  We, also, learned much from their survival skills in the dense jungle.  But their openness to listen to the truth of God’s Word after a year and a half of total mistrust and resistance was the most astounding of all!  

 Watching the young mothers with their babies and the respect and trust these women had for the older women in the village was heartening.  We had grown to love these very special people and had developed a mutually fulfilling relationship.  As they came to know Christ, our hearts were full of gratitude for the privilege of serving the King in such a rugged border region.

 The women swept the village once a week during dry season and it was an opportunity for Sue Gunsteens, my partner, and I to listen to the women chatter and hear the community gossip. You didn’t want to miss the sweeping because you would then become the object of their conversation that day!   

 However, I was consistently on guard because of something my Uncle, an orthopedic surgeon, had told me while he was visiting us at Language School.  He spoke quietly: “Jackie, you carry the TB germ from birth; it lays dormant now but could activate in the right environment or as you get older”. I was 25 at the time, so I only had to focus on the environmental issue, I thought to myself!  Then, a year or so later, during a Congreso meeting, we knew we had reached a level of tribal acceptance when they offered us a gourd filled with “Chicha” and everyonedrank from that one rustic cup!  Needless to say, I did not want to offend by NOTdrinking from it!  

 But for me the sweeping and the common drinking gourd became an act of faith because the sweeping stirred up the tuberculosis germs and of course, the tubercular women would contaminate that communal cup! 

 The Lord had given me a promise while we were in missionary training.

 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,

plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future”.   Jer.29: 11

 The Lord used these powerful words of promise to banish my fear and sustain me as we swept the village, drank the “sugar cane-sweetened platano (cooking banana) drink” and treated the TB patients in their homes and the clinic.  

 He knew my future and had it planned. There was, therefore, no reason to be troubled.  My focus was not on my fear but the need to keep in harmony with Him, His assignment and His will.

 Are you ever preoccupied with the future and what it holds for your life?

 In a world full of uncertainties it is easy to “roll into” the pattern of helping God design your future, rather than simply submitting to Himand His plan

that comes with assurance and hope

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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 "Invisible...Who?... Me!"

I have been told that it is not how old you are, but how you are old.  I agree with Bernard Baruch who said, “To me – old age is fifteen years older than I am!”  My Dad used to say “Growing old isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative”.

 The Word is rich with wise instruction concerning our attitude toward the “old”.  

My husband, Ralph with his sweet mother, Germaine, who lived with us her last 15 years.

My husband, Ralph with his sweet mother, Germaine, who lived with us her last 15 years.

Psalm 92: 14 gives us A PROMISE when speaking of …the advanced in age that bear the fruit of the righteous:

           “They will STILL bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,

                         proclaiming the Lord upright; he is their Rock and there is no

wickedness in them”!

 

Ø  Deut. 28: 50 mentions “a fierce-looking nation without RESPECT for the old”…(Respect should be expected…this nation was noted for its disrespect!)

 

Ø  The Third Commandment is devoted to the HONOR our parents are to receive from us!  (There is no designated age termination for this command!)

 

Ø  Joseph brought his father and his entire family to live with him in Egypt during the famine. (We are to be concerned for them and look for opportunities to meet their need) One of the biggest blessings of my life was when my mother-in-law came to live with us for the last 17 years of her life.

 

Ø  The Old Testament saints carried the dead bones (!) of their ancestors with them when God moved them to another country!   (Talk about reverence!)

 

Ø  Somehow the patriarchs of old, wisely led nations for generations before dying a “good old age”.  “1 Chronicles 29:28

 

Age does not define our relevance, but it often reveals our place of usefulness in our present culture.  All of us have the need to be connected.  You may be saying, “Well… my mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother (etc…) is not deserving of my honor and respect”. 

We do not choose our place of birth but we do choose how we allow God to use our circumstances to produce His life in us! 

 Psalm 39: 5 tells us what God thinks about age, spoken by David:

“You have made my days a mere handbreadth;

the span of my years is nothing before you.”

 Each man’s life is but a breath!

 Life is inordinately SHORT BUT there is always enough time “to heed His instruction”.  There are no exception clauses to obedience…just the command!

 “So be wise, my daughter, heed His instruction, leave that road that leads to destruction…hallow His Name, and don’t walk in shame…”

 

How do you wisely show honor for those who have gone before you?

Do your little princesses and princes see and hear

your reverence for

 “the aged”?

 Don’t hinder God’s work!

These “invisible” personalities are God-given with the divine purpose

of producing the character of Christ in 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 "Grateful and So Blessed!"

Meet my niece, Olivia celebrating God’s gift of Fall!

Meet my niece, Olivia celebrating God’s gift of Fall!

Were you wondering what we did when the doctors would not release me to return to our village?  We were desperate to return to the only “home” we knew in Panama…

BUT God had another plan

 Gratefulness is recognizing the benefits, which God and others have provided.

From the pilot risking his life to save mine to the missionary families who sacrificially opened their hearts and homes to us to see me recover, my heart overflows with inexpressible thanksgiving for their generosity toward our family during this conflicting time in our lives. 

 Gratitude is the memory of the heart! 

It is said to be the parent of all the other virtues. 

My gratitude for those members of the field

that picked up the slack and totally covered

for me is overpowering.

 Norman and Barbara Slaymaker were the “little dorm” parents at the time of my emergency flight and surgery and they took the loving responsibility of my babies for six weeks after our pilot, Scotty, and his wife, Mary, filled the gap in those first few days in Panama City.  After leaving the hospital, John and Ruth Jenkins, our very busy field leaders, “adopted us” for another six weeks (!) until the doctors would release us to return interior to our post!  What a tremendous weight we must have been…a family of 4 for months!!! 

 My memories are scattered and few.  I isolated myself into a survival mode.  I really thought I was going to die.  I had no time for tears and cannot remember even wanting to cry during those weeks, although I am sure I must have and those whose care I was under would readily attest that I did!  My heart cannot express the genuine gratitude that is flooding my eyes and consciousness as I write this!  I am mentally rehearsing the personal cost of the missionary families that encouraged me during those days and blanketed me with prayer and hands of intervention!

 Why this flood of overwhelming gratefulness?  Why now?  What is it about life that at unexpected moments God opens our awareness to the magnitude of His Sovereignty, Majesty, Grace and Mercy on our behalf?

 I am sitting here with a keen sense of:

Ø  My Unworthiness…and His Holiness!  

Ø  My Pretense of thinking I have any kind of control in this life (other than to choose to walk with Him)…and His complete and encompassing Rule and Protection!

Ø  My Powerlessness…and His Omnipotent Presence, faithfully accomplishing His purpose with my blindness to His silent footsteps all around me!

Ø  My Desperate Need to express my gratefulness and indebtedness to God and others! 

 Do you make it a habit of thanking God and others

for the many things in life that others take for granted?

 I would like to express my gratitude to you for joining me each Monday morning and for your encouraging words.  I am like Olivia…so blessed!

 Will you take time today to reflect glory back to Him

for His faithfulness to you…

the Author of every blessing? 

 Let’s take today’s opportunity to acknowledge those

who have and are benefiting our lives!

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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 "The Inspired by Angels Unaware!"

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“Give thanks in all circumstances (inclusive; no exceptions!), for this is God’s will for you…” 1Thessalonians. 5:19

 Recently a missionary friend posted a picture from our field’s Missionary school.  It was taken in what we called “the little dorm” in our early years on the field.  In the picture of about 15 children were my two daughters.  Christina was about 4 and in the foreground was a less than 2-year-old Kim.  The picture was not significant in itself but the fact that I could not recall when my girls could have ever been in that picture was significant!  I, literally, burst into tears!

 Christina, my eldest daughter, reminded me that they had spent 6 weeks in “the little dorm” after I was flown out of our village with a ruptured appendix.  There was unrest in Panama City (guns in the streets, riots, etc.) and the Military Police were closing the airport!  We were the last fight allowed to land or take off.  I was hastily loaded onto a gurney directly out of the plane and I watched our Cessna take off into the stormy skies with my two little ones inside! 

 I was unaware of most of what was transpiring around me but I knew my circumstance was bad.  I was rushed to the Military Hospital and was rapidly being moved down the corridor, when Ralph heard someone call his name.  He turned to see a Surgeon that we had recently met through our Pucuro partners.  She had been on duty for 72 hours when she caught a glimpse of Ralph in the hall and instantly turned to help us, never leaving our side until she had run tests, completed my emergency laparotomy and safely escorted us to the ICU hours later.  God had gone before us and sent her to us in His perfect timing…

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This is the posted picture!  Are these not the cutest missionary children…ever!!

 I am emotionally astounded that I was so desperately ill that I did not know where my two little girls were in those first days! My recovery was slow and I ran a low-grade fever for a year after this event.  Wanting to reunite our family as quickly as possible and return interior, which was our home, we found ourselves in a quandary because we could not get a release from the doctors to go back interior…! 

What could we do??

 As I’m writing this, my past and present merge and the surge of gratefulness is overwhelming!

 How many people can you think of offhand

who have benefited your life in the past? 

 

Whose name immediately comes to mind?

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

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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 "Me...Invisible?"

My youngest granddaughter, Megan and I

My youngest granddaughter, Megan and I

“Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long-life bring understanding?” Job 12: 12

 The “Mom Song” on Youtube is the voice of the ever diligent, often-unheard,

invisible Mother.

(www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lep8WE6bqwM)

 However, there is another category of individuals that are even more imperceptible…

 Regardless of our involvement in the lives of our children and grandchildren, they reach an age of development (if we have done our job) where their need for us lessens.  They now have their own friends and activities that occupy the time that was once ours!  Life is a whirlwind of academics, team sports, community outreach, horses, piano lessons, theater and musical practices and performances, tennis coaches and tournaments, swim practices and meets, church youth group activities, bible studies, revivals, camps, etc.…!

 Finally, one day… they get drivers licenses, go to college and get married!

 Keeping pace with all of this is a tremendous challenge…for all of us!  I am a grandmother of seven; my mother is a great-grandmother of 25 great-grandchildren! She lives on her own, cares for herself and is alert with a memory that would put an elephant to shame!  She gives new meaning to the verse in Job 12.  There are very few topics that have applicability to our everyday life, that if asked, she cannot wisely put in perspective, yet she often feels invisible and speaks of her sense of loneliness and need to keep relevant.

 I have thought about her statement and Job’s proclamation and wondered why in our 21st century culture the advanced in age feel they are being set to one side, listened to less and invisible in a large group of the younger generation.  

 These vital soldiers have earned their place among those that should be the most honored, respected and valuable in our culture. Titus 2: 3-5 admonishes “the older women to be reverent in the way they live and to train the younger..”  There is so much to be gleaned from these seasoned veterans that have gone before us, paving the way.  We will quickly step into the print they have left behind!

 Our local churches defer to the younger generation. The young fill the jobs in women’s ministry and teach the even younger.  They no longer turn to the older generation.  They have been replaced with quick and empty answers found in the latest technology, social media and their peers.

 BUT…“Is not wisdom found among THE AGED”?

 While in Panama, our good friends, the Jenkins, a couple with perfect pitch and harmony, put this definition below to music.  I have been humming it for years and sing it out loud when my natural inclination to think “I’m all that!” overrides what Scripture says should be the godly point of view!

 “Reverence is acknowledging that God is using in my life, people and events to produce the character of Christ in me”.  It is wisely looking at life’s situations (all of them!) from God’s point of view, not my own,

 THENthe warning:

Soooo… be wise my son (daughter), heed my instruction (instantly placing myself in harmony with Him and His will and directives), leave that road that leads to destruction, hallow my name (don’t walk in shame)…Proverbs 23: 17,18

 I want to be a wise mom, wife, grandma and whomever else I am purposed to be.  That means I am commissioned to look at all of life’s situations from God’s point of view and get out of His way. There is no way I can produce reverence and wisdom apart from Him.  He uses the people and events in my life to produce His character in me!  My job is to wisely yield all circumstances with a grateful heart, regardless of how it looks, seems or feels to me.  He knows what He is doing…It’s His plan…

The reward is Wisdom!

Will you join me in applying reverence to your life?

It’s a win…win.



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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 November 5, 2018 and filed under Character and Virtue, spiritual growth, Motherhood.

Jackie's Journey "The Longest Journey"

                    "Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it."  I Thessalonians 5: 24

                    "Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it."  I Thessalonians 5: 24

Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary.  Marriage is nothing less than the proving ground for developing our loyalty toward God!  My parents were married 72 years and my husband’s parents were married 47 years, so 53 years does not seem inordinately long to either of us…

I met my Prince at the University and if you were to ask our college friends they would be astounded that we are celebrating our 53rd Wedding Anniversary!  Most did not give us two years!  Ralph and I are polar opposites in almost every way.  However, we had the one element in marriage that will guarantee longevity…we were both individually committed to “burn out” serving God wherever He led us. My husband’s godly zeal and spiritual leadership in our home has been preeminent and a constant for the last 53 years! 

I have been blessed with a man who has loved me unconditionally and when he said “for better or worse” he meant it.  We have weathered the storms of life with near death experiences more than once and his loyalty to God and me is noteworthy.  Ralph and I continue to learn and grow together.  Choosing to live in deference is a key to our taking our two wills and finding harmony in God’s will.

Ralph’s name means “bold counselor” and that he is! He is a man of motion and direction.  He was once told he is an ”afflicter of the comfortable and a comfort to the afflicted!”  I could write a book with all his wise one-liners, biblical formulas and scriptural definitions.  His capacity to see things in Scripture and interpret them from the inside out to give a total new look to a familiar verse is uncanny! 

Christian missionaries are people whose passion is to make the Lord Jesus known to the whole world.  They are completely under the command of King Jesus (Ralph often rolls out of bed, stands at attention and salutes heavenward, committing his day!), and they will go anywhere, under any circumstances, for no pay, with poor living conditions and food, even though no one ever notices.  They know their Sovereign God is watching every minute, and that is the only reward and joy they seek…a true missionary is someone who will risk everything for the sake of the lost of this world…this is my husband!

We have a precious heritage that is a loving reminder of our loyalty to God

and our responsibility into the third and forth generations.

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God's Faithfulnes...!

Our lives are based on Proverbs 3: 5,6: Trusting the Lord with all our hearts and allowing Him to direct our paths and Matt. 6:33:  “Seeking first the King of heaven” and allowing Him to supply everything we need for life and godliness.

We are convinced that He takes the weak and confounds the mighty.  We are proof of His faithfulness…I Corinthians 2: 1-2 speaks my heart, like Paul’s, when he says, “…I did not come to you with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear and with much trembling. My message was not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom but God’s power”.

If we had these 53 years to do over again, we would like to serve more and better, as we were bought with the price of His blood.  Romans 6: 16-18 says, “We were slaves of sin and now are slaves of righteousness”.   We work daily on being better slaves!

Have you found your marriage to be a proving ground

for your faithfulness to God?

                                                            Christmas...53 years later!

                                                            Christmas...53 years later!

 

 

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 "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.