Posts filed under Spiritual Growth

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 "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 "Little Much Afraid or Courageous Warrior?"

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All of us want to be warrior moms, equipped to

alter the direction of our future and those little ones who follow us!

 

I am the least likely to be involved in foreign tribal missions or to author a series of Princess Books or anything else… because I am, ALSO…the one who crusades against her paralyzing fear.

How many of you have read, “Hinds Feet in High Places”?  Well, …meet little “Much Afraid”!  My fear has always been connected to my failing someone’s expectation …mostly God’s and of course, the fear of the unknown (as a young mom…raising my girls in the jungles, tribal people, isolation, vampire bats, huge hairy spiders, 13” scorpions…)!  

I have a recent testimony of a young mom who has lived the majority of her parenting life worried that she is failing, scared that she is not doing enough, being enough or giving enough!  Always comparing herself to the success of others…

 Do you ever fear failure… as a mom… a wife…?

Just the responsibility of equipping our little ones

to survive victoriously in this perverse culture

should strike fear in our hearts!!

 Coming to understand, that I need to fear only two things…has freed me to walk thru that door of dread…instead of running the other direction (my natural inclination)!!!

 Can you guess what those two things might be?

1. The fear of God, who faithfully brings me to a particular: point, place or circumstance…to mature me spiritually…

  2. The fear of the consequence of sin!     Not failure… !

 When you fear God you fear the consequence of sin!

 When asked, “If you are so afraid, Jackie, WHY did you go into the jungles to open up a work among an Indian group that had never been reached before?” 

My answer is simple… “That the lamb of God might receive the reward of His suffering!”   I was aware of the need…I was compelled to go…FEAR AND ALL!

 “To Him who knows to do right and does not do it to him it is sin!  Jas.4:17

 Focusing on “walking thru that door of fear with Him”,… allowing Him to live and lead through me was more scriptural and liberatingthan focusing on what happens, if I fail and bear the prideful guilt of thinking… I should have done better …or done nothing at all!  “The highway of fear is the shortest route to defeat.” Wm. L. Brownell

                     Fear is wrong focus!    Trust in the wrong person!

 One sultry day in the jungle I was sitting at my rustic desk crying when our partners walked in and asked, “What happened?”  I proceeded to pour out my heart and confess how I was a total failure as a mother, wife, and missionary. 

 To my astonishment, my friend just SMILED and agreed with me saying, “Jackie, you are a failure“!

 NOW, WHO SAYS THAT!!!    

He proceeded with…BUT the good news is: You are now in perfect position to receive the grace of God with its power to live victoriously!”  ONCE I GOT PAST THAT UNANTICIPATED SMILE(!)… I began to process the biblical truth and he was right.  I could offer God nothing.  Apart from His empowerment, on my own, “so to speak” - trying, striving, bent on achieving… 

I am a ROYAL failure!

 BUT THAT FAILURE has become my best friend over the years because I now had a recognizable signal when afraid and I could get out of God’s way so HE could do what I was unable to do! 

“His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in MY weaknessIn failure! 2 Corinthians 12:9  

My Husband, who calls it like it is… says “my weakness” is really “my strength in evil”!!  Whatever it is called…I was free…at last…I could surrender to His leading and allow His strength to be made perfect in my weakness.  I was finally at peace!

 Where do you find your strength?

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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 October 29, 2018 and filed under character and virtue, Motherhood, Spiritual Growth.

Jackie's Journey "Culture Shock!"

                                                                     Our Kuna Home

                                                                    Our Kuna Home

Have you ever been in a situation where your heart goes “into shock?”

 My life was totally surreal!  The storm had passed.  We had pulled the mosquito netting over us in the darkness to keep the blood-sucking mosquitos and vampire bats from attacking us as we attempted to spend our first night in our remote location.  The jungle noises were as foreign as our locality!  Night passed slowly…

The jungle had a different face in the morning light.  I slipped out of our king-sized plywood bed that was topped with a firm 3” piece of foam rubber and welcomed the possibilities of the day.  Two little faces popped up out from under the netting.  Both were happy, dry and VERY hungry!

 Don’t you just love it??

 I surveyed the barrels all around the open room of our new home…eighteen of them!  Which barrel had a cooking pot for oatmeal?  No toast…no electricity! 

I am paralyzed wondering where to begin.  But two little rested and hyperactive girls have me well motivated…they are REALLY HUNGRY!

First Barrel:  Rice, beans and dry goods,

Second Barrel:  Clothes…no oatmeal!

                                   Third Barrel:  Pots and pans…yeah!  But still…no oatmeal!

While opening the thirteenth barrel, a beautiful young woman walked through our front door offering us bananas and mangos!!  Since I did not understand her language or culture and not wanting to be aggressively offensive (I REALLY wanted to grab that fruit!), I waited patiently for her to put the fruit in my hands and graciously thanked her.  I lifted my head toward heaven, whispering,  “Thank you, Lord… for the kindness of my new neighbor and for a perfect breakfast!” 

I had heard the women stoking their fires in the very early morning before light.  They had already eaten cooking bananas hours before.  They were now filing into our house with an understandable curiosity and began pulling everything out of every opened barrel!

 All I could think was…PLEASE, LORD, LET THEM FIND THE OATMEAL!

The Kuna women seemed to have an inexplicable interest in my appearance.  Did they think I was a man? I was too tall, too skinny, my hair was too short and I was wearing jeans! I was a nursing mother yet I towered over every living person in the village at 5’8”, except for my 6’ 2” husband.

Being the strong, confident woman I am, I took it all in stride…NOT!

Not at all!   This was totally surreal!  Would my life always be like the

last 24 hours?

Would they ever accept someone like me?

Clearly…. "culture shock" had set in!

While in training for this mission, the instructors (who were seasoned missionaries) introduced us to this phenomenon.   I told myself I was not going to be the “weak” one who goes into her village and gives in to her fears…that was for someone else…I hated failure! 

There are certain undeniable signs of culture shock:

Ø  Screeching in the night for your kidnapped baby who has been abducted by near-naked, tribal people who are “way deep into what you once considered your comfort zone”

Ø  Crawling into a bed that has been drenched by the rain coming through your bark walls and adjusting to the misting on your face through the mosquito netting, but unable to sleep

Ø  Furiously tucking in the netting around every inch of your bed…not knowing what is already in there with you…its pitch black after all!

Ø  Listening all night to the critters scurrying under your bed and in the open ceiling rafters and visualizing the unthinkable!  What animals are nocturnal in the rain forest?  All of them!!! 

Ø  Having an intense desire to communicate with the women busily dissecting our belongings, yet powerless to do so…

Ø  Etc., etc.

The dictionary defines Contentment as freedom from care or discomfort!

 Genuine Contentment is avoiding the bondage of personal expectations and realizing God has provided everything I need for my present happiness.  Contentment understands that if I am not satisfied with what I have, I will never be satisfied with what I want!  I Timothy 6: 6-8

 Was I content?   What were my expectations?

                                      Where was the fruit of my contentment??

Here I was again, finding Him in that secret place of my learning heart.  God was waiting for me to enter into His presence with thanksgiving, acknowledge His authority and claim all that is mine, regardless of my personal failure and present circumstances.  “God wants me to be present where I am.  He invites me to see and to hear what is around me and, through it all, to discern the footprints of the Holy.”(Richard Foster)

Pressing toward the goal, like Paul in Philippians 4:11,  “…I have learned (I continue to learn) to be content, whatever the circumstance...”

 What is your level of contentment this morning?

 “Blessed is the woman who listens to me, watching at my doors,

waiting in the doorway.  For whoever finds me, finds life and

receives favor from the Lord”   Proverbs 8: 34,35

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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 September 3, 2018 and filed under Motherhood, Spiritual Growth, womanhood.

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 "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 "Life's Pressures!"

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We live in a culture where being a “bully” is not only acceptable behavior among many but is also admired.  Recently a high school baseball team was involved in a “knockdown drag- out” fight on the field.  The coach stood and cheered the “bullies” on and then punished the team payers that refused to participate in the angry event calling them weak!  Needless to say, my blood began to boil as I rehearsed the multitude of basic life principles that were being violated and the life lessons lost!

Our little prince and princesses face a world that is nothing like the one we grew up in.  They require exceptional preparation in defining right from wrong and exemplary assistance in forming personal warrior convictions.  No pressure, mom’s…right?  How many parents do you know that are struggling with one or more of their children over issues presented to them from our perverted culture?

Living in our present world, if you live by sound theological convictions, you are likely to be called a “zealot”, “Jesus freak”, a "bible thumper" or even a cultist!  The opposing sides in this spiritual battle are becoming clearer and clearer.  Rejection is to be accepted, even welcomed, if you stand for something. 

 Where do you stand?

To torment another person you have to violate that little voice inside that helps us discern right from wrong.  Slowly, like the frog in the heating pan of water, we have been desensitized into thinking wrong is right and right is wrong!  The culture is dictating its perspective and peer pressure stands firm, pulling harder than ever!

Scripture describes a bully by its many synonymous terms.

Ø  Tormenter

Ø   Intimidator

Ø  Oppressor

Ø  Persecutor

Ø  Tyrant

Ø  Aggressor

Bullies threaten.  They terrorize.  They attempt to alarm us.  They frighten and scare us.  They endanger our society by endeavoring to represent those of us who know better and are struggling to get our voice out there!

Be reassured that “right and wrong” was established in Bible times and first recorded in the book of Genesis and the current culture does not define it, change it or alter its course…it can only work at desecrating it.  Knowing what is right by God’s standards and acting accordingly frees us from societies domination.  Our biblical convictions give us courage to stand against the onslaught on every side.   And to those who use the rationalization, “well, it must be acceptable because everyone is doing it”, as an excuse to be participants in what is clearly known to be “wrong”, you will find yourselves in the same line in the end with the cultural idols of our day (Hollywood, comprimising Christians, double-minded believers…). 

Israel was exiled for following false gods and the practices of other nations.  When warned by God they “would not listen and were stiff-necked.  They did not trust their God”. II Kings 17:13-14   They followed worthless practices and themselves became worthless (losing their salt).  They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do”!

Are your convictions and practices based on what is scripturally true

 or what is presented to you by a corrupted culture??

Who are you imitating?

 “But the people who know their God

shall stand firm and take action.”

Daniel 11:32

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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 Subtle Disease"

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There is a very subtle disease among the women in our Christian communities.  Most of us aren’t even aware of it but it is killing us!  Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, was a man that scripture says had the mark of excellence. Yet, he had this terrible disease and he is a warning to those of us who have ears to hear.

The disease is called…”Spiritual Decay”.

The process of this virus is nearly imperceptible.  Slowly, almost intuitively, certain things are accepted that were once rejected without question.  Sort of like the chemistry experiment where the little frog was placed on the stove in a pan of cold water.  As the heat increased slowly, the frog remained calm and seemed to enjoy its tepid environment.  The water continued to get hotter and the little frog found the now boiling water prohibited him from jumping out of the pan!

Corruption is the steady process of dissolution to which all of us are subject!  The instances are exceedingly rare of man immediately passing over a clear marked line from virtue into declared vice and corruption.  “There are middle tints and shades between the two extremes; there is something uncertain on the confines of the two empires, which they must pass through, and which renders the change easy and imperceptible.” Edmund Burke

Things once considered rude and hurtful are now openly tolerated.  At the onset the “subtle” appears harmless.  But the wedge it brings leaves a gap that grows wider with compromise and ultimately, moral erosion joins hands with spiritual decay.   

Soon the gap is a canyon and our salt becomes salt less!

This disease is also contagious.  There are warning signs to avoid for the wise:

Be careful about changing your standard if it corresponds with your desires.

 (Rationalizing that it is acceptable and using the current culture as your excuse…)

        Be careful about becoming inflated with thoughts of your own importance.

("I can handle this"…pride always lies!)

Be alert to the pitfalls of prosperity and success.

What area of thought, word or action

have you begun to tolerate?

 A woman of conviction takes the commands of Scripture and purposes to follow them whatever the cost.  No compromise…no rationalizing…no thinking she can live in the “grey” areas. There are no grey areas!  There are only two standards:  Black or White…Good or Evil…that’s it!   Following godly convictions bring godly influence!  Your children are counting on that…remember Daniel?  “Daniel resolved (before being tempted!) not to defile himself…” Daniel 1: 8

Which will it be?

 “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desire you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do…”  I Peter 1: 13,14

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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.