Jackie's Journey "Betrayed!"

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“…for they have dug a pit to capture me and have hidden snares for my feet,

 but you know, Oh, Lord, all their plots to kill me.” Jeremiah 18:23

 Has anyone ever set a snare for your life?

Shortly after we returned to our village in the remote jungles of Panama after a two-month absence, a young Kuna man came to our door apprehensively, but confidently, to share with us that Aquileo, the town representative to the Panamanian government, was plotting to kill my husband!  The only word that would describe my shock was…ESCAPE!  However, our isolated village made an escape impossible!

In my traumatized state of mind a verse in Jeremiah raced into my consciousness…  Jeremiah was facing his plotting antagonists and said, “But the Lord is with us like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail…” Jer. 20:11   This plan had taken Aquileo two years to put together and we were being informed that the time had come to carry it out! 

My first thought…my two little girls…what could I do? 

Would we be disposed of in the river? 

No one would find us…ever!

This was all a nightmare…this could not be happening!

My heart was stunned, on the one hand, because Aquileo and his wife had been consistently friendly to us, visiting in our jungle home, laughing and sharing. The terrifying reality was, they were planning to kill us at the same time!!  I was terrified… I felt betrayed because so many in our Kuna family had known of this plan and no one, until now, had told us.  I felt indebted to the young man who had risked his tribal reputation to protect my husband. 

When?…Where?…How would this be carried out??  What should we do? 

What could we do!

Ralph, took one look at me and instantly, reminded me that I should “joyfully” be giving thanks to God that for the two years of planning I had been spared the stress of knowing about this development!  He had recently given me a mathematical “formula”, as a reminder, for just this kind of situation.   It went like this:

Trials + Acceptance of the Trial with Joy = Maturity

 I asked myself these 6 questions:

 1.     Could I trust God’s Sovereign plan?  Romans 8:28

2.     Did I believe God would never give me a trial too big?  1 Cor. 10:13

3.     Would He give me a way of escape? 1 Cor. 10:13

4.     Is every trial given with divine purpose and benefit?  Rom. 8:18; 11 Cor. 4: 17

5.     Am I convinced the Holy Spirit will help, comfort and carry me through this trial? Rom. 8: 26

6.     Do I believe that testing will produce Godly character in me?  Job 23: 10

 For the formula to work growth and maturity in me

 I would have to answer each of these questions with a “YES”!

Ralph’s response was, “This is impossible, Aquileo is my friend!”   Denial was never an option I considered in my thinking!  Ralph immediately stood up and bolted out the door, crossing the village to confront his nemesis! 

In that talk Aquileo shared a verbal wound that he had received from my husband when we first moved into Pucuro.  He felt he had “lost face” among the men in our very tight community.  Ralph had no idea that the result of his jesting had caused such pain and immediately humbled his heart and asked forgiveness. 

I found that accepting the trial (even this one!) with joy proved to be a life-lesson that made a permanent imprint on me to this day, as I face life daily.  Accepting not just the formula, but also its applied truth with a joyful and resounding “YES” has changed my life!  The struggles continue to come, but accepting God’s purpose, provision and control with joy is the quickest path to peace, growth and maturity.

JOY is not the absence of suffering but the presence of the Lord.

C.S. Lewis said, “Joy is never in our power, it is the fruit of accepting God’s

provision in difficult circumstances!”

We waited to see what would happen to us.  Days passed slowly, the nights were even longer (!), and one bright morning, Aquileo and his family arrived at our front door… smiling!  I cannot put into words the delight and relief I felt as I opened the door and invited them inside!

 “Consider it PURE JOY whenever you face many 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…!”

James 1: 1-4

Are you finding joy in your times of difficulty? 

 

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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 "I Have My Rights...I'm Entitled!"

As a young tribal missionary wife and mother, I felt I had a right to be understood.  Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?  I was living with so many unknowns. Knowing my husband understood how hard I was attempting the impossible was important to me. It seemed like a legitimate right…don’t you think?  It was imperative to have someone to talk to in my heart language (English).  Poor Ralph…he was it!  He is not a detail guy and I speak in paragraphs!  My anger would reveal itself in various forms demanding his attention.Would you consider yourself an angry person?

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1.     Does your family (or whomever you live with) ever see you lose your temper?

2.     Are you able to quickly admit when you are wrong?

3.     Do you complain about how others treat you (when you’re slighted or get

your feelings hurt)?

4.     Do you grumble when things don’t work out the way you planned?

5.     Do you demand prompt attention from family members, friends, teachers, employers, etc.? (Do you feel hurt when others get more attention than you do!)

All five questions reveal patterns of anger that are not uncommon to all of us!

 The best functional definition I have ever found for anger is:

“Someone finding a right that I have not yet yielded to God.”

 Someone crossing my already decided will!

“A Right”…

is a legal demand of our will that we impose on each other–

something, someone, or some attitude apart from God’s will.

It has its own authority with no power

It produces anger or hurt feelings

It assumes God and everybody owes us something

It refuses humility (the key to the Christian life!)

What rights do you claim?  

My anger popped up more often than I care to admit.  I had an unprincipled habit of making excuses or blaming others for:

Ø  My Pride – reserving the right to make the final decision

Ø  My Insecurity – structuring my life around temporal values

Ø  My Reputation- projecting the image I wanted others to have of me

Ø  My Expectations

While living in the jungle I jotted down a “few” of my rights in my journal!

I had a "right":

·      To a normal standard of living

·      To ordinary standards of good health

·      To privacy

·      To hold others to their responsibilities

·      To be angry

·      To make the final decision on a matter

·      To judge others

·      To do it my way

·      To be understood (self-justification)

·      To be envious or jealous

·      To be uninterrupted

Do you identify with one or any of these as a daily occurrence?

By making excuses for my anger rather than tracing my “anger” to a violation of one of my personal rights, I failed to live in victory. 

By calling the “right” by its name and repenting, I found freedom in a consistent Christian walk…No more excuses.  I exchanged them for gratefulness and found peace!  

What is the hardest right to give up?

Answer: The right to make the ultimate decision!

I continue to learn to stop before yielding to my demand for my way and put my will in neutral, acknowledging His control and His will (not mine or my husband’s).  It brings harmony into my life in the midst of unknowns and confusion.  My demanding to be understood is now my friend and my signal to yield to Gods Will by giving my “demand” to HIM and giving thanks instead!

In the New Testament Christ gave up:

1.     His Rights- “did not consider equality with God”

2.     His Reputation – “Made himself nothing, becoming a servant”

3.     His Ego –“Humbled himself”

4.     His Will  - “Obedient unto death”!

“Who, being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross.” Philippians 2: 6-8

 How can we do less?

An independent, willful and demanding spirit will keep us from living in victory.  Let’s choose to agree with God, call anger the sin that it is and walk as He walked, honoring the cross and remembering the price He paid for our Victory over sin!  No more excuses…

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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 " Draw the Battle Lines!"

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“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.”

II Cor. 10:3

 Is Someone Attempting to Destroy your Life?

The answer is YES… Every moment of every day!  We are at war.  Elisabeth Elliot wrote, “How can God remold my mind from within unless I continually test what I read and hear from the world by the ‘straight edge of Scripture?’”  Moms, we are inundated with time consuming activities of every kind that are compounded by social media: Face booking, tweeting, texting, Instagraming, blogging, etc.

Where is the voice that speaks transforming truth?

“Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven”.  Ps. 119:89  “The Word of God is living, powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword”! Hebrews 4:12

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 How many days did you get in the Word this week?

The Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah wrote in Chapter 6,  “This is what the Lord Almighty says…to whom can I speak and give warning?  Who will listen to me?  Their ears are closed so they cannot hear.  The Word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it…”

When you read His words what do you hear?  What are you looking for? (His power? His life in you? A change in your bad habits?  A good story time?  A verse to meet someone else’s need?  A class assignment?)  What?

Listening to His voice and allowing His words to “dwell richly” in us brings life and blessing. Neglecting His Word brings spiritual devastation and destruction.  The Bible is the heart and mind of God…the transformer of renewing my mind. Rom.12:2  It is the roadmap to life!  I have this imperative need to ask God to “open my eyes so that I can see” the road, since His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways.” Isa.55: 8  

I explore His Word by purposing to read for a “BUMP”…a verse that jumps off the page at me!  It might be for someone else, but it is mine first!  It is the transforming voice of God speaking to me in an area that I am blind to that hinders the goal of His transforming life in me. 

 What is your goal? Do you have Steps of Action to accomplish that goal?

There are 5 questions I ask myself as I begin to apply the "bump" verse into my life:

1.     Is there sin for me to AVOID?

2.     Is there a PROMISE for me to trust?

3.     Is there an EXAMPLE for me to follow?

4.     Is there a COMMAND for me to obey?

5.     How can this passage increase my knowledge of the Lord God (not just about Him)

WARNING!!

 “Many false prophets (with false philosophies) will appear and deceive many.”

Matthew 24:11

 Beware of these 5 strong voices in our 2018 culture:

1.     Evolution:  How creation came into existence and developed

2.     Egalitarianism:  Defining the role of man and woman

3.     Economics:  Contentment = Having

4.     Experience: Instant Gratification = I want, what I want…NOW!

5.     Ego:  It’s All about Me!

These voices are universal and give us a checklist to reveal our true convictions and the confirmation or absence of His Word in our lives. They help define strongholds that have been yielded to the destroyer. 

 “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal (our joy, youth, peace, seeds of truth, etc.) and kill (relationships) and destroy (us!);  I (Christ) have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly”.John 10: 10

Revival is the power of the Holy Spirit transforming God’s Word into our soul!

Let’s pick up the Word of God this week and

devastate the devil’s attempts to destroy 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 "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 "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.