Posts tagged #kidnapped

Jackie's Journey: "Kidnapped and Killed!"


“Afflictions are but the shadow of God’s wings.”

George MacDonald

In the tropics the challenges are relentless. I recently read, ”The Darien Gap, a large swath of undeveloped swampland and dense forest with no roads, is dangerous due to incidents of kidnapping, murder and drug-running by Colombian guerillas and paramilitary groups who have crossed the border into Panama.”  

This is the very place where God chose to locate us.

After leaving our field of service, three new families moved into our village and into our homes to continue the work among the Kuna’s.  Those three New Tribe Mission families were put to the ultimate test when their husbands were kidnapped by a Colombian paramilitary group (FARC).The horror of their capture and disappearance into the dense Darien jungle was unthinkable

.“When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below…How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no God like you and there is no God but you…”

Joshua 2:11 and 2 Samuel 7:22

 My heart was lost in the “inconceivable”.   It was my worst imaginings while living interior and it had become reality just a few years after we returned to the U.S.  What would happen now?  Will our Kuna family go on? How would these wives and their children continue?  These three brave missionary women would later learn their husbands had been murdered shortly after their capture!    Lawlessness prevails in the Darien…

“The Lord gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.”

Charles H. Spurgeon

I did not do a lot of research on Panama, the Darien or any investigation of our area prior to entering our tribe.  It was deep into the jungle by way of a maze of rivers past all civilization.  It was magnificent in beauty and scale, but intimidating with threatening unknowns.  My husband and I were on the adventure of our lives and our zeal to reach these remote people for Christ was indescribable.  They needed the story of God and mankind from the beginning and we were challenged by the opportunity.

The Kunas could not imagine why these foreigners were living among them.  What did we really want?   Our goal was to share the gospel with these tribal people who had no background to understand God’s Word.  Their god, after all, was an Earthmother!

The arduous task of learning a completely foreign language and culture to communicate the Gospel clearly was set before us and we had been prepared well.  Through Boot Camp and Language School we came to understand academically and spiritually the job at hand and we were anxious to get at it.  We did not allow ourselves to entertain the possibility of turning back or what it might cost or the price that we might be called upon to pay!

I am grateful I was unaware of all the potential dangers that lurked in our geographical area.   When the news came to us of the men and their families that followed us, it was shocking.  God’s timing is not ours, His ways are not ours and His ultimate purpose is not always obvious or easily read.  His sovereignty, however, is ours to claim and is the place where we find peace in utter confusion and turmoil.

 I am eternally grateful to those women in different pockets of the world, who stood with us during our time in Panama.  The prayers of the faithful sustained us as they “held the ropes” at home. Those who joined hands with us to reach this remote group of Kunas in the Darien Gap confirmed His calling on us and they were the continual source of encouragement that we needed to “keep on keeping on”. 

The next time you think you are having a “bad” day,

Will you pray with me for those moms who are still in remote areas involved in “reaching the unreached?”

 I know you can do all things (God).

And that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”

Job 42:


~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: Terror to Trust

“The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” Psa. 142:11

“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 daughter’s  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!  Proverbs 1:33 was 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 before.  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, turned to face my new reality and walked through the door of my brand-new jungle life!

It was a good thing it was too dark to know who had inadvertently brought such distress to my spirit that night. But bless her, because she 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…all seven of them!

These are my grandchildren… my heritage…all seven of them!

Posted on April 27, 2015 and filed under Motherhood, Spiritual Growth.

Jackie's Journey: KIDNAPPED! Really?

Baby Kim and her sister, Christina.

Baby Kim and her sister, Christina.

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

Ever had 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, almost 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!

Jungle River

Jungle River

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 year 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 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 river’s 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 regarding trials:

  1.  Trials are common to all of us.  No one escapes unscathed. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “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!.”
  2. Trials are given with divine purpose and will pass.  1Peter 1:6 “In this you may greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”
  3.  Trials are life-lessons NOT to be wasted!  James 1:4 “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

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?

Join me next Monday for my decision…think about yours.