Posts filed under Spiritual Growth

Jackie's Journey "Treasure...Really?...I Want Some!"

 

I love Fall and look forward to it every year.  It is a lesson on death of sorts, but it brings with it the promise of new life to come in the Spring.   “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies….it remains only a single seed, BUT if it dies, it produces many seeds” Jn. 12:24 My humble garden waves goodbye until spring and the fall leaves on the trees surrounding it burst into vibrant colors and then slowly brown and drop to the ground… waving their final farewell!  

 The reference refers to “death to self” for the benefit of others.  However, everything and every one of us faces physical death.  There is no possibility of escape.  It is an undeniable reality!  Godly obedience comes with the promise of long life…but death is inevitable and we are all dying a little each day!  

 What we do with the time we have here, short as it is, tells us what we value most and where our treasure is.  During the “Fall Season of Life” here on earth, we are more mindful to consider that our treasures being stored up are eternal, not temporal.  

Princess Hope’s treasure box that sits on my desk…her book teaches the true meaning of “eternal treasures”…

Princess Hope’s treasure box that sits on my desk…her book teaches the true meaning of “eternal treasures”…

In a society where our monetary treasures are on the cusp of being devalued to nil, the temporal world is feeling pretty insecure.  If we define our “treasure” by worldly standards we are in deep trouble!  

  I was reading in Proverbs 24:4 this morning and stumbled over:

 “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

 Knowledge is familiarity gained by insight to (biblical) truth, experience and accumulated acts and reports.

 We are not to envy persons that “linger over wine and sample mixed wine” or to desire their company; for their hearts plot violence and their lips talk about making trouble.” Pro. 23: 30  By wisdom a house is built…by understanding it is established; by knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Prov.24:1 I do not think it is coincidence that these two verses follow one another.  Envy is a robber of the soul.  It is a greed that consumes time and swallows up treasured values. 

 So then, how do we get knowledge so we can acquire “rooms filled 

with rare and beautiful treasures”?

 “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge…” Pro. 12:1

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Discipline is accepting suffering as God’s fastest path to growth and giving thanks for it! (Lam. 3:33) The realm of tribulation becomes the home of revelation and the resource of knowledge.

 What??  Who loves discipline???

 We had better love it, accept it, practice it and endorse it because scripture states, “he who hates correction is stupid!” Pro. 12: 1NIV  I already fight stupid!   So for me, it is imperative that I get biblical wisdom, understanding and knowledge because I want the fruit …those ”rooms filled with rare and beautiful eternal treasures.”

So, how does Scripture say I gain knowledge?

 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of KNOWLEDGE.

Prov.1: 7

I need to fear God!

       The present-day Christian cultural message is that there is no need to fear God…He’s a loving God.   Let’s let the Bible define what God means when He writes, “to fear the Lord”.

 “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance, 

evil behavior and perverse speech”.  Prov. 8: 13

I need to hate SIN!

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This means no “acceptable sins” permitted:

·     No Deception or rationalizations

·     No Covetousness

·     No Fearfulness

·     No Loneliness

·     No Stinginess

·     No Dominance

·     No Double-mindedness

·     No Disrespect

·     No Slothfulness

·     No Presumption

·     No Apathy

·     No Hypocrisy 

·     No Extravagance

·     No Wastefulness

·     No Anger 

·     No Rudeness

·     No Irresponsibility  

·     Etc.!!!

Are the rooms in your house “filled with rare and beautiful treasure”?

 Why not?

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Jungle Monkey's and Tiaras!"

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Princesses Christina and Kim visiting our Kuna neighbors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Home-schooling a delightful and diligent student

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

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

doing what He has purposed for your life?

 What about your children?  

 Have you considered asking God for His divine direction 

in the life of each of your princes and princesses?

 

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

 which God prepared in advance for us to do”.

Ephesians 2:1

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Inexplicable Agony" Part 2

 

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“When God wants to bring more power into your life, He brings more pressure.”

A.B. Simpson

My husband’s increasing pain with no resolve from his visit to the village down river had become a constant pre-occupation.  Pressure, by definition, is a continuing opportunity for others to observe our true character.

 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

II Corinthians 4: 17

Our appointment at the Center for Disease Control was early and to get into the Lab we needed to walk past a zoo-like structure that enclosed a number of caged odiferous monkeys. 

 

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They were loud and aggressive as we made our way to the foyer.

We were greeted by two of the staff that led us down a long corridor to a small room with jars of unspeakable contents lining the walls.  After a series of tests and reviewing the hospital reports, these research doctors, who had been so kind to us, both had smiles of success on their faces. 

 “As incredible as this may seem, Ralph”, they started their calm but deliberate explanation, “somehow, you have broken into a cycle only seen in animals, specifically horses.  You have Strongeloides, a parasite that burrows into the intestinal wall… and eats it!  The reason the Coca-Cola gave you relief is because the parasite would not burrow its head in those few moments because they feed on sugar.  So you were able to sense a temporary relief. This particular parasite is literally eating your intestinal wall!!” 

 Looking for a source of entry, one doctor asked to see Ralph’s feet.  Ralph’s heels were deeply cracked and the parasite had entered into his system directly from the contaminated soil in the Choco settlement he had recently visited!  As interested as Ralph was in the entire explanation, he is, after all, a “just gimme the bottom line” man. All he really wanted to know was “how do we kill these creatures?!”  

 The good newswas that there was a treatment…but…it was for horses!  The bad news was they did not know if it would work on a human…or even…kill him?! They were very careful to explain that under no circumstances was he to take more than one teaspoon a day because the medicine was so toxic.  

 We needed to stay in Panama City another week for them to run a last test to see if the medicine had worked.  After three days and no relief, Ralph looked at the girls, and me, and said,  “It’s me or the bugs!”  He, instantly, took the bottle, turned it upside down, emptying its entirety into his mouth!  My heart started pounding…

 Who does that???

 He seemed fine for the first hour or so, and I breathed a sigh of relief.  Then, abruptly, he became agitated and turned into the Hulk!  Literally…he grabbed my arm and yelled something unintelligible.  His wild eyes looked like the man who had broken into the borrowed house for cocaine a few days earlier!  

 What had he done?!

This strong, gentle man had become forceful and alarming.

 Fortunately, we were still in the city, but it was too late to call the doctors.at the Lab.  When morning broke we loaded into the borrowed vehicle and headed back to Gorgas Lab to see if Ralph had done something irreparable!  He, however, was excited to let the doctors know that the massive dosage of the toxic vial had made him a crazy man …but had not killed him!  The real issue: Did it kill the parasites?!   

 “Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?  

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?  Why should any living man complain…”  

Lamentations 3: 37-39

 Needless to say, the doctors were horrified and shocked that he had taken the whole bottle, but were grateful that he had survived!  They were anxious to test him for the parasite.  We sat silently waiting for the test results.  If the parasites lived through the toxic exposure there was no other treatment known to help us. 

They quietly re-entered the room …gleaming!

 Ralph had lived… and the bugs had died!!

 During those days of excruciating pain, never once did Ralph complain.  He was not suffering…just ask him!   He gave thanks continually and even at his worst, submitted to the will of God.

 “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; 

he will not be visited by harm”

Psalm 19: 23

 Pressure is the great tester of our spiritual condition…  and “The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.”  (Wm. Booth)  

 How do you respond to pressure?

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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 December 31, 2018 and filed under motherhood, Spiritual Growth, character and virtue.

Jackie's Journey "Inexplicable Agony"

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Ralph raking the leaves in front of our jungle home.

 The word that Americans were living on the Pucuro River among an isolated tribe located near the headwaters was big news to the people in a tiny Choco settlement about a day’s journey away by piraqua (dugout).  A young couple from this village had come to Pucuro for medicine for their little boy. Ralph, my husband, and our partner, Jay Gunsteens, were eager to take some of our new believing Kuna’s on their first missionary trip down river to visit this community.

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 Young visiting Choco Family

 I remember the day they took off in the dugout and wondered how these remote people would receive the message God was bringing to them.  It was rainy season and the mud was deep as they arrived on the riverbank.  This secluded group of Indians had a few horses and cows and the ground was thoroughly contaminated.  Ralph, who had purchased combat boots for just this sort of occasion, was in his flip-flops!  

 Darkness was closing in and the boys were invited to eat and spend the night.  The next day they were given an opportunity to open the Word and share God’s plan of salvation.   Ralph and Jay were well received and some of the townspeople even returned a visit to Pucuro in the weeks that followed. 

 About two weeks after returning to our village, Ralph began to suffer with excruciating abdominal pain.  We committed him to our healing God.  The limited medical resources available to us interior had been exhausted.  Since we were soon due to renew our visas, we decided to take the three-day journey down river early and leave for Panama City to see if the doctors in the Canal Zone could help us.  The medical doctors realized he had picked up something unusual and unable to find the source and  after a battery of tests, they sent us to the Gorgas Laboratory, the Center for Disease Control for the military in Central America.  

 Ralph was becoming increasingly restless and powerless to cope with the intense pain.  The Lab was our last hope.  We made an immediate appointment and to our surprise, they took us right in.  

 Ralph had not slept in days.   The Lord had opened up a home on the military base for us to use the few days we planned to be in the city and we were so grateful for His provision.  

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Military Housing in the Canal Zone

 Ralph would walk the floor day and night.  The only thing that gave him a few moments of relief was when he would drink a Coca Cola! I knew I had been called to this ministry and I knew God was allowing this disturbing event for our good and the benefit for others, yet this was touching one of God’s most faithful servants and I was stymied!  

 Have you ever wondered why it is so much more difficult 

to watch the pain of someone else than your own?

 Finally, one night, Ralph stopped pacing and laid down sometime after midnight.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  

 About two hours later we were jolted by someone at the back door, literally, breaking into the house! This person had broken the window and was reaching his hands inside through the shattered glass to unlock the latch! 

 Ralph was instantly on his feet yelling at the intruder!  As he left our room, he turned and said,  “Safety is in the Lord, Jackie!”  As he slammed the door shut, he told me to call the military police and stay with the girls!

 Panicked and processing, I did as I was told and listened to the scuffle in the hall.  There were loud voices and then silence!  I rushed to the locked door and called out!  There was NO ANSWER!  I grabbed both little girls and expected the worst…

 In the few minutes I waited, Ralph had subdued the man and tapped on our door to tell us we were going to be all right.  The intruder was a cocaine addict and knew someone that lived in this borrowed house. He needed money and was desperate to get in!  

What!  Who does that!!!

 Have you ever had an intruder violently invade your place of safety?

 Needless to say, we did not go back to bed and as dawn shed light into the house, I was busily packing and “oh, so ready” to keep that Gorgas Lab appointment and head back to our home in the jungles of the Darien.  

 Who would have thought that an ordinary family would sense more safety in a jungle house with no lock, a bark frame and surrounded by indigenous people, than in a thriving metropolis with every amenity known to man?!

 I learned a lesson that night…  

This experience drove home the truth that the promise 

“Safety is in the Lord” is an absolute reality given to those who walk with Him.

 “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in SAFETY by Him; 

the Lord will cover him all day long.”  Duet. 33:12

 

The world is too small a place to afford safety 

to a man that disobeys God.

 

Where do you find safety?

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Can You Imagine!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

that comes with assurance and hope

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Invisible...Who?... Me!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

wickedness in them”!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

“You have made my days a mere handbreadth;

the span of my years is nothing before you.”

 Each man’s life is but a breath!

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

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

 

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

Do your little princesses and princes see and hear

your reverence for

 “the aged”?

 Don’t hinder God’s work!

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

of producing the character of Christ in us!

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "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.