Jackie's Journey "What Do You See First?"

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A year or so after moving into the Darien Gap in the jungles of Panama, I was asked to jot down my first impressions by our field leaders. To my surprise I read my notes in our New Tribes Mission Brown Gold Magazine(now called Ethnos 360) months later in May 1973.  A few days ago I was going through some photo albums and found that same article.

 The purpose of the writing was to call attention to the desperate need to reach these unreached people tucked into little corners all over the world.  H.A. Roberts said, “The toughest challenges lead to the greatest triumph’s”.  The call is as imperative now, as it ever was then.  Here is that quoted article reproduced:

“HERE WE ARE!  Address: El Rio Pucuro, Nowhereland!

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Our village carved out of dense jungle.  My house has a tin roof in the foreground.

 Only 26 days ago we flew into El Real in an eight-passenger plane and were picked up in the same dilapidated jeep that had met us 6 months before.  We headed to the waterfront, a short ride on a dusty, bumpy road that I viewed between my feet through the holes in the floorboard!  

 We got as close as the jeep could go and then hobbled ¼ mile with 3 month-old Kim in my arms, 3 year-old Christina hanging on to my dress, three suit-cases, an infant seat to use in the floor of the dugout, and boiled water!

 We traveled an hour to Yavisa for the night.  Next morning, at 5:00 a.m., we loaded the piraguas (dugout canoe) for Pucuro.  We ate fish and rice for breakfast and began our 11-hour trip upriver.

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The winding river Pucuro!

Hours passed and I couldn’t believe the beauty I was beholding.  The jungle is plush, full and spattered with green and yellow blankets of butterflies all along the way.  The first six hours were quick and, other than cramped arms and legs from protecting Kim from the beating sun and being sandwiched between our household belongings, we all fared well.  The last six hours were a real battle against the dry river and a swift current!  No less than twenty times Ralph and the others jumped into the shallow water to push us over rocks, etc. that worked like a barricade to delay our long awaited entrance into the land of the Kuna people.

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Dry Season means shallow waters!

 Just before dark I looked up and saw brown bodies silhouetted along the sandy break in the jungle.  My heart began to pound as I realized I was about to face a people that had consumed our hearts and minds for over three years!

Would they accept us?

Would they grab my baby and run into the dark?

What should I expect?

 “My grace is sufficient…” flooded my mind as I yielded to His soft voice and relaxed!

 As we pulled into shore at 6:30 p.m. the people swarmed all over us.  Somebody took Kim out of my arms and stepped away into the dark!  In the confusion Christina lost her shoe and I felt Ralph tug on my arm to head up the bank to our house.  I called in the dark for Kimi and somebody laid her in my arms while the others laughed.

 As we meandered up a narrow, overgrown path to glimpse our jungle house, all I could hear was little Christina in her Daddy’s arms asking for her lost shoe!  

 Oh, for the simple trust of a child!

 In a few moments we stepped into our new home.  The dirt floor was cold, mainly because it had rained and I was wet from our trip in, but too, it was dark and the river had filled the air with moisture.  The following morning I opened my eyes to what looked like a storehouse with boxes, tanks, mosquito netting, etc.  Soon we were busy greeting people, finding suitcases with dry clothes, and hunting through canned goods and paper sacks for food to eat.

 Now, 26 days later, I’m looking back to the first “Congreso” where I drank my first Indian “chicha” from communal cups, the first days of helping women sweep the village where I obtained my four blisters on one hand, the initial jolt of a hairy tarantula spider on my laundered sheet, the adjustment to the intense curiosity of the people, the initiation of washing clothes in the river, the perpetual problem of children urinating in our house, and the mixed emotions of a protective mother.

This evening, less than a month interior, we find ourselves with tape recorder in hand and a house full of Indians, struggling again to communicate the precious Gospel of Jesus with these still in heathen darkness.

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New Tribes Missionaries 1970-1984

 Will you join me this new year?

Will you pray for tribal missionaries?

Will you pray for the many still unreached tribes?

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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 January 7, 2019 and filed under motherhood, spiritual growth.

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 "A Bright Star"

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There is a story of a little princess who anxiously waited for the day of the Christmas pageant. She was so excited about her part that her parents thought she must be one of the main characters, though she had not told them what part she would play.  

 The day finally arrived and her parents enthusiastically entered the auditorium and watched as each of the children was called to take their place.  The shepherds nervously waited in the corner of the stage holding two sheep.  Mary and Joseph were placed near the manger.  In the back were the three Wise Men eagerly waiting with a small camel. Each and every child was placed in position…except for the little princess. She contentedly sat quietly.

 The music started and the director began the narrative.  “A long time ago, Joseph and Mary went up from Galilee to be taxed. It was there that Mary and Joseph had a baby and they named Him Jesus,” the narrator began.  “And when Jesus was born a bright starappeared over the stable.  That was her cue!  She quickly jumped up from her chair, picked up a large, sparkling star and walked behind the manger, holding the star up high for everyone to see.  It flickered in the lights and all eyes were drawn to baby Jesus in the manger.

 The story continues and finds the shepherds in the field with their sheep.  That was her cue…the little princess moved into position on stage, wiggling the shiny star to show the shepherds where to arrive at the manger.  When the director mentioned the Wise Men…the little princess quickly moved to meet them and lead the way to the Christ child.  Her face was beaming as bright as the star she was carrying!

 The play ended with a round of applause and a standing ovation.  In the car on the way home, the little princess was happily chattering, “I had the main part, did you see?”   “You did?” her mother questioned.  “Yes” she said enthusiastically,

I showed everybody how to find Jesus!”

 This could not have been truer!  Showing others how to find Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world and to be the light that would draw them to Him has got to be the finest role we can play in life!

 May the Light of the Christ Child be your focus

this Christmas  and throughout the New Year…

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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"

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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 "Grateful and So Blessed!"

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

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

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

BUT God had another plan

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

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

 Gratitude is the memory of the heart! 

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

My gratitude for those members of the field

that picked up the slack and totally covered

for me is overpowering.

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

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

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

 I am sitting here with a keen sense of:

Ø  My Unworthiness…and His Holiness!  

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

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

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

 Do you make it a habit of thanking God and others

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

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

 Will you take time today to reflect glory back to Him

for His faithfulness to you…

the Author of every blessing? 

 Let’s take today’s opportunity to acknowledge those

who have and are benefiting our lives!

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

Jackie's Journey "The Inspired by Angels Unaware!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

What could we do??

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

 How many people can you think of offhand

who have benefited your life in the past? 

 

Whose name immediately comes to mind?

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

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

Jackie's Journney "The World's Changed...Try to Keep Up!!"

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All of us have the need to be relevant in every generation.  Something in us wants to make a difference. The effectiveness of all advertising is based on this premise.  We hear the younger saying,  “The world’s changed…try to keep up!”

As a young missionary in my 20’s my children needed me, my husband needed me, the tribal people needed us, our ministry was consuming and fulfilling, etc.  I looked to those older than I was and saw the need to glean from their experiences.  I had an unpretentious sense of relevancy!

 For 5 years in our 30”s we found our relevance in…pastoring, evangelizing, teaching, mentoring small groups and “trouble-shooting” in our home church.

 We weren’t in that “older” group yet!

 Returning to the field, still in our 30’s, we were busy dorm parents to 15 young people at the Mission School.  We had the “big dorm” and we were blessed with students from five families.  Our need to “turn the hearts of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:6) and the ministry in the local Chame community kept us relevant…………... we were still viable!

 In our late 40’s our girls were in their teens and would soon start college.  Christina attended Biola and would bring her friends from school and church to meet us.

 We were becoming the “older” group that had more experience”!

 When asked to mentor a group of young college girls I excitedly responded believing God would give relevance through His Word.  Eventually a group of their prospective husbands took form, which my husband taught!  We were busy church-planting Spanish-speaking churches and over the next 15 years we saw God raise up seven young churches in Southern California, Mexico and Panama.                

 God’s was still using us!

 Still relevant to our culture and generation in our 50’s, even honored for our faithfulness to our God and His calling on our lives, we actively taught in English and Spanish. 

Now we were really in that “older” group and yet…

 God continued to open up opportunities to serve Him.  We had 7 grandchildren and they were magic!  Still church-planting, called to speak, teaching multiple mentoring groups weekly, trouble-shooting with young couples, and writing The Princess Parable Series were all welcomed responsibilities! 

 In our 60’s we watched our tiny grandchildren grow like my garden weeds (really fast!!) and they now stand taller than I do!

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Keeping relevant is an absolute pre-requisite to maintaining the open hearts of our grandchildren!  Finding that conversational relevance in a “generation time warp” is a prayer-filled occupation of mine!

 Now… here is the rub.  The world’s younger generation looks at “age” and determines its value.  Consequently, they, then, turn their attention to the more appealing relevance of younger mentors, pastors, and teachers, rather than the older generation.   

 We are, after all, each expendable to the more like-minded,

trendier, faster moving and thinking generation!

Can’t you hear it?  “The World’s changed…try to keep up”!

 God never changes…cultures do, ideologies do, and philosophies do…

 Relevance is a basic need to stay connected.

It is tied directly to an understanding of God and His inerrant Word!

 Scripture never changes!  It is always…relevant!

 Our present day cultural insurgence has been saturated in a declining morality of divorce, abortion, pornography, social-acceptance determined by social tolerance, adoption of the “acceptable sins” (you know…demanding personal rights, entitlement-I deserve this!, wrong attitudes, anger, deplorable speech, actions etc.).

 The young are bent on convincing their offspring to:

(1)  “Stand up for yourself; Be more aggressive” – disregarding God’s command to follow His example of serving others… first.

(2)   “Look for your own path in life” –disregarding the instruction in the Word to look for the Will of God…first

(3)   “Claim your rights; you are entitled” – disregarding God’s command to yield all your rights to Him… first.  No anger for your personal benefit.

(4)  “Be first “ at everything  - disregarding God’s command to make others successful…first!  

(5)   “Live in the Now” - disregarding kingdom teaching. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God….and all these things will be added unto you”. Matt. 6:33

 In a day when our culture is being eroded from within, our godly history is being re-written and the Word of God is being ripped of its inerrant integrity, we need relevance for our day if we are to present truth that promotes change.

 What can we offer that people need?

 We ask ourselves that question whether overtly or subliminally every time we come in contact with another person.  We are relevant when we discern the need of the individual we are speaking to and risk whatever it takes to meet that need for the other person’s success.

 It is not age that makes us relevant…it is His life in us as we aggressively stand up with Godly conviction and step into the space He puts us in… wherever, with whomever that may be!

 The purpose of relevance is to keep the truth of God’s Word

alive in us for the benefit of others!

 Will you make yourself relevant today in the life of someone who is in need?

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

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

My youngest granddaughter, Megan and I

My youngest granddaughter, Megan and I

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

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

invisible Mother.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 THENthe warning:

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

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

The reward is Wisdom!

Will you join me in applying reverence to your life?

It’s a win…win.



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

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