Thursday, September 8, 2011

News From Dave and Debbie Johnson

Dave and Debbie Johnson
Assemblies of God Missionaries to the Philippines

News from Dave and Debbie
Fall 2011 Edition

Packing and Parting

Our offices have been in chaos.  Dave’s is worse than usual, if you can believe it.  Why?  It’s that time again as we are preparing for yet another move to the other side of the world.  We’ve already shipped six huge boxes, and we will send another one or two before we leave.   We will leave Grand Rapids in mid September  and spend a couple of weeks with Debbie’s family in the Seattle area. Then, we will continue on to the Philippines near the end of the month.

Our first order of business in Legaspi will be to find a house and reestablish our relationships with our Filipino brothers and sisters. We will also take some time to assess our role the ministries we have left behind and get some direction from the Lord regarding where we fit in.  These ministries have been handled well by Filipino leaders while we have been gone, so we want to approach our reintegration with great sensitivity and appreciation for the great leadership they have given. The evangelistic team continues to be ably led by Pastor Alan Esplana, a Filipino that has been working with Dave for fifteen years. The house church planting program that Debbie and the Filipino district leadership launched in 2007 has grown to fifteen church planting schools and at least 191 house churches!  Praise the Lord! 
While we are excited about being reunited with people we love in the Philippines, we dread leaving friends and family, especially our aging parents, here in America. In times like these, we just have to draw closer to Jesus.

Knee Benders

1.  Please pray for both us and our families as we separate after more than two years at home.
2.  Please pray for our reintegration to life in
the Philippines.
3.  At the time of this writing, we still need $456.32 in monthly support and would appreciate your prayers.  If you can help us please let us know.  A pledge form can be downloaded from our website, Thank you!

Reflections on Itineration

Over fifteen months of itineration, we have visited around 150 churches and met with numerous pastors over lunch or coffee.  Here are a few observations:

1.  We are blessed to be part of such a wonderful fellowship with a deep commitment to missions for which we are grateful.
2.  In 28 years of ministry, I (Dave) have never seen more bi-vocational pastors.  The recession has affected our pastors deeply, but I never heard one complaint. Some have even taken jobs in order to avoid cutting their churches’ missions budget.  This has humbled and touched us deeply.
3.  We share the heartfelt burden of many of our churches that are on a plateau or in decline.  On the other hand, we have seen some great revitalization of churches.  The concept of a strong mother church sponsoring the renewal work seems to work quite well.
4.  We have seen a great increase in the number of churches doing need oriented community evangelism, and we believe that this is a key to the growth in our churches in this generation. We also believe that is one antidote to the marginalization that Christianity has experienced in American culture.
5.  In the last few months we have been in some new church plants in Michigan or met with pioneering pastors over lunch, and we are excited with what we have seen.  In almost every case, the pastor was under forty years old and doing non-traditional things that are working!! I hope those of us “older” folks will make plenty of room for this younger generation to express the creative gifts that God has given them.  They are the future.

Dave’s Blog

God has been doing some refreshing work in Dave’s life as a result of the healing God brought while we were on sabbatical.  One of the results is fresh spiritual insights from a renewed passion for studying the word of God.  He has been sharing many of them through blogging.  He has done a series of blogs on Moses and the gods of Egypt, God and Abraham, the Tower of Babel and, most recently, the Inauguration of Jesus’ Ministry in Luke 4:16-30.  His next series will be on understanding the book of Daniel in its historical context, and he is really excited about it.

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Thank you with all our hearts for all your prayers and support.  We could never do this without you!

In His grace,

Dave and Debbie Johnson

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