Saturday, April 05, 2008

Denise’s News from Poland

Spring 2008

Dear Friends,

I’m always amazed at how quickly time really does fly. It seems like just yesterday I was shoveling snow and now the grass is green and the storks have begun preparing their nests. Hmmm well I was shoveling snow at Easter.

This new year has brought with it many new and exciting changes and challenges. The new relationships with the church in Krakow and the people of the church have been a great source of encouragement and cooperation. I have discovered how connected I really am to the community in Nowy Targ. As I walk the streets (exercising my leg) I meet people everyday that I have opportunity to encourage and bring hope. The Lord has been showing me how much more fruitful I can be when I take my time to listen to Him and go where He leads me each day (literally). My heart’s desire is to be able to each day say “I do what I see and hear my heavenly Father do and say” and nothing more and nothing less. Of course some days are better than others but I haven’t been so happy and so at peace in such a very long time.

True Confessions: Those of you who know me well, know that I am a social person and that spending time alone has been almost torturous. In the last few months I have been learning what it means to enjoy solitude. Being both a social person and single this is a real miracle. Now I didn’t say that I’m alone or that I’m enjoying loneliness but solitude. In the past I have run and hid from quiet solitude because I think I was afraid of what I might find in that stillness…ME. The me I didn’t want to see. But you know what I found…ME….and JESUS. I discovered a whole new awareness of what GRACE is and means. No more SHOULDs. No more shoulds; of how I should minister, who I should meet, how I should have worship, what a sermon should look like, how many chapters of the Bible I should read, what I should do or shouldn’t do. In the process I began journaling like never before. This is a miracle as “I hate writing” but my solitude is filled with an on going dialogue with my friend Jesus. I find myself repenting every other day because of what I have read. I discover truths of God that have always been there but my clouded eyes just couldn’t see them.

The most exciting thing is that through this honest, heartfelt time with Jesus I experience that He uses what He teaches me almost immediately. These times of solitude feed me and prepare me for those visits from the young people who are searching … for hope, guidance, wisdom, advice and more of Jesus. It is like the very truth He gives me today with be the answer for the question I will be asked tomorrow.

Through this process I have discovered myself or maybe I ought to say rediscovered who Jesus has made me to be…I knew this but somehow I allowed myself to be trapped by the well meaning expectations (real or only my perception) of godly people. It was almost like magic…the shoulds fell away and then I could see myself as Jesus sees me. I’m a storyteller. I’m a discipler! I don’t know if I will ever see myself in front of another church building. But I know that Jesus will bring young people to sit and have coffee (good coffee) and listen to stories.

Easter weekend was just that. I had a Easter film festival of sorts. (Thanks to Travis and Jordan who brought a LCD projector to convert my basement into a home theater). Good Friday we watched “The Passion”. There were 5 of us who cried, reflected, worshiped, prayed and shared communion. Saturday we watched “Luther”. Sunday we had a worship time scheduled for 4 PM but everyone got here around 6 something we worshiped and prayed. Then they decided they wanted another movie. One of the young people decided to stay the night. Monday is also a holiday here: I had “Pollyanna” schedule for 5 but God had other plans. One of the young people came needing a hug. The whole family, holiday thing was just too much and she needed to come “home”. And then at 7 another person showed up for a movie.

So my plans….? Lots of SOLITUDE with Jesus. LISTEN for Jesus voice. ENJOY the adventure of letting Jesus have his way with every moment.

In His Loving Service,

PS. Check my blog for more regular updates and pictures. Also, Travis fixed my internet phone so you can call me at 1-206-400-2999. It’s free for me and my be for you as well.

News Briefs
Travel: April 19th to May 4th I will travel to Switzerland for a Pastor’s Conference. It is a great opportunity to meet and fellowship with other Foursquare workers in my region of Europe. Praise God for frequent flyer miles! While in Switzerland I will also see a doctor about my leg.
May 24 -30 I will fly to Houston to attend the Foursquare Convention. Some of you may have heard my desire to attend through my blog. I hadn’t planned on going but this year the Mission Director Mike Larken resigned. Mike did so much for me and helping me to be accepted as a Foursquare Missionary that I really felt strongly about attending to thank him one more time. It is also a good opportunity for me to meet and begin building a relationship with the new director. (God miraculously provided the funds through a dear friend just at the deadline for registration).
I have been planning and still hope that God will provide for me to go to Ireland in June. I have a number of dear Polish friends who have relocated there for work. They have been begging me to come and encourage them. Though the tickets are fairly cheap I don’t have money at the moment to buy a ticket. I would appreciate you prayers about this.

Health: I still go to physical therapy once every other week in Krakow. The Lord somehow continues to provide the finances to pay for these visits as the insurance stopped after 10. Each visit costs 90 zloty and with the current exchange rate that translated to $30 in June and $41.86 today, plus travel to and from Krakow. Recently the stiffness has been having an effect on my knee and hip causing pain. I have an appointment with the best orthopedic doctor specializing in ankles in Bern, Switzerland. Pray that he will be able to fix whatever is not working properly and that my insurance will cover the costs.

Freedom: A Winter snow camp weekend February 22-24th. We are planning on between 20-30 people who will participate from various countries. We are praying for a release in many people’s lives from the bondages that keep them from the life God has for them. This winter weekend really came together. I was uncertain that there would be anyone around to go. In the end Travis and his friend Jordan came from the US and helped join the young people from the Krakow Bible Study with some young people from Nowy Targ/Zakopane. It was a great time of fellowship and really set the stage for openness and further freedom through the Bible Study.

Krakow Bible Study Group: Life Hurts God Heals. This study has been the highlight of every week. The material is a wonderful mix of sound psychological principles and strong Biblical truths…my two favorite topics! Add that together with a group of college/career young people who truly want to grow into all that God has for them and you can see why I’m having such a great time.

Coming Soon! Ladies Night: Still coming soon. We have had a difficult time being healthy. I’m sure that the Lord has just the right time prepared. Please pray the Lord would prepare their hearts and that He would give me wisdom on what and how to organize the time.

Current Financial & Other Needs:
I want to thank all of you who have been so faithful to support me in prayer and finances. My financial support for the 1st three months of this year was amazing. I was able to do everything the Lord set before me without concern. I have had many visitors during this time which has been a great delight. However it has resulted in an increase in my expenses. Also the church was short approx. $2000 that I had to pay which has drained my savings. I’m looking at paying my taxes and health insurance with anxiety, as well as the possibility of a long fast. This is new territory for me. Your prayers are greatly appreciated for the Lord’s provision and peace while I wait.

Thanks so much for all your prayers and support, Denise

Financial Information Contributions:
Denise Johnsonc/o Mission Dispatch, Inc. 21911 76th Ave W., Suite 211Edmonds, WA 98026

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