Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July Newsletter

Denise’s News from Poland
Os. Witosa 4/8, 34-400 Nowy Targ, POLAND
Phone: 48-18-266-5899

July 2008

Dear Friends,
Today while engaged in my seasonal lawn mowing ministry (cutting the communal grass for my apartment block) I had an interesting thought…or maybe feeling is a better word. As I walk back and forth I have various thoughts, sometimes complaints but I like to try to pray during that time. But today I had an overwhelming sense of understanding for single Mom’s. I realized that I am like a single Mom. Although none of my children are of my own flesh and blood, most of them don’t live with me, some live with their parents, some live in rented apartments but all of them are written on my heart. Like a single Mom I cook, clean, fix whatever breaks; try not to worry about finances and to trust Jesus. My “kids” need me to encourage, counsel, and guide on a multitude of subjects from child rearing to purchasing a condo or advice about dating relationship and job hunting. It is such a privilege to have this place in their lives. As I walked back and forth I experienced a sense of grief, not unlike that of the single Mom, that my “kids” have no “Father” in their lives. It wasn’t a sense of lack so much for myself but for these young people. They have no godly male role model to love, care and show them what the Father’s love is like.

A Missionary “Single Mom”,
News Briefs
Travel: April 19th to May 4th I traveled 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 saw the doctor about my leg. But because the doctor decided not to operate I had lots of time & strength to meet with people. It was really encouraging for me and I believe it was for my Swiss friends as well.

May 24 -30: I flew to Houston for the Foursquare Convention. I’m so glad I was able to go. It was an important time of me building relationship with the new leadership within the Foursquare Missions Office. I also had opportunity to talk with Pastor Jack Hayford (The President of Foursquare). It was a meeting I couldn’t have gotten even if I had planned it ….God has his ways and timing. It is always amazing to me when I’m in a crowd of 3000+ people that are coming and going and I can actual meet the people I need to meet. I had many opportunities to meet with friends & to be encouraged and strengthen. I even got to go to NASA space center…it was one of those unspoken prayers that Jesus faithfully hears and answers. Please pray for me that would have the drive needed to follow through on the tasks necessary to follow up with these contacts.

I had been planned 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. I have actually bought tickets for Aug 28-Sept 9th. I ask that you would pray that the Lord would use this as a 1st step to reach to Poles who have gone to Ireland in search of a better life. May they find the Bread of Life who will meet their every need. I still need $500 to cover the expenses of this trip.

Furlough: Soon I will have my 12th anniversary of living in Poland. It is definitely a time of transition and what God would have me to do & where in Poland. I will be returning to the US for 5 months during that time I have some very specific goals. 1st my family needs me – particularly my nieces and nephew. It will be the 1st Thanksgiving with any of them and the 1st Christmas for the girls and the 1st Christmas my nephew will remember. 2nd Now that I have become a Foursquare Missionary I need time to build relationships with the Foursquare Churches in the US and to increase my support base. 3rd is to actually have a bit of a rest. In the past when I have been in the US there has been little time for family and no time for “vacation”.
Please Pray For:
Churches who really desire to partner in the work in Poland.
Quality time with each member of my family
Who will stay and take care of my home in Poland?
Where I will stay in the US?
The care and protection of the sheep I will be leaving in Poland.

Parenting Classes: I have been traveling to a town east of Krakow, called Brzesko about once every couple of weeks to give parenting classes. The pastor and his wife there have 2 young children and they find themselves surrounded by people (inside & outside the church) who have teenage boys that are struggling. Soon I will have the 4th meeting. We hope to schedule a day when the parents can meet with me together with their youngster for specific counsel. Please pray that this will bring hope and life into the families of this small community so that they may give glory to Jesus and seek his face.

New Bible Study: Since the closing of the building in Zakopane in February there have not really been regular meetings in Nowy Targ or Zakopane. I felt that the Lord wanted me to wait. I really Hate that word. So, I have been waiting for that moment when at least one individual would desire to meet and be committed to it. Last week we started just such a study. One person was desperate to learn how to walk closer with Jesus and there 4 who came for the 1st meeting looking at The Sermon on the Mount of Olives and how to live victoriously in a culture that is in direct opposition to the kingdom of God.

“Being Fulfilled as a Single”: The pastors of the Church of God in Krakow have asked me to speak at a special meeting for singles on Sept 12. I will be giving a “workshop” on how to live a fulfilled life in Christ as a single person.

Health: I saw the doctor in Switzerland and he wasn’t sure about surgery, so he gave me a cortisone shot and prescribed some orthopedic shoes. He said to give a try and if it still isn’t better after 2-5 months return to Switzerland for 3 weeks for tests and possible surgery. I still have pain from time to time but my physical therapist has released me because there is nothing more he can do.

Krakow Bible Study Group: Life Hurts God Heals. The study was completed the end of June. The material and the relationships that were built brought a lot of healing and new perspective into the lives of those who participated. The pastor I am working with was so pleased with how well it went that I will be traveling with 4-5 of his leaders to a “Celebrate Recovery” (the adult version of LHGH) training weekend the 1st of August in Cieszyn, Poland.

50th Birthday Party: For those of you who didn’t know I turn 50 a few weeks ago. Yup, it’s true. It is quite difficult to get my head around it. Since I didn’t have a 30th, 40th party or a wedding reception I splurged and used some money I had saved to have a party in a local restaurant. My good friend Julie and her daughter Kirsten came from the Seattle area. It was a great opportunity to give my testimony, as Julie was the one who really showed me the love of Jesus. There were 20+ people, most of who were in their 20s. Some are walking with Jesus, some are seekers but all know (now) exactly why I do what I do and why I am like I am.

Current Financial & Other Needs:
I want to thank all of you who have been so faithful to support me in prayer and finances. This month I experienced a drop in support of 50% for the second time since March. It is quite a challenge as inflation is sky rocking. I try not to “think” too much about it but with gas at nearly $9.00/gallon, food, utilities going up & the dollar continuing to drop its value it is difficult to not worry & trust Jesus. My car has needed repairs 4x already this summer to the tune of $1000. It is particularly a challenge at this time because I have 2 young women who have recently returned from an internship training program in the USA, who have not yet found full time employment. So my support, that was budgeted for 1 is stretched to provide for 3 (plus one small cat). 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

Please make your financial contributions to Mission Dispatch. Please attach a note with my full name: Denise Johnson. And mail it to: Mission Dispatch, Inc. 21911 76th Ave W., Suite 211, Edmonds, WA 98026

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weathering the weather of Life

I don't know what life has been like for you lately but for me the circumstances in my life have covered the full spectrum of the weather man's forcasts. I realize that my goal as Christian is to firmly plant my feet on the Rock of Jesus in the midsts of the storms of life. Not so long ago I was encouraging myself and others to abide in the "eye of the storm" where there is the stillness and Peace of Jesus. The overwhelming circumstances of today it feel more like an avalanche! When an avalanche comes there is little or no warning and it rushing in overtaking everything, destroying, upsetting, crushing, pressing in all around, sucking the very air out of life, etc. There is no "eye" in the storm in which to find peace. There is no "solid rock" on which to firmly stand.
Jesus where are you? How do I find my footing? How do I get out of this or through this? It is just TOO much! It is so hard to even find my breathe.

In the midst of my panic I hear that still small voice of my most faithful friend, Jesus. "Here I am!" "I AM Here!" "Take my hand" "I have weathered every weather known & unknown to man" "Take my hand and walk with me...I will show you the way through even this avalanche" "Just Trust Me!" "I AM Greater than even all these circumstances!"

Jesus help me to seek YOU in the midst of the avalanches in my life. Help me to trust you and to listen for your voice and to recieve your help, comfort and encouragement.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

I recently turned 50. Some people would say that I should talk about how old I am, especially being a woman and all but somehow by talking about it I'm able to get my head around it a bit. I have always looked younger than my age. As a matter of fact, my first year teaching the custodian tried to remove me from the teacher's lounge. In the end he was so embarrassed that all my requests for maintaince were completed first.
Now I find myself reflecting more....
Reflecting on what the Lord has done in my life, what I have learned and am learning, and the adventures I have had with Jesus. Lately, this has translated into "Stories". Sometimes even "I remember when...stories". Fortunately, they are not about walking to school in the middle of winter in 5 feet of snow. But rather stories of lessons with Jesus. Sometimes I really feel like Jesus sitting with his disciples and just telling stories about life as it is and how it is in the Kingdom.
Next week I will start a Bible Study and it is interesting as the passage I felt that we were to use is the Sermon on the Mount of Olives. It is that image of Jesus just hanging out with his friends and telling stories. Stories about life.

I got a bit distracted...My Birthday!
I had a week long celebration. It started with my good friend from Seattle coming for a visit together with her daughter. It was particularly special as this person was the one who really show me the love and character of Jesus. So, at my party I was able to share with the 20+ people who were there that my being here in Poland is a direct result of this one individual being faithful to be herself and let Jesus redeem and work through her. And if she hadn't been obedient then I wouldn't have known the Love of Jesus and I never would have come to Poland. It was also interesting because I had invited a variety of individuals but in the end most of the people who came were my "Kids", of the 22 people who were there 18 were under 35.

What does this all mean? Or what is the significance?
It's hard to say...
I guess, that when a person racks up 50 years of life they want to know that their time here on earth has meant something. And for me, not ever having any children of my own there is always the question what kind of a heirtage have/will I left behind?

I think that the party demonstrated, at least to me, that I have in fact touched lives. Eighteen young people have come to know the life and character of Jesus. They may or may not be walking with Him but they have come in contact with His love and care.
Pray for me as I continue to encourage these young people, tell them stories and show them the Love of the Father.