Tuesday, December 23, 2008

An Article I was recently asked to write

Denise Johnson missionary in Poland

I have been ministering for 22 years in Poland. In the beginning I visited twice a year encouraging the believers I had met on my first short term missionary trip with my local church. As time went on I found myself sharing in churches & youth camps, smuggling Bibles, teaching parenting & marriage courses, coordinating small humanitarian projects. When communism fell it changed the whole face of ministry in Central and Eastern Europe. It was during this time that a number of my Polish friends began to ask me to come to Poland to stay. To be honest it hadn’t really crossed my mind to be a full time missionary. As I prayed about it & sought God’s confirmation it became clear that the 10 years of “commuting” to Poland had written Poland & her people deeply on my heart. Although I was still physically living in Kirkland, WA my mind & heart had already relocated.

As Poland has changed and adapted to being part of the free market world, NATO, and most recently the European Union so has my focus. My primary goal is to be Christ’s vessel of unfailing love & faithfulness through modeling integrity & truth, while teaching & empowering individuals to minister God’s love & power in everyday life. Today that includes pastoring a small group of believers in a suburb of Krakow (Nowy Targ). Teaching parenting classes in a small Church of Christ fellowship (2 hours away). Recently I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with a Church of Christ pastor in Krakow to reach the university students.

One of my greatest joys has been the relationships I’ve been able to build with my some of my neighbor ladies through teaching an English conversation class. Once a week four ladies come to my home for tea & conversation. This is a time for them to share what they are struggling with and to be heard. We have covered all topics under the sun from marital issues, struggles with church practices, and questions about Protestant beliefs. This time is the highlight of these ladies week & all the while opening the door to their hearts.

Pray for:
An experienced church plant couple to come join the work.
Strength & encouragement for the church in Nowy Targ as they are a long way from any other fellowship.
New doors to open in the community

Friday, December 05, 2008


I pray that everyone had a wonderful time with family, friends or whom ever you found yourself with I hope that it was a time of Gratefulness to our Father who has provided all that we need.

My Thanksgiving was VERY full of food, people, family and events. The strangest thing was I found myself confronted with a whole new type of culture shock. Holidays: The clash between expectations (mine) & the reality. Somehow my expectations were based on nostalgic memories that kept my family in the place it was the last time I was with them 13 years ago. How unrealistic is that?

13 years ago my sister was single, my brother was married, my nephew was 1, my nieces weren't even a glimmer in any one's eye, both my Dad & my Grandmother were with us & I lived in my little condo in the woods in quaint little Kirkland. In contrast: my sister is married with in-laws...funny how that happens (very nice I might add) & 2 adorable daughters. My brother is divorced with a son & a daughter as well as a significant other with 2 daughters. Both my Dad & my Grandmother have gone on to be with the Lord. I live out of a suitcase while I ate Thanksgiving dinner in my sister's dinning room on my Grandmother's table, gazing at her hutches that once were the center pieces in my condo in the woods. IT WAS a GREAT TIME! But it was definitely different from my unrealistic nostalgic based expectations.

I enjoyed a time of baking pumpkin pies with my nieces. I was able to share Wednesday evening ThanksLiving service with 4 of my nieces. We had tons of fantastic food that was contributed by the various participants. We played games, ate, laughed & enjoyed one another.

Then Sunday I gave my 1st support raising presentation. It has not been one of those things that I have felt particularly comfortable in but I was looking forward to it. I spent 3 hours listening to Polish music and preparing the room with table clothes, candles, displays, coffee, tea, & ME.

It was a great turnout...about 30 people. I felt more in my element than ever. And even though the economy is not exactly optimal for fundraising Jesus was there. I know that His economy works miracles. By the end of the evening I found myself well on my way to my budget goals. I still need to confirm my budget with Foursquare but this is what I have come to:

Including all my expenses, ministry expenses, insurance, travel, etc. I need monthly commitments of mailto:50@$50 (individuals) and 5 @ $500 (churches)....(this still needs to be approved).

After Sunday evening:
4 individuals renewed their commitment @ $35 ea/mo & 5 new partners @ $35 ea/mo. That's $350/mo pledged at the 1st presentation. And there was nearly $400 in one time offerings. That is the best and most encouraging response I have ever had. EVER!

There are 20 other individuals & 4 churches who have given financial support at one time or another this last year. If those individuals would renew there commitment at $35 or more a month that would be another $700/month. And the churches $300 or more a month that would be $1200. That would put me more than half way to my goal of $5000/mo.

Jesus is Great!

Please pray that I would be a great presenter of the heart of Jesus.