Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Vamos a Ecuador

What amazing things are happening to this family. As i had mentioned in our last post, for all of those who read it, we have been challenged to take the next step in our lives and keep pursuing growth. We have often felt that it can be a dangerous time in ones life when we are not in a growing state for God. We knew when we first moved to Honduras almost 3 years ago, to mentor and learn, that we would someday be taking  the next step God has for our lives and pursue our vision. In the past we had several unanswered questions and throughout the years we have grown to understand what that part of our lives will be.

This year we have been extremely busy, but as we have been faithful in prayer, God has opened the doors and provided us with the answers we have been searching for. With faith and an understanding of the importance of growth, we decided to take the next step in our journey with God and pursue our vision of some day starting an Orphanage in Ecuador.
Please take this time and watch this video we have prepared explaining in more detail of what our next step will be to prepare for this ultimate goal we have envisioned.

This may bring about a lot of questions... and this is great. Please feel free to ask through email or comment on this blog,  as there are so many of you who have invested in us doing God's work in an impoverished country. We could not have done any of this full time ministry without all of you who keep praying and blessing us financially throughout this time we have devoted to doing what God has called us to do.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

From Youth to Leadership

What an amazing and busy year it has been here at Give Hope 2 Kids. We, the Johnson family have some great news on some upcoming changes and transition that will be happening very shortly. But before we get to much into these changes, we really just wanted to talk a little about other changes happening to the young lives here in the villages we live near and at Give Hope 2 Kids.
We have personally been watching young teens step up and are starting to become young leaders. It is such an amazing transition and the want to learn more is so exciting to see.
Earlier on this year we started a discipleship group for those of you who remember. With the guidance and knowledge of Jacob Baker ( Missionary Family from Alabama) this discipleship group has grown and get so excited about learning more about God.

This last Saturday, we took a group of young volunteers from our youth service, and with the leadership of our discipleship group, we were able to interrupt the daily lives of several sick and hurting kids in the public hospital in La Ceiba (almost 2 hours away). From previous experience (once one of the kids here was admitted to this hospital) children in this hospital would have to wait incredibly long periods of time, sometimes up to a week, just sitting on a bed all day waiting to be released.

These young volunteers and young leader reached out to the kids in the hospital by singing, dancing, playing, coloring and at the end watching a movie with snacks. What a great experience for this youth service to be examples and practice sharing the love of God; and for our discipleship group to be leaders in this experience.

Lets take a look at a video of what these future leaders of Honduras brought to the lives of so many.

(sorry, the video is in Spanish only as it was intended for the youth service)

What an amazing group of young adults who are so excited about growing and learning more about God. Growth is also challenging our family this year. We are so excited about the next steps in our lives. With continual prayer and all of you who consistently keep us in your prayer and have been so encouraging we have felt God calling us to our next steps. So for those of you who enjoy our updateds, please stay TUNED for our next post of our next amazing step of growth... COMING TO YOUR COMPUTER SOON.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Youth Service Project

Taking the next steps in growth has been a goal for our growing in size Youth Service. We are so excited to be part of what God is doing in these kids lives and how we can keep encouraging growth in their faith and walk with God.

Over a month ago we started a series on "Giving", both financially and in action, with the goal of giving to those in need in our communities (as we live among the poorest people in this area). As we studied God's word, we also started the habit of taking offering and tithes, and encouraging the heart behind why we give financially.

With the Help of the newly formed discipleship group, we asked the youth service for ideas on what our first project should be and asked for volunteers to help with it.

So the first community project for our youth group was helping a widow in need who lives in a nearby village called Rio Viejo. This lady named Romelia, lives in a home that is very much ready to fall apart any time. She washes clothes for other families to support herself,her son and her 98 year old mom! To make a living, she washes clothes in the river as she has no running water to her house and no where to wash them. So our project was to install a "Pila", or a washing basin, next to her home and connect it to a source of water; thus bringing running water to her home.
So on Saturday morning, we loaded or volunteers, materials, tools and a VERY heavy washing basing into the cattle truck; and we headed to Rio Viejo at 7:00 am.

Headed down the mountain for some hard work ahead.

Romelia and her 98 year old mom.

Monica, not only captured each moment on camera,but was witnessing and building lasting relationships with the two ladies being helped.

Irlen, Tanya and Heidi are hard at work collecting the sand needed for the cement mixture. 

We needed all the muscle we had to get this "Pila" up the mountain to Romelia's home. 

Jesus and Wilman busy at work digging the trench for the tubing of the water source.

Irlen showing her HUGE muscles as she was working hard all day..

Heidy cleaning the dirt out of the trench.

What amazing kids we had with working with such amazing hearts and giving all they had. 

Eugenio, the youngest, was so excited to be part of this serving crew and was such a hard worker.

And of course after a long day of work and we were all exhausted.. we stopped by and had a treat of ice cream and Coca-Cola.

We also decided to jump in the river and enjoy a nice swim to help cool off. 

The Finished project with all the volunteers of the Youth Service.
We are so proud of these young adults who joined us for our first volunteer project of the youth group at Give Hope 2 Kids. These young adults showed up with such and amazing attitude, worked all day in the heat, and worked the hardest they could, to bless Romelia and her family. In the end, we gathered as a group, and presented Romelia with a food basket, a brush to wash clothes and plenty washing soap for her home business. Then Monica was able to explain to all the young adults how their giving, both in financially and in action, was them being Christ-like and showing how they could bless others and being a witness to our God. These guys have their own physical and financial needs, but it was a blessing to see them forget about their own needs, and selflessly giving of the little they have.

Both Romelia and her mother had so many kind words for these kids and were so grateful for all they had done.

Later on the way back home... 4 out of all these kids asked when the next project was going to be...
God Is Good

This Friday we are playing this video of all that happened and will have a couple of testimonies from those young adults who went with and how it affected their lives.

Check out the video below... Sorry it is only in Spanish, but it is mostly for the youth service.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Being a Blessing and Receiving a Blessing... God is Good...

Almost two years ago, we were blessed with such an amazing gift of a motorcycle. As communication to the States was such a difficult process at that time, we immediately put this motorcycle to use to get our family to the nearest city to keep in touch. 
Then the internet entered the property and with it brought less trips to the city and more focus time at the ministry. During this same period, Jose Rito, (our worship leader and our after school program teacher) started going to college in La Ceiba. We volunteered to have him use our motorcycle as we were using it less now with internet in the property. 
After 6 months or so of using the bike, we saw the new grown adult in Jose asking if he could buy the motorcycle from us. He felt he was using it a lot and wanted to invest more into it. So he now owns our previous motorcycle, and pays for it little by little as he is able to.

Jose Rito enjoying his new bike.
Once we had returned from the States, we were so encouraged by so many who we met, and others who have been with us from the beginning, that we could hardly wait to start going again on God's work. It was so amazing for us to witness how God works, and to see those whom may have hardly known us connect us with resources. And those people who were so excited to be part of this ministry have been such a blessing for us as a family.

Almost immediately after selling the motorcycle, we realized how important this motorcycle was to our ministry. But God has never failed us, and provided for us a new motorcycle. Upon a quick question, we were so blessed with such a quick answer and we felt so blessed for those that were so willing to give for both motorcycles. We loved being part of a blessing for a young adult who has become such a man of God, and we ourselves grew closer to God as we were blessed by so many in receiving a new form of transportation for our family. 

First Trip to the City with our Family on our New Motorcycle

Of Course David took me up the Mountain to help Break in the Motorcycle

Had a little fun with the Bike Also..
 Thank for all those who have been so faithful, encouraging, and keeping us in your prayers. God is good and we feel so blessed to be able to do His work.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Turning blessings into praise

Two Sundays ago during the online services we watch with the other volunteers. The pastor said something that we as a family have held close to our hearts ever since. He said "every blessing we DON'T turn into praise has the potential to become arrogance". For example, if I'm a healthy person, I can say I'm healthy because I work out everyday and I eat right, thus becoming arrogance. Yet, the reality is God is the provider of our health, so we should praise Him always.
On that note, we were able to prove this theory last week We started a discipleship group to encourage the young leaders in our church. If it was only by our efforts, this attempt would have turned disastrous. We were both working on different projects, we were both dirty and busy, and there were only 15 minutes before the group arrived. On top of that, Kelly was hungry and cranky, and I hadn't even started cooking dinner. But by the Grace of God, we pulled it together and had an amazing time with these young adults.
We realized, this group of guys could have had a positive outcome regardless if we would have done anything differently. These guys are hungry for spiritual growth and are so motivated to serve God, that they actually taught us a lesson. It doesn't matter what we do, or what we plan, God is in control and He chose to pour His blessing over this discipleship project. Not because of anything we did or didn't do, but because He decided it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Are we ready for harvest?

Last Friday, we were honored to have Freddy Garcia, an evangelist through Central America, as a guest speaker. His message was simple and to the point, very well worded and efficient for the audience in our youth services, mostly kids, teens and young adults. The response of the congregation was so positively overwhelming. Kids whom we have met in our educational programs, and some we've never seen before, made the decision to accept God into their hearts publicly. Even the ones that didn't make a decision right then, were visibly touched by God's presence that night.
We were standing in awe and gratefulness just seeing how The Holy Spirit convicted various people in different ways. Yet in the back of our mind we were thinking ahead of the next steps, how can we lead this youth and keep the momentum going?
As we chatted with another missionary in the valley, she pointed out to us that at this time other ministries within the valley are encountering the youth in their villages hunger for God. It is so amazing that simultaneously  all these ministries are experiencing a so called "spiritual harvest". As we are on our third year of service, GH2K's  7th year, and other ministries have all invested into this valley area for years; and now, we are seeing the young people ready to serve and follow God faithfully.
The stars represent the locations of the ministries in the "cuenca"

So what is our response to this movement? How are preparing ourselves for the spiritual harvest? First of all, is prayer. Please help us pray for wisdom, grace, and love abounding to be able to lead the youth in our area. 
Second, is we have to prepare ourselves as leaders. We have to make sure we are not running on empty, on the contrary, we must be in constant communion with God; so we can be ready to be channels of God's movement instead of obstacles. So we are grateful for all our friends who encouraged us as we went back to the States. We have been very motivated by your words to keep pursuing a closeness to God daily. And thanks for those who blessed us with resources to do so (thank you so much Mauricio and Jackie Dell, 1st covenant, for the books).
And third, we are starting a discipleship group tonight (02/12) to encourage and guide the young adults who are already natural leaders on Friday night services. These guys have been faithfully serving every Friday night, so we want to make sure we are inputting into their spiritual growth so they will be able to lead others into discipleship in the future. 
So please, help us pray for continuing spiritual growth in the "Rio Cangrejal" valley, and that we might be ready for the great things God will do in our area.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Back home... for now

Today we made it back to GH2K, after a day of traveling we are finally here. It is so sweet to be back where God has placed us at the time to be. To see the people living here was absolutely like coming back home. And we have returned with a grateful and motivated attitude. To visit many of you was a breath of fresh air, to remind us that what we do on an every day basis is a blessing and a privilege, and to not take it for granted.
We are so grateful for all the people in MN who welcomed us back with open arms. First of all, to our family, whom we assume are the ones who are affected the most by our absence; yet they are supportive of the path we've decided to follow.
We are thankful to all the wonderful pastors we have met. Thanks for your encouragement and guidance, as we are learning everyday.
We are thankful for the people God has placed in our path who care and believe in the vision of GH2K, and our family. Thanks to these people, we have been able to make connections we wouldn't have met otherwise.
We thank God for those people who believe in us and want to get involved, either through prayer, financially, or just sharing resources they might have.
We have felt God move in our lives (and the lives of people we have met) these past few weeks; so it is inevitable for us to be reassured and know that the best is yet to come. So we come back home energized, motivated, and ready to take on the new year.

The 7 hour layover was more than manageable thanks to family

Thank you "tio" for taking Kelly to Nickelodeon Universe
At first covenant church in Minneapolis
Learning to make Lefse with grandma Kathy

Groceries with grandma Monica