New Life, April 2002
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Johnson Journal
Happy Easter!
We had a terrific time celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ this morning, singing praise songs remembering all our Saviour has done for us.  Our group here in Caracas was very small, about 20, for good reason.
The bulk of the church, more than 80 including guests, plus about 40 from another sister church, are at a retreat in the country, a couple of hours from Caracas.  We went with them Thursday and came back Saturday after an emotional baptism service.  Nine people were baptized.  Jimena Carmona, the daughter of our good friend and member of the pastoral team, Ivan, finally took the plunge.  Manuel Uribe, son of Gabriel and Teresita, was also baptized.  Teresita is in Medellin, Colombia, with Gabriel waiting for her double transplant operation.  We called her last night with the good news.  These two baptisms are answers to prayers that have been lifted up for years. 
Katherine and Jose Colina, daughter and father from Ramon Brazon were baptized.  Rosario, the mother, was baptized a couple of years ago.   Jose claimed to have been healed on a special mountain by a cult goddess several years ago, and it has been tough for him to give in to Jesus Christ as his only Lord.  He did in a beautiful testimony that left me so choked up I couldn't talk!  There were other tearful testimonies, including a teen named Gerardo who has a heart for serving Jesus.
Pablo had us worried.  He is a big man, must be 6'5" and weigh about 300 lbs., and all of us on the pastoral team are relatively small.  So, we finally decided we'd need three of us, one on each side and one behind.  There was some concern that all four of us would be baptized, but we made it!
Jose Gregorio and Omaira from Ramon Brazon were at the retreat.  Their marriage has been in trouble, and though Jose Gregorio was baptized the same time as Rosario, he has stumbled trying to follow Jesus.  They were active participants in the marriage talks, and it was great to see them together with their two kids at the retreat, playing in the pool, husband and wife snuggling, the first time I'd seen that!  Pray for them and their two boys, that they will grow as a family and in their relationship with the Lord.
These are the people who were baptized: Karina Bolivar, Katherine Colina, Jose Colina, Edey Santos, Pablo Colmenares, Melissa Patiņo, Jimena Carmona, Manuel Uribe, Gerardo Rodriquez.  Please pray that each will grow in grace, that God will protect them from attacks of doubt, that each will become a choice servant of Jesus in His church.
And Happy Easter....He is risen!
Mark and Kay