August 04

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These are updates as we built our team and established strategy. 
Johnson Journal

>Dear Friends,
Antonio Lopez was our behind the wheel driving instructor.  When Kay and I both passed our test, we invited him and his girlfriend over for a barbeque, and did it this afternoon.  They are a very nice young couple, in their twenties.    Antonio believes he's fine as long as "no hago daņo a nadie" (I don't hurt anybody), and his idea of a happy life is making enough money to live comfortably and go out and have a couple of beers with his friends.  He likes his girlfriend, Nuria, but doesn't want to marry her because that would mean a long term commitment. 
Antonio loves history, so we talked a bit about that, about the terrorist attacks and a variety of other things.  They admitted that man is not naturally good, that if history teaches us anything it is that we don't learn from history, that man is really not evolving.  Of course, they really don't understand the implications of all that yet.  And I was able to share my hope for eternal life in Jesus Christ, through the testimony of how He helped me through the death of my parents.  Antonio's father died recently, so he could relate to that.
It was a very good first meeting, and we promised to do it again.  Antonio knows of a place to get good ice cream near here (not real common in our area), so that will probably be our next get together.  Pray for Antonio and Nuria, and for open doors as we try to develop friendships in our neighborhood.
Last week the Johnson family joined missionaries from Spain and Portugal for TEAMīs Annual Conference in southern Spain.  It was a great opportunity to meet the people God has called to reach this resistant part of Europe, and we got to see and experience the sites (caves, castles, beaches) with our new friends and co-workers.
The most impressive part of the conference to me was the willingness of many missionaries to do whatever it takes to establish Christ's church in Spain, even if that means doing things differently than they have been done in the past.  We spent considerable time talking about what that might mean.  Not everyone agrees, but we are all committed to establishing churches capable of multiplying and establishing other churches.  This is important as we think about what strategy God would have us utilize to establish a church in Camarma.
So we are back home in Meco and starting to work through the implications to our ministry.  Our teammates, Ned and Joanie Steffens, are back from their time in the states this summer, we are meeting weekly and will have a mini-retreat in September.  As always, we appreciate very much your prayers.
The first order of business this week is to give you the good news that Kay passed her driving test.  She was really nervous, and thought she had failed when she got out of the car.  But the examiner congratulated her and gave her his pen as a souvenir!  I'm sure his graciousness was at least partially due to your prayers.  Thanks!
Evangelical churches don't start until 11:00 or 12:00 here, so that gives me time to go for long bike rides on Sunday mornings before church, the only day that I feel safe because there is less traffic.  Today I stopped to rest in the plaza, the town square, in a small town near here just as the Catholic church was being dismissed.  As I watched the approximately 75 people leave, it occurred to me that nobody was less than 50 years old.  There were no young people!  Actually, there was one teenager that seemed to be with his grandparents, but that was it. 
So where are the young people?  They aren't in an evangelical church, because there is no evangelical church in this town, or in surrounding small towns.  In fact those under 40 years old have given up on "the church", which they unfortunately use to refer to all Christianity.  "The Church" brought Spain the Inquisition, and supported the tyrannical dictatorship of Franco, so the younger generations have no use for it.
As I reflected on this, I thanked God for bringing us to Spain.  The need is great...
Thanks for praying with us,
Mark and Kay

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