September 04
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Johnson Journal

9-4-04, retreat___charge!

9-10-04, values

9-20-04, update

Dear Friends,
Today we had a good time with our friends Scot and Carol Musser, along with teammates Ned and Joanie Steffens.  First we went to Mountainview Church, a an international church on the other side of Madrid.  It takes an hour to get there, but it was worth the trip.  The church is based on cell groups, but also has a very creative monthly worship service.  Today Pastor Troy Cady started a series on the Apostles Creed.  At one point as he attempted to explain the Trinity, a person from the congregation stood up and said "Wait a minute.  You can't have it both ways.  Either God is one or God is three."  She was a "plant" from the church, a great technique  to present a difficult concept through dialogue.  He also interspersed some improvisational drama.
Afterward the Steffens and Mussers and we discussed the service and how it might apply to what we are trying to do.   The Mussers are very involved at Evangelical Christian Academy, where Scot is the Director, but they have a heart for establishing a church in Camarma and will help as much as they can.  We shared the 8 values we've developed so far (that we shared with you last week).  We will continue the process of coming up with a vision and strategy this week.  Pray as we continue this process and start making important decisions related to the establishing of a church here.
In Christ,
Mark and Kay
Dear Friends,
Sometimes we need to get away from the routine of daily life to clear our minds, to pray and to make sure we are focused on God's perspective.  Jesus did it before declaring the reason He'd come to earth, immediately before selecting the disciples, and before his arrest and crucifixion. (Luke 4:42; 6:12; 22:39-41).   We just returned from great retreat for the Camarma Initiative team: Ned and Joanie Steffens, Kay and me.   Some important things happened, not the least of which is that we grew closer together as friends.  We talked about how our team will function, that we want to "be church" to one another and that we will make decisions by consensus, among other things.
The most profitable time, from our perspective, was stating our values as a team.  We invited Troy Cady, a missionary with Christian Associates who is planting an international church on the other side of Madrid, to come and lead us through a brainstorming and consolidation of the values that will direct our efforts to establish a church.  We spent about 6 hours, first just writing down ideas on post-its and sticking them up on the wall, then consolidating them into 8 categories.  Then we summarized those.  Here they are:
  1. We value God centered ministry.
  2. We value real love and acceptance.
  3. We value a life style of communicating Christ.
  4. We value people oriented ministry.
  5. We value empowered participation.
  6. We value a growing (or ever deepening) relationship with God.
  7. We value community and world impact.
  8. We value a dynamic environment.
This is a work in process.  We next need to develop a paragraph explaining each of these values, then we'll use them to come up with our vision, purpose, and finally the strategy.  There are some things that can't wait for the process, like a decision about whether or not to continue English classes that have been done in the Camarma public school.  They were coordinated last year by a person that is no longer able to do it, and it's a bigger job than any of us feels we can take on at this point.  We'll probably continue English at some level, but need to decide how much we can do.  It would be great if God would raise up someone to coordinate the classes!
Meanwhile we continue to develop friendships with our neighbors that we hope will result in opportunities to share Jesus with them.  This is Fiesta week in Meco.  Each town in Spain has a week that they set aside to celebrate, usually surrounding some saint or manifestation of the virgin.  Of course this is just an excuse to party.  Events are scheduled literally around the clock, including running with the bulls through the center of town.  Pamplona is the big one, but other towns do it as well, including Meco, and Greg wants to participate.  We'll see!  Anyway, we have invited some neighbors over to barbeque and watch the fireworks Sunday, the last night.  In the process we've unwittingly got caught in the middle of a "disagreement" between some of the ladies.  Pray that God will work out the details, and that we'll have a good time Sunday with those that God wants to come.
And thanks for praying!
Mark and Kay
Dear Friends,
Next week Greg and the high school at Evangelical Christian Academy (ECA) are going away for a retreat, and hes looking forward to it.  Our friends Paul and Sarie Anderson will take Ian for a couple of nights, were going to take advantage to get away with our teammates Ned and Joanie Steffens from Tuesday to Thursday.  We definitely want to spend some quality time in prayer and worship as a foundation, something we have been doing.  But its also time to start establishing a concrete strategy for the Camarma Initiative, our project to get a church established in this area.
Here are some specific requests for prayer:
  • a good retreat for Greg and his friends, and a good time for Ian with the Andersons.
  • unity of purpose and vision between Ned, Joanie, Kay and I as we work out the vision of what this church will look like.
  • wisdom as we talk about our gifts, our personalities and how we will work together as a team.
  • that we will grow in love and respect for one another.
  • that God will use our time together to establish a foundation for the church He wants established in Camarma.
Our experience is that a team is the most difficult way to establish a church, and the best way to establish a church.  It's difficult because our old selves keep getting in the way, and Satan likes to attack us through interpersonal relationships.  It's best because the sharing of gifts and the opportunity to love one another allow us to model what church is supposed to look like.
Thanks for praying with us!
In Christ,
Mark and Kay