November 04
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Johnson Journal

Dear Friends,
Marcus and Sofía came over to try to fix our satellite dish today.  We don´t really want the satellite, but Marcus is a German that knows about that stuff, and one of the best ways to establish a friendship is to ask for help.  So the two of us climbed up on the roof and tried to move the dish around while the women told us how the reception was.  Sofia is days away from giving birth and Kay has offered to go help her get the baby room ready.  Marcus spends the week in Frankfurt, where he works. 
We had the chance to pray for our friends Victor and Carolina this week.  He is a taxi drier and his car was in the shop most of the week.  We were able to exalt our Lord by telling them we´d prayed and felt that He had answered by getting the car fixed.  Small but important steps.
This week we´ll be moving closer to some important decisions as a team.  One is how to put together an English program for the public schools in Camarma, more than we can handle, but it´s an open door through which we hope to develop contacts.  Another is the possibility of renting an office and establishing a nonprofit organization through which we can channel activities like the English classes.  On the one hand, we want to respond to the felt needs in the town, on the other we don´t want to tie a church to having to do English classes in the future.
As always, we´re thankful for your prayers,
Mark and Kay


Dear friends,
Thanks to the generosity of my father-in-law and my wife, I received a new mountain bike for my birthday.  There are a lot of farm roads around and I love getting away by myself.   One neighbor, Oscar, helped me to choose a good bike.  Today I invited another neighbor, Fernando, to join me.  Oscar was not available.
We had a great ride and then went out for a cup of coffee.  We were talking about the different political orientation of the newspapers, and I made reference to the 4 gospels representing the perspectives of different people related to the same event.  That opened the flood gate.  We talked about everything from the DaVinci Code to the inspiration of Scripture to the reliability of the scribes who copied Scripture.  There is an open door to bike again, and to talk some more.  Pray for divine transitions to be able to share the gospel, with Fernando and with all of our friends.
The development of a comprehensive strategy for the Camarma Initiative has taken a lot of time for a variety of reasons, but we feel like we're making good progress.  One of the great felt needs is for English classes, and the town is asking for much more than we can do (an after school club encompassing children at all ages and a program for adults).   We feel like we need a person to help us coordinate the program.  If you're interested or know of someone who might be, let us know!   We do have a lot of willing helpers between the team and teachers and students at the Christian school here.     And please keep praying that we'll be sensitive to God's direction as we develop our strategy.
Just a reminder: check out our web page every once in awhile.   It was updated last week.
Thankful for you prayers,
Mark and Kay


Dear Friends,
Fernando, Oscar, Anabelia, Marcos and Sofía: these are all new friends that we've written about in recent weeks.  Developing friendships and seeking opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ is the foundation of any new church.  At the same time, we have been working as a team to develop values, vision and a strategy for the Camarma Initiative, recognizing the unique situation of having Evangelical Christian Academy (ECA) in our midst.  Working to build friendships and share the Gospel is basic, but it's important to know our destination, and what we will do when you get there! 
Vision answers the question, "Where are we going?" A vision promotes direction and unity. It helps us know when to change, keeps us motivated and motivates others to give their time, talents and resources. It will also help us evaluate how we’re doing. Aubry Malphurs says that vision is, "A clear and challenging picture of the future of a ministry as its leadership believes it can be and must be." Here is ours:
Our vision is to establish a reproducing church that is rooted in a vital relationship with the living God, growing in authentic love for one another and by God’s grace producing the fruit of the good news of Jesus Christ in our community and beyond.
The image we want to create is that of a tree.  Trees by nature reproduce themselves.  If a tree does not reproduce, it's dead, and we think that is true of a church as well.  The root of our church will be a vital relationship with God, particularly the Lord Jesus Christ who is head of His church.  If we're connected to Him, we will plant and nurture the church the way He wants us to.  Loving God and loving one another is the Great Commandment, first given as a foundation for the law in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 6:4-6 and repeated by Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40 and Luke 10:25ff.  Producing fruit is essentially the Great Commission, repeated in different forms in each of the four Gospels and in Acts 1:8.
Today we attended a church service on the other side of Madrid, an international church called Mountainview that encompasses some of the things we long to see in our future church.  The worship was lively, incorporated the children in the first part, and was augmented by the use of computer graphics.  The "sermon" was actually a dramatic monologue, a contemporary presentation of what the life of Jesus on earth may have looked like in our day and age.  Afterward, our son Gregory said, "I love this church, I wish we could go here every Sunday."  We pointed out that  would be impossible because they only meet as a large group once a month and in cell groups the rest of the time.  That said, we hope to establish a church that it will be exciting, fun to attend, something our kids, and our Spanish friends, look forward to.
Thanks for praying with us that our vision may become reality.
In Christ,
Mark and Kay


Dear Friends,
Two years ago while in the United States I participated in meetings of a special "Partnership" that includes the Open Door Church in Buenos Aires, The Chapel in Nairobi, Glenabbey Church in Belfast and our home church, Elmbrook.  We met some wonderful brothers and sisters from each of the churches, many of whom have expressed interest in our desire to establish a church here in Spain.
Ireland is the closest, so we took advantage of the long weekend off school for the boys and visited Belfast.  We have spent Thanksgiving Day in many different places, but none warmer than this one in the home of David and Alyson Beasant, with their daughter Clare and her husband Mark, who interned for a year at Elmbrook while we were in the states.  Over the weekend we met lots of new friends and the boys had a great time in their youth meeting.
David is an elder in the church, Alyson is the missions coordinator, and we had several very fruitful discussions with them.  We're excited that Glenabbey is planning to send a team next summer to help us get this church started.   We agreed that we could think of no more fruitful activity for the Partnership than that a team from one church would help missionaries from another church establish a church.  They will be helping us run an English Camp, which is a service to the community here, but also a way to establish more friends with whom we can share Jesus Christ.
We're also looking for ways to partner with Evangelical Christian Academy in Camarma.  Students from the school are involved in soccer leagues in town, and teachers have established friendships with many of their neighbors.  Recently we've talked with a few of the TEAM missionaries primarily involved in Christian education about helping us with an English program for Camarma.  It's fun to watch the Lord start to put some pieces together.
This is a long weekend in Spain as they have Constitution Day Monday and another holiday Wednesday.  Many of our neighbors have taken off, so we've had a pretty quiet Sunday to ourselves.  We even got out artificial Christmas tree up; now we have to figure out how to protect it from our pet bunny rabbit, who has free range in the kitchen and living room.  Actually he acts more like a cat than a rabbit, even uses a litter box!
Thanks for your prayers,
Mark and Kay