May 05
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Johnson Journal

5-1-05, Carnival

Dear Friends,
The big event this week is a trip to Northern Ireland to orient a team that will be coming in July from Glenabbey Church in Belfast.  Glenabby requested that Kay and I go, so they are paying for the trip (PTL!)  The team will be doing an English camp for us and we are anticipating up to 100 children, many of them preschool age.  Our teammates Ned and Joanie Steffens will be going with us and we're very much looking forward to it.  Pray for a good time together as a team, for safe travel, and for wisdom working out the details of the English Camp.  We are also considering doing an evening session for adults, which implies a lot more work.
Greg's class is sponsoring a carnival on the grounds of the school on Tuesday, a holiday in the Madrid area.  It is a fund raiser for their class, so that part of the event is getting a lot of attention, but the kids also want it to be an event that reaches out to the community.  We're proud of them!  One dad made a dozen carnival type games and put up a circus tent that he uses for evangelistic campaigns: it is huge! 
Summer is closing in and our plans are somewhat up in the air.  The Ireland team comes in July, but Kay had wanted to go to the states with Greg in June to check out colleges.  Unfortunately, our tax bill was unusually high this year (everything we buy as household items is with taxable income, even though the donations were tax deductible).  So right now it looks like Greg will have to go by himself.  We'll trust that if God want Kay to go, He'll provide the funds.
Thanks for your prayers,
Mark and Kay   

Dear Friends,
A couple of weeks ago Greg's class sponsored a carnival in Camarma, which made a terrific impact on the community.  Last week the high school and junior high school choirs and band presented a concert in the auditorium of the town hall.  The mayor and most of his assistants were present and afterward presented a plaque to the school.  These things are positive steps toward establishing credibility of the evangelicals in Camarma.  It also continues to develop the synergy we hope to see between our project to start a church and the Christian school. 
Our trip to Northern Ireland with our teammates, Ned and Joanie, was a success on many fronts.  First of all, we had the opportunity to just enjoy our friendship along with the beauty of Ireland.  But it was a working trip, and we had a very productive time with the team that is coming to Spain to help us this summer.  God has put together a great mix of ages and gifts, and we felt like we bonded during our time together.  They understand that they are playing an important part in the establishing of a church in Spain, we understand that we are contributing to the development of a missions vision in Glenabby church.  We're looking forward to the first week in July, the date of the activity.
Yesterday, Ian participated in an "Olympics" of churches from across Spain, and got a silver medal in the high jump for his age category.  The proud father took lots of pictures.  Beyond that, it was an opportunity for members of churches from as far away as Salamanca to get to know each other and feel part of something bigger than just their small church.  It was fun to watch Ian's closest competitors encouraging him to do well, and Ian doing the same: not what one generally sees!
We shared our uncertainty about this summer in our last letter.  Well the Lord did provide a way for Kay to accompany Greg to help him investigate colleges in the states in June.  That's the good news, the bad news is that Ian and I will be all alone and defenseless.  Just kidding, we're actually looking forward to some good times together.
Thanks for praying for us!
Mark and Kay

Dear Friends,
It has been a busy month or so, especially the weekends, which makes it more difficult to have regular contact with our non-Christian friends.  But this weekend we were able to have Marcus and Sofia over for a barbeque and I had a good conversation, though brief, with Antonio.  Nacho and Amelia invited us over for a barbeque today, but we´ve invited our friends Mariano and Fanny from the church in Buenos Aires, serving here as missionaries.  It's cook out season!
Lucas and Betsabé Colmenares came through Madrid last weekend on their way to the states from Northern Africa.  We´ve been trying to encourage them in their ministry in a difficult place.  For the next couple of months they will be with Betsabe´s mother who is suffering from inoperable skin cancer.  Please pray for them.
A church north of Madrid has been experiencing some conflict among their leaders and has asked me to mediate.  The idea is to try to get them to focus on the biblical purpose of the church and get so excited about a common vision that they will be able to work through their differences.  Our first session at a men´s retreat went very well and they´ve asked me to continue the process of helping them to develop a common vision for their church.   Pray for wisdom, sensitivity to the Spirit, and open hearts.
I´ve been ask to become the District Leader for the TEAM Madrid Church Planting District.  It´s not something I would have normally accepted, but with TEAM working through a process of change in Spain, it was thought I may have something to offer from a similar experience in Venezuela.  There does not seem to be a whole lot of consensus yet about how much change is needed, much less what should be done.  Again, prayer will be much appreciated.
Kay and Greg go to the states next week for about a month.  They will investigate some colleges for Greg and see family and friends.  Ian and I are looking forward to taking some day trips to places around here that we´ve not yet seen, some castles, Roman ruins, etc.   I´m excited about spending some quality time with our youngest son.
Thanks for praying for us,
Mark, Kay, Greg and Ian