It has been over a month since our last update, but as some of you may have noticed via our Facebook updates, we have been on the road for a while doing deputation meetings. We had good meetings in Mentor, Ohio; Spartanburg, South Carolina; and Brevard, North Carolina. Additionally, we were able to participate in the missions conference at our home church, Faith Baptist Church in Reidville, South Carolina.
An added blessing was being able to see both of our families while we were back east, with James’ family meeting up at the Wilds and Elizabeth’s parents meeting us in Kentucky to visit the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.
It was a joy to share what God is doing here in the Mountain West, and to introduce many people to the immense opportunity for the gospel in the Cache Valley. We also were able to enjoy some sweet times of fellowship with several good friends in the Carolinas and Iowa. We are very blessed to have both family and friends that support and pray for us in the work God has called us to do.
Please pray with us that some of the churches we had opportunity to minister at will begin supporting us. Our continued prayer and desire is to move to Cache County this fall. We are currently still at about 33% support, about half of which is from churches and half from individuals. We need at least 50% plus team members to move over to Cache County. Our biggest concern is having enough time to minister, with multiple Bible Studies going at one time as well as other evangelistic endeavors. Our current ministry activities and work (plus the National Guard) maxes out our time, and as we start in the Cache Valley we expect to about double our ministry work. Having 50% support would allow James to go to a more part-time level of non-ministry work, and having team members would allow us to spread the ministry load as well as continue deputation trips without having long chunks of inactive ministry in the Cache Valley. Please pray with us that God would provide these things and move us forward in the next few months.
One other big news item took place right before we left in February. The Bible study group in Cokeville, Wyoming, approached us a few months ago to ask if we could start holding a service on Sundays there, even as we continue working to move towards Cache County. Currently, there is nothing in Cokeville other than the LDS church, and the people there are hungry to receive more of God's Word and see the gospel move forward in the community.
After taking some time to pray and seek counsel, we met with the group right before we left to hash out some details, and settled on holding the first service in Cokeville this Sunday evening!
One of the driving factors in our decision to pursue this is the fact that ministry in the West often entails caring for multiple locations. Of the two pastors closest to Cokeville, geographically speaking, one is caring for two different churches (about 90 miles apart) and the other is fully engaged in pastoring multiple small towns. Neither one has the capacity to work in an additional location. We do, however - and so, while we remain in Kemmerer and even after we move to Utah, we will be church planting in two locations!
The people in Cokeville are well aware of God's call for us to Cache County, and thus the goal is not for us to remain there permanently. Rather, we hope to establish a Bible-believing church that is self-supporting and can call its own pastor a few years down the road. To that end, we will be preaching and teaching on Sundays, continuing with the Bible study on Tuesdays, plus visiting new move-ins and participating in various community events. Please pray for us and these dear people as we look for God to work in Cokeville!
This also increases our need for support so that we can be free to work in multiple locations for the sake of Christ and His gospel. There are also some specific needs related to beginning this work, such as flyers and signs, which you can find delineated in our current needs section below.
Looking forward, we are excited to be going to California for a couple of weeks in May and Idaho in June for several more deputation meetings. Pray for our safety in traveling and that our support level will increase from these trips. Each month, even with the expenses of traveling, God has been meeting our needs, and we give praise to Him for providing and directing our steps.
Thank you for your faithful prayers! We look forward to sharing more with you as God continues to lead us towards Cache County, Utah!
For the Sake of His Name,
James & Elizabeth Johnson