July is here and so is summer... and at 7000 feet, that means our warmer weather still has a bit of that Wyoming breeze, and it is staying very comfortable. After being in 23 different states since Christmas, we are looking forward to actually having some time at home this month, and celebrating Independence Day as well as 12 wonderful years of marriage!
June included a bit of time with the Army and a very encouraging trip to Notus and Nampa, ID. We were so happy to see many friends again while we were there, which made it a very enjoyable 2 weeks! The trip started out with a very helpful seminar on disciple-making, with plenty of practical ideas for us to implement as things get going in both Cokeville and (soon) Cache County. We were also blessed to spend some time in Nampa with Pastor Jeff Estes, and were encouraged by his concern for us and desire to share wisdom, talking over the practicalities of life and ministry in the West. The following week, we got to minister in Notus and enjoyed catching up with the Clancys, who had just returned from a profitable trip to the DROC.
It is a hard thing trying to start a church when you have to be gone half the time! We are so grateful for the Adanks' willingness to help cover things in Cokeville the weeks that we've been away. They have been such a blessing and help already, and we are looking forward to many years of ministering together with them. But now we're home again, and things are kicking into high gear! This past Sunday, James began preaching through a series on the basics of the Gospel. We felt a bit of spiritual opposition as we began that focus, but are praising the Lord that several people whose salvation we've been praying for were able to be at that service. We can tell God is working in hearts - please pray that those who are attending will be receptive to Him, and experience for themselves the Good News!
Meanwhile, we are ramping up for Vacation Bible School on the 24-26 of July. We are praying that at least one child will be saved during that time, and several contacts would be made for the sake of building relationships and making disciples. A group from Friendship Baptist Church in Thayne, WY, is helping us run the actual program; and Grace Baptist in Kemmerer has given us Bibles to share as prizes at the end of the week. We are so grateful for the help and support that these two sister ministries and their pastors have shown to us and the work in Cokeville.
We were originally planning a Pioneer Day outreach with free hot dogs for the Cokeville community, but the town has recently added several food vendors to their celebration time and, for that reason, has asked us to not give away free food. This has opened up the opportunity for us to instead host the hot dog lunch on the final day of VBS, the 26th of July. Please pray that we will be able to have some good contacts from this event, and that by feeding the stomach we will have an opportunity to feed the soul.
We are also planning to be in Cokeville during the July 4th and Pioneer Day (Jul 19-20) festivities. Please pray with us that we might be able to show Christ's love and light while we are there, and have opportunities to start building relationships with several individuals or families in the area. We can't hope to reach people if we don't first get to know them and show them we care!
As a side note, we have been using some Great Hymns of the Faith hymnals that were donated to us. We would love 1-2 copies that are spiral or ring-bound for leading music and playing the piano, but are having trouble finding any for less than $100. If you have one at home that's not being used, could you let us know? Just hit reply, or send us a message on Facebook.
Cache County Update
Meanwhile... the Adanks are still working through the process of finding housing in Logan. They share our desire to have a home that can also be used for ministry, in a location where they can connect with and build relationships with the surrounding community. Unfortunately, the market in Cache County has been crazy recently, and the good ones are being snatched up quickly! We know that God will provide them (and us) with the right house, for the right price, in His perfect timing - but we would still appreciate your prayers for all of that, as impending moves are always a bit stressful and time-consuming! We will hopefully be joining them in the housing search within the next month, although we are most likely looking at renting for a year while we determine the best town to settle in permanently and save up for a down payment.
Our prayer is that we'd be able to move this September, and get onto the USU campus early in the school year. We are also trying to line up resources and mission teams for some more intense, focused outreach across the county next summer. Please pray for these efforts, that God would guide us in the planning and timing of everything!
Though we have enjoyed the time in Kemmerer and loved working with the Hartmans, we continue to sense God leading us to the Cache Valley; and as the time approaches for us to move there, it feels like we're finally coming home to the people and place we've already grown to love over the past few years. We are excited to see how the Gospel will be spread throughout the Cache Valley!
Thank you for your faithful prayers and loving support! We look forward to sharing more with you as God continues to lead us in His perfect way!
For the Sake of His Name,
James & Elizabeth Johnson