Happy October! What is fall like where you are? Here in Wyoming, it's ushered in with a panorama of brilliant fall colors. The leaves started changing in mid-September, and the blend of golden aspens, red maples and oaks, and dark green fir trees is absolutely beautiful. Even the wildflowers joined in with bright golden sunflowers and reddish-orange ground covering. Thankfully, the colors have lasted quite a few weeks - which is a thrill to this former New England girl!
Autumn also marks the beginning of snowy season... in fact, we "enjoyed" our first dusting of snow on the second day of fall (Sept 23)! Thankfully, it melted quickly and warmed up again, but we're expecting to see regular snow accumulation beginning any week now.
In the meantime, we're staying busy indoors and out!
Elizabeth's parents were able to visit for about a week, and we had a lot of fun introducing them to West and showing them some of our favorite places and areas of ministry. We also enjoyed a few days of refreshment last week at the annual Northwest Baptist Missions conference in Elko, Nevada. We heard some great messages, and enjoyed time with both old friends and new. It was so encouraging to make connections and fellowship with other like-minded couples who have been called to serve this part of the country. We also had an interesting drive through the salt flats on the way there (see picture below). It's definitely a unique part of the country!
We're also enjoying the opportunities to serve alongside the Hartman's at Grace Baptist Church, are continuing to pursue outreach opportunities in the Kemmerer-Diamondville area, and have been making regular visits to what we hope will be our future mission field (Logan, UT). Here's some more specifics of what we've been focused on, and how you can pray for us in the days ahead:
Our Local Community:
- James has been teaching through Isaiah in Sunday School, leading singing, and occasionally filling in at the pulpit. Elizabeth continues to play the piano or organ each Sunday, and has been helping with children's church every week (teaching or assisting). Pray for the church to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to be a light for Him in the community.
- James has also continued with weekly visitation with Pastor Hartman, preaching at the local jail on a bi-weekly basis, and helping with a weekly Bible study in Cokeville. Pray for the men to faithful in proclaiming the Word, and for souls to be saved through their ministries.
- Elizabeth has been attending events at the local library, seeking to make contacts and build relationships, and has been particularly burdened for one of the workers there. Pray that they would be able to connect further, especially outside the library meetings, and particularly that she would have opportunities to share the gospel with her.
- We're also seeking to support local businesses and participate in local events as we can. Pray for us to have a clear testimony of Christ's love, for opportunities to make personal connections with others in the area, and for the light of God's truth to shine forth in the area.
Our Future Mission Field:
- We're continuing to visit Logan, UT, every few weeks, with the goal of getting to know the area better and hopefully establishing contacts. Pray for fruitful visits to the area, specifically that God would work to make people more open to hearing His truth, and that He would provide opportunities to connect with others who are seeking Him.
- We will be meeting Pastor Ehmann in Logan sometime within the next month to do a detailed survey of other churches/religious organizations in the area, and to further discuss strategies for establishing a work there. Please pray for wisdom and clarity as we seek to learn more specific demographics about the Cache Valley area,
- Pray also for God to call some team members to help with this work -- both a missionary couple to help with leading/preaching, as well as lay members who might be willing to get jobs and establish themselves in the community.
Our Personal Challenges:
- James’ transfer to the Utah National Guard is in its final stages, just waiting on official assignment orders to a battalion. Please pray as this starts in earnest the accessioning process (moving from Chaplain Candidate to a fully fledged Chaplain) and the promotion process.
- James has also been looking for more work opportunities, as the web project he was working on recently ended. Pray for God's timely provision of more work, and for us to be faithful stewards in the meantime!
- Continued prayers would also be appreciated for Elizabeth's health. She's been able to exercise more frequently since we joined the local recreation center (a necessity with the long winters around here!), and the Lord has helped her to have increased energy and stamina. We would love to see that continue, although we know that God may have a different plan in mind.
- We are also starting to consider plans for deputation, possibly beginning next June. Prayers would be appreciated for wisdom and direction for scheduling meetings, scheduling work while on the road, the possibility of a travel trailer, and a vehicle to pull a travel trailer (our minivan is starting to feel its age!).
Feel free to share this update with others who may be interested. We appreciate the prayer support!
For the Sake of His Name,
James & Elizabeth Johnson