Finally In Lubbock
Of course, with any move there are challenges. In our case, the biggest obstacle is the fact that we have yet to sell our Oklahoma home. The walls are painted, the ceiling fans are dusted, and everything is in order. The only problem is that no buyers are to be found! Please pray for this need we have right now. Our house selling is the most important step that can be made right now. Until it sells, we will still be stuck in transition. However, we know that the Lord is in control and has this need figured out. We anticipate eagerly seeing the answers to this challenge we currently have. More than that though, we look forward to seeing more exciting ministry opportunities in Lubbock.
All Things Work Together
Jessica and I have been asking ourselves for the last few weeks about how this new work will fit together with some of the other ministries we have been involved in. We ask, “How did Mexico prepare us for working with AIM? What role did Lakeview play in contributing to our ministry in Lubbock?” The answers to those questions have already come our way.
When working in Shawnee, I met Baron Staggs.I had known of Baron for years, as he was the younger brother to one of our apprentice missionaries in Mexico. Quickly I learned to love Baron as I enjoyed working with him for one week at Lakeview two years ago. Fast forward a couple of years and Baron and I are both living in Lubbock. Last week he asked if I would come study the Bible with one of his friends who had a few questions about God. Little did I know what God was doing. Just hours later and Baron’s friend was giving his life over to Christ! Yes, all things do work together for the good.
However, there have been many other examples of the pieces “falling together” in this new ministry. A few weeks ago, I opened up my office for the first time to the AIM students for counseling. As the doors opened, I had nearly a dozen apprentice missionaries flooding my office to discuss their needs. From 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, I had a steady stream of students throughout the day, coming to me for advice and counsel. It was overwhelming to say the least.
As the day was unfolding, I thought to myself, “What an amazing day. I hadn’t experienced anything like this since I was working in Bethel, counseling kids last year.” Then it dawned on me. God had used the last year at Bethel school to prepare me for working in Lubbock. God is indeed good!
Needless to say, this has been an exciting ride. We have already begun seeing God’s hand at work in our lives. It is truly exciting to watch the Lord’s work. Whether in Oklahoma or in Texas, there is a lot of ministry to be done.
It Couldn't Have Been Accomplished...
From September to January, Jessica and I put thousands of miles on the car, traveling across the country trying to find partners in this work. The vision was clear to us. 150 college-aged, apprentice missionaries in need of counsel. These wonderful workers of God were willing to serve him through culture shock and major life change. Still, they needed an advocate in their corner. Someone to talk to. Someone willing to listen. The job seemed right for us.
Still, like the apprentice missionaries, we needed advocates in our corner. A non-profit organization like AIM requires partners. Those willing to sacrifice time, money, and prayers, to ensure that the work could be completed. God sent us you. So many of you have been with us for so long. You have believed in us, served us, and helped us arrive at our newest destination. We thank God for you!
It couldn’t have been accomplished without your partnership. This task was simply too great. May you know that the Kingdom is blessed by your work. May the Lord comfort you in your work with our family.
Chris' Article For The Lifeline Magazine
There are some adventures that stay with us a very long time. These are the journeys and events written on our hearts and engraved into our memories. For me, my decision to go to the AIM program at age nineteen was one of those adventures. I will never forget the cold Scottish rains, the heat generated from a sack of fresh "fish and chips", nor can I forget about the joy of sharing my faith for the first time in downtown Glasgow. As the Scotts say, AIM was "pure dead brilliant."
Seventeen years is a long time to return to the AIM program. Back then I was a student, an apprentice missionary. Now I come as missionary care counselor. Roles very different, with a common thread of spreading good news to the entire world.
As I unload my boxes into my new office, I remember the program I once joined. A lot has changed since then. For one, there was less talk about psychological needs and good mental health. Sure, we knew about reverse culture-shock and missionary care, but those things weren't talked about to the extent they are today. For that reason, my AIM experience didn't require having a missionary counselor on staff at all times. However, as I said earlier, a lot has changed in seventeen years.
My predecessor, Ben Walker knew the importance of mental health on the mission field. Before Ben came along, the AIM program had never staffed a full-time counselor. He began a role that has become vital to this place. Ben's ministry paved the way and carved out the path for missionary care. Like him, I pray I will have many good years in this important position.
When I consider the task ahead, I am truly humbled. Fifty apprentice missionaries live in Lubbock. Another one hundred live abroad in various countries doing ministry. Each with their own struggles, their own challenges, and their own needs. Looking at the overwhelming duty of this work, there are many emotions that I feel. However, I am extremely eager. Definitely this is where I was meant to be. As I told the AIM students last week, "We all have ministries that God is leading us towards. I do too. You are my mission field." - Chris Johnson