Tom and Leslie Johnson – March 2018

 

News from Tom and Leslie Johnson
Tom and His Sabbatical, or should we say, “Medical Leave”?
In our last newsletter I said the first weeks of my sabbatical had turned into medical leave instead of research leave. That was true of several weeks till I received excellent help at Duke Medical Center in Durham, NC. I was diagnosed with several food allergies and microscopic colitis. I am feeling better after substantial changes in diet and starting a med for the colitis. The docs said my grumpy gut may generally be the result of 25 years of travel in places where the food and water are not safe, leading to many bouts of food poisoning and intestinal irritations. The colitis went into remission day 3 on the med, but I do not know if it will return when I finish the med. I may have to use colitis meds long term.
This seems to be the Lord’s push to adjust how I do my job. Generally, I expect to travel less and do more from my desk. There are some specifics I have to change; for example, never eat in a restaurant without running water. The risk of food poisoning is sky high! (Experience!) And when in Rome, I can eat more seafood but must avoid most of the pasta, since I have a wheat allergy but do not have an allergy to fish or other seafood.
In the last five years of intense travel related to the persecution of Christians, I have already met most of the key people I needed to meet, including dozens of top Catholic leaders, senior representatives of every branch of Christianity, and representatives of several other religions. I have talked with diplomats, journalists, scholars, and royalty about the causes and patterns of religious persecution, including religiously motivated violence. I have listened in person to persecuted Christians from many countries as they told their stories. Now I must use what I learned, as well as the access to so many people, without so much travel.
I am sure the world needs a higher level of Protestant/Catholic cooperation in response to persecution, and it is my job to work in this direction. But I am not as sure as I would like to be about exactly what I have to initiate, what my specific next steps are. I need God’s wisdom as I am reading, thinking, corresponding, and praying. There are different ways I could play my role, and there are different types of cooperative programs I can imagine. Pray for wisdom.
I am also developing a list of books and essays I want to write (or rewrite) in coming years. Many of these have to do with ethics, human rights, and culture, the questions that have been on my mind since I glimpsed the horrors of the persecution of the Jews in the Holocaust, when I was a teenager. Here too I need the Lord’s wisdom. It is easy to invest a lot of time and energy into researching and writing a text that does not help anyone. I want to use my time well. Please pray for wisdom.
As you will see from Leslie’s report, she is much in demand to talk and consult about education. It seems to be the time for her to travel more and me to travel less as we go about the jobs we think God has given us. Thank you for your essential role!

Here, there, and everywhere…in Europe  Leslie’s News

This winter, I spent time working on different speeches I am giving this spring. I have already started attending conferences where these talks will be given. There is some variety of what the topics are:

  • Student-centered Spiritual Formation: what a Christian school needs to have in place for children to grow in their faith. This is being given at two different national school administrators’ conferences in central Europe.
  • Why a Christian school. This is for two different talks, one to parents and one to pastors and theologians.
  • Helping teachers develop spiritually. This will be for a conference of Christian educators from around Europe.
  • Teaching with Cultural Intelligence. This is a training I am giving at CISP.

Another task in addition to conference speeches is leading an accreditation team who will visit a Christian international school in May. I find the process a school goes through to get accredited is an excellent way to improve the school. It becomes a great encouragement to the school. Thus, it is a rewarding process to be a part of that process.

Places I am going include:
  • Czech Republic (of course!)
  • Poland
  • Slovenia
  • Bulgaria
  • Turkey

I would covet your prayers for me to communicate clearly and to be an encouragement to Christian educators whatever their school environment. Please also pray for safety in the various travels to make these presentations.

Thank you so much!

We appreciate you all and are thankful for the Lord’s work through you!

We have been suffering “temperature shock,” going from 15 C/59 F in North Carolina to -15 C/5 F in Prague. It made for an icy river walk.
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Praises:
We thank the Lord for:

  • Good answers to Tom’s health challenges this winter and an improvement in his health.
  • A lovely place for us to stay during the winter months connected with a church in Durham, NC. Our BIG thanks to the kind folks at Guess Road Baptist Church!
  • Safety in traveling back to Prague.

Prayers:
Please join us in praying for:

  • Health for Tom as well as wisdom on how to cook and eat with his new parameters; he is also experiencing a lot of hip pain. Pray for pain management and answers on possible fix to the problem.
  • For wisdom for Tom as he thinks through his writing projects, as well as how to manage his work.
  • Leslie’s work speaking engagements this spring, and safety to and from those conferences;
  • Persecuted Christians around the world who are suffering great loss;
  • Wisdom for Tom as he shifts to the next phase in his work;
  • Leslie’s work on websites for Tom and her, as well as developing her speaking ministry.

Our big thanks to all of you who have responded by filling out our Google form.
If you have not filled it out, you still have time. Please click here.

Thank you SO much!

Tom and Leslie Johnson – December 2017

We hope those of you in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Our international American Thanksgiving with friends from four different countries: the US, Czechia, Albania, and Lebanon.
Leslie’s Baltic Trip
I had the privilege this month to travel to Lithuania and Latvia. I had two hats to wear: to visit Christian schools there on behalf of ACSI Europe; and to visit with families in Klaipeda, Lithuania, who are connected with our mission, Global Scholars.

With the ACSI hat on, I traveled with Mr. Lazslo Demeter, Director of ACSI Europe. We visited four Christian schools and a school set up for home schoolers. Each director had interesting stories to tell of God’s provision and help. But they also shared where they are struggling. Struggling with government requirements, finding enough Christian teachers, financial trials, etc.

In both Latvia and Lithuania, church schools are allowed. Depending on the country, there are different provisions from the government. Therein is the financial rub: in both countries, thousands have emigrated elsewhere to earn money, taking their children with them. The economies are struggling, so the government does not have enough money to pay for education.

None of the schools have just children from Christian homes. And none of the schools have 100% Christian staff. There just are not enough Christians in these countries. But they do serve their communities well and use the schools has opportunities to share the Gospel among both students and staff. One school even has a Bible just for non-Christian staff. They use this opportunity to explain “Christianese” to them and in the process, are able to share the good news of Jesus.

One exciting part of this visit was to hear the vision of the people running these schools. Whether to grow bigger to serve more in their communities or to start 100 Christian schools in the next few years, it is fun to hear what the Lord has put on their hearts.

With the Global Scholars hat on, I was able to meet with the families who serve at Lithuanian Christian College in Klaipeda, Lithuania. It was a joy for me to meet the Global Scholars kids, and hang out with the adults and talk about educational and other issues that families face when living outside their home culture. I also got to meet with two other moms not connected with Global Scholars but who are connected with the college.

Pray for Lithuania and Latvia. Pray for the Lord to raise up Christian teachers. Pray for the Lord to provide for these schools financially. Pray for the Global Scholars families serving in Lithuania.

Leslie with her Global Scholars families and with Laci Demeter and our translators at the Rainbow Way school in Klaipeda, Lithuania

A Vignette from Tom

When I walked into the hotel in Bogota I was greeted, “buenas tardes.” It was just after a rather long flight, so my mind was foggy. I think I responded in Czech, “dobrý den.” Four days later my high school Spanish was re-activated to the point that I ordered dinner in Spanish and got what I wanted. Two and a half days after that I walked into a Czech church to speak for a conference. When I was greeted “dobrý den,” I caught myself just before I said “buenos días.” I got the language right for the greeting! Fortunately, my speeches were in English.

My upcoming travel:

  • December 4 & 5, plenary speaker, Vietnam National University
  • December 14, meeting with the Cardinal President of the PCPCU (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) at the Vatican; this cardinal is a leader in Catholic efforts to respond to Christian persecution.
  • We travel to the US for two+ months. See the news about the sabbatical.
A report on our principles of interacting with Roman Catholic leaders, “Collaboration without Compromise,” is available here.
Tom and his translator at the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians Czech branch conference

An Upcoming Sabbatical:
Short but (Lord willing) Sweet!

The Lord is gracious to us. Last winter, we became convinced Tom should not be in Prague in the winter any longer. He was just getting too sick. We started praying. How in the world can one be a missionary snow bird? We knew the Lord would need to provide because we did not want to pay rent on two different places at the same time.

This winter, thanks to a colleague at Global Scholars, Keith Campbell, the Lord has provided a FREE mission house to stay in the Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, area. We are humbled by God’s kindness to help Tom and thankful to friends who serve in this way.

During this time, Tom will be praying, resting, thinking, and Lord willing, planning and starting his next writing project. Leslie will be babysitting our new little grandson, as well as planning some workshops.

Tom will not be available to speak during this time. However, Leslie is available. Let us know if you would like information of what she could talk to a group about.

We leave for the US on December 15. Please pray for safe, uneventful travel, as well as a good time with our kids and their families at Christmas and Tom’s sabbatical.

Thank you so much!

We appreciate you all and are thankful for the Lord’s work through you!

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
Click here to donate now. Use the drop down menu to make your designation to “Prof – Johnson, Tom and Leslie.”

Global Scholars is equipped to receive financial gifts, as well as vehicles, real estate, stocks, precious metals, electronics, gift cards, commodities, jewelry, etc.

Praises:
We thank the Lord for:

  • The successful speeches given at the Reformation 500 conference in October and the FEET (Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians) Czech Branch conference in November. Good conversations occurred at both events;
  • A safe and interesting trip of Leslie’s to Lithuania and Latvia with opportunities to talk to young people in their chapel programs;
  • Christian schools in the Baltic region;
  • The success and good healing of Tom’s cataract surgery.
Thank you! and Continue Praying

At the time of this writing, late November, we are still about $6,500 in deficit in our support.

Our humble thanks to those of you who gave generously over the last month or so. Thank you!!

Please continue praying for the Lord’s provision. We do not lose sleep over this because we know our God is sovereign over all things. If he cares about sparrows, he cares for us.

One thing to note: except when we go for support raising or the upcoming sabbatical, all of our travel for ministry is covered by other sources. It does not come from our support account.

Please pray for:

  • The Lord to cover our deficit.
  • The Lord to lead churches and individuals to increase their support as they are able.
Thank you for your prayer and financial support over the years. Without each one of you praying for us and many of you supporting us financially, we could not be doing what the Lord has called us to do at this time.

Prayers:
Please join us in praying for:

  • Our support account to get refurbished and general increase in support;
  • Continued safety in our travels: Tom to Vietnam and Rome; both of us to the US for sabbatical;
  • Tom’s presenting of an important speech in early December;
  • Christian schools in Central and Eastern Europe to find more Christian teachers; there is a huge shortage of Christian teachers and every school asks for prayer for more;
  • Persecuted Christians around the world who are suffering great loss;
  • The refugees in the Czech Republic and Europe as they try to make sense of their lives and survive;
  • Leslie’s work on websites for Tom and her, as well as developing potential speaking ministry.