News from Tom & Leslie Johnson
Refugee Special Request Update
I (Tom) try to pray daily for the Christian refugee family with whom we are working. Sometimes they get overwhelmed with the uncertainty of their situation. When we first met in early 2020, we set up a system of encrypted text messaging on our phones; I get regular reports in this way.
Initially we worked on plans A (America), B (Brazil), and C (Canada). Plan C is working, thanks to a small number of dedicated Christians in Ontario. The extensive legal and financial paperwork is ready to go the Canadian government, and a church is ready to receive the family and accompany them through the transition. Our church in North Carolina just sent a first check to Canada toward the family’s transition costs.
- That the family will experience comfort and courage from the Holy Spirit. They are paying a large price for accepting Christ. The risk of being sent back to a Muslim country is still hanging over them; they could face execution if sent back.
- That the paperwork would be approved by the government. We had a specialist in immigration law review the papers before submission.
- That the budget bucket gets filled to the top. So far, our church has received $19,000 of the needed $27,000. Please consider what you can do. To avoid delays we should have the budget donated or pledged before the end of June. If you can, please tell me about donations or pledges, firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently the father wrote that every night before bed they read a chapter from the Old Testament, a Psalm, and a chapter from the New Testament, before praying for many people. I would like them to get a new opportunity to serve in the church and in society, and I am grateful that they mention me in their prayers.
Checks should mention “Refugee Ministry” and be sent to:
Cross Creek Presbyterian Church
430 S McPherson Church Rd.
Fayetteville, NC 28303
If you cannot send a US check, write to Tom or Leslie to arrange donations. Several friends sent donations in other ways; we have transferred those funds to our church.
International Religious Freedom Summit
n 2018 and 2019 I (Tom) participated in the US Ministerial in Support of Religious Freedom held by the US State Department in Washington during the summer. That is not happening this year. In its place, without the State Department, former Ambassador Sam Brownback has called an International Religious Freedom Summit, https://irfsummit.com/. Many organizations that participated in the former “Ministerials” are participating in this Summit, including the WEA. Some of the individual sessions are still being planned, so I cannot say much about what I have to do, but I expect it to be a busy week for me.
US State Department Meetings
After a short break, the US State Department is restarting zoom meetings with religious leaders, scholars, and diplomats. Though I am unsure of the results, I am happy to participate. In some of the meetings I have been the only Christian spokesperson; in others the only Protestant. At every step I try to earn the right to communicate part of the biblical message by means of the quality of what I say about religious freedom. Because I am not paid by the State Department, I have freedom to say what I believe; and because the WEA represents such a large body of Christians, it is hard for the State Department to reject a WEA spokesperson. It is a strange role, but I am glad for the opportunity to bring both serious research and the Christian message into these meetings.
I am still working on ACSI projects, though because of summer, it has slowed down considerably. I have finished some of the work revamping the “Teaching with Cultural Intelligence,” and just have to finalize a few things.
My ICCM Cohort will continue throughout the summer months. One thing hanging is my practicum. It got put on hold in January due to COVID. Please pray we can pick it up again this summer. Pray for me to also manage time well so I can continue to delve into books and webinars about topics of cultural sensitivity.
We thank the Lord for:
- Fantastic progress in helping the refugee family!
- Tom’s opportunity to coordinate a team of Evangelicals and Indonesian Muslims.
- Opportunities for Tom to advise the State Department.
- Leslie’s opportunity to continue working with her ACSI EU and Global colleagues to strengthen Christian teachers, administrators, and schools.
- Leslie’s opportunity to study theology and intercultural competence to contextualize her training and experience to the US setting.
Please join us in praying for:
- The rest of the money needed to come in for the refugee family.
- The refugee family’s transition to a new culture. They will need tremendous courage to face huge challenges in their up-coming transition. Pray for protection from discouragement.
- The Lord’s purposes for COVID-19 to be accomplished around the world and that he would end it. Soon. Lord willing, by the end of 2021.
- Creative ideas to help persecuted Christians around the world and safe places for them to go.
- Leslie’s work with ACSI Europe as the team plans the Student Leadership Conference for September 2021.
- Continued wisdom for Tom as he (on behalf of the WEA) engages the world’s largest Muslim group about religious freedom. Their jointly authored book should be released soon.
- Wise next steps for WEA-Vatican relations.
- Tom as he considers which books to write next.
- For Christians around the world to be strengthened to serve God and others in their communities, whether those “others” are different in beliefs, color of skin, nationalities, etc.
Thank you for your faithful prayer for us as well as your financial gifts that allow us to do the work He has called us to.
Tom & Leslie Johnson