Greetings and Merry Christmas to all our wonderful partners of The River Church!
We pray that this season of Advent is turning your heart to Christ, remembering what He has already done for us and looking forward to His second coming to establish His rule and reign once and for all. We truly have something wonderful and amazing to celebrate this season!
We are so grateful for all that the Lord has done this year. Last year at this time, we weren’t sure if we were going to have a house to live in once we got here. This year we will celebrate our second Christmas in Moxee. It’s hard to believe! What is amazing is how God has sustained us this whole year when honestly, we didn’t know if we’d still be here six months after the move. You see, it’s not the first time we’ve stepped out in faith to move to Yakima. The first time God had as much purpose as He has this time. Only his plan and purpose were radically different from what we ever imagined, and instead of leading to the beginning of full-time ministry, it led to the beginning of a 10-year career in the military. During that time, God grew and matured us in ways we never saw coming. And then, he sent us back. But that first move to Yakima had left a very bad taste in our mouths and we NEVER imagined doing it again. There is a quote in an autobiography of Bear Grylls, the star of “Man vs. Wild,” and it seems to fit here, “So often, God’s callings have a birth, a death, and then a resurrection.” How true this is in our life. God has never abandoned or forsaken us and He and He alone has resurrected a calling and sustained us through the fulfillment of that calling this year. All praise and glory to Him and Him alone!!
As we consider God’s faithfulness over the last year, we look forward to His faithfulness over the next year, “for He is good, and His steadfast love endures forever.”
In the coming year, we expect to officially launch as a local church body. Will you please pray with us as we approach that milestone? There is still some work to do and a lot of details that have yet to be ironed out but we are getting there and really need your prayers to see us through.
Please pray that over the coming year our Missional Communities will grow and be strengthened. MCs are one of the primary ways we envision reaching our community with the gospel. It has proven to be more difficult to sustain growth and momentum than we first imagined and we imagined that it was going to be pretty difficult in the first place! We are from the NW and the hard soil is what we were born and bred in, but that doesn’t make working the soil any easier. We just went in with our eyes open. Please pray that God would show us the most effective ways to reach out to our neighbors. Please pray for opportunities to reach out to and engage the people in our neighborhoods in meaningful ways. Pray that the Holy Spirit would go before us and break up that hard soil and make it fertile. But pray also that we would have our eyes open to people who are ready to hear the gospel and receive Christ for salvation. Holy Spirit, please do your thing!
Please pray for us and the rest of our core team that we would remain faithful throughout the next year. As the reality of the marathon-like nature of church planting fully settles in, we’ll need your prayers to stay obedient, faithful and enthusiastic. Pray that we remain steadfast and keep our eyes on Him and not our circumstances. God continues to grow and shape us and that means sometimes things don’t go the way we think they should. I know that happens in your life as well. But in those times, we’ll need God to come alongside us and reassure us of his steadfast love and grace. Please pray for Jesus to be our comforter.
The final thing we are praying for in the coming year is more partners in the ministry. We are praying for more partners that pray, give, go and advocate. We are asking that each person pray how God would use you in the next year in the mission field of Moxee. Would God have you find one other person who would be willing to receive our updates and pray for us? Would God have you step up to give financially? Would God have you come join us in the work here on a temporary basis? Would God have you share our story with others who would be blessed to hear and interested in helping? These are things we would like to see each of you pray about in a serious way. Know that we are already praying that God will work in each of your hearts and speak to you clearly about what He would have you do.
Thank you, so much, for your faithfulness this year. We truly appreciate your prayers, giving and attentiveness to our letters. We pray that God would bless each of you in amazing ways this Christmas and throughout the coming year.
THANK YOU and God bless!
Michael and Cheryl Johnson
The River Church