Family Update; How We Baptized Three; Our Summer Plans

To our partners in the gospel:

Greetings from Moxee, Washington!

We have allowed several weeks to go by since our last prayer update. We pray you are well and that God is blessing your families and churches.

It has been an intense and fruitful spring here in the east valley of Yakima. After a very mild winter, summer has come on strong. The orchards are producing quickly and the hop vines are spreading. Cherry season started several weeks earlier than last year and is keeping our community busy.

Our family has been busy with a number of things, but God has been very good to us. The girls are doing well in school and have finished the year strong. Michael participated in commencement from the Pacific Northwest Campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. It is quite a relief to finally finish that long journey.

Cheryl was offered an unexpected job opportunity. There is a cafe in our city that we love to frequent. The ladies who opened it one year ago have been pouring their lives into their small business. As we have gotten to know them, Cheryl recognized their need for help and volunteered. Her offer has turned into a part-time job! Now she is working almost every day for a few hours, sometimes more, and is building relationships with dozens of people in our community. Many of those relationships have resulted in gospel conversations. Please pray that much fruit would develop from this opportunity.

One of the highlights of our spring was the opportunity to share baptism with three believers. On Sunday, May 17, The River Church gathered for worship in the park and baptized two adult men and one girl. It was a beautiful time as each one shared their short testimony of how they came to faith in Jesus, and we baptized them into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Along with a certificate of baptism we gave each of them a study Bible to help them grow as followers of Jesus. (Please take a look at our Facebook page for pictures.)

Here is a little about each one: One man had professed faith as a child, but his life has been full of difficulties and struggles since. Yet, God worked in his life to steer him back to Jesus. He finally came to realize that if he was going to be a faithful follower of Jesus he needed to be baptized. Another man grew up in a religion that does not teach the biblical truths of Jesus. As a young man he came to a complete, saving faith in Jesus. He desired to experience believer baptism, too. Finally, one young girl also expressed her faith in Jesus through baptism. She was saved last summer during our Summer Children’s Program but needed time to understand her new faith and what baptism signified in her life in Christ. Pray for these three, that they will grow as followers of Jesus and grow in their understanding of God and his will for their lives.

We are very excited for another summer in Moxee. This week we will be participating in the first of several “Movie in the Park” events. We will be there to do face painting, give out balloon animals, and distribute invitations to our Summer Children’s Program.

This year our Summer Children’s Program will take place August 10-14. Our theme is “The Great Campout: Journey with Jesus.” During four days of games, crafts, music, and snacks, we will share stories from the Gospels that will help children understand what it means to be a follower of Jesus. At the end of the week we will have a Block Party with the entire community. Last year we had a great response from our city, we reached around 70 children, and several of them made decisions to follow Jesus. We were able to give out more than four dozen Bibles and several families began attending our worship gathering as a result. It was very apparent to us then, as it is now, that we cannot do it without the support of our partners. We want to thank you in advance for your generosity and prayer support. With your help we hope to reach more than 100 children and their families.

Please keep us in prayer:

  • that we will witness about Jesus with boldness and faithfulness.
  • that God will send faithful, mission-minded believers to join our church family.
  • that God will send us or raise up a worship leader.
  • that some property will sell so we can use the proceeds to invest in our city.
  • that God will provide all the resources needed for the “The Great Campout.”

First Baptism, New Missional Community

Greetings from The River, Moxee!

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every payer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:3-6.

Another month has flown by! The leaves are changing but summer is hanging on for all its worth as we’re still experiencing warm, sunny days. The high today was 84 degrees! Praise God for some extra love from the weather.

It has been such a delight to watch God work in the month of September. We have continued to enjoy gathering every Sunday at the local community center. We are so grateful God has provided that space for us but are constantly on the lookout for a bigger space. On Sundays when all of our “regular attenders” are there, it’s obvious there isn’t much room to grow. Please be praying for a bigger space or that we would be able to expand into the rest of the room that is currently divided by a wall divider. We are seeking what God would have us do and appreciate your prayers.

A very special highlight of September was the celebration of The River Church’s first baptisms. Our daughter, Maddie, and another young man were baptized in a watering trough in Moxee Park. (The excellent weather came in real handy on that day!) Each of the children shared a short testimony and then were baptized by their dads. Afterward, we celebrated by sharing a meal and fellowshipping in the park. Once again, we had to thank God we live in a place and a country where we are allowed to live out our beliefs in such an open way. Praise God!

We continue to actively seek out ways to reach and bless our community. This month we hope to help at a special event held by the elementary school. Will you please pray that as we participate in these types of events in the community we will continue to meet people that are seeking God and fellowship through the church, even if they don’t know it! We are constantly seeking to invite people into community and are praying for open hearts and doors to the gospel.

As part of the plan to multiply disciples in Moxee, one of our families will be starting a missional community in their home next week. Please be praying for the Melones as they seek to invite their friends and neighbors to missional community. Please also pray for the Springs as they have committed themselves to that missional community and will also be seeking to invite friends and neighbors into that community.

It has been my privilege, as well as other ladies in our church, to continue reaching out to the girls at Sunrise House, an alternative foster care home. God is still growing those relationships with girls who desperately need the love of Jesus. Please pray for opportunities to share Christ with these young ladies and that their hearts would be open to the gospel of Christ.

All of this requires empowerment from the Holy Spirit. None of us will have the opportunities, boldness and obedience we need without the Holy Spirit. But with Him, we have an abundance of strength both to fulfill His call on each of us and to persevere for however long it takes to see God’s light prevail in Moxee and the greater Yakima Valley region. Please pray every time you think of us that we would walk only where the Holy Spirit has empowered us to go and that our faith would grow as He leads us.

Blessings on you all!

Michael and Cheryl Johnson

The River Church