June 2016 Johnson Update: We are going to El Salvador!

Summer has taken off quickly!  We are all enjoying the change of pace, and the Nashville heat. :) 

It’s been awhile (too long), since we’ve sent out an update, and I’m thankful that we now have this blog space to keep our family and friends updated on our lives and ministry work.  Hopefully this post will give you a glimpse into our recent history, and our upcoming endeavors.  Please feel free to comment or give us a call, if we haven’t connected in a while.  We would love to hear from you!  Also, if you're ever traveling through Nashville, let us know!  We would love to host you, or at least feed you a meal.

At the end of May, we finished our third year at the Academy for G.O.D. Starting and running a school has kept me pretty busy to say the least!  This past year we extended our program from a k-8 school to a k-12 school.  In mid February we were able to move into our new building, which we primarily renovated on our own as an organization.  A lot of hard work and time was spent making it a suitable learning environment for children.  Many of you have even supported that building effort, which we greatly appreciate.

On our last day of school, teachers and students found it to be a bittersweet day.  Though the summer is something to look forward to, we all realized in our morning assembly that teachers and students were going to miss one another.  Our planned ‘Field Day’ turned into a surprise bowling tournament day due to the rainy weather and we all had a blast celebrating the year together.  There was a nice end of the year photo story posted on our website as well that you’ll want to check out.  It’s such a privilege to be a part of it.

During the summer months, Mike and I have a lot of opportunities to serve, and do ministry in ways that we often can’t throughout other seasons of the year.  For example, as an organization, we host a kids camp throughout June and July, of which Samuel and Reyah attend.  This first session, Mike has been away from his desk, working with 6-10 year old kids in his “Fix It” sessions.  Last week campers had to work together to attempt to reassemble box fans together.  This week, Mike was able to get several donated bikes that they will be trying to reassemble, because he disassembled them for the kids to fix.

Working with kids during the summer like this is nostalgic for us, because the summer we met we facilitated summer camp for youth together in Mexico.  10 years later, we are still serving youth together in the summer!  I volunteer once a week at this camp, on water day.  Last week we set up the epic slip and slide down our hillside, which dumped campers into an inflatable pool.  Watching all of the neighborhood kids have the time of their lives and see pure joy on their faces, knowing that most of them might not have anything productive to participate in during the summer months otherwise, is priceless.

In addition to camp, Mike and I are both going to El Salvador this summer!  Mike will be going for approximately 3 weeks - he leaves on June 25.  He is helping to facilitate an internship experience for a Latin America intern we have this summer.  He is also on a facilitation team for a SLAM (Students Living a Mission) week in which a youth group from the states is coming to El Salvador to serve for a week with us.  During this trip, Mike will lead the service/work projects.  This summer we are focusing on all of the gray water issues existent in the communities we serve.  They will be looking to mitigate standing water exposure - where mosquitos reside and spread disease - to allow it to properly drain into the soil.  

I will be joining Mike the last week he is there from July 7-14th.  I will be conducting a teacher’s seminar for any interested teachers in the area, on July 9th.  (Please click on the link to read more about this trip!)  Per their request, they really want help knowing how to teach English.  Teachers in rural El Salvador where we serve, are not set up well to teach.  They are responsible for 35-50 students each and they are given minimal resources and supplies to assist them in their efforts.  They often have a sincere desire to teach but come into conflict when trying to actualize effective instruction.  We hope to empower them with more techniques and creative ideas for implementation.  In addition to that, we are going to bless and gift each teacher in attendance with a teacher supply bag filled with all of the basic teaching necessities that they need!  These bags will include pens, paper, scissors, staplers, and other basic teaching supplies.  

These supply bags are $50 a piece.  We are anticipating approximately 40 teachers to be in attendance for this first seminar (we plan to facilitate at least 3 educator seminars this upcoming year).  We really need supporter help to be able to send these teachers to this seminar.  This seminar is free of charge for them.  It’s hard to put a price on education, particularly in rural El Salvador where most families live off of subsistence farming.  It is our hope that by empowering and training these teachers throughout this next year, that it will have a positive impact on their students, and that it will bring about greater enthusiasm for their work.

In total, it will cost approximately $70/teacher to attend this seminar.  They will all receive a supply bag, seminar resources, and lunch.  If you would like to send 1 or more teachers to this seminar, please visit our "Train a Teacher" page.   We are believing that all of these teachers will be able to attend based upon the generosity of others, like yourselves! 

Would you be willing to assist us in training these teachers by making it possible for them to attend?  If you’re able, follow the instructions on the "Train a Teacher" page towards this need!  This type of gift and generosity towards these teachers will be a sign to them that we deeply care for them and that we believe in what they are capable of.  

Please be in prayer for Mike and I, and our team, as we continue our work in Nashville and in El Salvador.  We are blessed to have so many friends and family members that have continued to support us over the last decade.  We couldn't do this without you!

If you have any questions or comments, please note them below.  We'd love to hear from you! God bless.