Our Race

Our Race

As I look at the picture above I rejoice in the family God has given me. My precious family, the treasure that God has placed in my hands to guide and disciple. Please keep them in your prayers as they grow. Tanya in now 16 and starting to think about college. She has many choices to make in the next year or two. We are hoping to get her started with classes over the internet and at least let her get some basics finished. Christy is 13 and loves life. She has a servants heart and can be counted on to help whether it is with cookies or cleaning. Josh (9) is starting his personal race. He loves action, mechanics, building, and good stories. Pray that we can guide him into meaningful service for the Lord and that we can help all of them grow in the Lord.

(The new background and Title is courtesy of Tanya and her new computer. :) )

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Boys Christmas Hike

On Christmas day Tigus and I took eleven boys on a ten mile hike.  Most of the time we were above 6,500 feet.  It was just a ball to have a group of kids to have fun with.  Enjoy the pictures.

Check out all the photos on the link on the right.  Please pray for these boys that God would call them.  They faced a lot of challenges growing up here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Saturdays Trip to the top

This last Saturday, we took a trip to explore a walk that I plan to do with the boys over Christmas.  It was for our own enjoyment as well.  My wife being a good German house wife, packed an overflowing picnic brunch, and off we went.

We climbed to above 6000 feet and travel on the crest of ridge till we came to 'our' tree.  Most trees, if you are in the Johnson house hold take on a life and name of their own.  This one will always be "Nicki and Zoe's" tree.  You see last week we took to girls that were 15 and 17 up to our favorite spot and then my girls took pictures on this tree.  Now the tree has been christened, and you can't change it.

We ate our brunch, played, took pictures, and explored.  On the way home we drove off the side and skidded to the bottom.  My kids are going to find America a little tame, I am afraid.  We exited a very beautiful valley and returned home.  Hope you enjoy the pictures.

These pictures in the album are link to a map to show where we went.  Check out the link to see a topographical map of the area behind our house.

PS.  You can know see our house on Google Earth as well.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Mother Daughter Meeting

One of the really fun things that is happening to me as I grow older, is watching my kids grow up.  Yesterday my daughter spent the afternoon with a couple of girls their ages from CA.  I was so much fun to see them interact.  It started with some polite introductions, but soon we could here the 'conversation' take off.  Before they left there was some giggles and laughter.  That is medicine for a fathers heart.

Today, the kids attended a Mother / Daughter brunch at the church.  They took turns dressing up as biblical women.  The ladies of the church could ask only yes and no questions as they tried to figure out who they were.  I, of course didn't get to see the end result, but it looks like they had a lot of fun.

One of the funniest things that we have discovered is how hard the mothers (and daughters) will try to win at musical chairs.  As we don't have enough chairs we use benches and place song books on the seats that have been removed.  It is hilarious as these wonderful ladies push, laugh, bump off the books, and do a host of other things to try to be the last one left.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The First National Thanksgiving

Dear Friends and Family,

Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for what God has done for us in the past year. Yet I have to ask if any of you know about one of the first National Days of Thanksgiving? I am not asking if you know about George Washington's degree as President to set aside Nov. 26 as a public Day of Thanksgiving annually, but the very first National Day of Thanksgiving?

The first National thanksgiving day was set by the Continental Congress for Dec. 17 ,1777 to commemorate the American colonies victories in the Battle of Saratoga. In early December, General Washington tried to break contact with the British (General Howe) and withdraw to winter quarters at Valley Forge. As the American Army retreated they ran into another British Army. The British, possibly scenting victory, refused to break contact and pursued after Washington and his 11,000 men. (3,000 of which we wounded or ill.) The army stopped six miles short of the river, not wanting to be trapped, at a place called Millers Glen. Facing him Washington learned was General Cornwallis, one of the leading English commanders. General Cornwallis had been foraging for supplies when he has been informed of the retreating army. He followed the army, surrounding it, and waited for help from General Howe's army.

Surrounded on three sides, with their backs to the river, they American army took its stand and waited. General Washington had promised his men a daily ration of 4oz of dried meat, an apple and a pint of cider. At Millers Glen the food ran short, after 2 day without food, Washington met with his general staff to discuss sending the Army home and abandoning the cause. During the discussions a dispatch arrived from congress proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving and Praise for the Victory at Saratoga. (45 days earlier)

Washington was upset. How could he ask his men to commemorate a day of Thanksgiving and Praise when they were going on their third day without food and looking at the possible end of their dreams. He found his encouragement in Gods word.

This Psalms that God lead him to was Psalm 136. This Psalm encourages all to “give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” It concludes with these words “25Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever. 26O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Washington was encouraged to trust God and wrote a general order to the army on the 17th of December 1777.

At the time the general order was issued on the 17th, the troops hadn't been fed in three days. There were supplies available, but the British were blocking the way. General Washington wrote that the eighteenth had been set aside by the honorable congress as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise. He states that it was “duty” “calling us to express our grateful acknowledgements to God.” Washington's men did not wait till the 18th, but started thanking the Lord for His mercies after hearing the order read on the 17th. Even after three days without food, they offered praise and thanksgiving to God.

As this was happening the Army's scouting parties continued to probe the British lines looking for a way to get the desperately needed supplies to the army. The British, knowing nothing of what was happening were overcome with confusion and a spirit of fear gripped them. The surrounding lines broke and started a retreat. The retreat became general and the army, fearing that reinforcements were coming to the Americans retreated to winter quarters. That night the men ate, as the supplies were able to arrive.

Unbeknown to them, God was also at work in other places. On that very day, the French as persuaded by Benjamen Franklin, signed a document declaring the United States to be a nation and committing their armies to help the colonies in their fight with Britain. That was truly a Thanksgiving Day to be remembered.

You see, God has commanded us to remember Him and His great works. We get concerned with the economy or our problems, but God asks for our hearts in faith. May we remember Him and His Great Works today. Truly His mercies are as great today as they ever were and He deserves our praise. As Washington said, “

To morrow being the day set apart by the Honorable Congress for public Thanksgiving and Praise; and duty calling us devoutely to express our grateful acknowledgements to God for the manifold blessings he has granted us. The General directs that the army remain in its present quarters, and that the Chaplains perform divine service with their several Corps and brigades. And earnestly exhorts, all officers and soldiers, whose absence is not indispensibly necessary, to attend with reverence the solemnities of the day. “

As I sit at my desk and think, I realize we have so much to be thankful for. I will close with a short list.

  1. My Lord and my God whose mercies endure forever.
  2. My family who are growing in the Lord and well and healthy.
  3. The Work in Sekenani which is starting after a long time to bear fruit.
  4. Our Churches and friends who are our partners, both outwardly and inwardly.
  5. Our Nation, that was founded on God's Word and the desire for freedom to worship him.

May all of you have a blessed day as you remember the Lord whose “Mercies endure forever!”

Sincerely and with many prayers for you all,

Jon and Almi

PS. This material for this letter comes from lectures delivered by Vision Forum on Washington. (The final closing ceremony of their Boston, Celebration 500 series.) It has been checked and reference on the Internet with Washington's Orders, and several different sights. It is accurate to the best of my knowledge.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I am a firm believer that every family should have some pets.  I think that they are God's gift to us to keep us sane.  This last week we have had more than our fair share of funnies with the dogs and I thought that I would share them with you.

Our dogs get a bath every week.  Part of this is because they are dirty, but part is due to the bugs out here.  If we start skipping they get bit by flies that carry a disease that it is very hard for a dog to recover from.  (Sleeping sickness.  This was the disease that kept Europeans out of Africa for so many years.  They would organize herds of cow for food and to carry there bundles, but when they would get inland, the cows would all sicken and die.)  Part of the bath is a rinse at the end with an insecticide.  The dogs of course love it,  HA HA.  My family sometimes tease them by using the word 'bath' in conversation to see them look around and sneak away.

This last bath day, Almi changed her shoes to the old 'wash the dog' shoes and washed Mogli.  When she got done, she changed back into her normal flip flops.  Mogli was watching her and came up and licked her new flip flops.  He knew this meant that the bath was over.  He still followed her around, to the kitchen, the living room, stood next to her as she started the computer up, then followed her into the bathroom!!!  Tanya suggested that she take the collar off.  When she took his collar off, he sighed and went and laid down, knowing that his bath was down.

We truly love our dogs, even maybe a little too much, but they are our friends and our security.  We love their greetings and just being with them, but sometimes that leads to some funny things.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.  (The two smaller puppies are Russell's dogs that we are dog sitting.  They are Lab Doberman mix.)  If you want to see more photos clink on the link on the right.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Emunyani Learning Center ELC Part 2

     So what does a day at the learning center look like?  While it start at after our daily devotions.  We talk for a couple of minutes and set out the plan for what day, who is doing what, and what is needed to be accompished.  This isn't really a meeting, just the normal discussion of people who help and are all involved in the project.

     Lilian then go up to the learning center.  She normally has from 30 minutes to an hour to prepare for the day.  She cleans and works on lessons mostly.  We are hoping that as time goes on we can break her loose for a couple of hours to work on learning as well.  It is much easier to teach computers if you are proficient in how they work and know what is going on.    

Soon the students start coming.  Every day is different as different people come as their schedules allow.  The normal is to have 4 to 10 student in the morning.  Most of these are adults as the kids are in school.  Lilian teaches an adult reading class, and tutors anyone who comes in between times.  This last week has been different as school has closed for the younger grades.  The oldest grade is taking a placement test for High School and no disturbances are allowed.  That means that we might have 10 or even 15 students studying at the learning center.  The computers are humming and people are standing in line for materials.

Lilian takes off at noon for lunch and comes back at 2 o'clock.  At 2:30 the junior primary show up for activities and games.  At 4:00 the senior primaries grades are welcomed.  Yesterday that was light as some of them were guarding cows and others were at school testing.  On Wednesday we have boys and girls together and schedule a learning activity. 

This Wednesday Tanya taught the lesson and did her biology experiment, dissecting a frog.  Amidst many gasps and groans, she pointed out the points in the lesson.  Where the heart, lungs, liver, muscles, and bone structure look like.

We laughed as these people who think nothing of butchering a live cow or sheep were grossed out by a dead, dried frog.  Although there were many comments the kids LOVED it.  Their drawings on the frog were first rate and they have been exposed to a little bit more of learning.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Emunyani Learning Center ELC

The Emunyani Learning Center is now officially open. Our goal in starting the learning center is to develop relationships with the local kids. We are using their desire for a better education to do this. We hope to disciple them in the Lord and in their personal lives.

Before ELC, it was diffucult for a Maasai to get a real quality education in Sekenani. Most parents sent their children to boarding school. Some of the parents started looking at boarding school options from the second grade, and almost all from the forth to sixth grade. This gutted the church of our youth, destroyed the local family unit, and failed to train the children in faith and the character qualities which are needed to succeed in life. They come out with a high school education, but having lost much along the way.

ELC is set up with three sections currently. The first section has a library with books for all ages. It starts with picture books for help in teaching English and for beginning readers, weather young or old. It also has story books and an adult section with Christian or job / skill orientated material. The lower level books are widely used, but the English skill of most kids keep them from using the upper level material. Although the maps and atlas are enjoyed tremendously.

We a currently employing one full time staff member, Lillian and several part time assistants, Katemwea and Elisabeth. As you can image, it is hard for a single person to watch over and teach in several room and with several subjects. The ladies are of course learning as well as we teach them about the different programs on the computer or go over a science experiment. Tari Russell works at the learning center with them almost constently. She helps with the teaching and oversees the schedules and classes. This makes up the second and perhaps the most important part of ELC.

On the technical side we have computer room with six computers and the solar and power requirements to run them. The computers are running Edubutu and the kids love it. This is a free Operating System from Linux that comes with many educational programs and games. The kids use Tux Math to learn their math tables, kgeography to learn the locations of the countries around the world, and play different logic games like mastermind and chess. We also have a windows side with some basic introductory study courses to Microsoft office. I helped out today and worked with two 4th grade boys as they learned their multiplication tables. Lilian helped a young lady learn typing and letter writing.

We are running classes for different age groups with average attendance of 20 to 30 students a day. Wednesday is our learning activity day. This week Tanya is planning on doing one of her biology experiments with the kids. She is going to dissect a frog for high school biology with the kids. I am the resident techi and will be taking photos and trying to get a camera hooked to a computer screen to allow more of the kids to see and to get close ups. Tanya has been helping out at ELC once or twice a week and really loves it. She excels with the kids and it is a good way for her to reach out.

We are also bringing in DVD's from Answer's in Genesis along with more solar panels and some audio players for the G. A. Henty stories, Jonathon Parks series, and Focus on the Family Radio Theater productions stories that we have. I think ELC is going to make a big difference in the lives of the students who come and I have loved previewing the material. The only trouble I have is that I get so excited that I go order more. :)