Monday, July 17, 2017

Hero Headquarters and God's Garden

We must tell you that our time here with the team in New Zealand has been quite extraordinary. And yet, that is what we have come to expect from the Lord: unique and wonderful things!

  Each evening we have enjoyed genuine fellowship with one another, sharing deep parts of our lives, touching heaven while on our knees in prayer. Each day is filled with fun and meaningful work, new friendships and exquisite scenery.

Today "Captain Chad" , "Acrobatic Alison", "Magnificent Megan" and our superhero teammates made an appearance at "Hero Headquarters". 

23 children ages 5-14 were in attendance, having a blast with silly songs, engaging Bible stories, and heaps of messy crafts, snacks and games. VBS has been a blast so far!

Our little worship facility was filled with people from all over the world.  Who'd have thought that in 4 hours we'd get to rub shoulders with children from India, England, South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia and America! It is like a slice of heaven.
Day 1 was a huge success and we are anticipating two more days of great encounters with our ultimate Hero: God!

After a busy morning with the kids, we enjoyed a delightful respite in perhaps one of the most picturesque settings in all of Northland, "God's Garden" at the home of our dear friends Noel and Annita.  They have transformed 18 hectares of native New Zealand bush into a place of peace and refreshment, complete with a handmade water wheel, fruit orchard, outdoor sanctuary, floating tree house, and countless areas to hide and collect one's thoughts. 
What a great way to end the day!

Friday, July 14, 2017

New Zealand Week 1

10 days down. 10 days to go.  

We thank The Lord for servants' hearts, creative minds and hard workers these last 10 days.  He has blessed us with a variety of opportunities to serve and sightsee, experiencing New Zealand at its finest. 

In the midst of outreach events, youth activities and preparing for "Hero Headquarters" Holiday Programme (aka VBS) New Hope Nazarene is undergoing a face-lift with indoor murals, outdoor upkeep and new chair cushions, etc.

 Over 200 local folks attended our Otangarei outreach event today, complete with homemade yard games and hot sausages.   What a blast!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Blog is Back!

Kia Ora, Friends!

   The blog is back!  In just a few short hours, 13 unique individuals from MidAmerica Nazarene University will unite as one team and depart for our beloved New Zealand!  Many of you have given generously over the last year through financial contributions, donation of material goods, friendship and support.  Now we have one more very important request:  PRAYER!

Now more than ever, we are reliant upon the prayers of others for for the "success" of this team, our partnership with God in His mission.  According to the scriptures, success looks a whole lot like servanthood and sounds a whole lot like love.

Would you pray for our team, that we would really make Jesus famous and enjoy safety and harmony in the group while we're doing it? Attached is a copy of our prayer calendar while includes specific topics for which you can pray each day.  Some requests are team-specific, while others pertain to New Zealand national matters and challenges facing churches and families today.

Are you up for the task?
Thank you again and again for praying for our team and lifting us to the Father each day!

Grace and Peace to each of you,

Friday, January 29, 2016

Wedding Photos are Here!

Through the wonders of cyberspace, we were blessed to have over 150 people from four different countries "attend" our wedding via live streaming, not to mention another 200 or so present in living colour.  What a gift!

My brother Josh used his creative photography skills and produced for us some excellent photos.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Watch the wedding live!

Hellooo from Kansas City!
Our long-awaited wedding is only 6 days away and thanks to our good friend Ken, we now have a link to the wedding livestream!  Save this link and view the ceremony online live Saturday, November 21st @ 1:00PM, Central Standard Time.

(For you Kiwis, that's 8:00AM Sunday morning, November 22nd for you!)
If you are "attending" the wedding via internet, we would love to see you!  Would you mind taking a group photo or selfie to e-mail to us, so that we may add it to our wedding photo album?

We are so thrilled that you can celebrate such a sacred occasion with us!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

It's a Family Affair

75.  47. 1.

75 days ago I landed back on American soil.

47 days from now I will become Mrs. Alison Johnson.

1 day at a time is how I choose to live.

Ever since my arrival in Kansas City, my feet have not stopped running.  Working two jobs, preparing for the wedding, ministering at church, and navigating life's surprises has at times left me feeling as though I have not yet landed. Hovering seems to be a skill I have unintentionally perfected.

The sudden death of my aunt just weeks ago left us all quite baffled and sad, scrambling to bring the family together from all corners of the country for a meaningful memorial service. Only days later, my dad spent a 3 day vacation in the hospital to get his heart condition under control. (Not the kind of vacation most of us envision.)  The ongoing trials of teenage family members and friends make my heart heavy.

Daily I ache for the Pacific. I dream of familiar faces and special places.  New Zealand is never far from my consciousness and vivid images of Whangarei linger in the periphery.  Today I was saddened by the news of the passing of three young children with whom I had the privilege of working in Tonga at the Mango Tree Centre.  Updates from friends in Papua New Guinea bring to mind fond memories from the past.

All of these things affect me.  Why? Why do I care about people 10,000 miles away?  Why do I care  about people in my own household?  For that matter, why should any of us care about anyone else besides ourselves?

Because it's a family affair.

Flesh and blood do not make a family; well, not human blood anyway.  The blood of Christ Jesus however, does.  The love of Christ caused him to spill his lifeblood to pay for all that separates us from the Father, so that kinship with Him could be ours. That love unites us.  That love makes us family. That love makes us care.

This love is what brings Chad and my four beautiful future step-children together.  By the grace of God, we are learning to carry one another's burdens, to laugh together, to cry together, to pray together and to sacrifice for one another.

It's a family affair.

This weekend we formed some new family traditions, one of which was running in the Jared Coones Memorial Fun Run 5K.  "Team Chalison" made their debut and pounded the pavement in the cool morning hours to raise funds for cancer research, in honour of our dear friend Ron.  We then ventured to the Louisburg Cider Fest for a taste of their signature apple cider donuts, an annual must-do for any families in the Kansas City area.

As I find my unique place among my newly forming family, I begin to land. The skill of hovering
is no longer needed, because the love I experience guides me like headlights lining the runway, showing me that I have indeed found a safe place to land.

You see, it's a family affair.  Thank you, Lord, for my family.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Parking for the Pantry- Old Settlers 2015

Over $800 in cash and four boxes of food have been donated to our Faith Journey Food Pantry!


"Parking for the Pantry" took place this weekend during Olathe's "Old Settler Days".  Old Settlers is an annual 3-day event hosted by our city, including Kansas' largest parade, carnival rides, crafts stalls, games, fair food, live entertainment, and free stuff.  It's like a good old-fashioned American county fair.

Our church currently owns an empty plot of land in downtown Olathe where our future ministry center will be built and it couldn't be a better location for ministering to eager festival-goers!  Because parking  during the festival is at an absolute premium, we offered free parking while accepting food and cash donations for our food pantry,  turning a rather unassuming empty field into a sacred space.

  The event was a huge success and we praise the Lord for this great opportunity to meet folks from all around our city, giving them an opportunity to be generous and help us help families in need.