Monday, January 13, 2014

Help Provide Practical Training For Our Thai Worship Leader & Youth Minister

Dear Friends & Partners In Ministry,

I am in the final planning stages of traveling to the Annual Global Impact Conference (GIC) that I have the opportunity to participate in at our home church in Birmingham, AL at Shades Mountain Baptist Church every February. I am very grateful that my home church provides the resources needed for me to make this trip each year. Thank you Jeremy and Pastor Danny and all those who make this happen. It is a great time to celebrate with others what God is doing all over the world. It is a great time to share with others about what our awesome God is doing in and around Northern Thailand. And it is a necessary time to be recharged and refreshed in our heart to serve the Lord in this needy part of God’s world.

Over the last several years, we have taken some additional time to travel around to various churches and host a few “Taste of Thailand” events and we have been able to bring at least one of our Thai staff with us. This has been a very good thing. It gives our key Thai partners a chance to be exposed to “church life” in America, to speak specifically on what they see God doing in Thailand, to learn new ways of doing things, and to help them work more effectively with our partner teams and volunteers that come out to Thailand to help the ministry.

This year as we prayed about whom the Lord would have us consider taking, the Lord made it clear to us that it should be our newest Staff Member – Garn.  

We are very grateful that God sent us a very talented and godly young man to serve along side of us and help fill several leadership roles related to working with our young people and leading our whole worship ministry. This is a picture of Garn. He is not originally from Northern Thailand at all but is what we would call a “Bangkokian.” He is from the Central Thai people group. He has been serving with us for a little over a year now and is a great blessing to the work of NTIM, Baan Athitaan Church, and Grace Language School.  

Like all of the other full time Thai staff folks, Garn is a first generation believer. In his “former” life, he was the singer/leader of a rock band and grew to love music and enjoy singing. Now God has taken this love for music and given Garn the opportunity to use his gifts and talents for the expansion of the kingdom of God and for the building up of His body.

We have written this update to give you a chance to be a special part of supporting and sending Garn to several mission events with me in America. Even as I write this email Garn is putting her paperwork together to request a tourist visa from the U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai. He will be traveling to Chiang Mai tomorrow because he is scheduled for an interview at the U.S. Consulate on January 15 to request a visa to travel to the USA with me. Please remember to pray for God’s open door to with me. It will be a great blessing in Garn’s life and help him to know, to understand, and to serve our Lord better with internationals and international teams that come out to Thailand. We are anticipating that total costs associated with Garn for this trip to be approximately $3,000. Would you like to express your love and affirmation of sending Garn to America by sending a donation to NTIM with the note “Send Garn.” It would really mean a lot to us and to Garn if we were able to raise all of this in the next 3 weeks.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Your Servant to Nations in and Around Northern Thailand for Jesus,
Michael Johnson
 Donations can be sent to: Northern Thailand Impact Ministry (NTIM), P.O. Box 26115, Birmingham, AL 35260 USA or given online at our main website:

NTIM is a non-profit 501(c)(3)charitable organization based in the USA. We are committed to connecting people in need with people who care and are focused in the heart of Southeast Asia where poverty is high, education is low, needs are great, darkness is everywhere, and the love and message of Jesus is needed to transform lives.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year from the Johnsons - Family Update

Recently, we’ve been sharing with you about our ministry here in Northern Thailand. We also want to share with you about our family and what’s going on in our everyday lives. We hope this will help you get to know us better and be able to pray for us in a personal way.

We’ll start with the youngest:

Caleb:  Caleb is 14 and in the 9th grade at Chiang Rai International Christian School (CRICS). He’s had a good start to High School this year studying Geometry and Biology among other things.  He’s been studying Karate and reached a blue belt in 2013. He loves working out, soccer, basketball and hanging out with his friends. He also enjoys playing electric guitar, bass, and is learning piano this year. Please pray for him as he grows and learns.

Josh:  Josh is 16 and in 11th grade at CRICS. Josh loves his friends and making people laugh. He continues in his love for drama and film and has really enjoyed making videos with his new movie camera he got for Christmas. He plays the drums, is also learning piano and enjoying drama class at school. He plans to take the SAT this spring and look at what comes next after High School. Please pray for him as he focuses on school work and seeks God’s will for his future.

Liz and Dallas:  We welcomed Dallas Vaughn to our family in July at their beautiful wedding here in Chiang Rai at our church. After their honeymoon on the beach here in Thailand, Liz and Dallas returned to Jackson, TN to continue their education. Liz is a junior in Music Education at Union University and Dallas is studying Christian Ministry online through Liberty University. They both are busy studying, working and serving the Lord in a new church plant called 116 Church in Jackson, TN. They are currently raising support to go to Las Vegas this summer for a ministry internship with Hope Church.  You can learn more about this on their website at . Please pray for them as they seek to follow God’s calling.

Jessica and Aaron:  Jessica and Aaron are expecting their first child (a girl - Ruth) in March!  Jessica has been teaching third grade at Hodge Road Elementary School in Raleigh, NC, while Aaron is working on his Masters of Divinity at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest and working 2 jobs. They are also very involved leading a growth group at their church, Imago Dei.  Please pray for them as their family grows and they seek to follow God’s call on their lives.

Michael:  Michael wears many ministry hats:  VP of Field Operations for NTIM, Director of Grace Language School, and Pastor of Baan Athitaan Church. Michael would say the best way you can pray for him would be to pray that he would seek the Lord is all that he is and says and does. He would ask that you would pray that God would fill him with the love of the Lord and with wisdom to know how to best lead and equip others and make disciples of Jesus in a way that accomplishes God’s purposes, builds up the body of Christ, and expands the kingdom of God in this part of God’s World.

Hope (Me):  Many of you already know that after being an English Instructor at Mae Fah Luang University for 3 years, I felt like I needed to spend more time on family and our ministry. With that goal in mind, I left the university and began in August teaching at the boys’ school (CRICS) and teaching English at our language school (GLS) on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. At CRICS I teach piano, voice, elementary music, choir, study skills, 6th grade writing and grammar, and 8th grade homeroom and Bible. In the church, I play the piano, teach and coordinate Children’s Church for the English Speaking Children. Please pray for me as I seek to serve.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

God Is Looking For A Few More Ordinary People - DAY 30 - January 1, 2014

Thank you for joining us for this Season of Prayer. This is our last update for this Season of Prayer but we will be doing updates from time to time and need to do a family update soon. During this Season of Prayer we have tried to give you an understanding of the awesome work God is doing here in Northern Thailand. We have tried to give you both a good glimpse of the work and of some of the people who are deeply involved in this work so that you will know how to pray for them. Yet please do not forget to pray for all those “behind the scenes” people that we have not specifically mentioned that are deeply much a part of everything that we do and that is: the Johnson family.
We will do a family update for you soon. But with today being our last day of this Season of Prayer we wanted to end it much like it began… with an extra ordinary God giving ordinary people the adventure and journey of following an extra ordinary God. 

God Is Looking For A Few More Ordinary People

As I shared with you in our update on Day 2, God is in the business of using ordinary people. When God is about to do something extra ordinary, He looks to see if He can find some ordinary person or people whose heart belongs to God and who will be obedient and do the thing God wants to be done. We see this when we look at the life of Abraham, or the life of Noah, or the life of Moses, and the lives of many men and women God used in the Bible.
God’s Word says, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His....” 2 Chronicles 16:9.

When God finds someone who is willing to do what God wants to get done, God extends an invitation to that person to join Him in what God is doing. God extended that invitation to our family some 16 years ago.

After many confirmations that God wanted us to move to Thailand and serve the Thai people, our family sold our home, cars, etc. and boarded a plane bound for Thailand. We landed in Thailand on January 13, 1999 and have served the Lord here since that time. In 12 more days will be the anniversary date of when my family arrived in Thailand. Here is a picture of our family around that time. Our oldest, Jessica (now Jessica Davenport), was 9, Elizabeth (now Liz Vaughn) was 6, Joshua was 1&1/2 and Hope was 7 months pregnant with Caleb. The journey God has brought us on has been an awesome journey. If we had to do it again, we would choose to follow God’s plans for our lives again with no regrets. We are truly ordinary people but let me say very clearly to you today that we serve an extra ordinary God who has great plans for our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Has God been speaking to you about coming to serve the Lord here with us? We could use some long term people as well as some folks who would be willing to commit to serving for 2 years or more. If God is extending an invitation to your heart, then the best thing you can do is answer His invitation with “here I am Lord, send me.” If that is not what the Lord is saying to you, would you pray that the Lord of the Harvest would send out laborers for His harvest fields here. The fields are ripe for the harvest. Please take a moment and watch this short 4 minute clip on “Go into the World.” Here is the link:
There are many roles and “ministry” opportunities but the first step is saying “Yes, Lord, if you want me to go, I will go.” A second step would then be to write a personal note to NTIM at Let’s go to the Lord in prayer together.

Prayer Example: “Oh, Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity you give ordinary people like us to serve you for your extra ordinary purposes. We see, Lord, where you are at work in and around Northern Thailand reaching many of the least reached peoples in the world but we also recognize that the laborers are few. We ask that you would raise up people who will go and serve You. We pray for those reading these updates that you might call out some to go and that you might use them to tell others about this great need. May you be pleased to call out others to go and serve You through NTIM who are willing to let You use them in extra ordinary ways to reflect your love and mercy to millions who have never heard your message. We pray this in the name of our Lord Jesus. Amen.”