Carol & Gerald Boehlke
has been active in missions since age 19 and went on her first missions
trip to Italy. Then she went to Belgium and later to India, working
among the poorest people there. She met Gerald at Bible School and
after they were married, served in Kenya and Tanzania. They have
amazing stories of how God has led them and protected them. I feel
blessed because I have such a dear cousin, friend and sister here in
Africa, only 100 kilometers away. If you ever get the chance to meet
Carol & Gerald, you'll know why. Both of them are fun, they bless
everyone they meet, and are not afraid to laugh out loud!
Carol, Angel and Melli
with Aunt Carol! Here we are with Angel in the middle, showing
her missing front teeth. They wiggled right out over the weekend, and
she made a killing with the tooth fairy!
|Cooper & Cuppie's Latest Litter|
puppies are just too cute and we're having such fun with them. Next
week they'll all be in new homes (people want kid-friendly dogs who can
also be good guard dogs for their families) but for now we can't pass
up a chance to show you Cuppie's Cuties! A healthy litter of
seven, aptly born on Labor Day, just another picture of God's amazing
brilliance and creativity!
|Christopher, Angel, Andy - First Day of School|
(8), Angel (7), Andy (6) pose for a first day of school photo in their
new uniforms. A beautiful new sign in the school yard encourages the
kids to show love to one another.
The Path to School
to school on the path through the banana grove on the mission is a
great blessing! They are enjoying meeting new friends and
teachers. After the first day of classes where they learned the
“rules” Angel reported, “Mama, it’s sooo easy!” Angel seems to
have a gift for languages and is loving Kirundi and French.
Rift Valley Academy Graduation
& Melli celebrate with Lizzie on her High School Graduation day at
Rift Valley Academy, Kijabe, Kenya, a great school for missionary
children for over 100 years. Cindy, James and Daniel are enrolled for
the coming year, and begin classes on September 1st.
Gunborg Gustafsson and Mother “Aunt Linnea"
Gunborg Gustafsson with her mother, “Aunt Linnea”, in the kitchen with Melli & MaryLu, making special Swedish treats.
to be a blessing, privileged to care, challenged by the need, apparent
everywhere. Where mankind is wanting, fill the vacant place. Be the
means through which the Lord reveals His grace. –Bryan J.
|Moving and Graduation|
Start of moving process to a new house across from the Kigobe Mission
Delay in moving to the new house due to unexpected cobblestoning!
Carly's High School graduation from King's School
Formal attire recommended at King's School graduation
Johnson Family June 2014
last family photo before two more children leave the nest. We
miss Sarah, who's finding her way in St. Louis and has her permit to
drive, and the next ones to leave are Carly (front row left), and
Lizzie (front row right). Even though we're all smiling for this
photo, we're going to have some emotional downtimes when we say
goodbye! Please don't stop praying for our girls! Mommy is
holding Andy, and Daddy is holding Angel, and in the back row are (left
to right) Sammy, Cindy,Christopher, James and Danny. (Thanks to
Danny and Annie Johnson for helping us take this family photo, getting
everyone to smile on the first shot.)
|Johnson's Family Photo - 1997|
Here we are back in 1997 holding our first three beautiful daughters.
Now they are grown up and flying away: Sarah, 19; Lizzie, 18 1/2, and Carly 18.
Thanks for your prayers for them over the years—and in the coming months.
and Carly, sharing May birthdays! We remember almost losing Carly when
at two she jumped into the deep end of the US Ambassador's pool
with only one half-blown up water wing on, waving and smiling at Kenny
who was at the far end of the pool. He quickly swam to her as her
head sank below the water, and she came out laughing and sputtering.
There is no fear if Daddy is near!
Our prayer for our children:
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own
understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct
thy paths. (Proverbs 3:6-7)
|Going To the Dogs!|
God for kids and puppies!! Although most of us love cuddling the
adorable puppies, Danny (11) on the far right dangling a puppy, would
rather be playing soccer. ha ha.
(on left) just finished 3 months of internship at a local government
hospital...quite a culture shock from American hospitals! But she
came through with flying colors and can now practice nursing in
Burundi! Hooray, Casey! Rheagan (on right) has been actively
involved in Sunday School work, Discovery School, and teaching English
classes. Good work Rheagan!
Rooms With a View
the spot of Annick's 2 small rented rooms sitting on a cliff above a
gorge just steps away from the rear of the house. The flood demolished
the back wall of their bedroom.
Annick and Children
in the sewing shop with her daughters, and baby son who is lying behind
on the sewing machine. She is just one of the hundreds of strong
determined women and men who survive difficulties--pick up and just
keep going. I'm always blessed by these Burundian people.
The Buzz Bomber
Ken, delivering bricks in the "Buzz Bomber" to help with repairs of the house of one of our workers.
Jim and Vicki Brooks
for Jim and Vicki Brooks who have been partnering with us since 2006,
with Allow the Children Sponsorship Program. We love them and
want them strong and well, so that they can both return to Burundi soon.
A Wonderful Day at the Rainbow Centre!
the Lord for a wonderful day at the Rainbow Centre! The children
kept coming all day long to update photos and letters for their
sponsors. (68 in all) What a job! Thanks for your prayers for
this endeavor. (If you are interested in sponsoring a child we can help
Miss Grace and Sammy
Miss Grace, who has her own amazing testimony of rescue as a
baby. She is full of sparkle, love, and energy and we are so
thankful for her ability to work with Sammy. Please pray with us
that she can see her dreams come true of attending Oklahoma Christian
College this fall.
Missionary Kids' Sunday School Class
photo of our Missionary Kids Sunday School Class at Kigobe
Mission. The kids are sitting in Zach and Micah's treehouse.
First row: Danny, Zach, Christopher, James; Back row: Angel,
Andy, Sammy and Micah. Little Elliott, Ruthie, and Baby Lydia are
not in the photo. Today we were studying about "shining", looking up
verses in the Bible about how we should be shining (not grumpy, like
Danny's face). Please pray for the missionary kids that they will
let their lights shine!
The song writer, W. O. Cushing had it right when he wrote:
children, little children // Who love their Redeemer, // Are the
jewels, precious jewels, // His loved and His own. // Like the stars of
the morning, // His bright crown adorning, // They shall shine in their
beauty, // Bright gems for His crown."
Margarite's Fruit StandMargarite's avocado stand...the biggest avocados I've ever seen...and they're delicious!
Annick's New Baby
and her newborn baby girl at the Mission's Maternity... we paid the
bill--21,800 Burundi Francs… in dollars, $13.20...quite a bargain for
birthing a baby! No name, yet--but she might call her Ciza, (Cheesa)
which is what mommies name babies that come after a set of twins. Ciza
means "very good, not twins this time," because twins are such a lot of
work for the mother. Later: The baby's name is Bimenyimana,
(Kirundi for "Known by God"). I asked Annick what she called her for
short; she said, "Ciza". Ha
Johnson Family Photo/Prayer Card (December 2013)Please pray for Ken & Melli Johnson & Family as they share Jesus Christ’s redeeming love in Burundi, Central Africa
Left to right in photo: (front row): Lizzie, Samuel, Daniel. (Back
row): Carly, Ken, Angel, Melli, Andy, Cindy, James, Sarah, Christopher.
January 18, 1995
Lizzie October 20, 1995
Cindy August 27,
January 5, 2001
Daniel July 16, 2002
Christopher March 6, 2006
September 12, 2007
Andy January 1,
Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow...
tried not to cry as she said "good-bye" to Daddy. Saying goodbye
is tough—especially when the rest of your family is in Burundi, Africa.
But she is in good hands with her Uncle Bob and Aunt Cheryl Andrews as
she begins her college career in Ellisville, MO (St. Louis area).
miss Sarah, but with nine kids to go, we're not in danger of "Empty
Nest Syndrome" just yet. Many thanks for your love and prayers!
Just Toddlers in 1997...
as a new mother dressing up my baby girls in matching outfits, I want
to shout, “Stop the clock!” How I loved my little daughters--I called
them my triplets. I had to scour the big market in Burundi for matching
frilly dresses, flowered headbands and white shoes. Lft to rgt: Sarah,
2 1/2; Carly,1 1/2; Lizzie, 2.
And now look at my girls all grown up, beautiful, talented, and smart,
ready to fly out of the nest and help change the world. We are indebted
to all who have prayed for us for so many years. You have helped to
make our family possible.
|Cindy On the Way Back Home|
was brave and courageous as she checked in at United, Saturday morning.
With a pass card I was able to go with Cindy all the way to her gate
where she gave me a final hug! It's hard to believe she is
already 14! Thank you for praying for her as she starts 10th
grade at The King's School in Burundi.
Sam in Speech Therapy
huge blessing from the delay in returning to Burundi is that Samuel's
speech therapy teacher, Gayle McVeigh, is working two times a week with
him. She is wonderful! Thank you for praying for them...Sam is
making slow but steady progress.
Melli and Kids at the CMML "Castle"
O'Connor, editor of CMML Missions Magazine took our photo as we
prepared to leave for the Amtrak station. Here we are, back row, left
to right: James, Mama, Cindy; front row: Daniel, Angel, Andy, Samuel,
Last Day of School
Johnson kids on the last day of school before leaving on a big summer
adventure! Without Ken at the helm, we won't be able to haul
everyone around to visit friends and family this time, but you are all
welcome to come visit us! There's bike-riding, swimming, and an
alligator now and then to discover!
Mobile Home in Light & Life Park, Lakeland, Fl
won't be this many of the Johnson Family inhabiting "The Blue Lagoon"
(as Melli affectionately calls it) this summer, since Ken, Sarah,
Lizzie & Carly will remain in Burundi to "hold the fort". The focus
of the trip this time is on finalizing the naturalization process (the
children have to be here in person) for U.S. citizenship for James,
Danny, Sam, Christopher, Angel & Andy. Hopefully, their green cards
will be processed in time for them to apply for their U.S. passports
and get back to Burundi by the time school opens in September. (Photo
taken in 2009, their last visit to Florida)
Sarah Anne's Graduation
Anne at 3 years old (left), with Mommy's hat on and flowers trying to
look like a grown up lady. The years have gone by with lots of family
adventures and now, Sarah (right) is 18 years old, graduating
from Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya this coming July.
Patricia & Baby Emmanuelle
sister died three weeks ago leaving Emmanuelle and four older siblings
motherless. She and her husband, who have five children of their own,
opened their hearts to add five more to their family. With baby on her
back, and a large plastic bucket filled with baby clothes, blankets,
milk, porridge, cups, bowls and spoons from the Rainbow Centre,
Patricia starts for home with the happy burden balanced on her head.
Burundian women simply amaze me with their strength and resiliency!
Heather Odell, Volunteer
Heather Odell, short term volunteer from Oakdale Christian Academy in Kentucky, holding baby Emmanuelle. What a great helper!
The Speech Pathologists
pathologist, Laura Gregg, and her assistants, Autumn Berry and Rachel
DeLuca, in clinical training at Wooster College in Ohio, in one last
photo before they head for their plane home. They spent two intense
weeks working with Joy and The Discovery School teachers, and also
giving speech therapy to our Sammy. Three super ladies!
Margarite, a Wonderful Christian Woman
pray for Margarite, a wonderful Christian woman, who after the fire
took her cloth business, started selling fruit, walking to a small
market an hour away from her home, or sometimes taking a bicycle
taxi. We are so thankful for her and other dear widows with
plenty of love to go around, not just to their own kids, but abandoned
babies needing mommies. Here she is with Metasella, now six, and
Shayla dressed in overalls, 10 months.
Birthday Girl - Carly Mae Ingabire
Carly Mae Ingabire, our May Day baby. Found in the forest during
the war, she is fulfilling her name, "strong maiden", with her courage
and strength this past year. She loves soccer, is great at
solving mysteries, and wants to be a Private Investigator. Her Kirundi
name, Ingabire, means "gift"-- truly a dear gift to us! Thank you for
praying for her!
The Boys - Samuel, Christopher and Andy
thanks for your prayers for our kids...here's Samuel, who is a budding
photographer and has a natural gift with animals; and Christopher, in
the middle, who is NOT shy but drenched in charisma with lots of
friends; and Andy, who is shy and quiet, loves to bring me flowers, and
missing four front teeth already.
Greta on Easter Sunday at Celebration of Her Baptism
Antoinette and Her Many Grandchildren
who has many grandchildren (she had nine children of her own before
becoming a foster mother with the Rainbow Centre) with five of her
foster children, three of them from the Rainbow Centre.
on the left in back row, Glogo (Greta's sister) is on the right in the
front row and little Bella (Greta's sister) is in the center. Glogo is
number #1 student in her 3rd grade class of 100 students.
Another New Johnson
Danny, Annie and baby Lydia Lois a few hours after delivery.
One Special Mama
is little Bennie on her Mama's lap at a Christmas party at the Rainbow
Centre. Her foster mother's name is Concessa but we have always
called her Mama Sarah, because first she started fostering Sarah, one
of the first babies at the Rainbow Centre, (on right) and then she took
on another little girl, Anianna (on left). She cared for Deborah,
another Rainbow Centre AIDS baby girl as well, loving her until she
died at age 3. She has such a big love for children, more so no
doubt, because she was childless herself. Her husband scorned her to
marry another woman to get children. Then Mama Sarah loved and
helped care for the children of the second wife! The husband died
leaving both wives as widows. Mama Sarah is one special mama!
Severely Malnourised Infant Twin
we met a new baby girl named Uwimana Maria. Uwimana means "Praise
God". Maria is a twin to her sister, Kwizera (Faith).
don't understand why Faith is chubby and thriving and Maria is severely
malnourished weighing less than 2 pounds at two months! She's too weak
now to suck her mama's breast, but she was able to suck a baby nipple
that had a larger hole for the milk to pass through. We've supplied the
mother with baby formula, baby clothes, and healthy porridge for the
mama to eat to strengthen her. Why didn't she feed both
babies? She won't say, but she's malnourished herself and if
she's fatalistic, thinking only one baby will survive, she fed the
stronger one. Please pray for this mother, that we can not only
strengthen her physically and save her baby, but also encourage her
heart so she will not give up hope and that God will use this situation
for His glory. We want Uwimana Maria to grow up and Praise God!
Fire Consumes Bujumbura's Big Market Place
say 70% of the nation’s food passes through Bujumbura’s market. So what
is potentially the hungriest nation on earth is even more hungry right
now. Food shortages have led to a tripling in prices for rice and beans
- the staple diet - and almost all other food prices have risen as
well. Burundi needs our prayers.
& blurb by
Jeremiah (7 yrs old), Estelle and Melli
From a starving baby to a strong, happy boy on his way to manhood!
How we praise the Lord that Jeremiah is growing and thriving!
wrote (February, 2006): What does God have in store for this little
life—could the word of the Lord spoken to the Old Testament prophet
apply to this child? Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…(Jeremiah 1:5) Surely this “Jeremiah” was spared to bring Glory to God!
Here Jermiah is pictured with his adoptive mother, Estelle and Melli
More About "Two Women and a Baby"
showed up at our gate one morning. Little Niyibitanga (It’s God who
helps), was severely malnourished, a result of her mother dying,her
father out of work, and her grandmother and great aunt so poor they
could feed the baby only tea.
The Rainbow Centre has already
seen an improvement after ten days of porridge and milk. She is one
year old and weighs only 5 kilos (11 lbs.) She can’t walk, can barely
sit up, and has no teeth yet. She has a sister, almost two years old,
we haven’t yet seen as the women came barefoot from a long distance and
couldn’t carry them both.
Now they have a supply of
food—porridge, milk, sugar, beans, cassava flour, rice—plus clothes for
themselves and the children. We also gave them a plastic bucket, a pot
for cooking and some dishes and cups. They were so happy and thankful!
We’ll see them each week to make sure both little girls get stronger.
What a blessing to help these dear people! They said, “Yes’ashimwe!” (Jesus be praised!)
photo: Great Aunt Ndaruzaniye (meaning God brings us some things),
holding Baby Niyibitanga; and Grandmother Nyandwi (meaning seventh
After Ten Days - Look at Baby Niyibitanga
photos were taken ten days after the two women mentioned in the letter
arrived at our gate carrying the tiny motherless child. We rejoice at
the progress shown after just ten days of nourishing milk and porridge
from the Rainbow Centre.
Photo above: Grandmother Nyandwi feeding the baby porridge. A baby bottle would be easier, but more complicated and too foreign.
Johnson Family Photo 2012
sent hard copy prints of our new photo/prayer card to all on our
"snail-mail" list and will be glad to send one to those on our email
list whose postal address we do not have.
Just drop an email to email@example.com with your address and we will get one to you in the mail.
Please pray for Ken & Melli Johnson & Family as they share Jesus Christ’s redeeming love in Burundi, Central Africa.
Left to right in photo on other side (front row): Daniel, Samuel, Carly, Sarah.
(Back row): James, Ken, Angel, Christopher, Melli, Lizzie, Cindy, Andy.
Sarah January 18, 1995
Lizzie October 20, 1995
Carly May 1, 1996
Cindy August 27, 1999
James January 5, 2001
Daniel July 16, 2002
Samuel July 17, 2003
Christopher March 6, 2006
Angel September 12,
Andy January 1,
Introducing Andy the "Mer-Man" Boy!
the king of the waves as he hits the water full force, sometimes
forgetting to close his mouth! "Mama," he said, "I'm trying not to
drink the lake...but I forgot---and now I think I have 'diweeah'." He
asked me the other day if it was almost his birthday, and what will his
present be?" I replied that, no, it wasn't his birthday yet and I
wasn't sure what his gift would be--I was still thinking about
it. He said, "Well get thinking and can you please step on it!"
Six Super Submersible Non-Sartorial Sitting Siblings!
stands behind the rest holding his fishing "spear". I checked his
backpack when we arrived--a t-shirt, swimsuit and his toothbrush...that
was it. ha. Daniel, just behind Samuel, collected more rocks and stuff.
Sam wanted to hand feed the monkeys. Christopher brought home
flying termites in an old plastic margarine tub, tucking them into the
sand and talking to them during the trip...I warned him, "Do NOT take
the lid off that margarine container while we're driving!" Angel the
mermaid, can't stop smiling, even under water. And Andy, only concerned
about sharks in the lake. (No sharks)
Annick with One of Her Twin Girls
at the Rainbow Shop
Annick arrives at the shop every morning, and is thankful for a secure
place to sew! She brings one of her twin baby girls with her and the
other stays at home with her younger sister. Next door to their shop
is an industrious woman who is regular at the mission's Women's Bible
Study. She cooks all morning and then sells lunch--a plate full of
rice and beans with lenga-lenga (spinach) for 500 Burundi francs
(approximately 33 cents now with inflation of the Burundian Franc. So
the girls at the sewing shop eat Mama Kwizera's cuisine every day.
Thank you for helping with this "sewing/security" project! (Five other
girls are sewing and learning as well.)
Medicine Time for Christopher and Angel
(6) hates taking medicine! Angel (5) doesn't mind quite as much,
but only if the medicine tastes good. Unfortunately, the stuff
(metronidazole) for getting rid of amoebas is nasty, and leaves a
strong yucky metallic aftertaste---it also makes whatever you eat taste
bad. James (11) and Sammy (9) are also taking medicine but disappeared
when I called, "Medicine time!"
Cindy, our miracle baby, now a teenager, with little brother Andy (wishing he was five, not four).
Here is Marie, holding baby Christine when first brought to the
Rainbow Centre. Marie found her in a plastic bag in a field. Picking it
up, she heard a tiny cry and was astonished to find a newborn, with
untied umbilical cord. She held it in her arms, but then thought of her
seven children -- how could she take one more? Struggling with her
fears, three times she picked up the baby and put her down. When she
felt an inner voice nudging, "Take the baby," LOVE WON OUT-- and now
you can see the thriving toddler Christine is today.
|Annick and her Twin Girls|
student, Annick has her hands full with twin baby girls. Her
sister helps watch the babies while Annick sews. But recently her
sewing machine was stolen. She is hoping to save money to buy
Emmanueline and her Two Week Old Baby
student, Emmanueline praised God for her two-week old baby girl. Last
year she and her husband had visited us in grief over their first
baby's death, so this healthy daughter is doubly special!
Ken on Indian Chief!
got the motor started and it was so loud and rumbly I thought that we
were in lift off at Cape Canaveral. Definitely needs a new muffler!
"Lie Down So We Can Operate!"
"Doctors" Christopher, Angel & Andy
Angel and Andy are ready for some medical practice, and who better to
work on than their peacefully dozing mother? I don't mind,
I used to fix my Dad's hair (when he
had a lot more than now) while he napped in his recliner after lunch. I
think I was six years old. He didn't know I was playing beauty
parlor! One day the doorbell rang and he quickly woke up to
answer the door. His colleague stood there staring--trying not to
laugh. "What's so funny?" Dad asked. The guy replied, "Look in the
mirror!" My daddy's hair was sticking out all over with pincurls
and bow barretts. Daddy just laughed. (Melli)
MMMMMMMM...Could I Have Another, Please!
that saying, "Before you meet your handsome prince you have to
kiss a lot of--giraffes?" It took courage to get this close to a
tall hairy stranger, but Makenzie "had a ball" feeding the young
giraffes. It's quite amazing to see them up this close.
Better than a safari!
LOST and FOUND!
always great fun to make birthday cakes for Rainbow kids. Makenzie, our
volunteer from Raleigh, N.C., went with me to take a cake to little
Danny Niyonizigiye (Neo-nee-zee-ghee’-yay, “I trust in the Lord”) who
It’s hard to believe that he survived abandonment
in a cornfield as a month-old baby. Sick with infections,
malaria, and TB when placed at the Rainbow Centre, he was transformed
by lots of love and care and now attends the Discovery School at
Kigobe Mission. He is adored by his foster mother, Emilienne, a
widow who also fosters two other orphan children. They are a
special family. We praise the Lord for open loving hearts!
|“What Can I Do To Help?|
This is David Bryson, with daughter, Makenzie.
always a treat to have volunteers come willing to help. It’s even
better when a volunteer brings his tool bag and Professional expertise
to assess the problems and get to work fixing things.
Bryson didn’t complain while working under sinks and crawling through
attics. We kept him busy right up until he left. And
Mackenzie is already loved by the children at the Discovery School and
the Rainbow Centre with her songs and guitar playing. She’ll be
with us for four months before returning to the USA to begin
university. It takes time, sacrifice and courage to be a
Thank you, Lord, for sending them to us!
"Mama, Can We Keep All the Puppies?"How
we praise God for Christopher! Six years ago he was found by a
poor woman with her own baby on her back...she brought him to the
Rainbow Centre where our whole family fell in love with him. He was so
tiny and sweet and the children asked, "Can we please keep him?" His
Kirundi name is Dukundane (doo-koon'-dah-nay) which means "Let's love
one another". Christopher is full of love and charisma, and
totally NOT shy about being friendly and entertaining. He crawled
into Cuppie's box with her eight adorable Golden Retriever puppies.
What a gift he is!
Nice Horsey, Nice HorseyThe
children started towards the zebras with great caution, but when they
ignored them and moved off, the kids became braver. Christopher,
ringleader of the adventure, is in front, followed by Angel and Andy.
Watching from farther back, the older kids and I were taking photos.
Ken says that guardian angels were out in force around our kids on
As a missionary mother, sometimes I’m not as
aware as Ken of potentially dangerous situations...over here we don’t
have safety barriers erected everywhere, so thank you for your prayers
for wisdom in our family! Blessings and Love, Melli
Welcome Aborad the "Wings of the Morning"
Ahoy! Sail on the "Wings of the Morning", the 36-foot sailing
ship which Ken’s brother, Harry, built to reach villages on the lake
where vehicles can’t go. (Read more about it in CMML Missions for
Johnson Christmas 2011 Family Photo
Front row: Carly, Christopher, James, Daniel, Samuel, Lizzie.
Back row: Sarah, Andy, Ken, Melli, Angel, Cindy.
"Come On Daddy Cheer Up!!"
Lizzie and Carly were brought to the hospital by their dorm mom to cheer up their daddy.
you again for praying for Kenny. "Prayer is the most practical
thing...the exercise of drawing on the grace of God." (Oswald Chambers)
We can't stop thanking God for His grace in getting us through this
time of surgery!
When Remy, at the Mission in Burundi, called
and asked, "How are you doing?" Ken replied, "I'm fine-- How's your
motorcycle?" Ken was anxious to get out of the hospital and eager to
get back to work fixing things, especially motorcycles!
Many thanks! Much love! and Merry Christmas!
Could These Guys Scare Anybody??
Andy and Micah
didn't have a Halloween Party or go Trick or Treating, but in the open
market where used clothes pour in from the West, I found a pile of
kids' Halloween costumes for less than 50 cents apiece. The kids are
having fun dressing up like Barney the Dinosaur, a Dalmatian, Tigger,
etc. Here is our little boy, Andy, dressed as Winnie the Pooh, hugging
his cousin Micah, as Woody from Toy Story.
My kids are so glad
to have their cousins, Zach and Micah, close by, living at the mission.
They are sad to see them go on furlough for 6 months. Please pray for
Jesse, Joy and their three little boys in their travels to the USA,
visiting family and friends, speaking in churches, and getting medical
attention. As missionaries always know but are hesitant to say,
"Furloughs are not vacations." (Except for the children, who have a
In Memory of Eleanor Johnson
love this poignant photo of Mom Eleanor, with Ken holding her close...
I felt her energy--once while visiting a few years back, when Mom was
92, I slept beside her bed on a mattress on the floor, and awoke early
to see her doing calisthenics before getting up. Wow! Does
anybody do that? I groan at my cowardly avoidance of necessary
duty, but Mom Eleanor never wasted precious moments moaning or waiting
to be asked to help someone or do any job. What an inspiration to
me and to the many others she touched over here! What reassurance
that we'll see her again one day! --Melli
Who Wouldn't Love A Doll Like This??
little 9-year-old Sarah, happily holding her new soft, Cuddly,
hand-made doll! She was one of the first babies in the Arms of
Love Baby Home, and now has a mother of her own whose name is Concessa,
but lovingly referred to as Mama Sarah. Sarah also has two
sisters who are also being fostered by Mama Sarah--Aniella 10, and
little Benni who has cerebral palsy. Mama Sarah also cared for little
Deborah, who had AIDS and is now in Heaven. Thank you for praying for
these foster mothers who love and care for these precious little ones
who have been abandoned. God bless you!
|Wearied of Picture Taking ....|
you could get the smells through a photo! Ken fried bacon every
morning to help wake us up! The "simple life" for a week is quite
tiring on mommies (I remember my own dear mumso wasn’t truly thrilled
with camping in Yellowstone National Park). It's hard to locate
belongings in the dark of the hut, but on the other hand, I'd rather
NOT see the creepy crawlers co-habiting with me. Now and then we
heard, "DADDY! COME QUICK! THERE'S A HUGE SPIDER...!" But
the lovely birdsong evening and morning was a nice switch from
telephones, radios and traffic." --Melli
|No Graveside Service for Gerard ....|
first the family thought they would have only a small, quiet graveside
service, but so many people were phoning and wanting to have a church
service that it all changed. When we arrived at the church, it
was overflowing with people and we were thankful for the sound system
enabling all to hear a wonderful salvation challenge to "BE READY!"
learned such lovely things about Gerard--he was so generous with
everyone, helping so many people and so humble about it. God
helped Ken to testify about Gerald's ministry to us and everyone. He
was a vital member of our Mission family--we ALL miss him!
Looks Like It Never Happened .....
we got this note from Melli last February our hearts ached for our
grandson, Sammy. Melli wrote: "When Samuel came home from school,
I saw his two front teeth badly chipped. He slipped on a stick near a
cement step, falling on his teeth. Joy told me the dentist at RVA had
fixed her chip-ped tooth, so I hope he can fix Sam's—one tooth is
rather sharp and irritates his lips, and they both are so sensitive to
hot tea, and cold water."
Praise God for the "miracle" restoration Dr. Josiah Rich has performed! --Grandpa in Florida
Fun Of Sharing at Easter
kids had a ball coloring five dozen Easter eggs to tuck in seven big
boxes of treats and other stuff for nannies fostering Rainbow kids.
Lizzie, Carly & Gerard went with me in our 30- year-old Toyota
Corolla, over almost impossible roads—walking to two places since we
couldn’t drive up the meandering little paths with the car.
In the photo, 4-year-old Anna needs some help from her older foster sister to handle their Easter box.
NIZI with BABY NDIHOKUBKAYO--LOVE WON OUT!
had no milk for the child so she begged others in her village, and fed
the newborn cow's milk. The baby fell sick with diarrhea followed
by malaria and was taken to a hospital for medicine. This is where our
Social Worker, Lea, first met Nizi, who was going door to door on the
hospital compound asking people for milk. By God's grace, Lea
happened to be there visiting a patient and immediately called the
Rainbow Centre to bring formula, bottles and other supplies for this
baby. How thankful we are that God enabled us to help!
|Johnson's New Home|
WE REALLY NEED A VIDEO ...
... to show you the house the Lord has provided!
photo is taken from the corner of the grassy garden area looking at the
back of the house where all the bedrooms are. The large window by
the palm tree opens in the front room we’ll use as an office.
whole side yard is open space with grass and a cement square that is
perfect for a basket-ball court, plus lovely for outdoor entertaining.
Burundians cook outside and comment on how wonderful the cooking area
is! (on other side of lattice fence.) I can hardly wait to get
started, fixing and painting.
Over Easter break when the children return from Rift Valley Academy, we'll get them busy fixing their rooms!
|16th Parenthood Anniversary!|
and I became parents through adoption 16 years ago when we anxiously
opened our arms and hearts to tiny Sarah, our first baby. She's as tall
as I am now! On Sarah's 1st birthday God gave us Lizzie—then Carly, a
few months later.
We thought three were all, but God kept
giving. Now, we can't imagine our family without Cindy, James, Daniel,
Samuel, Christopher, Angel and Andy—all miracle babies with beautiful
stories of rescue and healing.
We love being parents though it
gets wild and crazy sometimes! Thank you for praying for the children
and for us to stay strong, brave and courageous for as long as it
takes! --Melli and Ken
Another Rainbow Centre Miracle .......Meet
Angelique, another happy adoptive mommy and Anna, who came to the
Rainbow Centre's Adelaide Arms of Love Baby Home as a tiny baby.
Angelique is a former nanny from the Rainbow Centre and she and her
husband have six grown children but are in process of adopting Anna
whom all the family has accepted. She's nearly four and a
pre-schooler. We love her happy smile! Your prayers
and support have helped rescue Anna and transform her life!
Blessings and Thanksgivings!
Johnson Family Photo 2010
Please pray for Ken & Melli Johnson & Family as they share Jesus Christ’s redeeming love in Burundi, Central Africa.
January 18, 1995
Lizzie October 20, 1995
August 27, 1999
James January 5,
Daniel July 16, 2002
July 17, 2003
Christopher March 6, 2006
September 12, 2007
Andy January 1, 2008
Left to right in photo (front row): Carly, Andy, Melli, Ken, Angel and Sarah;
(back row): Lizzie, Cindy, James, Danny Sammy, and Christopher.
|Valeria & Mugisha|
WHAT A GIFT…
Who wouldn’t just love to look under some plants in your garden And
find a real live baby doll! It’s like a fairy tale coming true!
miracles still happen—to encourage and warm our sometimes sad, cold and
doubting souls. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!”
|Meet Mama Sarah ......|
has known "Mama Sarah" since she became foster mother to baby Sarah,
one of the first babies to come to the Rainbow Centre when her mother
had died, and the neighbor who was keeping her became sick and could no
longer take care of her.
photo was taken as Sarah (in red tank top) and her older sister,
Anyela, were in their school uniforms—a khaki shirt and skirt, and
sporting very short hair-do’s that the school requires.
Sarah has a helper to aid her in coping with little Bennie who often
has seizures and flails her arms and legs. We don't know what
happened to Bennie—she was brought to the Rainbow Centre when only a
tiny baby by a neighbor, who said the mother had died. We've had
some physical therapy for her and a whole lot of love.
Thank you for your prayers for this beautiful family!
|Radiating God's Love . . .|
Meet Ruthie and Billie
radiates love for Billy who has been transformed by it. She says, “I am
so happy, so thankful to God for allowing me to be Billy’s mommy.
Thank you, everyone who has helped to make this possible. May God bless
Our motto at the Rainbow Centre:
“Welcome a child; welcome me.”
--Jesus (Matthew 18:5)
Meet Anna and Vanessa
Anna and Vanessa—the baby girl she found and brought to the Rainbow
Centre's "Twizere" (Let's Have Hope) baby feeding Project. Though
already breastfeeding her own son, she gladly chose to take Vanessa,
also—rather unusual here in Burundi.
So, we began to
help her by giving "busoma", a powdered cereal (soya, corn, sorghum)
she fed to her son, while she breastfed Vanessa—like having twins.
Speaking of twins, malnourished mothers of twins at Kigobe Mission who
can't make enough milk for both babies, are given powdered milk.
We even have triplets! Thank you for helping feed our "baby boom"!
|How Many Can Fit Inside A Grass Hat?|
Actually we fit four in a hut. We were 16 people in four huts atthe
annual Kumbya Missionary Retreat near Kibogora Mission in Rwanda-- a
great time of spiritual and physical refreshing with missionary
families from across Central Africa! The children had invited three
friends to come with us along with Gioia Varenkamp, our volunteer from
California. I was able to visit Kibogora again--where Africa started
for me twenty years ago. It looks pretty much the same, but oh, what
adventures I've had since then!
Thanks to all our friends, family, and prayer partners, vitally encouraging and supporting us. --Melli
|See Our Little Alligator|
an alligator opens it's ruthlessly snapped tight jaws sometimes, as you
can see from this photo Gioia took of the small alligator at Light and
Life Park this week...but the door to fly on British Airways through
London was certainly snapped shut for our six young children.
That's okay, as God has made another way possible and it is all for the
best. My friend in Bujumbura told me that with the elections
going on there things have been somewhat tense (it's much better now)
so we don't mind missing out on the reported grenade attacks.
Better the 4th of July fireworks than "fireworks" in Bujumbura.
Gioia with Angel and Andy
Packing the Luggage in "Bigfoot"
has been a delightful year for the children! What a positive
learning adventure for them! They are ambivalent about saying
goodbye to teachers and friends. James, who loves school here
says, "I don't want to leave." Cindy says, "I like it here, but I
miss my sisters!" Daniel says, "I can’t wait to get on the
airplane!" (He loves to fly.)
So we say good-bye to our
“furlough home” in Lakeland, Florida, this past year. How
God has blessed us with love and caring from friends and family! It's
Thank you everyone! Next letter will be from Burundi, AFRICA!
My Name is Sammy and I am Six Years Old!”
Imagine not being able to say your name.
Samuel grows it is more and more frustrating for him to try to
communicate and be like everyone else. The electronic ALT-CHAT talking
machine, provided for his use by the public school, is giving him
confidence. It has hundreds of possibilities for communicating with
pictures that translate into a speaking voice to get his ideas across.
He loves to push the button that speaks his name and tells his
A friend wrote immediately after hearing about it
asking if she could purchase one for Sam to take back to Burundi with
him when we leave in June. What a wonderful answer to our need—even
before we prayed about it! Thank you for your continuing prayers
for Sammy and all the kids.
|Showing Off Their New Sun Glasses|
thought you might enjoy a childhood moment with our three youngest
grandchildren “showing off” their new “cool” sun glasses.
Christopher (in the middle with the captivating smile)just turned four
last month; Angel (with the pink shades) was two last September; Andy
(flexing his muscles) turned two on New Year’s Day. These three
bundles of energy are dedicated to making sure Melli doesn’t get lonely
when Cindy, James, Danny & Sammy are in school—there is never a
dull moment when they are awake!
|Bikes Hanging Like Bats....|
What do you do to keep from stumbling over ten thrift store bicycles in
various stages of “functioning decrepitude” ? Ken solved the
problem(as you see in the photo) by hanging them on hooks (as Melli so
aptly described) “like so many bats on a wall”. Ha! No problem
directing people to their house—just look for the carport with all the
A neighbor gave them a basketball goal that
needed only a net to make it complete (well, the plastic tank/base for
holding water to stabilize the unit leaked—so Ken anchored it to a tree
with ropes) and it serves as a magnet for other kids in the
neighborhood after school.
Trophy Time at Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby
Front Row: Sammy, James & Danny Back Row: Ken & Cindy
took this photo just after James and Danny were awarded trophies for
the second and third place performances of their hand-fashioned
pinewood race cars. Sammy is not yet a Cub Scout, but is
obviously happy to hold up one of the winning racers.
of the cars have "motors". The winners are the ones that respond
best to the "pull" of gravity as the cars roll down a steeply inclined
|“Studying At Home" while waiting…|
Lizzie (age 14) Sarah (age 15) Carly (age 13)
and Carly were supposed to return to school in Kenya on January 6, but
their flight was cancelled—so the airline booked them to return with
Lizzie on the 18th. Lizzie was unable to go with them on the 6th
as she and Cindy have to appear in person for final interview with US
Immigration in the process for U.S. Citizenship. So, they really
are studying at home to compensate for arriving two weeks late at Rift
Thank you for remembering them in your prayers—along with the rest of the family while separated in the coming months.
|Johnson Family Photo 2009|
Left to right in photo
(front row): Lizzie, James and Christopher, Samuel, Cindy, Carly, Daniel, Sarah (with Angel);
(back row): Ken, Melli (with Andy).
|Trick or Treaters|
A SPIRIT OF HIGH ADVENTURE Cindy & the older boys donned their
costumes ready to invade the neighborhood. Angel and Andy settled for
riding in the stroller as we set out Trick or Treating. When I
was a child, we didn’t go to such extremes... I think I colored a paper
bag and stuck it on my head with eye holes. My sister Vondria, the
artist of the family, won best costume prize when she put green oatmeal
on her face and wrapped herself in torn up sheets.
kids asked, "Mama, what are you going as?" I replied, "I'm going as
your spacey, worn out looking mama! If costumes were being judged, I'd
probably win!" Actually, we all came back winners with lots of candy to
share with Lizzie who chose to stay at home to greet "Trick or
Treaters" coming to our home.
NOT THE “BEVERLY HILLBILLIES”…
though it may bring them to mind! Here are the “Burundi Johnsons”
with the first load of household furnishings donated by friends at
Light & Life Park for their rental house just two blocks from
Padgett Elementary School where Cindy, James, Daniel & Samuel
attend. Lizzie will walk Christopher about 3 blocks to Lake
Gibson Church of the Nazarene Pre-school on the way to her middle
school just across the street from the church. How about that for
God’s Global Positioning System!
Cindy’s arm is in a brace and
sling as a result of a tumble off her bicycle—just a simple fracture
that is healing nicely. Thank you for your continuing prayers!
|No Horsing Around at School for James This Year|
mentioned his remarkable change of attitude, but it took the carefully
printed note written to me on the day of “Open House” to clinch it and
melt my heart:
“DEAR GRANDPA, THANK YOU FOR COMING TO OPEN
HOUSE! MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT 2ND GRADE IS GRAET (GREAT).
I LOVE IT WHEN WE GO TO BOOK FAIRE. I HOPE YOU LIKE SITTING AT MY
DESK. I CLEANED IT OUT JUST FOR YOU! I LOVE YOU!
--LOVE FROM JAMES”
(The photo on the merry-go-round was taken while visiting Aunt Carol and Uncle David Johnson this summer in Maryland.)
|The Johnson Family Parade|
|BELIEVE IT OR NOT—TWO ARE MISSING. . .|
photo of the “Johnson Family Parade” was taken without Lizzie (who is
joining the family in July at the end of her school term) and Sarah,
who was in town with a friend at deadline. It’s still quite a
“line-up”—and Hannah was taking the picture! In addition to bike
riding, there is swimming, miniature golf and tennis—plus the
oft-repeated question, “Grandpa, can I drive your golf cart?” And
they keep wondering when they will see an alligator!
Oh, to have some of their seemingly boundless energy!
|WAITING FOR THE MILK…|
Rainbow Centre and the Kigobe Mission are the only two places we know
of that regularly distribute milk in Burundi. The Twizere program
at the Rainbow Centre feeds 136 babies per month and the milk project
at Kigobe Mission now feeds 140 babies per month. Yesterday I saw
two tiny babies with malformation of the esophagus which hinders them
from growing. I struggled with tears wondering if they would survive,
and after that all my photos were blurry —I couldn’t focus my eyes or
the camera. But as I was leaving, I took one last photo of a big
sister waiting patiently for the milk distribution with her baby sister
on her back. I’m so glad it turned out! --Melli
|HIP, HIP HOORAY FOR CARLY MAE!|
is Carly on her 13th birthday (May 1st), celebrating with girlfriends
and her chocolate cake! Her Kirundi name, Ingabire
(Inga-beer-ee), means "gift"! I remember as a young girl in South
Dakota that kids made May Day baskets filled with candy and
flowers. I'd take them around to my friends' houses, place the
basket on the step, ring the doorbell and then run and hide. When my
friend opened the door she'd look around, see me hiding and give
chase. It was a fun tradition, but does anyone do this
anymore? It seemed right to name our third baby girl "Carly Mae"
and give her the birth date of May Day, since she was a newborn found
naked, crying, and alone on the forest floor—waiting to be loved and
cherished. Carly is a dear gift, and is a strong and loyal
FIELD TRIP IN KENYA…
Not many seventh graders get to be “up close and personal” with
giraffes, orphaned elephants and premature baby rhinos while on a
“field trip” with their mother during midterm break. Of course,
(unless you’re a “missionary kid”) not many attend boarding school
fifteen hundred miles from home!
Sarah and Carly have been home
schooling diligently with their volunteer teacher, Christy Jones, and
are excited about rejoining their classmates at RVA this fall. Not
sure yet whether Cindy will be accepted, but she’s hoping!
Thank you for keeping Ken, Melli and each of the children in your prayers!
DEDICATED YOUNG VOLUNTEERS…
Wicke (Vicka) WoBner from Germany as she works in the classroom
with Samuel, and Johan Andersson from Sweden who is back-packing” with
Christopher. Vicka spent a year working in a girls’ school in
Perth, Australia, but this is her first assignment in Africa.
Johan loves Africa (his fourth time of volunteer service), enjoys
learning different languages and came “hoping there is lots to do in
Ken’s shop that I can help with! ”Melli’s comment, “Both of them fit
into our family hullabaloo’ and are helping so much! We just love
|2008 Family Photo|
Left to right in family photo on other side (front row): Cindy, Sarah, Melli
(with Angel), Ken (with Andy); back row): Lizzie, Carly, James, Daniel,