DESCRIBE WHAT THE LORD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO & THE COMMITMENT YOU HAVE MADE TO ANSWER THAT CALL:
Danny grew up as a missionary kid in East Africa. Annie grew up in a Christian home in Illinois, south of Chicago. After meeting at Emmaus Bible College, we graduated and got married in 2010. While living in the Chicago area, we began to pray about and pursue serving the Lord in Burundi. In June 2012 our family was commended by Oak Lawn Bible Chapel to the work of the Lord in Burundi. We arrived there in August 2012.
In 2014 the 120 or so assemblies in Burundi began developing a vision to strategically plant 80 new churches within the next 5 years. While this may seem somewhat ambitious to some, their logic is this: “If every one of our 120 churches purposes to replicate itself in five years, Lord willing, at least 80 should succeed.”
Historically about 80% of the Assemblies in Burundi have been on the western side of the country (around the capital city). But in the last 8 years or so, a few have been started on the eastern side of the country. In light of this and the vision to plant 80 new churches, our family began to feel a burden to move to the eastern side of the country (a 6-hour drive away) to work alongside the younger churches in this rural, poor area. Our main goal in moving has been to partner with these young, rural churches in order to help them multiply themselves successfully by God’s grace.
As part of this plan, the Lord enabled us to purchase a 40-acre property in a town called Gisuru, which is central to the assemblies in the area. In January 2015 we began building a house on the property and we moved in January 2016. In 2016 we partnered with local assemblies to help them plant 3 new churches and reestablish one which had almost died. Another way we minister to people is through agriculture. Over 90% of the people we live with are subsistence farmers (which basically means they can only grow enough food to barely survive). So one of the ways we can give practical help to people (as an alternative to giving handouts) is by farming.
There are 3 reasons why we spend some of our time
and energy doing agricultural work:
- We want to IDENTIFY with the people. We grow the same crops they grow to help us better understand them and their way of life.
- We take RISK upon ourselves for their sake. A subsistence farmer will not try new things very easily because it is too big of a risk. He doesn’t have the luxury of doing experiments. His life depends on his harvest – if his harvest fails just one year, he faces starvation. We have that luxury. If our bean crop fails because we try a new method, it’s sad, but it’s not a life and death situation. The goal is that our neighbors and community will learn from our failures and successes.
- CASH is hard to come by for a subsistence farmer. Because he doesn’t harvest year round, there is a major portion of the year when he has almost nothing to sell at the market. The only time he really has cash is if he gets a really good harvest and therefore, is able to sell the excess part of his crop that he will not need to eat that year.
On our 40-acre property we are farming about 8 acres by hand currently with various trial crops. This takes a lot of labor. We are able to hire many people from our community to do seasonal work for us. We learn how they farm from them and then we tweak their idea a little and see what happens. So people from our community get to experiment and yet the risk of the experiment is on us, not them. On top of that, they go home at the end of the week with a little bit of cash in their pocket for their hard work on our farm.
Currently we rotate through 3 different groups of 10-15 farmers who take turns coming 1 week at a time and we pay about 1.5 times the going labor rate.This little bit of cash that people in our community can get on a semi-regular basis has a huge impact on their lives. It enables them to buy medicine when they desperately need it and it helps them improve the quality of the food their family eats.
TELL US ABOUT THE PEOPLE YOU MINISTER TO:
Burundi is arguably the poorest country in the world, which is mostly due to a long history of civil war. Even though currently, the political climate is improving, the country is still suffering from all the effects of war. The eastern side of Burundi is the poorest area of this poor country, so dire poverty is all around us all day, every day. Despite being so poor, (and maybe because of it: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” | Luke 6:20), Burundi seems to be experiencing a spiritual revival. The fields are ripe for harvest! By God’s grace, the hearts of the people of Burundi are soft to spiritual things and the church is growing at a very fast rate.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN YOUR MISSION FIELD:
Knowing how best to spend our time day-to-day and having a regular routine are probably two of our biggest personal challenges. Life in Africa is very sporadic and unpredictable. On a local church level, one of the biggest challenges we face is training up faithful servant leaders. There is a real lack of good biblical teaching and preaching. Illiteracy is a serious problem as well as a lack of good biblical resources in the local language. Ultimately, the biggest obstacle is the prideful, self-seeking human heart. We need to pray the Lord raises up humble, bold, faithful local leaders who love the Bible are willing to not compromise but lay down their lives for the church.
HOW CAN WE PRAY FOR YOU:
Please pray for our daily walk with the Lord, that he would keep us close to Himself. If we aren’t close to Him walking in the Spirit, all our labor is in vain! Pray for Anne as she begins to home-school our children and as she continues her language study.
Pray for the camp ministry we have begun in the summer that reaches the assembly young people. Last year we hosted 200 youth on the property for a week-long Bible Camp. Pray for the preparations for this year’s camp, scheduled to take place the first week of August. This summer, we hope to do a week or two of intensive evangelism in the villages north of us. Pray for these efforts that they would be fruitful for the Kingdom.
DESCRIBE ANY FINANCIAL/MATERIAL NEEDS OF THE MINISTRY:
Currently we have many different construction projects going on and several of which we hope to start in the near future:
- Building two small offices: One for Sunday school/Emmaus Correspondence School and one as Danny’s personal office.
- Church plant roofs: The Burundian government does not allow house churches, so every new church plant we help out with must have its own property and building. One of the big obstacles to church plants is getting a roof on their building. The Christians can make their own bricks and build the building but a roof usually costs about $700, which is a huge amount for people who make under a dollar a day.
- Building our own home: The house we are currently living in is intended to be a guest house to enable us to host teams. Our house construction is currently in the beginning stages.
- Improving the Youth Camp cabins: We will be working on making them more permanent before camp this year. Last year, we constructed the walls out of bamboo mats. This year, we hope to put up mud brick walls.
- We hope to begin construction on a school for the deaf. We estimate that there are over 50 deaf people in our district who have no help from the government and don’t know sign language. One of our burdens is to provide education for these precious people who are looked down on and seen as useless by their communities. Currently, the assemblies run a school for the deaf down in the capital city (6 hours away). So Lord willing, we could train teachers at the functioning school and transfer them up here. The school would begin with just one classroom (to teach sign language the first year) and then expand slowly year-by-year.
If you are interested in helping with any of these projects please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get current information on the status and needs of these projects.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHALLENGE US WITH:
DO HARD THINGS.
Don’t settle for the lie of the world which idolizes a life of ease and meritocracy. We serve an amazing God who is omnipotent and who does the impossible, so don’t be afraid to do hard things in the strength of our King.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VERSE/QUOTE:
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. | Psalms 20:7
God’s children are immortal while their Father hath anything for them to do on earth. | Thomas Fuller
WHAT IS THE BEST/PREFERRED METHOD OF SENDING MONETARY GIFTS FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS MINISTRY:
You can give directly to this ministry through CMML. All donations are tax-deductible and can be given online or via check made out to CMML:
CMML, Inc. P.O. Box 13 Spring Lake, NJ 07762-0013
Please include this memo: This donation is for Daniel & Anne Johnson
If you would like to be added to our monthly email newsletter list please let us know via email (email@example.com) or Facebook. We also have a Living Gifts Facebook Page through which we share updates about our agricultural/animal projects.