Through destruction & Disappointment we press on
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. We press on toward the goal!” Philippians 3:13-14
Greetings loved ones! December always makes us pause and take into account the past year and all God has done. Let us bring you on a recap of the journey over the past year!
In January, we were still trying to get the space ready for services. We needed doors, electric work and the Lord starting bringing people who would become our foundational church members.
February saw the soft launch of Living Hope Church, Galway City Centre. We had our first salvation on one of our first services! Praise God!
In March we saw the return of Jordan, one of our first youth we ministered to as youth pastors at Galway Christian Fellowship. He came to Chris and asked him to become his mentor, and he has grown in leaps and bounds over this past year! We are in awe of what God has done in and through him. Today, he is our greeter/host and in charge of overseeing everything on Sunday mornings are running smoothly. He has preached twice and has a massive anointing! We are so
thankful for him!
In April, we had our first Easter service, and also started our “Jesus Walks/Homeless Ministry” monthly. We were able to get out on the streets and bless the homeless with food, and also be used by God to walk the streets, pray over them and be used by the Holy Spirit to bless whoever God put on our hearts.
In May, I (Larena) was delivered of anxieties that I’ve struggled with for over 32 years! It was a massive breakthrough that has put me in a better place to deal with the insane attacks that were to come in the months that followed. Had I still dealt with anxieties, I don’t think I would have been able to get through the trials that were to come. God has been so faithful and helped me immensely through it all.
We would face many issues arising with our home in the months to come. We were out of water 4 times in 3 months. Our heating stopped working numerous times as well, after several massive storms came through, doing much damage. We were also out of electricity due to the storms. I have struggled with a chronic health condition that flares up when high times of stress come. We were also told that soon our landlady would want to sell her home in the middle of a housing
crisis. All of this has made us lean even heavier into Jesus. We were seeing salvations and increased numbers in the church. Our weekly life groups were thriving and Chris had officially established the church as an official company, one step before making LHC a charity.
In July, we finally had a presence on the streets, as we were able to purchase a sign that we put up in our window every day, constantly displaying the times of our services. We started to see a massive growth in the online viewing of sermons and website hits, as an initial version of the website had been completed the month prior. We were also planning more baptisms that would come in August.
We had another salvation in the month of August, a home bbq party, and also stuffed many toiletries bags for the homeless. We continued our Jesus Walks/Homeless ministry monthly. Our kitchen got licensed, allowing us to start making food to bring out into the streets.
September we had 4 more baptized, making 7 individuals for the year. We were seeing breakthroughs in the lives of those attending, and had another salvation this month, and an increase in growth. We were running about 18-20 every Sunday.
We were in awe of what God was doing!
During this time, we were getting our ducks in a row to apply for a loan to secure a smaller home for our family. During a housing crisis, we are faced with having to raise anywhere from $500-1000 more a month to downsize into a new rental home. We were hopeful that things would work out. We had an amazing team from Suncrest Church Indiana come and literally just be the hands and feet of Jesus! They helped us get so much caught up on around the house, and around the church. It was such an immense blessing and help to us in a time of need. At this point, we had seen 3 salvations over the year, and 7 baptisms, and we were able to keep one individual from homelessness. It was amazing watching what God did
and how He made all of this possible!
November came and we found out that, due to our circumstances/status as foreign missionaries, we were unable to get a loan. This hit us very hard personally. Not to mention we had a big let down in ministry and our house got hit by another massive storm, literally bringing so much destruction on many things we had just repaired. We were pressed on every side, but not crushed. We have had to pause and recount the cost, but we see that it’s worth it!
December we went out on the streets for the first time with hot food to feed the homeless. It was a beautiful night and we know many more will come.
Most importantly, we want to thank all of you for all your love, your support, & your investment in this work in 2023. Without you we know it’s not possible. Thank you for taking the journey with us! As we look to 2024, we are expectant to see what God will do! Happy New Year!
All our love, The Johnstons
We would be honored if you would pray with us concerning:
Please pray for our living situation. We are unsure of what this will look like moving forward.
Please pray for the fundraising process for 2024. We need to raise about $11,000 for the year to meet the budget.
Please pray for Living Hope Church to continue to reach the lost, the hurting, and the down and out, discipling them
into a real relationship with Jesus.
This is our call.
This is why we are
here. Please pray we
fulfill that call.