Dear Praying Partners,
Greetings in our Risen, Reigning Lord Jesus! Thank you all who have remembered us in prayer. Please note that Robyn's email address has changed to
firstname.lastname@example.org. My email addresses remain the same.
I begin with the Praise and Prayer items.
Please use these for prayer. This will be followed by more information that lies behind those prayer items. First some praise points -
God has been good to us!
- Praise for the continued distribution and use of Operation World - there are now editions in German (2002), Portuguese, Korean (2003) Chinese (2004). It is the latter that excites me most - in two scripts (traditional for Overseas Chinese and simplified for Mainland China). Those of you who have read The Heavenly Man and Back To Jerusalem will see its timing is strategic. Pray for eternal impact through prayers and recruits for missions generated by these editions. The Spanish edition has been a pain to launch with ongoing obstacles, but a glimmer of hope for translation to begin soon.
- Praise that Jason Mandryk has completed his two years of ministry on the OM ship, MV Doulos, and has now moved back to the UK WEC HQ at Bulstrode and taken over the new edition of Operation World - planned for 2008. Pray for him, the provision of his needs, and for a team to make this possible. It is likely the new edition will be in colour and also make even better use of electronic and internet resources. This is a massive task - so pray for his (and their) protection, their walk with God and their relating to thousands of people around the world.
- Praise for our own transition from the WEC I.O. to the northern tip of Cambridgeshire in the heart of the Fens. Our house is actually over 1 metre below sea-level! Why there? Well, we are 2 hours drive from Bulstrode, 90 minutes from an international airport (Stanstead, London) and we could find an affordable house! We love our home with its spaciousness, its garden - larger than anticipated where we can offer the hospitality to others that we have long received from so many around the world. Robyn has developed as a decorator, seamstress, furniture finisher and expert at bidding at auctions. Patrick has developed his carpentry, cooking and jam-making skills as well as becoming addicted to cross-stitch artistry! However our longing is to bring glory to God through our local and worldwide ministry from and at this base.
- Praise for the three Offspring and the 8 (almost) grandchildren. Peter (and Julie) and their three have remained in Weymouth. Peter has become Assistant Head of his large comprehensive school and Julie an almost fully-fledged GP. Tim (and Trina) and their two (second due in Sept) live in High Wycombe where Tim has built up a small carpentry business. He battles with MS but both have great faith in God and trust for healing. Ruth (and Andy) return in a few days for their second term in the Middle East in an area close to Paul the Apostle's home where they lead a church planting team - and have actually seen an increasingly viable little church emerge. They send out an excellent prayer letter. We would value prayer for them all - especially Tim.
- Praise for the lives of our two Mums, who both passed away this year within several months of each other (March and May). This meant several US visits for Robyn and a number of times for us in Hampshire around the times of their end.
- Praise for ministry over the past year, which has involved intense times in 4 continents - mainly Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Ireland, USA as well as some in Britain. Hong Kong was more for input to our WEC work there after the loss of our WEC leader through the horrible disease SARS last year. This has involved three visits to HK to help think through the future and make proposals to the two HK Boards of Directors (Sending Base and MTC). Please pray for the finalization of our little Committee Report to be completed on our visit in the first week of March 2005. We need much wisdom for this.
Please pray for:
- Our local witness. It is our first time to both be involved in a local fellowship - a small Rural Ministries church. It has been a mix of blessing and pain - culminating in a distressing pastoral failure. Many were hurt by a situation in which we tried to help, but found ourselves out of our depth and on the front line. We are now praying for a re-building of the work and witness. We have found this part of the country to be one of the most barren of really live fellowships. We long for a move of the Holy Spirit in hearts and lives that will result in Kingdom growth.
- Our Vision for the Future. Robyn looks more to her day-to-day role as a human-BEING, rather than a human-DOING. Patrick wants the Big Picture before him! Last September I was 65 - certainly an interesting and solemn event, though despite all claims I have neither retired, nor started to draw a pension! I am fit, well, and yet free from administrative roles long part of my life. What of the future? I had some deep thinking - what if I have 10 more years of fully active ministry, that is 500 weeks. How should I spend those 500 weeks? We both realized that I must be strategic (not driven by a false loyalty to please all expectations!), catalytic (to enable others in ministry), and concentrate on the areas of greatest gifting (hard for a compulsive "yes" man). This must impact what I do, where I preach or teach and what I write. Please pray that I might be rightly guided and effective for Jesus!
- Public Ministry. I have an unusual invitation for Sept-Dec - to go with Robyn as Senior Missionaries In Residence at the Overseas Ministries Study Center in New Haven, Connecticut, which is on the edge of the campus of Yale University. We leave on 2nd Sept and return on 15th Dec. Much is unknown as to how this will work out. Students will be almost entirely mature Christian workers from all over the world, and we want to be as available as possible to them during that time. This will involve some teaching (especially the intensive week of 15-19 Nov), speaking in public meetings and several conferences. We will also have a few weekends away for other ministry - Oct 9 at the WEC HQ in Philadelphia, a congregation in South Carolina (16-17 Oct) and another (congregation on San Clemente, California 22-26 Oct - Patrick only).
- Research. Handing over Operation World does not mean the end of research! I have given much time over the past year in updating, editing, and improving the global Joshua Project List Version 2 [JPL2]. This is essential background research for the planned "Visual Operation World" - for about 1/3 of the book will be graphically representing the progress of the Gospel and the unfinished task among the world's peoples. For this I have to make the JPL2 more consistent, accurate and computer-mappable. I explain a little below, and will explain more on our Operation World Website. Please pray for accuracy, tenacity and completion of this large amount of work!
- Writing. Much of 2005 will be committed to home and writing. I have three and perhaps four books in various stages of vision and planning, but must commit quality time to their completion. These are:
a. Visual Operation World. This will be an interpretive and visiual book with graphics, maps and photos as well as explanatory text to show what the mass of figures incuded in Operation World actually mean and imply for the future. I explain more about this below and even more on our website (to be ready by the end of September).
Please pray for inspiration, relevance, impactful writing and soon completion!
b. The Church is Bigger than You Think Version 2. This book first published in 1997 has sold well, and gone into 3 other languages (German, Korean, Portuguese), but is now out of print and needs to be updated and re-worked - one of the prime pushers for this is Pastor John Piper in Minneapolis.
c. The story of Operation World. This needs to be written, but it will need some research and digging up of archival materials.
d. A missionary commentary on Revelation -few realize how important for world evangelization this remarkable book is!
- Networking. Patrick needs wisdom in handling pleas to participate in emerging global networks. I want to be a catalyst, not an administrator or facilitator! One burden I have is for a networking between mission leaders - especially those with a global recruitment and deployment. There are no existing networks to provide this, and as a result, the key mission leaders are not consulted about global plans for world evangelization, though they are carrying the brunt of the work. See my article in Mission Frontiers of May 2003. http://www.missionfrontiers.org/archive.htm
- The massive changes in our world today. Over the last three years we have
seen the post-911 world emerge. The post-millennium hype has turned to gloom
and fears for the future. Yet God is giving us astonishing opportunities and
possibilities we could only dream about a decade ago. I want to encourage
God's people by what He is doing, and build faith for the challenges ahead.
This is the basis of much of my ministry. Every six months I have been
producing a 30 minute video. These are available from our various WEC bases
around the world.
- The Emerging Visual Operation World has long been a dream! Pray that it
might become a reality! Over these 40 years we have built a unique database
of the countries, religions, denominations and missions of the world. For 25
years I have had much input into the peoples databases of the World Christian
Encyclopedia, and the Joshua Project List. This is at the heart of each
edition of Operation World. I aim to look at these figures and interpret
their meaning for us at the beginning of the 21st Century and project what
present trends indicate about the future. Fundamental to this are the items
in the list below and how these components relate [note: some figures here
need further verification!]:
Visual Operation World
Continental region 
Affinity Blocs 
People Clusters 
Peoples & Castes [16,000]
Tertiary use  in universities
Secondary use [?300] in high schools
Primary use [?900] in primary schools
Literate  with part of Bible
Becoming literate [+1,700]
Major missionary religions 
Major religions 
All religions [100+]
Megablocs  e.g Protestants
Mega-denominations ; e.g. Baptists
Trans-Megabloc Groups , e.g. Evangelicals
The aim is to make a complex picture more understandable and give motivation
to worshipping God for what He has done and faith in Him for what remains. We
want this to be a colourful book with maps, diagrams, pictures and some
explanatory text together with PowerPoint presentations and PDF files on a
Thank you all for your on-going ministry of prayer, and for every remembrance
of us! We are so grateful to God for the love and interest of so many. For
many who have written I aim to send a more personal word to accompany this.
In Jesus' love,
and Robyn Johnstone