By Eric Johnson, Director of International Missions
Part Two of Eric Johnson’s Profile Story (Click HERE to read Part 1)
One of the stories that reminds me of how God uses the faithfulness of BMA churches around the world happened in Pachuca, Mexico, where Kelly and I had moved to plant a church. With a population of close to one million people including its suburbs, Pachuca is the capital of the state where I grew up as a son to BMA missionaries. I was raised in the town of Huejutla which is about five hours away from Pachuca. This is the story of how God works through BMA Missions.
After our son Abram was born in Pachuca, Kelly became very ill and had to leave the field periodically for hospitalization and treatment that was unavailable in Mexico. During that time, I traveled back and forth from Mexico to the US trying to attend to the needs of the new church in Mexico and to Kelly back in the US. The doctors were uncertain about Kelly’s disease or how to treat it. It was a difficult time for us. I very vividly remember one night during this time when I was in Mexico and my family was in the US. I was discouraged and alone praying for a miracle for Kelly. I was already in bed that night when the phone rang, and on the other end of the line was a lady from our church in Mexico. She was crying and proceeded to tell me that her son had stolen something and had been arrested. She was at the jail and very worried because they would not let her see her son. It was about 11 p.m. when I arrived at the jail and approached the guard to see if I could check on the young man. The guard told me that since I was a pastor he would let me in. He then continued speaking to me about attending a church in his village when he was a child.
Burdened by problems in his life and considering going back to church, the guard had moved to the city of Pachuca. I invited him to our church, and he shared with me that he appreciated the invitation but he had already committed to going to a different church. He told me that his sister still lived in their village and had recommended a church in Pachuca for him to visit. Out of curiosity, I asked him where his village was, and he assured me that I would not know because it was a very remote village about five hours from Pachuca. He also said that his sister had told him that the man who had helped start that church in his village had a son who was starting a church in Pachuca. Therefore he could not go to our church because he was going to visit the church his sister had told him about.
I almost shouted when he told me where he was from, because that village church was the BMA church that my dad (Buddy Johnson) helped start nearly 40 years before! Almost simultaneously, we both realized that the church he was looking for was our church in Pachuca. I was the son of the man that had served the Lord in their village. In a city of a million people, five hours away, with 40 years of separation, God had planned for us to meet in the jailhouse that night. The following day this jailer, his wife and two teenage children trusted Christ their Savior.
These kinds of stories happen all over the world through BMA missions because of the faithfulness of our churches to send missionaries to them.