From Tracie: A Heart To GO!

Friday, May 06, 2011

A Heart To GO!

I want to introduce you to Jenny and Isaac Johnson. I met Jenny when we were both in middle school, and all these years later, we are still friends. 

This is Jenny, and she is going to share a bit of her story with you.....

When I was 17, my life changed forever because of one small word:


I’m not one of those people who audibly hear God speaking to them; in fact, probably the most-oft voiced prayer of my heart to the Lord is “Please give me wisdom, clarity, and direction.” But the summer before my senior year of high school, I heard God speak to me in a way I never heard or have heard since.  And that one small word changed everything.  My whole focus shifted, and I began discovering my true passion and love of working with the nations.

My husband, Isaac, and I met while at university, but I think we fell in love dreaming of what it would be like to go to the nations together.  Our passion for international mission work was the first thing we discovered we had in common (well, that, and our secret love for Phil Collins).  In fact, when we got married, our groom’s cake was in the shape of Africa (and it was deliciously awesome). Most of our life together has been preparing for leaving our comfort zone in the United States in order to live among the nations.  We still are not completely sure where we will live once Isaac completes his seminary degree, but we know that the Lord has called us to go- but not just to wait until we can live overseas.  He has called us to go now

In graduate school, I tailored all of my research, papers, projects, and presentations to HIV/AIDS in Africa.  My master's thesis was designing a multi-faceted AIDS intervention program to be implemented in the small African country of Swaziland.  I spent countless hours researching the AIDS pandemic and its effects on the Swazi people, pouring over statistics that seemed too incredulous to be reality, and learning in just a very small way how the HIV/AIDS virus can devastate an entire nation.  

When I wrote my thesis, over four years ago, these were the statistics:  
  • Forty-one percent of Swaziland's population were under the age of 15
  • The average life expectancy at birth was 32 for men and 33 for women
  • The HIV prevalence rate was 33 percent, the highest of any nation in the world
  • Sixty thousand orphans resided in Swaziland

According to Heart for Africa, the average life expectancy is now 29.  Twenty-nine years old.  Isaac and I both turn twenty-nine this year.  There are now 200,000 orphans in a country the size of New Jersey, and the HIV prevalence rate is now 42 percent Fifteen thousand households are headed by orphans, and if the trend continues as it is, there will be no adults left in Swaziland by the year 2020.  

This knowledge breaks our hearts; and while these numbers bring us to tears and leave us stunned, we cling to the hope that is graciously given by our Christ.  He knows the people of Swaziland; He loves them and cares for them.  And He is calling us to show His love for them. 

We hear these numbers, and are moved to action.

In November, we will be traveling with the organization Heart of Africa to work in the HIV/AIDS-ravished country of Swaziland.  We'll be working with widows and orphans, those who have no jobs, those who have little or no food- these are people the world deems 'the least of these'- and these are the people whom we desire to serve. 

There are many things which require preparation before we can go and serve in Swaziland, but most of all, we ask that our trip would be bathed in prayer as we seek to joyfully serve those whom the world has deemed "the least of these."

That is my wonderful friend, Jenny. She and Isaac have hearts that want to GO! 

This is where you come in. They both need to raise $3,550 by October to go to Swaziland, and here are a few ways that you can help:
Fundraising Page
  • Visit Jenny and Isaac's fundraising page, and donate. All donations are tax-deductible!
Lia Sophia Fundraiser
  • A Lia Sophia advisor is helping Jenny and Isaac host a fundraiser. Instead of earning free jewelry, they will be earning funds to help them get to Swaziland. The advisor is also donating her commission from the party and from any other party (including catalog and online shows) that is booked from their show.
  • Visit this Lia Sophia site. In the 'Look up your hostess' section, type 'Jenny Johnson'.
  • Shop away! 
  • Book a show: earn free jewelry for yourself and funds for Jenny and Isaac's trip to Swaziland!

I would love it if you would visit Jenny's blog, and leave her some love and encouragement! 


  1. I love her heart and the fact that she knows what God has for her to do. Those statistics are heart breaking.

  2. You have some great associations dear! Wow.
    what your friend jenny has done is fabulous!

  3. She has a heart very much like the one that beats in my baby boy's chest! Those statistics are heartbreaking. Praise God for people who feel the call, and are willing to answer, to go and make a difference ... for eternity!

  4. Big journey for a young couple. I love that your hearts are in such a beautiful place. I can understand why Tracie loves you so much. Many good wishes and prayers for your journey to come.

  5. so great to meet your long-time friend, Tracie. i have always admired those that are willing to truly GO anywhere that God calls them. thanks for sharing, and i'll be sure to go visit her site, too :)

  6. “Please give me wisdom, clarity, and direction.”

    That's the most amazing, perfect prayer.

    What a dear friend! Thank you for sharing this.