blogging, blogs, columbia, family, Grace Bible Church, interview, Louisville, missionary, missions, mizzou, Obama, Oman, SBTS, seminary, Sikeston, southern baptist, Southern Seminary, Union University
I’d like to introduce you to Isaac Johnson, who blogs at Doulos Reviews and is also the newest member of our blog team. Isaac’s dad is a long-time friend of mine. I know it makes me sound old, but I remember when Isaac was born, so it’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve known him his whole life. He currently lives with his wife Jenny in Columbia, Missouri. Isaac has been accepted as a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and will begin classes this fall.
Isaac, first tell me a little bit about you and your wife and what both of you are currently doing there in Columbia.
Where to begin! I’m 26 years old, born and raised in Sikeston, Missouri. By the tremendous grace of God I was raised in a Christian home to loving parents who have remained together in marriage and have given me an incredible model of a godly life. I was saved at an early age which is another tremendous blessing. I graduated from the University of Missouri in 2005 with a bachelors in Human Development and Family Studies.
I met my wife on New Years Eve 2003/04 through mutual friends as she was pursuing her undergraduate in psychology at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She has also completed her Masters in Social Work at the University of Missouri. Through His Word and experiences we’ve had and people who have blessed us, God has cultivated in us a heart for reaching the nations with the gospel. Currently, I am the office manager at the Office of Creative Ministries, which is essentially the missions arm of the United Methodist Conference of Missouri. Jenny works for Refugee & Immigration Services here in Columbia and helps resettle refugees from all over the world here in the Columbia area.
We have been attending Grace Bible Church in Columbia and I teach a Sunday School class there for Burmese refugees. That has been an incredible and challenging experience. We’re moving in a matter of weeks to Louisville, Kentucky where I’ll start work on getting my Masters of Divinity in Missions.
Did your involvement in those ministries have anything to do with your decision to enroll in seminary?
I knew before we took on our current jobs that seminary was down the road for me. I felt confirmed that God was leading me to overseas ministry for quite a while, and when he put this Godly, beautiful, loving woman in my life with the same passions, it was an even further confirmation of that calling. I guess you could say that is what drove us to our current jobs. I know there are plenty of amazing missionaries out there and throughout history that have made a tremendous impact for the kingdom without any formal seminary training, but I also knew that I really needed that concentrated time of intense study as well as the relationships that are formed in that environment. I also knew that seminary would be a great springboard into the mission field and would put us alongside amazing people who would further stir up our passion for the gospel.
What would you like to do once seminary is behind you?
I would love to be serving the Lord in a foreign land. I can honestly say I have no idea what specifically that will look like. God has put North Africa on our hearts, but I know many people who start seminary with one place in mind, and leave with somewhere totally different, so we’re not holding God to that by any means!
Okay… explain the picture at the beginning of the interview.
This is a picture of me at a local souq (market) while we were visiting a friend in Oman. This is the traditional dress for the men of that country. We had a wonderful time there and enjoyed the hospitality the people there showed us. It’s helped me begin to understand the middle eastern people and their mindset. I think we too often subconsciously (or consciously) view them as the enemy or we fear them or see them as “those people” when really they are for the most part beautiful, warm people. I was surprised (and a bit disappointed) at some of the looks I got from church members when I got home when I told them about our trip and experiences.
Let me ask you a few blogging questions. How long have you been blogging, and how did you get started?
Oh wow, I guess I have been blogging off and on since 2001, which is my freshman year in college. I don’t remember a single post from back then and would probably be pretty embarrassed if I did. I probably got started because my friends started doing it and I thought it was a cool concept. I do struggle with blogging on a regular basis. It can be a hard thing to put your thoughts out there for the world to see and comment on. I think it can be a tremendous tool for growth and can help me think critically about different issues and be sharpened by other minds out there.
What would you say has been your primary reason for blogging up to this point?
My blogging thus far has been admittedly unfocused. I’ve used it to keep family and friends up to date on my life as I’m geographically separated from them. I’ve used it to draw attention to causes and issues that God has put on my heart. I’ve used it to give my reaction and perspective on things I see in culture.
I know you’ve got a great sense of humor, so I’m going to give you an opportunity to free wheel for a minute. Do you happen to have an amusing story you’d like to share with our readers?
I do have a joke. It’s a current events joke so I have to beat it into the ground before it becomes completely irrelevant:
So, regardless of where your stance is politically, this is an historical time for America in that we’ve elected our first African-American President. For many years, people said America would never elect a black president. Some went as far as to say we would elect a black President when pigs fly. Then…sure enough…in the first 100 days of Obama’s presidency….swine flu.
What one thing would you like to say to our readers in closing?
I’m excited about this opportunity to grow and help others do the same through this medium. It looks like there are exciting times ahead and I hope you keep up with all the updates.
Thanks, Isaac. I look forward to your contributions to the blog!
If you have any questions for Isaac, fire away!