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September 27, 2015

 

To our wonderful friends and partners, greetings from America’s 45th state, Utah!

 

I have some AMAZING news to share with all of you!   For the first time in Standing Together’s almost 15 year history, we have been given a matching grant and a very significant one at that!  A very dear couple who have supported our ministry of unity and transformation in Utah from the start, have offered us an incredibly generous matching gift of $10,000 to help us strengthen our financial footing.  As you know from our last appeal letter in June, we shared with all of you that we were experiencing some tough financial times.  As our support team has done before, many of you dug down deep and showed your concern and care for our family and ministry by blessing us with special gifts.  As a result, Standing Together moved from a place of real financial concern to a more secure place, but candidly, our situation is only partially resolved.  We still need your assistance and this matching grant is a great opportunity for you to participate.  Can you help us turn a $10,000 gift into a $20,000 gift?

While we would never want to boast about our ministry, we think it is important to share with all of you why we believe Standing Together is a strategic investment into what God is doing here in Utah.  At our recent Board of Directors meeting, we discussed the regular ways in which God opens doors for us to our work with LDS Leaders, local evangelical pastors, national evangelical leaders, the Utah media, Utah political leaders, and the academic community, both inside and outside of Utah.  Frankly, it is humbling to us to consider how consistently the providential hand of God seems to be upon our ministry.  Often, the biggest question I ask God is, “if You keep blessing us with so many opportunities, can You really blame me for believing that You are doing something REALLY BIG in Utah? Through our local pastoral network of over 80 churches, we see God uniting His Body in Utah.  Through various ministry opportunities, we see the work of transformation in motion.  This ministry has and always will belong to Jesus Christ.  Believe me, when He is ready to shut it down, I will accept His will and ask for my next assignment.  Yet, it just does not seem like God wants to shut down this work.  As a faith ministry, I believe the ebb and flow of support is God’s way of reminding me that this ministry belongs to Him and where He guides, He provides!

For example, the next six weeks are filled with non-stop, over the top ministry opportunities.  This week, we will host national evangelical leader, Dr. Jim Garlow, of Skyline Church in San Diego.  Dr. Garlow will speak on the topic of Religious Freedom in America for a pastor’s luncheon/seminar in the afternoon and an evening event that is open to the community. While with us, Pastor Garlow will meet with three top LDS leaders and our Attorney General, and will also have significant media opportunities.  Next week, myself and two other pastors will travel to Brooklyn, New York to attend the Brooklyn Tabernacle Prayer meeting with Dr. Daniel Henderson of Strategic Impact.  Mid month, I will once again participate in Board of Directors meetings with the National Association of Evangelicals in Minnesota.  Upon my return, we will host Pastor Jenson, of Erode, India, who will be preaching at one of our key partnering churches, our home church, The Rock Church.  Then, at month’s end, we will be fully engaged in the World Congress of Families 9 event in SLC and hosting prominent evangelical speakers like Nick Vujicic, Sammy Rodriguez, and Rev. John Jenkins, along with other top pro-life leaders.  Not only have we been allowed to be a strategic partner with the World Congress of Families, I have also been asked to address the Congress on the Sacred Nature of Family and Human Sexuality, which is such an honor.  In addition, from now until November 7th, with a fabulous leadership team of 11 others, we will be facilitating My Hope With Billy Graham, hoping to equip and encourage Utah Churches to proclaim the name of Jesus on the National Day of Proclamation.  While some would look at the next month and feel exhausted, I feel inspired and exhilarated because this is how God is moving in our state!!!

So without apology and with great expectation for what the Lord is doing in Utah, may I ask you once again, Can you help us turn $10,000 into $20,000?  As I conclude, I understand that for some of you, giving to our ministry may not be possible at this time.  I also realize that some of you support us monthly and may not be able to give a special gift to our matching donation, that’s OK too.  However, if you can help us with this grant, I thank you on behalf of all that God is doing to make Utah His state, a place full of true followers of Jesus!

~Thanks, prayers and love from the Johnsons and the ST staff and board