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The Second Man
on the Mission Field
By Ed Johnson
In May 1974 Dan Johnson left the States with
his seven month pregnant wife, Gerri, and
two-year-old son, Allen, and headed for the
country of Brazil. Excited and energetic, they
set out to do God´s will for their lives. They
landed in São Paulo, eager to begin language
study so they could plant churches. After one
year in language school, they graduated and
received their diplomas, printed in Portuguese
on the front and in English on the back—I
suppose in case they did not understand the
Portuguese. From São Paulo they went to Orlandia to fill in
for Missionary Phillip Allen. They stayed one
year while he was on furlough and then went
to Jardinópolis to start a church. They worked
feverishly for 12 months in this new church
plant, but Dan quickly realized the Lord had
not given him the gifts of a church planter. Yet,
God had called him to Brazil. Was God wrong?
No, the Lord had other plans for him and his
family. God wanted them to work as a supporting
family for other missionaries in Brazil—
effectively multiplying the labor through
teamwork. Dan did not realize it then, but God
had given him certain gifts that would help
complement church planters and He would use
him mightily as a second man to spread the
Gospel throughout Brazil and to foreign
countries. The Lord led Dan and his family
to work with Jimmy Rose, the
grandfather of independent Baptist
missionaries in Brazil, to help his
ministry become established and
effective for the Lord, and to start a
Bible institute. With this new vision,
they went to the States on a furlough
and came back six months later
to Ribeirão Preto.

From that day to this day,
they have been faithfully
serving different Pauls
as their Timothys in
Brazil. They have
been laboring for
45 years and their
impact has been far-
reaching and lasting.

They helped establish
four works—one in
Ribeirão Preto, one
in Limeira with fellow
BIMI missionary
Garry Tyler, one in

Londrina with a Brazilian national, and
one in Taubaté. They helped those works
become strong, vibrant ministries, each
with its own Bible institute. Through these
works, scores of men and women have been
trained for the ministry. These graduates
have become church planters, missionaries,
pastors, and Christian workers across Brazil
and in different countries of the world.

Dan and Gerri Johnson have assisted in
whatever was necessary according to their
gifts. They have won souls, counseled,
taught, trained, mentored, started Bible
institutes, and helped develop Christian
resources in Brazil. Because of their
willingness to help where needed, thousands
of people have been influenced for the cause
of Christ through the Bible institutes and
the ministries that were started because
of them. The ministries they have labored
in have been able to multiply themselves
because of their labors. If they had not been
there, those churches would not have thrived
as they did and those Bible institutes would
not have been established and flourished as
they did.

Missionaries often go to a distant land where
the true Gospel has never been preached.

They go where there are no Christian
resources available—no good Bible colleges,
no Christian music in the native language,
no radio stations, no books, and no
Christian fellowship. While there, they live
by faith. Many times they need to pray in the
money necessary to feed their families and
to pay for the ministry expenses.

Oftentimes the church-planting missionary
family does this all alone. They must become
carpenters, bricklayers, and electricians.

They are the secretaries, treasurers, music
leaders, instrumentalists, youth workers, children’s
workers, nursery workers, school teachers,
principals, administrators, janitors, theologians,
counsellors, church-planters, and pastors. They
venture into the dark spiritual headquarters of
evil principalities away from family and friends,
learn a new language and a new culture and then
they start a church, endeavoring to establish it into
an autonomous, indigenous, self-supporting, and
self-propagating work.

Moreover, the missionary family must stay in
touch with their supporting churches. They
travel to the States while leaving their work
under-assisted for extended periods of time or
simply stay on the field even though a furlough
is desperately needed because there is no one to
cover for them. The church planters have to be
the Pauls of missionary work, often without a
Timothy, Silas, John Mark, or Luke. The Pauls are
needed but so are the others!
There is a huge need on the mission field, not just
for lead missionaries but for second men as well!
Men and women are needed who are willing to
give their lives to help the cause of Christ advance
on the front lines of the enemy regardless of their
positions. There is a great need for
more Timothys on the mission field.

Perhaps you are not a church planter
but want to be used of God on the
mission field. There is room for you.

Team missions is biblical and it is
effective! Every laborer is important!
I am honored and thrilled to work
with second men like Dan Johnson. He
is my hero, my mentor, my assistant
in the ministry, and he is my dad! W
Number 1, 2020