My first job in Europe was typing for Bob Johnson. When we went to Belgium in 1982 where Jim taught at the Bible Institute, I worked as a secretary at the school. But every Friday I went to the Johnsons and attempted to keep ahead of Bob, then Northern Europe Director for Greater Europe Mission, typing up the reams of correspondence he cranked out by hand on legal pads. It was fascinating as through those letters I learned about ministry all over Europe, both in our mission and other missions, as well as in national movements. Only much later would I begin to understand the weightiness of Bob’s interactions and influence on all these fronts. Through that I got a glimpse of the vision and leadership of this dedicated, charismatic, innovative, and a little bit ADHD missionary. That’s why, when Greater Europe Mission polled the troops as they were looking for a new mission director, I responded that it would be their loss if they considered anyone other than Bob Johnson. Of course, as God would have it, they did consider others and in retrospect I realized that God in His wisdom had a more creative agenda.
As it was, God had planned for Bob and Alyce to be put in intensely challenging life experiences that grew and purified them and proved their faith. And in His great sovereignty, he prepared them and led them to Proclaim where Bob’s insight is indelibly etched in the forming of who we are as a mission. In these years I have come full circle editing reams of Bob’s writings – everything from foundational documents to, most recently, the tour manual he was passionately writing right up till God took him home. And Bob, with his gift of storytelling, has gone way beyond the documenting of guidelines for a successful tour – he has penned a history and journey of Proclaim! International. Through his keyboard he has both impacted the course of Proclaim as a mission and powerfully recounted and recorded God’s faithfulness through it all.
Bob is so desperately missed – but he gave more for the sake of God, for his co-workers, and for a spiritually needy world, than most people will in a much longer lifetime.
Well done, good and faithful servant.