Hills, Valleys, and Preschoolers
Jake and Jane Johnston
Preschoolers. Those wiggly, curious, non-compliant, tiny human beings. Just the mention of them can make mature adults tremble. While ministry to children is not for the faint of heart, it is a heartfelt call for Jake and Jane Johnston.
Jake and Jane met while attending high school on the island of Saipan. Jake grew up there and Jane’s family sent her from their home in South Korea to study in Saipan at the international school that Jake attended. After high school, they both attended college in Pensacola, Florida. The couple married in 2006, tying the knot in four special ceremonies; two in the United States and two in South Korea. Eight years and three children later, Jake and Jane came to Clinton, Mississippi for Jake to pursue a graduate degree in biomedical science. Morrison Heights Baptist Church became their church home.
To some, it may seem unusual for a molecular biologist and a busy mother of now four children to serve in the preschool area of church. Jake and Jane, however, simply view their service as a fulfillment of God’s call on their lives. They are passionate about God’s Word, and they work diligently to instill truth into young minds. Jake and Jane saturate their Biblical teaching in prayer, trusting God to bring children to an understanding of Christ as Savior.
Jake is quick to acknowledge the children’s ministry at Morrison Heights is more than just babysitting for a couple of hours on Sunday morning. The leaders and workers demonstrate a genuine love for the children they serve. Their love extends to the families of those children, often meeting needs beyond the walls of the building or the time restraints of a Sunday morning. The children’s ministry cares about people, no matter how messy or unpredictable life gets.
Jake and Jane were faithfully serving in the children’s ministry when their own lives took an unexpected turn. Their young daughter was hospitalized for a month and eventually diagnosed with a rare disease. During the family’s ordeal, that same team of children’s workers who so lovingly ministered to others now ministered to the Johnstons. Jake and Jane were blessed by an outpouring of compassion which included childcare when needed and an ample supply of groceries. The church as a whole cared for the young family, praying diligently and encouraging them when circumstances threatened to dishearten. In the unforeseen valley, Jake and Jane experienced the love of Christ, demonstrated through the people of Morrison Heights Baptist Church.
Today, the Johnstons continue to serve in the children’s ministry. They are undeterred by those wiggly, curious preschoolers. In fact, the couple counts it a privilege to serve Christ by ministering to children. When asked about the future, the Johnstons reply, “We would like to look back and say we have walked humbly with the Lord and that we were obedient to His calling through the hills and valleys of our life.”