Tributes to the life of Eleanor Johnson
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Tributes from the Johnson Family and Pat and Pam Brooks

Farewell to Eleanor Johnson, 
a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus

Eleanor Johnson, who died, aged 96, on 14 September, 2011, at 2:45 am was the widow of Carl. She died in Virginia , USA following a stroke and her funeral was in Maryland on 24 September.

Carl and Eleanor were missionaries in the Congo for 5 years before transferring to Burundi , where they served Christ for 50 years.  Carl had a heart attack on1 February 2001, aged 86, just before they had planned to retire. He died immediately and was buried at the Mission where they had served in Burundi . Eleanor said her final goodbyes to the friends at the Mission and retired to the USA in November 2001, as she and Carl had originally planned.

There are now a third generation of Johnsons working in Burundi . Carl is buried just a few meters from the house where his grandson and wife now live. 

Carl and Eleanor's grandchildren record other reminders of the Johnson legacy to Burundi .

“One day we were shopping with a Burundian friend, in the central market.  As we walked, we all noticed a young boy flipping through a giant wad of cash. The friend stopped and asked him,  "Did you steal that money from Carl's grandson?"  The boy, who I had never met before, replied, "No!  He's a Johnson.  I wouldn't steal money from a Johnson!!"

To catch a taxi to our house from town, you just have to ask the driver to take you to the "Johnson place," and 90% of the time he'll know right where that is.

Carl and Eleanor's grandson’s wife recalls "Whenever I start speaking Kirundi in town, people stare in shock and ask how I've learned Kirundi.  I have discovered that all I have to say to satisfy their curiosity is, "My husband is a Johnson."

“We also see daily evidence of the love, generosity, and patient teaching of the Word of God that my parents and grandparents dedicated themselves to while they were in Burundi .  Many of the visitors that come to our house each day mention that one of these faithful four saved their lives during the civil war. Others talk about their help with school fees, in times of sickness, and in times of hunger.  On many Sundays the speaker in the church is someone Grandpa or Dad had discipled.

When (Eleanor Johnson) died, the first person I had to tell was a woman who had worked in Grandma's home many years ago. She was waiting on the porch to see if we could help her kids and grandkids with school fees, but the first question out of her mouth was "How is Madame Johnson?"  When I told her Grandma had gone home (to heaven), she turned her face to the wall and cried.  Burundians don't cry.  Then she turned to me and said, "She was such a wonderful woman of God.  She always loved us.  She always helped us.  I will have to go home and tell everyone."  When I told her of the local church leaders' plan to announce Grandma's death on the radio, she replied, "Good.  EVERYONE will want to know.  So many people loved her." 

What a tribute to an amazing woman. May all of us be motivated to be the kind of person she was.

Please pray for all of Carl and Eleanor’s family as they grieve.   

Pat and Pam Brooks record these memories of 
Eleanor Johnson 

We give heartfelt thanks to God for the life of Eleanor. She was a joyful, giving person, full of enthusiasm, serving God's church in Africa without counting the cost. Her missionary brethren were included in this service - whichever group they happened to belong to. Carl and Eleanor's home at Vugizo had an open door of generous hospitality and it beckoned not only us but travellers passing through Burundi whether they were believers or not. These folk never left without having heard the Good News of Jesus. To all of us they were so generous. They gave us our very first car - an ancient Beetle which served us well until our first furlough. They also hosted a "Shower" (of gifts) for us with the American missionaries, when we arrived back from our honeymoon. Eleanor was a faithful correspondent. She kept in regular contact with their seven children and their families. We often had a personal footnote when she sent her prayer letters from the US. She was a fantastic cook on a shoestring budget! Her banana bread lingers in the mouth and I have memories of her 'Heinz' baked beans which tasted better than the original. Somehow even late arrivals found themselves sitting down to a beautifully prepared meal. Eleanor was a perfect helpmeet for Carl. His rocklike character was complemented by her spontaneous freedom and joy in the Lord. She always managed to laugh at Carl's jokes - even when she had heard them scores of times before! She remained young in heart and outlook and even when they were forced to leave Vugizo and make a new home and ministry at Kigobe - on the other side of Bujumbura - they both coped with the transition. In her latter years Eleanor was setting up new work with disabled people. Her life gave the message, "In a world of uncertainty it's so worthwhile being a Christian.!"

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