As I write, I am moments away from packing the last bits of my bag for my trip to Coffeyfille, KS. We’ll gather to remember CJ Hunter in just a matter of hours. It’s hard for me to take any trip abroad or domestically without thinking of the name CJ gave me.
Here’s the story:
Back in 2011 when I lacked the knowledge of how to prepare for my first international trip, I reached out to him first. I knew that he recently visited the UK and I was a fumbling and stumbling mess, in need of help.
I’d later reach out to Bishop Maurice Green of Bryan, TX. He graciously linked me to the Blackman family and the COGIC UK tribe. It was all divine.
CJ’s messages still bring a smile to my face.
I believe we Skyped that night too and I got a severe tongue lashing from him. We laughed until we cried that night because of my lack of planning. This was in September of 2011. My first trip abroad to England was in September of 2011. That’s when he first called me Karissa “No Plans” Johnson.
It turns out, that my “No Plans” ended up being the best plans.
Throughout the years, we’d look back and laugh as my “No Plans” really became the cadence for my expeditions. After seven continents, I still haven’t been able to truly shake the “No Plans” part.
Little did I know that the “No Plans” that he declared over me would be the best plans. CJ demonstrated being surrendered throughout his life. Those surrounding him were forced to follow suit–whether near or far.
After teaching in China and Saudi Arabia, it was a joy to return home to Nebraska and have my Jr. High/Sr. High class read his book during Bible study. After I sent him the picture of one of my students reading it, he offered to send an entire case to our church in Nebraska for FREE! And he actually did it!
He was especially encouraging to me as I watched my own mother press through a challenging battle with cancer. He told me that his goal wasn’t to sell a ton of books, although he’d appreciate the book sales, but he wanted people’s lives to changed and their faith to be strengthened. Hers was changed and strengthened and so was mine and countless others.
This morning I went into my room to grab his book out of my stack of books next to my overflowing book rack by my bed and his was the 7th down from the top–the number of completion.
His name was peeking out.
He’d later write me and encourage me to write my own book. I’m currently working on my second one. There’s more that I could share, but some things are just too sacred to release.
I’ll leave you with two screenshots from January 2017 and from last month:
He challenged me to trust God and know that He’s in control and He always knows best. He taught me the importance of laughter and living each day to the fullest. His life reminds me that regardless of what we go through, there will be “Glory After This.”
To the family and loved ones of CJ, you have my prayers and condolences and I will see you tomorrow, Lord willing.
Please allow me to leave you with this note from God’s heart to my ear:
Our great loss,
Is Heaven’s gain.
And He’ll give Heavenly joy,
To ease our earthly pain.
And I believe,
And no, I’m not insane,
But all is well.
Shalom, CJ. Shalom.
Rest in Heavenly Peace,
With love, respect, & gratitude,
Karissa “No Plans” Johnson