During spring break in 2022, grandmother Johnna Donald took her first mission trip – a TBM effort to rebuild a home in Rio Grande City. Since then, she has gotten involved in her church’s mobile food pantry. Now, she’s looking for her next TBM trip.
“My mission in life is not over,” she says.
At age 52, Johnna already has a lifetime of service to her record. She raised two daughters as a single mother. She is a registered nurse who has worked in intensive care, emergency departments and gastro-intestinal labs. She now is an informaticist, which means she builds and supports electronic health record keeping systems.
Donald also is church nurse for New Harvest Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Worth. In this role, she helps New Harvest access resources for educating church members and others as they deal with health issues in their community.
More than a year ago, Donald wanted her church to help with a disaster in Florida. While getting information from the TBM website, she saw that TBM sponsored mission trips. She signed on for a trip to the Rio Grande Valley. In the valley, the group helped rebuild a house that had caught fire.
“We laid floors, put up insulation, and did other work so the family could move back in and be reunited,” she said. “That was my very first mission trip, and it was so moving.” The team helped the family and connected with a local church that helps people coming to the United States.
The living conditions of the immigrants surprised Donald. She likened it to a “tornado coming through and tearing up the houses. And people are living in these houses because it’s better to have a house than no house at all.”
Donald raised her daughters as a single parent. “What I thought was tough was not as tough as what some other people have gone through.”
She saw the situation in South Texas through her eyes – the eyes of a mother. “I saw people who would do anything for their kids to see that they have a better life.”
She spoke of the “love that a parent has for a child” and that God has for His children. And the missions experience changed her. “I now look for opportunities to help not just in my community but anywhere I can.”
That’s why she became part of her church’s mobile food bank. This service allows her to be “God’s hands and feet” in meeting needs, adding that she learned that phrase from Sabrina Pinales, TBM’s ministry advancement coordinator.
“I am so thankful God has brought me from a place where I did not know where the next meal will come from to a place where I can bring meals to others,” Donald said.