Johnna Hayward Muniz

Born near Chicago, Illinois, Johnna was influenced greatly by her two sets of grandparents.  Her father’s parents had been missionaries in India and South Africa for many years.  Her mother’s parents supported her father’s parents and provided housing for their family when they were back in the States. When she was 5, her 9 year old cousin (missionary kid in South Africa), asked her if she wanted to ask Jesus into her life. From then on, she went to church by herself and began to read the Bible daily. Over the years, she went to Christian camps, served as a high school Sunday School teacher and as a camp counselor.  Life was not all rosy, however. She struggled with her identity, putting it in dating relationships, alcohol, academics, music and sports. Over a period of about fifteen years and a lot of help from friends and counselors, each one of those areas was tested and she was finally able to grasp (more often than not) that her identity wasn’t dependent on what she did or how many people liked her. During those years, she had a chance to go on her first international trip to Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic with her college choir and she was hooked.

After receiving a college degree in music and a certificate in music management, she went to Japan as a cross-cultural worker (missionary) to teach English, help missionaries with childcare, music and sports ministry.  Later, she served as youth pastor in Iowa and eventually, received a call to go to seminary.  Upon graduation from seminary, Johnna served three years in Belgium as pastor of Outreach and Youth at a French-speaking African church. Trips to Ecuador, Sweden, Alaska, France, Italy and other countries strengthened her love for diverse cultures and languages. And then in Belgium, she met a Brazilian who was living in Spain…

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