[Congressional Record Volume 147, Number 27 (Monday, March 5, 2001)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E273]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                      HON. ROBERT L. EHRLICH, JR.

                              of maryland

                    in the house of representatives

                         Monday, March 5, 2001

  Mr. EHRLICH. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay special tribute to Carl 
Johnson, a man who dedicated nearly his entire adult life in selfless, 
heroic service to the impoverished and sometimes war-torn African 
nation of Burundi. For more than 55 years, Carl and his wife Eleanor 
along with their seven children, have dedicated their time, talents, 
energy, and most of all, their hearts to the people of a continent far 
away from the comforts of their Maryland home. On February 3, 2001, in 
Burundi, Carl Johnson passed away at the age of 85.
  Missionary life began for the Johnson family in 1945, after they were 
commended by the Loch Hill Chapel of Towson, Maryland. The journey to 
the mission field was made by flying boat and took one month, stopping 
at Bermuda, the Azores, and Lisbon before arriving in West Africa. Upon 
their arrival, the Johnsons were introduced to their first home which 
had a grass roof, a mud floor, no running water, and no electricity. 
The Johnson's second home, which proved to be much hotter, sported a 
fancy metal roof and a hard cement floor. Their children were raised 
learning the languages and customs of the country they eventually 
called ``home.'' Their world consisted of warm weather, good friends, 
interesting food, and amazing pets--monkeys, goats, lizards, parrots, 
guinea pigs, dogs, and cats to name only a few.
  The Johnsons did not come so far and sacrifice so much for their own 
pleasure. Rather, they came to serve. Their missionary life in Burundi 
was difficult. Most days were spent teaching, studying, working, and 
battling diseases like dysentery and tuberculosis. They brought joy, 
comfort, peace, and even humor, during trying times to all those 
fortunate enough to be near them.
  After fifty years of preaching, their assignment abruptly shifted to 
a humanitarian mission, as wars of independence swept through the 
African continent. In spite of the dangers of war, and even the deaths 
of more than 200,000 fellow Burundians, the Johnsons remained as 
beacons of stability and hope. They served as inadvertent hosts to as 
many as 10,000 refugees fleeing ethnic terror that threatened to tear 
the nation apart. The couple was a force behind encouraging 
international humanitarian aid from other countries for both food and 
medical supplies. Several times a week, Mr. Johnson drove through army 
checkpoints to a World Food Program warehouse to bring much needed food 
to the refugees. They are perhaps best known for their medical service 
in what is now known as the Kigobe Health Center, which has treated 
nearly one million patients and has saved the lives of thousands.
  Harry S. Johnson shares this about his father: ``Carl's funeral 
service at the Kigobe mission site on Tuesday, February 6, 2001, was a 
triumphant testimony to our blessed Hope, with over 3,000 adults 
gathered in tribute to his life and ministry. Dignitaries came and 
mingled with the poorest of the poor as his casket was lowered into the 
grave, a befitting farewell to a man who was `all things to all men' ''
  Mr. Speaker, I am proud to represent Mr. Carl Johnson's family in 
Maryland's Second Congressional District, and ask that my colleagues 
join me in thanking the Johnsons for their heroic service to God and to 
the people of Burundi.