Stephen and Caitlin Johnson

Stephen and Caitlin are a very special family to our congregation.  Their priority in life is to love God and serve Him faithfully.  They've had a really hard few years between his health and her health and now their current living situation.  Below are the words of Caitlin's mother telling their story over the past few years.  I hope you'll take the time to read it and consider giving to this sweet family to help lessen their financial burdens.  

Stephen and Caitlin Johnson began their life together on April 6th, 2018. They had hopes and dreams just like any young couple does. They both finished their college degrees early and that is how they met. They were both College Plus students and were both involved in an online discussion group between College Plus students concerning bible matters. They quickly realized that they were coming from extremely similar backgrounds and had the same desire for leading a life pleasing to God. After friendship and bible study together for 2 years, Stephen moved from Canada to Arkansas to be closer to Caitlin and for them to determine if they were as compatible as it seemed. Stephen had been struggling with some health issues while in Canada and was hopeful that the different climate here might help with that also. His health did improve once he moved here. He was able to play sports and worked as a handyman on a regular basis. His skin had always been an issue, and it was doing very well for the first few months. He moved here in July and by October, he was ready to propose to Caitlin. Once she said yes, he quickly began searching for a place for them to call home. He had been wise in his use and saving of his money and was looking to buy a house for them so they would be debt free as soon as possible. That would be their only debt because they both owned their cars and had no credit card or school loan debt. He found a home that was within his budget and purchased it. They set their wedding date and began working on fixing up the house with the help of friends and family. Stephen moved in around February of 2018.  The Lord blessed their union with their first child in March 2019. They were both extremely excited but also a little concerned as Stephen’s health started to get worse again during Caitlin’s pregnancy. Some of his struggles were inability to sleep at night, either because of itching from head to toe (so extreme that he would try to wear socks on his hands to keep from scratching) or night sweats, or the inability to turn his brain off. Brain fog and inability to concentrate or remember certain things, physical exhaustion and weakness, his body heating up any time he tried to exert himself in any way and hives popping up anytime he got stressed or overheated were among his other problems. Some of these were also new symptoms that he had never experienced before. It got so bad that Stephen wasn’t able to do any physical work at all. His desire was for Caitlin to be able to be at home and be a full time wife and mother and work her photography business on the side. She had been working as an administrative assistant at UCA since before they married and they planned for her to quit in January before the baby arrived. Everything he planned and hoped for was slowly being stripped away along with his health. Caitlin was blessed to be asked by her chiropractor to come be a receptionist for her and the doctor even told her she would be welcome to bring the baby with her once she was born and continue working. Their child, Ruth Amaris Johnson, was born at their home with a midwife, doula, Stephen, and her mother all supporting Caitlin. Stephen was already in a very poor state of health at this time, but he pushed through to help Caitlin. Right after the birth, however, he crashed. Caitlin started getting reoccurring mastitis and they both needed help, so they moved into Caitlin’s parents’ home for a few weeks just to get Caitlin back on her feet. During this time, Stephen’s health got to the point that he was almost bed-ridden. He went for testing and some of the blood work that came back was concerning and caused the doctor to want to do a lymph biopsy and a spleen ultrasound. They have been searching for answers ever since and possibilities have ranged from chronic reoccurring mono, to lyme’s disease, to cancer. To help pay for all the testing and doctor visits, Stephen had to sell his truck. His health began to level out again and slowly improve during the summer of 2019 after beginning treatment with a doctor that specialized in rare and undiagnosed illnesses. Then he seemed to hit a plateau and wasn’t making any more progress. He was working from home doing Quickbooks for his father’s business and studying and working to be able to start a bookkeeping business.  This is the way life was progressing for this young couple through the end of 2019. 

Then, on January 4th, 2020, they faced a whole new trial. Caitlin went to the ER with a terrible migraine and found out that she has an AVM in her brain. For complete details on this, read Caitlin’s blog post about it (complete with brain scan pics):

It took Caitlin almost two months to recover from all the testing and hospital stay before she could go back to work. They have been blessed by their decision to use Christian Healthshare Ministries as their insurance as it has been reimbursing them 100% of their costs for Caitlin. They were concerned that all of this stress and worry about Caitlin would really set Stephen’s health back, and by the end of March, he was having trouble sleeping again, itching, feeling weak, and experiencing brain fog. They spoke with his doctor about the possibility of mold being in their house and causing some of Stephen’s issues. The doctor said it was definitely a possibility. So, they ordered a testing kit to find out if there was mold in their house, how much, and what kind. One hour of collecting showed 12 different kinds of mold, with the average of 13 mold colonies per dish. This is far above what is considered normal for mold growth.

Now they are facing the monumental task of deciding on two major things. Whether to have brain surgery to treat Caitlin’s AVM and the possible complications if they do and even if they don’t, and what to do about their home that is completely paid for but too mold-ridden for them to live in. Their car also showed mold exposure, so it’s possible they may have to replace that too.

Stephen had also been exposed to mold when he was younger, because he found out after the fact that the gym he had spent time in during childhood was known to have mold and had caused many other people to have health issues. So it is apparent that he is very sensitive to mold and the toxins that it releases. This is a big reason why they feel that it is a necessity that they build their own home. They are basically starting from scratch pretty much like there was a tornado or house fire. They can’t keep anything that is in the house unless it’s metal or glass and that has to be cleaned meticulously. 

At this time, they are living in a camper trailer graciously loaned to them until October by some friends, which is parked at Caitlin’s parents’ house. They have begun the process of remediating their house with the hopes of selling it. They also plan to build a tiny home to live in short -term while they find another piece of property to build a home on. They are updating everyone on the process here at this blog, if you would like to follow along for up-to-date information on how the remediation and build are going.

They are both hard working, do-anything-for-anyone people and hate to have to ask anyone for help. But they have been dealt a series of hard blows in their two short years of marriage that are beyond their control. Please know that anything you do to help them will be paid forward in their lives as they bless others when they are past all of this and able.


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Fundraising team (3)

Jason Lankford 
Bigelow, AR
Stephen Johnson 
Lauren Maxwell 
Team member
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