From the daily archives: Monday, December 20, 2010

The joy of giving matched the joy of receiving this past Saturday as Turning Point Ministries held its annual Christmas Give-Away.  This event is held each year on the Saturday prior to Christmas and is one of Pastor Mike Johnson’s favorite days of the year.  Although Pastor Mike was too ill to attend this year, those who were there to help were happy to keep the joy flowing.

There were plenty of clothes, toys, and furniture on hand to be distributed to those in attendance, along with hot dogs, candy canes, and cotton candy.  50 food boxes were distributed to those who held the lucky raffle tickets and there was plenty of produce for everyone.

Heartfelt thanks go out to all who donated their time or money to help make this great day possible.  It is truly a blessed day and the Turning Point families look forward to this day all year.

Pastor Mike Johnson passed away that evening Saturday December 18th 2010.


Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced today that Wells Fargo has agreed to provide loan modifications worth more than $2 billion to thousands of California homeowners with “pick-a-pay” loans and to pay an additional $32 million to thousands of borrowers who lost their homes through foreclosure.

None of the loans were made by Wells Fargo. All were originated by World Savings and Wachovia, banks Wells Fargo acquired.

“Customers were offered adjustable-rate loans with payments that mushroomed to amounts that ultimately thousands of borrowers could not afford,” Brown said. “Recognizing the harm caused by these loans, Wells Fargo accepted responsibility and entered into this settlement with my office.”

The pick-a-pay, or pay option adjustable-rate, mortgage loans allowed borrowers to make payments at various levels. The highest level fully covered the monthly interest and principal due. Another level covered interest only. At the minimum level, payment was insufficient to cover the monthly interest owed, and the unpaid interest was added to the loan balance.

Ultimately, the loans would reset, increasing the monthly payments dramatically.

Faced with unemployment, dramatic declines in home prices, and the sharp escalation of the monthly payments, thousands of borrowers were unable to meet their mortgage payments.

The settlement with Wells Fargo covers loans made by World Savings Bank, a subsidiary of Golden West Financial Corp., and Wachovia Bank. Wachovia purchased World Savings in 2006, and Wells Fargo then acquired Wachovia in 2008.

Under the settlement, Wells Fargo will offer affordable loan modifications to an estimated 14,900 California borrowers with pick-a-pay loans made by World Savings or Wachovia. Many of the modifications will include significant principal forgiveness. The total value of the modifications mandated by the settlement is projected to be more than $2 billion.

Wells Fargo is also required to pay $32 million in restitution to more than 12,000 pick-a-pay borrowers in California who lost their homes through foreclosure, plus approximately $1.8 million in costs to the state. Payments to foreclosed homeowners are expected to average more than $2,650.

Wells Fargo has reached settlements over pick-a-pay loans with attorneys general of several other states, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas and Washington.

California borrowers eligible for loan modifications should get a notice from Wells Fargo within the next two months. Borrowers who suffered foreclosures should be notified during the first six months of 2011. For further information and updates, check the Attorney General’s website at


By Jim Predmore

Pastor Mike Johnson left us and went to be with the Lord on Saturday December 18, 2010 around 9:30 pm. Pastor Mike had been battling cancer over the last 10 months. Mike Johnson was the founder and director of Turning Point Ministries which was started in 1994 after Mike had spent a year in Teen Challenge. Mike Johnson was also the Pastor of the Turning Point Ministry Life Center which was opened in February 2005. It was during the time he spent at Teen Challenge where he decided to change the direction of his life, where he fell in love with the Lord and wanted to do the Lords work. Mr. Johnson was very dedicated to his ministry. It was started by fundraiser barbecues in the park here in Holtville were Mike had been best known as a drug addict prior to his going to Teen Challenge. He had to overcome many obstacles along the way. Mike Johnson received a lot of support from his probation officer and was introduced to many of the Judges, District Attorneys and Public Defenders. Over the last sixteen years Mr. Johnson has built a very strong working relationship with all of the judicial departments here in the Imperial County, many of whom turned to Mike for advice. Mr. Johnson has received many awards and certificates along the way. For example in 2004 he received the “Distinguished Ministry Award” from the Living Free Ministry. Mr. Johnson was very knowledgeable in conducting interventions and was called on frequently to do so. Mike had the uncanny ability to look at someone and know that something was wrong and he wanted to help. Mike loved helping others and would; he always put others ahead of himself and gave of himself 24 hours a day.

Mike loved this time of year and over the last ten years Mike and Turning Point have provided Thanksgiving dinner at Holt Park and this year was no different. Even being very ill Mike was up all night before Thanksgiving to make sure that the turkeys were just right. Mike was still able to come to the dinner and greet many that came to enjoy the meal. Mike was also able to preach on November 21st, and 28th giving a short but powerful message. But Mike always put one day as his favorite and that would be the day of the Turning Point Annual Christmas Giveaway where items are donated through the year such as clothes, shoes, toys, household items and many other items. Turning Point sorts them all out and gives it all away on that day. Turning Point also provides Food Baskets for families in need so that they could enjoy a Christmas dinner. This years Give- Away was on December 18th.

My wife and I were blessed to be able to spend some time with Mike on Friday. Mike was in good spirits and looked better then he had for a while. We were talking about the Christmas Giveaway and how some of the local businesses and organizations had donated to help with the food baskets. He said he needed to work also. He grabbed his phone and made a call and just like that he had raised another $1,000.00. That was Mike. He was never embarrassed to ask for funds to be able to help others. Mike said that he was going to try to come out to visit but was too weak to do so.

Mike Johnson will be missed by many and his wish was for others to continue on with what he had started and he has placed others in place to do so.

Viewing will be 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, December 28th at Faith Assembly in Imperial.  Memorial service will be Wednesday December 29th at 10:00 am at Faith Assembly.

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