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Impacting Generations

Published on July 07, 2023

Danielle White
This article appears in the Spring 2023 issue of the FCA Donor Publication. The FCA publication is a gift from our FCA staff to all donors giving $50 or more annually. For more information about giving, visit here.

Followers of Christ are shaped in many different ways, each equipped with a unique beginning that led to their decision to accept Christ.

However, if you are a member of Larry Sr. and Bonnie Johnsen’s family, your testimony probably begins the same way: an affiliation to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The family’s FCA story began when patriarch Larry Sr. became involved with FCA in 1973 at Geneseo High School (GHS) as a football coach. Shortly after Larry Sr. joined that staff, the young family attended their first Coaches and Family Camp at Estes Park, Colo. Larry Jr. was 5 and Tracey was 18 months. The rest, the family says, is history.

“Being in FCA has been a big part of our life and we were very fortunate6wAH5AI4 that it helped influence our family’s faith,” Larry Sr. said.

It didn’t take long for FCA to become a cornerstone for the Johnsen family, one they hoped would set an example for both their children and the students they led.

When the head football coach position became available at GHS in 1979, Larry Sr. assumed the role, and he also became the school’s next FCA Huddle Leader. The Johnsen family began hosting the Huddle in their home and made it a point to attend FCA Camp in summer, providing their children a chance to observe the discipleship that happens within FCA on a weekly basis.

“Even though Larry Jr. and Tracey were still little, they always enjoyed being around the older kids at FCA,” Bonnie remembered. “They saw them at the many camps our family attended, and we were happy because they were exposed to seeing high school kids who were interested in learning more about Jesus.”

Throughout their adolescence, Tracey and Larry Jr. frequently attended FCA Camp with their parents and friends. Eventually, the two siblings grew up, got married, and started their own families. While a lot has changed in their lives over the years, their connection to FCA has remained strong. Larry Jr. is now the head football coach at GHS, and his dad is a volunteer assistant coach. As Larry Sr. and Bonnie have stayed engaged in serving FCA, so has Larry Jr., as he volunteers at FCA Sports Camps during the summer. Both Larry Jr. and Tracey have set the stage for future generations to be a part of the GSA Huddle; all five of the children between them got involved in the GHS Huddle alongside their grandparents.

“To be a part of something that has been important to my family since before I was born feels special,” Tracey’s daughter Anna Moxey shared. “FCA Camp was such an impactful experience, and it is wonderful to have people, specifically close family, who can relate to that experience in a deeper way.”

The Johnsen family sets a true example of what a Christ-centered life looks like. In fact, their commitment to maintaining an active faith is one reason FCA Multi-Area Director Dan Pearson is so thankful to have them on his team of supporters.

“Bonnie and Larry Sr. are tremendous role models for what it means to live out a Christian marriage,” Pearson shared. “They've shown countless coaches, athletes and their families what it looks like to put the Gospel of Jesus front and center. Jesus is the center cord in theirsP1C6Qub - pixlr relationship. They are proof that God's ways work! The dozens and dozens of kids in the Geneseo Huddle see their grace and humility in front of them every Friday morning and on Friday nights during football games.”

Over the years, Larry Sr. and Bonnie have made sure to stay involved in GHS. Today, they support FCA’s pursuit of making disciples in several ways. In addition to being financial supporters, they are actively engaged in cooking. Every Friday morning, before school starts, they prepare breakfast for more than 60 high school students. Local businesses, parents, churches and donors make it possible for the students to fill not just their bodies with good food but their hearts with the Word of God. This also gives the Johnsens an opportunity to see the last of their five grandchildren at Geneseo’s Huddle (the other four have since graduated).

“I don’t care if they only come for the breakfast,” laughed Bonnie. “The students can’t help but feel loved and cared for by others. And once they are here, they find fellowship with the other kids.”

Larry Sr. is encouraged by the legacy of his family and how it’s reaching students in every generation.

“For young children to see people around them who are willing to share and live out their faith is such a joy,” Larry Sr. said. “When children grow in their faith, they spread that to others. Kids might listen to what weGywj7VUG say, but more importantly, they watch how we live.”

Pearson notes that thousands of student-athletes have been watching how the Johnsen family lives. Through their sincere and genuine commitment of the Lord, they have inspired not just their family members, but many other young hearts, to explore and embrace the Gospel of Jesus.

“It is fulfilling to see how special FCA is to the Johnsens from generation to generation,” Pearson said.

The great-grandchildren of Larry Sr. and Bonnie Johnsen have just begun elementary school, but they already show a passion for sports. And, given their lineage, it’s not out of the question to assume a fourth generation from the Johnsen Family will soon be a part of the Geneseo FCA Huddle and FCA Camps in the future.

“For us, the most important thing is for every family member to know Jesus and maintain a personal relationship with Him,” Larry Jr. and Bonnie emphasized. “We hope FCA encourages our fourth generation with the same opportunities our other family members have had. It would mean very much to us.”

Johnsen FCA Family Tree

First Generation: Larry Sr. and Bonnieh0beimoa
They attended their first FCA Camp in 1973 and have continued to attend camps and Huddles for the past 50 years. Today, both serve the Geneseo Huddle, and Larry Sr. volunteers as an assistant football coach at GHS under his son.

Second Generation: Larry Jr. (Sarah) and Tracey (Tom)
The siblings grew up attending FCA Camps with their parents. Larry Jr. is now the GHS Head Football Coach and serves at FCA Summer Camps.

Third Generation: Taylor (Grant), Anna (Lynrick), Kyle (Hailey), Lauren and Luke
All five grandchildren played sports and were part of the Geneseo FCA Huddle and attended FCA Camps.

Fourth Generation: Tanner and Weston
The Johnsens great-grandchildren are in kindergarten and second grade. Naturally, they have a love of sports. The entire family is encouraging them to get involved with FCA.


Photos courtesy of the Johnsen family