A Cord of Three Strands:

Brittany & Josiah

September 2023 | Written by Maribeth Griessel

     Greetings, Gashland! My name is William Brent Johnston-Colle. God sent me into this world 19 months ago, and I’ve been a busy little guy since that very moment. I love books, and cars and lots of toys. My beautiful Mommy is Brittany and my “tall, dark and handsome” Daddy is Josiah. I may be prejudiced, but I really think I have the best parents any little boy could have….see what you think.

      Daddy, Josiah Seth Colle, was born in Ponca City, OK, to Brent (now a retired mechanical engineer for Conoco) and Fran (now a retired nurse) who home-schooled five children. He is the youngest, with eldest sibling, Rachel, a salesperson married to Greg, who is a programmer in Oklahoma City. Next came Syneva, a cellist with a PhD (whatever that is!) in Maryland. Stefni was born third, and I hear she lives a crazy life in New York City, working in contracting and casting for TV and movies. My Uncle Jacob, a screenprinter, and his wife, Aunt Alex, along with 3 year old cousin Zeke, live in Wellsville, KS.

       Now to introduce Mama, Brittany Grace Johnston-Colle. She was born in Little Rock, AR, to Tony Johnston, a retired master plumber, and Araceli, a high school teacher at Little Rock Christian Academy. Mama’s sister, Stacey, is a manager for STUMO, a Christian college ministry, and her husband, Gray, also teaches at LR Christian Academy with my Grandma. We have three other family members, all of the feline persuasion, named Midna, Navi, and Eloise.

      Because of Grandpa’s work, my Daddy’s family lived all over the world, and Dad even lived in Malaysia and Japan! But they always came back to home base in Ponca City, where he attended Providence Baptist Church. After high school he moved to Tulsa and earned a BS in Chemical Engineering.  While at the University of Tulsa, he was active in RUF (Reformed University Fellowship), a ministry of PCA.  And guess what? He met a lovely young lady who was also in RUF. She was getting her BA in Elementary Education. She had attended charismatic and Baptist churches in Little Rock, but said, “For me, all I know is that when I went to college I realized that I wasn’t Baptist, it had to do with predestination.” Well, they met and before too long they got married!  (I’m so glad they did!)

      Have you ever heard of a guy named Marland?  Well, he founded Conoco, the company Grandpa Colle worked for. Mommy and Daddy got married in Ponca City in the Marland Mansion! Bet that’s a cool place!  They lived in Oklahoma for another year, with Mama teaching 4th and 5th grades social studies and math, as well as PE, while Daddy was beginning his career in engineering. I heard him comment, “I’ve always been privileged to enjoy my jobs, all in engineering.” After a year they moved to Batesville, AR, where they lived and worked for about 12 months. Then it was on to the Kansas City area in 2018, for a new job for my Papa and to be closer to family. After first moving to Platte City in October of that year, a few months later, in March, 2019, they moved to our place in Smithville.

      Now for more information about each of my parents. I heard someone ask them why they came to Gashland. They said they found the church via BSF, Bible Study Fellowship….I never heard of it, but I guess it’s a great thing. At first they went to Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Overland Park, KS, with my Grandma and Grandpa Colle, but it was really a long ways to drive. So they found out GEPC had BSF (I’m getting pretty good with all these initials!) and came here.  

      Mama doesn’t teach school anymore….I keep her busy, you know? And she enjoys motherhood, “Being a mom is the hardest job I’ve had, but also the most rewarding, and my favorite!” She started working last January as a wedding coordinator at The Brim. Here at church she serves on Outreach and also in the nursery, Little Lambs, during the 8:30 service. As for my Dad, he keeps busy too, on the mow team, being a deacon on the Mercy Team and playing music during the second service.  Speaking of which, did you know he plays the fiddle, piano, mandolin, guitar, banjo and button accordion? Wow! Don’t know about you, but I’m impressed!

       Guess you all should know, I’m pretty proud of my folks. I’m just beginning to learn Bible stories and songs, but they seem to know a lot. When asked about their favorite Bible people or scriptures, I heard Daddy reply, “Daniel, just an all-around cool dude who exemplifies Christian life within secular career paths. Daniel used his practical skills to serve unbelievers and believers alike while placing obedience to God ahead of the personal security his worldly success would have afforded him.”

      My Mama picked someone else she liked, “I love King David and the Book of Psalms. My favorite is Psalm 146. I find David admirable in his faults. There’s the obvious Bathsheba thing, but he also doubted and used prayer as a tool to turn his heart back to God and remind himself of God’s goodness. Habbakuk did the same.” 

      I heard the lady who took our pictures say about my parents that the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:12, a “cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Guess that’s a good thing!

      Not sure if you people reading about us like to travel, but I thought I would tell you about one place we like to go. Though Dad’s family lives here close, Mom’s relatives are still in Little Rock, well, actually her sister is in Conway, AR. Anyway, sometimes we like to head south to Branson, while the Johnstons come north, and we all get together kind of in the middle and enjoy vacation time in southern Missouri!

     Okay, I’ve shared a lot of information about my very special parents. But now I’m going to tell you some secrets…..things about them that I’ll bet you didn’t know!  When Mama Brittany was in high school she did Mexican folk dancing.  And Daddy Josiah (remember I said he could play the accordion?) played that instrument with the Arkansas Accordion Association for minor league baseball. I think he even has a video proving it!

       Hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know our little family, Gashland!  You’ll be seeing more and more of me as I grow up here.