No Greater Joy

Fabio and Joy Anna Volpi with Julie and Jim Leonard in Gramado

Fabio and Joy Anna Volpi with Julie and Jim Leonard in Gramado

3 John 4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are living according to the truth.”

Missionaries usually apply this verse to their spiritual children, as was John’s intention when he penned these words.  We do have great joy to think of Fernando and Helderlânia serving in Venezuela, Mouzinho and Haildelene in Mozambique, Heron and Laura in The Gambia, and many others living the gospel in various parts of Brazil.

But if it were possible to have an even greater joy, it would be to see our physical children also “living according to the truth.”  This was the case during this past week as we visited Joy Anna and Fabio who are serving as missionaries in the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.  Though they are still in Brazil, the people are different, the weather is different, the culture is different, and even the Portuguese is different.

Julie sharing her testimony at the Campo Bom church

Julie sharing her testimony at the Campo Bom church

As we arrived at the airport, we were welcomed by the cold.  With temperatures between 40 and 60 degrees, this was not near the cold we are used to seeing back home in Minnesota.  But the buildings are just like in Northeast Brazil, open and without insulation.  So the cold is more “in your face.”  Fortunately, a native loaned each of us a pala, sort of like a wool blanket with a hole in the middle for the head.  We even looked sort of native, since most of the people are descendents of Germans and Italians.

Jim preaching at one of the church plants

Jim preaching at one of the church plants

Fabio and Joy Anna are church planters, working with two church plants in different communities, as well as various Bible studies in communities where someday they hope to have a church.  We not only enjoyed meeting their co-workers, but we also visited and helped minister in both of their church plants.

The people in Rio Grande do Sul eat well.  This is the part of Brazil that supplies tons of beef for the world.  Fortunately, some of that beef stays at home, and we had some of it.  A native “gaucho” family from one of the churches had us to their home for a real churrasco gaucho.  It was as much standing with the men around the grill as it was to eat it.

A real churrasco gaúcho

A real churrasco gaúcho

Keeping warm in our "pacas".

Keeping warm in our “palas”.

Breakfast with Mario and Iracy

Breakfast with Mario and Iracy

While we were in Rio Grande do Sul we enjoyed getting together with some of our former students who are

Julie and Roselane

Julie and Roselane

also serving the Lord in that state.  Roselane graduated from Bible college with Fabio, and she was the one who first challenged him to consider missions in her home state.  Mario and Iracy brought their young family all the way across the country to study at our Bible college, back in 1996.  Today Mario pastors a small church in Nova Petropolis.  There son later studied at our college and today pastors a church in our state’s capital, Fortaleza.

We arranged to spend two days with Joy Anna and Fabio in a resort town up in the mountains called Gramado.  Though the temperatures did not get down to freezing, they did dip into the 40’s while we were there.  We did a lot of walking, talking, eating, resting, and just having fun together.  Of course Fabio had to learn how to play Rook, in order to fit into our family.

Enjoying a fondue dinner in Gramado

Enjoying a fondue dinner in Gramado

Playing Rook in Gramado

Playing Rook in Gramado

Though we had a lot of fun, we were ready to return home to Northeast Brazil.  After two airplane flights and an overnight bus ride, 20 hours later we arrived in Crato.  It will be nice to get back onto our schedule.



by | August 14, 2013 · 9:52 pm

8 responses to “No Greater Joy

  1. Gordy Harder

    I like this new format. I can enjoy the pictures and the comments in a quick note.
    I have forgotten that you are in winter when you travel to South Brazil. I would think that with thin blood you would become chilly more readily in decreasing moderate temperatures. This just may prepare you for your return to the USA to visit a new born, maybe in the cold of Midwest winters with below zero temperatures.
    Thanks for being our missionaries to Brazil.
    Julie, we are accompanying your parents to a Blue Grass Festival in the hill country of SW Minnesota this Friday. We should have a good time. Rain is scheduled but we are hoping for sun shine.


    Gordy and for Nancy

  2. Frances Leonard

    I have 5 “joys” to enjoy seeing serving the Lord. A greater joy is to see your grandchildren also serving the Lord. Mom

  3. Lois Rasmussen

    It was so fun to ‘travel’ with you to southern Brazil and see Fabio and Joyanna’s place of work! What a special blessing for you to do this! Thanks! Lois R – Minnesota

  4. Lu Lyle

    What a nice letter (post), Good to see you experience some COOL
    weather there too! So glad Joy Anna and Fabio are doing well and we know that they loved having Mom and Dad visit. We did miss you at the family gathering…but none of my family ever come…just the way life is for us. We had Alex with us for a week and enjoyed her so much at the fairs and just doing little to nothing. She loved the card game called 5 Crown.
    Sooooooo we played it a lot and she won a LOT! Fun
    times. Love to you both!

  5. Looks like you really enjoyed your time with Joy Anna and Fabio.
    Copy and pasting this info into a word document bulletin insert went pretty well.
    Enjoy your time now on Your Own Schedule

  6. Susan Cranmer

    It was good to hear about your trip and visit with family. God Bless You
    Susan C

  7. Sharon Michaelsen

    Hi Jennifer

    Thank you so much for the Brazilian Coffee!! We do appreciate you thinking of us. Joshua Huang gave it to us last Sunday. Hope all are well. Love you Sharon


  8. Sandy Harris

    What a blessing to see Joy Anna and her husband serving Jesus. The pictures were wonderful. God bless you all. Love you.
    Sandy and Jerry Harris

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