“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.” (1 Cor. 3:10) We’re in the building mode! There’s excitement in the Leonard home as God allows us to lay some very important foundations and continue building on ones that others have laid.
After years of dreaming and months of planning, the building of our missionary village began this week. The foundation for the first of three multiple-use buildings is being laid even as I write. These buildings will be used to house furloughing Brazilian missionaries as they report to their supporting churches, or for those who need a get-away to rest. Because our land is adjacent to the seminary campus, we hope that the presence of these missionaries on our campus,
most of them alumni, will challenge the students with the world-wide ministries available to them as Brazilians. As part of the project we have included two “dorm-style” rooms to house missions teams from the USA and for Aventura Brasil. Please pray for the safety of the men who are working on this project. Four of them are unsaved and we desire to see them come to know the Lord as their personal Savior. A bonus blessing: after we had paid for the deep water well, the owner of the company called back and said that his conscience wouldn’t let him rest until he returned some of the agreed upon price. Jim had told him about our project, and he, even though not a believer, felt an urge to contribute to it. God is the Master Builder of this project!
Through our classes at the seminary, we are able to edify the lives of our students. We trust that Jim’s preacher boys will continue building as they go out and preach the Gospel and make disciples. Josias, one of his better preachers, is a product of the personal discipleship given him by colleagues in the Amazon region. The parents in Julie’s “Raising Children” class, hopefully, will teach their children biblical principles so that they can be shining lights in a world dark with sin. We pray that the ladies in Julie’s women’s class will desire to be perfect helpmeets to their husbands as they construct their homes. Our one-on-one contact with these students, through questions and counseling, has been a daily blessing. We praise the Lord for the larger incoming classes in the past two years. Almost all of these students are disciples of former students. Please continue to pray for God’s wisdom as we seek the best ways in which we can serve Him here. Julie now has a problem with her cooking class. Because of the large number of women on campus, mostly married ladies, there are too many students to offer the class just once a year. It’s a very tiring project for her, so it’s a bit of a challenge. But, too many students? Hooray! As God gives us the “building supplies”, we’ll keep building!
We’re trying to lay the foundations for a ministry with the adolescents in the Parque Grangeiro. It’s been an interesting process to get these young teens adjusted to having a special program for them on Saturday evenings. Most of them are unsaved and don’t have good spiritual guidance at home. Please pray that we can do just that. The social media is an eye-opener as to the pressures these kids experience every day. We are trying to help them develop personal biblical convictions, and hope that through these they will understand their need to accept Christ. They usually have some very interesting questions and comments to build upon. We’re ready to answer with God’s Word as our blueprint!
Our weekly Bible study with Antonio, Lúcia and their family is a work in progress. It’s amazing to see the Holy Spirit teaching them so much. This week Antonio explained to us the way that God is teaching him to “take off” the old nature and “put on” the new. He called it “purification”, but he simply explained the process of sanctification as well as the best theologian could ever do. The term “sanctification” hasn’t yet appeared in our discipleship program, but they are living it. One of their daughters has not yet accepted Christ, but one evening Lúcia, an illiterate 52-year old, clearly shared all that Christ had done for her. What a blessing! Every so often, visitors come for the Bible study and they also hear the gospel. It’s thrilling to see the foundations laid, the work begin to take shape, and think to ourselves, “This could be the beginning of a church in this little village”.
We’re also excited to see our family in the expanding process. Julie will be in the States from October 21st – November 5th to help Josiah, Nikki, Jeremy and Lydia welcome another baby girl into their family. Joy Anna and Fabio are expecting a baby sometime next April. It’s a blessing to see our kids seek to raise godly children. As “Papa” and “Nana”, we’re back to building as we help and encourage our married kids with their parenting skills. Jennifer is seeking to get her American high school studies certified in Brasil, in case she continues her education here. She is building up her brownie business and there’s never a lack of customers. She continues to be a huge example by serving and investing in children’s lives at our church plant in Parque Grangeiro.
We are seeking to be careful and wise as we lay some foundations and build upon others. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement and support. With Christ as our foundation, you have partnered with us in the building of lives, for His honor and glory.
Your Servants for Christ in NE Brazil,
Jim & Julie Leonard