November, 2013, in NE Brazil: the sun is hot, the earth is parched and everyone eagerly waits for the occasional December rains. We are told that this part of Brazil is experiencing the worst drought in fifty years, but a better economy and government social programs have eased the pain and diminished the mass exodus of hungry people that past droughts produced. But the underlying problems remain to be resolved with…rain! In the same way, we see spiritual suffering caused by the lack of the true Living Water. Sadly, people think that improved lifestyles and more money will bring satisfaction to their lives. As they test and try the world’s ways, they are still thirsty, and keep searching for real meaning in their lives. Please pray for us as we plant and water the seeds of the gospel, so that God can transform these dry desert lives.
Our challenges with the Parque Grangeiro adolescents continue. Few of them have any encouragement or supervision at home and many have been influenced by peer pressure and unbiblical teaching in their schools. All of them have been involved with our kid’s ministries for at least two years. They have heard the gospel many times and a few claim to have been saved, yet we see little fruit. That is, until three weeks ago when Ludemila confessed Christ as Savior. We are watching her new life in Christ blossom, which hopefully will serve as an example to the others. Yesterday we took five adolescents to a nearby water park, then spent the afternoon and evening with them at our home where we enjoyed some activities, food, and challenged them with greater commitment to God.
Our Bible study at Antônio and Lucia’s home has produced visitors almost every week. Lucia’s brother has been faithful and seems interested. Their daughter and son-in-law, Rosilda and Raimundo, returned after a 2-month absence. Last Saturday, Raimundo fell off the back of a motorcycle and wasn’t wearing a helmet. God spared him from death, though he is pretty banged up. Sadly, he and his wife are going through a difficult time in their marriage and have threatened to separate. Please pray for us as we counsel them. Neither has accepted Christ but they both understand what they need to do. Only Christ can transform their lives and give them hope.
Teaching in the intense heat is not easy for the teacher or for the students! At the Seminary everyone is tired and the next two weeks are completely full with end-of-the-year activities. The graduating class of five is very small this year. We are encouraged that Felipe and Débora, both graduating, are headed to the mission field of Novo Hamburgo in South Brazil, where they will be teammates with Joy Anna and Fabio. Washington and his wife will stay on as the missionary pastor of a nearby church plant where they have worked during their years of study. Fred, a former graduate who had returned for some refresher classes, will be returning with his family to their state of Maranhão as missionary church planters. We have recently heard of two former students who are headed toward the mission field, one foreign and the other in NE Brazil. Praise the Lord!
Our third grandchild, Tabitha Hope Leonard, was born on October 31 weighing in at 10 lbs, 7 oz. She’s full of sweet cuddles and so content! Just what Josiah and Nikki need with Jeremy (just turned 3) and Lydia (17 months). Julie enjoyed two weeks in the States, mostly spending time with the older two as Tabitha made her appearance just a few days before her return to Brazil. Joy Anna and Fabio found out this week that they are also expecting a little girl. It will be a fun reunion when the little cousins get together some day! Jennifer continues to seek the Lord’s will and to pursue some of her life-long dreams. Pray for her, that the two would work together.