Dear Prayer Partners,
As we watch recent world events unfold, we cannot help but believe that “our salvation is near.” Romans 13:11 reminds all believers of the urgency to be alert and serving: “…knowing the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.” At times we feel like we could use a little more sleep, because of all the activities which keep us busy! But it is a pleasure to serve our God in NE Brazil.
At last month’s Baptist Mid-Missions conference, which hosted all three of the Brazil regions, Jim was re-elected national treasurer. This position, along with being president of the NE Brazil region, keeps him in regular contact with our missionary colleagues around Brazil.
The finishing work on our missionary houses was on hold for several weeks while we waited for the steel for the roof structures. The men have kept busy working on retention walls and landscaping. The steel finally arrived two weeks ago and we are working as fast as we can to get the buildings covered, along with some basic inside work, so that we can house a work group which will be coming from Bluff City, TN, in May. Jim’s sister, Naomi, is coming with twelve people from her church to help us do some of the finishing work on these houses. Please pray for safety for the workers and for the conditions to finish in good time. Recently some very heavy rains that have slowed down the progress.
In two weeks we will be hosting the Missions Conference at the Cariri Baptist Seminary. This year’s theme, “Guilty by Silence”, reminds us of the need to be actively preaching the Gospel and making disciples. The students are busy preparing field reports, missionary interviews, orders of service, and music. Julie’s cooking class is planning for the missionary canteen which provides various treats after the evening services. Our speaker will be Ron Barnes, the International Director of Source of Light Ministries. We are looking forward to being challenged by his broad range of missionary experiences. This conference has been used of God to call several of our students into missionary service and has also strengthened the missions programs in many of our area churches. Please pray that, as God works, people will respond.
Our Bible correspondence school which uses lessons produced by the Source of Light is running smoothly after the necessary departure of the national director, Antonio Bibiano. In recent weeks we have enrolled eight new associate schools, churches that want to operate their own correspondence schools using our lessons. This diminishes the work load at the office, yet increases the number of people studying God’s Word around Brazil. Jim is serving as interim director for this year, and we are praying for God to show us the person who will assume this ministry and take it to greater levels of effectiveness. Luana, a young lady from our church, is helping with the day-to-day work in the office.
“Gustavo was killed last night!” Though these were not words we wanted to hear, they did not come as a surprise. Gustavo, 19, had once been a part of our Kids’ Bible Club but began using drugs in his teen years which quickly lead to a life of deceit, crime, and slavery. His mother, Adelia, who occasionally comes to our church, actually expressed relief when she said, “Now his father and I can live in peace and take care of ourselves.” There are many “Gustavos” in the Parque Grangeiro, who need the liberating power of the Gospel in their lives. It is sad to see the strong grip that Satan has in the lives of these kids and their families.
We appreciate your prayers for our kids. Joy Anna and Fabio are expecting their little girl any day. Please pray for a safe and healthy delivery. We are not able to be with them now because of our commitments with classes and the Missions Conference, but our tickets are already bought for a week in July when we have a break! PTL, Jennifer was granted a working holiday visa in New Zealand. This means that she is allowed to work as a non-resident. She is currently serving a family as an au pair until September. Then she’ll look for another family, get a job harvesting fruit, or maybe even as a sheep wrangler on a ranch. Knowing Jennifer, who knows! She is enjoying the experience and we know she’s being a blessing. She plans to visit a BMM missionary family in Napier over the Easter weekend.
Your Servants for Christ in NE Brazil,
Jim & Julie Leonard