Dear Prayer Partners,
Psalm 72:19 summarizes our desire (and God’s!) for the missionary work in Brazil: “Blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.” As the Brazilian people come to understand and receive God’s salvation, they are able to glorify God. Some of these will take His glory to other nations on earth.
The annual Missions Conference at our Bible College in late April was a tremendous success. We were challenged by the missionary and field reports shared by Jim’s missions class students and by the preaching of God’s Word by Ron Barnes, the International Director of Source of Light Ministries. Each evening we were encouraged by video reports, shared by recent graduates who are on various fields around the world. On the final evening we saw sixteen young people come forward expressing their desire and willingness to be sent out as messengers of God’s glory. Praise Him with us!
For the past month, we’ve seen improved attendance at the Parque Grangeiro church. The attendance has been averaging 60 and on Mother’s Day we reached a high of 110. This was because our church folk visited the homes of each child who attends our Bible Club and invited the mothers to come to the evening program. This year we have three married students from the college helping us with this ministry. It is becoming increasingly evident that we will need to begin building yet this year, as the public school where we meet limits the church program. Pray that we will know God’s timing and see His provision for this next phase of the church plant.
Last night, our mother church in Crato opened a new congregation in a neighboring community called Ponta da Serra. Two men from that community made professions of faith during the inaugural service. This is only 3 miles from the village where we have been holding weekly Bible studies on Wednesday nights. Though the distance is still a problem, we are trying to encourage our study group to become a part of this new church. Pray for eager willingness on the part of Antonio’s family to take this important step in their Christian growth. Right now, it’s convenient for “church” to come to them, but we will not be able to continue doing this forever.
On April 27th, Joy Anna and Fabio Volpi welcomed their first child (our 4th grandchild) into the family. Kristina Joy is the newest member of the team which is increasing God’s glory through the establishing of churches in the far south state in Brazil. Jennifer, our youngest daughter, has decided to lengthen her stay in New Zealand until next February. In August, she’ll be taking a new position on the south island with a family of animal lovers; a veterinarian and vet’s assistant who live next to a dairy farm. God is giving her experiences where she seems to be a perfect fit. This family lives close to a BMM work, so she hopes to help some there.
Last Monday evening, just before their return home, one of the members of the work team fell and broke his femur, very close to the hip socket. As a result, Charles was not able to return home with the group. Charlie, another team member, also stayed behind to help and keep Charles company. Charles has received excellent medical care and underwent a successful total hip replacement surgery on Thursday night. He is now back at our home recovering and getting himself to the point where he can handle the long trip home to Tennessee. So, we have Charles and Charlie as part of our family for the next few days, and are enjoying the opportunity to serve them. This is a first-time experience for all of us and we’re seeking to learn what God has for us through this challenge! Please pray for a quick and complete recovery for Charles.
Please pray for strength for us throughout the month of June: the semester is coming to an end on the 20th, which means lots of grading for our classes. After classes let out we plan to move into one of the apartments in the missionary village where we will remain while we build our home nearby. There are student couples anxiously waiting for the two houses which we are currently occupying in the married student village. We’re looking forward to the last day of June when we leave for a 10 day visit with little Kristina and her parents!
Your Servants for Christ in NE Brazil,
Jim & Julie Leonard