Greetings in the name of our Lord! This letter is far overdue as we find ourselves living out Paul’s words of exhortation in Ephesians 5: 15, “…walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Every day the world news seems to point to the imminent return of Christ. We won’t stop serving, for there is still much to be done!
Various different crews have been working to finish the OASIS, our peaceful village of missionary houses. It was anything but peaceful, living in the middle of the dust, paint, welding sparks and pounding. That all is now behind us, peace reigns, and we’re now able to receive national missionaries who are returning from foreign fields for a time of refreshment and reporting to their churches. We know from experience that furlough can also be a busy time, and for this reason we want to serve our former students, now missionaries, at this oasis of peace and rest. The first two houses are near completion, only lacking the PVC ceilings in the upstairs rooms, which will help keep out some of the dust and unwanted critters. Please pray that these houses will be a blessing to many!
Dr. Heron and Laura, Beatrice (10) and Letícia (6), spent last weekend with us. As they shared with us some of their first-term struggles in the Gambia, learning the language, fitting into a missionary team, home-schooling the girls, setting up a dental clinic, and preaching to Muslims, we trust that our understanding ear and some counsel encouraged them. Their furlough has been extremely busy with Laura finishing her teaching degree, travels, health issues, and living in a small bedroom for the four of them. On Sunday they presented their ministry at the Parque Grangeiro church’s first missions conference. Please pray for them as they plan to return to the Gambia in January. Their return is dependent on their support level and the potential spread of the Ebola virus in Western Africa.
We also heard from our “kids” in Venezuela; Fernando, Lany, and baby Gabriel, born July 8th. They began their seminary classes last week with 16 students! Pray for them as the unstable government and economy has created severe shortages of necessary living goods. They were also forced to return their Brazilian licensed vehicle to the border, and are now without a vehicle until they can purchase one in Venezuela. Working with the new seminary and two church plants makes this transportation a necessity. So please pray for our Brazilian missionaries, who sense the urgency to continue preaching the Gospel as time quickly marches on.
The congregation in Parque Grangeiro has seen a steady 50-60 in attendance for the Sunday service. Some of these are boys (now young men) who made professions of faith years ago in our kid’s club, strayed away, and are now returning; others have heard the gospel many times but still haven’t made public professions; and yet others are being discipled in order to be baptized and join our membership. This semester we lost the help of two seminary couples who were assigned ministries in other churches, which has increased the load on the faithful few who carry the bulk of the work. Pray with us as we get ready to begin building the wall around the property that was purchased earlier this year. This is the first phase of many in the construction of a place for this church to be adequately equipped to serve its community. There are still many in the Parque Grangeiro who need to hear of Christ’s salvation and imminent return!
We praise the Lord for Francisco Carlos, our co-worker in the Parque Grangeiro who is in his second year of studies at our Bible College. We have been absent quite a bit at the Parque Grangeiro due to missions and family conference speaking commitments in various regions of Brazil. As we write this letter, we are in Curitiba, way down south, speaking at a Missions Conference at a sister Bible College. Jim is speaking 5 times during these three days. Please pray that we can challenge these young people as they seek God’s direction. Time is getting short!
As the year comes to a close, we ask again for prayers for the Source of Light Correspondence School. Jim consented to be the interim director for 2014 as they search for a new director, but time is running out! An invitation has been extended to one of our graduating seniors to assume this important ministry. He and his wife are praying about this opportunity and should give an answer soon. There is so much potential for this school to expand and to spread the Gospel throughout Brazil. As Christ’s return approaches, many still need to hear.
Julie has finally been able to do something toward a long-time goal: to put her “Evangelism Through Special Events” class notes into book form. Every Wednesday she has consecrated to be her writing day. Please pray for her, that she will be able to concentrate, that the distractions will be few, and that she’ll know God’s leading in what to write and how to write it. Living in the middle of a construction site, medical exams, and travels have made this a challenge.
We’ve just completed our annual medical exams. Praise the Lord, we’re enjoying great health, with just a few minimal maintenance issues. God has given us some excellent doctors here, but waiting for appointments is just a way of life in this country. There are usually papers to grade as we try to redeem the time!
This next week brings us to mid-term with our classes at the seminary. Graduation will be on December 6th. Just hours after this event we’ll be heading for the USA to be with our 4 grand babies for a month! Fabio, Joy Anna and Kristi were interviewed to join Brazil Gospel Fellowship Mission and have meetings in various USA churches until mid-December. They have been staying with Josiah, Nikki, and kids, when they’re not on the road. We are eager to join the family as it isn’t very often that all the grand kiddies will be on the same continent and together. Time is short when they grow so fast. Sadly, Jennifer won’t be with us, as she’s still enjoying her New Zealand adventure.
Thank you for your love, prayers, and support, as we serve our Savior in Brazil.
Jim & Julie Leonard