March 07, 2015
Dear Prayer Partners,
Greetings in the name of our Lord! As we serve our God in Northeast Brazil, we’ve been constantly aware of the spiritual warfare in which we are involved. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Over the past year we’ve seen several of our national pastors injured in this spiritual battle, forcing them out of the ministry. With this in mind, our mission is working with the Cariri churches to promote a special retreat for pastors and wives next month. We hope to better train these servants of God to use the defenses God has provided for the spiritual battles. Pray for the restoration of our fallen pastors as well as for the protection of those who are still on the front lines. Please pray that the churches would be strengthened through these trials.
As we teach at the Cariri Baptist College, we have a part in forming soon-to-be pastors and missionaries. Please pray for Julie as she has a heavier-than-usual load this semester. She is teaching four days each week, including a new-to-her class. Pray that we will instill in our students the necessary skills to not only survive the spiritual battles but to also make advances for our Savior. We praise the Lord for the high caliber of students He has brought to our college; this year approximately 70 students. It is a joy to see their dedication to the Lord, love for ministry, and servant’s heart.
One of these students is Josias, a young man from the Amazon who is in his fourth year. Last week, Jim went with Josias to Ouricuri, a city strategically located in “The Gap” about two hours south of Crato, our city. A few years ago we began praying for “The Gap”, a 200 mile stretch between the Cariri Valley and the San Francisco River Valley, in which there are very few believers. In Ouricuri we have the beginning of a church with five new believers. For the past two years we’ve been searching for a national worker to move into this area and develop the church, but have not found the right man. This year Josias will be going down on weekends to pastor this work. Please pray for Josias and for the believers on this battle field.
Jim is enjoying teaching Personal Evangelism at the college for the first time. He has made arrangements to take the students into real situations to practice their evangelism skills. The class we will going into a public school at Easter, to teach “The Real Meaning of Easter”. The class will also be doing open-air evangelism in a neighborhood near the Parque Grangeiro church, and will be spending a day taking the Gospel from door-to-door in a rural community. Please pray, not only for these evangelism opportunities, but that the students will catch a passion for this tool which they will need in the spiritual battles.
The calendar for this semester has quickly filled up with speaking engagements and conferences. Some of these take us away from home. Our next trip will be in one week, to the Iguazu Falls, down in the corner where Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay come together. Baptist Mid-Missions missionaries from all over Brazil will be meeting there for our annual conference. Since Jim has been the national treasurer of this group, we have had a part in planning the details for this conference. Pray for the safety of all of our missionaries, for our spiritual refreshment, as well as for wisdom as we strategize for the future of the work in this large nation.
Thank you for your love, prayers and support as we continue serving on the battle fields of Brazil.
Your Servants for Christ in NE Brazil,
Jim & Julie Leonard