January 8, 2017
Dear Prayer Partners,
Greetings in the name of our Lord! As we turn the calendar from one year to the next, we are reminded of our great God who “appoints the moon for seasons: the sun knows his going down” (Psalm 104:19). This same God appoints for us opportunities to preach His gospel and make disciples.
Looking back to December of 2016, we graduated 33 students, the largest class in our college’s history. Most of these have already been placed in local church ministries. During the year Julie taught Women’s Ministries, Magnifying Christ Through Special Events, Raising Godly Children, and Culinary Arts. Jim taught Personal Evangelism, Introduction to Missions, Preaching, and Cults and Non-Christian Religions. We also served as counselors to the on-campus student missions fellowship.
Jim took two survey trips in 2016: one to Piauí, the state to our west in Brazil; the other to Guyana, a small nation on Brazil’s Northwest border. Piauí is the least evangelized state in Brazil, with hundreds of unreached towns, villages and communities. Guyana, though in South America, seems more like India. The people speak English, and are mostly Hindu and Muslim. We will be challenging our churches in Brazil with the huge needs of these two fields. Our prayer is that God would send Brazilian missionaries to preach the gospel and make disciples in Piauí and in Guyana. Of course, He could also send missionaries from the United States, so please pray with us for more laborers.
In 2016 the Source of Light Correspondence School functioned under the leadership of Samuel Milanez, one of our graduates. After serving as a pastor for a few years, Samuel felt God leading him to take over this ministry. Samuel has some creative ideas to take this school into the future, and is currently raising support to maintain himself and the school. His wife, Alice, will be beginning her studies at our college next semester.
Our church plant in Parque Grangeiro ended 2016 with a New Year’s Eve service in our new building. On Christmas day we rejoiced with the baptism of a young couple, Islânio and Naya, who have attended for years, even before they were married. The believers are eager to make the permanent move into the building, but for this to happen we are waiting on God’s provision for some necessary finishing details and chairs. Please pray for this need.
In 2016 God also allowed us to build our home next to the OASiS. After living in eight different houses over the past eight years, we now have a place to call home. We understand the meaning of being pilgrims on this earth. We moved in December and are still getting settled. Just before Christmas, Joy Anna, Fabio and girls popped in for a surprise visit. Though they only stayed overnight, it was fun having them as the first guests in our new home.
In addition to the opportunities we’ve described, there have been countless opportunities to counsel, speak in conferences, and serve our colleagues with Baptist Mid-Missions in Brazil as Field treasurer.
Looking ahead to 2017, we plan to continue with many of the same ministries: teaching at the seminary, conference speaking, counseling, and construction projects. Julie will take the first semester off from teaching to focus more on writing and strengthening relationships with former students who are in the ministry. We plan to bring two families from Mozambique to study at our college for one year. At the end of the year they should return to Mozambique to share what they have learned with their fellow Mozambicans. Pray that they will be granted student visas. We are still waiting on God to complete the needed support to make this project a reality. At the OASiS, we have several guests scheduled during the year, including Fabio and Joy Anna Volpi, who are on furlough visiting supporting churches in NE Brazil.
Thank you for your love, prayers, and support as we serve God in NE Brazil. If you feel like taking a break in a very warm place this winter, come for a visit; we have plenty of places to hang a hammock for you.
Your Servants for Christ in Northeast Brazil,
Jim & Julie Leonard
Phone: (515) 257-2766
Please note our new mailing address: Jim & Julie Leonard / Rua Aminadab Arruda Campos, 255 / 63132-024 Crato, CE / Brazil – S.A.