February 16, 2017
Dear Prayer Partners,
Today in our devotions we were encouraged by 1 Corinthians 4:5: “And then praise will come to each one from God.” This comes after Paul’s exhortation to be faithful managers of God’s message and to be motivated by God’s evaluation of our heart’s intentions and not man’s judgments of our ministry. With Valentine’s Day in the recent past, our desire is that His love and praise be our highest motive for service!
It’s good to be home after two weeks of refreshing fellowship with missionary colleagues and encouraging messages from God’s Word during our NE Region and All-Brazil Field Conferences. It’s exciting to see how God is working in this huge country, yet we are still challenged with so many places that need a gospel witness, congregations that need pastors and churches that need buildings. Please pray for more workers in this harvest field. Jim continues serving as Brazil Field treasurer and on several other committees.
The Parque Grangeiro church plant is still preparing its new building to move in as soon as possible. God has supplied some of the supplies but the days are few when the men of the church can get together for a work day. The lack of resources to finish up quickly is a bit discouraging. The church has decided to not start up the Sunday afternoon Kid’s Club until it is in the new building so that the transition wouldn’t happen in the middle of the semester. Visits are being made in the new neighborhood and preparations made to begin as soon as the building is ready. Please pray that hearts would be prepared, as well as the physical building, as the congregation changes locations.
The Cariri Baptist Seminary has begun its 71st year of classes. Jim is teaching Evangelism and Missions, classes which he feels are the heartbeat of the ministry. Pray for him as he has made some purposeful changes in his class notes and methods of teaching. Julie is taking a sabbatical from the classroom this semester to work on her book, “Magnifying Christ in Special Events”. We have a cleaning lady help twice each week, so that Julie can concentrate on writing, but the lady is looking for a full-time job. Please pray for wisdom, clarity of mind, quality study time and open doors as we serve Him through teaching.
Our prospective students from Mozambique have not yet received their visas. We are praying that it will work out for them to begin second semester (August). Once their visas are granted they have 90 days before they have to travel. Various churches and groups are gathering household items and raising support for these two families during their year of study. Please continue to pray that all of their needs will be met as they make this sacrifice to leave their country, culture and ministries in order to prepare to serve Him better.
We feel privileged to be counselors, encouragers, and prayer warriors for a large group of former students and ministry colleagues. Every day we have visitors stop by and often are asked to help resolve difficult situations. The OASiS is buzzing with activity as we have had most of the apartments filled during the vacation period. That means dealing with maintenance issues and even some construction, including the ten married student houses that Jim manages for Mom Leonard.
We were able to spend a few precious days with Joy Anna, Fabio, Kristi and Hannah in João Pessoa during our NE Region Conference. We have had some wonderful Skype chats with Josiah, Nikki and our four sweet grandkids in Iowa. We talk with Jennifer a few times each week and rejoice that God has provided her with a full-time CNA position in assisted living apartments on the day shift. We’ve been trying to keep in close touch with Julie’s family as they are dealing with some heath issues. Your prayers mean so much to us, as we serve God on this field.
Your Servants for Christ in Northeast Brazil,
Jim & Julie Leonard