Category Archives: Bible Correspondence School

Safety is of the Lord!

November 12, 2014

Dear Prayer Partners,

Greetings in the name of our Lord!  It is He who keeps us safe in His loving care, as we read in Proverbs 21:31, “safety is of the Lord.”

Since we last wrote to you we have spoken at three church conferences.  We enjoyed wonderful fellowship, rejoiced at the growth in the churches, and praise God for the opportunities to strengthen God’s people with His Word.  These conferences also represent many hours on treacherous roads where God’s hand has kept us safe.  Our single biggest danger in Brazil are the crazy driving conditions and poor emergency medical care.  Please pray for the Lord’s safety.

Jim, meeting with pastors in Fortaleza.

Jim, meeting with pastors in Fortaleza.

Last week a man from one of our churches, a policeman, was shot to death as he was preventing a robbery in the center of Crato.  The aftermath of this murder has been the death of at least six young men, all involved in drugs and gangs.  The killings are carried out by masked vigilante groups, many of whom are suspected to be disguised police officers, but no one dares to prove this.  Our second biggest danger in Brazil would be an armed robbery.  A recent report showed that every ten minutes there is a murder committed in Brazil.  Again, please pray for the Lord’s safety.  By the way, the funeral of the murdered brother was a wonderful opportunity for hundreds of unbelievers to hear the Gospel.  Many spoke of his integrity as an officer.  Franciê left a wife, Lydia, who is 8 months pregnant and a 9 year-old son.  Pray for God’s care and comfort.

We have been praying for a new director for the Source of Light Bible Correspondence School.  Geandro, a Bible college student who will be graduating next month, has agreed to fill this position.  Geandro and his wife, Gicélia, have 2 children, and are members of one of our area churches.  While preparing for the ministry, his church had him pastor a daughter church in a neighboring city.  Geandro plans to continue serving as a missionary church-planter in that city and will also assume the leadership of the correspondence school.  Thank you to those who have been praying for this special need.

Two of the churches with which we have worked in Juazeiro are currently without a pastor.  Jim has been working closely with one of these churches in its search for a new pastor.  The Igreja Batista Fonte de Luz has done a self-study, identifying the membership, ministries, and special needs.  Based on this study they are now looking at possible candidates for pastor.  Please pray for God’s clear leading in this choice.  Also pray for God’s protection on our pastors.  They are constantly assaulted with temptations which, if not properly cared for, could take them out of the ministry. Sadly, we have lost 4 of our local pastors this year.

As treasurer of Baptist Mid-Missions’ Brazil Field, Jim has been helping plan a Family Conference for our missionaries from across Brazil, as well as from other South American countries.  This conference will be held in Iguazu Falls on March 16-20, 2015.  Dr. Kevin Bauder will bless us with messages based on the theme, “The Pleasures of God”.  If you would like to join us for this conference, with a great group of missionaries at one of the most beautiful places on earth, we would be glad to send you information.

Come join us at Iguazu Falls, in March, 2015

Come join us at Iguazu Falls, in March, 2015

We plan to take a semester furlough the last half of 2015, in order to visit our support team which we didn’t see on our last short furlough in 2012.  Thank you for your prayers for the Lord’s safety on our behalf, as we serve Him in Northeast Brazil,

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Redeeming the Time

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!

The OASIS

The OASIS

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!

Parque Grangeiro church hearing missionary Heron

Parque Grangeiro church hearing missionary Heron

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.

Fernando, Lany, and Gabriel

Fernando, Lany, and Gabriel

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

The OASIS.  You're welcome to come for a visit!

The OASIS. You’re welcome to come for a visit!

Where we are now living

Where we are now living

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Our Salvation is Near

Dear Prayer Partners,

As we watch recent world events unfold, we cannot help but believe that “our salvation is near.” Romans 13:11 reminds all believers of the urgency to be alert and serving: “…knowing the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.” At times we feel like we could use a little more sleep, because of all the activities which keep us busy! But it is a pleasure to serve our God in NE Brazil.

Baptist Mid-Missions missionaries meeting in São Luis, Brazil.

Baptist Mid-Missions missionaries meeting in São Luis, Brazil.

At last month’s Baptist Mid-Missions conference, which hosted all three of the Brazil regions, Jim was re-elected national treasurer. This position, along with being president of the NE Brazil region, keeps him in regular contact with our missionary colleagues around Brazil.

The finishing work on our missionary houses was on hold for several weeks while we waited for the steel for the roof structures. The men have kept busy working on retention walls and landscaping. The steel finally arrived two weeks ago and we are working as fast as we can to get the buildings covered, along with some basic inside work, so that we can house a work group which will be coming from Bluff City, TN, in May. Jim’s sister, Naomi, is coming with twelve people from her church to help us do some of the finishing work on these houses. Please pray for safety for the workers and for the conditions to finish in good time. Recently some very heavy rains that have slowed down the progress.

In two weeks we will be hosting the Missions Conference at the Cariri Baptist Seminary. This year’s theme, “Guilty by Silence”, reminds us of the need to be actively preaching the Gospel and making disciples. The students are busy preparing field reports, missionary interviews, orders of service, and music. Julie’s cooking class is planning for the missionary canteen which provides various treats after the evening services. Our speaker will be Ron Barnes, the International Director of Source of Light Ministries. We are looking forward to being challenged by his broad range of missionary experiences. This conference has been used of God to call several of our students into missionary service and has also strengthened the missions programs in many of our area churches. Please pray that, as God works, people will respond.

Our Bible correspondence school which uses lessons produced by the Source of Light is running smoothly after the necessary departure of the national director, Antonio Bibiano. In recent weeks we have enrolled eight new associate schools, churches that want to operate their own correspondence schools using our lessons. This diminishes the work load at the office, yet increases the number of people studying God’s Word around Brazil. Jim is serving as interim director for this year, and we are praying for God to show us the person who will assume this ministry and take it to greater levels of effectiveness. Luana, a young lady from our church, is helping with the day-to-day work in the office.

“Gustavo was killed last night!” Though these were not words we wanted to hear, they did not come as a surprise. Gustavo, 19, had once been a part of our Kids’ Bible Club but began using drugs in his teen years which quickly lead to a life of deceit, crime, and slavery. His mother, Adelia, who occasionally comes to our church, actually expressed relief when she said, “Now his father and I can live in peace and take care of ourselves.” There are many “Gustavos” in the Parque Grangeiro, who need the liberating power of the Gospel in their lives. It is sad to see the strong grip that Satan has in the lives of these kids and their families.

We appreciate your prayers for our kids. Joy Anna and Fabio are expecting their little girl any day. Please pray for a safe and healthy delivery. We are not able to be with them now because of our commitments with classes and the Missions Conference, but our tickets are already bought for a week in July when we have a break! PTL, Jennifer was granted a working holiday visa in New Zealand. This means that she is allowed to work as a non-resident. She is currently serving a family as an au pair until September. Then she’ll look for another family, get a job harvesting fruit, or maybe even as a sheep wrangler on a ranch. Knowing Jennifer, who knows! She is enjoying the experience and we know she’s being a blessing. She plans to visit a BMM missionary family in Napier over the Easter weekend.

Your Servants for Christ in NE Brazil,

Jim & Julie Leonard

Jennier visiting Hobbiton in New Zealand

Jennifer visiting Hobbiton in New Zealand

Fabio and Joy Anna, joyfully awaiting baby's arrival

Fabio and Joy Anna, joyfully awaiting baby’s arrival

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