Category Archives: Parque Grangeiro Church

People in our lives

April 26, 2016

Dear Friends and Prayer Partners,

There are times when we get so busy with WHAT is going on in our corner of Brazil that we fail to mention WHO God brings along to work with us. It’s a privilege to serve our God, as we work together with others to glorify Him. Here are a few updates and prayer requests. Thanks for keeping us all before the Throne!

Alexa Wood, a young lady from our home church, came to Brazil in January. She has helped us organize and keep the OASIS in order so that we are freed up for our other ministries. It’s been a blessing to see how God has worked in her life! Alexa will return to the USA on May 4th. Pray that she will faithfully follow the Lord ‘s leading for her. We have not found a replacement to help us clean the OASIS and our home.

"Grace to Brazil" team from our home church

“Grace to Brazil” team from our home church

Alexa will be back on June 17- 28 with the “Grace to Brazil” team from our home church, Grace Baptist in Austin, MN. We have a full schedule of evangelistic meetings, a three-day English Retreat, church services, seminary chapel and classes, and typical life in NE Brazil. Please pray that this will be a great time of working together to present Christ to the Brazilians. The posters for the English Retreat should be posted this week. Also pray for safe travels, good health, and life-changing ministries for Clint and Nikki, Bill and Helen, Dave, Nick, Vicki, Gail, Alana and Alexa. Pray for us as we prepare for a full house!

Soon after the Grace team leaves, we’ll receive TWO dynamic duos from the USA: Seth and Deanna Peterson from Silver Lake, WI, and Josh and Jamie Huang (brother & sister) from Mason City, IA. All four will be involved in the Sacred Music week, a music camp held on our college campus. Jim will be translating for Seth and there are English speakers to help with the others. Josh and Jamie will stay until the end of August, helping with youth and children’s activities and other ministries. Please pray for these young people as they experience God’s direction, and pray for us as we share our lives and ministry with them.

Jim on a camping trip with the boys in 2005

Jim on a camping trip with the boys in 2005

Jim with Helder, Cacá, and Junior in 2016

Jim with Helder, Cacá, and Junior in 2016

About 15 years ago we began a Bible Club for kids in our backyard. A group of neighborhood boys were very faithful. They went to Sunday School with us (this was before we began the church in Parque Grangeiro), and came over weekly for games and a Bible study with Jim. A few professed Christ as Savior. We thought perhaps that these boys would become the leaders of a future church in Parque Grangeiro. Sadly, while we were on a furlough they all strayed away from God. Jim tried to maintain contact but they showed little interest. In the meantime we opened the new church in their neighborhood. Some of them began to appear once in a while at a church service. Recently, a few have been more faithful at the services. Last Saturday three of them began a weekly Bible study with Jim. Please pray for Helder, Junior, and Cacá. Two are married, one of them has two little girls. As they have grown up, they have grown away from the Lord for a time, but now desire to come back to Him.

We love our Magic jack phone which helps us keep in touch, especially with our kids and grandkids. That is, of course, when the internet is working well. We’ve gotten LOTS of wonderful news in the past few weeks. Jeremy (5) and Lydia (almost 4), Josiah and Nikki’s two oldest, accepted Jesus as their Savior! Jeremy made his decision the end of March and Lydia shares her spiritual birthday with Papa’s birthday, April 8th. Please pray for Josiah and Nikki as they disciple and teach their children.

Jennifer finished her Advanced CNA clinicals that took her into many Des Moines area hospitals. She also had a few opportunities to ride with the Des Moines and Ankeny Rescue Teams. She’s enjoying the warmer weather and having fun with her plants and herb gardens.

We skype often with little Kristi. Joy Anna and Fabio announced that she will have a little brother or sister in October. That will be grandchild #6! They are very busy in their ministries and have many adventures to look forward to in the coming year. At the end of this year they will be taking their furlough to visit their supporting churches in Brazil. We’re anxious to have them come enjoy the OASIS in January and we’re looking forward to some great Papa and Nana time.

With Ricardinho at his 18th.

With Ricardinho at his 18th.

Actually, we have other grandchildren, when we count those who have adopted us as grandparents. Last week we celebrated with our oldest “grandson” on his 18th birthday. Ricardinho is the son of former students, Ricardo and Rosangela. They are like our “kids”, so their kids are our grands! Please pray for this young man as God guides him. He’s taking preparative courses to try and get into Brazil’s top engineering school. Please pray for his father, Ricardo, who recently assumed the position of senior pastor at First Baptist in Juazeiro, as the former pastor took a leave of absence.

The OASIS is growing, with the most recent addition being Jim’s wood shop and the dog kennel. The roof should go on this week. The crew is putting up the retention walls that will be part of our garage and house. This construction team is awesome: efficient, precise and respectful. Pray for their safety as they help us develop the physical part of this ministry. And pray for their salvation, as only one of the four is saved.

Thank you for your faithful love, prayers, and support, we are your Servants for Christ in NE Brazil,

Jim & Julie Leonard

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Filed under Family, Make Disciples, Oasis, Parque Grangeiro Church

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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Let the whole earth be filled with His glory

Dear Prayer Partners,

Psalm 72:19 summarizes our desire (and God’s!) for the missionary work in Brazil: “Blessed be His glorious name forever!  And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.”  As the Brazilian people come to understand and receive God’s salvation, they are able to glorify God.  Some of these will take His glory to other nations on earth.

Lives being dedicated to missionary service

Lives being dedicated to missionary service

The annual Missions Conference at our Bible College in late April was a tremendous success. We were challenged by the missionary and field reports shared by Jim’s missions class students and by the preaching of God’s Word by Ron Barnes, the International Director of Source of Light Ministries.  Each evening we were encouraged by video reports, shared by recent graduates who are on various fields around the world.  On the final evening we saw sixteen young people come forward expressing their desire and willingness to be sent out as messengers of God’s glory.  Praise Him with us!

For the past month, we’ve seen improved attendance at the Parque Grangeiro church.  The attendance has been averaging 60 and on Mother’s Day we reached a high of 110.  This was because our church folk visited the homes of each child who attends our Bible Club and invited the mothers to come to the evening program.  This year we have three married students from the college helping us with this ministry.  It is becoming increasingly evident that we will need to begin building yet this year, as the public school where we meet limits the church program.  Pray that we will know God’s timing and see His provision for this next phase of the church plant.

A new church begins in Ponta da Serra

A new church begins in Ponta da Serra

Last night, our mother church in Crato opened a new congregation in a neighboring community called Ponta da Serra.  Two men from that community made professions of faith during the inaugural service.  This is only 3 miles from the village where we have been holding weekly Bible studies on Wednesday nights.  Though the distance is still a problem, we are trying to encourage our study group to become a part of this new church. Pray for eager willingness on the part of Antonio’s family to take this important step in their Christian growth.  Right now, it’s convenient for “church” to come to them, but we will not be able to continue doing this forever.

Joy Anna and baby Kristina

Joy Anna and baby Kristina

On April 27th, Joy Anna and Fabio Volpi welcomed their first child (our 4th grandchild) into the family.  Kristina Joy is the newest member of the team which is increasing God’s glory through the establishing of churches in the far south state in Brazil.  Jennifer, our youngest daughter, has decided to lengthen her stay in New Zealand until next February.  In August, she’ll be taking a new position on the south island with a family of animal lovers;  a veterinarian and vet’s assistant who live next to a dairy farm.  God is giving her experiences where she seems to be a perfect fit.  This family lives close to a BMM work, so she hopes to help some there.

We received a house (or two) full of guests on May 18th from Bluff City, TN, including Jim’s oldest sister, Naomi.  The 11-person work team was a real blessing as they helped us with the finishing work on the first of our missionary village houses.  They painted and installed the electricity, water, and even window screens.  Next week, a Brazilian missionary family which serves in Cape Verde will be our first missionary guests to use the house.  Please pray with us that these houses will be used to bless our missionaries.  We also need wisdom as we establish the “terms of use” and begin to set up an occupancy schedule with furloughing missionaries.

Charles and new friends he made in the hospital

Charles and new friends he made in the hospital

Last Monday evening,  just before their return home, one of the members of the work team fell and broke his femur, very close to the hip socket.  As a result, Charles was not able to return home with the group.  Charlie, another team member, also stayed behind to help and keep Charles company.  Charles has received excellent medical care and underwent a successful total hip replacement surgery on Thursday night.  He is now back at our home recovering and getting himself to the point where he can handle the long trip home to Tennessee.  So, we have Charles and Charlie as part of our family for the next few days, and are enjoying the opportunity to serve them.  This is a first-time experience for all of us and we’re seeking to learn what God has for us through this challenge!  Please pray for a quick and complete recovery for Charles.

Please pray for strength for us throughout the month of June:  the semester is coming to an end on the 20th, which means lots of grading for our classes.  After classes let out we plan to move into one of the apartments in the missionary village where we will remain while we build our home nearby.  There are student couples anxiously waiting for the two houses which we are currently occupying in the married student village.  We’re looking forward to the last day of June when we leave for a 10 day visit with little Kristina and her parents!

Your Servants for Christ in NE Brazil,

Jim & Julie Leonard

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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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Serve the Lord with Gladness

March 8, 2014

Dear Prayer Partners,

Psalm 100:2 reminds us to “serve the Lord with gladness.”  Part of our joy in serving the Lord is to serve with you, our prayer partners, our missionary colleagues, and the national believers.

Pastor Marcelo and Family

Pastor Marcelo and Family

Last month we were well served by our pastor, Brett Williams, from Grace Baptist in Austin, MN.  During his ten day visit, Pastor Brett got a first-hand look at the ministries in which our church has invested for many years.  He also preached ten different times to our NE Region missionaries as well as in various churches.  On one of these preaching occasions, Jim and Pastor Brett shared the messages for the installation service of Pastor Marcelo, the new pastor at Source of Light Baptist Church.  It was fun to serve with our pastor in this way.

Fernando and Lany

Fernando and Lany

Jim was also invited to preach at the commissioning service for Fernando and Lany, who are leaving this week for Venezuela.  After a short six-month term last year, this couple returned to Brazil to finish raising their support and are now headed back for a long-term ministry.  They will be working to start churches, strengthen existing churches, and help in the formation of pastors in southern Venezuela.  As they serve in Venezuela, they will be contending with crazy inflation, food shortages, and an unstable government, so please pray for them.

Last  month  we  enjoyed  a  three  day  conference  with  our colleagues in Northeast Brazil, where we combined fellowship, spiritual feeding, and business.  Jim, serving as regional president, lead the business meetings.  This week we are meeting with colleagues from the All-Brazil field, where Jim serves as treasurer.

We are glad to serve in the training of others who will serve, through our teaching at the Seminary, which just began another year of classes. Julie is teaching Special Events (her favorite!) and Culinary Arts. She is keeping busy by preparing a baby shower, “celebrating” one or two holidays each class period, and arranging menus for her student’s cooking labs.  Last week’s bread-making class was a yummy success.  Jim was recently invited to be a part of the Seminary board of directors.  He feels that he can be of better service in this position.  Because of this change, he will no longer be the director of student ministries or a part of the faculty, but he is teaching missions as a “guest” professor.  This year he has about 40 students.  We continue serving as advisors to the student missions fellowship and are busy planning the Missions Conference to be held April 21-25.

Parque Grangeiro Leadership Team

Parque Grangeiro Leadership Team

We continue serving the congregation in Parque Grangeiro as senior advisors.  Fransico Carlos is developing well as the leader of this church plant.  His wife, Fátima, is working with the women’s society.  Franklin and Suzi are coordinating the Kid’s Club and Franklin teaches the adult Bible class.  Alan and Jacqueline have just joined us and are caring for the youth and adolescent groups. Over the Carnaval holiday we had a short retreat with lots of fun, fellowship, and really good food!  These three couples are our students at the seminary, with very busy schedules.  It is a joy for us to serve alongside them.

We’re looking forward to receiving a group from Tennessee who are coming to serve in the finishing work of our missionary houses.  They will be here from May 18th-27th.  We have been waiting over one month for the iron for the roof structure of the houses, which needs to be in place for this team to be able to do its work!  Please pray with us that the roof will be up soon.  We look forward to having these houses serve our national missionaries as they return from their fields of service for a time of refreshment and to report to their supporting churches.

 We do count it a privilege to serve our Lord in Northeast Brazil.  Thank you for your part as we “serve the Lord with gladness.”

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Filed under Cariri Baptist Seminary, Make Disciples, Parque Grangeiro Church

January 13, 2014

Dear Prayer Partners,

“Feliz Ano Novo!”  Only two weeks into 2014, we’re clinging to 2 Corinthians 12:9. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  Praise God, when we are weak, He is strong.  We’ve had to remind ourselves of that promise every day.

Fátima and Julie

Fátima and Julie

The evening of Christmas Day we received a phone call from Fátima, our dear friend from the Parque Grangeiro congregation who suffers from lupus.  She had spent ten days in the hospital before Christmas, was very weak, and couldn’t handle the many family problems that bombarded her in her own home.  So, we opened our home to her for a quiet, safe place to recuperate.  During the nine days she spent with us we experienced a few stressful moments, as would be expected with any type of care-giving, but especially in the spiritual realm.  She is being plagued with anxiety attacks and is struggling with trusting God through these difficult times.  This is unlike the Fatima we know.  Yesterday morning, after a tearful time of counseling and sharing, she returned to our home for a few restful hours after church.  Please pray that Fátima will gain the victory in this battle.  Her lungs have been affected by the lupus, and the rest of her body is being affected by the strong meds she takes daily.  Her family has actually rejected Christ time and time again.  She is a wonderful witness to God’s power everywhere she goes.  Please pray for Fatima and that her family will accept Christ!  His grace IS sufficient!

Missionary Housing under construction

Missionary Housing under construction

Jim is very busy with some major projects:  the continuing construction of our missionary houses and surrounding wall, the repair and painting of four recently vacated houses in order to receive new married students, the re-organization of the Source of Light Correspondence School, preparing for various preaching opportunities, caring for Baptist Mid-Missions NE Region as president, serving as national treasurer for BMM business, trying to help Julie and Jennifer with computer trouble-shooting, and running all kinds of errands involved with the above.  He hasn’t begun to prepare for his upcoming missions class; it’s hard to find the time.   Julie is working on reformatting the cookbook for her culinary class and needs to make a power point for the other class she’ll be teaching, “Evangelism Through Special Events”.  Please pray for wisdom, strength, and protection during these busy, busy days.  His grace IS sufficient!

John Peterson, with the Lord

John Peterson, with the Lord

Last week was very difficult for us as it involved two funerals.  Our colleague, John Peterson, missionary with ABWE, suffered a stroke on Monday afternoon, went into a profound coma on Tuesday morning, and passed away early Thursday morning.  Jim was asked to lead the funeral service on Thursday afternoon which was a true celebration of 75 years of life and 47 years of ministry in Brazil.  John and his wife, Jean, were instrumental in creating Brazilian sign language as they opened ministries for the deaf and trained workers for the deaf.  Their children, James and Sara, were able to make it from the USA before he passed away and will be here for a few days to help Jean with future decisions.  Please pray for the Peterson family and for someone to replace this great man on our Bible college staff.  His grace IS sufficient!

On Friday morning, we received word that the mother of Lany, our missionary daughter-in-the-faith from Parque Grangeiro, had passed away very suddenly.  Lany and her husband, Fernando, were at a remote camp in a neighboring state presenting their ministry in Venezuela.  It was difficult to get the news to them and there was concern about Lany’s reaction to the shock, as she is 3 months pregnant.  They were able to get back here late Friday evening.  On Saturday afternoon, Jim preached a clear Gospel message and some believers came along and sang some very pertinent hymns at the wake.  Lany isn’t sure about her mother’s salvation, so this was very difficult.  Her brother, who attended our Kid’s Club and often went to SS with us, and her father, who traveled with she and Fernando on most of their pre-field meetings, have not yet accepted Christ as Savior.  Please pray for their salvation and for comfort for the entire family.  PTL, we just heard that, in spite of the abdominal pains Lany was feeling on Saturday, the baby is doing fine.  His grace IS sufficient!

The Parque Grangeiro leadership is taking more “ownership” of the congregation and not depending so much on Jim for decisions.  They will begin a soccer training camp for boys this Saturday morning.  Pre-requisite:  attendance at Sunday afternoon Bible Club!  There were over 40 kids yesterday.  The week before had fewer than ten!

Please pray with us as we have a full calendar of events within the next month.

Jan. 25-26 –  Jim will be preaching at a couple’s retreat in a nearby city;

Feb. 1 – Julie will speak to the area ladies, based on the 1st chapter of “Lies Women Believe”;

Feb. 5-6  – Jim will travel to Fortaleza to take care of mission business;

Feb. 7 – Our pastor, Brett Williams, will arrive for a 10 day stay!  YAY!!!

Feb. 10 – We will drive to João Pessoa for our NE Regional conference, with Pr. Brett as speaker;

Feb. 14 –  We drive back home  (8 hours);

Feb. 15 –  Jim has new student orientation for Christian service ministries at the seminary;

Feb. 17 – Jim and Pr. Brett fly out to Fortaleza for Pr.’s return home;

-Julie will stay home for student registration for the new year at the seminary

His grace will HAVE to be sufficient!

We appreciate your faithful friendship and prayers.

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November 16, 2013

seca nordesteNovember, 2013, in NE Brazil:  the sun is hot, the earth is parched and everyone eagerly waits for the occasional December rains.  We are told that this part of Brazil is experiencing the worst drought in fifty years, but a better economy and government social programs have eased the pain and diminished the mass exodus of hungry people that past droughts produced.  But the underlying problems remain to be resolved with…rain!  In the same way, we see spiritual suffering caused by the lack of the true Living Water.  Sadly, people think that improved lifestyles and more money will bring satisfaction to their lives.  As they test and try the world’s ways, they are still thirsty, and keep searching for real meaning in their lives.  Please pray for us as we plant and water the seeds of the gospel, so that God can transform these dry desert lives.

Our challenges with the Parque Grangeiro adolescents continue.  Few of them have any encouragement or supervision at home and many have been influenced by peer pressure and unbiblical teaching in their schools. All of them have been involved with our kid’s ministries for at least two years.  They have heard the gospel many times and a few claim to have been saved, yet we see little fruit.  That is, until three weeks ago when Ludemila confessed Christ as Savior.  We are watching her new life in Christ blossom, which hopefully will serve as an example to the others.  Yesterday we took five adolescents to a nearby water park, then spent the afternoon and evening with them at our home where we enjoyed some activities, food, and challenged them with greater commitment to God.

Our Bible study at Antônio and Lucia’s home has produced visitors almost every week.  Lucia’s brother has been faithful and seems interested.  Their daughter and son-in-law, Rosilda and Raimundo, returned after a 2-month absence.  Last Saturday, Raimundo fell off the back of a motorcycle and wasn’t wearing a helmet.  God spared him from death, though he is pretty banged up.  Sadly, he and his wife are going through a difficult time in their marriage and have threatened to separate.  Please pray for us as we counsel them.  Neither has accepted Christ but they both understand what they need to do.  Only Christ can transform their lives and give them hope.

Teaching in the intense heat is not easy for the teacher or for the students!  At the Seminary everyone is tired and the next two weeks are completely full with end-of-the-year activities.  The graduating class of five is very small this year.  We are encouraged that Felipe and Débora, both graduating, are headed to the mission field of Novo Hamburgo in South Brazil, where they will be teammates with Joy Anna and Fabio.  Washington and his wife will stay on as the missionary pastor of a nearby church plant where they have worked during their years of study.  Fred, a former graduate who had returned for some refresher classes, will be returning with his family to their state of Maranhão as missionary church planters.  We have recently heard of two former students who are headed toward the mission field, one foreign and the other in NE Brazil.  Praise the Lord!

1461647_529154175130_446171573_n (Medium)Our third grandchild, Tabitha Hope Leonard, was born on October 31 weighing in at 10 lbs, 7 oz.  She’s full of sweet cuddles and so content!  Just what Josiah and Nikki need with Jeremy (just turned 3) and Lydia (17 months).  Julie enjoyed two weeks in the States, mostly spending time with the older two as Tabitha made her appearance just a few days before her return to Brazil.  Joy Anna and Fabio found out this week that they are also expecting a little girl.  It will be a fun reunion when the little cousins get together some day!  Jennifer continues to seek the Lord’s will and to pursue some of her life-long dreams.  Pray for her, that the two would work together.

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