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.
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.
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.
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