November 3, 2004
News From the Field
Here is the latest from Jim and Julie Leonard in Brazil. For those of you who may just be tuning in, Jim and Julie are missionaries we anticipate working with very closely when we get to Brazil. Please read this and keep them in your prayers.
As we follow the results of the Presidential Elections in America we are reminded of God's sovereign control over the nations, even in the choice of rulers. We praise Him for enabling the citizens of America to spread the Gospel to the distant corners of the world. And we are priviledged to be your representatives in this corner of Brazil.
During the past three days our Bible College has been involved with an evangelism project we have called "The Gospel in the Hands of the Romeiros". The "Romeiros" are religious pilgrims who come to the city of Juazeiro by the thousands in an effort of working towards salvation. They place their hope in "Padre Cicero", the city's founding father, who is believed by many to be a part of the Holy Trinity. We distributed 60,000 gospel tracts written and printed specifically for this occasion. Several different methods were used to catch the pilgrims' attention. Couseling centers were set up in public places around town for those who desired to know God's plan for Salvation. Hundreds were counseled, though we don't have a final count on how many salvation decisions were made.
There are many stories I could share, but let me just share this one that I witnessed. One of our counselling centers was set up on the town square called "Praça Padre Cicero". Two men came along and showed interest in the sign that was placed above a wooden display with three doors. The sign read: "3 THINGS GOD CANNOT DO." A student, Ronaldo, standing nearby encouraged the men to open the doors to see what God cannot do. The first door read "God cannot change". The second, "God cannot lie". The third confronted them with, "God cannot allow into heaven the sinner who is not born again." Then Ronaldo asked the men if they knew what it meant to be born again. They did not. He asked if they would like to have it explained to them. When they agreed they were directed to Marcio, a senior student who had some chairs set up for those who wished to be counseled. Marcio presented the two men with the Gospel message. The men were overwhelmed by their lost condition, and God's love that offered salvation so freely. Within 30 minutes, both men, in tears, prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Savior. It turns out both of them are drivers who had each brought a truck load of pilgrims.
A couple of weeks ago we asked you to pray for Fábio, the young engineer who lost his leg in an accident. Fábio is home and is healing well. One of the first things he did when he arrived at home was to call about the blueprints he was working on for the Source of Light Baptist Church. We are planning to begin the building just as soon as possible of an auditorium that can seat 400 people. Please continue to pray for Fábio's healing and for the construction of the Source of Light Baptist Church.
The Igreja Batista da Graça, our church in Crato, is now searching for a pastor. Since our former pastor resigned in January the church has been struggling to resolve several relationship and discipline issues. The past several months have been painful ones for the entire church, but we are beginning to see positive results. The church is stronger and more mature now than at the beginning of the year. And better yet, through this process some members have been restored to active useful ministries, and we have not lost a single member. Now the church feels prepared to search for a pastor. Please pray for God to send us the pastor of His choice.
On October 23 I (Jim) had some polyps removed from my nose. After spending two days and a night in the hospital, I returned home to continue taking it easy for the week. It sure feel good to be able to breath through the nose again after several months of nearly total blockage. A big thanks to those who prayed for me during this treatment. I praise the Lord for the competent doctors we have here in the Cariri. They are more than professionals; they are our friends.
Please continue to pray for Julie's health, and decisions we must make about her treatment. The tumor must be removed as soons as possible, to avoid further damage to the brain and other nerves. Julie and I are scheduled to fly to Minnesota on December 13, and Julie should have surgery within that next week. We are now trying to figure out the cost of this treatment, and how it will be payed for. I'm sure you have stories to tell about health insurance; what is covered and what is not. We figure that whatever we can nail down before surgery is to our advantage. We are confident that God will provide our needs, as He always has, but we feel that as wise stewards we must do our part. We have literally spent hours on the telephone with various doctors in the U.S. and with the Insurance company. Please pray that God will make His will clear to us for Julie's treatment.
Thank you for allowing us to have a part in your ministry, as we serve the Lord of the Harvest in Northeast Brazil. You too have an important part in our ministry through prayer. May God bless you.
Posted by Andrew on November 3, 2004 8:41 PM.