March 15, 2005
News From the Front Lines
Here are excerpts from the latest prayer letter received from the Leonards.
Greetings from the hot, humid Cariri Valley. At least that's what we have this week. Our normal rainy season (December - April)has been very poor this year, and most of the crops have been lost, bringing difficulties and despair to the subsistence farming communities around us. But this week God showered us with some nice rains which have cooled the evenings. They have also given a jump start to the thousands of seedlings we planted on our college property in the past month. We hope to have a nice little forest of trees in a few months.
Now I am going to inject a comment right here. This year it is a poor rainy season. Last year there was so much rain that it caused rampant flooding. Northeast Brazil is the embodiment of the phrase "If it rains, it pours."
God brought us a large incoming class of dedicated young people this year. I believe we have the largest student body ever, with 76 full-time and 27 part-time students. Every one of these students shows clear signs of God's hand on him/her, leading into a life of ministry.
God's hand of blessing has truly been on Jim's ministry at the seminary. When I arrived there as a student in 1994 (shortly after Jim took over as director), they had about 20 students in run down facilities. Now they have over 100, on a beautiful campus.
The evangelism team of five students who are working in our neighborhood, Grangeiro, are doing a good work. Last Saturday three children prayed to receive Jesus as Savior at the Kids' Club. Two more homes invited them for a Bible Study, which keeps them busy in the later afternoons. This coming Saturday night we have invited the parents of the children who come to the Kids' Club for a meeting where we plan to show them what we are teaching the children, and ask them to help their children memorize the Bible verses. I will also bring a study on why they should have God be a part of their home in raising the children.
This is one of the most exciting aspects of the ministry of the Cariri Baptist Seminary, and one that we will be intimately involved with upon our arrival in Brazil. The students not only learn in the classroom, but they put their learning into practice.
On another subject, we had to stop the construction of the Source of Light Church auditorium for a while. Our plan was to put up the walls and roof for this building which would be about half of the cost for this project. In this way the church would already use part of the building while they gradually did the finishing work. However with the U.S. dollar being very weak right now, and the project being quite large, we did not have the conditions to get the walls up and roof on. Please pray that in God's time He would provide for the completion of this project.
You have prayed with us for the purchase of a property for the New Jerusalem Baptist Church. We have been waiting on a piece of land that we felt was very good for this church, but it was tied up in a divorce settlement. Last week we located another property that is actually larger and more centrally located between the four "villas" we would like to reach with this church. Please pray that God would lead in a very definite was as we make an offer on this land this week. Last weekend I spoke at the installation service for Pastor Porfirio, the young missionary who will be developing this work. They are already packing out the rental house where they meet, and definitely need a larger meeting place.
Despite the financial difficulties mentioned, it is important to notice that these are TWO church plants going on in the Cariri Valley. This region is known as "the capital of Brazilian idolatry". Yet it is obvious that God is doing great things there. We are so anxious to be a part of it!
I have posted pictures of the Seminary here, so you can see for yourself what God is doing.
Posted by Andrew on March 15, 2005 10:57 AM.