July 30, 2005

VBS at Newfield

Yesterday we finished up our second week of VBS. The folks at People's Baptist Church in Newfield, NY, put on a great program, and we (Mikey and I) were privileged to be a part of it. Now we have one more to go, and then we head for points south.

Posted by Andrew at 10:41 PM // Comments: 2 //
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Keeping Refrigerated in Central Florida

Shane was our winner for the caption challenge two weeks ago, and for his prize, he chose to have his website publicized on this blog.

Shane's site, keeprefrigerated, is chock full of witty sayings, astute observations, and smart analysis from the perspective of a college-age resident of central Florida. You owe it to yourself to check it out!

keeprefrigerated.jpg

Posted by Andrew at 4:50 PM
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Blogging from Linux

This is an historical moment in the life of this blog. This entry is being posted on using a computer running the Suse Linux OS. Very cool.

Posted by Andrew at 1:49 PM // Comments: 1 //
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July 27, 2005

FBC Missions Trip

The Cross Seekers group from our sending church recently took a missions trip to the Bahamas. Shanna has posted some pictures of it.

Posted by Andrew at 9:33 AM // Comments: 1 //
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July 26, 2005

Mikey and Uncle Kevin



On Saturday Mikey and I visited Kevin. We had a jolly good time!

Posted by Andrew at 1:18 PM // Comments: 3 //
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July 25, 2005

Victim of Tragic Error is Brazilian

I am not able to use my laptop right now, so I am only getting residual reports of this, but it appears that the man killed in London by police the other day was Brazilian. I will post more details as they become avaiable to me. Below is the article that tipped me off.

Update: Here is a link to the BBC article on the subject. Key quote:

"This tragedy has added another victim to the toll of deaths for which the terrorists bear responsibility."

Second Update: According to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo, the reason Jean Charles Menezes ran from police was that his worker's visa had expired.

Continue reading "Victim of Tragic Error is Brazilian"

Posted by Andrew at 11:13 AM
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Video from John Leonard

The Pray for John website has just posted a video of John Leonard talking. If you want to see real Christianity in action, you need to check it out.

Posted by Andrew at 10:07 AM
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July 23, 2005

One VBS Down, Two To Go

This week we had a wonderful time at Bible Baptist Church in Cortland, NY, speaking at their Vacation Bible School. We had at least one kid get saved!!!

Now I am off to Newfield, NY, where I will be speaking at their VBS...and then it is on to West Groton, NY for more of the same.
I am not sure how frequent my posts will be for the next week, but I will try to keep you updated one way or another.

Posted by Andrew at 12:54 PM // Comments: 1 //
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More on Brazilian Open Source Plans

It has been a while since I posted on Brazil's plans to move to open source software. If you are interested, another piece of information came in today, and is available below:

Continue reading "More on Brazilian Open Source Plans"

Posted by Andrew at 9:35 AM
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July 21, 2005

Report from Brazil

I got a great update the other day from Tim Reiner, ministering in Petrolina, Bahia.

Were in the middle of a church split! Most church splits are painfully riddled with misunderstands, hard feelings, and often violating basic biblical instruction such as Eph. 4:2 or Rom 12:16. This however, is a good split, one that has been planned for almost two years.

In the Petrolina barrio of Vila Eduardo, the church for the hearing impaired (Igreja Batista dos Surdos), has grown numerically primarily with hearing being drawn to Christ and converted. Most are family and friends of the deaf, as well as folks from the barrio. Because Brazilian signing has such as limited vocabulary and the absence of abstract thought, it became evident that the growing group of hearing would have to come under conventional teaching and preaching. Last year we reported the construction of an extension to the existing installations for this increase. Just think, God had used the group of deaf Christians to start a church for hearing believers! Because we continue to grow, neighboring property has been purchased and we are to start building the new facilities for our church split in August. Half the necessary funds are on hand. If you want to come down and work on this construction or participate financially, please let me know. The excitement amongst our new believers is mounting as many plan to help where they can to build a place for Bible study, Godly worship, and close fellowship.

One of Tims recent projects has been building up a power plant for Treasure Island Camp. Last year the camps new generator unit was stolen. Though much police involvement took place, the unit was never recovered. A dissembled diesel tractor engine was purchase in the junk, rebuilt and adapted to a 20kw generator. Now the days of crank starting are overwith the press of a button theres quality power throughout the camp!

Posted by Andrew at 10:31 AM
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July 19, 2005

Caption Challenge

Congratulations to Shane, who won last week's Caption Challenge! His caption--News Reporter: " City police arrested a pig today that was allegedly driving a stolen tow truck."
"In other news the city police department will be having a BBQ to raise money for inner city charities."
--was unanimously chosen by the IPJ (Impromptu Panel of Judges) as the winner. To see the other captions, as well as last week's picture, click here.

Shane is in the Bahamas right now on a missions trip with our church, but when he returns, he will be eligible for one of the following prizes:

1) A Gmail account
2) An invitation to Orkut
3) Free publicity for his website on this blog
4) A one-year pro Flickr account

Those prizes are also available to the winner of this week's caption challenge. The picture is below, so happy captioning!

planecrash.jpg


Posted by Andrew at 10:39 AM // Comments: 23 //
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John Leonard Updates

Be sure to check out the recent updates at the John Leonard prayer website. There is the latest letter from his brother Jim detailing his progress, a picture of John "talking" to his wife via an alphabet chart, and the content of an update from Baptist Mid-Missions.

Posted by Andrew at 10:09 AM
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July 18, 2005

Past Ninety Percent!!!

Mikey and I arrived in Corland NY at about 2 a.m., after driving from Michigan, through Canada, stopping at Niagara Falls (sorry, no pictures--my wife has our camera in Brazil) and through western New York.

This morning, I opened my e-mail and found a letter from the pastor of Berea Baptist Church in Palm Harbor, letting us know that their church has taken us on for support. This takes us up to 92.1% of our needed financial investment! Needless to say, we are quite excited.

Posted by Andrew at 11:41 AM // Comments: 1 //
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July 17, 2005

Missionary On The Move

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MP3 File

Posted by Andrew at 2:01 PM
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July 16, 2005

Missionary Birthday Party

Breanne wanted to have a missionary birthday party. She invited us to be the guests of honor, and asked her friends to bring gifts for our ministry. We were overwhelmed!

The theme of the party was Brazil, as you can see by the cake above.

There are more pictures on the flickr site, and more forthcoming.

Posted by Andrew at 11:17 PM
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Awesome News

...over at the John Leonard recovery website.

Posted by Andrew at 7:56 PM
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July 15, 2005

Another Translation

The people over at John Leonard's recovery website asked me to make a translation of another story that appeared in a Braizlian newspaper. You can see it below.

Be sure to visit the website, and leave a message to let John and his family know you are praying for him.

Continue reading "Another Translation"

Posted by Andrew at 11:33 PM
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Travel Update

Mikey and I arived safely last night in Grand Haven, MI. We will be here through Saturday. On Sunday we will head over to NY, by way of Canada, where we will begin the first of our three back-to-back VBS's on Monday.

Thanks for your continued prayers for our travel safety.

Posted by Andrew at 11:10 AM
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News Article Translation

Here is a translation of the news article that appeared in the Gazeta de Alagoas. I thought that this article was particularly good, because it shows how John and his work are seen in the community. Remember that this is from a secular, Brazilian perspective. Yet they speak of his work and his character in glowing terms. Clearly he has been used of God in this city.

Crime Could be Linked to Prostitution

CARLA SERQUEIRA Reporter

The police do not discount the possibility that the attempted murder of the Pastor of the Coqueiro Baptist Church, John David Leonard, 45, on Sunday, July 3rd, could be related to the work that he was doing to combat juvenile prostitution in the city. "It is not our main line of inquiry, but we do not exclude this alternative", said the agent who presides over the inquiry, Geovnia Falco, without disclosing whate direction the police have directed their efforts.

American Police

In the last week, two agents of the FBI (Federal Police of the United States) have been in Macei. In meeting with the secretary of Social Defense, Robervaldo Davino; with the director of the Civil Policy, Robert Lisbon; and with agent Geovnia Falco, they had wanted to know how the inquiries are progressing and the circumstances surrounding the homicide attempt. The Pastor John David has dual nationality and last Friday (the 8th) he was transferred to the United States, with the beginnings of an infection, in a flight that lasted about 18 hours.

Two Composite Pictures Should be Divulged This Week

Experts from theFederal Police have finished drawing the composite picture of the two men who shot the Pasotr John David Leonard in front of the Coqueiro Seco Baptist Church. The drawings will be divulged as soon as the witnesses who had described the shooters affirm that the pictures look like them. The pastor was hit three times and is quadripalegic. On the night of last Friday, the 8th, he was transferred to a hospital in the United States, breathing with the help of machines. A bullet is still lodged in his jaw. The spokesman of the family of Jonh David, Jose Maurcio Filho, followed the transfer closely . An American airplane that functions as an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), took the pastor, accompanied only by pilots and doctors. According to them, John left Macei with the beginnings of an infection, escorted for police units. "The doctors are dealing with the infection in order to, after that, be able to continue with other surgeries", they said, affirming that John is conscious and that he communicates with gestures. Because they are owners of rental units in the Inocoop subdivision, in the Tabuleiro do Martins, the renters of John David have become suspects. One of their number had not paid his rent in years. Another reason could have been juvenile prostitution. Jose Maurcio said that the pastor had moved five adolescents from the so-called "inferninhos" (little Hells)--bars that function as brothels.

Better Life for Children was Objective of Pastor John

The kindness that characterized the work of pastor John David Leonard, in the small city of Coqueiro Seco, is recognized by practically all the inhabitants, independent of religion. To give better quality of life to the children was his main objective. "In Alagoas, the pastor established four schools. In every one there is a sports court.", commented its friend, Jose Maurcio. John has been in Brazil since 1995 and Coqueiro Seco since 2003. There he began a work directed towards the adolescents and young people with intention to move away them from drugs and prostitution. "In fact, already cases of juvenile prostitution had existed here", said the educational counselor of the city, Ivone Maria Dos Santos. "The pastor was an excellent person. He did not have any enemies around here ", she added. The popularity of John was so great in the city that, in the last elections for mayor, the two candidates had asked for his support. "He thanked them, but he denied their request. He said that he would be ready to collaborate with whoever was successful; he did not want to get on anybody's bad side.", said Jose Maurcio. On the 28th of April, the pastor John David travelled for U.S.A. to present to the American Mission of the Baptist Church a report of its activities in the Alagoan capital, but he had to return early because his son, Joshua Leonard, 19, had fallen and broken his femur. Having been back in Alagoas only 15 days, he was shot after a service he had just led. His son, who is studying theology in Macei, continues in the city, in an undisclosed location, still recovering from the surgery on his leg. John is married and has four children, all adolescents.

Also, the official blog that is following John's progress has included a video where his brother Jim gives an update on his condition.

Posted by Andrew at 12:20 AM
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July 14, 2005

John Leonard Website

The following letter just came in from Jim Leonard, and contains information about some online resources available to those who are praying for John and Bev.

We wish to thank you all for remembering John and Beverly Leonard and their children in your prayers. God's people united in prayer will certainly bring much glory to Him, which is really what He desires; and that is what our family desires, despite the pain of the present moment.

John's condition is still critical, though much improved over the past couple of days. Yesterday he had a simple surgery to wire his mouth shut, and to hold the jaw in place, which actually makes him look and feel much better. Soon, perhaps tomorrow, more reconstructive surgery will be done on his face. Today he was very alert, joyful, and bringing happiness to those who entered his room.

This morning an MRI confirmed that extensive damage was done to his spinal chord, which the neuro surgeon does not feel would be reversed by surgery.
Besides, John has two very serious infections which would almost certainly be life threatening if surgery were done on his back. So at this point the doctors are saying that John will be in a neck brace for up to two months until the vertebrae fuse together and will probably remain paralyzed from his neck down. We believe that God can miraculously heal John if that would bring the greatest glory to Him, so we continue to pray for that.

Immediately our greatest concern is with the MRSA staff and pseudomonas infections which are extremely resistant to antibiotics. Because of this, extra precautions have been taken to keep John in isolation.

We are also praying that John will be able to breath without the aid of the respirator so that he can speak again. We have seen significant progress in his breathing, but must still pray about this.

Plans have been made for Joshua to travel from Brazil on July 22nd. A close friend with whom he is staying in Macei will be accompanying him on the trip all the way to Des Moines.

The Iowa Methodist Hospital is providing John with excellent care, and has shown loving concern to the entire family. They have a system by which greeting cards can be sent over the internet. It is at www.iowahealth.org.
Click on the "Patient and Visitors" link and you will find an option to "Send a Patient Greeting." In this way you can save the postage and get a greeting to John much quicker.

John and Bev's home church has created a web page where current news and updates are being posted. It is www.johnleonardinfo.blogspot.com.

Since the people running the site are much closer to the situation, I will refer visitors there from now on, and will include only significant updates here. I am including the two links on the sidebar.

Update: From this website I was able to pick up another story from a Brazilian newspaper (in Portuguese). This story goes into how popular John was in the city, and how he had no known enemies there. It also shows a picture of John as he was arriving in the hospital in Brazil.

Posted by Andrew at 9:36 AM // Comments: 1 //
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July 13, 2005

More About John Leonard

This article from the Des Moines Register gives a little more background about the situation, as well as an update. It also includes quotes from his brother Jim, who has contributed many updates about the ministry in Brazil to this site.

Continue reading "More About John Leonard"

Posted by Andrew at 9:53 PM
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Report in Brazilian Newspaper about John Leonard

Here is a report from a Brazilian journal (Folha Online) about John Leonard.

Continue reading "Report in Brazilian Newspaper about John Leonard"

Posted by Andrew at 9:29 PM
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July 12, 2005

Answers in Genesis

Today we (missionaries attending the tri-annual conference of Baptist Mid-Missions) were given the special privilege of touring the unfinished Creation Museum of the Answers in Genesis organization. I was very impressed, to put it mildly. It is about time the Christians learned to do things with quality and professionalism. The Creation Museum does just that. I hope to be getting some pictures from our visit soon, to show you what I mean.

Posted by Andrew at 11:35 PM // Comments: 1 //
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Another Update from John Leonard

Below is another article which appeared today with further information about John Leonard's shooting and present condition.

When I talked to our field administrator today, he said that they were able to perform some surgery today on John's jaw, and that possibly by Thursday they would begin some work on his neck.

Continue reading "Another Update from John Leonard"

Posted by Andrew at 7:34 PM
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July 11, 2005

John Leonard TV News Report

I just got an e-mail from a pastor in Maine, directing me to their site, where they have more pictures and information about John Leonard. They also provided this link to a news report about the incident, which contained information I had not heard.

Posted by Andrew at 11:34 PM
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Caption Challenge--With A Prize!

We are stepping up our game with the caption challenges! That's right, starting this week we will be offering a prize to the winner--to be determined by a highly qualified and impartial panel.

The winner of this week's caption challenge will get their choice of 1) a g-mail account, 2) a year-long pro flickr account, 3) an invitation to Orkut, or 4) your blog promoted on this site--assuming that the subject matter of your blog is appropriate to appear on the blog of a Baptist missionary ;-)

So, without further ado, here is this week's caption challenge:

porcobandido.jpg

Posted by Andrew at 10:49 PM // Comments: 19 //
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John Leonard Videos

In a comment on the last update, Douglas Porter provided us with links to some videos he has that show John Leonard teaching at a VBS. In case you missed the comment, here are the links.

Video One

Video Two

Video Three

Video Four

Douglas also has updates at his blog.

Posted by Andrew at 10:35 PM
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John Leonard Update and Picture

Leonardssm.jpg

I thought it would be a good idea to put a face with the requests we have been making for John and his family. This picture is from a while ago. If anybody has a more recent shot, I would be more than happy to include it here.

Below is the latest from his nephew Josiah, who has been doing excellent work sending us updates:

We want to thank you for your prayers for John Leonards trip to the United States. He arrived by plane on Saturday at 11:30 A.M. and was immediately taken to the Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa, where he was immediately put in the ICU. On his arrival at the hospital, the doctors examined him and studied the x-rays and CT scans that were taken in Brazil of his left upper arm, chest, and head. The doctors decided to take him off all medications and sedations in order to see if he would wake up and be able to communicate with the doctors. John woke up around 9:30 Saturday evening. Bev, Marabel (Johns aunt who is a nurse), and I were able to see John with his eyes open and were able to ask him simple questions that he answered with a yes and no nod of his head. We praise the Lord that He has allowed John to wake up and communicate with us! Johns jaw is broken, and he has a tracheotomy in his throat so he cannot speak with his voice or lips. Communication is used through a chart with the alphabet printed on it. Someone starts with the letter A and goes on through the alphabet until John nods when the letter he wants is found. This process is done over and over again until a word is formed. Its been slow, but it has been very rewarding. John is now using his eyes more for communicating since the chart goes pretty slow. Praise the Lord that he looks much better now than when he was first brought in! But he is still in critical condition. There is concern about pneumonia and some staff infection around the tracheotomy. He has complained of pain in his head and arm, for which he is being given medication. There appears to be some feeling in his chest, right arm, and right leg, but no movement. The doctors are saying that the paralysis in his arms and legs appear to be permanent but please keep praying that God would perform a miracle. Bev and the kids are all doing very well. Most of John and Bevs family has come up. He seems to be comfortable with the presence of family, but he does need to rest and recuperate his strength. The church in Coquiro Sco did not close its doors despite much fear in the town. One of the men who John discipled preached last night, and my uncle Pedro, who went down with Grandma Leonard led the service. Please continue to pray for the strength of this church through this trial.

As I was on Google this afternoon looking for more information, I actually came accross the following excerpt from an entry I posted last year:

We request special prayer for the team of some 20 students who will be working with Jim's brother, John Leonard, with the new church he is planting in a fishing town called "Coqueiro Seco" (Dried Coconut Tree). They will be doing street evangelism, Vacation Bible School for youth and children, and evangelistic services. Please pray for God to work in a way greater than we can ask or even imagine.

Coqueiro Seco is where the shooting took place. I do not presume to know God's plan in this ordeal, but one thing is for sure, God is at work in Coqueiro Seco.

Posted by Andrew at 2:15 PM // Comments: 1 //
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AP Story on John Leonard

The following story was in my Google alerts for Brazil this morning:

TheIowaChannel.com - News - Baptist Missionary From Iowa Shot In Brazil

Baptist Missionary From Iowa Shot In Brazil

POSTED: 4:41 pm CDT July 10, 2005
UPDATED: 4:57 pm CDT July 10, 2005

DES MOINES, Iowa -- An Iowa Baptist missionary is in critical condition Sunday at a Des Moines hospital after he was shot several times a week ago outside a Brazil church he founded.

John Leonard, of Creston, is unconscious at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, where he was flown Saturday.

The 45-year-old Leonard is an ordained Baptist minister who has established several churches in Brazil during his two decades of missionary work.

The Rev. Pat Nemmers of Saylorville Baptist Church said Leonard is clinging to life and may be paralyzed from the neck down. The Saylorville church financially supported Leonard's missionary work.

Leonard slipped into unconsciousness after six days in a Brazilian hospital. He had been working in a remote area in the coastal state of Alagoas.

Nemmers said a bullet is still lodged in Leonard's arm and bullet fragments remain in his neck.

He said Leonard was approached by two men on July 3 after completing a sermon. They asked to speak with him. Outside the church, they shot Leonard at close range, striking him in the face, arm and back.

And another one from the Des Moines Register:

DesMoinesRegister.com

Missionary from Iowa shot in Brazil

By BRIAN SPANNAGEL
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
July 10, 2005

An Iowa Baptist missionary was clinging to life in Des Moines, where he was flown Saturday, after alleged assassins shot him several times July 3 outside the Brazil church he founded.

John Leonard, 45, of Creston was unconscious and believed to be paralyzed from the neck down at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, said the Rev. Pat Nemmers, pastor at Saylorville Baptist Church, which financially supported his mission.

Nemmers said that shortly after Leonard finished his sermon, two men approached and asked to speak with him. Outside the church, they fired several shots at him from close range, hitting him in the face, arm and back. Leonard, an ordained Baptist minister, has been a missionary for two decades in Brazil where he planted several churches.

"This was clearly a hit that was put on him," Nemmers said.

William Smallman, vice president of Baptist Mid-Missions, an Ohio-based mission agency to which Leonard belonged, said "it is exceedingly rare" for such an attack on a missionary. The agency has 180 missionaries stationed in Brazil, which is generally tolerant of people spreading a Christian message.

Smallman speculated that organized crime leaders arranged the shooting. He said Leonard was working to rehabilitate drug addicts and as a result of that, drug dealers may have believed that he had information that they didn't want him to know.

"It clearly was something that was targeted at John as a person," Smallman said.

Nemmers speculated that the attack may have been a backlash to Christianity from other religions.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Ia., and his office helped arrange Leonard's transportation to the Des Moines hospital. Grassley spokeswoman Beth Levine said she did not know whether a U.S. government agency is investigating the attack or whether it is being categorized as an assassination attempt.

Leonard slipped into unconsciousness after six days in a Brazilian hospital miles from the remote town in the coastal state Alagoas, where he was working. A bullet is still lodged in his arm and bullet fragments remain in his neck, Nemmers said.

"While John is not a foreigner to Brazil, the message he brought was foreign," Nemmers said.

Posted by Andrew at 8:00 AM
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July 10, 2005

Brazilian View of the Fourth of July

About every day, I go to a Brazilian humor website to check up on current events, and see if they have any funny pictures. Some of the Caption Challenges I have published have come from that site. The site also publishes flash animations spoofing current events in Brazil and around the world.

I was surprised to find today a Fourth of July animation. This holiday is not celebrated in Brazil, and so I was interested to see what they would have to say about it. You can see for yourself by clicking the image below, and then clicking the "play" button:

quatrodejulho01.jpg

In case you do not read Portuguese, here is the translation to the text, which is accompanied by the Star Spangled Banner playing in the background:

The Fourth of July commemorates the independence of one of the greatest nations on world.

This nation, with much struggle, achieved it's victory based on the principles of Equality, Fraternity, and Liberty (I think they got us mixed up with the French there...), and has become one of the greatest examples of democratic ideals...

Now all that is missing is for them to put those ideals into action.
(At this point the words "Independence of the USA" appears, and then fades into the phrase "Dependence on the USA", which is crossed out.)

The reality is that in Brazil today the US is not looked on very favorably. A Brazilian friend of mine yesterday explained to me that right now in the Brazilian press it is fashionable and politically correct to badmouth America.

It is in times like these that missionaries need to realize that they are in Brazil (to paraphrase the director of our mission board) to say "Thus saith the Lord" and not "this is how we do it in the States". Pray for your missionaries--myself included--that we will remember this, and resist the temptation to discuss politics, when there are much more important issues at hand.


Posted by Andrew at 11:05 PM // Comments: 3 //
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Update on John Leonard

This is the latest concerning John Leonard, coming from his nephew Josiah:

Uncle John is doing so much better! When he arrived they had him on 100% oxygen, now he is only on 60%. The doctors quit giving him medication of any type in order to revive him, so he could in some way try to communicate with us. I had the privilege of being with Uncle John when he first started communicating to us with his head and eyes! It was so wonderful to ask him questions and get a response from him! We updated him on where he was, how he got there, how Josh was doing, and that he was going to be OK. He understood everything we said. When you look in his eyes, he seems to have tired, dull gaze that appears as if he is meditating on you and taking you all in. For us, its the most beautiful thing! He started "communicating" with us Saturday night at around 9:00 P.M. My dad was with him around 5:00 A.M. this Sunday morning, and he was able to "talk" to Uncle John through pointing out letters of the alphabet and Uncle John nodded yes or no if that was the letter he wanted. After a long while, my dad and Aunt Bev managed to get the words what happened spelled out. They filled in Uncle John on what has happened since the shooting. He got a puzzled look on his face several times during the explanations. I saw the X-rays right across the hall from his room. There a bits and pieces of bullet shells and bones scattered throughout his arm and chest area. I don't think they have found an entire bullet in his body yet. Some speculation but no confirmation. Imagine this: someone takes a walnut and a hammer. They take the hammer and smash the walnut with all their strength. Pieces of the walnut scatter in all directions. Thats what the X-ray of his arm looks like. They have set it, but they won't use pins since Uncle John can't move it. He has feeling from his chest up. He was also feeling some pain so they put him back on some pain killers but no sedatives. Aunt Bev has been in and out of his room (mostly in) ever since he arrived Saturday around noon. Over the course of the night, she has fallen asleep several times next to his bed with her hand on his shoulder. He wants her there. He has made himself very clear on that matter. Jerrod and Aunt Bev just came out from his room. They were able to spell out head, which meant his was hurting, and bullet out which he was asking whether the bullets had come out or not. The doctors aren't going to do surgery until Uncle Johns vital signs continue to be stable. So far they have been excellent and are improving little by little! PTL! Thank you again for all of your prayers!

Posted by Andrew at 5:19 PM // Comments: 1 //
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July 9, 2005

John Leonard Update

When I arrived in West Chester, Ohio today for BMM's Triannual Conference, they informed us that John Leonard is here in the US, and being prepared for treatment for his gunshot wounds. Below is the letter I received from Jim this evening.

Praise the Lord that John has arrived here in the United States! We have just come from the airport after meeting the plane bringing him shortly before noon today. All the family members who were present were allowed to see him for a few moments while he was being transferred from the plane to the ambulance. He was heavily sedated and his body was quite swollen from the long trip. He was also hooked up to a tracheotomy. When Jim spoke to him he made some sign of recognition that we were there. Praise the Lord he knows his family is here! He was taken to the Methodist Hospital in Des Moines where he is being cared for. One of the flight crew told us that he was fair but a very sick man. Three specialists are with him now and evaluating his condition. Bev, Johns wife, and their kids are taking everything very well. The Lord is surely giving them strength through these difficult days!

Posted by Andrew at 10:01 PM
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July 8, 2005

Cowards!

Warning: Rant ahead.

ramseysm.jpg

When I got home from camp yesterday, I had no idea there had been a terror strike on London. As I sat there and watched the footage on TV, I felt an anger welling up within me--an anger against cowards.

What kind of person puts explosive devices in subways and buses, with the obvious intent of killing helpless civilians? What kind of person recruits economically depressed people, fills their head with hate, and then incites them to fly airplanes, drive cars, or walk into places full of innocent people--killing them all? Cowards.

Or what kind of people walk into a Brazilian church building full of worshipers, ask for the missionary pastor, and, when he turns around to greet them, shoot him three times at point-blank range, including once in the back? What kind of men will then flee the scene, leaving the pastor--who was in Brazil to care for his sick son--paralyzed? Cowards!

I always wondered why, in Revelation 21:8, the "fearful" (which the ESV translates "cowardly") are included in the list of those who are condemned to eternal damnation. Now I know.

To the people of Great Britain, we offer our solidarity, and our pledge of co-operation. To the family of John Leonard, we offer our commitment to pray for them fervently and earnestly, and to give whatever assistance we can.

To the cowards who perpetrated these acts, we offer this warning: God is Just. Unless God brings to you repentance, the terror that awaits you is far, far greater than any you inflicted on others this week. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Posted by Andrew at 10:26 PM
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Updates on John Leonard

The following updates were on John Leonard were in my mailbox when I returned from Camp Sparta.

This first update comes from Baptist Mid-Missions president Gary Anderson:

On Sunday evening, July 3, 2005, missionary John Leonard was the victim of an attempted murder and was critically wounded in the assault. Three men were waiting outside the church and when the evening service ended, two of them entered the crowd of congregants and asked for Pastor John. When John identified himself, one of the men shot him three times. John was wounded in the face and jaw, the arm, and most seriously in the 4th vertebrae of his spine. At this time he is paralyzed.

In a joint effort between the Mission, Johns family, and his missionary colleagues in Brazil, an air ambulance is being dispatched to evacuate John to Des Moines, Iowa, where he will undergo surgery. He is expected to be in Des Moines by Friday, July 8, 2005. A conclusive long-term prognosis will not be offered until the surgery is complete and medical testing is finished. The doctors in Brazil feel he is sufficiently stable to be evacuated to the United States, but his condition is quite serious.

No suspects have yet been apprehended. We have no knowledge of why anyone would seek to harm John. The American Embassy is tracking the case, but our consuming concern in the days since John was injured has been to ensure he has the best possible medical care.

Johns wife, Bev, and their three youngest children are in the United States. John and their oldest son, Josh, were together in Brazil. Josh remained in Brazil to attend Bible School when his family came to the States for furlough this spring. Josh has been battling cancer for a few years and a few weeks ago developed health needs which necessitated John returning to Brazil to care for him. They had planned to come to the States together on July 22.

This next one arrived just today from some of our missionaries in Brazil.

I received a phone just a few minutes ago informing me that John's plane has taken off for Des Moines. Please pray that John will remain stable during the flight. Pray for Bev and the kids as John arrives. The reality of the situation will hit them very hard as John lands and is taken to the hospital. No motive has been uncovered as to why this attempt on John's life was made. At this point all suggestions are simply speculation as to the reason. We also need to pray for Josh. As you know John was here to help get Josh back to the States for medical reasons. Josh is in a body cast and traveling is not easy. Decisions need to be made regarding possibly moving him to Fortaleza or Juazeiro do Norte until he can travel to the States. This will probably take place on July 22. Please uphold Fran Leonard, who now has to make difficult decisions for Josh's care and travel. We all still have a lot of questions about this situation. We must continue in prayer for the entire family. We also need to give thanksgiving for those who have helped. Pray especially for Don Anderson and his family. Though they are with another mission, they are good friends of John and his family. This has been very traumatic for Don's children. Don completely gave of himself this week and needs a rest.

Posted by Andrew at 10:03 PM // Comments: 1 //
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July 5, 2005

Off to Camp Sparta

Mikey and I are off to Camp Sparta now (with a small detour at Chick-Fil-A). I probably will not be blogging much before Thursday, unless I get around to doing an audio post.

Still no more details on John Leonard, but I will post them as soon as I know.

PS. Just a side note, this is the 700th post on this blog.

Posted by Andrew at 12:10 PM // Comments: 2 //
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July 4, 2005

Caption Challenge for 7/4/05

Because it is the Fourth of July, and in honor of our brave troops, this week's caption challenge has a patriotic theme.

patriotic.jpg

Posted by Andrew at 6:13 PM // Comments: 13 //
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Urgent, Urgent Prayer Request

Please be in prayer for my friend and colleague in Brazil, John Leonard, as well as for his family. Below is what happened, as I received it in an e-mail today from one of the missionaries on the field:

This, evidently, is what happened. Three men waited in their car while the church service in Coqueiro Seco was going on. When it was over, two of them got out and approached the people asking for Pastor John. They then headed over to him and called his name. When he turned to greet them, one of them shot him three times. One bullet broke some teeth, another grazed his neck (or broke his arm?, though I may be confusing that with the one that hit the jaw). The third was fired after he had fallen and was evidently the one that hit his fourth vertebra. The church people did not recognize any of the men. John is now in a hospital in Maceio. He is not in any life-threatening medical condition, however, one of the men in the church in the Graciliano Ramos bairro is a police official and placed several policemen in the hospital as protection.

Please be in prayer for this family, and for the missionaries on the field. I will keep you posted with further information as I receive it.

John's brother, Jim, is the one who wrote the recommendation for us on this website, and portions of his letters have been featured here from time to time. We hope to work with Jim and Julie when we arrive in Brazil. They are dear friends of ours. We are very concerned right now.

Posted by Andrew at 5:06 PM // Comments: 2 //
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