July 15, 2005
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, Geovânia Falcão, without disclosing whate direction the police have directed their efforts.
In the last week, two agents of the FBI (Federal Police of the United States) have been in Maceió. In meeting with the secretary of Social Defense, Robervaldo Davino; with the director of the Civil Policy, Robert Lisbon; and with agent Geovânia Falcão, 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 Maurício 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 Maceió 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 Maurício 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 Maurício. 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 Maurício. 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 Maceió, 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.
Posted by Andrew on July 15, 2005 12:20 AM.