July 8, 2005
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, Johnís 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.
Johnís 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 on July 8, 2005 10:03 PM.
Posted by: Terry L. Cullen at August 3, 2005 6:49 PM