This is the place to find the most updated information concerning Missionary John Leonard. Most recent post are written by the family themselves.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Prayer Letter from Jim Leonard

Dear Prayer Partners,

It is in the midst of the storms of life that God's peace shines through, along with the accompanying joy.

John and Bev have certainly been examples of God's grace as they've demonstrated God's peace during this storm in their lives.

All of John's communication is done through a spelling board, where he uses eye movements and blinks looking up at an acrylic spelling board. It is very slow and sometimes frustrating for both he as well as the "reader", but we're getting better at it.

One of the churches John organized in Maceió just received a new pastor this past week. This morning John asked me to call Pastor Lelo and have him go to the two city newspapers with a word of forgiveness to those who tried to take his life. He also smiled for a picture which we sent by e-mail to accompany this news. When I spoke with
Pastor Lelo he was all excited. Wednesday night he had gone to the prayer meeting at the church in Coqueiro Seco where John had been shot, and found that many visitors were there. Some of these were people who had been witnessed to many times but had never responded or even come to a service. Following the Spirit's lead Pastor Lelo preached a gospel message and eight people received Jesus Christ as Savior. I wrote down their names because these are people the Leonards know by name. When I shared this report with John and Bev and read the names of those who were saved we all wept openly. This was the first time either Bev or I can ever remember John shedding a tear for any reason; tears of joy. Please continue to pray for this new church which is in need of a shepherd to lead it through their present storm. There is still much fear in the community.

John continues to battle the two infections, but today his lungs sounded a bit clearer. During a three hour surgery yesterday a plate was put into his chin, which we trust will help the healing process there. This morning a doctor confirmed once again that they didn't expect him to ever move his arms or legs again. Then this afternoon he was able to raise his right arm and move his hand. You cannot imagine the look of shock on the therapist's face who was working with him -- and the rejoicing among the family members who were present.

We could mention other blessings, but we just wanted to keep you posted with some of God's great responses to your prayers today.

Please continue to pray for:
- Victory over the MRSA staff and pseudomonas infections
- That John would be able to breath without the aid of the respirator
- For John to regain the use of his arms and legs
- For Joshua's health to be strong for his trip to Des Moines next Friday (he arrives on Saturday morning)
- For Beverly to have the physical, emotional, and spiritual strength needed for all she's facing
- For plans for family needs in the near future, including schooling for the children this Fall

Thank you so much for joining us before God's throne.

Jim & Julie Leonard

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1 Comments:

Jim,
Thanks so much for your good letter about John. We've copied it to use as a bulletin insert this morning (Sunday) so that all our people can be updated and know better how to pray. We've not met you folks yet but John is one of our missionaries, and we want to assure you and them of our continued love and prayer that all of God's purposes will be realized in this whole situation and that John and everyone close to him will know the sweetness of His comfort and encouragement every day.
We're thankful that "God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear..."
From Pastor Jim Douglass and our Bondurant Baptist Church Family

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, July 16, 2005 11:20:00 PM  

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Friday, July 15, 2005

God is Good

Hi, this is the webmaster, Doug Porter, tonight I have received great news. At first I was not to go public with this information but now that I have confirmed from outside sources that the info was released so here it is. This information will not be detailed and possibly not 100% accurate until I get the newsletter from Jim Leonard.

Talking with Pastor Kevin from Saylorville Baptist Church this afternoon, he told me this: A pastor came to preach at John's church in Brazil. From what I remember the message pertained to John's situation. Approximately 8 people were saved at this service. All things work together for good to those who love God.

Later talking with Pastor Pat Nemmers from Saylorville Baptist Church, I got this information. I was calling pastor to talk to him about a new and easier name for this site (I'll go into that later) and he said there was some great news, and he emphasized great. I feel I know pastor pretty well and could tell he was meaning John moved his body. I was right, while working with a physical therapist, they coaxed him and worked with him and his right arm and fingers moved. Pastor was saying that while they were praying for him earlier he thought he felt John's hand twitch but thought it was just himself and didn't say anything. I agreed to keep it quiet until the family released this information. I have heard that this info was released via email from Jim Leonard. I am currently trying to get him hooked up so his emails post directly here but as for now I can only go by memory from what I've heard tonight.

As for the website, the current name (johnleonardinfo.blogspot.com) will work indefinitely. But tonight I bought the site PrayforJohn.com. It will work on and off for the next 24 hours but will then work indefinety. I made a banner which is at the top but I will include it here also:



This is so it will be easier to give out the address and also focus on what is really important at this time. Pray for John is what we're all doing right now. The website has been getting people from all over the world hitting it. Here are the stats for the past few days.

The site was created at approximately 11:00pm Tuesday the 12th and this post is as of Saturday the 16th at 1:09am, there are a total of 1,129 Visitors with over 2,700 page loads. 218 Return visitors. I have also added a poll on the right hand side of the page titled How do you know John Leonard? I have many of you on the Mailing List but if you still need to be added just email me at JohnLeonardInfo@gmail.com, the new Email address of info@PrayforJohn.com should also be working within the next 24 hours. One last thing, I've added a link in the upper right hand corner to a guestbook which you can sign and leave a message for john and his family.


Douglas Porter

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2 Comments:

I just want to add a thank you to Doug Porter for creating and operating this Blog. Fantastic job. Although we are in Indiana, we can keep right up to date and are able to pray more intelligently.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, July 16, 2005 3:38:00 PM  

Now we can pray for specifics, and have placed this site on our Favorites to easily keep abreast of developments. Thank you.

By Anonymous Spectrow1@aol.com, at Monday, July 18, 2005 7:47:00 PM  

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Baptist Missionary Paralyzed After Being Shot In Brazil

Article from WCHS - TV8:

Baptist Missionary Paralyzed After Being Shot In Brazil
DES MOINES, Iowa

A Baptist missionary who's hospitalized in Iowa may remain paralyzed from the neck down after being shot by gunmen outside the church he founded in Brazil.

Officials at a Des Moines church that supports John Leonard's mission work say he was shot in the face, arm and back after preaching a sermon on July third.

The 45-year-old Leonard was flown to Iowa this past weekend.

He's been a missionary for two decades in Brazil, where he's started several churches.

The vice president of Baptist Mid-Missions, the mission agency to which Leonard belongs, says organized crime leaders may have arranged the shooting. He says Leonard was working to rehabilitate drug addicts and -- as a result -- drug dealers may have believed he had information on them.

The Reverend Kevin Thomas, associate pastor, Saylorville Baptist Church, in interview Thomas says John Leonard is a godly man.

On the Net: http://johnleonardinfo.blogspot.com/

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2 Comments:

Dear Leonard Family (John, Bev, Jim, Julie, and MK's),
Just a note to let you know we have been praying for you folks, and will continue to lift you before our Father's throne in prayer! We are thankful for what God has done, and continues to do. May He use you in a great and mighty way in the hospital as a testimony for Him!
In Christ's love,
Bob & Deb Thompson
Jennifer, Julie, Joy, Jessica

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, July 21, 2005 8:28:00 AM  

Good morning John and Bev and family,

Just a note to remind you that we continue to pray for you and think about you so very much. Also praying that Josh will be in Des Moines soon.

We rejoice with you in what our Lord is doing in your body John and praise our Lord for the 8 souls that were saved and I'm sure there will be more.

God be with you and meet your every need. We love you all and so glad we could be internet friends and looking forward to having a real visit soon. Psalms 118:24 Bob and Phyllis

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, July 21, 2005 9:47:00 AM  

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Picture - John at Vacation Bible School

This is John during Vacation Bible School at Saylorville Baptist Church standing with Tommy Hay.

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2 Comments:

Dear John, We wanted you all to know that 1000s of prayers are going before the throne of grace for you and your family today. Mark Lounsbourgh (missionary in Brasil & friend of John) sent us an email informing us of your serious circumstances. I sent our an email to all of my friends and they to theirs. One email of mine was sent to Northland Baptist Bible College in Wisconsin. Many loving thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

Love and Prayers
Jim and Jillane McGahhey
Allen Park Michigan

By Anonymous Jillane McGahhey, at Friday, July 15, 2005 12:07:00 AM  

John and Family,

I received the call to prayer from Jan Norton through E mai. Therefore I am just dropping in to say I'm on the wall, joining all the others who are raising a prayer covering over you, your family, and the work of God. No weapons formed against the Children of God can prosper, that they would rise up and fulfill their destiny. God bless you all.

Roz Dean

By Anonymous Roz Dean, at Friday, July 15, 2005 5:00:00 AM  

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Video - Wednesday night (July 13th) prayer meeting & update from Jim Leonard


This is video from the Wednesday night (July 13th) prayer meeting at Saylorville Baptist Church, John's home church. There is updates from both Pastor Pat Nemmers, and John's Brother, Jim Leonard.


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2 Comments:

I just wanted to say thank you to those who have given of their time and effort to make this website. For those who love the family and are far away, it is nice to be able to see and read information from the family. It was great to see Uncle Jim (I'm an mk too from Brasil:). Thank you again!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, July 14, 2005 9:45:00 PM  

Wilma Springer just called. I forward to her what I get on the Internet. She only has a mail station so she cannot get the website. I told her I would express her love and concern for you. She says to tell you she is broken over your heartache; but she is rejoicing over the 8 souls saved back on the field. Vera Weber

By Anonymous Vera Weber, at Saturday, July 16, 2005 6:03:00 PM  

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John Leonard Website

Blog from Comings Communiqué:

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 Maceió 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 http://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 http://johnleonardinfo.blogspot.com/

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1 Comments:

Hi John & Bev. You know we are all praying for you here in the Baptist Mid-Missions home office.

Tenham coragem em Cristo, porque os dias a sua frente serao dificeis. Deus, porem, e sobremaneira capaz de apoiar e usa-los por sua gloria! In our case, Doris' partial paralysis and weakness from her stroke have become a source of blessing to many others. We minister from weakness to lift the weak, and from our depencence to encourage others to depend on Christ.
We stand with you in prayer and care, and are following your circumstances to help others pray.
Que Deus vos abencoe,
Bill & Doris Smallman
Brasileiros de coracao

By Anonymous Bill Smallman, at Friday, July 15, 2005 6:18:00 AM  

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

News - Missionary Recovering After Being Shot in Brazil

News Article from WOI TV 5:

Missionary Recovering After Being Shot in Brazil

July 13, 2005, 09:46 AM

DES MOINES- After shock, fear and hundreds of prayers, friends and family remain cautious, but call Missionary John Leonard's progress "miraculous." Rev. Pat Nemers, from Saylorville Baptist Church, said, "God has heard our prayers. He woke up out of the coma. He's in a lot of pain, but just the same, he's communicating with his gestures."

Native Iowan John Leonard has spent nearly a quarter century serving in Brazil. His latest visit ended tragically on July 3rd when two men shot him three times at point blank range- in front of one of his Brazilian congregations. After receiving basic care at a local hospital, he was flown back to Iowa Methodist Medical Center on Sunday.

Leonard's friends at Saylorville Baptist Church say they pray for a full recovery, and believe he'll be back. Stuart Mauseth, from Saylorville Baptist Church, said, "When John does recover from this, knowing John, he will be back in the field, down in Brazil again, serving God."

Reverend Nemmers says along with using small gestures, Leonard is beginning to experience feeling in his arms and possibly one of his legs. He says Leonard is a man who practices what he preaches. Nemmers said, "After the incident, while he lie almost mortally wounded, he said, 'Forgive them.'"

Meanwhile, Nemmers says Brazilian police continue investigating the crime, and federal authorities are participating as much as they are allowed.
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1 Comments:

Thanks for setting this site up! I will refer people from my site to here.

By Blogger Andrew, at Thursday, July 14, 2005 6:35:00 AM  

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

John Leonard Update

Email to Church Body from Pastors at Saylorville Baptist Church:

Dear Brethren,

I just returned from a visit with John and Bev. John is recovering from recent surgery where they reset his jaw. One of the gunshot wounds injured his jaw and broke some teeth. His teeth are wired shut for the moment as he recovers from this surgery. The greatest concern for now is a serious staff infection that he is fighting. This is indeed a most difficult condition and one that requires diligent prayer for healing to occur. Concerning his paralysis, the doctors are not very hopeful. Although doctors and medicines are wonderful, that is not where we put our hope. We are reminded in Psalm 147:10,11, "He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy."

One other note, it is absolutely precious to observe Bev caring for her husband in such a loving and tender way. Continue to uphold her in prayer as this has been very draining on her. In fact, one way to help relieve some of the extra energy it takes for her to great visitors - we recommend that you consider using the free greeting card service offered by Methodist hospital. Simply go to the link http://www.iowahealth.org/ and on the Patient and Visitors link there is an option for "Send a Patient Greeting". It is a wonderful way to send a word of encouragement that is hand delivered daily right to John's room. Thanks so much for your prayers, love and concern for this family. God is answering prayer.

Pastors Pat and Kevin
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1 Comments:

Good luck in your endeavours. And God bless you.

By Blogger Christopher Trottier, at Tuesday, July 12, 2005 9:10:00 PM  

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Shepherd fought against infantile prostitution

Article from Melodia, a christian radio company in Brazil:

Original Portuguese:
Scroll Down for English

Pastor baleado
Pastor lutava contra prostituição infantil

A polícia não descarta a possibilidade do atentado sofrido pelo pastor da Igreja Batista de Coqueiro Seco, John David Leonard, 45 anos, no domingo, dia 3, estar ligado ao trabalho que ele desenvolvia contra a prostituição infantil no município. “Não é a nossa principal linha de investigação, mas não excluímos esta alternativa”, disse a delegada que preside o inquérito, Geovânia Falcão, sem revelar em que direção a polícia tem encaminhado as diligências.
Polícia Americana

Na última semana, dois agentes do FBI (Polícia Federal dos Estados Unidos) estiveram em Maceió. Em reunião com o secretário de Defesa Social, Robervaldo Davino; com o diretor da Polícia Civil, Roberto Lisboa; e com a delegada Geovânia Falcão, eles quiseram saber como estão andando as investigações e em quais circunstâncias houve a tentativa de homicídio. O pastor John David tem dupla nacionalidade e na última sexta-feira (8) foi transferido para os Estados Unidos, com princípio de infecção, num vôo que durou cerca de 18 horas.

Fonte: Gazeta Web

Data: 12/07/2005

Translated to English via Altavista.com:

Transferred shepherd

Shepherd fought against infantile prostitution

The police does not discard the possibility of the attempted against one suffered by the shepherd from the Church Baptist from Dry Coconut palm, John David Leonard, 45 years, in the Sunday, day 3, to be on to the work that it developed against infantile prostitution in the city. "It is not our main line of inquiry, but we do not exclude this alternative", said the commission agent who presides over the inquiry, Geovânia Falcão, without disclosing where direction the police has directed the diligências.

American police
In the last week, two agents of the FBI (Federal Police of the United States) had been in Maceió. In meeting with the secretary of Social Defense, Robervaldo Davino; with the director of the Civil Policy, Robert Lisbon; and with commission agent Geovânia Falcão, them had wanted to know as they are walking the inquiries and in which circumstances it had the homicide attempt. The shepherd John David has pair nationality and in the last Friday (8) he was transferred to the United States, with principle of infection, in a flight that lasted about 18 hours.

Source: Web Gazette
Date: 12/07/2005

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News - MISSIONARY SHOT

Article from The Garret:

MISSIONARY SHOT

Missionary John Leonard is in critical condition after he was shot outside a Brazil church he founded. Two men approached Leonard following a service and shot him at close range. An ordained Baptist minister, Leonard has worked in the country with Baptist Mid-Missions for about 20 years. He may be paralyzed if he survives. After spending most of a week in a remote Brazilian hospital, he was brought back to Des Moines, Iowa.
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Monday, July 11, 2005

Picture - Leonard Family

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Picture - John & Bev Leonard

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U.S. Missionary Remains in Critical Condition After Attack

Article from The Christian Post:

U.S. Missionary Remains in Critical Condition After Attack

An Iowa missionary remains in critical condition at a Methodist Hospital in Des Moines after he was shot several times last week outside a Brazil church he founded.

Monday, Jul. 11, 2005 Posted: 3:25:49PM EST

Although sources say 45-year-old John Leonard did awake from his coma Saturday night and responded to his family, doctors are still not able to perform surgery on him yet because he's at risk for pneumonia. He is believed to be paralyzed from the neck down.

On July 3, Leonard was shot at close range by two men outside his mission church in Brazil after a church service. Leonard, a long-time member and missionary for the Saylorville Baptist Church in Des Moines, was rushed to a hospital, suffering from gunshot wounds to his face.

On Saturday, Leonard was flown to Iowa Methodist Medical Center where he regained consciousness overnight, opening his eyes and communicating to friends and family by nodding his head, Saylorville church members were told, according to the Des Moines Register.

"Your prayers woke him up in the night," the Rev. Pat Nemmers told worshippers at the 10:45 a.m. service.

William Smallman, vice president of the Ohio-based mission agency to which Leonard belonged, said such an attack on a missionary is "exceedingly rare." Based on the information his group has about the shooting, it's clear that the men, who have not been identified, went to the church to kill Leonard.

What is unclear is the motive.

Beth Levine, the spokeswoman for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who helped arrange Leonard's transportation to Iowa Methodist said she did not know whether a U.S. government agency was investigating the shooting.

However, the Des Moines Register reports that Grassley has now gotten involved in the investigation in Brazil.

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Letter from Josiah Leonard

A letter from Ray & Annette Ronk:

We received this good report from Josiah Leonard, one of Pastor John's nephews. Thank you for being faithful to pray for John and his family. We also appreciate your prayers for the Brasilian churches, especially those in the area of the shooting. Pray that they will remain faithful during this time.
Continuing in His service, Ray and Annette Ronk

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 a tired, dull gaze that appears as if he is meditating on you and taking you all in. For us, it’s 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 are 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. That’s 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 John’s 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! The kids and Aunt Bev are all doing very well. Josiah
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1 Comments:

Thank you Josiah for such a good explanation. Our family is praying for John, Bev and everyone. We also continue to pray for the church people in Brazil.

The testimony of this family is wonderful, they have been faithful and encourage all of us to serve God. Having known them since college, all I can say is . . . we are praying.

Mark LuAnn Geddes Family
and Mrs. Shirley Fry

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Friday, July 15, 2005 2:13:00 PM  

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News - Update on John Leonard

Article from Baptist Mid-Missions:

Update on John Leonard

John Leonard arrived in Des Moines, Iowa, at approximately noon EST, on Saturday, July 9.

Preliminary examinations indicated that John was having serious respiratory difficulties. Since then his breathing status has improved significantly. Preparation has begun for the surgeries necessary to repair the damage to John's face and jaw. A primary concern at this time is the danger of infection, which already involves one lung.

A conclusive long-term prognosis will not be offered until the surgery is complete and medical testing is finished.

John's family is grateful for the intercessory ministry that is upholding them. They request prayer for successful treatment to resist and eradicate infections, so that the planned procedures can be carried out.
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News - Missionary Recovers After Attack

News - Article from The Des Moines Register

Missionary recovers after attack

John Leonard regains consciousness after being shot near his church in Brazil.

By RACHEL GALLEGOS
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
July 11, 2005

The Saylorville Baptist Church congregation rejoiced Sunday morning at news that one of their own - missionary John Leonard - had regained consciousness.

Leonard, 45, a long-time member and missionary for the Des Moines-area church, had been shot at close range by two men outside his mission church in Brazil on July 3. He is believed to be paralyzed from the neck down and has pneumonia.

He was flown to Iowa Methodist Medical Center on Saturday and regained con- sciousness overnight, opening his eyes and communicating to friends and family by nodding his head, the congregation was told.

"Your prayers woke him up in the night," the Rev. Pat Nemmers told worshippers at the 10:45 a.m. service.

William Smallman, vice president of the Ohio-based mission agency to which Leonard belonged, said such an attack on a missionary is "exceedingly rare." Based on the information his group has about the shooting, it's clear that the men, who have not been identified, went to the church to kill Leonard.

What is unclear is the motive.

In February, Dorothy Stang, a Catholic nun and environmental activist who frequently clashed with farmers and loggers in her attempts to protect Amazon rain forest land, was shot in the face and killed by men whom Brazilian authorities believe were hired to get rid of Stang.

But Leonard was not an environmental activist, and he worked in a different area of the nation, family members said. Alagoas, a small coastal state known for its beaches, is largely agricultural, with sugar cane and some tobacco crops.

Leonard had never been involved in political activism, even though some groups had asked him to, said his brother, Jim Leonard.

"We're there to help the people," Jim Leonard said. "It's not through political activism, it's through spiritual health."

Jim Leonard said his brother founded his fourth church since 1990 in a fishing village with lots of alcohol, drug and prostitution problems. Smallman speculated that the men who shot Leonard might have been involved in drug trafficking.

Leonard had finished a sermon at the church when two men approached and asked to speak with him. Outside the church, the men fired several shots from close range, hitting him in the face, arm and back.

Ironically, Leonard wasn't supposed to be in Brazil. He and his wife, Bev, and three of their four children had returned to Iowa for a year's furlough. Leonard had gone back to Brazil to get his oldest son, Josh.

Josh Leonard, 19, a college student in Brazil, went through chemotherapy for cancer earlier this year. Recently, he fell and broke a wrist and ankle. About a week later, he had a seizure and broke his right hip, so John Leonard was going to bring him to Iowa to recuperate.

Josh Leonard is still in Brazil, and the family hopes to bring him to Iowa later for medical care. Until then, the focus is on his father.

Nemmers said he visited John Leonard on Sunday morning. "He responded to me with little nods," Nemmers said. "He recognized who I was."

Leonard has a badly broken arm, with a bullet still lodged inside, Nemmers said. Bullet fragments also remain in Leonard's neck.

The Leonard family attended Sunday services, and brother Jim spoke briefly during the service.

"It's really encouraging that he's conscious," he said.

Since returning to Iowa, John Leonard's health has improved, his brother said.

"From what we see, we're satisfied," he said. "We see a big difference."

Jim Leonard, also a missionary in Brazil, said several members of the family have been involved in missionary work since their parents began missionary work there in 1962.
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News - Missionary in Critical Condition After Attempt on Life

News article from Who TV 13:

Des Moines, July 11th, 2005- An Iowa missionary remains in critical condition at Methodist Hospital.

One week ago, assassins tried to kill John Leonard after a church service he pastored in Brazil. Leonard was rushed to Methodist Hospital this weekend, suffering from gunshot wounds to his face. Leonard did awake from his coma, and responded to his family. Doctors cannot perform surgery on him yet, because he's at risk for pneumonia.

Leonard's close friend says the missionary received an incredible outpouring of support. John Leonard's wife and four children are by his side. Iowa Senator Charles Grassley has now gotten involved in the investigation in Brazil.
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Sunday, July 10, 2005

News - Baptist Missionary From Iowa Shot In Brazil

News article from Channel 8 News:

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.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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News - Missionary From Iowa Shot In Brazil

News Article from The Des Moines Register:

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.
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