September Prayer Letter

            It has been a busy summer with ministry in churches and with the men’s backpacking camps.  Grace Baptist Church in Sonoma CA continues to proceed.  There are still many challenges, but Pastor and Sarah Sondergaard are steadily moving forward.  Please continue to pray.

            The backpacking camps went well but I realized that I am not able to do as much as I would like, at least not as fast as I want.  My body is getting older.  Thankfully, the men helped me a lot.  We will see what next year looks like as we get closer.  We had men from AZ and IA along with men from our home church going this year.  It was a soul refreshing time in God’s creation.

Fall – During September, we will be at two different churches for meetings, First Baptist in Dillon MT and Grace Baptist in Pendleton OR.  I also plan to attend the annual meetings of Northwest Baptist Mission in Kemmerer WY the last week of the month.  The first part of October, we will be in AZ.  We look forward a busy time in the next few weeks.

Heavily weighing on my heart – There are many needs in the churches in the West as well as around the world.  With my limited amount of exposure and knowledge, I have been working and thinking through some of the needs most affecting the churches.  I am going to list various issues that come to the forefront.

1.  Churches without pastors.  Some have been looking for quite a while.  I personally know of about 20.  Some have the means to support a fulltime pastor while others are looking for someone bi-vocational.  There seems to be a lack of men who simply love the Lord, His Word, and His people.  Too many men have agendas to change the doctrines and methodologies of the churches or have some other issue that hinders them in ministry.

2.  Churches that are on the verge of closing.  There are several that are being forced to consider whether or not to keep their doors open. Each one has different circumstances.  Some have been without a pastor for too long.  Some have become so small that they are not viable.  Communities have changed.  Each situation needs to be examined and given an honest evaluation, seeking God’s direction.

3.  Pastors who are close to retirement seeking someone they can work with in their last year or two of ministry, turning the work over to them at the discretion of the church.  There are pastors who are hanging on, knowing that it is hard to find good men to pastor churches.  Pastors are concerned for the people God has given them to shepherd.  They are seeking like-minded men to turn over the work.  (Study Philippians 2:19-23)  This method has worked for several churches I know but is not the only answer.  God is in control of His church and will work through whatever issues the church will face. 

4.  Training people for ministry, especially men for the pastorate.  Our church is seeking to help in this effort; however the Lord would lead us.  We are praying for people from within and from other places; that God would use us in the preparing of them for ministry in the churches.  Preparation could be internships, remote college or seminary classes, along with ministering at our home church.  There are needs and we need to proactive, seeking God’s direction for filling the needs.

These are just a few of the things I have been working with and through during the summer.  Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.  We are recovering at the moment from being sick after our last trip.  May God continue to work greatly in and through each of us as we walk with Him. 

Remaining Steadfast and Stable – I have received several very encouraging testimonials about the latest Bible study book.  It has been available for less than a year and we have already gone through over 500 copies.  A couple of churches have let me know they are going to start a class or study using it this fall.  I know of individuals who are buying copies for their friends.  Praise the Lord.  It is being read and studied.  The book is available on Amazon.

The wildflowers were in full bloom this year.

June Prayer Letter 2022

We missed the May letter so we will catch up.  In April, I went to Upton WY at Frist Baptist Church where Randy Fowler is pastor.  The Northern Plains Fellowship meetings were at the same time.  It was a good time with the pastors and friends who were able to be a part.  Traveling there and back, I was able to see many pastors and friends.  On the way home, I was able to speak at Truth Baptist Church in Dubois WY where Isaiah Desent is pastor.  This is a new church plant and the Lord is blessing.

            Resurrection Sunday, I started meetings at Chewelah Baptist Church in Chewelah WA where Dan Cleghorn is pastor.  The church is growing and God is blessing.  May was busy with our home church and a short time away.  It was nice to spend a week away with Jeneen.  We are also preparing for the work team going to CA.

The main purpose of going to Sonoma CA is to reroof Grace Baptist Church’s education building.  We leave the 4th of June and will be there through the 10th for this revitalization work.  Pastor Ron Sondergaard and his wife Sarah have been working on the church since he was called to pastor last year.  The building is in need of much repair and updating.  It is difficult for them especially since Pastor Ron is working outside the church to supplement their income.  The demographics show a real need for a good church in the area with between 30,000 and 40,000 people within five miles of the church.  The church has approximately two and a half acres.  God has burdened Ron and Sarah to sacrifice in the establishment of a Christ-centered, thriving church in the community.  We are glad the Lord has allowed us to be a part of this effort.  Let us know if God burdens you to be a part of this revitalization project in some way. 

Backpacking season starts soon.  We have a couple of trips planned during the summer.  It is nice to see how the Lord is putting things together.  We have men coming from a couple of different areas.

Jeneen has been busy with her mom and with the many appointments.  Her mom has been doing a bit better.  We look forward to what the Lord has for us this summer. 

Thank you for your prayers and support.  We need God to continue to work greatly. 

Grace Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. Sonoma, CA.

April Prayer Letter

We were marching along in March.  What a tremendous time in AK with meetings at Immanuel Baptist Church where Ben Burtch is pastor and Pioneer Peak Baptist Church where Aron Schrepfer is pastoring.  It was good to see the church families and to hear what God is doing.  The Lord worked in the meetings with good attendance and response even though there was some sickness going around.  I was thankful not to get it myself.  Thanks for your prayers.  It had been about three years since I was able to be there.  I enjoy both of these churches and their pastors.

I went to Wyoming for meetings with Northern Plains Fellowship the first week of April.  On the way there, I saw many pastors and friends.  The meetings were in Upton WY at First Baptist Church where Randy Fowler is pastor and at a convention center in Newcastle WY.  It was a joy to be with the church family and the pastors.  Along with many other friends, I also saw friends who were a part of the church where I pastored in Walla Walla.  Dr. Jack Weaver and his wife Kitty have moved to WY to be close to his daughter’s family.  It was sure good to see them.  Then on the way home, I stopped by Dubois WY to be with Truth Baptist Church for their Thursday night meetings.  It was so good to see what God is doing in Dubois where Isaiah Desent is Pastor.

Next, I head to Chewelah WA to be at Chewelah Baptist Church where Dan Cleghorn is pastor.  The meetings start on Resurrection Sunday and go through Wednesday evening.  I look forward to fellowshipping with the church family.  I pray for God to work greatly in the hearts of those who are able to be there.

We are working toward getting a work team together from our home church to help the church in Sonoma CA.  It looks like it will be the first full week in June.  Please pray as this will be a big project.  We will be reroofing the education/fellowship building.  This is a church revitalization project.  Please be in prayer for Grace Baptist Church and for Pastor Ron and Sarah Sondergaard as they seek God’s leading in this work.  As always, we want to walk WITH the Lord through every step, not ahead of the Lord or behind the Lord. 

The Grand Tetons in Wyoming

April Prayer Letter

We were marching along in March.  What a tremendous time in AK with meetings at Immanuel Baptist Church where Ben Burtch is pastor and Pioneer Peak Baptist Church where Aron Schrepfer is pastoring.  It was good to see the church families and to hear what God is doing.  The Lord worked in the meetings with good attendance and response even though there was some sickness going around.  I was thankful not to get it myself.  Thanks for your prayers.  It had been about three years since I was able to be there.  I enjoy both of these churches and their pastors.

I went to Wyoming for meetings with Northern Plains Fellowship the first week of April.  On the way there, I saw many pastors and friends.  The meetings were in Upton WY at First Baptist Church where Randy Fowler is pastor and at a convention center in Newcastle WY.  It was a joy to be with the church family and the pastors.  Along with many other friends, I also saw friends who were a part of the church where I pastored in Walla Walla.  Dr. Jack Weaver and his wife Kitty have moved to WY to be close to his daughter’s family.  It was sure good to see them.  Then on the way home, I stopped by Dubois WY to be with Truth Baptist Church for their Thursday night meetings.  It was so good to see what God is doing in Dubois where Isaiah Desent is Pastor.

Next, I head to Chewelah WA to be at Chewelah Baptist Church where Dan Cleghorn is pastor.  The meetings start on Resurrection Sunday and go through Wednesday evening.  I look forward to fellowshipping with the church family.  I pray for God to work greatly in the hearts of those who are able to be there.

We are working toward getting a work team together from our home church to help the church in Sonoma CA.  It looks like it will be the first full week in June.  Please pray as this will be a big project.  We will be reroofing the education/fellowship building.  This is a church revitalization project.  Please be in prayer for Grace Baptist Church and for Pastor Ron and Sarah Sondergaard as they seek God’s leading in this work.  As always, we want to walk WITH the Lord through every step, not ahead of the Lord or behind the Lord. 

The Grand Tetons in Wyoming

2021 Annual Report

Dear Friends,

            As we look over the year of ministry, God has worked in very identifiable ways.  I will list some of them making it easy to read.

  • The wedding in California, for Ron and Sarah Sondergaard came together in a wonderful way.
  • I privileged to lead the memorial service for Timothy Brower, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Sonoma, CA.
  • Ministry with meetings in AK, AZ, CA, WA, ID, UT, KS, CO, and OR
  • Three churches found pastors:
    • Calvary Baptist Church in Kingman AZ – Pastor Rob Kelley
    • Lincoln Park Baptist Church in Wenatchee WA – Pastor Daniel Pierce
    • Grace Baptist Church in Sonoma CA – Pastor Ron Sondergaard
  • Ministry in a men’s retreat and a family retreat at two different camps.
  • Ministry with a pastor’s conference and a mission’s conference.
  • Ministry with men’s backpacking retreats.
  • Ministry in our home church, Fellowship Baptist Church, Nampa ID.

NEW BOOK – After finding out that JourneyForth, a division of BJU Press was not going to be able to publish my latest Bible study due to a policy change at the publisher, the Lord worked it out to go a different direction.  Dr. Allen Ferry offered to do final edits and publish it.  After a busy time working through the details, it was published the last week of October and announced the first part of November.  The Lord has been working through it already.  The book, Remaining Steadfast and Stable is available on Amazon.

God continues to give us health to minister.  We started the year recovering from Covid.  Jeneen and I had our first skin cancers.  We were able to get them taken care of without any problem.  God gives health, stamina, and safety as we minister.

As we enter 2022, we are thankful for all those who have been an encouragement in ministry.  We appreciate all the prayers and support.  We are looking forward to what 2022 has.  The Lord knows.  We look forward to what the Lord has.  May God continue to bring the increase.

New Book Release – Remaining Steadfast and Stable

Dear Friends,

Many of you deserve my thanks for your prayers and encouragement for my latest writing project.  It has been a difficult process as I sought to simplify multiple aspects of walking with God.  The efforts have come to fruition with a Bible study book.  Thank you for your prayers.

It is with great joy that I announce the release of “Remaining Steadfast and Stable.”  The book is available on Amazon.  Click “enter” on the link below to go to the site.

Remaining Steadfast and Stable: Simplifying the Complexities of Walking with God: Leavell, Monte, Ferry, Dr. Allen D.: 9798753873712: Amazon.com: Books

I want to thank the many who have helped with this project.  Your encouragement, editing, and help along the way has brought the project to completion.  I also want to thank Dr. Allen Ferry who offered and we accepted his help to get the book printed.  I especially want to thank my wife, Jeneen who has often seen me with a far-away look as I have meditated on the material and has dealt with the talking, discussing, writing, and the multiple hours of editing to finish the book.  It has been a consuming project for quite a while.  Thank you all.

May God work greatly in and through you all as you walk with Him for His glory.

Monte Leavell

From the back cover of “Remaining Steadfast and Stable” –

As Christians, we can experience true contentment in our walk with the Lord. Our lives can be characterized by love, joy, and peace as God works in and through us. In this seven-session Bible study, Monte Leavell examines how believers can maintain a consistent walk and experience the maturity God intends for His children.

Update – Fall 2021

In our last letter, we asked for special prayer about the publishing of the next Bible study.  A friend contacted me about a way to get it published.  After much prayer and counsel, we have decided to go that direction.  It means that within the next couple of months, we should have an announcement of its availability.  The title of the next study is Remaining Steadfast and Stable.  We will be posting more about it soon.

Recent Ministry Opportunities –

It was a joy to be with the people at Liberty Baptist Church in Grand Junction CO where Eric Turner is the pastor.  It was a mini Mission’s Conference.  Missionary Jory Petitti and his wife, Marisa took part in the conference too.  It was a joy to meet this fine couple.  They are seeking support to start a work in Springville UT.  He is from Utah and knows what they will be facing as they seek to do what the Lord has ahead for them. 

From there, I was able to go to the Northwest Baptist Mission’s Annual Meetings.  It was a joy to see old friends and to see make new ones.  It was good to spend a little time with Ron Ehmann.  His wife, Kathy recently passed away from COVID.  Please pray for him as he seeks God’s comfort and direction.  Ron is the director of NWBM as well as pastor of the mission work in Grantsville UT.

I have also had several ministry opportunities in our home church when not on the road.  We are thankful for a good base to be actively involved in when we are not traveling for ministry.  Please pray for our home church, Fellowship Baptist Church.  Pastor Jeff Estes is still recovering from his injuries from his accident the last of February.  We also have several things going on that are hard on families in the church.

Future Ministry Opportunities –

The 2nd of October, I fly to Alaska to be a part of the 20 year anniversary of Pioneer Bible Church in the North Pole area.  I am looking forward to being a part as we have had the privilege of ministering there over the years.  It will be nice to see Pastor Marshall Hamilton and the church family.  I will also be speaking at Hamilton Acres Baptist Church in Fairbanks, where Bruce Hamilton is pastor.  It will be good to be in Alaska again.

The last part of October, Jeneen and I will be heading to the Kansas City area to be at Olivet Baptist Church.  While there, I will be speaking for the MARBC meetings at the church, along with meetings at the church and Christian school.  We look forward to being with Pastor Bruce Anderson, the staff, and the church family at Olivet again.   The first week of November we finish up at Olivet.  After coming home for a bit, we head to AZ.  We will be at Grace Baptist Church in Scottsdale the 21st and Calvary Baptist in Kingman on the 28th.  Jeneen and I will spend Thanksgiving with Joe and Rebekah in the Phoenix area.

 We are looking forward to the New Year as we will have meetings in AZ, AK, and WY.  We also have some open spots if the Lord would so direct. 

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support.  God continues to answer prayer.  We are seeing fruit in the meetings.  The Lord is working.

Summer Ministry Update 2021

            “This is an answer to prayer.”  These are such encouraging words, especially when you have been directly involved in whatever is the answer to prayer.  Unbeknownst to you, God uses you to meet a need and you become the answer to someone’s prayer.  It is always a blessing to be used of the Lord.  There are special times that God allows us to directly know He is working through us to meet other’s needs, both spiritually and physically.  The fact is, whether we see it or not, God is always working in and through us as we walk with Him.  Sometimes He reminds us of His working by allowing us to hear encouraging words.  “You have been an answer to prayer.”

            This has been a busy summer for us with multiple things happening.  God has been working in the churches.  We reported two churches have new pastors in the last update.  We can also report that as of July, Lincoln Park Baptist Church in Wenatchee WA has a new pastor.  We praise the Lord for how He is working.  We spent a couple of weekends with the church in June.  What a blessing to have a pastor there now.  Please pray for the transition to work smoothly.

            I have been in two different camps lately.  The men’s retreat in Grandview Camp in April and family camp at Camp Utibaca in Utah, the first of July.  We are doing the men’s backpacking already and have one more trip the first week of August with the group from AZ.  It was nice to spend a Sunday with Grace Baptist Church in Pendleton OR in June.  These are examples of what we have been doing along with ministry at our home church when able.

Special Prayer Request –

            After going through the first stages of working with JourneyForth to publish my next study, the management there decided not to do any more new adult studies acquisitions.  They are focusing on their school curriculum for K-12.  This means I am seeking God’s direction on what to do next with the new study.  I will add the introduction to this letter.  Please pray for God’s direction as the study is complete and we need to know the next step steps the Lord would have for us.

Upcoming Ministry Opportunities –

            I will be doing a special Bible Study series at a nearby church here in Idaho in August.  This fall, I will be doing a missions conference in CO, speaking in a couple of churches in Alaska, going to Kansas City to speak at Olivet Baptist Church and for the MARBC meetings, then going to AZ for a few weeks.  We continue to seek God’s direction for our lives and ministry.  He is working.  Thank you for your prayers and support of what He is doing in and through us.  Again, He is working!  Praise and glory to our Lord for all He is doing and will do.

Our Health –

            Jeneen and I have had some skin issues taken care of recently.  She had two spots of basal cell removed; the most serious was on her nose, requiring many stitches.  I had a squamous cell removed under my eye.  We are both healing from those procedures.

            Other than getting older, we are doing well.  My annual tests and physical looked good.  I’m ready to do more backpacking next week, with layers and layers of sunscreen.

            We are going to try to get away for a week, just the two of us for our anniversary.  It will be 47 years this August.  Both of our moms are doing okay at this moment.  Jeneen enjoys caring for her mom when needs arise but sometimes it keeps her closer to home.

Thank you for your prayers and support.  God continues to answer prayer. 

Ministry Update – April 2021

Dear Friends,

I have started this letter several times.  Where do we start?  God is still good.  No matter the events of life, we are dependent upon the Lord to give wisdom and strength.  There are days when it is so obvious He is working.  Then there are times when we wonder what is happening.  It is during those times that we lay hold of the truth and not allow our emotions, concerns, and thoughts to direct our lives.  We are rejoicing with those who are rejoicing but we are also weeping with those who are weeping.  Through it all, the Lord is still giving comfort and grace.

We are certainly thankful this year is not in locked down like last year.  Life has changed but we are moving forward.  The Lord continues to keep us busy.  We have meetings scheduled.  We look forward to them along with the men’s backpacking camps.

Churches –

We are thankful that Calvary Baptist Church in Kingman AZ has called a pastor, Robert Kelley.  He and his wife plan to arrive in Kingman the last part of May.  We are praying for the transition to work smoothly.

Ron Sondergaard is the new pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Sonoma CA.  The church voted to call him in February.  We are excited for this work as there is a need for a good church in the area.  Please pray for God to work mightily in and through this church to reach their area.

Lincoln Park Baptist Church in Wenatchee WA is looking for a pastor.  I was able to spend time with them, preaching two Sundays and midweek too.  It was good to look over the situation there and talk with the people.  There is a need for the church to continue.  They have a good base for a revitalization work.  Please pray the Lord sends the right person to pastor this church.

Update on Pastor Jeff Estes –

Many of you know that Pastor Jeff is the pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church, our home church.  He was in a serious car accident the last Saturday in February.  He spent time in ICU, the hospital, and rehab with serious injuries.  After just over a month, he finally was able to go home.  He is healing but it will be a long road to full recovery.  This week he had some other issues show up from the accident.   He is still in a lot of pain.  Please continue to pray for him and his recovery.  He surprised everyone at church when he made an appearance at church on Resurrection Sunday.  It was a major undertaking which push him to the limits of his strength to be there for just a few minutes.  It was so good for the church family to see him.  We gave him a standing ovation as he transitioned from his wheel chair to stand with his walker.  After he was done speaking for a few minutes he sat back down in his wheelchair and was wheel out of the church to go back home.  What a joy it was to see him, if only for a few minutes. 

What are we up to? –

When we are home, I am helping at the church with the preaching and teaching.  With Pastor Jeff being unable, this has increased to some extent.  Jeneen and I head to AZ for ministry in Grand View Camp for their men’s retreat the 15th – 17th of April.  I look forward to the opportunity to speak at the retreat.  While in AZ we will see many pastors and friends.  I will be speaking at Calvary Baptist Church in Kingman.  The months ahead, we have some meetings, camps, and men’s backpacking camps scheduled. 

Please Pray –

Please pray for the churches and pastors who are faithfully serving the Lord.  These are trying times for many with all the issues of the day.  Many believers are focused on the issues and have lost sight of the big picture.  How easily we are turned from doing the will of God to carrying an agenda for societal concepts.  Covid-19 and the issues surrounding it brought much difficulty for many churches.  In some believers, spirituality is now defined by whether you wear a mask or not, get the vaccine or not.  Spirituality has and always will be by walking in the Spirit, controlled by the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit evident in the lives of believers.  Please pray for Spirit controlled believers in the churches. Wherever we land on the issues of the day, be godly in your actions and reactions.  Our unity doesn’t come from where we stand on issues which are variable but on the truth of God’s Word and our life in Christ, who never changes.

We pray for the churches.  The attack on the church has always been from the outside but when it comes from within the body, it hurts even greater.  But God is still working.  People are still getting saved.  Discipleship is happening.  We hope and pray you are seeing God work mightily in you all and through you all as you walk with Him.  Thank you for praying for us.

Your friends in Christ,

Monte & Jeneen Leavell

Ministry Update – January 2021

God has been putting some amazing things together for people, ministry and churches.  The middle of January found me in California for a wedding.  It was a privilege to officiate the wedding for Ron Sondergaard and Sarah Bodaly.  Many amazing things happened to bring it together.  We have known both Ron and Sarah from different venues and were pleasantly surprised when the Lord brought them together.  The wedding was beautiful with nice weather as it was outside.  While there, I saw many friends and met some new ones.

While in California, I had the honor of leading the memorial service for Pastor Timothy Brower.  He and his wife, Rachel have been in Sonoma at Grace Baptist Church.  He had suffered with health issues for several years.  I first met Tim at Bible college.  He and Rachel have been keeping Grace Baptist open these past years.  It was an honor to be there for the memorial service.  Please pray for Rachel and their daughter Rebekah as they seek God’s will for their future. 

Pastor Tim has been working with Ron Sondergaard at Grace Baptist Church.  Ron is seeking God’s will concerning taking the pastorate at Grace.  Please pray for the church and for Ron for the decisions needed to in the future.

The 24th, I start meetings in Delta Utah at Grace Baptist Church where Bob Oswald has been pastoring.  I am looking forward to being with the church family there.

In February, I will be in Wenatchee WA for a while at Lincoln Park Baptist Church.  They are without a pastor.  I look forward to seeing what God is doing and will do in the future there.

Jeneen and I had COVID in December.  We have recovered.  I am doing well but Jeneen has a lingering cough and lung irritation.  Jeneen’s mom had it too but has recovered.  She is at her place in the assisted living center.  She still has other health issues.  This is why Jeneen has been staying close to home.  Thanks for your prayers.