Update from the Leavell’s – Fall 2013
There is something special about thirty years. Jesus was thirty years old when He started public ministry. Jeneen and I were twenty eight when I accepted the pastorate at Bethany Bible Baptist Church in Tulare SD. This summer marked our thirtieth year of ministry as a vocation. Eleven years we were in the pastorate followed by nineteen years traveling as a missionary evangelist.
It seems like we are just getting started at thirty years. With those years of experience and walking with the Lord, we have learned many lessons. Dare we use the word, wisdom? God does give wisdom. We should all be learning and growing. Jeneen and I are thankful for the trials and blessings which give us much experience to draw from as we continue in ministry.
Two special events in September brought to mind many memories. One was having the opportunity to preach at First Baptist Church in Cody WY on a Wednesday evening. This is the church where I heard the gospel and was baptized a few months after accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior. The other event was being at Tulare SD for the 50th anniversary of Bethany Bible Baptist Church. I had the privilege of preaching the Sunday morning service on that special day. They were celebrating 50 years while Jeneen and I were celebrating 30 years of ministry and Tulare was where it started for us. Yes, it has been a time of reflection.
Where we have been –
I wrote our summer letter while I was in Alaska. After coming home the last part of July, I started preparing for the Men’s Backpacking Camp. We spent a week in the Beartooth Mountains in Northwestern WY. It was a great time of fishing, fun, and fellowship in the mountains. These trips are soul refreshing. It is nice to see the beauty of God’s creation and study His Word there. This was the only trip we took this year.
The next week I flew back to Fairbanks Alaska to be at McGrath Road Baptist Church. They are without a pastor. I tried to be an encouragement and blessing to the wonderful people there as they have been going through some difficulties. Please be in prayer for them. They are seeking God’s man to be their pastor. It is a good church with much potential. God is preparing the right man even now for the work.
In September, Jeneen and I went to Cody WY where I spoke on Wednesday evening at First Baptist Church. What a blessing! It was nice to get to know Pastor Jim Barrick and his wife. I already shared why this church is so special to me. Again, what a blessing to be there!
From there, we went to Tulare SD for the 50th anniversary. It was nice to see old friends and talk of many memories. The events there concluded on Sunday afternoon. The next day we traveled to Upton WY where the Northern Plains Independent Baptist Fellowship had their fall meetings. They were at First Baptist Church where Randy Fowler is pastor. Starting Monday evening and finishing Wednesday evening, I had five opportunities to share God’s Word. It was a great time of fellowship and sharing together. This was the fellowship of which Jeneen and I were a part when we first entered the ministry. Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons were filled with special activities, Wyoming style. The guys shot sporting clays and golfed. Jeneen went one afternoon with the ladies to shoot an AK 47, a 22, and a Glock 9mm. I think she enjoyed it a bit too much.
October, we were in Arizona at Southeast Valley Baptist Church where Joel Tetreau is the pastor. I spoke two Sundays and once on Wednesday. It was good to get reacquainted with the church family. The second Sunday was an evangelistic emphasis with several unsaved in the service. We hope and pray God will use His Word to bring the unsaved to Himself. I preached on the subject of impending judgment and the reason it has not come yet is that God is giving opportunity for more to be saved. Please pray for God to work in hearts.
The next weekend was the Men’s Retreat at Victory Baptist Church in Casa Grande where Terry Green is pastor. There were seven churches represented on that Friday evening and Saturday. I was able to speak in four different sessions. On Sunday, I had the privilege of speaking at the regular services of the church. We certainly enjoyed our time at Victory. The Lord is working and it was nice to meet some new young couples.
It is nice to go to Arizona especially when we were able to see our sons, Chris and Joe, and their families. Jeneen and I enjoy the grandma and granddad time with the grandkids. They sure grow up fast.
Where we will be –
In November, we head back to Alaska for meetings at Immanuel Baptist Church in Palmer where Ben Burtch is pastor. It will great to be with this wonderful church family again. While there, I will be speaking at the installation service for Aron Schrepfer who is now the pastor of Pioneer Peak Baptist Church in the Butte area of Palmer. That service will be at 2pm on the 10th. That will be a busy day as we start meetings at Immanuel too.
The following Saturday, after a men’s breakfast, Jeneen and I fly to Fairbanks for meetings at Hamilton Acres Baptist Church where Bruce Hamilton is pastor. It will be a bit cooler than it was this summer but we look forward to warm fellowship around the Word with the folks in Fairbanks.
When we are home –
Jeneen and I are very active in our home church. We are working with the college and career group. God has been blessing. We came home on Wednesday night from our last trip and Friday evening had an activity with 16 young people. What a great group. Along with being a deacon, I am co-chairman of our land and building committee. Needless to say, for Jeneen and me, we are busy. But we love it. We love the people God puts into our lives. We love the opportunities to share God’s Word and to encourage believers in their walk with the Lord. We love to reach out to those who do not know the Lord.
It has been an amazing 30 years of ministry. We look forward to what is ahead. Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement and support. We do not go alone. The Lord is with us, enabling us all the way. He also works in our lives through you. Thank you for your part in what we do.
May God bless as you seek His will and walk worthy of Him. Keep up the good work.
Yours in Christ,
Monte & Jeneen Leavell