2019 Annual Report for the Leavells

2019 Report – Leavell’s Annual Report

Dear Friends,

As we finishing living through the year of 2019, we will soon be able to look back and say that the Lord did not return yet. Maybe the Lord will return in 2020. It is always good to be looking for His return and to love His appearing.
2019 was another good ministry year with a milepost of 25 years in this ministry. After 11 years of pastoring, we started the itinerant work among the churches. Although we are not results orientated, we do look to the Lord to bring forth fruit from our labors. This year we saw much fruit. Some was in direct result of the meetings and other fruit was made know to use later. Praise the Lord for His increase. Along with meetings in churches, we ministered at camps, backpacking retreats, two men’s retreats, seminars, and various other events. We thank the Lord for putting us into the ministry.
We are eagerly anticipating the Lord’s direction in 2020. We still have some open dates and seek the Lord’s direction for meetings, seminars, and Sundays. We are praying about the possibility of a trip to India and going back to South Africa. The Lord is opening more doors. We are also working with churches looking a pastor. As the Lord gives opportunities we help as we can.
The discipleship book, “Steadfast and Stable,” continues to be used in the U.S. and other countries. I am encouraged because sales are increasing as more people find the value of the study. I continue to work on the next study. We will let you know about it as we walk through the process.
Our health continues to let us know we are getting older. We have been able to keep a good schedule and look forward to as long as the Lord gives us strength for the day. Jeneen has been doing better and has traveled more with me this year. Both of our moms have been doing okay for now. We are glad of that. Jeneen’s mom is 90 now and my mom is busy with business, church, and family. Our family is very busy with life. Tonya graduated from Boise State this month. Peter, Kade, and Philip graduate next may with their respective degrees. We praise the Lord for each of our family members.
Thank you for your friendship and encouragement throughout the year. We hope to see many of you this year and if the rapture happens, we will see you all in the air. Thank you and may God continue to work in and through you as you walk with Him.

P1050373

Christmas Greetings – 2019

Merry Christmas 2019

Dear Friends and Family,

October 2019 - 1

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. As we head into the year 2020, we are mindful of the changes coming. God has given a good year for 2019. We have seen many people saved and believer’s lives changed. Along with much fruit has come some issues. We have friends who are been dealing with issues in health, churches, ministries, and life in general. We sorrow with those who sorrow, weep with those who weep, laugh with those who laugh, rejoice with those who rejoice; we went through many and varied emotions throughout the year.

Jeneen and I have been feeling the years of wear and tear on our bodies. We’ve been in good health for the most part, Jeneen, dealing with the issues that have plagued her for years and me, discovering worn out joints and muscles not so young any more. But we are able to continue in ministry with the Lord setting much before us.

Ministry this year has included much variety; retreats, camps, meetings, helping churches without pastors, and whatever else the Lord set before us. Jeneen has been able to travel a bit more this year than in the past few because her mom is doing better. Along with turning 90 in July, her mom’s health has been fairly good. We are thankful for her mom’s ability to do what she does and for Jeneen’s ability to be there for her in times of need. My mom is doing well, keeping busy with her many activities with family, church, and business.

Peter looks forward to graduating from BSU in May of 2020 with a Master’s degree. Tonya graduated this month and continues her graduate work in January. They have both been teaching in Boise Classical Academy while they finish their classes at Boise State. Our grandchildren, Kade and Philip are graduating high school next May too. Michelle and the kids are in Meridian with her teaching piano lessons for many students. We are always amazed at how much Scott is growing. He will be a tall boy. Joe and Rebekah are still in Phoenix with their 4 children. We were able to do a wonderful trip with them this summer. Our grandchildren keep getting taller and older. It makes us realize we must be getting older too.

Jeneen and I want to wish you a Merry Christmas as you spend time with family and friends. We are thankful for and realize more and more, the preciousness of each of you. May you see the goodness of our God as you walk with Him.

North American Leaf Free Trade Agreement

You have heard of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. It allowed import and export between Canada, the United States, and Mexico, without tariffs. The problem with trade is when a country imports more than it exports.

I am part of the NALFTA. You may wonder what this is. It is the North American Leaf Free Trade Agreement. I don’t remember signing up but apparently I’m a member. It must be a local agreement between neighbors, providing for the free exchange of leaves from our trees. Today I spent hours dealing with leaves, my neighbors doing the same in their yards.

As I was gathering leaves into bags, I tried to examine them for the tree of origin. They are not labeled, made by the neighbor’s tree, but I can tell that some of them are not mine. We don’t grow that kind of tree or bush in our yard. So upon close examination, I wonder if there is a trade imbalance. Are more leaves being imported into my yard than I am export to the neighbors?

So far, no one has said anything about the leaves I have exported nor have I said anything about the leaves being imported to my yard. A wind could fill my yard again with the neighbor’s leaves, or maybe it could blow the rest of mine to the neighbors. Upon closer examination, I see most of the leaves in my yard are from my trees. I did watch some leaves from our trees cross property lines in accordance to the North American LEAF Free Trade Agreement, NALFTA.

I think I am exporting more than I am importing. It works well when you do. I like being a member of the NALFTA. I do feel sorry for the neighbors who have to rake my leaves from their yard but then again, they are members too.

So as the neighbors rake my leaves, I think of it as the windfall of the NALFTA and am thankful we’re all a part of the agreement. But I still don’t remember signing up.
– Monte LeavellFall Leaves

Ministry Update – October 2019

Dear Friends,
Fall is my favorite time of the year. The air is clean, cool, and crisp. The trees and flowers are giving their last efforts of growth before going dormant or dying. The leaves are changing colors and falling to the ground. We enjoy the beauty of the mountains, the animals, and the lowering of the snow levels. This month, I will be in Alaska beholding the beauty of the vastness in the scenery. God’s revelation through creation is a wonder to behold. As our son Chris said, “To be a worshipper of an unfathomable God is to continually be amazed.”

Where we have been –
I spent three weeks as the camp speaker for the camps at Victory Ranch in Southern CA. During the weekends, I was able to speak in three different churches, one of them twice, Wilmington, Santa Monica, and Beaumont. The camp recently sent out a newsletter with statistics of the camps. They recorded 19 decisions for salvation and other decisions too. It was a blessing to be a part of the camp and work with the fine people there.

Backpacking Camp went well. The men who went were very experienced in the mountains making a special week. Also, their interest in spiritual things was a joy as we had many deep discussions. These camps are always soul refreshing. We were able to explore a basin with no trail that I have always wanted to see. The benefits of the camps far exceed the pains of physical exertion. As the years go by, I am not sure how long I will physically be able to do the camps the way we have been doing them. I am thankful for each trip and the memories of the mountain trails and fellowship with good men.

September plans changed as I did not go to Alaska for the church graduation. We heard it went well but the event was scaled down from the original plans. Jeneen and I were able to go to a youth retreat/ladies retreat held in WA being held at the same time on the same campground. I spoke for the youth and Jeneen attended the ladies retreat. It was a joy for both of us. From there, we went to Kent where we were a part of the Sunday services at Galilee Baptist Church. We were able to see Pastor Hicks and his wife when they stayed with us while on vacation. It was a blessing to be with the fine people of Galilee.

God has been working greatly in the meetings. Some blessings we see but others we hear about later. God is faithful and we must be faithful too.

What is ahead –
I am heading to Alaska for meetings. First I will be speaking at Higher Ground Baptist Camp for a men’s retreat. It will be nice to work with the director, Eric Locker. From there, I will be at Immanuel Baptist Church in Palmer from Sunday through Saturday. Saturday will be a men’s meeting where I will be speaking three times. It will be good to be with Pastor Burtch and the church family. From there, I will be going to Pioneer Peak Baptist Church in the Butte area of Palmer for a Sunday through Wednesday meeting. Pastor Aron Schrepfer has been having some physical issues. Please be in prayer for him. It will be nice to be in Alaska again.

We will be in First Baptist Church of Wilmington CA on the first Sunday of November. Please be in prayer for them as the church does not have a pastor. We are also going to be ministering in Calvary Baptist Church in Kingman AZ in the future. Please pray for them. Pastor Morris left as a result of some family medical issues, regrettably leaving the church family without a pastor. We really appreciate the people there and would love to see someone come and stay long term as their pastor.

We are scheduling 2020. The Lord is opening doors and we anticipate good things. Please be in prayer for us as we schedule. Our desire in ministry has always been to be where God wants us, when He wants us there, doing what He wants us to do.

Thank you all –
We appreciate you praying for us. God’s hand has been easily evidenced in the meetings and ministry. We often do not know what He is doing in us and through us but when we look back, it is easily seen that God is working. Praise the Lord.

Writing –
I have not been doing the blog for a while but I hope to take it up soon. I have been working on the next Bible study book. It is coming together and I am working with Peter in the editing of it. The more I work, the more excited I get about the outcome. I hope and pray God does great things with it. Please pray as we try to get this project finished in the coming months. I do enjoy writing but it is a huge undertaking to get things done.

May God be glorified in and through us all as we walk with Him. May we be found faithful. Thank you for your prayers.

July Prayer Letter Update 2019

This morning was the end of Junior Camp at Victory Ranch in Southern California. It was a great week with several trusting Christ as Savior, along with many other decisions. I enjoy speaking in the camps. When eyes become bright showing understanding, then decisions are made, not on emotion but upon truth and conviction of the Spirit. We are seeing God work. Please continue to pray as there are two more weeks, senior high followed by junior high.

Where we have been –
On April 21st, Resurrection Sunday, we started meetings in Chewelah WA at Chewelah Baptist Church where Dan Cleghorn is pastor. It was great to be with this wonderful church family. From there, I went to Friendship Baptist Church in Thayne WY where Jay Sprecher is pastor. This is a mission church seeking to become self-supporting in the near future. They are doing well. Following the meetings in Thayne, I spoke for the WY Foundations Baptist Fellowship and NWBM regional meeting at Grace Baptist Church in Kemmerer WY where Richard Hartman is pastor. The fellowship was a joy, meeting a couple of new pastors. It was good to be with Pastor Hodgs at Grace Baptist in Rock Springs for Wednesday evening. It was a busy but blessed time.
In May, Jeneen and I went to OR and WA, visiting several churches and pastors. We were able to speak at First Baptist Church in Pasco WA and in Providence Baptist Church in the Bellingham WA area where Duane Smith is the missionary pastor. We also saw some friends along the way but were sad that we did not have more time to visit many more friends.
June started with a group from Arizona coming for a men’s retreat in the mountains of Idaho. It was a great week but with snow still in the high country, we were limited how far we could go into the wilderness. The waterfalls from the melt were beautiful sights that we do not see later in the summer. It was a different but wonderful experience going early in the summer.
I spoke at Shelley Baptist Church in Shelley ID for two different Sundays while Pastor Lovegrove was away. It was our first time to minister in this mission church. Pray for them as they seek to establish a solid work in Shelley. In between all this ministry, I was able to do a large project at our home. Praise the Lord for enabling grace.

What is ahead –
As I already shared, I have two more weeks of Camp in CA. I will be speaking at First Baptist Church in Willmington again before going home on the 5th of August. On the 12th of August, we start another week of men’s backpacking retreat. So far, there has not been interest in the week of the 19th. We will see what the Lord has for it.
In September, I will be speaking at a mission church that is graduating to self-supporting. It will be good to be in Alaska again. Also, we will be there in October for about three weeks. I have a youth retreat on the schedule in September in WA.
We are looking forward to meetings in several places during the fall. We are excited about what God is doing.

Thank you for praying. God is working. May God be glorified in and through us all as we walk with Him and serve Him.

65303925_10100958459242477_6415404478375133184_n

Photo by Randy Lavorante

Leavell Trails – April 2019

Dear Friends,

While getting ready to write a ministry update, I searched for the last newsletter we had sent. It was a shock to realize it was in December. I thought we had sent one in February. Since I have a Facebook page at Monte Leavell and am keeping it updated with what we are doing, I have neglected to write an update to everyone. For regular updates, please “like” our Facebook page, Monte Leavell. Because it has been a while, this letter will be a bit longer, filled with information.

Where we have been –

In January, Jeneen and I were in Faith Baptist Church in Nyssa OR. Pastor Doug Sondergaard and family were traveling, visiting family. It was nice to be back at this church. The next week I was able to go to a pastor’s conference in Florida with our home church pastor, Jeff Estes. It was encouraging and they focused on disciple-making. It was good to hear from other men what God is doing around the nation.

February started with us at Grace Baptist Church in Delta UT where Bob Oswald is their new pastor. It is so encouraging to see what God is doing in the church and we praise the Lord for giving the church such a good pastor and family. We went to Pendleton OR to be at Grace Baptist Church where Alan Chapman is pastor. We had great meetings there. It is exciting to see what God is doing.

March found Jeneen and me in AZ. We were able to spend time with our son Joe and his family. We also saw some pastors and many friends during our stay. We went to Kingman to be at Calvary Baptist Church. We enjoyed connecting with the church family and their new pastor, Clinton Morris. From there, I went to CA to Victory Ranch Camp to speak for the Spring Men’s Retreat. Since I am scheduled for three weeks of camp this summer, it was nice to see the camp and spend time with the staff. What a joy! I look forward to ministry there this summer. I enjoyed getting to know the director, Paul Cayot. Kristi Carter, Steve and Joann’s daughter from AZ is also on staff there. It was good to see the Carters and to reconnect with missionary Don Fountain too. From there I went to Brawley CA to be at Western Avenue Baptist Church. The church does not have a pastor. Please pray for the church in Brawley.

After coming home, our church had a business meeting to vote on an Associate Pastor. The church unanimously voted to call Phillip Kliewer (Clever). We are excited to have him and his family a part of our church family at Fellowship Baptist Church.

What is ahead –

On April 21st, Resurrection Sunday, we start meetings in Chewelah WA at Chewelah Baptist Church where Dan Cleghorn is pastor. We will be there through Wednesday evening the 24th. From there, I will be going to Friendship Baptist Church in Thayne WY where Jay Sprecher is pastor. Starting the 29th, I will be speaking for the WY Foundations Baptist Fellowship and NWBM regional meeting at Grace Baptist Church in Kemmerer WY where Richard Hartman is pastor. I look forward to the fellowship with those able to attend. From there, I will be at Grace Baptist in Rock Springs for Wednesday evening. It will be good to see Pastor Hodgs and the church family again.

In May, Jeneen and I are planning on a trip to OR and WA in May. We will be visiting several churches and pastors. We hope to see many friends and to hear what God is doing in the churches. We have a couple of new pastor friends we want to see.

Men’s Backpacking Camps –

This year, we have a different trip planned for June 3rd through the 7th. It will be snowy in the high country so we will camp in a campground and do some day hikes. A group from AZ is coming for that week but let me know if you might be interested. We are also planning two other trips in August, 12-16 and 19-23.

Camps –

This year, I will be speaking at Victory Ranch Camp in CA. It will be for three weeks. I am excited to a part of the ministry there. The Camp Director, Paul Cayot has been a part of the ministry there since 1981. It will be nice to work with him and the staff at the ranch.

Our home church camp is August 5th-10th. I hope to get back for part of it too.

Fall Meetings –

The fall schedule is coming together. We have some open spots but will already be in WA, AK, UT, and CA. We are excited about what the Lord is doing.

Thank you –

Jeneen and I want to thank you for your prayers and support. God has been working in and through the meetings. It is a joy to serve. Thank you for your part in the ministry the Lord sets before us.

I’m Married!

JOH_1504_r.jpg 2 small

“I am not sure I am married.” What a statement! People know whether they are married or not. A person may not act as though they are in a marriage relationship but once they make that commitment to someone, they have entered into a relationship, they are identified as married. People break their marriage commitments with such things as divorce, stepping out, or separating. But all along the way, they know whether or not they are married. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful wife who is committed to our relationship. Jeneen and I will be celebrating 45 years of marriage this summer.

When a person enters into a relationship with Jesus Christ, is it a permanent relationship? Can we fall in and out of it? Can we lose our relationship by some act or series of acts? If we can lose it, our relationship with Christ is never more stable than we are. This is why the Bible teaches that the security of our salvation is rooted in the finished work of Jesus Christ. He provides a complete salvation, based upon Himself and His work. He keeps us in the relationship the same way, His working and keeping of His promises to us.

Stability in our relationship with God comes from Him. He is the solid rock, a foundation which can never be destroyed, and He’s the constant who will never leave or forsake us according to His promise. Our relationship is based upon Him, bringing security, stability, and confidence that He will always be in the relationship. This gives us the ability to grow, sometimes making mistakes, stepping into sin, doing the wrong things, doing right things the wrong way or not maintaining our walk with Him. We can always come back to Him, experiencing forgiveness, cleansing, making the relationship right, clean, active in participation, and experiencing the sweetness of fellowship with Him.

Yes, it is important for us to know we are saved. We would never be committed to a relationship if we are unsure of it. If we could lose our salvation, we all would. Those who teach you can lose it do not understand the finished work of Christ, the term – justification, and the problems associated with such teachings. If a person teaches that you could lose your salvation, then they can also teach you what you must do to keep it. Losing your salvation is a doctrine of men and is often used to control people.

If you want to study further, I wrote about this subject in my study book, Steadfast and Stable. It is available through BJU Press, Amazon, and Christian Book Distributers.

It’s so Obvious!

It is so obvious! There are times when we see the hand of God working. It is right before our eyes. God is working. This is what we recently experienced in ministry. As I have written in a previous article, we often look back and see God’s working in our lives. We can see how He orchestrated each event. It is easier to see the hand of God when we look back.

But there are times in our lives that we actually see God working at the moment. On our latest ministry trip, we saw God doing great things. It was not something one person noticed. It was everyone involved. The changing of hearts, the opening of eyes to truth, and the working of the Holy Spirit was evident.

We cannot produce these things. Only God can. We must rely on Him. He is working. Sometimes we do not see His working until we look back, but when He makes it obvious, everyone sees His working. It is special when it is obvious, but just because we may not see the evidence does not mean He is not working.

God is working. Sometimes it is easily seen at the moment and other times is seen as we look back over the day, week, month, or years.

Misplaced Confidence

Did you ever have a person tell you something and you were unable to determine if they were teasing, joking, or stating a fact? When I was a small boy, my dad would tease me by telling me something silly. One thing he said was that my brains were in my feet. As a six year old, I had no idea my dad was telling me something untrue. I had confidence in him. I even went to school, being in first grade and argued that my brains were in my feet. My dad said so! I soon found that my confidence was misplaced. I learned my lesson; my dad enjoyed teasing people. That certainly made my childhood interesting and fun.

Confidence is a good trait for individuals. The problem comes when we place our trust in someone or something not reliable. Confidence in the Lord is never wrong. If God says He will do something, you can be sure He will. If He tells us about ourselves, our family life, our church, our world, or of the conflicts within each, you can trust what He says. When He speaks of the forgiveness of sin, freedom from condemnation, joy in the midst of trials, and of peace that this world cannot experience apart from Him, you can believe Him.

Confidence has much value in our lives. When it is in the right place or person, the worth is beyond compare. The Bible gives many statements about confidence or persuasion. Some demonstrate misplaced confidences while others show properly placed faith in the Lord and His working. I will list a few examples of the right object of confidence. I encourage you to read and study them:

• Philippians 1:6
• 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8
• 1 John 2:28
• 1 John 3:21
• Romans 8:38
• 2 Timothy 1:12

There are others to add but this is a good start. We all have confidence in something or someone. Your confidence, faith, trust, or belief in Lord and His Word is never misplaced.

Happy New Year?

I woke up this morning thinking about the New Year. We want to look forward with anticipation of good things. It’s not the case for many people. We have friends who have recently lost loved ones, some facing medical issues, some in the last days of life on this earth. We know others who face issues at work, family relationship problems, and situations that require drastic measures. For all of us, this life comes with difficulties and trials. So, can we really wish someone a Happy New Year?

Hope! We hope for good things for ourselves , for our families, friends, and for everyone. Yes, we can wish everyone a Happy New Year. There is hope that the events of life, difficulties, and trials will turn out well.

The source of good in this life and eternity is God. In Him there is hope. Even as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God is with us and we will never be separated from His love. There is much heartache, sorrow, pain, and suffering. But there is also love, joy, and peace.

Just because I wish you a Happy New Year does not mean that I don’t care or realize you are facing difficult issues in life. I wish for you to know the joy, love, and strength to endure that comes from our God. So no matter the circumstances, yours or ours, may each of us experience love, joy, and peace this year. There is hope in the Lord.