My Rapidly Changing World

Coronavirus! Daily we are experiencing changes in routines and schedules. A short trip to the store has now become an epic challenge often with discouraging results. People are avoiding other people. Anyone who would cough is now looked upon with great disdain, no matter the reason for the cough. Our lives are being impacted in ways we have never seen. We are forced to change our plans, prepare for isolation, washing our hands longer and more than ever before, and wait for the impending possibilities of doom to our lives. Minutes, even seconds bring new challenges and changes, rather than the days, months, and years. Our lives are being pushed and pulled to conform to the latest news and policies. By the time I finish writing this article, situations will have changed. What is our reaction to all of this?

Some will deny the existence of a crisis. Some will say we are being over-protective. Others will carry the situations to the extreme doom and gloom possible. All sorts of conspiracies are being bantered and propagated as fact and are seeking a following. No matter our feelings, our lives are being impacted.

I do not know what is ahead. I cannot say how much our lives will be impacted. I am not sure how this will turn out in the future. I dare say that we may never see “normal” again. I don’t know.

I do know who holds our future in His hands. I can only rest in the Lord, His promises, grace, comfort, and peace. No matter what happens and how life changes, nothing will separate me from His love. I know we live in a sinful world and sin has been judged by a righteous God otherwise He is not righteous. But in the bad, God has brought us good. We can be saved from the judgment by trusting Christ as our Savior because He has paid the penalty for all who will come to Him. God has brought good for us out of bad. I trust Him in the situations of life we now live that He will do the same thing. He will bring good out of this bad. People will turn to the Lord who would never have considered Him before the crisis. The amount of prayer will increase. God will bring good out of bad.

With so much unknown, I just rest in my God and experience His peace in the midst of the turmoil. I realize the limits of my ability to control life. I have to accept that and rest in God’s promises. It doesn’t mean that I don’t prepare for what may come. It doesn’t mean I am careless with my life. It does mean that no matter how much I seek to insulate myself from all the possibilities of problems, I have to rest in my all-knowing, all powerful, loving, and caring God. No matter how much we try, we can never totally control all the events and happenings of our lives. We must rest in the Lord.

We will not find rest in the circumstances of our lives, in the possibilities of doom and gloom. We will find it in the Lord. If you do not know Him in an intimate, personal relationship, you can. As for me, I will use a balanced approach to my future, preparing for life in the coming days as far as I am able, but I will trust my future to the one who holds my life in His hands. I am going to be with Him forever, experiencing His good with the bad of this world left behind.


I’m Fine, Except for the Bad Parts

“I’m fine, except for the bad parts, but we all have them; it’s just, how we deal with them.” This phrase has opened many conversations. I use it when people ask me how I am doing. “I’m fine except for the bad parts.” Most people are not interested in the bad parts of life when they ask how we are. They are simply being kind. But when I quickly add that we all have things in life that we are struggling to overcome, people often identify with the phrase; whatever the issue may be for them. We all have problems of one type or another.

Responding the way I do to the question “How are you?” often causes people to stop and think for a moment. It is almost as if you can see the wheels turning in their mind. Their thoughts turn to the issues they are dealing with at the moment. The person may even share some things they are going through, allowing for a longer and deeper conversation. In other words, people open up.

As we interact with people around us in social settings, how often do we think of them being in difficult situations? Most people have problems that they only let their inner circle of friends know and some don’t even tell them. If issues and problems are so prevalent, why not acknowledge them? Oh, there is the other side of it too. Some people never stop talking about their problems or issues. It is said of them that they enjoy bad health or having problems.

Of course we do not want to be complainers or encourage others to be. But how can we help someone if we do not know about their needs and how can someone help us if we never tell anyone we are hurting? I am reminded of a situation where a family was on the verge of destruction but no one knew it. They had never shared that there was a problem. My statement, I’m fine except for the bad parts has opened the door for some of these things to be shared.

Finding a pathway into people’s lives is never easy. This is just one of many ways the Lord has given me to deeper than just, “I’m fine.” What are some of the ways you use? I hope we are all searching for ways to connect with those around us. We want to share the love of God to those around us.


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.


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.


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!

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“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.