Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.Matthew 28:19-20King James Version (KJV)
Both by command and by example, the New Testament clearly teaches that the visible institution established by the Lord Jesus Christ is the local church. Jesus Christ gave the authority and the responsibility to preserve His Word and to perform His work to the local church. It is, therefore, clear that the purpose of the local church is to reproduce itself following the principle stated by Jesus Christ in Acts 1:8: in Jerusalem-at home, in Judea-in the same state, in Samaria-the states and regions nearby, and unto the uttermost-the world. Missionary work without local church planting is not a fulfillment of the Great Commission.
To ignore discipleship is to ignore both the example and the command of the Lord Jesus Christ. He chose 12 men with whom He spent much time in intellectual and in practical training. He then told them that they were to go and teach (make disciples) of all nations (Mathew 28:19). The Apostle Paul told Timothy that he should teach others what Paul had taught him in a way that they could teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). Discipleship is the only method by which strong local churches can be established with strong leadership. Biblical discipleship is personal mentoring with the goal of reproducing godly, Holy Spirit controlled Christians.
Although there are many methods being proposed for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel, there is really only one method that is the most effective. A personal witness given by one who has been truly born again because of his faith in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ complies to the order given by Jesus Christ to His disciples in Acts 1:8. God has promised to bless the proclamation of the gospel as described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 by those who have experienced eternal salvation and spiritual transformation by their trusting in Jesus Christ.
The Lord has blessed us with the privilege of serving Him as missionaries in the country of Brazil. It was over forty years ago when we first arrived in Brazil not knowing the language and informed about the culture only by what we had read and been told by others. What we found was a people who are full of energy and life. As one of our visitors once said, “The light had not gone out of the eyes of the people.” Although the general cultural condition creates a continuous struggle to maintain daily life, Brazilians are generally happy, generous people. Over the years, the living conditions have improved for many Brazilians, and the majority still remain closely tied to family and tradition.
Spiritually, there is a mixture of many different religions from Candomblé (a type of Voodoo) to Christianity. Among the European descendants, the Roman Catholic Church ruled supreme for many years. The Candomblé and other spiritualistic cults came from Africa with slavery, as well as from indigenous Indian tribes, and they have been absorbed by many of the European descendants. Protestantism, although somewhat weak, has been in Brazil since the colonial days. Evangelical and Baptist ministries arrived in the latter half of the 1800s. In general, Brazilians are very open to discuss spiritual subjects creating an open door to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our years in Brazil have opened up many opportunities to serve the Lord. Our family was raised among these people, and, to this day, they and we continue to love Brazil and her people. We welcome you to look through the pages of this site where we attempt to share with you some of the aspects of this needy mission field as well as what the Lord has and is accomplishing through the ministry He began through us so long ago. Our prayer is that God will encourage your heart in relation to what God is doing and even challenge you to participate in the preaching of the Gospel here in Brazil by joining with us in prayer.
--Don and Linda Leaf