“How are you going to go to the world to preach the Gospel, but are leaving your dad at home, who doesn’t have Christ?”
The question hit Leandro hard. Deeply impacted by the child’s question, Leo struggled but remained faithful to a deep peace inside himself which could only have been placed there by Christ. He knew the Lord was calling him away from Brazil.
Leandro Medieros, now entering his 8th year as an MAI missionary serving in the Chicago Eagles office, recounts his struggle with the idea of leaving his home country of Brazil with the knowledge that his dad was not a Christian.
“Since 2009, my dad has joined our group (Chicago Eagles) during our time in Brazil. I guess he just wanted to be with me, and see what I do. I got to share the gospel with my dad, little by little. Every year, at the end of our time in Brazil, I left Brazil not knowing if I would ever see my dad again, literally.” Despite the sadness that he felt, Leo continued to share the gospel with his dad every year until one night after a church service in Brazil. Leo says that he felt called with authority to ask his father what was holding him back from accepting Christ, after seeing so many other people do the same. His reply was, “nothing.” Nothing was holding him back. That night, he accepted Christ as his Savior. Everybody on the tour circled around him, and Leo got to pray and cry tears of joy alongside his father, as God watched over them all. Leo says that as he prayed for his dad, God spoke to him saying, “Son, remember when you first left Brazil and your student asked about your dad? I had it the whole time. Then I felt that big warm hug from God again, but this time my dad was in it too.”
Of this experience, Leo says, “when you obey God, He will do so much more than you can imagine. I could never imagine that not only my dad was going to be saved, but that I would lead him to Christ. God is so amazing!”
Leo was born and spent his childhood in Goiânia, Brazil with his mom, dad, and two older siblings. Growing up, he attended a church called Igreja de Cristo do Novo Horizonte (Novo Horizonte Church of Christ), planted by an American missionary, Earl Haubner.
After teaching English in Brazil, Leo moved to Bookham, England to serve a local church as an assistant youth leader. While there, he came into contact with the Chicago Eagles and started becoming involved in Missionary Athletes International in 2007. While translating on missions trips, Leo was able to see how effective sports ministry is, and realized that he “loved the idea of using soccer as a strategy to preach the Gospel. He considers himself blessed to be able to travel back to the place where he grew up and to share the gospel there. “There is nothing like going back to your home country to share the gospel! It is not that I didn’t at first, when I lived there, but I feel like the impact is bigger now, because I have a team with me, an organization behind me, and many people praying through the process.”
He met his wife, Nicole, while on a missions trip to the Amazon with the Chicago Eagles. In 2010, he then attended Moody Bible Institute and recieved his masters degree there.
In recent times, Leo has been appointed as the Chicago Eagles office director.
Of his new position in Chicago, Leo says..
“The Chicago Eagles office has changed a lot in the last four years. Not only am I the new office director, but our staff and our ministry overseas, mainly in Brazil, have also grown. We have started an urban outreach program at a local low-income neighborhood (Urban Eagles). As we grow, we face challenges and have to deal with things we didn’t have to in the past; I call these “growing pains.” Our senior director Rick McKinley (he was the office director for over 18 years) says “the Chicago Eagles has never been in such good shape,” and I agree. I feel very blessed to be part of such God-centered organization, being led by such Godly men. Our hope and prayer and that we continue to serve God with our best and that more and more people will be transformed by the love of Jesus Christ. ”
Leandro and Nicole were married in the summer of 2014 and are looking forward to their 8th year in ministry!
If you would like to support Leo you can do so by going to: http://www.bit.ly/supportleo
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)