Dear Praying Friends of the IBPFM,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ! Although I have been a part of the IBPFM office staff since 2017, I have never really written to introduce myself to you.
My name is Bonnie Leithmann. Here in the Home Office, I answer phones (and it’s possible I have talked with you already), gather information from our missionaries to compile the Praise and Prayer, as well as print out, stuff, and stamp thousands of envelopes for all our missionary mailings. I have also been a SOME Team leader to the Kitui region of Kenya, and represent the mission at conferences at Bible colleges.
Personally, I accepted Christ as my Saviour in a fundamental Presbyterian Church when I was five- years-old. I was baptized at 13, and went off to Bob Jones University to study history and education. After graduation, I started teaching at a Christian School in Limerick, PA and was there for 17 years, before moving to West Virginia to teach in a Christian School there.
A missionary friend of my father’s challenged me to use my time for the Lord, so each summer when school was out, I looked for a place to serve the Lord in a full-time way for a two to three month period. I started working at a Christian campground in northern Pennsylvania. But after three years, one of our church’s missionaries (home on furlough) came to me and asked me to consider helping to establish a camping program at their church in Luxembourg (a small country west of Germany). I spent the next 20 years going to Luxembourg to help with their camping program. I had planned to leave after a few years to go somewhere else, but every few years the teens we were training would graduate and go off to college, and we would have to start all over again with a new group of teens. After 20 years, the original group of teens had completed their university studies, had come home, married, and was interested in the camp for their kids, so they were able to step in and run the program by themselves.
That was in 1996. I was attending a church with IBPFM missionaries, Gary and Pat Johnson. When Gary found out that I would not be returning to Europe, he immediately said, “Great! You can go to Kenya with us!” That summer, I went on my very first SOME Team (pictured right) to Isovya, Kenya, and I have been going back each summer (except for Covid) and working with their churches. I’ve taught Church History, Bible Geography, the Bible in History, and classes about other religious groups to students, pastors, and Sunday school teachers at the Bethel Bible Institute in Isovya. I also cook for the teams, as well as organize transportation and lodging details.
In 2016, I discovered that I had a badly damaged rotator cuff that required lengthy surgery and an extended period of rehabilitation. I resigned from the Christian school in West Virginia and returned to my mother’s house in Pennsylvania, as she had offered to care for me while I recuperated. During my recovery and physical therapy time, Rev. Keith Coleman and his wife, Mellie, came to see me to ask if I would consider coming to work full-time at the Home Office. Marilyn Faucette had recently passed away, and help was needed in the mailing department. I accepted his offer, and have been serving the Lord here in the office since then. By God’s grace I am still going on SOME Teams, since Gary and Pat Johnson have turned that work over to me.
I also wanted to share with you an experience I had a few months ago. Although there was no SOME Team scheduled for 2023, I was able to go to The Gambia (West Africa) with a group of 19 construction workers from my church this past March. We were there to support one of our church missionaries who was building a church for his small congregation. They spent the week (108˚ every day!) building and painting, while I was back at the missionary’s house cooking and preparing three meals a day for 23 people. It was quite a challenge, but the Lord blessed, and we completed the church and had it under roof by the time we left. What a blessing it is to serve the Lord and His people worldwide!
I have never been a full-time missionary, but I try to go and serve as often as I can. Can I challenge you to consider the same? No matter your age, you can find a way to be used of Him on a foreign field! It’s such a blessing to meet many different people, hear their testimonies or share your own, and let the Holy Spirit do the work in people’s hearts!
So, if you call the Home Office, you will likely be talking to me, and I will do my best to help you. Please pray as we are trying to organize a SOME Team for the summer of 2024.
Thank you so much for your financial and prayer support for me and all of our office staff, and especially for our missionaries.
In His Service,