After a fierce sixteen-year battle with cancer, it is with a combination of great sadness and joy that the family and friends of Leonard Harlan Rodgers inform you that he has joined his Christ in heaven on this the eighth day of April, 2019; he was eighty-one years old. The sadness is for our loss of a husband, father, grandfather and friend who has been greatly loved and admired. The joy is in the firm belief that Leonard has ascended to join the vast assembly of saints at the thrown of Christ.
Leonard tried to live his life emulating Jesus. For him relationships were the foundation of everything that he did in life. Leonard served and loved as many people as he possibly could. Where ever he went he would build relationships and connect people with one another. Leonard had an enduring love for people in the Middle East in particular. His loving service had a profound influence on many individuals through his actions, teachings, and love. His influence has been amplified hundreds of times over as it cascaded from one person to the next. Despite his aggressive cancer he never let his ill health deter him from his service. His final appeal letter was sent just six days before he died.
The son of a Kansas roughneck oilmen, Leonard’s life was remarkable in its trajectory. At the age of 22 he married his life partner, Pauline Mae Perrigan. That same year he graduated Kansas City Bible College, and started working for Youth for Christ. Four years later he and Pauly answered God’s call to go to the Middle East and to serve young people in Lebanon. By taking this leap into a new and inspiring culture, Leonard and Pauly’s life was transformed and in turn transformed those around them.
He pioneered Youth for Christ (YFC), World Vision, and Venture International in the Middle East, North Africa, Southern Europe and Central Asia. He always worked to care for and empower the poor and marginalized while also building the local Christian communities’ capacity to respond to the needs of people in their own societies. Leonard was loved and will be missed.
A memorial for Leonard is being planned and will be announced at a later date. In leu of flowers, Pauly requests that donations be made to Hope Builders International (http://www.hope-builders.org/contribute). Mark your gift: Rodgers/MENA.
Leonard was also a member of the international board of Peacemaker Trust.