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What’s Going Up Is What’s Going Down…At RAU!

January 20, 2015

What’s Going Up is What’s Going Down…At RAU!

by Carol Lee

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Progress results from persistence with purpose.

- Frank Tyger

  Jacob is good about putting posts on Face Book that keep people current on activities and projects here at RAU, but we realize that not everyone “does” Face Book.  We want to lasso everyone “into the know” with this post and email.

It has been a season of projects and building and organizing.  If there were no seed-sowing, fruit-bearing purpose, it would simply be busy work, but with Jacob there’s always a purposeful plan and he’s persistent, so…we make progress!

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The perimeter security wall has been nearly finished.  It is now just a matter of aesthetics. As you can see  from the picture above, the wall serves not only a practical purpose, but pleases the eye as well.

Right on the heels of that project a second one has begun.  Another room is being added on to “Sam’s tukalu” which will allow a queen-sized bed and a couple of bunk beds.  We already have solar panels and a battery with which the tukalu can be “electrified.”  The current tukalu already has a bathroom with toilet and shower.  As we think about the ministry goals of RAU, Jacob is keeping in mind ways of increasing the number of people who may be served during retreat times.  He is also thinking in terms of teams, especially couples, who may come to serve.  This tukalu will serve both purposes.

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Addition of a room to the Tukalu and the foundation for another container.

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Making headway

On the north side of the new room, the foundation is being laid for a platform for the 2nd container for which we are hoping, praying and planning.  The idea here is that, between the two containers (which,in themselves, will allow for much storage) there will be a covered work/storage space.  That Jacob!  He thinks of everything!  There is funding enough at present to purchase the container and send it.  However, we still need the funding to fill the container with precious cargo – Bibles!  It costs $10 per Bible.  If everyone bought even one Bible it would help a lot towards meeting our goal.  Please keep that in mind in your prayers and your budget. We have the details here: http://reachingafricasunreached.org/fill-the-container-study-bibles-books-and-more/

Jacob continues to walk through opening doors.   Tuesday the 20th he will have an opportunity to preach over the radio airwaves via the local Christian radio station. At the end of the message people will be able to call the station with questions or comments. I believe we have mentioned before that this could become a regular event.

In the hills nearby the radio station, Aya Baptist Church has been busy reaching out to its neighbors in the remote areas of Gbare (pronounced, “Bar- ay”) and Arapi (pronounced, “Ah-rah-pee”).  They are in the process now of discipling new believers in Jesus and sending one of their own to move to Gbare to pastor the newly formed church.  Last Sunday there were 81 people who attended church in Gbare, at least 60% of which were new believers from the last month of evangelism.  RAU is partnering with Aya Baptist Church to see a good work established and to see the roots of the church grow deep in love for and obedience to the Word of God.  This coming week, on Wednesday, Jacob and Zora (our new ministry intern) will head up to Gbare for some time of discipleship and instruction as well as the basic good of some de-worming medicine.   Please pray for this work.

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Tobious (and the pastor from Ijuju Baptist Church) and Jacob in the Gbare area  evangelizing tukalu to tukalu

On Sunday the 18th, Jacob, Zora and Mindra (one of the men who works here at RAU) drove to Yumbe where they were met by Charles.  Charles took them to Ambelecu, one of the Church of  Uganda (COU) congregations in Yumbe District near the Koboko border. The COU (also known as the Anglican Church) is a solid presence amidst a devout majority Muslim population.  It is a very urgent and major goal of RAU to come alongside believers in an area where it is becoming increasingly dangerous and difficult to be a Christian.

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Praying and thanking the Lord for safe arrival to Ambelecu COU.

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Eager gathering of believers

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Jacob preaching the Word and Charles interpreting.

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Praying over those who responded to the message to forgive from the heart because they’ve been forgiven.

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Honoring the women who cooked and served

On Sunday the 11th, Jacob, Sam and Zora went to Obongi to strengthen Pastor Godfrey’s congregation, Obongi Town Church, in the Word as well as to stand with Godfrey amidst some intense opposition which he has been experiencing.  Keep praying for him and his flock.  His experiences give us a current depiction of first century church problems such as are recorded in the Book of Acts where Paul went from place to place, experiencing hardship and opposition wherever he was.  While Jacob and the guys were there in Obongi they took the opportunity to provide reading glasses, tracts and medicines to those who had gathered, most of whom were Muslims.

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Godfrey and Jacob

In one of the last posts, we had mentioned the need for education sponsorship for Richard, who has received surgery for club foot.  Within two days, a brother came forward to offer the amount needed for Richard to attend First Presbyterian’s Covenant Junior School!  When we told Richard’s father, he was thrilled, as you can imagine, for his young son (for whom life had thrown a curve ball) to receive such an opportunity.

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Richard – he walketh!

In addition, Anzoa, the young girl who received corrective surgery for congenital cataracts, also received a sponsorship.  A brother in America is working on meeting a goal to find sponsorship for 18 more local children.  (For one year, it costs $600 to board and educate and provide uniforms for one child.)  In America, we take a decent education for granted.  Here, people struggle to find ways of getting their children into school and keeping them in school.  The older the child, the more expensive and, therefore, the harder it is to keep them in school all the way through to graduation.  If anyone is interested in sponsoring a child please contact us.

During the writing of this, a young father came with his child who has hydrocephalus (or some other congenital abnormality.)  It is the most expensive of corrective surgeries in which we have been involved because it typically requires numerous follow up visits to the hospital and we rely on special donations for these medical needs that present themselves to us.  If the Lord lays it on your heart, we would love to take part in helping this child’ s life and lot improve!  You may designate a donation specifically for “the hydrocephalus child“.  Thanks in advance for placing your life and resources at Jesus’ feet to be used for His glory in this child’s life!

Not long after, just today, a mother brought her little 6 month old baby girl, named Charity, who has a cleft lip and palate.  She is asking for help to get the corrective surgery for this.  We, in turn, are presenting this need to you all, hoping that your compassion may be kindled for this child.  While the surgery is provided free of charge at CoRSU Hospital in Entebbe, the cost of transporting the mother and child back and forth 2 times as well as providing their up keep while there is what costs.  From our past experience, the cost comes to about $800.  Any amount that is left over will be kept for the next child who has a physical need.

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Baby Charity and her mom

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A happy baby in spite of her challenges

We feel an empty space which Sam has left in his moving back to the Kampala area to further his medical education.  We have been so blessed to have his friendship, his commitment to RAU’s vision and goals, and his talents.  He has been a great help to Jacob and a great help in making the vision of RAU a reality.  We are grateful for the Lord’s provision for Sam – getting a Bachelors Degree in Nursing is a three year process and is not cheap!  The Lord is good.  Sam, we wish you very well!  We will miss your joyful heart and your beautiful voice leading us in praise!

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Nyombi Samuel Wilson

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An evening walkabout

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His last RAU papaya for a while

Providentially, the Lord has brought us a young man to intern with RAU – Achidrii Onet Zora.  Zora completed a two year theological training at African Renewal University, a school which is greatly supported by Desiring God Ministries.    Zora has shown himself to be servant-hearted, willing to put his hand to a broom or a hammer or the dishes, or to help Jacob organize books and other resources.  He is an “eternal” student, one who likes to ask questions that open up great biblical discussions and who is humble in receiving insight as well as in adding his own insight to the conversation.  Jacob has given him opportunity to prepare and give a teaching or a word of encouragement which he has not only done willingly, but with an earnest desire for feedback by which he can grow in serving in this area.

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Zora enjoying the library books! A man after Jacob’s own heart!

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Jacob has perfected his “Tom Sawyer skills” on Zora

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Getting resource bags ready for future retreats

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Filing and organizing

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Handy with a broom, too!

This weekend we look forward to the return of our dear friend, John Howarton.  He has already been ministering in Ethiopia and South Sudan.  Shortly after he arrives we will be hosting another pastors’ retreat in which John’s teaching gift will be used and appreciated.

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John with his friend, Muhtar

I (Carol) am back to my “normal” self.  We will leave out any description of what that word, “normal” might mean for me!  On advice and reminder from my brother, Dave, I am staying home from the bumpy day trips to allow any unseen injury to heal which might have occurred from the jarring fall I experienced a few weeks ago.  I am enjoying some time to work on my skill set: drawing/painting and my latest interest – ink.

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An ink drawing of my favorite tree in front of Aya Baptist Church

We hope that, as you read about our adventures (and misadventures!), and as you pray for RAU, you may also be asking the Lord if you can serve with us here on a more permanent basis.  There is more than enough for one man to do and it would be awesome to have a others working together with us here.  For starters, consider coming for a short stay to see how your gifts could be used in a greater way to serve the people of this under-served area.

The earthly formula at the beginning of this post could have you wondering if you have the wherewithal to take part in this mission and it places the burden on frail humanity:  “Persistence + Purpose = Progress.”  Who is equal to the task?!!  BUT!….thanks be to God who does not make us His co-workers without equipping us!  Remember I Corinthians 4:7:  “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”  Philippians 2: 13 says, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  In Luke 24:49 we are reminded that Jesus did not leave without fulfilling His promise to give us the Holy Spirit.  “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”  “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work withing us, to Him be the glory…!” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

May the Lord bless you all!  We pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you all with joy, obedience and eyes to see the joy beyond the Cross!

Carol (on behalf of Jacob and RAU)

Blog: http://www.ReachingAfricasUnreached.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ReachingAfricasUnreached

For those who have asked, small packages and letters may safely be sent to:

Jacob & Carol Lee, PO. 55, Moyo Uganda, East Africa

Our “wish lists” may be found at Amazon (Click on the “Wish List” link and type in our name or email  address)

The greatest evil is having the gospel and not doing everything within our  power to get it to those who do not have it. May the Lord grant each of us His followers the wherewithal to be obedient disciples!

Jacob W. Lee

Tax deductible  charitable donations may  be made via PayPal.  PayPal also has a way to make reoccurring monthly gifts. To do so  please click the PayPal link. PayPal deducts  a small amount from each gift as a processing fee. All gifts given through PayPal are now tax deductible as Reaching Africa’s Unreached has 501 c3 tax exempt status as a charitable organization.  If you wish to write a check you may write it out to R.A.U. and mail it to Lifegate Missions, 395 Lifegate Ln., Seguin Texas 78155

“Psalm 151″ By Carol Lee

January 10, 2015

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 Recently, Mark Altrogge posted a challenge to us to look back and remember our story, to recount the goodness of the Lord in our lives. I was looking through some of the stuff we brought along to Uganda and found the following “assignment” that Mike Geer, a friend from our home church, Lifegate, had asked us to do for a Adult Sunday School class he was teaching. We were to write our experiences and struggles in the form of a Psalm. Hence, I named it “Psalm 151“. I hope that it encourages you to lean upon the Lord for grace and to also take time to write your own story of grace and to remember the goodness of the Lord in your own life.

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Psalm 151

(A song of Carol Lee recounting the works of the Lord in her lifetime and supplications for present trials; sung to the tune of “Come Thou Fount”)
(phraseology borrowed from John Piper’sSeeing and Savoring Christ” as well as other scripture)

Blessed are those upon whom the Lord has set His affection,
Who are adopted as His children and have been given eyes
To see and savor His beauty, power, sovereign grace and love.

Blessed are those who, in seeing and savoring the Lord,
Turn from everything of lesser value and follow the Lord
With their whole heart!
They will never be put to shame and will enjoy intimate friendship
With the Lord and His people in this life
And a glory that surpasses every earthly affliction and joy
In the life to come.

Lord, You have been my father from my childhood.
In my afflictions you drew me to Your living waters to find life.
You helped me find great comfort in Your Word.
I would have totally despaired in the loneliness of separation from family
If you had not tenderly shielded me from the enemy of my soul
By giving me hope through Your presence
And Your people.

In spite of Your faithful love,
Many times I left Your path and trespassed into disobedience,
Rebellion and the fleeting pleasures of sin – even though
I was Yours (for You bought me with Your lifeblood.)
I did not set my heart on things above where my beautiful Savior
Is seated, but I set my mind on earthly things;
I lost sight and taste of Your beauty and goodness.
I forsook the joy of Your friendship
To find friendship with the world.

But You, O Lord, in the faithfulness of Your covenantal love,
Pursued me!
In faithfulness You afflicted me and brought me low.
You convicted me of all my sin and made me to know
That there is no way, no love, no happiness or joy like YOU!!!
All praise be to You, O God!

Though many times I felt forsaken by father and mother,
You made me to know and cherish Your Word – and how beautiful it is:
“Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife
Or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom,
Who will not receive many times more in this age,
And, in the age to come, eternal life.”
See what You have done?!!! You have surrounded me with
Fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers and children.
I lack no good thing! And you will do it again!

O, but Lord, I find my soul in danger, once again,
Of taking pleasure in fleeting earthly joys above the joy of Your call
To keep in step with You and Your Kingdom plans.
My heart prefers comfort, safety, routine, entertainment and ease.
I prefer the boundaries You have given me now
And shrink away from the enlarging borders You want to give me.
I am often having to repent of not making the most of every opportunity
or of not numbering my days.

I hear Your voice, O Lord, 

As You speak to me through Your Word:

“If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up
His cross daily and follow me.”
“If anyone comes to me and does not love me more than
Father, mother, sister, brother, children…”
“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world
and forfeits himself?”
I hear You, Lord, and I am wrestling with these words.

And, as if that were not enough, Lord,
You are entreating me through my husband,
who shows by example what it means to passionately take up his cross
And follow Christ,
Who is ready to love You more than all earthly treasures
And the people who are so dear to him,
Who so clearly sees that there are other sheep “not of this fold”
Who must be brought in so that there are worshipers of You
From every tribe, tongue, people and nation,
And who does not love his own life
More than Your glory and fame among the nations.
I want to accompany this man joyfully and willingly;
but You, O Lord, from Whom no thoughts are hidden,
Know the unrest in my soul.

O Lord, in this affliction of soul do not forsake me!
Seek Your servant again, for I am a straying sheep.
Pursue me and make me to be set apart for You in thought, motive, word and deed.
Be gracious to me and open my eyes to see and savor You – and
All the more as that Great Day approaches.
Make me to remember Your promises and faithfulness in the past
And to trust that You will, once more, provide the grace that is needed in days to come.
Incline my heart to You and to Your praise and not toward selfish gain,
That I may enjoy Your presence along with Your people,
Both now and forever more. Amen!

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Note: I found this a year or two after it was written and I have retyped and edited it…as I sit in the very place for which I was struggling in this Psalm. The Lord has, indeed, been faithful! His grace has been sufficient. My heart has been made more than willing as He has enlarged the boundaries of my lot.

Learning To Number Our Days

January 7, 2015

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Learning to Number Our Days

“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.”

Psalm 90:12

There’s nothing like a good bump on the head to help a person realize that “life as usual” may not always continue as usual.  The fact that I (Carol) am writing this is a testament to the fact that the Lord has graciously allowed life to continue “as usual,” with the exception of our going on with it a little more circumspectly as Jacob and I think about how life could have changed drastically after my fall and head injury.  I have a small residual of soreness on my head where there is still evidence that it hit the wall, and on my left elbow where I am surmising that a small piece of bone was chipped.  I believe my mental faculties are intact, and, most importantly, my sense of humor!  We praise God for the mundane (ordinary, but not dull!) – the everyday continuance of the privilege of serving Him here in the West Nile region of northwestern Uganda.

I so much appreciated all the prayers, words of encouragement and suggestions for alternate and safer forms of exercise to use in the future!  As I have said before, I have a few residual aches and pains as reminders of God’s grace and kindness in sparing Jacob and me from big adventures of the medical kind!

We were so blessed in welcoming Paul George and having him here over the holidays.  As you know, Paul was here with us the few weeks before Christmas and almost to the New Year, proving himself in ministry as well as cassava harvesting – and all the while bearing with an upper respiratory infection that was finally overcome with some antibiotics.  It was a joy to have him here with us.  He was generous and genuine.  We saw his gifting shine in his desire to alleviate suffering and come along side people in their trials. He has a servant-heart.

We spent Christmas Day (Thursday) in Yumbe District at Yi’ba worshiping with the saints at Yi’ba Church of Uganda.  Jacob preached from Luke 2: 7-21.  It was special to have one of the young boys from St. Paul’s Pilgrim Church quoting the text in Aringa from memory prior to the message.  After sharing the Christmas meal with the Reverend, David, and giving the “gift of sight” via handing out reading glasses, we headed back to Afoji – to RAU.

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Rev. David, pastor of the Yi’ba congregation

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A large, musical contingency! Loved the music and joyful singing and dancing

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Our friend, Charles, and young Jordan, whom he brought along to say the sermon text, Luke 2:8-21, by heart in Aringa

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Telling the good news

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Jacob and Paul

We were to spend that coming Sunday with Godfrey in Obongi, but plans were altered by my (Carol’s) little head-banging mishap (which I obviously survived by the grace of God).  Paul and Sam were sent on to Obongi by themselves where Paul shared a message with the members of Obongi Town Church.  We were grateful that Paul was willing to take on that task, though it is not where he feels the most gifted.  He was “instant in season and out of season.”

In between all these appointments, Sam’s cassava crop needed harvesting.  Paul was chomping at the bit to experience this.  He surprised everyone with his energy and steadfastness as he tried to keep up with the women!  Considering he was struggling with an ear and throat infection at the time, he did a wonderful job!

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Picking up and collecting the cassava roots for the women to peel

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Digging up Cassava

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Sam and Paul George, ready to work

All this while, construction has been happening on the perimeter security wall.  The builders took a break for Christmas and New Year, but a couple of them are back at it to finish what they started.  The rest are due back any day now to finish the wall and start on the other project of expanding “Sam’s Tukalu” to include another room.  We are hoping to add more bunk beds and power it up with solar so that it will be ready for pastors’ retreats as well as visitors from overseas.

Guesthouse 2

The Guesthouse looking beautiful

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The sunset as seen through the iron bars

Upcoming events for which we desire your prayers include:

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*Opportunity for Jacob to preach at Ambelech Church in Yumbe District on Sunday, the 18th

*Opportunities for Jacob to preach via radio, here in Moyo town at a public radio station, as well as at a local Christian station managed by a new friend, Dominic.  Jacob is hoping this might become a regular happening at both stations.

*Our good friend, John Howarton, will visit RAU once again and help Jacob do the teaching at a Pastors’ Retreat for Congolese pastors during the last week of January as well as join in other ministry.

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John Howarton

*We will have 3, possibly 4, pastors’ retreats in the next few months, including the one mentioned above

*Since the church planting effort in Gbare, Jacob is continuing to follow up with Pastor Tobious (from Aya) and Pastor Geoffrey who plans to move to this remote area to pastor the fledgling church.  We will be working with Aya Baptist Church to support Pastor Geoffrey and his family as they uproot to answer this call.  Please pray that the seed of the Word would grow deep there and produce fruit that will last.

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John giving Pastors Tobious and Geoffrey pointers on the drip irrigation kits they received

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Over this last year, the Lord has made a way for Sam to upgrade his medical knowledge and skills by attending University to receive a Bachelors in Nursing.  This would put him in a position to oversee and run a clinic.  It is a three-year program.  This means having to say goodbye to him for a while.  We have appreciated his service to RAU so much and he will be missed.  Thankfully, he plans to come here during breaks, bringing fellow health workers with him for medical outreaches.  We look forward to seeing how the Lord uses his skills in medicine in the future.

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Carol and Sam at Kerwa Yumbe District

As Sam leaves, the Lord has seen fit send another young man our way – Zora.  He and his family are originally from the Arua area but moved to Kampala a few years back.  Zora has finished a two year program in Theology and is looking for opportunities to serve the Body of Christ.  He will be with us for a number of weeks.  We are enjoying getting to know him.  He is showing a servant’s heart and a lot of wisdom.  He is keen to seek the Lord and learn of Him.  I am also enjoying giving him some pointers as he learns to play the guitar!

The young boy, Richard, who received surgery to correct bilateral club foot, will be going back to CoRSU Hospital to finish the last surgeries to his feet.  Due to the tribal conflict that happened here in September, Richard had to leave the area and return to South Sudan.  He has gotten behind on his schooling.  There is an opportunity for him to return to school if he is sponsored.  First Presbyterian Church in Kampala, where our dear friend and board member, Patrick Bukenya pastors, has a Christian school which also boards children there.  For $600 per year (room,board, and tuition), Richard could receive an excellent education and have many other opportunities open up to him.  Please let us know if you are interested in sponsoring him.

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Richard after some of his surgeries

We have been so encouraged by the response to our pleas for donations towards buying 5,000 more ESV Global Study Bibles  to put in another container.  So far, we have about $10,400 – one fifth of our goal of $50,000.  This is truly one of the best resources we can freely put into pastors’ and other leaders’ hands.  Please consider this a priority in praying and giving.  Perhaps your Sunday School classes (or other groups to which you belong) might consider making this a project.  It is about $10 per Bible.  When we have the full amount then we will purchase them all at once at a greatly discounted price.

More information may be found here:

http://reachingafricasunreached.org/fill-the-container-study-bibles-books-and-more/

Global Study Bible

 We always love to hear from you all personally and hope you will let us know what is going on in your lives.  It makes us feel connected to you, our partners in Christ, just as (we have heard) our letters make you feel connected and acquainted with us!

May the Lord bless you all this New Year!  We pray this prayer of the Apostle Paul for each one of you:

 “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father,would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints,  and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength.”

Ephesians 1:17-19

Love in Christ,

Carol and Jacob (on behalf of RAU)

Blog: http://www.ReachingAfricasUnreached.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ReachingAfricasUnreached

For those who have asked, small packages and letters may safely be sent to:

Jacob & Carol Lee, PO. 55, Moyo Uganda, East Africa

Our “wish lists” may be found at Amazon (Click on the “Wish List” link and type in our name or email  address)

The greatest evil is having the gospel and not doing everything within our  power to get it to those who do not have it. May the Lord grant each of us His followers the wherewithal to be obedient disciples!

Jacob W. Lee

Tax deductible  charitable donations may  be made via PayPal.  PayPal also has a way to make reoccurring monthly gifts. To do so  please click the PayPal link. PayPal deducts  a small amount from each gift as a processing fee. All gifts given through PayPal are now tax deductible as Reaching Africa’s Unreached has 501 c3 tax exempt status as a charitable organization.  If you wish to write a check you may write it out to R.A.U. and mail it to Lifegate Missions, 395 Lifegate Ln., Seguin Texas 78155

“10 Reasons to Expect Great Things and Attempt Great Things” By David Sills

January 5, 2015

A great word of encouragement from Dr. David Sills!

—————

10 Reasons to Expect Great Things and Attempt Great Things

By Dr. David Sills

 

“William Carey was a Baptist pastor in England toward the end of the 18th century. Reading Captain Cook’s journals, he was profoundly moved by the spiritual needs of the world. Specifically, he was burdened about the need to convert the peoples of India. However, Carey found that some of the other Baptist pastors in England believed that God would save the heathen in His own time without their help. Carey could not accept the decision to leave them in spiritual darkness. He challenged them through a sermon entitled, “Expect Great Things, Attempt Great Things.”  He led the way by sailing to India in 1792 and launched such a remarkable missionary effort that he became known as the father of modern missions. In that day when many English Baptists considered the work God had given to them to do at home to be sufficiently challenging, going to another continent to minister among peoples of different languages, worldviews, and religions was too great a challenge.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because that mentality is alive and well and sometimes resides within us. Perhaps you wonder why should we go elsewhere when there are still lost people among us, indeed even in our own families. Why invest elsewhere when our own buildings need improvement or expansion? Why go to preach truth in places where people already have a religion and don’t want us to come? Why attempt such an audacious task? What hope do we have of success? What should we expect? The same Bible that spoke to Carey still speaks to us today. Why should we expect great things from God and attempt great things for God?

Sovereignty
There is no danger that attempting what our sovereign God has commanded His people to do will fail. I do not mean that every plan we devise will succeed in ways that we measure as success, but when we are prepared instruments in His hands seeking to bring Him glory, there is nothing that will prevent Him having His way in His world. Never be afraid that the Enemy’s gospel-hostile mean people will prevail against the sovereign hand of God. When you’re sure that that hand holds you, never fear to step out and walk by faith.

Mission
The mission we set out to accomplish is not our own, it is His. The mission Dei, encompasses more than we can fathom, but He shares a part of it with us. When you attempt great things, you are not inventing a missions idea and asking Him to bless it, you are joining Him in His mission. His mission will not fail. You are joining the mission of the invincible, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, omnibenevolent Creator and Ruler of all that is

Authority
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said that all authority has been given to Him. With His authority He commands us to go to all peoples and obey all the Great Commission. Because He has all authority, no earthly pretender to authority can deny us or stay His hand. There are creative access countries in the world, including some that are mistakenly labeled as closed countries. “You can get into any country, but you may not be able to get out. There is no such thing as a closed country to one who does not care if he gets out again,” famously responded Bible smuggler, Brother Andrew, to a warning that his work was too dangerous to do in Communist countries. Brother Andrew understood that because Jesus Christ has all authority, no government ruler and no human heart can thwart His mission.

Imitation
Many of us live our lives wondering what Jesus would do in various situations we face. A better guide for us would be to look in to the Bible to see what Jesus did do, and then seek to imitate Him. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul said, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Christ cleansed the Temple when the court of the Gentiles had been appropriated for the ease and profit of the Jews, He healed those outside Judaism, and said that when He was lifted up that all kinds of men and women would come to Him. Jesus was and is concerned for the nations. Christ came to seek and to save the lost. Imitate Him.

Holy Spirit
We can attempt great things for God expecting Him to do great things through us because of His indwelling Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God lives within us to guide us, empower us, endow gifts, encourage, and bless our efforts to glorify Christ. Christian workers who seek to obey Christ’s command and walk in step with the Holy Spirit go forth in Jesus’ name and authority and in the power and fellowship of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. Such knowledge provides hope when discouraged, the needed word when we do not know what to say, and insight into all the truth we are to teach to others.

Calling
Everyone is not to be a mega-church pastor, serve in a soup kitchen, plant churches, be a pioneer missionary, or teach in a seminary. The unique and God-given mix of gifts and burdens, life experiences, opportunities, and His guidance leads each of us to the paths we walk in our Christian life. Some are more zealous to know and fulfill their role in God’s plan for the world than others. But no matter how God calls you to serve Him, you can serve Him with all you are to attempt great things. If He has called you to be a housewife in suburbia you cannot glorify Him more by being martyred in Somalia. The highest and best use of your life is to do what He has called you to do in the place He has called you to do it. When you know His calling on your life, embrace it fully in faith and obedience. Jim Elliot challenged the called ones in his generation, “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation that you believe to be the will of God.”

Needs
The world is in desperate need of the gospel, of hope in the midst of hopelessness, and light in darkness. Lost and dying people need to hear the Good News that though God hates sin He loves us and gave His Son to save us. Over half of the world has not heard the gospel. Just in the Americas there are 999 people groups, with over 2/3 of them unreached and over 1/3 unreached of them unengaged. The numbers of peoples who do not know Jesus is heartbreaking. Many others may have heard but have no Christian churches with trained pastors to teach them the truth of God’s Word and help them apply it to their lives. Other crises are growing as well. Flesh trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry around the world. Tens of thousands of children die of starvation and hunger-related diseases daily. Thousands of people die from the lack of clean drinking water. Globally, millions of orphans live in the streets. Amy Carmichael said, “Missionary work is a grain of sand, the work untouched is a pyramid . . . Face it.  Look and listen, alone with God.  Then go, let go, help go. But never, never, never think that anything short of this is being ‘interested in missions’” There are so many needs, so little time, and so few responding to help.

Love
When asked to identify the greatest commandment, Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” If you love the Lord with your heart, soul, mind, and strength, you will want to see the peoples of His world bring Him honor and worship. And if you love your neighbor as yourself, you will want to see them find forgiveness and enter into eternal life, and be at peace with God through Christ. John wrote in his first letter, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” Let us attempt great things and expect great things because of the love of God that the God of love has put in our hearts—love for Him and love for others.

Obedience
We say we love the Lord. But to step onto a plane to leave the land of Walmart, family, friends, and all that is familiar seems a giant leap. Who would do that? Why would they do that? Because He commanded and true disciples obey Him. Prompt obedience has been a characteristic of God’s faithful servants since the days of Noah built the ark and Abraham offered up Isaac. The first disciples Jesus called left their nets and boats and obeyed His call to follow. Sometimes His call to us seems a bit too radical in a world that promotes comfort zones and safety. The last command Jesus gave us was the Great Commission. His word to His church is clear. Is our obedience as clear? Remember that you can say “No,” and you can say “Lord,” but you cannot say “No, Lord.” The minute you do, He’s not; you are. Prompt obedience is a mark of a true disciple. Jesus asked, “Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?”

Success
We should expect great things and attempt great things in full assurance that success is certain. Isaiah 11:9 prophesies, “for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” And a confirming repetition comes in Habakkuk 2:14, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Notice the absence of even a hint of “maybe” or “hope so.” I love the scene that John describes in the Revelation, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”’

We may expect and attempt great things because a successful end is certain.

God’s people make choices daily. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Decision magazine reminds us of the reality of Joel 3:14, “Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” What a cause for praise and thanksgiving we would have if the whole world had heard the gospel in a way that they can understand and now dwelled in the valley of decision. But they haven’t. And the sad truth is that God’s people have read the Great Commission, the Great Commandments, and the great compassion of Jesus in the Bible, and many have heard the call to give or go, spend or be spent, yet they remain in the valley of decision. Don’t waver any longer in indecision, if God is the Lord of all, commit today to expect great things and attempt great things. Here are ten reasons to do so. Hundreds more could be presented. Only one is needed. Who will expect and attempt great things for the glory of Christ and the advance of His kingdom?”

http://davidsills.blogspot.com/2015/01/10-reasons-to-expect-great-things-and.html

“YOU (YES, YOU!) SHOULD CONSIDER GLOBAL MISSIONS” by Jason Carter

January 2, 2015

A much needed message for the church today!

——————-

Guest blogger: Jason Carter at Kevin DeYoung’s Blog

“Thinking of missionary service? Maybe you should. It’s not as farfetched as you think. So, you have a spouse and kids? Moving to the other side of the globe is a not a manned-mission to Mars. People still breathe oxygen in Mongolia, Mozambique and Malaysia – and actually everywhere in between.

I know, I know all this comes with enormous caveats: “You can serve God anywhere.” “Moving overseas doesn’t make you a missionary.” “Your missionary field is right next door.” If you’ve attended a missions conference at a local church, speakers nowadays usually go out of their way not to lay a big guilt trip on the whole congregation for not moving to Timbuktu.

Would that be so bad? Maybe we don’t need a guilt trip, but how about a challenge?

Yes, Jesus did say: “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem” (Acts 1:8). But he didn’t stop there. He proceeded to wildly expand the geographic vision of these Israel-centric young-buck disciples: “and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”.

The message: “Be my witness in downtown Chicago (where you work) and in your suburban Chicago neighborhood (where you live)” is a truncated message. Jesus came to save more than suburban soccer moms and urban hipsters. The North American church is dangerously close to making provincial what Jesus meant to be global.

I think it started with good enough intentions. We’re all called to be participate in Christ’s mission. (Yes, we are.) You can serve Christ right where you are. (Yes, you can.) Over and over, Christians are being told that their mission field is right where they are. That’s true. But only partially so.

Let’s not gloss or oversimplify the Great Commission into a metaphor for “going across the street” or “being bold for Jesus at the water cooler.” It’s so much more than that. It’s a global clarion call for disciples to take the gospel to the ends of the earth and to make disciples of all nations.

In our good intentions to help people serve right where they are locally, let’s not stamp out the few remaining embers of fire in the local church for global missions.

There are dangers in making “the mission field” a provincial little place to mean “wherever you happen to be now.” This kind of thinking, if left unchecked, has the potential to cripple the cause of global missions by reducing the global message of Jesus to your circle of acquaintances.

Yes, your “mission field” is, in one sense, right where you are.  But it doesn’t have to be. You could move! Your mission field could be at-risk children in the favelas of São Paulo. Your mission field could be a network of HIV/AIDS support groups in sub-Saharan Africa. Your mission field could be a people group in Southeast Asia with no access to the gospel. Your mission field could be training indigenous leaders for ministries of the gospel. (I am especially fond of this last one.)

Churches who continuously indoctrinate their people with “your mission field is right where you are” without simultaneously challenging the congregation to follow Christ into cross-culture missionary service are effectively splashing an ice-bucket challenge on the global, ethnē-centered words of the Great Commission. The cross-cultural response of “O Lord, send me” is silenced in the local church when the cross-cultural question is never seriously considered.

A house payment and having kids settled in a good school need not be IRS ironclad exemptions from participating in global missions. Don’t assume that college-aged kids have a monopoly on obedience to the Great Commission. Jesus called Simon Peter and his business partners James and John to drop everything at the least opportune time – on the verge of becoming a regional powerhouse in the first-century fishing industry (Luke 5:1-11).

You should consider that global missions is a real vocational possibility. But not from a place of guilt nor to muster up some radical desire to “really” follow Christ like some modern-day desert father or medieval monk. It’s a possibility because Christ has already commanded us to “go and make disciples of all nations.” And as we “go” and step out in obedience, Jesus promises to be with us always, even to the end of the age (Mt. 28:20).

Mission is not just about you and where you happen to be at this particular moment. It’s about the Lordship of Christ. He’s King. And not just of your neighborhood or office suite. But of the whole earth.

Global missions? Don’t take it out of the realm of possibility.

Don’t exclude the possibility that God might want to call….you.” 

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/12/30/you-yes-you-should-consider-global-missions/

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