Carol’s and my departure date of July 6th is fast approaching. When one gets older ( I turn 58 in September) there is not only more to think back upon, but it also seems, at least in my case, that one spends more time looking back and remembering God’s grace and mercy!. I remember my childhood days, being raised on an Iowa farm by a loving, God-fearing family and relatives and learning the importance of a good work ethic. I remember at age 20 that dusty road outside St. Olaf, Iowa, after midnight, having to stop my ’69 Dodge Charger. I stepped out of the car and, under deep conviction, wept over my sin, placing my full trust in Jesus: His life, death, resurrection, and ascension. By God’s grace I said, “I am yours Lord…I will do anything and go anywhere you want”. I remember several weeks later as I was in one of our farm’s corn fields sensing God’s call to missions and saying “Yes“.
I remember leaving Iowa for Seguin Texas. A big step for a farm boy who had never been far from home. I remember almost turning around in Kansas City. I remember being taken in by several loving families in Seguin who loved Jesus deeply. I remember being under the fiery preaching/teaching of Leonard Ravenhill (LR). His love for Jesus was exemplified in his devotion to prayer and missions. He made an indelible mark upon me! I remember being in L.R.’s office when he pointed to a large world map behind him and after quoting Romans 15:20 said, “Jacob, there are people who have never heard of Jesus! What are you going to do about it?“ I remember at that time receiving the conviction to go to those who had no opportunity to hear about Jesus.
I remember going through New Tribes Mission training program where I was taught by many missionaries who loved Jesus and His mission deeply. I remember returning back to Seguin and, shortly thereafter, going on a three-week mission trip to India. On that trip I saw first hand the work of the gospel to the unreached. After returning to Seguin I remember when my heart was drawn to Carol Mayer, daughter and granddaughter of missionaries to India. I remember 6 months later on July 10, 1981 when I was married to Carol, the love of my life. I remember, a few months after our marriage, selling everything and moving to Aurangabad, India, to proclaim Jesus. I remember the birth of our firstborn,Joshua, in a small mission hospital in Kodiakanal India. I remember having to leave India 6 months after our arrival because we could not renew our visa’s. I remember learning there in India the difference between “presumption” and “faith”, as well as the importance of being sent out by and being under the covering of a strong, gospel-centered, local church.
I remember , after returning to Seguin in 1982, becoming a part of Lifegate, a church family which has taught my family and me what it means to be a disciple of Christ. I remember my many dear friends. I remember becoming a teaching elder at Lifegate in 1984. I remember going back to India in 1985 and proclaiming Jesus to the Koya in the the remote regions of the eastern Ghats. I remember the births of Josiah and Anna, our second and third-born. I remember the precious times of our children growing up and how fast that went by. I remember their graduating from college. I remember receiving a beautiful new daughter in-law and son in law. I remember our precious grand children.
I remember both Carol and I continuing our education. I remember my Bible classes at Hill Country Bible School, getting my Bachelors degree at Texas Lutheran and my Master’s degree at Covenant College. I remember Carol becoming a Registered Nurse. I remember my many years teaching at Lifegate Christian School and my times as a Principal there. I remember my teaching years at Nixon-Smiley High School. I remember the great joy of being in the classroom with so many wonderful students.
I remember traveling to Uganda with a group from Lifegate on a short term mission trip. I remember returning to Uganda in ’07 and ministering in and around Moyo, North Uganda and into South Sudan. I remember the seeds of Reaching Africa’s Unreached being planted in my heart as well as co-workers. I remember the many other trips there as well as to northeastern D.R. of Congo. I remember my D.A.R.T. training with SWI and my enduring friendship with Kevin Turner. I remember my two trips to Pakistan in ’09 and coming to the realization that there are no closed doors to the gospel, just more risky ones.
I remember the establishment of Reaching Africa’s Unreached (RAU) in 2010 and its receiving NGO status. I remember in 2011, RAU’s purchase of 17 acres in Uganda, just a mile south of the South Sudan border. I remember “Nurse” Sam joining the RAU Leadership team. I remember breaking ground for the RAU Guesthouse/Hall of Tyrannus in 2011. I remember God’s help in building such a structure in the African bush. I remember 2 Timothy 2:2 and Acts 19:9-10 becoming core verses for RAU.