Dedication of the RAU Guesthouse/Hall of Tyrannus and 17 acres.

On August 10, 2013 the RAU Guesthouse/Hall of Tyrannus and 17 acre compound was officially and publicly dedicated to our our Lord,God,and King. It had been 2 years since we had broken ground and  31 months since the land was purchased.

Guesthouse site in 2011
Guesthouse site in 2011
August 2011
August 2011
August 2013
August 2013

It was a long but blessed day! Preparations have been in the works for some time. Butchering and cooking started the night before and went late into the night. Everything was cooked over a wood fire. Many worked very hard to cook for the crowd of 300 plus. [*Correction: I was just told by those who counted that my number was way low and the number was 600 plus .]

Cooks at work
Cooks at work

It was a good time ,great weather in the midst of the rainiest month of the year, lots of praise, lots of thanksgiving, lots of prayer, and a lot of speeches. The Member of Parliament for West Moyo District was the last to speak right after Carol and me. He cut a ribbon across the door and officially opened it with much shouting and praise from all the people!

A warm welcome was given from the ladies!
A warm welcome was given from the ladies!

This land’s strategic location will enhance R.A.U.’s ability to bring in pastors, church leaders, church planters, and evangelists for retreats/conferences for Biblical encouragement with the expressed purpose that local congregations will be strengthened and become multiplying congregations. (See 2 Timothy 2:2 & Acts:19:9b-10). The R.A.U. compound will also serve as a base of operations to launch such conferences throughout North Uganda, South Sudan, Northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, and Lord willing further North so that the unreached and unengaged peoples in these regions will be reached with the glorious gospel.

All that we have and all that we do is in Your hands oh Lord!
All that we have and all that we do is in Your hands oh Lord!

Furthermore, as the Lord provides, the 17 acres gives opportunity to have a Medical/Dental Clinic, Orphan Care Center, Christian Primary and Secondary School for children, and a Vocational Training Center for adults with Micro-Finance opportunities. We are currently planting numerous fruit bearing trees (mainly Mango and Orange trees) on the 17 acres which would bring in a future income to supplement our ministry efforts.

Carol and I shared our hearts and vision with the people.
Carol and I shared our hearts and vision with the people.
The Member of Ugandan Parliament for this area gave a speech welcoming RAU and thanking RAU. After speaking he cut the ribbon officially declaring the Guesthouse open "for the glory of God". (See video below)
The Member of Ugandan Parliament for this area gave a speech welcoming and thanking RAU. After speaking he cut the ribbon officially declaring the Guesthouse open “for the glory of God”. (See video below)
A Feast of Celebration
A Feast of Celebration

Our first goal was to complete the R.A.U. Guesthouse/Hall of Tyrannus. The Guesthouse is where Carol and I are making our home. Our personal residence is the back bedroom. The other rooms will be for ministry teams and at other times for groups of pastors/church leaders/evangelists, and church planters which will come for several weeks at a time for Biblical training and encouragement.  With triple bunkers we will be able to sleep many.  We are also at work renovating four tukaloos which can serve as additional sleeping quarters. The large front room in the Guesthouse is our teaching Hall, aka “The Hall of Tyrannus” (see Acts 19:8-10).

 

Thank you to all who helped and prayed to get us to this point. We pray that the Lord will use these facilities and us to spread the fame of King Jesus in this part of Africa!

Our Lord is worthy of all worship and praise!
Our Lord is worthy of all worship and praise!

Blessings Overflowing!


“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
~Ephesians 3:20-21~

These are the verses which come to my mind as I think back over our first three and half weeks here in Africa. Since July 22nd we have been here at RAU making the Guesthouse/Hall of Tyrannus into a home and place of discipleship. God is blessing and helping us by His grace and with the help of many here and in America! The RAU team,Carol,and I are all very,very grateful!
I have a number of praise reports to give to you! God is good and He is good all the time!

* In our past newsletters we have been updating you on the 1999 Land Cruiser we have been saving up to purchase. When we last wrote we still needed $8,000 to purchase it, ship it to Mombasa Kenya from Japan, drive it to Kampala, pay taxes, and outfit it for the bush. I am happy to report to you these funds have been graciously and lovingly provided. The vehicle has been ordered and we should have it in 6-8 weeks. Currently whenever I need to go to Moyo for supplies it has nearly taken up a half a day as Sam and I have to walk until we can find a boda (motorcycle taxi), do our shopping and then find one for the ride back. This vehicle will not only help us in this way but will also allow us to go out to minister more freely. Praise the Lord for this provision!
*In our last newsletter Carol shared the need of security and the  funds necessary for that provision. The Lord, through His people, has graciously granted us the funds to take care of this need for one entire year! Hallelujah!

 

*We have also been able to do some more work on the Guesthouse/Hall of Tyrannus and grounds because of the gifts of God’s people. PTL! Our goal is to have a place where pastors,evangelists,church leaders, and church planters can come for short discipleship retreats and return to their congregations refreshed, strengthened, and encouraged to plant churches in the unreached villages and people groups in their geographic areas.We also want to be able to graciously host short term mission teams which would come to share their God given gifts with the people. So far three are planning to come before Christmas. With $5,000 more we could be fully operational. There are so many details which, now that we have been on here, have become evident as optimal if we are going to run smoothly.

* The RAU team has planned for a dedication service to be held on May 10th from 9AM to 2PM to give public thanks to our God and King for all that He has done. It will also be a time to thank all those who have helped us in this journey. Pastors from local churches and from churches in South Sudan as well as Kampala will be in attendance; also local, district and federal political leaders will be invited. A meal will be served. The woman from Abraham’s church as well as the women from a church near us will assist in the cooking and serving.  There will be time for speeches and also a time of RAU leaders sharing their vision and plans. Abraham is sending invitations to key people, but we have been told that there may be any number of others who want to come and see what is happening!  I wish that all our American supporters could be here!  In March of 2010, RAU was formed, land was purchased; ground was broken for the building of the Guesthouse/Hall of Tyrannus in August of 2011. Now, two years, later I am writing from an area which was African bush land just two years ago! Our Lord is to be PRAISED!

“Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.”

Psalms 127:1

* We now have over 1,100 Global Study Bibles ready to be shipped out in our container. Our plan is to show pastors, evangelists, church leaders and church planters how to use them during our retreats and outreach conferences. The fruit from these Bibles and other things in the container are immeasurable!  Blessed be the Name of the Lord! You can view the list of things which are being put into the container here. The container has a long and arduous trip to get to us.To buy the container, insure it, and ship it from Seguin Texas to RAU is $20,000. A couple is willing match up to $10,000 to get this “ark” to us. Please help if you can. Specifically notate that your donation is  to go towards the container costs.
We are here,Lord willing, long term. We strongly believe that an integral part of discipleship is relationship. I have actively been working on that since 2007 but always knew that short term trips were not the answer for us.Relationship involves, not only “quality” time, but also “quantity” time. In this regard Carol and I had our first Ma’di language lesson on the the 1st. Maggie, Pastor Abraham’s wife, is our instructor. Along with lessons we, of course, will have time to practice with others all day long. One of the things which is difficult for me (and there are many ) is the tonality of the Ma’di language. There are no real written helps either. Maggie is hand writing flashcards and copying a few primary school readers for us. There are none to purchase. There is a Ma’di New Testament but the Old Testament has not been translated. Please pray for us in this and becoming familiar with the culture.

Please also pray that the Lord will continue to give grace at those times when we begin to think about our family and friends. Those times are the hardest for both Carol and me.

Pray over the needs, give as the Lord leads. We appreciate all that everyone does in praying, loving, supporting and giving! Thank you!

Pressing on for Jesus!

Connect with us at Facebook: www.facebook.com/ReachingAfricasUnreached

Make Disciples…!

The primary goal of Reaching Africa’s Unreached  is to come alongside the church in North Uganda, South Sudan, Northeastern D.R. Congo, and Lord willing at some point even regions north of these countries in “making disciples”. I appreciate and concur with Matt Capps’ understanding of discipleship. As J.I. Packer notes:

“Discipleship involves “grounding and growing God’s people in the gospel and its implications for doctrine, devotion, duty, and delight”

Pray with us that we will be faithful in “making disciples”!

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Make Disciples…

One of the purposes of Cross is to encourage people to obey Christ’s call to make disciples of all nations, even the most difficult places. However, as we seek to make disciples, we need to be clear on what discipleship is. Eric Geiger’s interview with Matt Capps addresses this very issue.

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Discipleship is such a broad term, often a junk-drawer term that has been used to describe many things. How do you define it?

The term discipleship is somewhat convoluted in today’s church. I’ve seen churches call everything from bible classes, financial courses, theology groups, marriage seminars, and speculative classes on the end times, ‘discipleship’. Certainly, discipleship involves having a biblical understanding of every aspect of life. However, calling everything done under the auspices of the local church ‘discipleship’ is unhelpful at best. When Jesus called the twelve to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to observe all he commanded them, I doubt he had in mind what most churches call discipleship today. (see Matthew 28:19-20)

The word translated ‘disciple’ in the New Testament communicates the idea of a ‘learner’. A Christian disciple is one who learns the good news of the gospel and applies it to all of life. If you read through all that Jesus commanded the disciples you will find both gospel proclamation and kingdom demonstration. That is, teaching on the Scriptures and application of those teachings. Discipleship should be gospel-centered, word focused, and mission oriented. So, what is discipleship? To use the words of J.I. Packer, discipleship involves “grounding and growing God’s people in the gospel and its implications for doctrine, devotion, duty, and delight” (Grounded in the Gospel, 29). Discipleship is the intentional passing on of the biblical faith.

Moreover, disciples are not merely learners but fruit-bearing disciple-makers; they multiply themselves. (Acts 20:26-35; 2 Timothy 2:2) Those who follow Jesus are called and charged to be people who, having themselves learned, now reach out to teach what they have learned. This involves both formal and informal discipleship. Formal discipleship would include bible teaching and doctrinal instruction, what the church once called catechesis. (Jeremiah 6:16; Galatians 6:6) While informal discipleship would be intentional gospel centered encouragement and accountability in more intimate relationships. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

 

In terms of discipling new believers, what is of chief importance?

A new believer needs to understand the gospel first and foremost. What is the good news, what does it means for me, and why does it matter? And honestly, this process of understanding and applying the gospel will last a lifetime. So, of central importance is grasping the gospel. The initial steps of discipleship with a new believer might be more informal, almost like craftsmanship. It takes time, energy, patience, and skill to walk a new believer through the gospel and its implications, applying it to every area of life.

At the same time, I also think that new believers need to be involved in the formal process of discipleship, again, it used to be called catechesis. While the modern church rarely uses the word catechesis, we often engaged in catechesis training, which is simply doctrinal instruction. This involves spiritual, moral, and theological foundations that can help mature a young believer. Many old Saints from church history have argued that a faithful catechesis was absolutely essential to the healthy continuance of Christ’s church. In pastoral ministry I gave much thought to teaching the essentials of the Christian faith for the maturity of the body. Out of this time of study I developed five courses designed to be taught and discussed in both formal and informal settings.

  • Gospel – The gospel in its simplicity and depth.
  • Story – The story of redemption of which the gospel is the climax. (Biblical Theology)
  • Theology – The doctrines of the faith that conform to the gospel. (Systematic Theology)
  • Community – The power in the gospel that flows from our relationship with God and to others. (Ecclesiology and Biblical Counseling)
  • Mission – The manner of living that conforms to the truth of the gospel. (Missions, Missional Living, Ethics, and Culture)

These courses charted out with an end goal in mind, as not to perpetuate the continual learner but to train and equip every person for fruitful personal ministry. The end aim of these courses is to fully equip our people with essential theological understanding so that they can minister with discernment within their spheres of influence. I wrote and taught these classes with the new believer in mind. The initial question that set everything into motion was, what are the essential things I want every member of this church to believe and understand? After several semesters of teaching the courses, it was encouraging to see other church members who had completed the courses teaching them alongside me and the other pastors.

 

When thinking or training on discipleship, what passages are anchor passages for you? 

The Apostle Paul charged the leaders in the Ephesian church to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood” (4:12). God has gifted His church with pastors, elders, and leaders with various gifts who are called to equip the church body to do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11). Notice Paul’s words, equip the saints for ministry.

Too often pastors operate as if they are the only ones capable of ministry. This has been called the professionalization of the ministry. However, it seems that Paul had a different ministry philosophy in mind. I think Michael Green captures this idea in his classic work Evangelism in the Early Church:

“It would be a gross mistake to suppose that the apostles sat down and worked out a plan of campaign: the spread of Christianity was, as we have seen, largely accomplished by informal missionaries, and must have been to a large extent haphazard and spontaneous.”

In other words, ministry was the prerogative of every church member. The ordinary people of the Church saw it as their prerogative. In fact, if one studies church history they will see that Christianity has been supremely a lay movement, spread by informal missionaries. As Green said, “The spontaneous outreach of the total Christian community gave immense [momentum] to the movement from the very outset.”

One of the keys of a multiplying discipleship ministry is intentionality in both informal relationships and formal training structures. All Christians have spiritual gifts that are to be used in ministering to others (1 Cor. 12:7, 11; 1 Pet. 4:10). All training and discipleship should be aimed at these ends, gospel proclamation and kingdom demonstration. In becoming a Christian, each one of us becomes a disciple. As Christians we never stop being disciples. We never reach the point where we no longer require daily discipleship by the gospel word and the gospel community. Moreover, as Christians, we are all called to make disciples