As in years past the Lord has abundantly blessed Reaching Africa’s Unreached (RAU). All of us at RAU are grateful for God’s sustaining grace and for all who are standing with us with their prayers, encouraging words and gifts. It is an honor to press forward with Jesus’ mission in Northwestern Uganda, Southwestern South Sudan, and Northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The RAU vision and mission remain the same.
In January, 2011, land was purchased and in August of the same year building work on the RAU Guesthouse/Hall of Tyrannus began. Building in the bush of Africa, many miles from building supplies, has certainly been a challenge. However the Lord has been gracious in provision, wisdom and patience. We praise His holy Name! We have worked hard and have endeavored to spend every dollar/shilling wisely. The ultimate goal of the physical building is to facilitate the vision and mission of RAU in its geographical area for generations to come.
In July, Carol and I moved into the unfinished shell of the Guesthouse and helped in the ongoing work of making the facilities ministry-ready. In August we had our dedication of the Guesthouse/Hall of Tyrannus attended by officials, pastors, and the general public. It was an all day affair! Pictures and videos of the dedication may be found here. Building work continued through December. The water tower was completed, 4 tukalus (able to sleep 17, and with a latrine/bathing station for visiting pastors) were completed, beds (to sleep 29) were built (along with other inside furnishings), an outdoor charcoal kitchen (able to cook for 40+ people and with small attached living quarters for the cook) was finished, 17 acres of brush was cleared and is being made ready for planting soybeans (to bring funds in for the ministry), and a solar electrical system was installed.
RAU now has a place to: host pastors for teaching retreats, the ability to host visiting short term mission teams, a facility to mentor church planters, and to be a launching pad for bringing the gospel to nearby unreached areas. May we be faithful in the charge given to us.
In late October we had the first Pastors’ Retreat with 31 pastors from various denominations in the Moyo area. Long time friend, Ron Zeiner, from Texas, was our guest teacher. In February, a retreat is planned for Yumbe pastors.
Pastors in the region have little or no Biblical training. It is RAU’s expressed desire to help meet that need so that the local churches of the region can be strengthened and become multiplying churches. By God’s grace we will have many RAU pastor’s retreats each year.
RAU also hosted two other American teams who had a great interest in its vision for pastors and who wanted to investigate the possibilities of working with RAU to support and propel the mission forward. We appreciate the bond and partnership with our Tennessee friends, David Jones, Michael Lambert and Eric Williams, as well as with the SWI team of Kevin Turner and Ron Day.
A great joy of mine has been the opportunity to mentor young men in hopes of launching them out to pastor newly planted churches. One such man, Godfrey, has been sent to pastor RAU’s first church plant in Obongi town. Obongi has a population of 25,000 and had no evangelical churches in it. Now there is a growing church there with many new believers who have been recently baptized.
The RAU container reached Kampala in the middle of November and has been held there by the Ugandan revenue authorities. The reason it is being held centers around a NGO which was abusing its tax exempt status; because of this the Ugandan government is looking at all other tax exempt NGO’s very, very closely! RAU’s tax exemption was granted to us last January but the exposed fraud has increased the scrutiny on all tax exempt NGO’s. With one signature the container could be on its way to RAU. This container is loaded with ministry supplies and 1100 ESV Global Study Bibles/over 3500 Christ exalting Christian books for pastors. Pray, my friends, for its release!
The latest news on the ’1999 Land Cruiser which we purchased from Japan in September is that it is due to arrive in January, according to the broker. He continually has pushed the timeline back. Our getting around has been limited, but we have managed by using boda-bodas,taxi’s,buses and for trips to Obongi and Yumbe the goodness of Abraham in transporting us with his vehicle. The Land Cruiser will be a great asset to RAU’s ministry. Please remember this in your prayers!
As mentioned earlier, RAU is hosting a pastor’s retreat in February for Yumbe pastors. According to evangelical pastors from Yumbe, the city has less than 1% evangelical Christians in it and is 2 hours from RAU. To help effectively reach Yumbe with the gospel there needs to be ongoing and active evangelism and discipleship. With a Hall of Tyrannus: Yumbe Branch, RAU could have an accessible resource and teaching center for discipleship.
The year has ended with turmoil in South Sudan. There has been a coup attempt and, as I write, ongoing fighting in the country which could erupt into a civil war. RAU is I mile from the South Sudan border and around 50 miles from the capitol city of Juba. At this point we do not how this will affect the ministry of RAU. There is a possibility of large numbers of refugees coming our way. May the God of peace bring peace to South Sudan for the sake of the Gospel.
In brief here is a list of ongoing ministry efforts for 2014. Please stand with us as we purpose to spread the fame of King Jesus in the West Nile region of Uganda, Southwestern South Sudan, and Northeastern D.R. Congo
1. By God’s grace we will continue to host groups of pastors for teaching retreats at RAU, walking out 2 Timothy 2:2. Most pastors in the area have had little or no Biblical training. We wish to equip them with sound teaching on the fundamentals of the faith and give them tools to strengthen them so that they in turn can strengthen their flocks with the ultimate goal of their congregations planting churches in their neighboring villages that have no witness for Christ. To make the Guesthouse fully operational we need to strengthen our solar electrical system and add some more functional furnishings:Need $4,000+-
It has been hard for our current water system to handle the groups we have had so we would like to harvest water off the roof of the Guesthouse by placing an in-ground 80,000 liter tank which could feed the tukalu’s where guest’s stay and provide a backup water supply for the Guesthouse itself. We have a bid for for the whole system (tank, gutters, pipes, labor) for $9,000.
We would also like to build more guest quarters for pastors as we did not have enough room for them all at our last pastor’s retreat. With $5,000 we could build to accommodate an additional 20 pastors.
2. As previously mentioned we been actively targeting neighboring Yumbe District and Obongi sub county of Moyo District. Workers on the ground there state that less than 50 evangelicals in the city which a population of 35,000. With many trips to the regions I have been increasingly burdened for the area. The few churches there and their pastors need the help and encouragement RAU can and is called to give. When we can,we will bring Obongi/Yumbe pastors to RAU for retreats. However, because of the logistics, it is difficult to bring them to RAU as often as needed. That is why we envision, first, a Hall of Tyrannus:Yumbe Branch and then, an Obongi Branch. These branches would facilitate the strengthening of the churches there and the planting of other churches in these neighboring unreached regions. I and others would go to Branches on a weekly basis. There are plots available for purchase. The estimated cost to purchase a plot on Yumbe’s main street and to build a small structure is $15,000. Renting is not a possibility as all the buildings are owned by Muslims and they will not rent to a ministry like ours.
3. RAU has a new church plant in the center of Obongi town which we are calling Obongi Town Church. We are believing God for many more church plants. We strongly believe that along with our evangelism there must be a discipleship program for new believers. God’s primary means of discipleship is the local church. The vast majority of Obongi Town Church are new believers and few who were believers before the church was established had no church home. In my last newsletter I shared how we sent out Godfrey, who had been training at RAU for two months, to Obongi . We have 5 more young men in the pipeline who are potential shepherds for church plants. Also I have encouraged pastors to be on the look out for men in their congregations who are also potential pastors for church plants which we are willing to train at RAU. Our working plan for these new congregations is to help support them and their pastors in the beginning with the expressed understanding that financial support is not indefinite but will be available until the church is able to stand more surely on its own; however, as long as RAU exists it would be there for teaching and encouragement. RAU is not starting a new denomination. These new congregations could remain independent or join an existing denomination in the area. As you know, all this will cost money. Please pray for us in these efforts and consider helping us. Thank you!
4. We have actively been clearing RAU’s 17 acres with the hope of putting in two crops of soybeans per year on at least 10 acres. The first planting would be in the beginning of April. The goal is to sell the soybeans and use the money for ministry efforts. We have the tractor but we are still needing a plow/disk. The price for a new disk in Kampala is $5000 but I am on the hunt for a used one which would cost less.
6. Then, there are the day to day expenses. These costs go up and down in relation to how many we are feeding and how many ministry outings we take. Transport costs here are much higher here in Uganda than in the US. Gas is over $6 a gallon and Diesel is just a bit less per gallon. We need those who will faithfully give each month. No gift is too small. Instructions on how to give a tax deductible charitable monthly gift may be fond at our donation page here.
Thank you for your ongoing support and prayers. There must be both sacrificial giving and going for gospel advancement. We are in a ripe harvest field and the Lord has swung open wide the door for us.
“Believers who have the gospel keep mumbling it over and over to themselves. Meanwhile, millions who have never heard it once fall into the flames of eternal hell without ever hearing the salvation story.” (K.P. Yohannan).
Let it be said that we are not one of these “mumblers“!
Thank you all for your faithful prayers and support!