Dear Loving and Praying Rope Holders,
There are a few things I appreciate about writing a newsletter. Notice, I didn’t say “love.” When Jacob reminds me that it is my turn to write there is usually a twinge of resistance. Writing well is hard work! And I am usually in the middle of something I don’t want to stop at the moment. However, writing does some important things for me: it makes me stop and think, look back with thankfulness and remember. In looking back and in looking forward writing helps me gain perspective. It gives me an avenue for creativity. Most of all, it allows me an opportunity to focus on YOU and think about what might be important and helpful to you as you remember us in love and prayer and support. That is, after all, the primary reason newsletters are written.
CAVEAT: This newsletter is more letter than “news.” If you are a “just-the-facts-ma’am” kind of reader, you might want to scroll down to the last two pages where you will be directed to the needs of the ministry! Don’t worry! I don’t think I’ll be able to find out who you are!
Jacob has done a wonderful job of keeping you all in the loop with pictures, videos and short updates. Those are evidences that the seed of passion and vision that was implanted in his heart many years ago is continuing to grow and bear fruit. The opportunities for interaction with and feedback from pastors only fertilize that passion and vision even more! I am sure that his efforts in communicating have helped you all to visualize more clearly what we are doing and why it is vital. Thank you, Jacob, for your “stubbornness” in taking what could have been an ivory tower pipe dream and making it an in-the-trenches reality.
Thank you, Pastor Abraham, for sharing the vision and stirring it and putting “feet” to it so that ministry happens. You and Maggie were so warmly hospitable to Jacob on his many trips to Moyo. You have been an example of one who never grows weary in well doing and who is tireless in making the Gospel message available to so many. You are ever looking for new ways to embody Christ to the people around you. And, another thing, as a result of your efforts, we simply have the best cook around—Lucy!—and a perfect fit for RAU.
Thank you, Pastor Patrick, for being a faithful co-worker in the Gospel and a dear friend. You and Vickie have also been a family to Jacob and to me; we have enjoyed your hospitality, your home and family. You have been key in making things happen in establishing RAU: processing documents, researching, communicating, sending supplies, and much more. We and many others have benefited from your teaching ministry. Most importantly (for me anyway!) you have kept me connected to the world with SIM cards!
Nurse Sam, thank you for making a conscious, God-inspired decision to partner with us at RAU. You were in great demand by other medical personnel. You could have made more lucrative career advancements, but you chose to heed a calling from the Lord to join with us. You have been invaluable to Jacob as a friend, a great help to him in the day to day operations of RAU, and a member of the family for us. Your joyful faith and integrity strengthen and inspire us. It gives us a great deal of joy to tease you and induce that wonderful laugh. In the very near future, we want people to benefit from your compassionate nursing expertise.
Lucy, Stephen, Aldo and all the day workers here at RAU, though you will probably never get to read this, we thank you, too, because what we are doing for pastors we could not do without you and the benefits of your hard work!
Thank you, Rope Holders, for the constancy of your prayers and giving. We have other folks stop in for a visit occasionally and they have commented on the generosity of your support, from money for building and other resources to abundant coffee bean supplies! We are blessed! Jacob and I continue to be amazed that the flow of support never wanes! One might think that you all had a Father who owned the cattle on a thousand hills…or something! This physical support would not happen if you did not first identify strongly with the spiritual vision and mission of RAU.
It has been eight months since we arrived. Wow! It seems like we have been here much longer—almost like we have always been here. Time passes quickly when we have been fruitfully occupied.
When we first moved to RAU in July of 2013 and up to December there was a LOT of physical labor: building and fixing and furnishing. Thankfully, it did not keep ministry from happening. Kindles from our friend, Delmar Hager, and other resources were being made available. Jacob made the circuit of the local churches to preach and also to make it known that we were here to come alongside the pastors. We had our first Pastors’ Retreat with Ron Zeiner doing a superb job of teaching on Leadership as he worked through Ezra and Nehemiah. Our family grew as we welcomed two American teams here for ministry: the Tennessee Trio—David Jones, Michael Lambert and Eric Williams—and Kevin Turner (Strategic World Impact) and Ron Day. It was an encouraging, learn-as-you-grow season which left us looking ahead to a time of refreshing.
Sandwiched in between 2013 and 2014 was a much anticipated return to our hometown, Seguin. We arrived there mid December and left mid January. What a joy to be reunited with all of our children, Josh and Becca, Josiah, Anna and Kenny, and to hug, sing to, play with and rock our grandchildren! Reconnecting with family and our friends from Lifegate and the Seguin area was a great source of joy and encouragement. At the end of our stay trouble was brewing in South Sudan and, for a moment, it looked as if we might head back early. Changing our flight to an earlier date proved impossible and unnecessary—all the better to enjoy more time with family—but it helped us to transition our focus back to the place of our calling.
And suddenly…it is March 2014. Oh my goodness!
We already have another Pastors’ Retreat and the Yumbe outreach under our belt. Jacob, Patrick and Elder David from First Presbyterian Uganda had opportunities to strengthen the churches from Yumbe and Obongi. Sam’s, Jacob and my time in Yumbe itself was very fruitful. As Jacob has been so good about explaining, church ministry in these areas can be stressful and lonely; it does the pastors of these areas so much good to know that others are coming alongside to strengthen, encourage and stand with them.
Standing on the precipice of future ministry is thrilling and scary! The calendar is filling up fast and these coming events are the ones we know about at this point!
March: we are continuing to work on the physical/structural projects of RAU. Now that the container has arrived, all of the contents need organizing and putting into place or good use. Jacob’s favorite project is getting his massive library in ready condition for pastor’s to come and prep for sermons and teachings. He is excited that they will have the best pastoral study library in the area—maybe even in Uganda! Pastor Abraham said today, “If you build it, they will come!” (Well, he did say, “they will come!) Starting March 17th, Jacob will be going every Monday to Obongi for discipleship and market day preaching. There is a possibility that a dear friend may make a visit towards the middle of March. We will be heading to Kampala with Lucy later this week to meet up with Sam who has already gone for much needed dental work. Everyone (except me) has an appointment. YES!
April: We have scheduled two Pastors’ Retreats: April 8th – 11th for 18 Pastors from Adjumani, and April 29th– May 2nd for 17 pastors from the Moyo Baptist Association. April 19th and 20th we will travel to Yumbe where Jacob will preach at Pilgrim’s Anglican Church.
May: 18 Pastors and leaders from Obongi will come for a Pastors’ Retreat from the 6th through the 9th and the Yumbe Pastors will return on May 20th and stay until the 23rd.
June, July and August: have yet to be filled and most likely they will be! As we have always said, the pastors here are thirsty for teaching and resources. There is the grand possibility of some friends coming for a visit in August.
September: the youth group from First Presbyterian Uganda will be coming for the 2nd week in September for ministry.
October: Hooray! We will head back to the States for itinerating and reuniting with family and friends.
November: We have the possibility of a team from America visiting.
Abraham and Jacob were discussing today the value of starting up a level I health clinic, even if it’s operating from a tent (which came in the container) or small structure. Abraham felt it was important to step out in faith and begin such a ministry even if we don’t have a clinic built and operating. The medical needs here are so great. Even providing screenings, assessments, referrals and simple meds can be a means of displaying that Jesus is still here in flesh and blood through His people. It gives us the opportunity to share the hopeful message of the Gospel and to do health education. So many health problems are preventable if the right information is given.
Be still my palpitating heart! It’s starting to sound very busy!
When I step back to look at RAU’s accomplishments, I can’t help but think of it as the building of a house that becomes a home.
The importance of a home’s foundation is a foregone conclusion. RAU didn’t just begin its work in July of 2013 when we made our move here. The foundation was being dug deep as Jacob became acquainted with pastors from Uganda, both in Kampala and Moyo. It was being strengthened with every visit to Moyo as Jacob was moved by the plight of pastors in the region and hearing their impassioned pleas to “come and teach!” them. The foundation was being built up as the plans were made for a campus and a building and put in to action from opposite sides of the world, plans that couldn’t have happened without an American and Ugandan team, plans that would not have materialized if not for persistent vision-casting and willing investors.
Our moving here in July was our merely moving in to a house that was made ready for life and ministry. This is home now—where we’re living life! It is not a short-term trip. By God’s grace, we will stick it out and accomplish all of the good for which this place was designed, and by God’s grace, RAU will outlast us as we implant a seed of biblical vision for a living, ever growing and vibrant Church in the coming generations.
ON-GOING MINISTRY NEEDS
1. Pastors’ Retreats: each retreat costs about $1500 and includes transportation, food and other amenities, supplies for the pastors, hiring extra help during the week of the retreat and even medicines for unexpected illnesses.
2. Travel expenses: having no vehicle means that we must hire taxis or bodas. This is a costly aspect of ministry here.
3. Vehicle: we are still in the process of trying to retrieve the $15,000 that we paid for a Land Cruiser. The dealer in Japan has not owned up to his end of the bargain by providing a vehicle and the broker in Uganda has not returned the money which was paid to him for transacting the purchase. We have had to contact the Ugandan police department who are in contact with Japanese Interpol. Patrick has found another vehicle which could serve us well, but we cannot move forward without the money.
4. Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in Yumbe and Obongi. It has for years been beleaguered by Muslim opposition as well as, unfortunately, by in-fighting along denominational lines. There is a new surge of hope and desire for the churches to work together, believing that there will be revival if the churches present a loving and united front.
5. Hall of Tyrannus-Yumbe and Obongi Branch: This idea was birthed by the fact that it is logistically difficult and costly to transport pastors here on a regular basis. Initially, the thought was to find already existing structures in those towns in which to meet for discipleship. This has proved to be difficult, if not impossible. In Yumbe, the only place available is the Anglican Church; however, this presents some difficulty when the aim is to provide care to an interdenominational group. The Pilgrim’s Anglican Church has been more than gracious in offering the use of its building, but for long-term discipleship and with the need to have resources available to all, another set up would be better. In Obongi, there are no buildings available to rent or purchase. Meeting under a tree will do, if necessary, but can present problems during rainy season and gives no place to store resources for the pastors and leaders for study.
6. Medical outreach: medications are available but funding is needed to purchase them.
We feel hopeful and blessed as we lay out our needs, knowing that it is God who is bringing forth in all of us both the desire and the effort, for the sake of His good pleasure, to accomplish these things.
Thanks for reading and being stirred, for allowing the Lord to move your heart.
Please write us back! You know what the Proverbs 25:25 says, “Like cold water to a weary person, so is good news from a distant land.”
Carol (for the both of Us)
Web Site: www.ReachingAfricasUnreached.com
For those who have asked, small packages and letters may safely be sent to:
Jacob & Carol Lee, PO. 55, Moyo Uganda, East Africa
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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!
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