As I write this newsletter my emotions are mixed. In the last few days I have seen clear evidences of God’s grace and clear evidences of sin and the fall. Of course, these signs are always around us, whether we live in America or Africa. However, at times they are more pronounced.
During this past week I was informed that Kenya Ray had died. Kenya Ray, 25 years old, was the youth leader in his church. He had attended our first leadership retreat when Ron Zeiner was with us. He was a vibrant man, gifted in music, who loved Jesus dearly. He is the kind of young man with whom the Lord has called me here to share my life. His death greatly saddens me. After the retreat, we interacted often and I preached in his small village church. He came down with typhoid partnered with malaria…and it killed him. He was undergoing treatment in the hospital when he died. I attended his burial in village very near us. This was the first African funeral I have attended which was a very unique experience in and of itself. Please be praying for his family.
An outbreak of cholera is in a small town near Moyo and in Obongi itself. Obongi is where Godfrey leads the new RAU church plant. The church is growing in numbers through converts on a weekly basis. I am happy to also report they are also growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. Pray for protection from cholera and other sicknesses which ravage this area.
On the 30th, we (Carol, Sam, Godfrey, and I) spent much of the day in a South Sudanese refugee camp near Adjumani. Last month, in one of my newsletters, I shared with you that we were able to purchase, with the donations of several people, around 4.5 tons of dried cassava for refugees. It had been delivered to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) camp where it was stored until arrangements were able to be made for us to be present when it was distributed. Pastor Justin coordinated all these details for us. When we first arrived at the UNHCR compound, we met with Omar who is the second in charge. He was very gracious even though he was in the midst of dealing with a conflict in one of the camps.
Omar told us there are 14 separate camps with the total number of refugees at 72,000 or more. Others have told us there are 100,000. If you are not familiar with why these refugees are here, I encourage you to visit this BBC site: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-25427965 . The refugees are continuing to come into Uganda as the fighting continues in South Sudan. They now have opened Moyo District for refugees as well. As you know, Moyo District borders South Sudan and this is the district where RAU is located. From my bedroom window I can look into South Sudan.
The camp we went to was one set aside as a “special needs camp”. It was specifically for the elderly and those disabled both physically and mentally. There were many, many children in the camp as well. Before the distribution I had an opportunity to encourage them. I struggled for words, praying fervently the whole time. I told them that they had not been forgotten by the God of the Universe and we were there with them because the Lord loved them and we loved them. It was Christ’s love which compelled us to be there and it was Christ’s love which moved people to give so that their families could have the food. These words brought loud cheers from them and many smiles of appreciation. The refugees are not currently in a position where they can help themselves.
Most refugees fled the tribe-against-tribe war in South Sudan with only what they could carry. The repercussions of such fighting do not leave out the old, the young, and the disabled. These Dinkas with special needs are suffering because of sin. As followers of Christ these are the ones we are called to come alongside and help. It was our Lord who told us to love and care for those who cannot repay us. I am of the firm conviction that these are the very ones we are called to run to and not away from!
Through Pastor Justin, who works closely with the UNHRC and DRC (Danish Refugee Council) in the camps, we will be able to come back to this camp as the Lord supplies through donations. We found out that clothes, school supplies and basic hygiene kits are also needed. These items can be purchased in Kampala. Food is welcomed but, because the UNHRC does not have big storage facilities, it has to be coordinated well and, therefore, is not optimal.
The door is also open for evangelism and discipleship. I had thought RAU would be involved in these activities by going into South Sudan but, instead, South Sudan has been brought to our doorstep! Pray with us for South Sudan and for the many refugees who have had to flee their homes, possessions and livelihood; and pray for the opportunity to proclaim the gospel in both word and deed.
We just received a wonderful report from Pastor Ben who has been spearheading the cleft pallet surgeries from RAU’s end for two babies from Yumbe District. The first child had his first operation over a month ago and has been in Kampala now for about 10 days waiting for his second surgery at a fine hospital called CORSU. I cannot speak too highly about their services. They did the surgeries free of charge! The second baby, a little girl, with even more severe disfigurement, has now received her first operation. The change is amazing and the mother couldn’t be more grateful and happy!
This is a quote from Ben’s report. He has been in Kampala with the children and mothers:
“…I asked the mother how she felt after seeing her former damaged baby being made well, she almost dropped tears, as she recalled the words of her grandmother who told her not to waste money for the treatment, but to spend it on feeding, so that the child would grow just like that. She only said this statement; “I’M LOST FOR WORDS” then she bowed down her head and looked at the child again, and again she raised her face and looked at my face and she smiled. I told her there are people who are praying for you, your baby, and supporting you in all what you were going through. Then she developed a demand to see the people. I told her about Jacob and Carol Lee and the entire ministry of RAU…”
The first child was spotted by Carol and Sam during our medical, evangelism, and discipleship outreach in a Yumbe Sub County called Kerwa. The second child was identified by Ben who brought her to our attention. We found out that there are hospitals and doctors who will freely operate on these children if there is some one or a group who will transport the children/parent(s), and care for them pre- and post-surgery, and while they are in the hospital. Here, family members must feed and care for the patients/family while in the hospital. Ben worked out all the details and RAU, with the gifts of several people, has been able to have the privilege to care for these children.
Both families have been very touched by the love shown them. In Africa, in general, and with Muslim families in particular, there is a very tight family and clan bond. The love of Jesus shown to these families is a strong witness for the families and their Muslim communities. Pray for these children and their families. There will need to be more follow-up surgeries. Also, word is getting out and, no doubt, more children will be brought to us. As the Lord provides through you we will help those that come.
Carol has often posted pictures of Mindra, who is one of the men who works at RAU many days a week on our land. He has the most delightful laugh! His oldest daughter is now eight and, since birth, she has only been able to open her eyes partially and see poorly. He has been told that she needs special surgery which can only be done safely in Kampala. Carol and I are burdened to help this child. On our next trip to Kampala we would like to take Mindra and his daughter with us so she can be examined by a specialist who can give us some guidance. If you would like to help us with this please let me know.
In this region the things we were able to help with seldom happen. Children/families and refugees in these situations are simply not able to help themselves. They need someone to give them a leg up!
We came here purposefully to strengthen and to teach faithful church leaders who will, in turn, teach others (2Tim. 2:2). Our goal is to see the local churches (which are few, especially in areas such as Obongi and Yumbe) become multiplying churches. This will always be our calling. Along the way, though, the Lord has placed these opportunities to display the mercy and love of the Lord in physical ways. We are not surprised as we see this type of ministry displayed in the life of Christ. In the book of Titus we are told that Christ has redeemed us “from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works” (2:14). We want to walk together with you with a zeal for good works.
In Yumbe District, with its high population of Muslims, we want to continue to couple our evangelism/discipleship with medical help. Medical personnel, please consider coming on short term ministry trips. I can coordinate things from this end. We would like to set aside the month of July to specifically target Yumbe District with medical care, evangelism and discipleship. Contact me if you can come and we can work together to make Jesus known in Yumbe District. Pray for the distribution of the first ever translation of the New Testament in Aringa. Aringa is the main language of Yumbe. Each New Testament cost only $3! We are also having 20,000 of the Quest for Joy (gospel tract by John Piper) printed by Literature Ministries International in Aringa. We need people who will pack these tracts in their bags when they come!
We have six leadership retreats lined up here at RAU. In these retreats the men spend four days with us. Please pray for the retreats as they are the backbone of our ministry. We will continue to travel to Obongi and Yumbe as often as we can for discipleship training and evangelism. Please continue in your prayers and support for these retreats and outreaches.
Let me leave you with exhortation from John Stott that I come back to often:
“If God desires every knee to bow to Jesus and every tongue to confess Him, so should we. We should be ‘jealous’ for the honor of His name—troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed, and all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honor and glory which are due to it.
The highest of all missionary motives is neither obedience to the Great Commission (important as that is), nor love for sinners who are alienated and perishing (strong as that incentive is, especially when we contemplate the wrath of God), but rather zeal—burning and passionate zeal—for the glory of Jesus Christ.
Only one imperialism is Christian, and that is concern for His Imperial Majesty Jesus Christ, and for the glory of his empire or kingdom. Before this supreme goal of the Christian mission, all unworthy motives wither and die.” John Stott The Message of Romans (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1994), p. 53.
Jacob (and Carol) Lee
Cleft Pallet Surgeries” Pictures
(Note: We were given permission to take and post these pictures/videos)
South Sudanese Refugee Camp Pictures and Videos
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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