“Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase.“
Jacob and I have often discussed with amazement how the “increase in knowledge” (technology) has made it possible to “run to and fro” the opposite sides of the world in a matter of hours or to be connected electronically in an instant with people on the other side of the world. It gives life a surreal quality. The New English Translation reads this way: “Many will dash about…” We have certainly done our share of “dashing” over the last 6 weeks.
We hit the ground running in our home town of Seguin where we were reunited with some of our family (Anna, Kenny and Keira, who picked us up from the airport in Austin, and Josh, Becca, Eliza, Ben and Vera.) Vera was kind enough to hold off her entrance into the world until we arrived – she was born 3 days after we landed in the States. It was a special experience to be present at her birth and to be able to photograph the event of her arrival. In spite of jet lag and loss of sleep during travel, Jacob and I jumped into grand-parenting duties with great relish! Skype and videos help us to keep up with our kids and grand kids, but nothing beats real time hugs and kisses and singing and story-telling and all of the normal, everyday stuff of being there! We are so proud of Josh and Becca and the family they are raising.
We were reunited also with our dear church family, Lifegate Ministries. What a joy it was to receive their warm and enthusiastic welcome and to give and receive hugs! Jacob had the privilege of preaching there on our first Sunday back. Over the next week and a half we also made it a priority to connect with other individuals and churches (Amazing Grace Baptist and Good Shepherd Evangelical) who have partnered with Reaching Africa’s Unreached (RAU) and who had become amazing prayer warriors during the harried weeks of the tribal conflict and unrest in which we found ourselves. The tensions and uncertainty made our home coming all the sweeter.
The dashing about had only just begun though…we had places to go and people to see! Our first stop was Iowa, Jacob’s home state. In addition to connecting with family we had not seen in years, we were there to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Jacob’s parents, Keith and Gert Lee. The number of friends and family who came to help celebrate were a testament to the measure to which Keith and Gert have endeared themselves to many.
Our next stop was Stephenville where Anna, Kenny and Keira live. The last time we were there, Keira was just a baby and going through a difficult time. This time, she turned the corner from baby to toddler, was a bundle of energy, learning to take her first steps and picking up new words almost every day. Grand-parenting joy! As parents we were also overjoyed to, again, see the answers to very specific prayers we had prayed for our daughter, Anna, before we made our move to Uganda: that she be settled with a godly husband and family and cared for in a God-fearing and loving church family. We love to tease Kenny about his being such a treasure and we love his family, too. Rocky Point Baptist Church has become a very special place to us as we have met the godly folks who love Anna and have taken her under their wings and whom she loves and cares for as well. We personally experienced their care as they gave us a whole Sunday to share RAU’s vision and passion and shared with us how earnestly they had prayed for us during the tribal conflict and for the region in which we live. Kinship expands beyond blood when the bond is the Spirit of Christ.
Next stop: Chattanooga, where our beloved son, Josiah, lives and with whom we were very keen to carve out special time. October was a great month to visit – the leaves on the trees were changing. It was truly beautiful and perfect for photo ops! Josiah was able to take time off of work giving us the opportunity to take walks, enjoy a variety of cuisines, take a road trip and picnic, just hang out and meet his girlfriend, Melinda. We cherish every opportunity to take part in his life as he has lived further away from the epicenter of our lives in Seguin.
In no time we were back in Seguin! It must be told what a miraculous gift it was to fly to each of these places. Jacob’s heart dropped when he looked at the price of the tickets, which would have been about $3500. However, when he put in his accrued travel miles (we have stuck with Delta airlines through the years and have rarely used them) his jaw dropped as he saw the total amount due: $0! Praise the Lord!…and, thank you Delta!
The last week and a half in Seguin was beautiful and busy as we tried to make the most of the time left by soaking up the last dregs of grand-parenting joy, enjoying sons and daughters, making special appointments with loved ones and shopping for supplies for Africa till we felt like dropping! Again, we were reminded of our kinship in Christ as we fellowshipped with our friends from Dayspring Fellowship in Austin, Gospel Life Church in New Braunfels and the final Sunday with our beloved “Lifegaters.” We are “blown away” by the increasing partnership with so many people and churches.
Just like that!….it’s over and we have crossed back to the other side of the world! We are in Kampala with Patrick Bukenya and family. Jacob and Sam are dashing about Kampala trying to cross everything off their “to do” list before we head back to Moyo/Afoji on Tuesday. We will be receiving our first team from the States this weekend and then hosting a pastors’ retreat the following week.
As we look back over our whirlwind tour, we are shaking our heads in amazement at what the Lord allowed us to experience and accomplish. We are encouraged as we look forward to the busy months ahead and anticipate the pleasure of seeing many of you come to visit and minister with us. We are encouraged about the provisions and plans that the Lord has made clear. We are thankful for the pastors in the West Nile region who are working under difficult conditions and show a deep desire to grow in their faith. This morning I was reading in Philippians 1 where Paul says, “And since I am sure of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for the sake of your progress and joy in the faith.” This verse so beautifully states the purpose and passion of RAU – to come alongside pastors in the West Nile region for the sake of their progress and joy in the faith.
We labor energetically in the day because we know the night is coming (John 9:4). There will come a day, maybe very soon, when doors of opportunity may close or when another kind of technology will be at work and we will be whisked away, not to the other side of the world, but to the other side of time. How surreal and beautiful THAT DAY will be! We know, however, there is much to be done before THAT DAY and, so, we work! We thank each and everyone of you that shares that urgency and vision and who has prioritized and partnered with us in this particular course we have taken.
We especially want to thank Sam who has done of great job of “holding down the fort” and keeping things going at RAU in our absence. We thank Patrick for his wisdom and help and his family for their hospitality (our home away from home.) We are grateful for our friends who have continued to work at RAU to keep things looking good and to provide security. Thank you, Delmar Hager (Study To Be Approved), for your on-going contribution of Kindles which come fully loaded with hundreds of books to help pastors in their progress and joy in the faith.
We have several praises to report! The money for a solar powered water pump was provided and it will be brought and installed soon as well as funding to build a protective outer wall on the outside of the veranda. Also, the Lord (through the love of a family in the States) made a way for little Richard, with bilateral club foot, to receive corrective surgery on both feet. Due to the severity of the deformities, he has to receive a total of 4 surgeries. He has received two now. It will prolong his stay, but, thankfully, it is getting done!
While we were Stateside, the American RAU Board of Directors met to review RAU activity and to look at and approve future projects.
Here are some of the upcoming projects and events:
1. Fundraising for another container of Bibles and books. Jacob has spoken with Crossway Publishing, which has supplied the ESV Global Study Bibles in the past. Once again, they will give us a great discount on an order of 5000 bibles, bringing the cost down from $29.99 to about $10 which includes shipping to Seguin (TX) if we buy 5,000. We have friends in Seguin who are working on the purchase and placement of a container at Lifegate, where it will stay until it is filled. Jacob has touched base with Bill Walsh from The Gospel Coalition International Outreach for more books for pastors. Jacob has also contacted a representative of The 9 Marks series of books that would be an effective tool for pastors in leading their churches.
2. As mentioned above, our good friend, Ron Zeiner, along with two others (Doug Neal and Mark Borman) will be visiting RAU for several weeks and arriving this weekend. Paul George, from Dayspring Fellowship in Austin, will be spending about 3 weeks with us in December. In January, Dave Jones and Michael Lambert will make a return visit and John Howarton will be back in the latter part of January and into February. We are hoping that the Turner family will be able to make their visit in December and January. Did I mention that it will be a very busy and exciting next few months?
For those who have asked, small packages and letters may safely be sent to:
Jacob & Carol Lee, PO. 55, Moyo Uganda, East Africa
Our “wish lists” may be found at Amazon (Click on the “Wish List” link and type in our name or email address)
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! Jacob W. Lee
Tax deductible charitable donations may be made via PayPal. PayPal also has a way to make reoccurring monthly gifts. To do so please click their link below. PayPal deducts a small amount from each gift as a processing fee. All gifts given through PayPal are now tax deductible as Reaching Africa’s Unreached has 501 c3 tax exempt status as a charitable organization. If you wish to write a check you may write it out to R.A.U. and mail it to Lifegate Missions, 395 Lifegate Ln., Seguin Texas 78155