By Carol Lee
“It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings
There is no better champion of this statement than Jacob Lee! And there’s no goal that will not go unmet…or, at least, unattempted…when the idea of it gets set in his head and his heart! I am grateful for his leadership and vision because it keeps Reaching Africa’s Unreached (RAU) ever moving forward…ever pressing in to the Kingdom of God. There is too much at stake, too much to be done for idleness. (I need to take a lesson from him!) When a Pastors’ Retreat is done, there is some new or ongoing project that needs completion on the compound. If you are impressed with anything at RAU (whether it be the campus or any outreach) it’s because Jacob has “laid his hand to the plow” and has not looked back!
Once our last retreat was done, Ssalongo and the building crew came in to start on the veranda’s perimeter safety wall. I was dreading a “closed in feeling” and the loss of clean, open vistas, but I am happy to say that it looks more artful than I could have imagined and it does not really block the view…just gives it a new “dimension” (as I have said elsewhere…I am “making lemonade out of lemons“).
We were happy to welcome to RAU a new friend – close on the heels of the last retreat – Paul George from Dayspring Fellowship in Austin, Texas. He has a love for people and a desire to meet their physical as well as spiritual needs. Thanks to his generosity, many children…and adults…in the area have already received worm medicine, anti-fungal creams, and antibiotics. With every day trip Jacob, Paul and Sam have taken to the rural areas (Palorinya, Gbwari, Arapi and Metu), many medications, which are an extension of Paul’s generous and compassionate heart, have been freely distributed. Paul arrived here a week ago on Monday.
The day after Paul arrived, Jacob, giving him NO rest, took Paul (and Sam) to Palorinya for a two-day (Tuesday-Wednesday) Pastor’s Conference put on by the Baptist churches. The team headed out early each morning and came back to RAU in the evenings. About 32 men attended and received ESV Global Study Bibles. Jacob thoroughly enjoyed these men’s “Berean” hearts – eager to learn and know, but careful to study and question. He was immensely encouraged by this “band of brothers.” Jacob was the primary teacher, but Paul gave some short teachings as well. During the teaching sessions, Sam took the young ones and taught them new songs. He and Paul also gave out worm medicines to young and old.
Thursday was a “down day” but, since you can’t keep a good man down, Jacob was busy overseeing some projects on the campus. Almost every day, pastors or other visitors also drop by. Jacob is always ready to stop what he is doing to spend time with them and to encourage them in some way, whether by words, books, reading glasses, medicines or other provisions.
On Friday, the team headed to Gbwari and Arapi for an outreach. This is what Jacob had to say in a Face Book post he made: “We just arrived back from a fruitful day of ministry in a remote church-less area of Gbware and Arapi on Nyeri Mountain. Reaching Africa’s Unreached partnered with Aya Baptist Church. We broke up into several teams and went Tukalu to Tukalu for home evangelism. Sam, Paul and two Aya brothers gave out 300 doses of worm medicine and 50 were treated for fungal infections at the Gbwari primary school. [Ninety percent] of those treated were children. In our evangelism, 28 made confessions of faith as well as a a health worker we gave a ride to on the way back to RAU. There were about a dozen new followers of Christ from earlier evangelism in the week by Aya brethren. We are now hoping to build a small grass roofed church where these new believers can begin meeting and will work with a young man who feels called to shepherd this new flock. The Lord is building His church and the gates of hell cannot prevail! Please pray this new body of believers and for us all in their discipleship!” And again on the following day, “I have been hobbling along the whole day like an old man. My legs are stiff from our climbing and walking during our door to door evangelism in Arapi yesterday. My 59 year old legs held up well with all the young bucks . It was a very rewarding day in so many ways. It was my first time to experience a whole family (8 people) put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation!” It is exciting to see Jacob walking through doorways of opportunities for which he has been preparing most of his adult life!
While the team was hiking all over Nyeri Mountain, I was back at RAU, “holding down the fort” and doing my small part (typing) in the translation work of John Piper’s tract, “Quest For Joy” into Lugbara and Kakwa. Our friend and contact in Maracha, Pastor Joseph, has been overseeing that work of translation, ensuring that it is faithfully converted from English in to these two languages. Joseph has a willing, servant-heart and has eagerly done everything he can to encourage and build up the pastors in his area of the West Nile. The Lord has graciously provided faithful contacts in each of the areas into which we are pressing, of which Joseph is one!
Saturday was another work day here at the compound. Here’s another excerpt from Jacob’s post on Facebook: “Now that we are not in a growing season we are back at taming the remaining African bush on at Reaching Africa’s Unreached. There are several large termite mounds with unzi (bad, in Ma’di) trees and thorns within them. We are also near completion of creating a wide fire wall around the perimeter of the 17 acres. Wild fires can be very damaging and dangerous in the dry season.This first time is involving more labor as we level the ground and remove anything which might damage the tractor and equipment. I am very guarded in the use of tractor and implements because fixing anything is very difficult, costly and parts are hard to come by.”
One of our greatest joys has been to see the beautiful results of corrective surgeries on children towards which our beloved supporters have donated. On Saturday, little Richard, with bilateral club foot, came by to show us the progress that has been made on his feet. When we first met him, he would not smile. This time around, he was trying to hold his smiles in. He still has a few more minor surgeries which have to be done after the holidays, but the progress is miraculous. We are so grateful to our donors and the donors who give to CoRSU Hospital so that they can provide excellent skill and care to people like Richard.
Today (Sunday), Jacob, Paul and Sam visited and worshiped with believers in a Pentecostal church in Metu. Pastor Robert was very gracious and the brothers and sisters very warm in receiving them. The team was able to give out ESV Study Bibles to leaders in the church, many tracts for their use in reaching out to their communities and, once again, medicines to the children and some adults.
In the six weeks since we have been back here, we have had the blessing of being able to put an ESV Study Bible in to the hands of key community leaders (police and government officials) and many pastors and church leaders. Their joy in receiving this resource is immeasurable, but can be likened to receiving a cold, refreshing glass of water on a blistering hot day. Most of these people do not have bookshelves loaded with books. Such a resource here is a rarity which makes it all the more valuable. Please consider giving a special gift towards purchasing the 5,000 ESV Global Bibles which we hope to place in our container. Hebrews 4:12 says,
“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.”
Thank you for taking such an interest in what we are doing and also taking part in what we are doing!
Carol and (Jacob) Lee