Fellow Workers For The Truth
It has been our great pleasure and privilege to welcome our fellow worker, Ron Zeiner, back to RAU for 3 weeks of ministry. This is his third visit and we love the partnership with Ron that has flourished since Jacob and I made this place our home. We were also thrilled to have Nurse Sam back for a short visit as he takes a holiday from his studies.
The weeks prior to Ron’s arrival were busy ones for Jacob. There was harvesting of soybeans and then planting of new crops to be done (g-nuts, upland rice and beans). It is truly a good thing that Jacob finds some kind of pleasure in farming! We, through Apiku Emma (our new RAU Agricultural Extension Officer through M.A.R.S. – to be elaborated upon later), are working to find a buyer for the bountiful harvest of soybeans, which is critical to making the farming efforts worth it. It felt as though we were “under the gun” to try and finish up all the harvesting and planting before a busy season of ministry began, but we got it done in the “nick of time” with the help of our men and about 10 ladies who came specifically for harvesting and planting.
Ron also made it “just in the nick of time!” His flight plans and his suitcases took a few twists and turns but he made it to Entebbe/Kampala and then he and Nurse Sam made it here the morning on which the retreat was to start. Ron’s suitcases took a few extra days but made it here in time to pass out the resources which we asked him to bring! You would never have known Ron was a weary traveler because he plunged right into the retreat schedule without missing a beat and with a joyful, servant’s heart.
Retreat # 14 brought 24 church leaders from Yumbe District, 17 men and 7 women. This one was a milestone in that, for the first time, we were able to invite women to the retreat to stay in our newly finished, “Lydia’s House.” Up to this time our facilities were not able to house both men and women. The women definitely got the better end of the deal as Lydia’s House has a metal roof, solar power and an en suite bathroom! Unfortunately, the tukalus have thatched roofs (which we hope to eventually convert to metal) and are not reliable cover during strong winds and rain (as one group found out when the roof started leaking during a night of heavy rain.) The next day we had to buy spear grass to repair the leak. Sorry guys! Thankfully, it rained hard only one of the nights. What a privilege to strengthen and encourage this group of men and women!
A little rain didn’t keep us from moving forward, though! The first thing we did was to hand out reading glasses to those who had need. At times like these we so appreciate all the folks who answered our requests for reading glasses. What a blessing to be able to provide them in order to make reading a pleasure rather than a strain!
Jacob started off the sessions with opening remarks, introductions, announcements and a teaching on discipleship. Then it was a marathon run for Ron who took the next 5 sessions, teaching on the basics of hermeneutics, Jonah and 1 Peter. And, lastly, Jacob did a lesson on the Biblical view of suffering.
For the first time, we had a whole session on agriculture. As I mentioned earlier, RAU, in partnership with M.A.R.S. (Missionary Agriculture Resource Services) which is founded by Doug Neel (who came with Ron and Mark about a year ago), started a pilot program which will benefit the pastors, their families and their congregations. Apiku Emmanuel (Emma) is the very first RAU Chief Agricultural Extension Officer whose responsibility it will be to not only educate the pastors (and for now we are starting with the pastors in the Metu Mountain region), but to follow up with them and their agricultural projects. He will help them make the most out of their current crops as well as inspire them for future projects which can become good income generators for both them and members of their congregations.
As we have mentioned in past posts, most pastors here are unable to be supported by the tithes and offerings of their congregations so it is imperative that we help them find ways of self-support. The retreat attendees were expressively happy to receive this kind of help. We are hoping that all goes well so we can build upon this new beginning. The goal is that if we teach the pastors how to make the most of their farming abilities they will be able to teach what they have learned to their congregations as well.
The Saturday after the retreat was a wonderful Sabbath from the busy-ness of the week. It was a beautiful day and all of us were able to enjoy rest and fellowship.
On Sunday, Jacob, Ron, Sam and Zorah headed to Yumbe District to worship with believers (Church of Uganda – Anglican) in a rural village in Yumbe district. After the service Sam was able to hold a clinic and hand out much needed medications, including de-worming for all the children. These people live 6 miles from the nearest clinic and there are no motor vehicles for easy transport. Emergent care is non-existent. The ladies did not want to let Sam go. The remainder of the drugs were left with the pastor who, in conjunction with a local nurse, will disburse the medications as needed. Zorah did a wonderful job of capturing the events of the day and the people.
Monday was a day, not only to prepare the facilities for the next Leader’s Retreat, but also for Ron and Jacob to refresh and prepare to teach again as the 15th Retreat was just around the corner. Normally, we like to space the retreats so as to allow a week in between for recuperating and catching up on correspondence and other matters of business. However, this time it could not be helped.
Tuesday came around quickly and our leaders arrived from Koboko bright and early for our 15th Leader’s Retreat!
We pray the “riches of God’s grace” upon this group, that they can go back to their homes and churches energized, filled again with the fullness of the Spirit and joy and ready to entrust to faithful people who will, in turn, teach others whatever they have learned of the Lord through His word. “The word of God is living and active…!” (Hebrews 4:12)
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many who gave towards the Aringa New Testament Fund! We have enough right now to purchase 1375 Bibles! Praise God! We have surpassed Jacob’s initial goal! Needless to say, Jacob is thrilled. We still have about 2 weeks before we pick up the Bibles from Kampala, so if we can raise more money to include even more Aringa NT’s that would be great! According to “men of the soil” less than 1% of the Aringa are born again.
Next week, we will be participating in a conference hosted by Aya Baptist Church. Ron and Jacob will both do some teaching and I am working on something to share with the women (Gazing into the Mirror of God’s Word: How a Woman Should See Herself). Emma will also be teaching on agriculture while Sam will take care of medical needs.
On the heels of Ron’s departure will be the arrival of some more dear friends who visited once before: David Jones and Eric Williams (this time Eric will be bringing his wife, Kara – much to my happiness!) While they are here we will be hosting our 16th Retreat and after they leave we will have yet another retreat in September for Congolese church leaders. Please be praying for the on-going ministry!
Each and every interaction and ministry outreach underscores the need for a condensed Bible training program. We see how being solidly grounded in the Word of God will increase the scattering of God’s word to areas which have not received it and will anchor, in Christ, the hearts of those who are strengthened by it! The plan is to build a two-classroom building and then host 10-12 candidates for pastoral training in our current facilities. These candidates would be brought here for short periods of time to receive some intensive and condensed training in the word of God and pastoral care. Upon completion they would be sent back to their homes to serve where there is need. We ask you to consider this need in your prayers and giving.
Thanks for your very vital partnership in prayer and generous giving and in bringing your gifts and abilities here to used among us.
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
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