Don’t Grow Weary!

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”

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The hard work of getting the tractor “un-stuck” after the hard work of shredding.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6: 9-10

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Emma’s Ag demonstration of a raised seedbed; with Congolese leaders

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 

Hebrews 12:1-3

old age

Which one of us cannot relate to the reality of weariness – even in the pursuit of something holy and good?  We all have, at some time, grown weary, lost focus, felt discouragement, fallen off the trail or felt like giving up completely.

As Jacob and I and the RAU team near the end of a very busy season, we have each, in some way, felt the dead weight of weariness, so I hope that this newsletter serves as a  cheering voice from the sidelines, from among “the great cloud of witnesses,” to us (and to all who are running with us) to not lose heart or grow weary, but to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and to keep our focus on the joy that lies ahead.

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Leaders from D.R. Congo, the 19th Retreat at RAU since 2013

Just last week, we completed our 19th Leaders’ Retreat with a group from the D.R. Congo, who came from deeper within than the previous Congolese group. Several of them work with the Mbuti Pygmies. Jacob is planning a trip to visit them next April with the goal to be a part of raising up shepherds for the new Mbuti believers.

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The Mbuti Pygmy Tribe in Northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo
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The Mbuti Pygmies are coming to Christ through the faithful witness of Congolese believers.

The Congolese leaders arrived weary from traveling a very long distance, some having even walked miles to get to where the taxi would pick them up.  I saw the importance for this “retreat” of making sure they started off with medications that would relieve symptoms of the hardships they experienced in coming.  It’s hard to focus on learning when the body is crying out for relief!

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Congolese leaders on their first day receiving their resource bag which include resources from the recently arrived container.

Once again, our aim is to equip and encourage and so each one gratefully received a resource bag in addition to the teachings that were presented.  Pastor David Kabaale, from Kampala, along with Jacob and Emma, were the featured speakers and all did a wonderful job of teaching as well as inspiring.  I have started, during testimony time on the last day, to do a short teaching about recognizing those (whether it be in the church or in an organization) whose ministry may be hidden (like the roots of a plant…or the part of the iceberg which is under water).  This is a springboard to acknowledge the work of those at the retreat who may not have a visible role of ministry.  Everything – the resources, teaching/training, service and care – make the retreat a “retreat” that strengthens and encourages those who attend.  You who partner with us in your prayers and with your gifts are the unsung heroes of RAU!

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A final song of praise and a prayer for safety and blessing

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At the very end, when testimonies of God’s grace are given an opportunity to be shared, it is a reminder to us that information has not only been received but, in some measure, put into practice.  After Jacob’s teaching on the “Parable of the Unforgiving Servant,” one gentleman got up and called his wife up to the front, apologizing to her and asking forgiveness for a wrong committed relating to the retreat.  That is obedience! Such obedience helps us (as RAU) to keep our eyes on the prize when we know that our efforts have resulted in their benefit and joy.

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John and Vikki Wright, with YWAM, Arua, and their children and friend, John

I particularly enjoyed Saturday and Sunday when John and Vikki Wright (with YWAM, Arua) and their 3 kids (as well as a friend) came for the weekend to enjoy some unique hiking adventures.  It was John’s birthday on Sunday and his particular wish was to see a rare species of Cycad which was discovered by a local gentleman, Alule Herbert.  Herbert was our guide on a hike through the area where this Palm tree grows natively and exclusively.

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Alule Herbert, environmental specialist and discoverer of rare Cycad species

The following day, we all climbed up (ugh!) to the top of Otze Hill, where THE MOST spectacular view of the Nile River Basin can be seen for miles on either side!  I am sorry to say that I and my cardiovascularly untrained body were nigh unto the last to make it to the top! But! Oh. Man! Was it ever worth it!  Seriously, I need to do that more often!

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Nile River Basin not far from RAU

This week, thankfully, has been one of those stick-close-to-home weeks where housekeeping tasks can be caught up on!

Monday, we had an awesome time of fellowship with Emma and a friend of his with whom he will be leading a Bible Study on Sunday nights.  It brought great joy to share the Word of God and it inspired hope for the next generation of the Church.

Jacob has been working on the perimeter fence with the men.  He loves opportunities to use the tractor as, for him, that is a relaxing and enjoyable pastime and he enjoys passing on his expertise to those who are willing to learn.

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On the 18th, Jacob and Emma headed to Aya with Water Harvest International folks who, once again, surveyed for the drilling of a well.  Over a year ago, money was donated for a bore hole and a community meeting took place, but the Ma’di/Kuku conflict brought the drilling to a halt.  We are getting back on track with that plan.

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Geological survey at Aya Baptist

Sometime this week Jacob will meet with local Afoji/Moyo Muslim leaders who approached him about meeting and having a Muslim – Christian dialogue after Jacob gave them Bibles and other resources.  Please be in prayer for that meeting.

This has been an exciting season of open doors for Jacob in relation to sharing the truth of the Gospel in a friendly environment with Muslims of the region.  Please be praying for a harvest and softened hearts and safety.  Jacob’s dialogues with Imams and Sheikhs in Yumbe has caused quite a stir, such that Muslims from other parts of the world are being brought in to encourage their own to faithful adherence to Islam.  Jacob has had the joyful privilege of sharing in the harvest. Be in fervent prayer for one man in particular as he grows in Christ and works out – with fear and trembling – the salvation which has been worked into his heart.  He has a family for whose safety he is concerned.  With open doors also comes opposition (See 1 Cor. 16:9). Jacob has a new page up at the the RAU website entitled Who Is Jesus? A Christian-Muslim Dialog and I encourage you to take a look at it.

This week we have a contractor here (who has built almost everything at RAU) to build a roof over the containers under which will be a workshop/storage area.

One week from this coming Saturday, the Youth Group from First Presbyterian Church, Kampala, will be here for about a week to be in ministry in Yumbe and Metu.  They have been preparing themselves for loving and informed interaction with Muslims in Yumbe as well as mercy ministry in the Metu Mountain regions.   We look forward to encouraging and giving the next generation of the Church opportunities to grow in knowledge and obedience and experience and to be encouraged by their zeal and desire to serve.

Our time with the Youth Group will be the last formal ministry event before Jacob and I return to the States for a break.

Both of us are yearning to be reunited with our children and grandchildren and all of our loved ones and friends in the United States.  Our hope, though, is not to “get away” from ministry, but to be refreshed and strengthened to continue in the ministry – to find renewed strength and vision and partnership so that the prize on which we fix our eyes can be realized and our joy in it can be full.

Please be in prayer for the upcoming events and plans and consider participating financially to see that they happen:

*There are 3 ministry events in Yumbe district, starting this Sunday (Sunday – Wednesday – Sunday). The program will involve one on one evangelism, open air preaching, and showing of the “Jesus” film in Aringa: Kei – Sunday; Yumbe Taxi Park – Wednesday; Kuru – Sunday.  Remember that this area is largely Muslim in population.  There have been repercussions to Jacob’s involvement in the Muslim – Christian dialogue as emissaries have been sent from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Tanzania to strengthen Muslims in their beliefs against the influence of  his teaching and gifts (reading glasses, medicines, books etc.).

*There has been a harvest and we continue to expect an even greater harvest as the seed of the Word is sown.  Pray for those that have trusted and will trust Christ.  Yumbe is not an area where becoming a Christian is easy and without consequence.

*Knowing that a greater harvest is on the way, we feel it all the more important to have a Bible school at RAU where pastors can be raised up to care for the “sheep of other folds” as Jesus talked about.  We cannot “birth” people into the Kingdom and then not provide for their nurture.  The proposed bid to build the first classrooms for the Bible School is $25,000.

*We want Jacob to be able to focus on the evangelism and discipleship outreaches to Yumbe and Koboko Districts where very few have been reached with the Gospel.  We ask for more partners to give on a monthly basis to see that this, the retreats and other ministry venues can continue.  The cost of doing this is mainly in diesel for traveling and vehicle upkeep , printing out resources in English, Arabic and Kiswahili to be given to Muslims as well as church leaders in training, transporting leaders, and numerous other small expenses, all of which add up.

*As we are able we try to help, especially children, with treatment for various physical ailments which most often can be relieved through medications or surgeries.  One of the young girls who is being sponsored at First Presbyterian’s Christian Primary School recently was diagnosed with a serious skin disease.  We have provided funding for that.  Such needs come up fairly frequently, so to have your generous support is very helpful.

*RAU/MARS Agricultural Extension Program (Apiku Emmanuel – RAU Extension Officer); the 6 month pilot program is extremely successful and we are looking to extend the program yet again.  Emma has opened up many doors of opportunities with his connections in this area.  We are looking into a Saturday morning radio call-in show in which Emma can showcase his expertise and be a blessing to a wider number of local farmers.  We would like to be able to sponsor half the cost of airing such a program.

*Jacob has been given the opportunity to preach on the radio station TBS (Trans-Nile Broadcasting Station) every other Wednesday Evening from 7-8 pm. It has a wide listening audience. Pray for listening ears and soft hearts and for effective communication.

*Right now, we have 8 children from the West Nile Region who were sponsored for this last school year to attend First Presbyterian Church’s Primary school in Kampala.  The children have blossomed, are learning English very well and improving their grades.  This education will open up significant doors to the children and their families in the future.  Consider giving towards the next year’s tuition and fees.  It costs $900 per student for the whole year and this includes all fees,lodging and requirements.  The total for the eight children is $7200. If more funding were available there are many other children we would like to put in the program.

As we exhort ourselves to “not grow weary” in doing good, we ask you to not grow weary in hearing about our plans and need for financial support or in giving to the work of the Lord in the West Nile Region.  Just like the Macedonians, give yourself, first, to the Lord where you will find an abundance of joy which overflows to those in need.  (2 Cor. 8: 1-5)  We pray for us ALL to have a war-time mentality when it comes to serving and giving so we can make the most of time and resources…because the days are evil and time is short.

 Please pray about giving towards these projects and about becoming a monthly financial partner.  It is helpful to have many small, monthly gifts in addition to special one-time gifts so that budgeting can be more effective.

Fighting the Good Fight,

Carol (Jacob) Lee

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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!  Jacob W. Lee

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