We returned to RAU mid-February, escaping the political flurry (which began in earnest a few days after our leaving) in Kampala as Uganda prepared for its Presidential and local elections.
It was a blessing, indeed, to be able to be gone for 6 weeks with the peace of mind that RAU was still up and running because of faithful laborers and Onette Zorah at the helm, managing things very nicely in our absence. We are blessed to have trustworthy men and women to come alongside us here in the West Nile region of Northwestern Uganda.
This last month has been a season of “housekeeping.” Besides the usual clean-up after being gone a long time, there have been day-to-day ministry opportunities as people stop by for various needs.
Right now we have two major projects going on at RAU.
First, we have our builders here, “raising the roof” on the tukalus that the pastors and visitors use during the retreats. Not only will the roofs be raised up about 1.5 meters, but the grass thatching will be replaced with metal. This will extend the life of the roofs and prevent some of the leakage that is typical during rainy season (and the dust, chaff and insects) with the grass roofs. The higher ceilings with enlarge windows will also make them cooler. The builders will also make another pit latrine and cover over the previous one.
Second, we hired a large tractor from Moyo to come and plow up the fields in anticipation of rainy season when planting of crops can begin. Jacob is also outside now harrowing the ground after the plowing was done by the tractor. The plan is to plant soybeans, upland rice and vegetables in this first season. Another 200 grafted Mangoes will be added to the 500 that are doing well on the RAU land. A couple hundred matoke bananas will also be added to 200 in the ground. We are working hard so that RAU can raise ministry funds from the land as well as be a model for the community on how the fertile land of the area can be used to empower families, especially those in the church.
At the end of January, we completed the Agricultural Extension Pilot Program funded in partnership with M.A.R.S. (Doug Neel). It was such a tremendous success in “scratching where it itches” that we are compelled to continue the program and expand it in an exciting new way – through a weekly, two-hour, call-in radio show at TBS radio station in Moyo town. All of the communities within range of the station will have the expertise of Emma at their disposal. Not only will he teach on specific subjects relating to farming and livestock, but listeners may call in with their specific questions. This will happen every Friday evening from 8:30-10:30 pm. It is also provides winsome way of sharing the love of Jesus. The Kick-off program was last night and, from what we can tell, it was very happily received with much positive feedback.
Emma teaching about basic agricultural principles in a local village. The two-hour agricultural radio program with Emma will increase RAU’s reach to many more villages.
In addition to the radio show, RAU will continue to be a demonstration plot for various agricultural projects which will be useful in teaching the leaders who come for retreats as well as interested parties within the local community. We will also continue to dedicate one day of our four-day church leadership retreats to agricultural training with the goal of 2 Timothy 2:2 being walked out in both the biblical and agricultural training. There is more in the agriculture department that we would like to do which currently exceeds the budget we have for it. Please consider prayerfully giving towards the Agricultural goals of RAU.
Once again, we have hired Apiku Emmanuel (Emma), who was the RAU Principal Agriculture Extension Officer for the pilot program. Emma graduated with honors with a Bachelor Degree in Agriculture from Gulu University. His enthusiasm for capacity building through improved agricultural practices in his home town area of Moyo and beyond has been a great encouragement to the local people. It’s not often that people with advanced education in Uganda return to their own communities with the passion to build them up, but Emma has done just that. We are blessed to have him.
We will be traveling to Obongi to visit Godfrey and his church and to encourage them in their outreach into the community.
This brings us to the most dire need we see – that need which inspired the ministry of Reaching Africa’s Unreached in the first place – a Bible training school that will be more accessible and affordable for those who have been identified as potential leaders for church plants.
Availability and resources in the West Nile of Uganda have always been major obstacles to church leaders getting the kind of training needed to effectively lead church members and new believers. Most pastors and church leaders must be bi-vocational in order to support their families. This hardly leaves time or resources for pursuing training. With a short-term program, leaders could come during the week to receive training over a full variety of topics. Each topic would be covered over one week. By the end of three months it is our hope that the leaders will be more thoroughly equipped to lead their churches. The Bible School can also be an avenue of training for the many shepherds for the new churches which are being birthed.
Our hope is to raise $35,000 to build a classroom with an attached Living room/Kitchen which will be used for a 3-month, intensive Pastoral training.These funds would also help us get set up and registered with the Ugandan government. Again, we ask for prayerful consideration in giving specifically towards this project.
” And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
We thank each and every one of you for not growing weary in doing good, for praying, loving and sacrificing towards fruit-bearing which often can only be seen by faith.
For those who have asked, small packages and letters may safely be sent to:
Jacob & Carol Lee, PO. 55, Moyo Uganda, East Africa
The greatest evil is having the gospel and not doing everything within our power to get it to those who do not have it. (Jacob Lee)
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