He Gives and Takes Away, Blessed Be the Name of the Lord
Jacob and I arrived safely (in addition to all 14 suitcases) to RAU on October 26th after a long and busy, but fruitful trip back to the USA!! It is always a nail biter to get everything packed and hope it all fits and stays within the 50-lb. weight limit of each suitcase. That all suitcases showed up at the Entebbe airport in Kampala and then to RAU is reason to celebrate and say, “Blessed be the Name of the Lord! He has been merciful and good!”
When we finally arrived at the RAU compound, we were absolutely blown away by the fruitfulness and bountiful growth of everything which has been planted at RAU. While we were away, all the crops shot up and now the RAU compound has become a veritable “Garden of Eden.” It’s a blessing from God and it is natural to exclaim, “Blessed be the Name of the Lord – He has given us so much!”
The mango trees, the rice and all the various vegetables have grown to such an extent that the RAU Guesthouse/Hall of Tyrannus is not even visible from the road, making our compound a quiet haven. The banana trees have grown by the foot and have produced offspring such that we are now able to cull away smaller shoots (suckers) and sell them at a minimal, non-profit price to the people in the surrounding community.
View of the fields from the Guesthouse Roof
In a timely way, Emma taught last week all about planting and caring for bananas on the weekly Ag radio program on TBS (FM 98.6, Uganda). We have since been having folks coming by to get their banana suckers (all proceeds from the banana suckers or any other agricultural sale is returned into our Agricultural fund.)
While we were away, we could be at perfect peace in leaving the management of daily activities of RAU in the capable hands of Samuel (from D.R. Congo) and Emma. Samuel showed himself to be a wonderful accountant and manager. Emma maximized the efficiency and output of our co-workers in the Ag demonstration plot. Such faithfulness and trustworthiness is a gift from the Lord – blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Though Samuel is still recovering from a recent surgery, he was a hard worker and a gentle overseer. Emma, though he suffered a fractured scapula during an accident which happened right after we left for the USA, was able to continue steadfastly, despite immense pain, in his radio program and guiding the work on the demo plot.
Once we were unpacked and organized, Jacob immediately went into action mode to oversee and work on projects. He has been busy giving tours to interested groups who are curious and inspired to see what is going on at the RAU Ag demonstration plot. The gift of health, energy and meaningful labor is from the Lord – blessed be the Name of the Lord!
The showing of our demo plot has led to some wonderful opportunities for Jacob to share the life-giving message of the Gospel. One gentleman saw all the scriptures posted on the walls of our house. One of them read, “Truly, truly I tell you, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.” When the man read the sign, he asked Jacob, “What does that mean?” So…Jacob had the privilege of explaining it to him.
Just today, a Muslim gentleman came by to buy banana suckers. Jacob took the opportunity to give him an Arabic New Testament, an English Bible and some literature aimed at answering Muslims’ questions about Christianity. We have been given the gift of the Gospel freely so that we may also freely give it to others! – Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Jacob has also been working on the event schedule for our dear friend and brother in ministry, Kevin Turner, who will be arriving here on November 6th. Having our friends come alongside us and bear our burdens with us is a benefit beyond description. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Today, through the generous gifts of a donor, we were able to bless our Metu Mountain Men (itinerant pastors) with new shoes and backpacks to aid them as they walk from village to village to oversee the new believers that have come to faith in Christ over the last year.
In addition, our friend, Delmar Hager, with Study To Be Approved (STBA), has provided our “Mountain Men” with Kindle Fire’s loaded with the Jesus Film in Ma’di, Aringa, Swahili and English which they can show as they go from home to home. The Kindles also have books loaded onto them. These men have shown a commitment to getting the Gospel to the hardest-to-reach places like no others that I have seen. We are grateful that the Lord laid these men on the hearts of a generous person to give to them lavishly so that they know the Father’s care. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
I am sure that, inferring from the title, you are waiting for the “other shoe to drop.” I have underscored heavily all the beautiful ways in which “the Lord gives,” which have inspired us to say, “Blessed be the Name of the Lord.” However, the painful reality that He sometimes “takes away” is staring us bleakly in the face right now and we must say we are floundering a little to exclaim, “Blessed be the Name of the Lord!”
Our dear Walter, who recently and successfully underwent heart valve replacement surgery in India, was taken from us! He died this last Saturday, October 29th. It was sudden and unexpected and was, to the best of the medical personnel’s assessment, a post-surgical complication which was too complex to be properly addressed at the hospital here in Moyo.
I was to visit Walter and his family in their home that morning to bring them a monitoring device donated generously for him, but I went to the home only to find that Walter had been taken to the hospital. When I joined them at the hospital, Walter was still alert, but in severe pain. The clinical officer was doing his best to provide hydration and pain medication. However, what Walter needed was an E.R. and ICU with diagnostic and resuscitative equipment which were a rough ride and many hours away from Moyo.
I can honestly say that this was one of the most painful and helpless experiences of my life – to see Walter slipping away as I held him (he had been extremely agitated and we were trying to protect him from injury) and to be totally devoid of any other option for his care or ability to help. My heart just broke for his parents who have now experienced the death of their two oldest children.
Despite such an excessive share of sorrow, I was amazed by the testimony of Anthony, Walter’s father, who, during the funeral, could say in so many words, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” It has been a rebuke to my heart. As I watched Walter losing the battle in the hospital I was inwardly crying out, “No, Lord! This cannot possibly be the outcome of Walter’s struggle! He was supposed to get better and to be able to live a long life for your glory. Why, Lord?!!”
As we struggle through this painful event, we are wondering out loud about the “good” that Romans 8 promises and what part we are to play in the working out of God’s good. Please pray for Walter’s family who need, in lavish measure, the gift of grace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit so that they can continue to say, with growing faith and hope, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the Name of the Lord.” Pray that our faith would also grow in the same way.
“The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord.”
The following ministry events and opportunities are coming up and need your faithful intercession:
- Worship with Itula Baptist Church on November 6th
- Kevin’s arrival on November 8th
- Drive then hike and ministry to Lea and Oku church plants in the Metu Mountains on November 10th
- Open air preaching in Yumbe town on November 12th
- Worship with Aya Baptist Church on November 13th
- New evangelism outreach to a village without a church in the Metu Mountains on November 15th
- A training for youth in Yumbe in how to effectively share the love and good news of Christ to Muslims on November 19th
Our biggest goal remains to build a classroom and living/study/kitchen area for our Bible School which will begin in 2017 as we partner with Reaching and Teaching modules in coordination with High Pointe Baptist Church Austin,Texas to present 3 modules a year for three years, taking groups of 30 participants through the whole program. Because of our previous retreats we have many candidates. Also, there is great need for new shepherds to be trained for church plants in the Metu Mountains and new churches we are “greeting from afar” in Yumbe District.
Please consider giving towards this project. We have a bid of $25,000 for this new structure on the RAU compound.This building will help facilitate our ongoing vision to walk out 2 Timothy 2:2
Here is a link to another episode of “Meditations From a Hammock” which I recently wrote: https://reachingafricasunreached.org/meditations-from-a-hammock-by-carol/
Thank you all for your love, prayers and support! May the Lord bless you!
Love in Christ,
Carol (and Jacob)
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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