Busy With What Matters

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BUSY WITH WHAT MATTERS

By Carol Lee

The opposite of busy in today’s world is sustained, focused attention. It is deep engagement in activities that really matter to us, or in conversations with those we care about.
Tony Crabbe

Having moved back and forth between the USA and Uganda for several years now, there is something which strikes us.  In the States there is a massive machine of activity which cannot be resisted and draws us in like an object being swirled in to the vortex of a whirlpool.  Coming back to Uganda is like hitting the reset button and being allowed to think about and calculate the activities which will channel our energy and focus.  Though being here has had its challenges (as we have shared in past newsletters), this ability and opportunity to define our busyness has been a blessing.

This past Christmas was sparse in terms of holiday scurrying, but it was celebrated sweetly and simply nonetheless.  There were not many “Christmas activities”, but we enjoyed engaging activities and conversations.

 Jacob was invited to preach at Pilgrim’s Church in Yumbe, so we left early from RAU to make it for their combined Christmas service.  His sermon was a reminder of the centrality of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel: “Emmanuel, God with us; Jesus (‘the only one who CHOSE to be born’)  CAME to die, to bear sin and to rise in conquering power over sin.”  The church service was a wonderful (though long!) opportunity to celebrate this central message.

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Christmas service in Pilgrim Church Yumbe

After the service, we were invited to the home of Jackson (one of the leaders in Pilgrim Church ) where we enjoyed good conversation and food.  It was a special treat to celebrate with Omar who was enjoying his first Christmas.  This Christmas season was a time of expanding our emotional definition of family. It was especially a time to have the light of scripture narrow its illuminating beam onto Jesus so we could see and remember and savor our Savior!

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Lovely meal and fellowship in Jackson’s home. Uganda, D.R. Congo.,  Sudan and U.S.A.  were represented.

On Tuesday, Jacob and Samuel went back to Yumbe to meet with the Yumbe District Khard.  Here is what Jacob wrote about this very encouraging day:

I had a good day in nearby Yumbe. Samuel and Henry rode with me to Yumbe where we met Charles and Omar. We then met with the District Khard, Swahib, and had a blessed time. We met in his office just outside Yumbe town’s very large Mosque. Although I have been doing dialogs with Imams and Sheikhs in Yumbe for 18 months this was my first time to personally meet this leader of leaders in Yumbe.

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Jacob with the District Khard of Yumbe

Upon arriving I presented him with a large bunch of bananas grown at RAU which he joyfully received. He was very cordial,hospitable, and appreciative of the Bibles, literature and medicines he had received a few days earlier. He had begun reading them. In our our discussions I found out he has jurisdiction over 219 mosques and their Imams in Yumbe District. He gave his approval on further dialogs with Imams and Sheikhs in Yumbe District. This is a big praise the Lord!

We also discussed how we can best bring in agricultural training for his leaders. I also brought up the idea of conducting weekly English classes for Imams. Many of them who have received our English reading materials want to learn English better. I will be getting a newsletter out soon with more information on this on how you can pray and support this endeavor. I was clear with him that this would be done with Christian teachers and perspective and he was OK with that.

Before leaving I presented Swahib with a drip irrigation unit on which Omar will train him how to use, two cases of Bibles (ESV Global Study, Arabic, Swahili, & Aringa NT’s) and a number of books, including my Christian-Muslim Dialog ( https://reachingafricasunreached.org/allahs-korbani-plan-o…/ ). He plans to happily distribute the Bibles and books. The Lord has given me another good Muslim friend and pray that I may be a good witness to him and all those he leads. God is good and He is good all the time!”

Tomorrow we head back THROUGH Yumbe to Arua to pick up good friend, John Howarton.  Jacob has a full and engaging schedule planned for us all!  It makes me tired just thinking about it – though, without doubt, it will all be worth it!  We will have outreaches into the Metu Mountains and Obongi. We have been invited to participate (both in biblical teaching and agriculture) in Pilgrim Church’s Youth Conference (over a 3-day period).  We will also host a leaders’ retreat at RAU while John is here.

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In the Metu Mountains. The Lord is doing a beautiful work in these hills!

Every endeavor in which we have become involved during the last 3 1/2 years has only strengthened the initial hook and line which reeled us in to the West Nile region of Uganda:  “training leaders (with the least available services) well who can also train the ones they lead“.  The scope of the training has broadened to include agriculture for sustainability and economic capacity building among the communities we serve.  We are steadfast in the desire to strengthen church leaders in their faith and ability to lead well, but our understanding of their need has broadened to include ways to help them be self-sustaining.  Agricultural training helps them make better use of the main resource they have: fertile land.

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2 Timothy 2:2

The influence and scope of our training programs is also broadening as we assess the widespread need for communities of the West Nile to improve in their capacity to meet their own needs (and all the more so as refugees from South Sudan flood into our district).  This is best being accomplished through the Ag training provided over the radio by Emma, our Principle Ag Extension Officer, as well as through on the ground training here at RAU or on demo plots in specific nearby communities.  Our training has grown to include Imams and Sheikhs in Yumbe (with drip irrigation) and other key leaders.  Our hope and desire is to express, in tangible ways, the love and care of God the Father and to display AND tell the excellency of Christ to all those who will listen.

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Emma in one of his agricultural training sessions

To these ends we continue push to see our training center built to accommodate more students (adult learners), whether it be for biblical training or Agricultural capacity building.  We have been keeping this goal before you as often as possible for two purposes:

1. We are entering into a partnership with “Reaching and Teaching” to host students through a 3-year Biblical studies program (3 modules per year for 3 years).  The modules are in written form in a book by David Sills called, “Hearts, Heads and Hands”.  We want to have a facility which will accommodate the students well for classes and for studying and living.

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2. We are continuing to expand the scope of our Ag Extension services from church leaders to Imams and Sheiks and, hopefully, key leaders from the Refugee camps.  Having a larger and better lit classroom will be a great advantage for hosting larger groups of adults for Ag training.

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The door is open to proclaim the gospel and share Christ’s love with Muslim leaders. Thank you for all your prayers and financial support!

We strongly plead for your financial burden-bearing partnership with us.  The goal is to start as soon as possible (during the dry season) to build so that the classroom and dining/study quarters will be ready by the time our team comes from “Reaching and Teaching”  as well as for our regular church leader retreats and agricultural training center for the community.  Building this classroom/study /dining hall will allow us to move the Library into the current Hall of Tyrannus and open up another guest bedroom in the house when we have larger groups coming to serve.  We do have enough funding given to start the building but not to complete it. The cost of building materials has increased considerably since our initial estimate.  We are making adjustments in the plans to minimize costs. We are needing $20,000 for completion.  Jacob has spent many years in construction and makes sure every dollar is used wisely.

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The classroom/study hall/dining building would be located just left of the eucalyptus. The tukalus in the rear of the picture have 22 beds for the students. In Lydia’s house we have 10 more beds.

Another need (and opportunity) we would like to put out there is our desire to hire (as mentioned above in Jacob’s post) 4 Christian English teachers to teach Imams and Sheiks in Yumbe.  We will also need to get the curriculum for the teachers to use in helping their students learn English.  We hope to divide Yumbe District into 4 geographical areas that will allow Imams and Sheiks easier travel to the learning centers.

Does all of this sound overwhelmingly busy? – YES!  However, as the beginning quote states, “ It is deep engagement in activities that really matter to us, [and] in conversations with those we care about.”

Your partnership paves the way for this vision to be realized.  Your prayers are a means of calling down heaven’s resources and grace. Your loving communication with us encourages us to stay busy with things that really matter!

Thanks for that!

In Christ,

Carol (and Jacob)

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Website: http://www.ReachingAfricasUnreached.org

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)

Tax deductible  charitable donations may  be made via PayPal.  PayPal also has a way to make reoccurring monthly gifts. To do so  please click their link below. PayPal deducts  a small amount from each gift as a processing fee. All gifts given through PayPal are now tax deductible as Reaching Africa’s Unreached has 501 c3 tax exempt status as a charitable organization.  If you wish to write a check you may write it out to R.A.U. and mail it to Lifegate Missions, 395 Lifegate Ln., Seguin Texas 78155.

Merry Christmas

 

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May the peace,grace and joy of Jesus presence be with you and your family!

” Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory—the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father. “

John 1:14

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“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and the regaining of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Luke 4:18-19

Study Bibles given to all who attendant leadership training

“So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.”

John 20:21

Let us worship Jesus Who Has “saved His people from their sins” !

Jacob and Carol Lee

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Website: http://www.ReachingAfricasUnreached.org

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)

Tax deductible  charitable donations may  be made via PayPal.  PayPal also has a way to make reoccurring monthly gifts. To do so  please click their link below. PayPal deducts  a small amount from each gift as a processing fee. All gifts given through PayPal are now tax deductible as Reaching Africa’s Unreached has 501 c3 tax exempt status as a charitable organization.  If you wish to write a check you may write it out to R.A.U. and mail it to Lifegate Missions, 395 Lifegate Ln., Seguin Texas 78155.

“The Comprehensive Ocean of Our Business”

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” 

(From Charles Dickens’, ‘The Christmas Carol’)

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This has been another week of paying heed to this statement.  In so many places around the world people have pressing needs – both temporal and eternal.  The West Nile of Uganda is the region God has given to us to attend.

On Tuesday, Jacob, Emma, John and I took off to Obongi where Pastor Godfrey cares for his “flock”.  Jacob gave a very encouraging message to the gathered church, emphasizing how much God wants to make Himself known and to communicate with us – He wants to be understood by us.  This was a good place to start because, within the greater context of eternity, physical suffering lasts for a while, but eternal suffering is forever.  We strive to never pit one need against the other, because Scripture doesn’t, but we don’t want to minimize or gloss over the eternal needs.

Wshould care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering.

John Piper

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Sharing a word of encouragement
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De-worming tablets for children

Nurse Nyombi Sam gave out de-worming tablets to the children while Emma and John moved over to the garden with the adults to train them in all aspects of drip irrigation during the dry season. During the Ag training, several people gave encouraging testimonies as to how the Ag extension work through RAU and Emma has made a measurable difference in their lives. It was a profitable day and the people of Obongi were holistically cared for.

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Intro to RAU

We had an interesting and unique experience at RAU on Wednesday.  A couple of weeks ago, both Jacob and I had been sick. In response to this, Jacob’s Muslim friends, whom he had met through the many dialogues which have taken place in Yumbe with Imams and Sheikhs, requested to come and personally check up on us.  Wednesday’s visit was the outcome of their request, which also turned into an opportunity to bless them with Agricultural knowledge and a few resources to empower them economically and spiritually.

They arrived close to noon from Yumbe along with Charles and Omar.  We enjoyed a meal together, introduced ourselves and shared ideas with each other. Then, we took a walkabout on RAU demo plot as Emma and Jacob shared Agricultural and other information. John and Emma demonstrated the Drip Irrigation kits we received (complements of M.A.R.S. (Missionary Agricultural Resource Service)).

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Enjoying a meal together
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Enjoying the watermelon which friends from Obongi grew because of their training and resources from RAU
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Imams observing their noon prayers
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Walkabout
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The science of growing bananas
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Drip Irrigation – hands-on learning

Right before they left, our Muslim friends offered prayers for us (which they had kindly requested us to allow them to do).  We jam packed them into the Land Cruiser with all kinds of resources…drip irrigation kits, Matoke bananas, rice seed and soy bean seed, papaya, mangoes and some written resources.Jacob then took them into town to find a ride back to Yumbe.

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Matoke, a gift for our Yumbe friends from our garden
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Filled to capacity
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Amen, Lord!

We are grateful for recent positive interactions with two top Muslim leaders in Yumbe who have received or will receive Bibles and literature which they are eager to read/study.

I love the following excerpt from an article by Denny Burk which Jacob put up on a Facebook post:

In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge has a startling conversation with the ghost of his dead business partner, Jacob Marley. Jacob is damned in death for his misdeeds in life, and he appears to warn Scrooge that he is headed for the same fate. Scrooge resists the suggestion that Jacob’s life was damnable. Scrooge understands that if Jacob’s life is damnable, then so is his own. So this exchange ensues:

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing his hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

Well done, Mr. Dickens. Well done. Lord, help us to understand what is the comprehensive ocean of our business.”

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
–Micah 6:8
( http://www.dennyburk.com/a-drop-of-water-in-the-comprehens…/ )

We are thankful for the opportunities the Lord gives all of us to make people created in His image “the comprehensive ocean of our business.”

Upcoming events:

*This Sunday, Christmas Day, we will travel to Yumbe to celebrate Christ’s birth with our brothers and sisters at Pilgrim’s Church.  Jacob will be preaching.

*Tuesday more drip irrigation training

*John Howarton arrives next Thursday for several weeks and we will be involved in wide scope of ministry opportunities in Yumbe, Obongi, and the Metu Mountains.

Thanks so much to all of you who given to Reaching Africa’s Unreached financially.  Every donation is so appreciated , and reminds us of God’s love and care for the people of this region and for us! It encourages us and allows us to experience God’s faithfulness.  Because of the beautiful weightiness of sharing Christ here in the West Nile, we have no shame in asking that if you are not already a partner that you would consider partnering with us financially, either in one-time giving or on a monthly basis.  This is what keeps us doing what we are doing! Thank you and God bless you!

Here is a link to an article Jacob and I both appreciated as we think about celebrating Christmas away from our family and church community. It is entitled “Why In the World Did I Leave America” == http://haretranslation.blogspot.ug/2016/12/why-in-world-did-i-leave-america.html

Thank you for all for sacrificial love, prayers, and financial support!

Jacob (Carol) Lee

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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)

Tax deductible  charitable donations may  be made via PayPal.  PayPal also has a way to make reoccurring monthly gifts. To do so  please click their link below. PayPal deducts  a small amount from each gift as a processing fee. All gifts given through PayPal are now tax deductible as Reaching Africa’s Unreached has 501 c3 tax exempt status as a charitable organization.  If you wish to write a check you may write it out to R.A.U. and mail it to Lifegate Missions, 395 Lifegate Ln., Seguin Texas 78155.

 

A Providence is Shaping our Ends

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“Prayer honors God, acknowledges His being, exalts His power, adores His providence, secures His aid.” E.M. Bounds

Co-workers Samuel,Mindra and I got back very late Friday (16th) night from Kochi (Yumbe District) from our evangelism outreach. First, we shared Christ one on one and gave out many tracts in the market. Friday is market day in Kochi, bringing in many from the surrounding areas. The favorite gospel tract in this predominantly Muslim trading center  was, “My Muslim Friend”.

“A providence is shaping our ends; a plan is developing in our lives; a supreme and loving Being is making all things work together for good.”

F.B. Meyer

Before we started, a Kochi local leader, a Muslim, shared with the crowd that he had invited us and encouraged the people to listen.  Ten days earlier on a trip to Yumbe, the Land Cruiser broke down in Kochi. It was at that time I met and was invited by this leader to come and preach in his community. We have slowly by slowly been working on going  to every trading center in Yumbe District to preach. It is hard to pick out among the many places which have few to no believers which one to choose next. The Lord made it easy for us to choose this time! The primary tribe in Yumbe District is the Aringa and they are categorized by the “Joshua Project” as an unreached people group.

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The Pilgrim Choir

When we had finished setting up the sound equipment the Pilgrim Yumbe church choir sang passionately and I preached my heart out (from John 10:1-18) from a top the Land Cruiser. The Lord was gracious and many trusted in Christ for salvation! We took down 24 names for follow up. Thank you to those who prayed!

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“I am the door….I am the good shepherd…” John 10:1-18
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“and how will they know unless someone preaches to them…”
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Kochi residents who put their trust in Christ alone for salvation

Then, we drove a short distance to a school soccer (football) field and, again, set up the equipment. There in that large open field we showed the “Jesus” film in Aringa and well over a 1000 watched! Watching them “watch and interact” with the film will forever be imprinted in my mind! Thanks again for praying. Only the Lord knows the lasting fruit of our time in Kochi. The hard work of discipleship remains.

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“God has great things in store for His people; they ought to have large expectations.”

C.H. Spurgeon

I was running the projector off the Land Cruiser batteries/inverter. It worked very well; however, when we finished the LC would not start….a group of guys pushed and I popped the clutch and it started and we were off to Reaching Africa’s Unreached.

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With Pastor Godfrey in Obongi

This coming Tuesday we will go to Obongi to be with Godfrey and the church, sharing some words of encouragement and setting up drip irrigation demo plots.  Several Imams have been invited and will also be taught on drip irrigation. From mid-December up to the end of February little to no rain falls in our West Nile region.

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Imams and Sheikhs at a dialog receiving  Arabic Bibles, ESV Global Study Bibles, and  Aringa New Testaments. Aringa is their native tongue. The Aringa NT was first published in June 2014. They do not have the Old Testament in Aringa.

Then on Wednesday we have eight Sheikhs from Yumbe coming here to RAU for drip irrigation training and interaction. By God’s grace I have become friends with these Muslim leaders and through that friendship I am having the opportunity to show Christ’s love both in dialog and physical acts of love.

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A drip irrigation  unit recently set in place

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Church leaders with their drip irrigation units. Thank you M.A.R.S.!

Continue to pray for South Sudan. Two refugee camps have now been added here in our Moyo community in addition to the ones in Yumbe and Adjumani Districts. More refugees have fled South Sudan than any other country in the world in 2016. We see many refugees streaming by since we are only one mile from the South Sudan border and on one of the main routes out of the country. Since money has been given I have been on the hunt for machines to help upgrade the soybeans and rice we grow here at RAU. With these  grains and our bananas (we have around 7,000 banana plants) and 740 grafted mangoes we will be able to tangibly show the love of Christ to those who have had to flee their homes because of this terrible war.

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This refugee camp has just been set up in Moyo District

With Emma, RAU’s expert agricultural officer, we are looking to set up drip irrigation units with refugee leaders. We also hope to work with the Ugandan government, UN, and relief agencies which have arrived in Moyo to train refugee leaders here at RAU in agriculture. Of course, in midst of these physical acts of love, we will always openly and winsomely proclaim the gospel with “words” which are necessary component of “love”. It is faulty thinking and unbiblical to separate our “acts of love” and our “words of love”.

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On a personal level, as we approach Christmas, Carol and I are struggling with having the right attitude about it. I cannot express our struggle any better than the way Carol has done in one of her Facebook posts on the 14th. If we are not friends on Facebook with you please send a friend request.  Through Facebook we are able to quickly put up many pictures and write about ministry events.

Please pray for Carol and me as we seek to find our contentment in Jesus this Christmas season!

“Look! The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him “Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.”

Matthew 1:23

(Carol writes)“A conversation (a simple schedule planning) birthed an epiphany today.

Jacob and I were discussing our plans for Christmas as he had been invited to preach somewhere on Christmas Day. When I began to think about it, I experienced a deep emptiness and sense of loss in contemplating how to celebrate Christmas. After all, how can it even be a celebration when we are thousands of miles away from our children and grandchildren…and our church family…and all the heartwarming traditions and flourish of activities and social gatherings?

This lack of desire to celebrate Christmas was a face-slapping, wake-up moment for both Jacob and me! Stripped of the prospect of enjoying activities and traditions which normally characterize the holiday season and finding no joy in anticipating a Christmas celebration was jarring. It awakened me to just how much all the traditions (though not bad in themselves) had become my reason for the season.

We had a great conversation on that topic over lunch. It turned out that Jacob was planning to talk about this very thing (finding Jesus at the center of our Christmas celebration) on the radio this evening during his one-hour spot every other Wednesday evening on TBS. Apparently, the real Christmas in Uganda tends to become waylaid by commercialism, sensuality and greed as well. Jacob explained how he wanted to prepare everyone to see it differently this year…including us!

I pray that, in a fresh and joyful way, my heart will “prepare Him room” this Christmas and that “Emmanuel, God with us,” will become a precious truth to me again!”

 

Thank you for all for sacrificial love, prayers, and financial support!

Jacob (Carol) Lee

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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)

Tax deductible  charitable donations may  be made via PayPal.  PayPal also has a way to make reoccurring monthly gifts. To do so  please click their link below. PayPal deducts  a small amount from each gift as a processing fee. All gifts given through PayPal are now tax deductible as Reaching Africa’s Unreached has 501 c3 tax exempt status as a charitable organization.  If you wish to write a check you may write it out to R.A.U. and mail it to Lifegate Missions, 395 Lifegate Ln., Seguin Texas 78155.

Learning to Kiss the Wave!

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Metu Mountain Driving

Charles Spurgeon once said, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”  For Jacob and me this has been just such a season of lessons! Busy-ness, sickness, unexpected delays and problems…all of these have been schoolmasters to lead us to look to and trust in the sufficiency of Jesus. (Sometimes we learn better than others!)  We are aware that whether or not we can see the final results of all our efforts or understand why the Lord allows us to suffer through certain experiences, His plans are not random nor whimsical nor without reason and meaning.  We trust His goodness and His sovereignty (and if we don’t, we are working on it!)

Fast on the heels of dear friend, Kevin’s visit was the arrival of the Kampala Youth Group.  They had one day around the RAU demo plot, helping with some projects in the field.  But!…the next 3 days were a test, even for the young among us!
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Kampala area youth representing three Presbyterian Churches
Though several of the youth either came with an ailment or developed one while they were here, still their resolve to go and serve remained strong in spite of the way they were feeling.  That resolve was tested by 3 straight days of rough riding and then hiking into remote villages in the Metu Mountains. Not one among us thought it easy!  However, everyone was a trooper.
On Tuesday, we went to the new village (Alu Godu) where we had taken Kevin. The families gathered and were grateful for the expressions of love, both in word and action, as each of the youth shared a short message. Jacob taught and three people (two men and women), without prompting, made it known they wanted to trust in Jesus for salvation. Then the youth gave their gifts for distribution (clothes, salt and soap).  There is nothing like “walking a mile” in someone else’s shoes to give you the perspective of their hardships.
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We hiked down to the stream where the residents of Alu Godu must get their water, especially during dry season, when a closer stream dries up.  It was a hike in itself and helped us to identify with their hardship in obtaining what, for most of us, is a simple task of turning on a faucet – water!  While there, Emma and John provided a demonstration of the drip irrigation kit which would help them through the dry season in producing vegetables.
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On Wednesday we visited the least strenuous of villages to reach:  Duku and Oyo. For once, we stopped first at Duku.  (Often, in the past, we would plan to stop at Duku on the way back but would find ourselves “out of time.”)  The small gathering of residents were eager and happy to be recipients of, once again, the words of love and acts of kindness from the Kampala youth. After Jacob taught  we also distributed some worm medicines (which, at least, give them some temporary relief from stomach discomfort) and some medicine for a young girl who had suffered a burn on her foot. It is a rare occasion when anyone travels the distance to do anything for these villages.
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In Oyo, a larger crowd gathered.  The believers there have been blessed to be cared for by Pastor Sam, who hikes all this way every weekend to mentor them spiritually.  The residents took turns sharing words of encouragement of what the Lord has been doing.  One lady expressed gratefulness to the Lord for answered prayer in getting the money needed to pay her son’s school fee.  It was her son we had picked up on our way there from Arapi – a mere 2 hour walk one way to/from school.  Not many children may encounter and have to think about chasing away wild cats and snakes on their way to and from school!
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The third day (Thursday) of hiking to a remote village in the Metu Mountains was our most dreaded – Oku and Lea!  This spot is known for its rugged road as well as its steep hiking descent and ascent which are not for the faint of heart or the out-of-shape missionary!
On the way, we stopped at Chinyi, which we had not done for a long time, and met with the residents there to encourage them in the same way as we had been doing in each visit. Two new believers were added to the church.
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Though Oku was, by far, the most difficult place to reach, it was surely the most encouraging.  The first time I ever visited there, the characteristic which struck me most vividly was the number of people who were drunk.  But!…when they heard the life-changing, new-creation producing message of life in Christ, they really changed; and it’s evident when we visit now.  After our youth team shared their messages with those who had gathered, we also heard from the residents of Oku. What a testimony of grace to hear how their lives have been changed by the Gospel and the love extended to them because of the Gospel.  Their community has been transformed through hope and acts of love.
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We really had to hurry back up the mountain to beat the sunset…there are no street lights and most of us did not have flashlights so the climb required daylight! Oh my! If you are not in shape or used to strenuous exercise, you may as well know you will be bringing up the rear…sucking wind at every chance you get! I was glad to have Jacob’s company all the way up.  Pastor Tobious was kind to stay just ahead of us, but, we would see him sitting and waiting for us and, just as soon as we reached him, he would be climbing again!
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ALL of us were glad to know we had done the last of the climbing for a while!  The following day, Friday, the Kampala area youth, who represented 3 churches, had to head back to Kampala.  Jacob and I are so impressed with this group who has shown a dedication and priority to reaching beyond their own comfort zones to share the Gospel and worldly goods with those who have not had the same opportunities.
The day they left was quiet – a good day for recuperating, it would seem. However, as the day wore on, the soreness I tried to attribute to 3 days of hiking became, more apparently, the body aches and headache that accompany malaria. To top it off, I began having a Mt. Vesuvius eruption of reflux and abdominal pain. Needless to say, I was miserable for a good week, trying to keep symptoms under control. At the beginning of this week I finally decided it would be wise to get an ultrasound which showed cholecystitis (inflamed Gallbladder) and Peptic ulcer disease.  After 10 days of pains, cough (from reflux) and malaria symptoms, I am finally beginning to feel human.
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Jacob, not to be outdone, decided that he would develop a cough and upper respiratory problems which started when he began to plow/harrow the fields. The dust of plowing combined with the fine covering of dust from the Sahara which blows in every dry season proved too much for his system.  I was able to find him a good mask to wear for the couple of days he insisted on finishing up the job.  However, eventually, the respiratory symptoms put him in bed for a couple of days.
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We are both thankful to be on the healing side of our ailments.  It is never fun to be down, but the Lord has His lessons for us to be learned in sickness, too. In a book I am reading right now called, “Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy”, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, she quotes Charles Spurgeon as having preached in a sermon, “I think that health is the greatest blessing that God ever sends us, except sickness, which is far better.  I would give anything to be perfectly healthy; but if I had to go over my time again, I could not get on without those sick beds and those bitter pains, and those weary, sleepless nights. Oh the blessedness that comes to us through smarting, if we are ministers and helpers of others.”  How better to be sympathetic (as Jesus was our sympathetic High Priest) than to suffer what others also suffer so we may know how best to comfort them?! (2 Corinthians 1: 3-6)
Not only did the Lord require a Sabbath rest for the both of us, but also for the Land Cruiser!  All of this last week it has been under much needed maintenance (and repairs which were found to be needful while undergoing the maintenance).  With the beating that the Land Cruiser takes on every journey, especially into the Metu Mountains, it is wise to have it undergo scrutiny and care so that it does not break down in the “middle of nowhere”.
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On Saturday, following the departure of the Kampala Youth, Jacob had a meeting scheduled in Yumbe with some church leaders there.  He never made it, but, as is so often the case, the God-ordained reasons soon became evident.  Here is an accounting as Jacob wrote on Facebook:

“On the way to Yumbe today, with Samuel and Mindra, the Land Cruiser stalled out. The next thing we saw was smoke coming from under the hood. I got the hood open in time to see flames engulfing the battery. Fortunately, there was loose soil at the side of the road and we frantically started heaving dirt on the fire; by God’s grace we put it out. A short had developed on the wire to the battery, no doubt from all the rough off-roading in the Metu Mountains this last week. With some rubber strap from a boda (motorcycle) and tape I got the wire fixed and we were off but never made it to Yumbe. The bearing on the AC motor froze at a small trading center called Kochi. After trying several things, I assessed that the belt for the AC was not necessary and just cut it and removed it.”

“The pastors in Yumbe with whom we were going to meet came to us in Kochi. While meeting in the Kochi trading center, a local leader (LC1=mayor) came by and gave a personal invitation to me to preach in Kochi…keep in mind that he is a Muslim and Kochi is also mostly Muslim. He had heard about our preaching in Yumbe. We are looking at Sunday afternoon/evening of the 18th for one-on-one ,open air preaching,  and the “Jesus” film in Aringa. The Lord has His ways of opening doors!”

Our plans for implementing the drip irrigation training and provision (through the gracious gift of M.A.R.S.) have begun, first in Alu Godu, then on the demo plot of Lucio, in the Metu Mountains and, coming up, among key leaders in Metu sub-county, Yumbe and Obongi and our own plot here at RAU.  We hope to make the West Nile region a growing example of how agriculture can become a viable source of income and food security, even during the dry season.

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Setting up a drip irrigation unit in a Metu Mountain village

With dry weather upon us we are also looking at this season as an opportune time to build the new and improved “Teaching Hall of Tyrannus” which will better be able to accommodate groups of leaders for a more organized and comprehensive Biblical training program, especially as we make plans to work with the group, “Reaching and Teaching.”  We are coordinating the second module (the first one was when Delmar Hager, Dagne and Otis came).  By the grace of God, this will be a full program which, when completed, will provide the attendees with a certificate of completion.

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No matter how busy things seem to be, the Lord continues to open up new and awesome opportunities to be a blessing to the West Nile area.  This has especially been so as we see the continuing influx of refugees into our surrounding areas.

Initially, refugees were set up in Adjumani, but the number became overwhelming for the residents of that district.  Next, refugee camps were opened up in Yumbe. Finally, we are seeing a new camp open up here in Moyo.  It is becoming evident that RAU can play its part in meeting some of the needs of the refugees who are fleeing the horrors of ongoing war in their homeland, South Sudan.

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The road on the front side of Reaching Africa’s Unreached is one of the major routes out of South Sudan. Most are leaving their homes like this…just taking what they can carry.

It seems that the Lord has set us up here in the West Nile “for such a time as this.”  Everything we are growing can serve the growing need for food, not only for the locals, but also for the refugees (soy, rice, bananas, mangoes and vegetables).  We are looking at a plan to train leaders in the West Nile as well as leaders among the refugee camps in Agricultural knowledge so that this area can become maximally productive.

Recently, Jacob posted about his desire to find a grinder to turn the soy into usable soy meal (a complete protein).  Within days, we received the money through generous partners.

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This rice will be ready to harvest soon.

The needs seem endless and overwhelming.  However, it sets us up to, once again, look to and trust in the all-sufficiency of Christ – to not focus on the need and see the lack of supply, but to look at the opportunities and see the sovereign grace and provision of the One who has brought these needs to our attention.

These are some of the upcoming events for which we ask your prayers:
*Tuesday, 13th, drip irrigation demonstration with the Metu sub-county chief
*Friday, 16th (market day): Open air and “Jesus Film (in Aringa), facilitated by the LCI (head elected political leader of the Kochi Training center)
*Tuesday, 20th, Obongi church leaders and leading Imams, drip irrigation training
*Friday, 23rd, Drip irrigation training for church leaders in Arapi
*Tuesday, 27th, drip irrigation training for Yumbe church leaders and leading Imams
*Thursday, 29th, pick up John Howarton in Arua
*Saturday and Sunday, 31st Metu (Oku); 1st, Obongi
*January 4-7th, Yumbe Pilgrim Church youth rally
*January 8th, Arapi/Gbari church service
*January 10-12th, retreat for Adjumani  for church leaders
*January 14th, John Howarton leaves.
 
Thank you in advance for all your prayers, words of encouragement and support!
Loving and learning to kiss those rough waves that throw us into the Rock of Ages,
Carol (and 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. (Jacob Lee)

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