The Family of God
By Carol Lee
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21)
The Ladies hard at work preparing lunch for the gathering
This beautiful section of scripture heralds belonging, love and family and the God who displays it and makes it so. Our awesome Trinitarian God lives and works in loving community: “Let US make man in OUR image.” (Genesis 1:26) He means for us to live and work in loving community as well. God created and placed Adam in the Garden to work it and keep it and then said, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” (Genesis 2: 18) God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have so wonderfully modeled for us what it is to exist together in loving and humble community. It is our desire, at RAU, to see this pattern fleshed out among ourselves and multiplied among those who have received the call to love and serve the Lord. This garden of loving community must be tended and we mean to work it and keep it in such a way that it will flourish and be fruitful.
This past week we experienced something wonderful – a community of “new creations” being baptized in the Metu Mountains – members of Gbari/Arapi Community Church joined by other church plants in Duku and Oyo as well as a couple from Aya Baptist, making a total of 71 people. For the past two years Aya Baptist Church, under the leadership of Pastor Ojji Tobious and in partnership with RAU, has been pressing into these Metu Mountain villages with the hopeful story of God’s redeeming love in Christ Jesus. Many have responded by expressing a desire to trust in what Christ has done on their behalf. This last Sunday provided the opportunity to make a public declaration of their intention to be followers and disciples of Jesus – through Baptism. The event was a joyful assembly of thankful people.
Though it has been a challenge for Aya Baptist Church, they have found men who are willing to take on a shepherd’s role of caring for the new believers in these remote places to which they have to “foot” every weekend. It has been RAU’s privilege to support, encourage, train and provide resources for this band of brothers. We are so proud of their commitment to be faithful in a calling which has few earthly remunerations and rewards. It remains our strong commitment to see them through. When Jacob preached this Baptism Sunday, he reminded them of the message in Philippians 1:6 which germinates into hope: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” The task is daunting to reach the many who have not been reached and to disciple, with limited resources, the ones who have. BUT GOD is at work in all of us and is able to do so much more than we can imagine. We long for and work towards the unimaginable, glorious fulfillment of this promise.
Our deep desire is that these new communities of believers are not only birthed, but that they are strengthened in their inner man and have a deepening understanding of the love of Christ as well as a richer expression of that love towards others within the family of faith and towards those who are not yet part of it. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) Please be praying for them. They have so many struggles. Please pray that their sights would be set on Jesus, the author and perfecter of their faith.
At the same time that we long for their faith to be firmly rooted in Christ, we also long for them to experience the grace and blessings of God in their physical lives. They are no different than we are. They struggle to make ends meet, to find healing in times of sickness, to get their children educated and empowered for a better life than they have had and to have more than a life of subsistence. To this end, we are working with them, through the empowering and inspiring avenue of Agricultural training. Emma has especially been focusing on Agriculture as a business in hopes that they will envision and experience the fulfillment of their aspirations to improve their lot in this life through knowledge and hard work.
Thank you, family and friends, for working with us to see faith become sight. Every activity in which we have invested energy, resources and faith is bearing fruit. The feedback we are getting through friends and acquaintances and through call-ins on the Ag radio program all attest to the fact that we are not wasting our time. And, because of the current refugee situation, more and more opportunities are presenting themselves.
Jacob posted this on FaceBook:
“This short “60 Minutes” video gives a look at the suffering currently going on in South Sudan. We are 70 miles south of Juba, the capitol, and just a couple kilometers off the South Sudan border. Refugees have flooded our three district area making Uganda the largest host of refugees in Africa. Uganda is a welcoming community and plans to give each refugee family a plot of land. Most say the refugees will be here many years.
The Lord has set us here for such a time as this! We are working on putting soy beans into the 17 acres of Reaching Africa’s Unreached and when they are harvested we will grind them for porridge mix for young children and nursing mothers for those in the community and the camps. It is the little we can do for their immediate relief. Our field work is at stand still right now as the clutch went out on the tractor. Living where we are makes mechanic work and obtaining parts a challenge. It is also an unexpected cost. Any help would greatly be appreciated.
With the refuges receiving land we know that we can help in their development by helping them gain agricultural skills. In our enlarged “Hall of Tyrannus” which we are building right now we will be able host not only pastors but also leaders from the refugee camps for classroom and hands on training on our demo plot. The life skills learned at RAU will remain with them and they will be able to take them back to their homeland when that time comes. And of course along with this development training those we host will receive biblical teaching pointing them always to King Jesus.”
“Any financial help you can give will be squeezed for all its worth. Living here full time has given us many good relationship with community and Uganda officials which in turn helps us be more efficient with blessings passed our way. By all means pray for South Sudan, the refugees, Uganda, all those aiding the refugees and us. Thank you!”
To give go to: https://reachingafricasunreached.org/donations/
I love the prescription of Galatians 6:10: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” It leaves us without excuse. It’s not a matter of “if we have opportunity or if we have resources“. The opportunities abound, the needs are great and urgent, the resources are plentiful and the time is short. Please allow the love of God which has been freely lavished on us all to have a direct effect on your priority of doing good to everyone – in the household of faith and to all who bear the image of God.
Please keep the following things in your prayers:
- Dr. Stephen McConnell is on his way! He will be doing an important fact-finding mission for this area as well as bringing needed supplies and helping in any way he can.
- We just received word from Pastor Patrick Bukenya, one of the directors of our Ugandan NGO, that his daughter, Gabbie, will need to return to the States urgently for a heart problem which recently developed. As you may remember, she was born with a severe congenital heart defect which required immediate corrective surgery. At age 3, she had to return to the USA for a follow-up surgery. There was every expectation that everything would progress well. However, a problem arose which was not expected to be an issue until later on in life. We ask, not only for your prayers, but also for financial support to help Gabbie make the journey to the USA. She will be traveling with a friend who lives very near family members in California.
- The building projects need timely completion for our Reaching and Teaching group who is coming in early May.
- Physical and spiritual stamina for Jacob in his many activities and projects. He really does the work of more than one person!
Love and blessings!
Carol (and Jacob) Lee
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!———–When at least 35% of the world; “the unoccupied fields”, have no access to the gospel, we (believers) must all do all we can to reach them. We who are saved owe the gospel to every lost person, most especially the 2.4 billion who will not hear unless someone breaks into their “unoccupied field” with no thought of their own life!Jacob Lee
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