Perfect Love Casts Out Fear
By Carol Lee
Dear Praying Family and Friends,
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
“Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire.”
What do we desire and what do we fear? What do we, Christians, want our lives to look like? What do we want to accomplish? From what are we being held back because of fear? Where are our energies being invested, in avoiding what we fear or in obtaining what we desire?
Fear is a thief, robbing us of all the fruitful possibilities that might have been if perfect love had been around to bind the intruder. Perfect love believes that God loves us. Fear robs us of peace in God’s presence. Perfect love believes that God is good and His plans for us are good. Fear robs us of the courage to take risks that will result in experiencing God’s goodness in and through us. Fear keeps us from enjoying all the gifts of God’s grace and ensuring that those gifts benefit others, too. But…perfect love gives us a captivating vision of the redeeming plans God has for us and others and gives us courage to take risks to realize these plans.
God, the Father, so perfectly loved us that He sent His risk-taking Son, Jesus, to overcome His fears (“Father, if there be any other way…not my will, but Yours be done”) and to prioritize the glorious reward of risk-taking love (“who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross…”). WE are the reward upon which His eyes were set – bringing many sons to glory! This is the captivating vision the Holy Spirit is at work in us to produce. Let us pray to be like Jesus, the author and the perfecter of our faith!
The Lord has put before us (RAU and its partners) amazing opportunities to be a part of His redeeming plan among the Aringa tribe in Yumbe District. In many parts of the world, especially the United States, the thought of going into a predominantly Muslim community and meeting, on a regular basis, with a large group of Muslim leaders can muster a fear and hesitancy because of what “might” happen. Stories in the news have thrown fuel on the fire of our fears. We, here, have experienced the fear of “what ifs” and the trepidation based on negative stereotyping. Thankfully, the perfect love which the Father has for his “lost sheep” among the Aringa has captivated Jacob’s heart and has bound any fear which might keep him from realizing fruitful, redeeming possibilities. And his courage has spawned courage in many others, including me!
This last Saturday (March 4th), Jacob and the RAU team headed to Aringa County in Yumbe District, to Govuli. This was our first visit there. Here is what Jacob wrote about the experience on Face Book:
“Many thanks to all who prayed for our dialog with Sheikhs and Imams in Govuli, Yumbe District today. It is the birthplace of Islam in the District. I had brought Bibles and materials for 50 and we ran short. Fortunately, I was able to make arrangement to get Bibles to them next weekend. All the leaders were very kind and hospitable to us. God loves them and so do I !
The meeting went beyond my expectations. The Khard said, in the beginning, that he did not want a dialog this time. He wanted me to teach the whole time! I preached/taught for over 2 hours and the Sheikhs and Imams listened intently. They are pushing for me to come back again for more.
They said it is the first time, since the beginning of Islam in Yumbe District, that a Christian has come to them , in their words, “to teach the Bible” and to do it in such a way as to bring Muslims and Christians together in a peaceful way. God prepared the way and they truly were eager to receive the Word of truth. Thank you, again, for your prayers! The gospel was proclaimed clearly in love. I passionately appealed to them to come to Christ alone for salvation. One of the lead Sheikhs said, “a child does not mature in one day. You must continue to teach us”! The Holy Spirit is drawing them! Please continue in prayer for them!”
During the meeting, we heard several stories of Christians who, in the past, had done anything but love the Aringa Muslims and who did much to undermine the truth that God had a loving interest in their lives. Rather, the Christians did many things to insult them and raise barriers between themselves and the Muslims. It was a blessing to take part in an event which loudly proclaimed to the leaders who had gathered, “God loves you…and so do we!!!”
The reception we received was nothing short of gracious and hospitable; the Khard and a representative to Parliament were humble in requesting Jacob to explain the Bible to those who did not know what it teaches. Jacob was humble and gracious in opening a window to allow a glimpse, not only of what the Bible says, but also the spirit in which it is said. Jacob spoke from Mark 2: 1-12, expanding on many points to give a more comprehensive view of what Christians believe about Jesus, and what Jesus has done for us.
This important message could not have been effectively communicated without a good interpreter, good friend and brother, Charles. We have been profoundly blessed by our partnership with Onduga Charles, from Pilgrim Church in Yumbe. He is an exemplary Christian who fleshes out faithfulness and friendliness in his community. His home has been a shelter to those who have taken shelter in Christ and he is ready to disciple any who show an interest in Jesus as Savior. It has been Charles’ good name which has helped opened the door for Jacob’s relationship with Muslim leaders in Yumbe.
This meeting in Govuli and the earnest pleas for Jacob to come back to teach the Bible as well as to do capacity building trainings has highlighted the need for discipleship training of Christian leaders who can replicate this type of grace-filled interaction and discipleship in which Jacob has been so effective. This meeting has shown us how critical it is for Christians to know HOW to interact with Muslims so as not to create barriers but bridges. As Jacob has said, people will not be won to Christ through insults. Jesus prayed for us to be loving, fruit-bearing people in John. This is the impetus for our desire to train leaders in the West Nile region, in the specific areas of the Metu Mountains, Moyo, Obongi and Yumbe.
Thankfully, our new and enlarged teaching center (Hall of Tyrannus), where all this discipleship training will take place, is well underway. We hope to have it completed by the 1st of May so it will be ready for use when the Reaching and Teaching Team come from High Pointe Baptist Church Austin, Texas on May 5th. As Jacob has mentioned in past newsletters, we have so many opportunities to bring in groups of leaders (Church and community) for various types of training, from Biblical to Agricultural.
The Agricultural branch of RAU ministry is busy with a new planting season (now that the rains have started). We have been blessed to have fruit bearing trees (bananas) even during the dry season. I have personally heard many a testimony of how the demo plot along with Emma’s Agriculture radio call-in show has been an inspiration and blessing to many. We are grateful for the partnership of M.A.R.S. (Missionary Agricultural Resource Services) which has helped us keep this program going.
It is exciting to anticipate all that God may do in these coming months and years in this region. From what we have already experienced, we see an intense crescendo of excitement and openness to the Kingdom of God and we are spurred on by a growing number of people showing an interest in coming over to help us! We are eager for what the Lord has planned!
Please be praying for the following events and needs:
- Upcoming dialogs with Imams and Sheikhs: March 11th and 18th
- Ongoing discipleship with leaders in the Metu Mountains
- Timely completion of the new and enlarged Teaching Hall of Tyrannus and funding specifically for the building
- Baptism of 70 believers from Gbari/Arapi/Duku/Oyo Church plants on March 19th
- Visit from Dr. Stephen McConnell March 25th through 31st.
- Reaching and Teaching Team and 2nd learning module, May 5th-16th
In all these ventures we praise God for the ongoing support of our gracious partners who give and pray and send and come! Please do not grow weary of doing these things! The time of harvest is here and we need your labor of love in its many expressions.
We listened to a message this last Sunday by Thabiti Anyabwile entitled, “Hell is real; Time is short; Jesus said, “Go!”. We were spurred on to keep that Kingdom focus and to put more energy into obtaining what we desire and less into avoiding what we fear; we pray that you will, too! We pray that you will be captivated by a vision of God’s redeeming plans for the world and, specifically, the West Nile region of Uganda!
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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