Taste and See
by Carol Lee
Dear Friends and Family,
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!“
Psalm 34: 8
How many of us have cringed…or fumed…inwardly, while listening to a slick salesman trying to “sell us” on a product while making us feel utterly stupid for not “buying into” his sales pitch? If only he could understand how ineffective his method really is of luring us to buy what he is selling.
Now, think of that time when you listened to someone you knew or trusted rave about a product they were using…and…they showed you just how effective the product had been in achieving the desired results. Big difference, huh?!!! I bet you went right out and bought some yourself!
It is no different when it comes to “giving a reason for the hope you possess” in Christ Jesus. The guard goes up the minute someone feels you are a “slick Willy“(Definition: a term that, upon hearing it, is understood to mean something uncomplimentary towards the person to whom it refers) trying to dupe them into buying “your product” with some ulterior motive other than genuine concern for them.
On the other hand, if you are a friend who is genuinely joyful, sincere and full of integrity in your walk with Christ and you want your friend or neighbor to experience that same joy and you explain how Jesus has changed you (and they can see it!) the response from them is likely to be genuine interest.
With each new dialog with Imams and Sheikhs we see more clearly how much the motive of our hearts and the way in which we give a reason for our hope matters in the long run. As Jacob and I reviewed our last dialog together we were convinced of the need to make very clear our goals in standing before these men, not as pressurized, slick salesmen, but as genuine friends who want others to “taste and see that the Lord is good“!
These goals, which are now part of the apologetic booklets which will be passed out, are distilled in the following points: 1) NOT to tear down (abuse) the other’s belief system, 2) NOT to tear down the person (who is made in the image of God), but to be 3) READY to give an answer to anyone who asks about our hope in Christ Jesus, 4) to PAINT a beautiful picture with words of who God is and what He has done and to 5) URGE each person to “taste and see that the Lord is good” because the Lord wants us to be in relationship with Him. The last dialog was instrumental in helping us clarify our focus and purify our motive; we sincerely hope continuing open doors of deeper friendship and, ultimately, a brotherhood in Spirit and in truth.
Last Saturday, we went for another dialog to Yumbe with Pertti Soderlund and his friend, Jonas Walliser (a young German who uses his athletic prowess in football…soccer…to engage with youth about his love for and belief in Christ). Both of them shared engaging testimonies of God’s grace and power in their lives. It was a complementary blessing to the clear and beautiful picture which Jacob painted, as he shared from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 2, verses 1-12, on “Who is Jesus?“.
Hearing from the Imams, particularly one who stands as their spokesperson, always helps us discern areas where they have a false understanding of what Christians believe and then address those issues the next time. This time, one of the Christians stood to request that, in the future, the Muslims spend some time talking about their beliefs and experiences from a personal viewpoint in addition to highlighting where they think Christian teachings are inconsistent. These dialogs are insightful and helpful as we hear first hand more fully what Muslims believe about God.
The week previous to this dialog was busy for Jacob. He continues to oversee the building of our new Teaching Hall of Tyrannus. Upcoming retreats and new opportunities to open the teaching hall to other venues keep Jacob pushing to ensure the building gets done in a timely manner. As stated in the last letter, we eagerly await a Texas team from “Reaching and Teaching”. We will be hosting about 30 leaders for the second module of their “Hearts, Heads and Hands“ course.
Last Tuesday, Emma (RAU’s Principal Agricultural Extension Officer) and Jacob went to the Metu Mountains to encourage church leaders there to get inspired about how they can contribute to their own improvement and successes through Agriculture. Jacob highlighted the many resources that are available to them and tried to capture their interest, focus and energy to think in an entrepreneurial way. One of the local men shared his success story with the group, hoping that the others might also taste and see the possibilities.
On Thursday, we received Pertti and Jonas as our guests. What an awesome time of breaking bread together, sharing stories and laughing together! We are grateful for all the goodies that Heidi (Pertti’s wife) keeps sending along for us! Talk about tasting and seeing that the Lord is good!!!
On Friday, March 10th, Jacob took Pertti and Jonas to the Metu Mountains so they could experience first hand what Aya Baptist members are doing in partnership with RAU to strengthen new believers in remote villages. They also took note of the “water holes” which were being used by the villagers. Our hope is that, in partnership with our supporters and other well-drilling NGOs, we might be able to get more bore holes to these remote areas. It was a long and tiring day of driving and hiking, but, I believe, it was rewarding for our friends to get a taste of God’s goodness in that region.
On Tuesday, March 14th, Emma and Pastor Henry took the RAU boda to Aya for an Ag Demo plot training. They also went to Gbari/Arapi to look at the potential site for demo plot in their area. Our sincere hope is that the leaders and believers in the Metu Mountains will be able to revolutionize their lives and economic status by seeing farming as a business and putting into practice the wealth of information shared and demonstrated by Emma.
God’s people are not only called to tell of Him and His greatness with words, but to display the goodness of Him in their lives. Titus 2:14 testifies of a God “[W]ho gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” As I have heard it preached before, Christians are not just saved from something (the wrath of God towards sin) but saved for something (lives that reflect grace and the many attributes of God and that bring God glory). “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. Our good deeds are another way of inviting the world to not only hear of God, but “taste and see” that He is good.
How glad we are to be linked in love through the Spirit, prayer and financial support to so many of you. Thank you for hanging in there with us!
Please be praying for these upcoming events:
- Jacob travels, again, to Arua for mechanical repairs on the Land Cruiser and to accomplish other items of business. Pray for safety and timely accomplishment of everything.
- Saturday, March 18th, is another dialog in Apo (Yumbe) with possibly as many as 100 participants.
- Dr. Stephen McConnell comes for a fact-finding mission on March 25th; pray that he will get a clear picture of the needs and a clear guidance for ministry.
- April 1-2, a team from IMB (Baptist) will be staying with us and using RAU as a base of operations for their ministry outreaches.
- April 30th to (possibly May 4th), a Baptist group from Mississippi will be with us for ministry
- April 6-16th, the team from Reaching and Teaching comes for training.
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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