“And Regions To The North”
By Carol Lee
“…You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”
Much like the wonderment and mystery of watching your child develop, you can never fully imagine what final form a brainchild will take. The idea starts small and stretches to become far bigger in scope and more beautiful than you could have ever imagined. This has been our experience with Reaching Africa’s Unreached.
The plan was to settle in a small, under-served region of northern Uganda and bring pastoral and discipleship training but, with each passing year, we have been surprised to see the plan enlarging with new opportunities in Biblical training as well as in agricultural empowerment. In addition, we see outcroppings of hopeful growth in new areas of ministry. The initial idea in seed form was to reach beyond our current location in Moyo District and West Nile“to regions to the north” and to expand to meet the broader needs of the community; the idea has “taken on flesh” – to encompass leaders in the West Nile of Uganda to leaders from South Sudan, right across the border, occasionally groups from D.R. Congo and now, to leaders from North Sudan (places such as Darfur, Blue Nile and Nuba States); from discipleship training and pastoral care to agricultural empowerment to education and, hopefully, to meeting medical needs. What we imagined in general is taking a beautiful, unique form and it spurs us on to expect great things in co-laboring with a great God. In particular, for Jacob, it is accompanied by great JOY!
Several weeks ago, Jacob held a two day retreat for some Muslim Background Believers (MBB) who are from the areas listed above and who had been chased out of North Sudan into South Sudan and then from South Sudan into Uganda to the nearby refugee settlements along the Nile. These men are young believers, on fire with love for Christ and for people who don’t know Christ. They yearn to know more, to be equipped and to be encouraged to press on. The young men are from four “unreached tribes”, the Fur, Nuba, Ingassina, and Tungur tribes. Their tribes are listed as 100% Muslim by the “Joshua Project” with the exception of the Ingassina which is listed at 99.5% Muslim. Their earnest desire is to return to their homeland preaching the gospel and making new disciples. With the Aringa this makes five unreached tribes that RAU has the privilege of impacting with the gospel. For Jacob, this is for sure “entering into the joy of his Master” – to think that the scope of his discipleship efforts could extend to the Republic of Sudan! Pray with us!
Out of this one small leadership training, the plan has expanded to include more (and larger) leadership development retreats for believers from the Refugee settlements. Soon Jacob will head to Morobi, one of the settlements, to teach as requested on “forgiveness”. In the second week of November, as well as January of 2018, larger groups of MBBs from the Republic of Sudan will arrive for 4-day retreats. We hope to also equip them with Agricultural training so that, in their limited capacity in the settlements, refugees will improve their ability to grow vegetables or other life-sustaining crops.
There are very few silver-linings to the dark clouds of war and persecution, but if believers who have fled their homeland to find refuge here in northern Uganda can return to their homes one day, they will take with them all that has been entrusted to them in terms of spiritual and physical resources, learning and encouragement. We praise God for the opportunity to sow and water precious seeds and to pray for an abundant harvest in such a way.
Earlier, I referred to expanding into new areas of ministry. Just recently, a faithful partner donated the money necessary to buy an additional plot across the road from our main campus. It is our desire, as well as that of the donor, to build a quality Christian school to serve this area and it is the expressed yearning of so many of our neighbors. The plan is to clear, fence and ready the land and cultivate it until such time as the money is provided for building and operating the school. Purchasing land here is no easy matter. That land was found AND money given to purchase a piece so close to the main campus is the encouragement needed for the seed of a quality Christian education to germinate.
In the agricultural department, the Lord continues to add His commendation by providing us with visibility in and positive feedback from the community and the joyful blessing of seeing and hearing the success stories of community members. Emma, our Principle Agricultural Extension Officer, continues to excellently empower the communities through the radio show and field extension and trainings at the demo plots. He has put a good face on RAU to the community at larger and to local and national leaders. Recently, we held a one day Ag training for a group of leaders/farmers from the Metu Sub County. In an area that still relies heavily on Agriculture for subsistence and business, this day was one of inspiration and learning.
Whether it is in spiritual or agricultural training, our emphasis is the principle of 2 Timothy 2:2, “entrusting truth to faithful people who will, in turn, teach others.” We also were privileged to receive a cabinet level government official who, being impressed with the agricultural productivity at RAU, expressed the desire that the Ugandan President “come and see” what is being done here.
With growing opportunities on every side, you can imagine the increasing fervency of our prayers for more “called ones” to come alongside and help. We trust that the Lord will not only open the way and the means for a team to form, but, as Jacob and I recognize our finite-ness, He will also provide partners with the vision to continue on in the future for grace and growth in the West Nile region…and regions to the north!
Here are some of the ministry opportunities coming up in which we ask for your intercession:
- 6-7 men coming to RAU from the Metu Mountains with Pastor Tobious for 2 days of discipleship and encouragement (Wednesday and Thursday, 25th and 26th)
- Saturday, October 28th: Jacob heads to Morobi Refugee Settlement for one day teaching time (on forgiveness – as requested – and other topics)
- Hosting a team from Uganda and South Africa which is interested in reaching out to the refugee population
- November 6-9th: retreat with 25-30 leaders/pastors from (North) Sudan
- Mid November: Dialog with Imams/Sheikhs in new area of Yumbe District
- November 26-December 2: possibly the First Presbyterian Youth Group from Kampala
- December 5-14: friends, Dave Jones and Erik Williams for visit and ministry
- December 28- January 9: Friend, Jason Van Bemmel and team for retreat and ministry. Once again, leaders from Refugee Settlement
- Partnership in and funding for the proposed RAU Christian School
- Safety in ministry
- Staying healthy
- God’s wisdom in our evangelism,church planting, discipleship in Moyo, Metu Mountains, and Yumbe District.
- Funding for permanent church buildings in Aya and Gbari/Arapi
Carol (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!—————-Sowing seeds of love and kindness should not be separated from preaching the gospel of sovereign grace but completely intertwined with it!Jacob Lee
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