From Grace-filled Past To Hope-filled Future (2017 in Review)
by Carol Lee
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.“
2 Corinthians 9:8
“Gratitude looks back to grace received in the past and feels thankful. Faith looks forward to grace promised in the future and feels hopeful.“
It is painful to read through some portions of the history of God’s people as recorded in the Old Testament, so discouragingly repetitious. God is gracious to raise His people up; they grow contented in this grace…and forget; God disciplines them through hardship; they suddenly remember…and repent and walk with God again. This is repeated again and again and again!
This would be laughable if it didn’t step on our toes with the jarring pressure of conviction about our own propensity towards forgetting the Lord’s grace (unmerited favor) and His mercy (withholding of just punishment), of not recognizing His gifts and not seeing His goodness. Indeed, we are no different in our amnesia and blindness. We need a “swift kick“, a reset, a new beginning!
That is the gift of “a new year” – a specific and recurring point in time to reflect, remember, praise, repent, plan and expect. Time is a continuum that cannot truly be divided up into neat, unrelated sections of events. However, the specific allocation of “a new year” makes for a consistent marker for us to remember and not forget what the Lord has done, is currently doing and what, through hope-inspiring grace, will do. His goodness must be rehearsed and rejoiced in time and again, lest we forget.
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.”
God has been so gracious to Reaching Africa’s Unreached (RAU). Looking through the year of posts which represent our activities makes “the head swim” with amazement just to be reminded of it all and then, more so, in trying to capture a “snapshot” of it in review.
First and foremost, Jacob and I and the RAU team on this side are grateful to the Lord for His empowerment, sustaining grace and opportunities. We also thank Him for the trials that have tested our faith and have drawn us closer to Him. We are grateful for the RAU team members on “that side” of the world, all of whom have been a part of God’s goodness to us and to the people we serve. Foremost in our remembering is that the Lord is our “Sun“, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11: 36). He is the One who is at work in us “both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Colossians 2: 13).
We remember our primary calling to come alongside what God is doing in the West Nile region of northwestern Uganda and extending to South Sudan, (North) Sudan, D.R. Congo and regions beyond: building His church, against which “the gates of hell will not prevail.” (Matthew 16:18). Because of our commitment to 2 Timothy 2:2 (to train faithful people who in turn will train others) our greatest energy and the most resources have been poured into training Christian leaders from all the regions mentioned above through discipleship training retreats. We have been pleased to be working hand in hand with Reaching and Teaching, in addition to other pastors and teachers who have visited us from the USA. During 2017 we completed the 25th retreat since we first moved to Afoji in 2013. What a blessing for us and the leaders from these areas to have had so many come and share their gift of teaching in addition to many resources. Equally vital are those who have given the funding which allows these activities to happen.
We are mindful that through generous donors and visionaries, we have been able to continue distributing to leaders ESV Global Study Bibles, books from Gospel Coalition International, Kindle Fires from Delmar Hager (containing the Jesus film in various languages and many books), ASB Arabic Study Bibles and Bibles in Aringa ,Ma’di, Swahili, and Arabic. These resources are gold to those who otherwise may not have access or funding to purchase them. We have great hope that the wise use of these resources will have visible impact and bear immeasurable fruit.
We have, this year, had the blessing of meeting and knowing Joshua Abraham, a MBB (Muslim Background Believer) from Darfur who now lives in the nearby Bidi Bidi camp with his family. Joshua has been a wonderful partner in ministry to pastors/leaders in a number of the Refugee settlements, not only in the Moyo/Yumbe area, but also near Kampala where there are many refugees from (North) Sudan. With his help we have had two retreats here at RAU geared especially for MBBs who were from nine Sudan tribes which are just under 100% Muslim. They are from Darfur, Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile states of (North) Sudan. We hope to have them back often. They want to go back to their tribes to preach the gospel and plant churches. Joshua’s help in distributing ESV Global Study Bibles (around 900) and other materials to key Christian leaders across many denominational lines in the refugee settlements has made him a valuable partner with RAU in Kingdom work. He works tirelessly in church planting and to see that solid leaders are raised up with a heart for the unreached.
Many of the donated resources and, additionally, booklets which Jacob has written or compiled and has had printed up specifically for Muslims who are willing to read them, have made it to Yumbe through our continuing dialogs with Aringa Sheikhs and Imams from Yumbe district (a total of 12 so far). We encourage you to go back to our posts throughout the year and be reminded of the grace God has shown through these opportunities. Our friends and partners in Christ, Omar and Charles, have been faithful in the distribution of Bibles, literature and in fostering discipleship relationships, even at great risk to their own safety. Their consistent witness and presence in the face of opposition is faith-building and encouraging. Omar, a former Imam, continues to stay with us off and on to read, study and work on his English.
In 2017, God has been gracious towards His people in the Metu Mountains, especially among the young church plants and Aya/Ijujo Churches, the sending and overseeing churches for the itinerant pastors in the remote villages of Oyo, Duku, Gbari/Arapi, Oku, Lea, Cinyi and Alugodu. These mountain villages have been the beneficiaries of teaching and resources (spiritual and physical – retreats, marriage and parenting seminars, medications, agricultural training and extension services and bore holes (water wells in some of the most hard-to-reach places like Cinyi, Ijujo and Alugodu). Pastor Ojji Tobious has proven himself a caring overseer and has born a heavy burden for the welfare of the churches in distant places. Under his care and that of the itinerant pastors and in partnership with RAU, these mountain villages have experienced the goodness and light of Christ as witnessed in the 168 baptisms (Gbari/Arapi/Duku/Oyo and Aya/Alugodu/Ijujo/Ciny/Lea/Oku) during 2017 and in all of the activities described above. Many others are in the docket for baptism.
Situated within the beauty and productivity of RAU’s main campus and demo site, we are frequently reminded of God’s grace to this West Nile region through the RAU Agricultural Training program [spearheaded and facilitated by Apiku Emmanuel (Emma)] which has seen a widening sphere of influence: RAU demo plot and the increasing number and types of crops successfully grown, hands-on training and extension service in the Metu mountains (Gbari/Arapi and Aya side), extensive training via the weekly radio call-in program on TBS (98.6 FM) which Emma does in Ma’di, and cooperative efforts with other NGO’s working in the Refugee settlements to train people in Entrepreneurship, Business Planning and Financial Literacy. RAU hopes to extend this specific training to many more within the surrounding communities to increase socioeconomic expansion in the West Nile region.
Recently, Emma received feedback from a consultant with FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) that, over the last two years, agricultural yield has sky-rocketed in Adjumani district. When farmers were interviewed, Emma’s name and the RAU agricultural radio program were mentioned time after time as the reason for their improved yields. RAU is grateful to play a part in this progress and socioeconomic empowerment.
Anyone who saw RAU in its infant stages of development and who sees it now cannot help but acknowledge the blessing of the Lord in the amount of development that has happened, both in agriculture and in the new structures which have sprung up. In 2017, we watched the new Hall of Tyrannus built, as well as the screen house for grafting mangoes and other fruit trees, two new tukalus which allow more attendees for trainings and a small guardhouse next to the gate to provide cover and safety for the guards.
God blessed us, through a significant donation, to purchase land (and to clear, plow and fence it) for a future school. A Christian School has been a part of the vision from the beginning. It was in 2017, though, that God’s provision materialized. While we wait expectantly for future funding, the open field will be planted with Sunflowers or rice or another crop.
God’s faithful care is remembered in the life of Mundrugo (who died last January ’17). Though Mundrugo’s passing left a gaping hole for the family, the Lord provided for his widow through the compassionate gift of a friend. Educational needs were met for two more of his children and his eldest son has been hired on as well. RAU continues to encourage Mundrugo’s widow by assisting her in an entrepreneurial venture so that she may become self-sustaining through her business.
The Lord’s loving encouragement and care to Jacob and me and all who work with us at RAU was seen and felt by the many who came and entered into our experience and work in 2017: John and Angela Howarton, Muhtar Awdalla, Nyombi Samuel, Patrick Bukenya (who manages so many issues for us in Kampala), Misengile Samuel (from D.R. Congo), Onette Zorah, Heidi and Pertti Soderlund and their friend, Jonas, Dr. Stephen McConnell, George Smith and his many team members, Edward, Jennifer and Kara Beth Heinze, Tony, Kourney and Kelci Landes (all from Rocky Point Baptist Church in Stephenville), the Reaching and Teaching teams of Delmar Hager, John Krause, William Sebree, Kacey Hanson, Augie Bacalor, Maeghan Bell and Addison Lawrence (from High Pointe Baptist in Austin) and Scott Engel (from Tennessee), Presbyterian Youth Group from Kampala, David Jones and Eric Williams from Tennessee, and Jason Van Bemmel, Jonathan Koppenhaver and Bruce Graham from Forest Hill Presbyterian (PCA) in Maryland.
All of this remembering is a psalm of praise to the Lord. It tells of His loving kindness for peoples whom He loves, of His good plans for them and of His desire to be glorified among the nations. It tells of His provision – through visionary givers, through the common grace and goodness of rain, sunshine, soil and expertise, through a small army of teachers and servants, through open doors, grace and endurance to persevere. It tells of the Holy Spirit Who is actively at work in hearts, bearing fruit and making the Word living and active and life-changing in so many.
“Thank you” to all who have participated in the ministry of Reaching Africa’s Unreached in one way or another: prayer and financial partnership, purchase of resources that have been sent over here, hands-on service along side of us, encouraging words and so much more. Every means of participation is an expression of faith in the Lord and His plans for this part of the world to make His name glorious and to draw many to Himself. A special thanks to Lifegate Church, our sending church which covers us with love and prayer and blessing. May the Lord bless you all!
God Bless You,
Carol (Jacob) Lee
RAU was recently registered with Amazon as a non-profit organization to which a percentage may be donated for every dollar you spend there. Here is the link if you are interested:
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
Tax deductible charitable donations may be made via PayPal or check. PayPal also has a way to make reoccurring monthly gifts. Reoccurring monthly gifts are very helpful to the ministry. To do so, please click on the PayPal link below. PayPal deducts a small amount from each gift as a processing fee. All gifts given through PayPal and by check are tax deductible as Reaching Africa’s Unreached has 501c3 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.