“Together” For the Gospel
By Carol Lee
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.” William Penn
Scripture so vividly speaks of God’s people in terms of covenant community: we are the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12: 27), members together of one body (Ephesians 3:6). In the first book, chapter two, verse nine, Peter describes us as a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.” In American culture we have idolized individualism; but, for those of us who identify ourselves “in Christ” this should not be. We are “together for the Gospel” and cannot do it alone, nor should we. As much as possible, it should be a priority to serve the Lord in community with others. We are invaluable to each other and God has designed it so. Together, we are a picture of Christ on the earth, representing Him to the world who needs Him desperately.
In my last newsletter I was anticipating the soon arrival of Maeghan Bell, an amazing young lady from High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas and looking forward to ways in which we could serve the Lord together. And now she’s here! It is a blessing which has been immediately seen and felt in terms of joy and encouragement, friendship and teamwork, made possible by the bonds of love and mission in our hearts. We thank the Lord for putting in her heart the desire and courage to change her life course to come and stay with us for the next 3 months. We are hoping that this will be a foretaste of an enduring “togetherness” in our Gospel mission!!
Maeghan has not wasted any time in serving in any capacity possible. She is eager, energetic and joyful (of course, we haven’t taken her to Oku yet! Hahaha!). We have enjoyed working together, doing Bible Study, singing (playing guitar and piano), taking Boda rides to town for shopping, and even learning some Ma’di words. I can tell she will do well with the Ma’di! I am grateful for the answer to prayer that she is on a personal level and I look forward to seeing how the Lord develops her gifts and calling. But then, she has come – ready to serve – so I am confident that the Lord will use her in a mighty way!
At the same time we picked up Maeghan from Arua we also met up with Samuel , who had spent year and a half with us, and brought him to RAU with us. We enjoyed his youthful exuberance and some of his “shenanigans” again and having him “on my neck” (as he likes to refer to his teasing me). Samuel is an unusual young man, totally serious in responding to the call of Jesus to be a disciple-maker in his home country of D.R. Congo. I love that he is taking on the young men (Boda drivers by trade) to care for their souls by drawing them in with a common interest of “football“, sharing the gospel and then mentoring them in the faith. Samuel is a true Gospel partner and we are privileged to supply him with resources to help him in his mission in Northern D.R. Congo.
Another surprise visit was from our friend, Omar , a recent MBB who has been attending Bible school. Omar ,a former Saudi Arabia trained Sheikh, has a fervent desire to learn English and know the Bible well so that he can be effective in sharing his new found faith in Christ with all, especially Muslims. We have already noticed a marked improvement in his English after just a couple of months. Omar spent a good number of years of his life studying, so it is no surprise that he is a life-long student who, at age 62, still wants to add to his learning.
Omar, since coming to faith in Christ through the Gospel preached in truth and love, has repeatedly expressed a desire to be baptized. Since we had planned to have a baptism in Aya for 35 new believers, it seemed right to include Omar in this momentous celebration of his declaration of faith in Christ. We had a beautiful church service on the new foundation for Aya Baptist Church (though we were all about to pass out from heat stroke) after which we went to a nearby pool (of stagnant, muddy water) for the baptism. This was, indeed, another distinctive “line in the sand” moment for him. It has been a blessing to call him “brother“, encourage him in the Lord and look ahead to how we may work together with him in making Christ known and loved among his Aringa tribe.
One of Maeghan’s first Gospel “Adventures” happened on Sunday, June 3rd, when Jacob took a team to Ambelecu trading center in Yumbe District for outreach with Charles and the youth from Yumbe Pilgrim Church. While the youth were setting up their sound system for the music, many others were doing one on one interactions with people at the trading center and passing out tracts in English and Aringa. Maeghan was good enough to take some great photos of the event. It is a blessing to have another photographer again!
This is what Jacob wrote in anticipation of the trip to Yumbe:
“A special fishing trip (Matthew 4:19) is in store for today.We are off soon to a big fishing hole in a challenging stream (market day in trading center used mostly by Muslims) . The bait we have is superior to all others and the only one that is effective (Romans 1:16). Our rods and reels are potent means of getting the bait to the fish (one on one witnessing, gospel literature, open air preaching,&”Jesus” film in the native tongue). This ,along with fellow fisher’s (Matthew 4:19) support and encouragement (prayers), the fish will be drawn to the bait (John 6:44,65), their mouths will be opened (Acts 16:14) to bite the bait (John 1:12) and they too will follow their master (Revelation 1:8) and begin to fish in streams where there are very many fish (Matthew 9:35-39) and few who fish for them (Romans 15:20). We go (Matthew 28:18-20) knowing success is guaranteed (Isaiah 55:11) at some point ( 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 ).“
And this is what he wrote following the big event:
“Thank you for your love, encouragement, and prayers!! We had good evangelism event at Ambelecu Trading Center in rural Yumbe District. It was market day in Ambelecu . The gospel net was cast. We arrived in Yumbe at 1:PM and back to RAU just before 1 AM Monday morning….very tired right now. While the Pilgrim Choir set up, teams went out one on one with gospel tracts in English and Aringa. As choir sang with their powerful speaker system the crowd continued to grow. At around 6 pm Charles and I climbed up to the Land Cruiser (LC) rack and I preached through John 10:1-18 for about an hour. Charles is a very effective and passionate translator…the sweat poured from us both. We then set up the screen and projector for the “Jesus” film (in Aringa). We again had some sound difficulties like last time but some young men got it worked out. Charles said there were around 3,000 that ended up watching…..the biggest crowd we have had yet. Our new screen system on top of the LC is nearly as long as the LC itself and protrudes around 8 feet above the top of the LC. The sound system used is powerful too. What a beautiful sight to see all these people hearing the Word! I know the Lord was doing his work …seeds were planted! Thank you for praying!!!!!!”
Our gospel-motivated Agriculture program is in full swing as the rainy season continues – lots of digging, planting and nurturing. Emma has been innovative in bringing new crops for trial and production. This season he thought of planting cocoyams. Below is what I wrote for a FaceBook post:
“At the RAU demo plot, an effort is made to introduce new crops, not only for the sake of training but, in this case, for the sake of preserving and multiplying a rare food source in this area.
The cocoyam (or “Colocasia esculenta”, as Prince Apiku Emma would call it!!) is a tropical root, rich in nutrients which grows well in swampy areas. For this reason, the cocoyam should work well in in a specific area of our demo plot where flooding and erosion have proven to be an ongoing issue to be addressed and where the ground stays moist due to an underground stream. [Jacob and Emma have been pushed to find a solution for the erosion and the demo plot has offered them opportunity to try many different approaches.]
Emma arrived at an ingenious plan to capture and channel the rainwater into pits where the cocoyams are planted. Each of the pits will hold water as well as allow excess water to drain to a lower level. There are four pits that follow the slope of the land, the uppermost pit channeling the overflow of water down to the next level which can be channeled to the lowest level.
It took a lot of back-breaking muscle work to dig the pits and prepare them for planting, but our co-workers and Emma were able to complete the project this week. In the pictures you can see the cocoyams planted in the pits and then sweet potato vines planted in the mounds that surround the pits.
Emma continues his goal of, in addition to providing detailed Ag info on the radio, visiting the leaders and church members in the Metu Mountain church plants to assist them in growing socioeconomically. Here is an excerpt of that report:
“Yesterday, Prince Apiku Emma took Mindra to the RAU demo plot in Gbari/Arapi to follow up on the Cassava crop which had been planted last year. There had not been much feedback about it so Emma felt strongly about stopping by to check on the investment RAU had made in inputs and in Emma’s Ag expertise in guiding them.
Emma was very happy with the growth and health of the Cassava crop. The tubers were already significantly large. Pastor Geoffrey kindly gave a small sampling to Emma to gift to us here at RAU.
The idea of planting Cassava was
1) for multiplication of the stalks for the farmers’ next crop,
2) to be able to share stalks with leaders/pastors in other villages for provision of food and, in this way to promote a culture of sharing and
3) that the churches would have food to contribute to the gatherings when special events take place.
This was Jacob’s initial goal in bringing on the Ag portion of its ministry – to provide a way for leaders to have greater socioeconomic security through farming in addition to being strengthened in the word of God and pastoral caregiving.
The success of the Gbari/Arapi garden underscores that the vision and mission of RAU is materializing as we had hoped. “Slowly by slowly” healthy changes are occurring. Keep praying that RAU would be able to continue this kind of work in the region.”
“Thanks” goes to Jacob for his far-seeing vision and effort, to Emma for his expertise and hard work and to M.A.R.S. for its financial partnership to see the vision into reality.”
Finally, our desire, as a ministry, is to ensure that what God has commissioned us to do continues inter-generationally for the Lord’s glory and the good of the people that RAU is here to serve. By faith and with yearning to make that desire come to pass, we are building a “Mission House” on the RAU campus for future missionaries (families and singles). We believe that the Lord is already working in the hearts of the ones He is calling to come alongside us.
Jacob and I are too well aware of our finiteness and limitations. And we long for the mutual benefits that will be enjoyed in the community of shared vision, burdens and joys and in mission with others. Please be praying with us for this expansion (not only in the physical sense, but also in terms of the breadth and depth of gifts and energy). We have already experienced the grace of teamwork in those with whom we work at RAU on a daily basis. With the addition of Maeghan our expectation of joyful ministry and mutual encouragement is abounding. As God brings others here also — “together for the gospel“, we know it will be for mutual edification and for the expansion of God’s grace and truth in the West Nile region and to regions beyond where Christ is not yet known and loved.
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16
Please be in prayer with us for the following events and needs:
- My friend, Helen, is coming for a visit. Pray for her safe travels and a blessed time of fellowship
- A team from High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas (Maeghan’s church family) is coming this week for Module 4 of Reaching and Teaching’s “Hearts, Heads,&Hands” We will have 38 returning leaders/pastors at RAU for 5-days from Moyo,Metu Mountains,Obongi,Yumbe, Koboko, and Bidibidi Refugee Encampment. RAU transports,houses, and feeds guests whenever they come for trainings.
- Three future leader/pastor retreats:
- July: Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, R&T Module 1 of 2nd track students from (North) Sudan (Darfur, Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile States) residing in Ugandan refugee encampments.
- August: High Pointe Baptist Church, R&T Module 5 of 1st track students from Moyo,Metu Mountains,Obongi,Yumbe, Koboko, and Bidi bidi Refugee Encampment.
- September: Rocky Point Baptist Church, R&T Module 2 of 2nd track students from (North) Sudan (Darfur, Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile States) residing in Ugandan refugee encampments.
- We will attempt some ministry on the weekends before and after the upcoming retreat. Please pray that the weather and roads will allow us to go. One area of the road leading to Ijujo,Oku, and Lea has been badly washed out and may prevent our initial plan to take the team there.
- This Sunday, we will take the team to a church near us. Pray that the mutual encouragement which Paul talked about will happen.
- Please pray for the big building project which will require Jacob’s attention and oversight. Pray that the contractor will prove himself well in this project so that we will be assured of a good, local builder for future projects.
- For blessings on our continual efforts to place ESV Global Study Bibles, ASB Arabic Study Bible, Kindle Fires, and books into hands of South and (North) Sudanese church leaders that currently live in Ugandan refugee settlements. Also for continual blessings in getting these same materials to church leaders residing in Darfur,Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile States of (North) Sudan and Chad.
- Jacob will soon meet with high level Muslim leaders in Yumbe to work out a way forward for continuing dialogs with Imams ,Sheikhs, and Khards. Pray that God would grant favor for continued open doors for joint discussions on the topic “Who Is Jesus?” See Jacob’s previous dialog messages here.
- Evangelism outreaches in Yumbe District.
- Discipleship in church plants.
- The daughter of a Ugandan friend and RAU co-worker is requiring on-going treatment for post-surgical repair of congenital cataracts. If you feel moved to help supply for that treatment we would appreciate it greatly.
- The foundations for both Arapi/Gbari and Aya’s churches are complete. Funds are needed to continue the building work.
- For continued financial support for the ministry of Reaching Africa’s Unreached
Thank you, dear family and friends for the encouragement of your prayers, financial partnership, friendship and love as we serve together for Christ’s sake.
Thank you for all your prayers and support,
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
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