Mining The Treasures Of Christ

Mining The Treasures Of Christ

By Carol Lee

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“…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Colossians 2:2-3

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Miners are trying to unearth wealth. They dig. They probe. They poke around. They pick up rocks and turn them over, looking intently. Mining isn’t a leisurely afternoon’s recreation. Mining is a diligent, persistent, and even tedious examination. Hours are spent carefully combing through a small area, because if looking is not done carefully, a gem might be missed….You need the Bible and a desperate desire to find all the treasure that God has buried in the field of his Word (Matthew 13:44).” ~~~Jon Bloom

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When Jacob first came to northern Uganda in 2007,  he took keen note of the lack of  tools and apprenticeship in spiritual mining in ministry and deep treasure-hunting in the Word of God which leads to a discovery of “all the riches of full assurance of understanding“, “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” hidden in Christ. It was this awareness that conceived the vision of coming alongside Pastors and Leaders of the West Nile Region to equip them with the right tools for mining spiritual treasures and which birthed the ministry of Reaching Africa’s Unreached (RAU).  Eleven years after that first visit and five years after our move to Moyo/Afoji, Uganda, we have had 28 retreats thus far for training and equipping leaders from Uganda, South Sudan, D.R. Congo and now, the Republic of Sudan. In addition, thousands of Bibles and other Christian literature have been distributed far and wide.  The leaders in whom we invest this training are becoming enriched in their understanding and in their experience of the treasure which is Christ.  And we also are enriched by their perspectives, joyful steadfastness, endurance in hard conditions and service for the Lord.  As Ephesians 4: 11-16 states, our gifts and energy are given to us all in order to make this happen:

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.  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.

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It is our particular pleasure and privilege to meet many who share this same purpose and to see the scripture above exemplified through a great many people in a great many ways.  Recently, our friends Heidi and Pertti Soderlund, from Finland (who have been missionaries in Uganda for several decades) brought a team of  Finnish youth along with their pastor.  The hope was that the youth group would have the opportunity to see and be inspired by what ministry looks like in areas that are  difficult to reach.  Thank you, Pertti and Heidi, for bringing Petri (Pastor), Mirjam (Mimoo), Saara, Pauliina, Joonas, Kiese and Miise our way! We pray that God’s light will shine brightly in and through them and that a passion for missions will grip them.

After their departure we enjoyed a different kind of visit from our dear friends, John and Cathie Rutter.  They are missionaries from the UK who are working with the Kajo Keji (South Sudan) Diocese which had to relocate its college to Moyo due to the civil war in South Sudan.  John and Cathie came just for a short retreat away from their work.  What a joy to have their company and to be able to offer them a respite here at RAU.

Short on the heels of the Rutters return home we received the Reaching and Teaching team consisting of High Pointe Baptist team members, Addison Lawrence, Greg Aumann and Samuel Dimas, Scott Engel from Tennessee and Greg Keefer, a photographer on assignment with Reaching and Teaching for Track 1 leaders, Module 5.  The theme for this retreat was Hermeneutics, which is the inspiration for the theme, scriptures and quote in this newsletter.  This group of teachers did an excellent job of helping the participants dig deep into the word of God to find the treasure, Christ.  I don’t think I am exaggerating in saying that the teachings were transformative for many!

We have continued to have visitors surrounding our Agricultural ministry.  RAU hosted a joint meeting of the UNHCR and some of the 18 NGO organazations who are working within the Refugee settlements within our region.  It was their monthly Livelihood Review and Coordination meeting.  Hosting the meeting here gave the members an opportunity to see in person what RAU is doing in the realm of livelihood improvement.  There was a fine representation of the many NGOs in the area who are providing for the urgent needs and the subsequent phase of development of the refugee population in Uganda.

Just this last week we had a few days to interact with Dan Janzen, who works for CTEN (Commission to Every Nation).  Dan has a particular interest in sharing the Gospel within the context of livelihood development.  He and Emma (our Principal Agricultural Extension Officer) spent two pretty intense days interacting and sharing their agriculture knowledge with one another.

Very often we receive visitors who are keen to expand their knowledge and practice of Agriculture as a Business.  Tuesday, we hosted a small group from the Kajo-Keji Diocese, South Sudan, to “come and see” and learn from Apiku Emma, our Principal Agricultural Extension Officer.  They were attentive, had many questions and took a lot of notes.  At the end, they took home with them bananas and sweet potato vines for a fraction of what they could be purchased elsewhere.  They expressed genuine gratitude for the 5 hours in which Emma poured into them an abundance of agricultural wisdom.

One program and ministry of which we are very proud is the weekly, 2-hour Agricultural radio call-in show on a powerful private local radio station which Emma has run now for 2 and 1/2 years. It is similar to “Lawn and Garden” radio programs in America with a gospel emphasis.  He has designed a year-long program based upon a manual which he produced and which covers all manner of crops (vegetables, fruits, legumes, tubers and grains) as well as livestock.  He provides up to date information on the best farming practices and he covers the full gamet of each crop including nutrition, marketing and business elements, spacing, pest and disease control and post-harvest handling.  The feedback we have gotten to date is so positive and highlights the immeasurable capacity building that many communities are receiving from this easily accessible information which is presented in a manner easy to understand and replicate.  We received a rough estimate from those in the know that the listening audience has grown to around 300,000+/- listeners who are benefiting from this program every week.

The plea has gone out that this same program should be also produced in English and Arabic so that members in nearby large refugee settlements can also benefit.  We have a wonderful partnership with M.A.R.S. (Missionary Agriculture Resource Service) who fuels our agriculture ministry and has made it possible to bring Emma on as our Principal Agricultural Extension Officer.  M.A.R.S. funds our current radio program in Ma’di.  What we are praying and asking for is another partner or partners for a one-year commitment of sponsoring another Ag radio call-in show which would be in English and then translated into Arabic.  Adding this program would require an additional $500/month on our Agriculture budget.  Please prayerfully consider partnering with us in this.  It is a strategic time to be targeting the refugee population while they are still able to tune in and benefit from this livelihood improvement program.

On Saturday, Jacob took a trip back into the Metu Mountains to Oyo where the road conditions proved too much for the Land Cruiser (due to excessive rain) and they ended up hiking the rest of the way.  The purpose of the journey was to encourage the new believers through gifts of clothing and medication but also through the vital spiritual food of the word of God.  RAU is working with a couple of men to be spiritual leaders in the community of Oyo.  In remote, resource-poor regions of northern Uganda, every effort made to enrich them and help them become self-sustaining (physically and spiritually) is worth it.  In this case, it means long days of rough riding and walking to display Christ’s love for the people of Oyo and to ensure that they also may mine deeply from the word of God to find their treasure in Christ.

Jacob writes of another ministry opportunity on one of his Facebook posts: “I had a great visit today with brothers from Darfur (North Sudan). Their love for Jesus is even much larger than their physical size. What a privilege to fellowship and partner with men who are actively walking out 2 Timothy 2:2. They bring targeted leaders from Darfur to their Bible School and give them intensive biblical instruction and livelihood training . The men go back to their homes equipped in spreading the gospel. In the picture (below) is a sample of the literature from RAU they are taking back to their students. I was greatly encouraged when they asked if they could start translating my Christian-Muslim Dialog booklets into Arabic. Pray for these men and all those laboring in gospel work in the Republic of Sudan!”

At RAU, our field of riches is broadened as our interaction with others expands.  Each “part” working properly makes the Body grow and build itself up in love. We not only know Christ through His word, but also through those to whom Christ has revealed Himself.  In our vigorous discussions and times of interaction our perspectives are challenged, sometimes changed, but always deepened and broadened.  The more we lay hold of that unifying goal of treasuring Christ, the more we are encouraged and knit together and the more we “reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  This is a privilege beyond compare!

Personally, I am mining the riches of the Ma’di language through my teacher, Angua Perpetua.  She is a joyful, humble and knowledgeable soul and has made the difficult process of learning Ma’di enjoyable!

We are continuing to make good progress on the Missionary House as we pray for those who will one day be called to fill it!  The next phase is the roofing!

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Please continue to pray for us and partner with us as we press on in this mission described above.  There are more opportunities than we have time for and we need wisdom to know how to say “yes” and “no” so that our focus and energies remain clearly on our priorities as a ministry.  These are some of the events coming up which need your prayerful participation:

  • Almost daily visitors who come with an interest to benefit from our Agricultural ministry and church leaders looking for encouragement.
  • Jacob along with co-worker Charles are meeting Sunday (September 2nd) afternoon with the two top Muslim leaders in Yumbe District. It is our prayer that dialogs with  the Aringa Yumbe Sheikhs and Imams can resume.
  • Rocky Point Baptist Church arrives September 15th for Module Two of Reaching and Teaching of the 2nd tier of leaders (Republic of Sudan).  Topics include:  Prayer, Joy, being honorable, an overview of the New Testament and the character of a Pastor.  In addition to the Reaching and Teaching Module, in their second week with us we will be hosting a short retreat for 21 of the leaders from Metu Mountains, Obongi and Yumbe we are pouring into more specifically.  The ladies on the team and I will have some teaching times within the nearby community.  There will also be outreaches into the Metu Mountains and Yumbe;one-on-one evangelism, open air preaching in a market, and Jesus Film in Aringa.
  • Don Fredricks ( Jacob became good friends with Don in Pakistan) will be here September 5-7 for some Agricultural consultation and demonstration.  Don and his wife, LeeAnn are co-founders and directors of their ministry, Communities of Hope.
  • Greg Lewis, from San Antonio, will come for a few days of ministry on the heels of Don Fredricks.  Greg is with Go and Tell Ministries.
  • We have identified another remote village in the Metu Mountains where a church has been planted in which we would like to sink another much needed bore hole. Because of the remoteness and difficulty of getting the equipment in, it costs $8,000 from start to finish. Please pray about giving towards this project.

Thank you for your love, prayer and support!  We believe the truth written below in the collage and are privileged to have so many of you who stay and send.  We also appreciate those of you who make the difficult journey to come and help!

Carol (and Jacob)

Thank you

http://www.ReachingAfricasUnreached.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ReachingAfricasUnreached

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:

https://smile.amazon.com/

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!
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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!
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Sowing seeds of love and kindness should not be separated from preaching the gospel of sovereign grace but completely intertwined with it!
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I am sure that none of us will say when in heaven that we prayed too much, we sacrificed too much, proclaimed the gospel too much, and were too passionate to get the gospel to those who have little to no access to this gospel of grace. Let us together press on to make it our  ambition to preach the gospel where Christ has not been named!
Jacob Lee

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