“In Everything Give Thanks”

Forest Hill Presbyterian, Forest Hill, Maryland
Rocky Point Baptist Church, Stephenville, Texas
High Pointe Baptist Church. Austin, Texas

Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is Godʼs will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

But what we need to understand is that biblical thanksgiving is not merely our grateful response to a perceived grace received from God; it is a means to perceiving that grace. Biblical thanksgiving is not merely a command to be obeyed; it is a call to see beyond our normal perceptions to hundreds of graces we would otherwise miss due to our sin-induced myopia. And it is a call to see future graces in God’s promises so certain that we can thank God for them now.

Jon Bloom, Desiring God

I pray you all have had a blessed Thanksgiving. As Carol and I approached another Thanksgiving away from family, we were fighting off feelings of sadness. We do not look for sympathy as we have counted the cost and found Jesus to be worthy of every sacrifice, big or small. However, that does not assuage the pangs we feel in spite of the calling we delight in. “…Our hearts ache, but we always have joy…” (2 Corinthians 6:10) I find myself growing ever so slowly in understanding this verse. One would think missing holidays (mainly Thanksgiving and Christmas) with children, their spouses, and 8 grandchildren would progressively get easier but it does not! In fact, Carol and I would say our heartache increases. At the very same time, my heart leaps with joy to be an ambassador for the King among those who have little witness of Jesus’ love displayed through the laying down of His life to redeem and reconcile His sheep.“…Our hearts ache, but we always have joy…”!!

Even though I first started ministering in Uganda in 2006 and then Carol and I moving in 2013, we are still in transition culturally. The proverb is true that it is hard to teach an “old dog new tricks”. I am in my 65th year and Carol is in her ** year. Pray for us in this: that we can become more and more effective in sharing the love of Jesus. Carol, my insightful wife, writes: “Jacob and I were once given this illustration (which I have put into my own words) of how living long term in another culture changes you: “Imagine that you (an American, let us say) are culturally the color BLUE. And imagine that the country to which you have moved is culturally YELLOW. The “yellow” of the country to which you have moved begins to rub off on you and it mixes with the “blue” that you are. Now, instead of being completely blue you are beginning to look a little “GREEN” because, as you know, in the kingdom of art, BLUE + YELLOW = GREEN. When you return to your home country, you are no longer blue (you aren’t like everyone else) and, in the country from which you just traveled, you don’t blend in either because you are not yellow but green. You will never be fully blue again nor can you ever be fully yellow.” This illustration describes Jacob’s and my experience so well as our “norm” has been scrambled by our cultural transplantation; its effect has been to make us somehow cultural “vagabonds” so we no longer comfortably “fit” in either place, nor do we think or see some issues the same way we used to….”

I continue to be amazed and excited at the progress toward the goal of raising $200,000 for 20,000 ESV TruTone Global Study Bibles, a container, and shipping the bibles from America to the RAU campus near Moyo, Uganda. We have given away almost all of the nearly 9,000 ESV Global Study Bibles which came in our first two containers as well as through a shipment via the Gospel Coalition International Outreach. They have made their way into hands of Ugandans, South Sudanese, North Sudanese, Congolese and some few even into Chadian hands.

The current status on the funds raised is now $130,187.60! This is about 65% of our goal! Despite the hardships brought about by COVID-19, many loving Christians continue to give so that these Study Bibles may arrive via a container from America to Reaching Africa’s Unreached! We thank every single one of you who has taken notice of our request, taken it to heart and have given.

A Bible, along with the illumination of the Holy Spirit, is the core resource for Shepherds of God’s Church. We must at least see that as many Pastors as possible in our Sub-Saharan region and in Sudan have one. A Study Bible, like the ESV Global Study Bible, with its built-in helps, can be a mentor when there is no one else around. In the Hall of Tyrannus this is the Bible we use. Part of our training involves how to make the most of this Study Bible. The ones coming in this third container would mostly be for church leaders in the West Nile Uganda, South Sudan, and the Republic of (North) Sudan, as well as local government leaders,teachers (church and school), Imams, and Sheikhs in our region. English is widely read, spoken and understood! With greater peace being established in the Republic of Sudan in recent days, it will be even easier to get Bibles the Republic of Sudan! We have a number of solid contacts near us and there in country.

Current picture of containers sitting at RAU. The new one would be set to right with the roof continuing and a space between which, Lord willing, would become a chicken coop.

With tools like these Study Bibles we can be a bigger part of walking out 2 Timothy 2:2 in our region and regions to the north for just $10 per Bible. If I can strike a better deal on Bibles we will just increase the number! The money in hand gives greater leveraging when negotiating.

The generous donation of 15,363 (6.5 pallets) Christian resources in both English and Arabic, from The Gospel Coalition-International Outreach (TGC-IO) which will be hitching a ride with a different container being sent by Christian Book (www.christianbook.com) to various ministries in Uganda are on their way to Reaching Africa’s Unreached. Also in this container will be 350 slightly damaged ESV Study Bibles and almost 200 Arabic Study Bibles! The ESV Study Bibles have been donated by Christian Book and the Arabic Study Bibles were sold at a discount. Thank you, Christian Book and The Gospel Coalition International Outreach. In the USA and many countries of the world, such resources are in rich supply. Many Christians trade their current Bible for the latest “study bible” (I know I have) as often as folks upgrade their vehicles! Can you imagine what even one single study Bible and other literature would mean to pastors where such resources are very very scarce or beyond their ability to buy? These resources will also be a great help in Reaching Africa’s Unreached module curriculum we are developing for pastoral/church leadership training in the Hall of Tyrannus.

Overview of ESV Global Study Bible may be found here: https://biblebuyingguide.com/crossway-esv-global-study…/ In this article by Tim Challies entitled What Makes a Really Good Study Bible?https://www.challies.com/articles/what-makes-a-really-good-study-bible/ , Challies highlights how a study Bible is a great tool for leaders in the church.

Please continue to pray for and consider giving towards the goal of bringing container with 20,000 ESV Global Study Bibles here to Reaching Africa’s Ureached! Your investment in the lives of these church leaders will echo throughout eternity! 

Tax deductible checks may be written out to Reaching Africa’s Unreached (RAU) “Noting: For Bibles” and sent to our home church: Lifegate/RAU Missions; 395 Lifegate Lane; Seguin, TX; 78155. OR tax deductible donations may be made on our web page through PayPal with a notation of “For Bibles”.

This is the PayPal Link: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=WAR99DL4JFWXQ

“There is no success without sacrifice. If you succeed without sacrifice it is because someone has suffered before you. If you sacrifice without success it is because someone will succeed after you.” A. Judson (1788-1850) 

With love and godly affection,

Jacob & Carol Lee, RAU

Website: http://www.ReachingAfricasUnreached.org  

Tax deductible charitable donations may be made via PayPal or check.  PayPal also has a way to make recurring monthly gifts. Recurring 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/RAU Bibles, 395 Lifegate Ln., Seguin Texas 78155.    

PayPal Link for donations: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=WAR99DL4JFWXQ    

Go to RAU’s Facebook page for up to date reports, pictures, musings, and exhortations: www.facebook.com/ReachingAfricasUnreached  

YouTube Videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRmHafoBSemE7jS8kEHCG6Q/videos  

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! 

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! 

Our goal in our gospel witness is to take our eyes off the “risk” and place them on the cause for the risk. When God compels us like this he often will not tell us the risks…after all there are no risks for the all-knowing, all-powerful God. So let us be AMBITIOUS (Romans 15:20) to see that ALL are reached with the gospel of grace (Romans 1:16) in ALL places…there are no closed doors to the gospel, just some which are more difficult to go through! 

Jacob Lee

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