From conception to growth, the “DNA” of Reaching Africa’s Unreached (RAU) is to be God-glorifying, God-empowered and people-loving in its development, function, growth and reproduction. RAU cares about God’s good towards His creation in ALL aspects of life, but most urgently and fervently about a person’s eternal good in God. This “DNA” instructs our vision, passion, energy, resources and outcomes and guides the development, functioning, growth and reproduction of this ministry.
While RAU is primarily a spiritually-driven ministry–a means for promoting the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to build His Church through the extension of the local church–we recognize that we also operate as an entity (NGO = Non Governmental Organization) in a geo-political setting that has its own agenda and expectations for those working within its borders (goals which include: “education, health, water and sanitation, environmental management, infrastructure development and a host of other important areas that impact the quality of life of Ugandans” as cited in the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ National NGO Policy).
The binding of these two “DNAs” has not been simple, but they are by no means mutually exclusive. In fact, they are like the double helix in a strand of DNA. We are convinced that RAU has the same priority to impact “the quality of life of Ugandans” and in many coinciding ways. RAU firmly believes that holistic attention must be given to the people it serves: education, health, clean and consistently accessible water and socioeconomic empowerment through capacity building.
Additionally, the ultimately important aspect of “quality of life” is spiritual and character-driven and so we gladly apply our energy to coming alongside those who have been given the task of shaping generations of individuals and families through God-centered, God-empowered teaching of Scripture–Pastors and leaders in the Church. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.“ RAU believes that a healthy, thriving and shining Uganda is one where individual citizens are at peace with and empowered in their knowledge of God, shaped by the Word of God in their character, bearing the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) and living in service of God’s glory and the good of their neighbors. Through the multiplying effect of 2 Timothy 2:2 (faithful people teaching faithful people who will teach others), this desired good will be like leaven which spreads throughout the whole lump of dough.
“In a democracy we are “citizen-kings” with obligations to shape the life of our land in all its business and professional practices and all its political and legal activity. While social and political life was controlled by a monarch, citizens could content themselves with private ethics. But where “citizen-kings” rule, there is personal responsibility for larger ethical issues.” ~John Piper (ideas borrowed from Rauschenbusch)https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/moses-rauschenbusch-and-moral-distinctiveness
“The true wealth of a nation lies not in it’s gold or silver but in it’s learning, wisdom and in the uprightness of its sons.” ~Khalil Gibran
“Governments cannot afford to fully replace the functions families perform for the benefit of their members and for the good of society. The family is the most powerful, the most humane and, by far, the most economical system known for building competence and character.” (International Federation for Family Development (IFFD) NGO in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC)
RAU wants to strengthen the fiber and fabric of Uganda by focusing on the character and godliness of the individual and the family (which are the most important building blocks of any nation) through strong churches led by strong pastors. At the same time, RAU wants to do as much as is possible to holistically nourish socioeconomic growth and independence, health and wellbeing. As Jacob often says, “Sowing seeds of love and kindness should not be separated from preaching the gospel of sovereign grace but completely intertwined with it!”
The years, 2020 and 2021, put a road-block in the way of the trainings we had hoped to deliver to the Pastors and leaders whom we serve. Due to COVID restrictions, the larger gatherings for retreats and training at the RAU campus were not possible and the effects were felt. We pray for the day that circumstances will allow us to go full throttle with the trainings. Still, 2020 and 2021 opened the way to raise money for a special printing of 20,000 ESV Global Study Bibles which are on their way to RAU and also to receive 16,000+ books and ESV and Arabic Study Bibles (from The Gospel Coalition and Christian Books) for Pastors and Leaders (English and Arabic). We are confident that the good work the Lord has begun He will also continue and bring to completion! (Philippians 1:6). We rest with confidence on the words of Jesus (in Matthew) about Peter’s confession of Christ’s Lordship, “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”
The RAU Demo Farm, through which we aspire to empower local leaders and community farmers, is coming to life with the seasonal rains (though late this year) so that plowing and planting have started. In fact, the maize and beans have already germinated and are growing quite rapidly. It’s amazing how everything becomes lush with every imaginable shade of green once the first rains come. The plan for the farm is to focus more on demonstration of common, market-ready crops (grains, legumes and vegetables) (specifically in box gardens–there are a total of 18) rather than large production of seed crops. Maize (posho) and beans will be eaten by us!! The demo farm continues to also focus on grafted mangoes to encourage local production so that a juicing plant will become an enticing possibility for the local economy. Zakeo, our Agricultural Production Officer, has planted 100 more grafted mango seedlings on the farm. He has learned the process of grafting which he plans to teach to local farmers.
Where the door of pastoral training seemed tightly shut, another door has swung wide open. RAU was able to forge ahead in providing clean water for a number of villages in desperate need of boreholes. RAU donors opened their hearts WIDE and gave enough funding for 6 new Boreholes–some in the Metu Mountains and some closer to us in nearby Moyo Sub-County villages. We are praying and asking for funding for 5 more boreholes. All 11 targeted villages have been tested for drilling sites and water locations have been identified. It’s only a matter of funding them. To date, RAU has been able to fund 11 boreholes in the past–Ayaa (2), Ijujo, Cinyi, Alugodu, Pamulu, Meria, Gbari/Arapi, Duku, Oyo and Fodia. Recently, several more boreholes were sunk in Kendi, Eria, Pacuahwi and Vura Opi. Additionally, these others are on the list: Gwere, Wano, Itia, Wele, Onyire, Abeso, and Padiga. We pray that the Lord will give success to the drillers and protect the equipment (which has been a bit problematic) and stir the hearts of people to donate towards this project.
Jacob likes to travel to each village with co-worker, Mindra, (the local government leader [LCI] for Fodia, where RAU is located) and has the opportunity to hear the pleas of the LCI’s and the community members and then encourage them with the cheering news that God, through His people, loves them and hears their cries and has provided the leg up they need. Some of the villages are nearly impossible for the drilling equipment to reach. Community members have had to put creative energy into digging a new road for the vehicles to pass. This is what happened at Gwere. The village members cut a path for the Land Cruiser which made it; however, the trucks with the drilling equipment could not make it up some steep roads. They hired a large tractor which also failed to pull the trucks up the hill. The next option was to borrow a government-owned caterpillar but that door closed. What was left? For the village members to make an alternate route for the drilling equipment–and they agreed and are busy making a passable road! Lord willing, this week, Gwere will have a road built and the Drilling company will make it there! Jacob hopes to also be there to document that wonderful event.
Clean water (and the lack of it) is still a major problem that affects many aspects of daily life. Our hearts are burdened for the women (and children) who struggle with heavy burdens to carry the bare minimum of water they need for each day, sometimes from holes in the ground. When clean water is provided, it impacts people in a number of significant ways as listed below.
1. 3.575 million people die every year as a direct result of water-borne illness. When people without access to clean water resort to drinking from contaminated water sources, someone could easily contract diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio. However, a major effect of clean water is that it helps prevent water-borne illness.
2. We ingest water through our food, and our body even absorbs some of the water we wash with. Therefore, both are difficult to do effectively if you do not have clean water. As a result, even if your drinking water is clean and purified, washing with unclean water can still make you susceptible to various hazards.
3. Hydration also helps the body naturally flush toxins from within. However, with unclean and contaminated water, more toxins enter the body than those that leave it, creating a harmful environment for bacteria and illness to spread.
4. Agriculture and food production are crucial for everyone across the globe. If a small village’s crops are irrigated with contaminated water, any bacteria and diseases found in the water can be spread to those who eat the contaminated crops. However, the safest food sources stem from working with safe and clean water.
5. Did you know that the average distance someone in a developing community walks to fetch water is 3.75 miles? In most cases, collecting the daily water supply falls on the women in a village. On average, a 5-gallon jug filled with water amounts to 44 pounds. Over time, the excessive weight of the water containers carried over a long distance can create additional health issues for the individuals carrying it. Also, imagine how much more challenging the task of toting a water jug would be when already suffering from dehydration brought on by drinking unclean water.https://healingwaters.org/effects-of-clean-water/#:~:text=When%20people%20without%20access%20to,helps%20prevent%20water%2Dborne%20illness.
Again, while our Biblical training was slowed to a halt for the time being, Jacob used the opportunity to renovate some of the buildings for that time when teaching activities come to life. The tukaloos, in which the pastors and leaders stay, the team quarters in the “Big House” and Lydia’s House were all targeted for improvements. Jacob likes to say, “We want things to last for generations–until Jesus comes, if necessary!” One of our aims is to make some of the buildings fit for families. Our hope has always been that other families or individuals would join us in this mission. There is simply too much work to do and not enough laborers. We are happy to report that Zorah (and his new wife, Josiane) are joining us full-time to work in the area of community development and discipleship. Also, our dear friend, Board member and brother in Christ, Nurse Sam (who recently graduated with a Bachelors of Science Degree) will also be returning as a part of the RAU team to head up medical outreaches.
In the midst of the challenges of 2020 and 2021, we have also been experiencing the growing pains of our NGO recertification process and work permit renewals. The Daily Monitor (a Ugandan news source) reported in 2019 that “only 2,119 NGOs of the registered 14,027 NGOs were validated and issued with operational permits by the National Bureau of NGOs. This means a total of 11,908 NGOs were not validated.” Thankfully, RAU made the cut in 2019. However, it’s time to renew and the regulations for NGO certification have become more stringent than ever. By the grace of God, Thomas, our Financial Administrative Officer in Uganda is knowledgeable, wise and persistent and has been absolutely vital in getting us lined up with Ugandan policy as it relates to NGOs. Our brother and fellow Board Member, Patrick, is so instrumental in keeping our feet “on the ground.” Please pray that these renewals come through soon (five-year renewal of NGO certification and 3-year work permits)!
Nothing has taught us more clearly that we must hold our ideas and plans loosely than the COVID pandemic and the ensuing disruptions–in both 2020 and 2021. Yet, the sovereign goodness of God gives us the greatest comfort that “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” No doubt, the things that have been accomplished have happened through human strategy and agency and under geo-political jurisdiction. However, while we encrypt in human language the “DNA” for RAU’s purpose, though we submit to the authority of human governments, our hope is built solidly on a greater Designer whose plans for us can never be thwarted and Whose DNA we carry! “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10). May we be found faithful in ALL He has given us to do and may we do it for the glory of God and the good of the people we serve!!
In loving service to God and humanity,
Jacob & Carol Lee
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The greatest evil is having the gospel and not doing everything within our power to get it to those who do not have it!
Sowing seeds of love and kindness should not be separated from preaching the gospel of sovereign grace but completely intertwined with 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!
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