But God!

By Carol Lee

Dear Family and Friends!

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, when Reaching Africa’s Unreached (RAU) was just a Gospel-inspired seed in some people’s thoughts and a hope-filled vision of love in their hearts, it seemed like a well-rounded plan to have a ministry that spread it’s branches in 3 directions:

At times, this idea seemed too grand and unattainable. BUT GOD! has been showing those people that their plans were not just “lofty ideas“, but His “good works, that they should walk in them.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

Through the years, two of the 3 branches seemed to wither on the tree, BUT GOD! is bringing each branch to life. He is making everything beautiful, appropriate and right in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

…when the speed of God seems slow to us, or when his timing doesn’t make sense, we must “not overlook this one fact”: God-time is different from man-time. God-time is relative to his purposes, which is his frame of reference. And God, according to his wise purposes, makes everything beautiful in its time — the time he purposefully chooses for it.” [emphasis mine]

Jon Bloom, Desiring God

The seed which germinated has become a tree under whose shade many have gathered–to come alongside on the ground AND to be “Rope Holdersfrom a distance–to fulfill RAU’s ministry in northern Uganda, just 2 kilometers south of South Sudan. By God’s grace, the modular approach to leadership training and discipleship (in which we long to present leaders mature in Christ–Colossians 1:28; 4:12) has been well established and in progress and also includes the opportunity to learn good farming practices on the Demo Farm (for pastors and community members). Several years ago, RAU purchased a 3-acre tract of land across the road for an Education Center. At the moment, it is just a field with maize and mango trees, BUT GOD!, we believe, will, in His providence and timing, make a way for an Education Center for tutoring children in academic excellence and adults in literacy and other beneficial life skills. Most recently, financial partners have given toward another 6-acre plot (directly adjacent to the East of the 17-acre campus) where RAU hopes to build a small, state-of-the-art hospital. The seed is becoming a burgeoning tree of ministry.

Our feet laced up with the shoes of readiness to take the Gospel of Peace, the Land Cruiser shod with new, heavy-duty tires to deliver us there!

Jacob and I see the good in the timing of God’s plan more clearly with each passing year. As we have watched the ministry grow, part of His plan has been the answer to our fervent prayers for helpa team of laborers! RAU is blessed in the group of men and women God has already given us here–Ugandan and American–AND He is answering our prayer for other missionaries to join us in growing RAU into a multi-generational ministry that will, by God’s grace and providence, bear fruit that remains!

Recently, TWO families with the sending agency, ABWE (Association of Baptists for Worldwide Evangelization) were commissioned by their local churches to join us. They are in the process of fund-raising to that end! Jacob and I are thrilled and hopeful! We knocked on that door for so many years with no sign of an answer, BUT GOD! was at work and is graciously opening the door through ABWE. In these coming months, we hope to introduce you to Aaron and Amanda Langworthy and Ben and Sara Pryce who are being sent through this Rock-solid, mission-sending organization. RAU and ABWE have formalized a partnership which, we pray, will strengthen RAU’s ministry and influence into the coming decades.

When we consider all the regions that would benefit from discipleship in the context of local churches, the burden is overwhelming. This motivates us to pray that these two families (both eager to come) will be able to reach their budget goals quickly. The harvest–the urgent needs–are plentiful and the laborers are few. May the Lord provide abundantly for those who are willing to come!!

Upon hearing the news of the two families, Jacob’s brain immediately went into problem-solving mode for accommodating a family of 5 and and family of 8!! We are all happily re-arranging ourselves into different spots so that we can welcome the Langworthy’s and Pryce’s in the most comfortable manner possible! This requires some renovation of existing buildings, but the work is coming along well. This is a “problem” worth having and solving!

Additionally, we had all but given up the idea of a hospital , BUT GOD!! has also revived the life of that branch by providing, through gracious donors, the funds to purchase 5.6 acres directly adjacent to the eastern border of our current 17-acre campus. Though it will likely take years for the branch to become full-grown, the first steps have been taken: the land surveyed, the papers for the land signed, landowners paid, land bulldozed and cleared and, now, awaiting the completion and delivery of the official land title.

The newly purchased land and access road for the proposed hospital

Though RAU has not had a functioning clinic or hospital, this lack has not been an impediment to helping those with serious medical needs. On FaceBook and through newsletter, we have been following the story of Anzoa Gift, a young, 12-year old girl from the Metu Mountains (Abeso, where RAU was able to sink a borehole for water). Having been born in a remote, northwestern village of Uganda, her congenital heart defects were not immediately diagnosed and went untreated for 12 long years. As she grew, it was apparent that she could not live a long, healthy life without intervention. Normally, treatment is nearly impossible because of access and funding, BUT GOD! had his eye on Anzoa Gift and, with the help of two NGOs (Acdipe and RAU), Anzoa was able to travel with her father, Amanzuru Richard, to Bangalore, India, where life-saving surgery was successfully completed through corrective surgery and a pacemaker. Anzoa and her father are now back in Uganda. Pastor Tobious, Richard and RAU are looking at ways that Anzoa Gift can be cared for and guarded so that, in the crucial months following the surgery, she will be able to follow all the safety guidelines that accompany such a surgery. Richard must return to work and his wife just gave birth to twins, so it is our hearts desire to remain standing with this family! We all continue to pray that Anzoa Gift remains free of infection and complication and lives a long, fruitful life, to the praise of God’s glorious grace!

We will also finish off this term of service with our 3rd retreat for the year. COVID and other complications threatened to scramble our cherished plan to come alongside Pastors and Church leaders and strengthen them in knowledge and practice, BUT GOD! has opened the doors for us to continue. Jason Van Bemmel, Bob Brown, and two new team members, Shawn Trautman and Philip Pugh, coming from three sister PCA churches, Forest Hill Presbyterian, New Covenant and Living Hope Presbyterian, will travel to RAU to teach the next module: Systematic Theology intertwined with Church History. As always, we will have pastors and potential leaders from the Metu Mountains, Moyo, Obongi, Yumbe and several of the Refugee settlements which care for Displaced Persons from South Sudan and the Republic of (North) Sudan.

Jacob and I are rounding the corner to the day we return to the USA for a furlough–visiting our precious family (including a newborn grandson, Rylan), traveling to and visiting our supporting churches and adding 3 new churches to our itinerary. We will be gone for about 3 months.

New Grandson, Rylan James Danley, with older sisters, Keira and Clara. Jacob and I now have nine precious grandchildren.

In our absence, we are grateful that ministry in various forms will continue as Paul George returns from his furlough and Zorah continues development of a Sunday School program and a young men’s book study (The Measure of a Man, by Gene A. Getz). While we are gone, Paul will also watch over the continuing renovations as we prepare for our growing team.

Jacob and I are thrilled to see our faithful brother, Joshua Abraham, making the most of exile from his home country, (Darfur) Sudan. Joshua might have every worldly reason to be embittered or discouraged, BUT GOD! has given him a steadfast spirit in his studying to show himself approved and following an opportunity to further his theological education. He has been a faithful liaison between RAU and Pastors from the Sudan in distributing Bibles and theological literature to strategic leaders. Additionally, he is prioritizing the training of 10 faithful brothers within the Refugee settlements using resources (18 different books) provided through the ministry of RAU (which means, through you all who support us and through you who provide resources). The first book study is Nine Marks of a Heathy Church , by Mark Dever. It encourages us to see, in practice, what has been emphasized over and over–faithful people teaching other faithful people who, in turn, will teach others (2 Timothy 2:2).

Sudanese Pastors who received ESV Global Study Bibles
The Pastors participating in the discipleship process with Joshua Abraham (in the green shirt, bottom row, left)
The 18 books through which Joshua will take the Pastors!

Continue to pray for our co-workers and ministry partners–Pastor Ojji Tobious (Metu), Pastor Amani Godfrey (Obongi) and, brother Onduga Charles (Yumbe)–as they labor with love in difficult circumstances and many challenges. Pray that they would not grow weary in the work, but be refreshed by the Holy Spirit as they do important things which can only be measured eternally and the things that display the kindness of God!

Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12

An update on the latest of two boreholes (water wells) that RAU was able to sink (through donations from a Canadian organization, Toucan Ventures): there is now clean, accessible water in the villages of Aliodranisi and Lama. You might remember the photos we posted of the method of gathering water in Aliodranisi where women were dipping water out of a hole in the ground to fill their jerry-cans. We praise God for His love displayed to these two communities. Hopefully, we will be able to visit these two villages and provide photos of the working boreholes!

Proverbs 19: 21 states, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” This proverb is NOT instructing us to avoid making plans but, rather, it is encouraging us to make plans–with wisdom and in dependence on the Holy Spirit–and with trust in a great God whose good plans are NEVER thwarted: “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2: 13)

Jacob and I are very attuned to the truth that RAU can be and do nothing eternally significant apart from the team (on the ground and those holding the rope) abiding in THE VINE, who is Christ Jesus. Our heart’s cry is much like that of Moses who said, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). The task (the flourishing of this tree) is too massive to move ahead without the power and presence of God energizing us. We are weak, BUT GOD! is strong. We are short-sighted, BUT GOD! sees and knows the end from the beginning. Please pray with us and for us as we work all these plans out “with fear and trembling.” Stand with us in provision and, if you are not already a financial partner, consider taking part with us to make the RAU “Tree” grow strong and provide benefit for many.

With gratefulness, love and our prayers for your blessings in Christ,

Carol and Jacob Lee

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

Donation page: https://reachingafricasunreached.org/donations/

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

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

RAU’s Mission and Vision Statements/Statement of Faith: https://reachingafricasunreached.org/about/

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!

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