The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

By Carol Lee

Imagine you are on a roller coaster ride. You have already survived many fast-paced ups and sudden downs, corkscrew twists and unexpected turns. And then…you slow down as you enter a dark, disorienting tunnel….but the pace picks up as a promise that something exciting is up ahead. Suddenly, the light at the end of the tunnel comes upon you like a flash and you are off, again, to a wild ride.

THAT! could be a description of our lives in the disorienting and disrupting times of COVID-19 and Ebola! But now, the speed is picking up and, suddenly, we are experiencing the flash of light at the end of the tunnel signaling that the ride is about to get wild–again!

Jacob and I are so grateful for the many lessons learned (even the most difficult and painful ones), for grace for a different season of life, for a renewed confidence in the sovereign goodness of God, and for the continuing privilege of displaying the beauty of Christ in the Gospel by word and deed. The last two- and-a-half years have been humbling, yet grounding, as we have dug deeper in our knowledge and experience of the Father and His loving plans for us. One of our morning devotional books has been especially helpful in orienting us toward gratitude to a God who is not surprised or de-throned by what we consider to be ups and downs and twists and turns in our story:

But there are no contingencies with God. Our unexpected, forced change of plans is a part of His plan. God is never surprised, never caught off guard, never frustrated by unexpected developments. God does as He pleases, and that which pleases Him is always for His glory and our good.
Our lives are also cluttered with a lot of “if onlys”: “If only I had done this,” or “If only that had not happened.” But again, God has no “if onlys.” God never makes a mistake; God has no regrets. “This God—his way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). We can trust God. He is trustworthy.
And so we’re told, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us” (62:8). Such encouragement is needed because so often our faith falters in various situations while we await the outcome. And frequently our situations don’t really have a happy ending. Is God sovereign then also? This is the crucial question. We honor God by choosing to trust Him when we don’t understand what He is doing or why He has allowed some adverse circumstance to occur. As we seek God’s glory, we may be sure He has purposed our good and won’t be frustrated in fulfilling that purpose.

Jerry Bridges in “31 Days Toward Trusting God”

As we have shared in past newsletters, we made the most of COVID-19 and Uganda’s Ebola’s uncertainties by preparing the campus and the buildings for an influx of TEAM! Lydia’s House is only a good cleaning and some minor tasks away from our being able to move in and settle. There is very little left to do to make the other homes ready–initially, for teams that are coming in March, April and May, and then, hopefully by the end of the year, for our two, long-prayed-for families–the Pryce’s and Langworthy’s with ABWE.

In February, Jacob and I will take a whirlwind trip to the States for a special Missions Conference in Burnet, Texas hosted by Hill Country Fellowship. We will attend as invited guests along with a number of other missionaries they support. We look forward to that time for refreshment, fellowship and connection with like-minded, Great Commission partners, sandwiched on either side by a short stay with Anna (our daughter) and Kenny, Keira, Clara and Rylan Danley.

March 20-25th, RAU will be hosting the ABWE‘s Good Soil Team, once again, for the “Roots of Faith: Old Testament” course which was cut short last time by a medical emergency (thankfully with a God-glorifying, joyful outcome!!). We are hoping to have the same attendees back again so they can receive the full benefit of the course. Jacob and I are grateful to Randy Southwell and team for keeping us on their radar and making it a priority to try again. (Randy was the one God graciously spared from a heart attack and yet, he is not deterred from “round two“!)

In April, we are privileged to host a team of veteran doctors, nurses (and others) who are members of ABWE’s International Healthcare Ministry (IHM). In past newsletters, we had reported about a tract of land that was purchased with some kind of medical facility in mind. Last summer, the IHM was gracious to meet with Jacob and me and give wise counsel on how to proceed–mainly, slowwwly. By the end of the meeting they had determined to plan a survey trip to help us assess the greatest needs for this area and how those needs might be fleshed out while keeping the Gospel front and center. We look forward to their collective wisdom and insight.

The month of May will be about as packed as it could be–and still be survivable!! In the first week of May, Paul Ortega and a team from the USA, as well as from Pearl Haven Ministries in Mbale, Uganda, will partner to bring medical personnel (Doctors, nurses, lab techs and pharmacists), lab test kits, and pharmaceuticals to do a medical and Gospel outreach–2 days in the Metu Mountains and 2 days at the RAU campus. Some of the team members will also have a children’s outreach while the rest are addressing the health needs of the people who come for care. We were blessed by Paul’s team in the past as they served wholeheartedly as unto the Lord, and the recipients of their ministry have been many grateful people.

May 15th-20th, two of the authors of “Helping Without Hurting in Africa,” Jonny Kabiswa Kyazze and Anthony Sytsma, will personally come and teach the course to a gathered group of Moyo/Metu, Yumbe/Obongi/Refugee Settlement church leaders. Jonny Kabiswa Kyazze is a Ugandan and the holder of a Master’s in Management and Organizational Development, Bachelor of Science in Community-Based Development, and a Diploma in Business Management. Anthony Sytsma and his wife, Sara, both work for Resonate Global Mission in Uganda, where Anthony mentors and teaches pastors. Anthony’s wife, Sara, will also be joining us to teach some practical ideas in agricultural, as well as cooking methods, clay ovens, nutrition, reducing fuel costs, etc. She teaches a whole number of agricultural techniques and practical tips for small scale subsistence farmers.

With great joy (and to the joy of many who sat under his teaching years ago), we welcome Ron Zeiner back to RAU on May 26th (the retreat will be May 29-June 2nd) to teach an Old Testament (OT) survey, book by book. Ron is the Pastor at Bread of Life Church in Uvalde, Texas, and has been a longtime friend going back to when Lifegate (our sending church) was first formed. We are thankful to JoAnna, his wife, for turning him loose! In probably one of the hardest tasks a good OT scholar could be assigned, Ron has distilled each OT book to its most vital storyline and implications. Many pastors are able to remember his comparative study on Jonah and Peter and how blessed they were by the study. Jacob and I are blessed to have him back here!

June will bring a welcome respite from the whirr of events as we prepare for our furlough to the USA for 3 months (July through September). Right away in July, we will attend a “New Missionary Orientation” at the ABWE headquarters as Associate missionaries. As Jacob and I soberly assess our lives, we recognize that there must be vision bearers after us who can and will continue the ministry. ABWE has stood with us by identifying missionaries from their group who are willing!! After that, we will, Lord willing, have a fun-packed vacation with our 3 children and their families–all together for the first time since 2018. From there, we will begin our itinerating to supporting churches and our sending church, Lifegate.

Please keep us and all of these teams in your prayers for safe travel and effective ministry!

As much as I do not thrive on the adrenaline rush of a fast paced life, it is wonderful to have a full calendar of activity that reflects most clearly our vision for being here in northwestern Uganda–to serve the local church leaders from Moyo and Yumbe District churches as well as Sudanese church leaders residing in the nearby refugee settlement camps by taking part in the development of pastors and leaders who are growing in the knowledge and love of Christ, growing in character and integrity and growing in love for the flocks to which God has called them to serve. The call to “teach faithful people who will also teach others” is what energizes the ministry of RAU (2 Timothy 2:2).

Jacob and I often pray with gratitude for all of you who have stood with us and participated through your prayers and financial gifts, through encouraging communications and care for our souls. As we have said before, RAU is only a pipeline of grace. Ministries and missions were never meant to have their focus on the work of individuals. In his book, “Becoming a Healthy Team,” which we are reading together as a ministry team, Stephen Macchia writes the following:

Jesus sent the Twelve out to fulfill his mission, share his message, and perform life-changing ministry. This motley group of called-out ones was privileged to partner with the Savior in ministry beyond measure. The likes of the disciples are known today as followers of Christ who are willing to die to self so that the life, love, and mission of Christ may be evidenced in this world…From the time of Pentecost to the earliest growth of the Christian church, the believers were known to share all they had with one another so that the mission, message, and ministry of Christ would be multiplied in their generation. The ripple effects of this movement of the Spirit remain actively alive today—hallelujah!

Jacob and I are also keenly aware that we have a TEAM on the ground without which we could not accomplish the multi-faceted ministry which is RAU. We thank God for Paul George, long time friend and ministry partner from Texas, who now spends many of his months here with us. His outreach with Odendi Zakeo, into our immediate neighborhoods and into Moyo (hospital and prison) brings the Gospel and love of Christ down to the “capillary” level of care. Onette Zorah is a gifted teacher with a particular love for the children and the goal of establishing a sound Sunday school curriculum. He is a help in many ways. RAU’s daily workers have co-labored with us in keeping the Demo farm functioning and beautiful and, during our many building projects, their particular skills have been a blessing. We are grateful for our American and Ugandan NGO Board members who “grease the wheels” of our progress in so many ways. Though they are not with us on site, Pastor Ojji Tobious (Metu Mountains), Pastor Amani Godfrey (Obongi), Onduga Charles (Yumbe), and Joshua Abraham (Bidi bidi Refugee Settlement) have worked tirelessly under harsh conditions to be a part RAU’s “2 Timothy 2:2” task in their respective areas.

Thanksgiving and Requests

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7
  1. Thanksgiving for a joyful Christmas celebration with the Gbari/Arapi/Duku/Oyo church plants in the Metu Mountains. Under the watchful care of Pastor Geoffrey, our brothers and sisters in Christ there are faithfully gathering. [Note: Ayaa Baptist Church is rejoicing in the completion of their church building, thanks to faithful and loving donors.] Request: Several years ago, a church building was begun in Gbari/Arapi and brought to beam level. Our hope is to raise the necessary funds to help them complete the building with a roof and finishing work (Approximately $20,000 needed). The church structure would also serve as a training center for the northern parts of the Metu Mountains while Ayaa would serve in the same capacity for the southern section of the Metu Mountains. Please pray and consider coming alongside these brothers and sisters so they may enjoy a structure that shields them from the elements. It will serve them in their weekly services and as a gathering place for trainings and other events. Please also pray that these dear people will not grow weary in the midst of the struggles of their hard lives and that they would be a light that shines in these valley communities.

2. Thanksgiving for Onduga Charles and his faithful zeal for the youth of Yumbe. Recently, Jacob and I were invited to teach at Pilgrim’s Youth conference. What an exuberant and worshipful group of young people!! It was a joy to participate with them in stirring up zeal with knowledge through teaching and the resource of ESV Global Study Bibles and in participating with them in an outreach in Kuru where they jubilated in song and shared the Gospel in earnest. I was especially impressed with a young man named William, who not only took the “task” seriously, but also peppered me with the questions that he was faced with in sharing the faith with others. Jacob enjoyed his one on one in the market with some of the youth as well as using the Land Cruiser for his “stage” as he preached and Charles (in his usual, fiery, animated way) interpreted into Aringa. At times, I hold my breath as the “dance around” the spare tires up there! Request: Please pray that the fire of their zeal for Christ will not die out by distractions of life. Pray that RAU can continue to support Charles in his outreaches and discipleship in Yumbe District.

Yumbe Youth Conference
Aringa youth singing praises in the market before the open air preaching from top the Land Crusier

3. Thanksgiving for Odendi Zakeo and his continued efforts to keep the Demo Farm operational and ready for the next project or growing season. With dry season upon us, we have the opportunity to demonstrate drip irrigation with kits supplied by M.A.R.S. (Missionary Agricultural Resource Services) whose ongoing support has made a way for us to provide training for Christian leaders as well as community members. Request: Please pray that this aspect of RAU’s ministry would be fruitful in inspiring and training many to view farming as a business and not merely a subsistence practice. Our desire is to see economic change by the people’s wise use of their land and farming knowledge.

4. Thanksgiving for the many Bibles and resources that were able to be sent (twice) to Northern Darfur in the Republic of Sudan because of an open door in that country which allows believers to gather to worship Jesus Christ (thanks to our contacts and recent political developments which have provided broader freedoms). Soon another load will be taken into the Nuba Mountains for church leaders. Request: please be prayerful for the hundreds of Christian books in Arabic and Arabic Study Bibles that were transported there–that they would be disseminated wisely and bear fruit that will last and pray that the Gospel would once again take full root in a country which has deep Christian roots (Christianity reached the area of present-day northern Sudan, then called Nubia, by about the end of the first century after Christ.) but was, most recently, a strongly Muslim country.

5. Thanksgiving for 12 students into whose futures RAU has the privilege of investing (from Primary to Secondary to Nursing and Trade School). Especially in this northwestern region of Uganda, where opportunities are hard won, education paves the way for improved chances of a decent job. Request: The funding which was there specifically for education sponsorship at the beginning is no longer available. If this is an area of vision and passion for you, please prayerfully consider sponsoring 1 or more students to completion of, at least, secondary level….$5000 per year is needed.

6. Thanksgiving for Anzoa Gift’s remarkable recovery and health after her two trips to India for heart surgery. Request: please keep praying for her health and the sound functioning of her pacemaker. It’s possible that at some point her heart rhythm may return to normal and she may not need one. Pray for her desire to become a nurse (inspired by the good care she has received) and, especially, that the difficulties and conditions of her life may not overcome this good path in her life.

7. Thanksgiving for the godly, faithful life of our brother in Christ, Pastor Bilali Pasquino of Ijujo church. He is 72 years old and continues to lead his flock well. Jacob and I were deeply touched by his faithful shepherding, remaining fruitful in his old age. Request: Prayerfully consider a gift towards a “permanent home” (bricks and cement and a metal roof) which he longs to finish for his wife so they live the end of their lives in improved conditions. We don’t normally support personal projects like this, but we were inspired to honor and support him in this season of his life. $5,000 is needed to finish it out and $200 has already been received. Recently, as he was walking along the road, he was knocked by a cow and suffered a painful leg injury. Pray for recovery and strength to continue.

Please remember Reaching Africa’s Unreached and prayerfully consider “joining the chorus” with your prayers and financial gifts as we sing the Gospel of grace in Uganda, South Sudan and (North) Sudan, most especially through the leaders RAU seeks to empower in reaching the many tribes and tongues they represent.

Pray for an increase in those who financially support RAU on a monthly basis. While we are very grateful for those who give to various projects we especially are grateful to those who give monthly. As the Lord has grown the ministry of RAU our monthly supporters are the ones who are carrying RAU’s Mission/Vision along. If you are not giving monthly, would you please consider helping us in that way? Please take time to peruse our website and see how we have sought to be faithful stewards of the gifts given. It is our desire that any charitable gifts that are given to R.A.U. would not compromise what you are  ALREADY giving to your local church and/or to other cross-cultural foreign missionaries. At this link you can read about RAU’s philosophy on missionary giving and how to give—>

Our love, prayers and blessings for you all!

Carol and Jacob Lee

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RAU’s Mission and Vision Statements/Statement of Faith:

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