Our visits to the USA run the gamut: from doing (a very little) little or nothing to fun with family and friends to taking every possible opportunity to visit and personally thank our loving supporters or to connect with new ones. Our Stateside visits are helpful to us in many ways, one of which is to be refreshed and rejuvenated so that we can return with vigor to our calling in Northwestern Uganda. We are stepping back from our work to gain that perspective and rejuvenation in order to return to it with clarity and energy.
Unfortunately, one of the activities from which we tend to step back is our frequent communications. It has been longer than we are comfortable with since our last newsletter. (Our goal is to write at least two times a month.) However, we are “back on the radar” and want to update you on everything that is happening in our lives before we step back to a busy season of exciting ministry opportunities,
We arrived in Texas at the end of May and were almost immediately laid low (both of us) by a bout of Malaria. Fortunately, we had the treatment with us and started up on it right away. It’s not how we wanted to spend our time on a furlough, but we recovered in relatively short period of time. Thank you to all who prayed for us, brought us food and who showed care and concern.
One of our big priorities for this visit was to reconnect with family. We had some memorable times at the onset with Josh and Becca (son and daughter in law) and their four children and Anna and Kenny (daughter and son in law, who picked us up from the airport) and their two children. It was our first opportunity to meet Clara, the latest addition to the family (Anna and Kenny’s daughter).
We had hoped for TWO Sundays (at the front end) with our church family at Lifegate Ministries and our sending church before we began our travels. Sadly, we missed that first Sunday due to illness, but then Jacob preached the next Sunday, sharing a message from 2 Corinthians 1:11 (“You must also help us through prayer”) through which he hoped to encourage all who participate in our ministry in many ways but, especially, through prayer. (This was the message he shared in all the churches we visited.) It was refreshing to gather and worship with the people we love and call family!
Our first stop on our next two and a half weeks of travel within the USA was Chattanooga, TN, where our son, Josiah lives. It is consistently a refreshing visit. The pace slows and allows us to catch our breath. We so enjoyed our time with Josiah: daily walks, a beautiful hike in Cloudland Canyon, entering into his world for a few days, great food and time to sleep in a bit. We are so proud of Josiah and the beautiful character of Christ we see being formed in him.
We flew back to Texas and thoroughly enjoyed our stay with Anna and Kenny. One of my favorite things is to “just do everyday life” with our kids and theirs! Waking up together and doing everyday things is a huge treat! Their church family, Rocky Point Baptist Church, has also become ours – it is an encouragement the way they have opened their hearts to us and have jumped on board in support of RAU and its ministries. We are eagerly anticipating the team they are sending in September and the Marriage and Family teaching as well as children’s ministry which will be happening during their stay here.
Our final flight before returning to our hometown, Seguin, was to Iowa, where Jacob’s family lives. Especially important to us was to visit Jacob’s Mom and Dad. An additional blessing was to see all his siblings as well as aunts, uncles and cousins! Jacob’s mom has recently been placed in a nursing home due to some health complications. Thanks to Jackie, Jacob’s sister, a meeting hall was reserved where we could all enjoy lunch together and then receive other family in the afternoon. A very wonderful time!
While in Iowa, I was blessed to see my brother, John Mayer, and his wife, Nancy and their daughters, Rachael and Becky. (Ruth could not make it.) That is a rare event and cherished all the more because of its rarity! There was a lot to catch up on, but we did a lot of it in the 4 or 5 hours we had together.
Back in Seguin, some special days were prioritized to spend with Josh, Becca and their 4 children. Investing in their lives through time and hugs, reading, wrestling, kisses and tickles filled our cup of joy to the brim. We are amazed to see their growth and development (which reflects on their parents) from visit to visit and cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for them.
During the remainder of our furlough we were in the Seguin area, but visited several churches and met up with dear friends. Making all of these connections is a unifying and energizing thing. When we are back in Uganda, the relationships we have nurtured over decades and the last few years contribute greatly to the confidence and strength we have to be where we are and do what we do.
Though we were away for 6 weeks, it by no means indicates that activities came to a screeching halt at RAU. One of the greatest blessings has been the forging of new friendships and partnerships in life and ministry. Under the excellent management of Samuel (from D.R. Congo), who has been working with us for the last year, RAU was “still in business”. Samuel has been a tremendous blessing. Our emotions are torn as he prepares to return to his beloved D.R. Congo in just a few days from now.
Emma, our Ag Extension Officer from Moyo, in addition to maintaining the rigorous schedule of the weekly radio program and post graduate course requirements, did superb work in making regular visits to the Metu Mountains for Ag training. He used a participatory approach, rotating between participants’ gardens, using discovered problems as his agenda for training and then having all the attendees contribute to improving the garden in which they were being trained. His exuberance and passion for his work is contagious and makes us proud to have him on board at RAU, contributing in such a significant way to the development of this region and displaying the love of God in such a tangible way.
Another accomplishment which is worthy of celebration that happened while we were gone is the completion of a total of 4 bore holes in the remote villages of the Metu Mountains, all paid for! Seeing firsthand what these community members endured for years, collecting water the way it has been collected for centuries, pressed our hearts into action. Two of the villages who were beneficiaries of a clean water source were very difficult to reach. Community members of these villages were asked to do what they could to make the “roads” passable for the drilling rigs. They gladly complied and did back breaking work, literally digging into the side of the mountain to make a way for the vehicles. However, the reward of that is immeasurable! Thanks to all who generously gave towards these projects!!!
Our furlough is never a relaxing vacation “away from it all”, though we do have snatches of that scattered throughout. As the title of this letter indicates, we are only stepping back momentarily in order to continue looking forward to what the Lord has planned for the West Nile region of Uganda. Our “break” away from ministry in Uganda is always a mixture of leisure and planning for future ministry. Amy Carmichael must have been acquainted with this need for maintaining a healthy perspective for she writes:
“We have all eternity to celebrate the victories but only a few hours before sunset to win them.“
Returning to the USA tends to reinforce this mindset in us as we see a culture which is, to a great extent, focused on momentary leisure and entertainment and not on eternal pleasures. Jacob and I can easily trip and fall into this “pot hole” and so it requires reminding and vigilance.
We are now safely back at RAU, all of our cases with ministry supplies having reached safely. We are unpacked, organized and poised and ready for the next thing! Helping us kick start a new season of ministry are John and Angela Howarton from our hometown, Seguin. What a blessing and encouragement they are. Our dinner conversation and gut-busting laughter are healing and strengthening. We look forward to our first day of outreach into the Metu Mountains tomorrow as we visit several of the church plants there and see the bore holes which have been set in place.
Please keep praying for us. Only the Lord can fully see what victories are won, eyes opened and hearts healed through those prayers. We always appreciate your letters and feedback. If you write about your lives it also gives us an opportunity to help you through prayer and keeps us connected with you more closely.
Thank you for your love and support! We are all in this together and it takes all of us to get it done!
God Bless You,
Carol (and Jacob) Lee
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!———–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!Jacob Lee
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