Friday, October 30, 2009

The Power of Prayer...

I had serious nose bleedings over the past week. Five times. I had never had such bleeding before.
My wife is a nurse and she has not seen any such serious bleeding since 1990 when she was working in the Emergency Room at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. It was that serious.

Kristin consulted with our doctor, Chuck Lee in Colorado, over the skype and has given me treatments. But, she also sent e-mails to our prayer partners a few days ago. God's grace is never short of abundance! The bleeding stopped immediately and the past two days have been without the bleeding.

Praise the Lord who is gracious and faithful in answering the prayers of His people!
Praise the Lord for Kristin, Chuck and all prayer partners!

I would like to express my sincere and deep appreciation to all who have prayed for me. Your prayer support has been tremendously helpful! - Jeffrey Lee

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cape of Good Hope...Cape Point...

It was a mysterious feeling to stand at the south western tip of the African continent. For a moment, I was thinking of the people who turned around this tip from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean, such as Bartolomew, the first explorer. They must have traveled with the land on the left hand side all along. Then after passing this Cape of Good Hope, formerly known as Cape of the Storms, they could no longer see the land on the left hand side. They must have sensed a different weather as well as a different water. What an excitement they must have had!

It is now a mute point because of the Suez Canal that connects the Europe and the Asia, but before the Suez Canal all ships had to go all the way around this Cape of Good Hope. It must have been a long journey.

The surroundings of the Cape of Good Hope were pretty simple, but it was meaningful enough to stand at that tip of the continent. (I learned that the most southern tip of the African continent was approximately 300 km away, but this is the first turning point from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean.)

We also hiked to the lighthouse at the top of the Cape Point nearby. This lighthouse apparently had a very strong light that used to be seen from 56 km away; however, it was placed far too high (over 220m) that it was frequently covered by the mist, fog and cloud, resulting in very low visibility. Later, the current lighthouse was built at approximately 85 meters from the sea level. - Jeffrey

Sunday, October 25, 2009

God's Providential Encounter...

On the way back from Cape Town to Kigali, we had to come through Joburg. The flight from Cape Town to Joburg got delayed and the check-in counter for the connecting flight was closed earlier than scheduled. We tried to find the office of this tiny airline of Rwanda (Rwandair Express) for hours going back and forth between A and B Terminals of the Joburg's huge O.R. Tambo International Airport.... without success. I ended up calling our staff at the bank to make contact with them. Frustrated, we had to sleep one night in Joburg unexpectedly.

The next day, we were arranged to be on another airline's flight (Kenya Airlines). But, the gate agent could not find our names. After making a couple of additional unsuccessful attempts to find Rwandair Express office, we finally figured out that they switched our first names and last names. So the gate agent could not find our names in the system.

Finally relieved, we checked in and were waiting in the gate area for boarding to Nairobi, Kenya to be continuing to travel to Kigali after a few hours of waiting. Tired but we were relieved and grateful that we finally were able to get on the flight to come back to Kigali. Kristin and I were discussing that we should not be annoyed too much by the unexpected circumstances because we do not have any control over them. But we could control over how we respond to such unexpected circumstances. We should not suffer from our own frustration and anxiety when the external circumstances are difficult enough.

That was when I met Rev. Billa Wilson Babu. He is from India and living in India. He was on his way back to India via Nairobi, Kenya after he attended a leadership conference in Joburg. He is a missionary from Bangalore, India to reach out to his fellow Indians in the Chennai area, southern India, who, however, speak different dialects than brother Wilson. He was a Hindu himself and he is now ministering to other Hindus. He is an educated man with a bachelor's degree, two master's degrees and a ThM degree. He is a pastor, a teacher, a husband and a father of three children. He is shepherding a small church, Bible Baptist Church, that has 10 families, but it took him six years to win these 10 families to the Lord. He also has Doulos Ministries through which he serves the sick people and provides education and training for the pastors and leaders of small rural churches in the surrounding areas.

I could sense that he was charged with a strong calling to serve his fellow Indians with the love that our Lord Jesus Christ has demonstrated to us and commanded us to live with. I could clearly feel his passion for God and compassion for his people. I was grateful to the Lord who has led us to meet each other.

So I said, "Brother Wilson, you and I are meeting today because we missed the flight yesterday. I trust it was God's will that you and I are meeting. Let us stay in touch for continuing our fellowship through prayer and support. Let us see what the Lord has in mind for us to do together." On site, we prayed and rejoiced together. It was God's providential encounter. -Jeffrey

Saturday, October 24, 2009

466/64 Section B Cell 7 ... Robben Island, S. Africa

[Robben Island entrace...............466/64 (Nelson Mandela's ID) ............Nelson Mandela's cell]

There was an Opportunity International Africa CEO Conference in Cape Town during October 19-21. Kristin and I took Friday off and spent two days in Cape Town.

One of the first things we did was visiting The Robbene Island where the maximum security prison was located. South Africa's former president and a Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela spent 18 years at this maximum security prison doing hard labor. His prison life was because of the "Apartheid" that was prevailing in South Africa until 1994.

Anyone who is a South African or interested in Nelson Mandela knows what "466/64" means. It is the identity number for Nelson Mandela. His prison cell was in Section B Cell 7.

A small island, Robben Island, located approximately one hour by ship had many former political prisoners. Now it is closed, but it remains the World's Heritage Site, showing the cruel human mistake of "Apartheid." Our tour guide was a former political prisoner who spent 8 years at this Robben Island. I prayed that such a cruel human mistake like "Apartheid" should never happen again. - Jeffrey

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Book of Romans in Five Months !!!

Today, Wednesday October 14th, we have completed the study on the book of Romans. Praise the Lord!

The joy was great because we have been studying it for the past five months. Who are we?

[me, Kristin, Jooheum, Jihoon and Sangmin]

We are a bible study group of five, including three members of Korean international volunteers (KOICA), Kristin and myself. They are Jooheum, Sangmin and Jinhoon. Jooheum is a PhD candidate in Knowledge Science, Sangmin is a college student and Jihoon is also a college student in Korea. They came for the international service in lieu of their military service. They all work at RITA or Rwanda Information Technology Authority, the Rwandan government agency overseeing the ICT industry. They all assist the government in developing the ICT industry in Rwanda. Excellent young people!

In addition to their expertise in IT, they all have other specialty. Sangmin plays the guitar and leads us in praising the Lord. Jihoon is a photographer and takes excellent photos. Also he is very good at electronic gadgets. Jooheum is an expert in coffee, briliant with venture development and a guru in e-trade. What a group of talented young people!

We are meeting on Wednesdays and it is an exciting time for us to grow in the knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus Christ through this time. We pray that we will also grow mature in our faith and love in our lives to be reflecting the light of Jesus to our friends, relatives, colleagues and the world.

In a couple of weeks, we will begin the study on the book of Ephesians.

We are excited to hear that a few more people may join us for the bible study. Praise the Lord!

Please pray for us so that our bible study may bear many fruits in our lives as the witnesses of the gospel of the Kingdom. Thank you, Lord, for your grace upon us for the past five months. I pray that you will continue to be gracious to us as we continue the bible study on the book of Ephesians. Amen! - Jeffrey

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rwamagana Branch Open!!!

On Friday, October 9th, we opened the Rwamagana Branch.
[<-- This is an earlier photo before the construction was completed. I forgot to take the camera.]

It is a regional hub branch to serve the entire Eastern Province for now. Actually, it looks bigger and nicer than the home office! It will house the Rwamagana EBU (Entrepreneurial Business Unit), Regional Support Center and one mobile branch when launched in December. The RSC will provide support for Ngoma EBU and Gatsibo NMO (New Market Office) as well. As we open smaller "spoke" branches or "points of delivery", as I prefer to call them, they will be served out of this regional hub. So it was a big celebration internally. Many staff members could not resis their joyful tears.

This was the third new branch that we opening this year. The first was opened in Nyanza, the south of Kigali, and the second one was in Muhanga (f.k.a. Gitarama), the west of Kigali City. Rwamagana is in the east of Kigali. So gradually we are expanding the network externally into the rural areas.

It was a soft-opening, celebrating the opening ourselves with a dozen clients. We praised God for His providence and prayed for His continuing grace. A few clients shared their testimonials. One of them said that she started with a $26 small loan that she used for retail trade as well as her school fee. It was 10 years ago. Now she owns two retail shops and is able to borrow and pay back $3,800. She is the leader for a group and is coaching others with business management skills. She also actively participates in the community and her church programs. She is also helping with orphans and widows. I thanked Him for His blessings on her.

In my turn, I thanked the Lord for His grace in the rough journey until the opening. I also thanked Him for the clients because of whom we exist. I thanked Him for all the staff I am privileged of working with. And I thanked Him for the transformation that He is achieving in the lives of our clients. I promised that UOB will not only be a bank that provides credit and savings, but it will also be providing micro insurance that will help our clients manage their life risks better. I also promised that UOB will continue to provide education and training so that their life quality will continue to improve transformationally in all aspects of their lives holistically.

We are planning to hold the grand opening ceremony early November with the guest of honor , most likely the central bank governor of the Eastern Province Governor, and the bank's board members. Praise the Lord! - Jeffrey