Richard and Janis Lee had served the Lord together for decades. They were active members in their local church, had raised their three children to love Jesus, and had poured their hearts into their students during the many years they served as teachers. But the poverty they saw during a trip to Guatemala affected them deeply; they had to do more.
When they arrived home, they began doing research, watching several documentaries on the plight of impoverished people around the world.
“We asked ourselves, ‘How do we have the right to live the way we live?’” Janis said. “When you hear these people’s stories, you know there are a lot who are just doomed, and they don’t have a way out of their circumstances. They have no hope. So we started praying, ‘God, what can we do? How can we help?’”
Richard and Janis continued praying and researching, seeking where God could use their gifts most. During this time, they saw a video asking for help drilling a clean-water well in Kirinda, Uganda. Janis felt strongly that they were supposed to help provide a well, but she thought the well in Kirinda had probably been completed by the time they saw the video. It was at least worth asking about, her husband suggested.
“Our hearts were pounding,” Janis said. “It was like this was what we were supposed to do.”
They contacted World Help, asking about the possibility of helping the community of Kirinda. To their surprise, no one had answered the call and the project was still available. Richard and Janis committed to drilling the well and watched over the next several months as God provided the necessary funds. Through unexpected means, every dollar and every need was met.
“It was amazing,” said Janis. “We are not what most Americans would consider wealthy. But God made a way for us to give. It’s amazing what will happen when you look for the movement of the Holy Spirit.”
Richard, Janis, and one of their daughters were able to travel to Kirinda for the dedication of the well. While there, they had the chance to meet several of their sponsored children, and they began to develop relationships with people in the community. After hearing of the need for a new preschool and a new church building, the Lee family went home with a great desire to see how God would bless the people of Kirinda next.
They weren’t disappointed. Through the Lees’ dedication and the generosity of their church community, God provided the funds to build both buildings — just in time for Janis and Richard’s second trip to Kirinda.
“It was so special,” Janis shared as she reflected on their time in Uganda. Through the church building, the water well, and many other projects, the people of Kirinda are getting to experience the love of God — something that’s incredibly important to Richard and Janis.
During their most recent trip to Africa, Janis decided to do something that would bless the women at the widow’s village in Rwanda. She had developed a connection with the ladies on the first trip and was determined to show them they were loved, even with something as simple as a bar of soap and a bucket of warm water.
One by one, Janis washed the feet of each of the women while the others clapped and danced and praised Jesus. When she was finished, every woman knew she was loved and cared for. Janis said the experience was priceless.
Today, she and Richard are seeking the Lord on what the future may hold. They hope to head back to Africa next year and bring members of their church along with them. They are open to whatever the Lord has for them, as long as His glory is made known around the world.
You, too, can spread the love of Jesus to people in need around the world. Like the Lees, you can give the gift of clean water or a church building, or you can choose from a variety of other life-changing gifts in our World Help Gifts catalog.