Onward Christian Soldiers!

Just a Thought

In a recent social media post Keith mentioned that the gospel might gain more traction if the Church aspired to look more like Jonah than King Solomon. Some of the reactions were quite amusing, but what did he mean? It’s a simple thought, but Solomon was the richest person on earth at the time, the Bill Gates of his day, and wealth dripped from him. Now, it’s true that God granted him that wealth in response to his genuine request for wisdom. It seems that some sections of the Church seek the wealth, and not the wisdom. Jonah was not initially obedient to God’s call and later resented God’s grace to those he thought worthy of judgement. But when he presented the message he was bleached from the digestive juices of the big fish, he smelt bad and had a few bits of seaweed stuck to him here and there. He looked a mess. He looked worse off than those he preached to. Yet God used him. Sometimes we need to reassess what is actually important in the gospel message we proclaim: is it the message or the messenger? It’s a simple thought and not very developed, but maybe a starting point for a conversation. We live and work with people who have been adversely affected by the so called prosperity gospel, where blessing and favour equates to personal wealth. We must be careful not to present a gospel that lacks suffering and trials.

Latest Developments:

Clinics: our most pressing need is to get the midwifery mobile clinic up and running. We have hit a brick wall of bureaucracy and frustrations. The story is too long for the newsletter but suffice to say that having provided all the information from the UK twice, this is still deemed insufficient. In fact last week the S.A. Nursing Council (SANC) asked Barbie to tell them what they had requested as they did not know and who in their office had opened the emails from the U.K. Nursing and Midwifery Council that had been sent to their general email address. This has been frustrating for us and is particularly annoying as the information supplied is only valid for three months and is therefore time sensitive. Four villages have been identified that require this outreach and social action ministry immediately and they are desperate. Please pray that SANC expedite this and that no further examinations are required. In the meantime Barbie continues to provide baby boxes to those in need.

Christmas seems so far away now. We spent ten days travelling to and from Nkomo B for a Christmas Revival. We did take Christmas Day off though! It was a great week and a difficult time for the church as they had two deaths in the village that week too.

Zimbabwe: In January we were joined by Billy Fenning from All

Nations Christian Centre (Reading Elim). We had been planning to go to Zimbabwe for some time to support Elim there. We were able to deliver two days of leadership training to twenty-six of the pastors from around the country. It was a precious time and enjoyed by all. Special thanks to Rev. Pious Munembe, General Overseer of Elim Zimbabwe, for welcoming us and Geoff and Erica Saunders for hosting the team. We are hoping that this will become an annual event.

At the end of January and early February we visited the UK for a break. We had been non-stop for over six months and one of our children made it possible to have a rest. The visit was to see our grandchildren, Joshua and his brand new baby brother, Nathan. Whilst there we also caught up with our sons and their lovely wives based in Eastbourne, Southampton as well as visiting Barking. Keith ministered at BE Church (Barking Elim) one Sunday morning where Sam is assistant pastor. Special thanks to Lloyd and Jo Cheshire for their warm welcome and encouragement. Thanks too to Neil, Darren and Rhi for organising a car for us to use during the visit. We were so blessed by the break.

When we returned home we found that there had been problems with flooding due to unprecedented tropical storms ( there was 200 mm of rainfall in under four hours). This was not helped by a leaking roof! The insurance company will not pay as they say the roof was incorrectly installed when the house was extended years ago. One of our dogs, Cooper, developed a heat spot which required treatment. It appears he was anxious whilst we were away. We also found termites had invaded a section of roof whilst we were away. Please pray that these don’t distract us from the mission we are on.

You may recall that we ran two Church planting days in the Northern District last year. Mokotopong Chruch plant was a direct result of that and more churches are planned for this year. The National Executive have now formed a National Church Planting Team and Keith has been appointed as Chairperson. The aim is to plant Emmanuel Assemblies in the five provinces where they have not reached yet, namely, Northern, Western and Eastern Cape, Free State, and Kwa-Zulu Natal. This will be a large undertaking and will involve some extensive travel over the coming months. Keith spoke at the national leaders training day last weekend to share the news of this new initiative.

Surrendered Warriors, Keith’s latest book, did not get printed in time for our UK visit, but is now at the front of the queue and will be printed soon. It’s quite exciting to see how this has come into being.

Challenges:

One of the challenges about living in our area is a crumbling infrastructure. We have constant issues with the electricity supply and load shedding (rotational power cuts). For this we are grateful to have a generator. Our other big issue is the water supply. Due to corruption and lack of maintenance the treatment plant is constantly breaking down, there are continuous water leaks and water quality issues. We regularly have to dismantle and clean out our taps because of the build up of mud and grit. This last weekend our white sheets turned orange in the washing machine! The water is not really safe to drink any longer and we can go for days with no supply at all. Last month, because of the financial crisis the municipality is in, people in Phalaborwa were charged extra for water even though we had not had a reliable supply; for us this meant paying double for less. We would love to install a borehole, like many of our neighbours, to secure a reliable source of drinking water. If you feel led to help with this please let us know, or contact Veronika or Chris at Elim missions, as it is beyond our resources.

There are a great deal of protests happening at the moment across the nation. This is fuelled by the poverty and lack of satisfaction with the government. These peaceful demonstrations are often usurped by local gangs and become violent, continuing for weeks. They involve burning vehicles and tyres across main travel routes, looting shops and hijacking cars. Today we cannot travel south of our town as both routes are blocked by civil unrest and the local college around the corner has a student protest as we write. Please pray for peace in South Africa.

Coming up:

Nyakelang 4: this week we began a series of seven meetings in this young church that we helped plant last year. It is going really well and the pastor is also our language teacher. They have such faith as a group. This week will culminate in new converts bringing their traditional (occult relayed) possessions for burning and to break with ancestor worship.

Kandbinsa Leadership School: We will be commencing a new leadership training programme with the pastors and lay-leaders in the Highveld District this month. It will begin at a District Elders Day and then become a monthly meeting to train those who will be church planting and to help with the expansion of Emmanuel in that District. We are also ministering in Vosloorus and Rustenburg Emmanuel Assemblies.

During Easter week we shall be travelling to Zambia to minister with the Oasis Churches, a church planting ministry run by Elim missionaries Ziso and Nicki Moyo. We shall be ministering at their Easter Conference.

Dates for the Diary:

March:

2nd-8th: Nyakelang 4 revival week.

14th: Highveld District Training Day at Mamelodi.

15th: Vosloorus Emmanuel, Boksburg.

16th, 18th, 20th, 22nd: Rustenburg Emmanuel (exact dates to TBC).

21st: Emmanuel Constitutional Review Day, Bushbuckridge.

23rd: Police Devotions, Phalaborwa.

National Church Planting Team Meeting, Bushbuckridge.

27th: Pastors Fraternal Devotions, Phalaborwa.

29th: Makhushane Emmanuel, Phalaborwa.

April:

8th-15th: Zambia Easter Conference

25th: Kandbinsa Leadership School, Highveld

In May we will be back for a furlough. Here are the churches and areas we will be

visiting. It would be great to see you there!

May:

10th: Elim Family Church, Eastbourne

17th: Elim Leytonstone

23rd: Garden Party, Hartford End, Chelmsford.

24th: Elim Ashingdon (Estuary Group), evening.

31st: Elim Paignton

June:

7th: Elim Worthing

14th: All Nations, Reading

17th-24th: Elim Northern Ireland

28th: Elim Barking

July:

5th: Elim Wantage

For Prayer:

  • Barbie’s midwifery qualification to be recognised. It has been delayed again due to red tape. Please pray as this is frustrating.

  • Pray for our safety on the roads as we are traveling extensively.

  • Pray for the revival at Nyakelang 4 over this week.

  • Prayerfully consider helping with our water situation.

  • Pray for the church planting efforts and new leadership school

Thank you for standing with us and for your prayers.

In His service,

Keith and Barbie

All gifts towards our ministry should be marked 'Jacksons South Africa' and sent to Elim International Missions, Elim International Centre, De Walden Road, West Malvern,

WR14 4DF (cheques payable to Elim International Missions).

If you would like to make regular gifts towards our support please visit our giving page or Veronika or Elspeth at Elim Missions.

Thank you so much.

Charity No. 251549 (England & Wales) SC037754 (Scotland)

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