Like you we are in a lockdown situation. The measures here have been severe but they have not been adhered to adequately around certain areas of the country. There has been alleged violence by the police and the army. We have had a prohibition of alcohol and cigarette sales, which as driven these underground into the black market. Our lock down measures are easing now, although still very strict, and the government has now instructed every municipal areas to designate land for mass graves. We are the only country in the world to declare that our spike will come after a lockdown situation. It is projected that our peak will be sometime between September and November. Please pray for the nation of South Africa at this time, for wisdom for the government and for the peaceful compliance of the people.
After being in the UK at the beginning of the year visiting our newest grandson we arrived back to a busy schedule. We delivered leadership training and preaching in the Highveld area and ministered where a new church will be planted. That weekend the President announced if anyone had been to the UK they had to self isolate. Our church planting and outreach was interrupted and we travelled home. We tried to get tested for Covid-19 as per government advice but at that time there were no tests available to people who were asymptotic. So we self-isolated for twelve days. On the thirteenth day of our quarantine South Africa went into the strictest lockdown in the world, declaring a National State of Disaster! We are now in our tenth week of this but they are now easing the measures (our levels are different to the UK, so won’t make sense without lengthy explanations). More businesses will open on 1st June. Churches will now be allowed to open under strict conditions and numbers allowed will be limited to less than fifty people. It may not be possible for all Emmanuel Assemblies to comply and therefore many could remain closed. Also, those in the vulnerable health categories have to continue self-isolating according to the strictest measures, which means Keith. That said, from June we will be able to take a walk at any time of day!
Interruptions are never a bad thing though! If you read the gospels every miracle that Jesus performed was as a result of an interruption of some kind (I’m open to be corrected on this)! Interruptions mean God has a different plan, a miracle of some kind is going to happen, God is about to change someone’s life through you!
Our furlough was postponed. We should have been in the UK right now. We have provisionally booked for September and October but this is tentative. Our borders are 100% closed and will remain so for many more weeks.
Leadership School and Church Planting
We are in discussion with the two districts that we serve in to instigate Zoom for the delivery of the leadership materials in those areas. It will mean reduced numbers as many people do not have the internet connections at home and the data costs would be very high. At this moment all physical church planting is on hold as non-essential inter-provincial travel is banned. This picture is of a church plant we helped with near Dawn Park, Gauteng.
Midwifery and Mobile Clinic
Just prior to the lockdown Barbie had been told by the nursing council here that her application had been found! The person dealing with it was on maternity leave and it was under a pile of paperwork. The last communication said she would need to do an equivalency exam, the next one was scheduled for November! It is a trial of patience as she has missed four exam opportunities in the meantime. Barbie is seeking confirmation that the exams are still going ahead this year but there are no staff taking enquires at this time due to the crisis South Africa is now in.
Elim Missions launched a Covid-19 relief appeal recently. We have been able to take part, although the Provincial government wants all food and momentary donations to pass through its hands. For various reasons we are uncomfortable with this and the NGO’s and churches are appealing this decision. We are therefore carrying out food
distribution through our trusted global partners, Emmanuel Assemblies. This means we go and purchase the food from our small local ‘cash and carry,’ and make up the parcels ourselves. As we are not permitted out of our town we have the pastors collect it from our home when they come into town on business. We have focussed on two villages where the need is the greatest. Because of your generosity through the ERA, and personal gifts from individuals, we have managed to feed around 800 people to date. We are buying more food this week, so the figure will increase. The need is great, not only here, but around the world, so please give towards the ERA appeal.
Keith’s latest book is now available on Amazon as an e-book and in print. Those of you who pre-ordered a copy should receive it in the next few weeks. Our publisher that we were working with here has closed for business during the crisis, and it is not certain if they will reopen, but if they do we will get more printed copies here. Also, Keith’s first book, Exquisite Jesus, is still available too. Just look up Keith Jackson on Amazon’s main page and scroll down to the titles (for some reason the Kindle app does not allow purchases of the books).
During our lockdown we have had relatively good electricity supply, mainly because the demand nationally has gone down. Our local water supply continues to be spasmodic and is an ongoing challenge. One of the leaders who came to collect food for the community asked if she could wash her hands because they had been without water for three days. In such challenging circumstances it is hard to maintain the hygiene standards required. Thank you to those who have given towards our borehole project (see last newsletter).
Pray for our children, their wives and our grandkids (Matt and Rio, Ben and Emma, Sam and Susanna plus Joshua and Nathan). It’s tough for them and Sam and Susanna appear to have had Covid themselves.
Pray for our health, protection and wisdom as we restart areas of ministry in the coming months.
Pray for wisdom regarding food distribution as we have to make tough choices about where it goes.
Pray that more leaders can engage online with the leadership schools.
Don't forget to check out our gallery for more photos.
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)