How Long, Oh Lord?
Sometimes people can feel alone, forgotten by God, deserted. The Psalmist wrote:
How long, Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me? (Psalm 13:1-2)
It's a cry of desperation. During these unique times we are all facing we are allowed to cry out to God and ask Him, "How much longer will this continue?" Our lockdown in South Africa has been eased in certain sectors of the economy but made stricter
in others, all the while the infection rate of Covid has spread to the point where we are now number five in the world; number three globally if the infection rate per million is considered. These are dark days for the nation.
But the Psalmist continues:
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me, (Psalm 13:5-6).
King David remembers who his God is. In the midst of difficulties he decides to praise God, remembering His unfailing love, the joy of salvation, and the goodness of God. Desperation and intercession is allowed, self-pity is not. In the midst of your trial we pray you may be reminded of the hope in our Father God.
We have continued to receive monies from the Elim Relief Appeal run by Elim Missions. The world-wide demand on this fund is so high that it is spasmodic when we do receive funds, but we are so grateful for the help and to you who have given so generously to the appeal. We have also been encouraged by personal gifts sent from All Nations, Reading, earmarked for food parcels. Also a local contact has been giving us surplus vegetables on an ad hoc basis. To date we have been able to send just over 300 parcels, or 5 tons of food, into three villages locally, feeding an estimated 1500 people.
We distribute this through the leaders and pastors in Emmanuel Assemblies, Elim's Global Partner, as we are not allowed to travel to these areas yet.
Here are a few of their stories in the words of Pastor Moghale:
This is Mr Mbetheni. A widower who is raising 6 kids from the ages of 8 to 16 years old.
He has no South African identity documents, therefore does not exist under the law. His children have no birth certificates. The local pastor has been working with this family since 2017. They only depend on hand-outs. The old man cannot see clearly and he is not in a condition to have a job to sustain themselves because of his health.
We are the co-stakeholders with the Department of Correctional Services. During their monitoring of ex-offenders they discovered poverty in their clients (ex-offenders.)
This is Ernest Ngobeni. He cannot get employed because of his criminal record. The Captain from the Department of Correctional Services brought him to the church to receive food from Elim UK.
This is Louwie Ngobeni.
He is mentally challenged with no South African identity.
He lives alone since his siblings have their own families.
He only survives when he is given food by people.
We have also sent 30 baby boxes into the villages in the same way. Thank you to the ladies at Ashingdon and the team at All Nations for your help with this. Two of those families have now joined the churches since the beginning of lockdown.
Barbie's Midwifery Registration:
Progress! In the midst of delays during to our own lockdown, Barbie has just heard that she has met the 'minimum requirements' for registration as a midwife. In fact she is overqualified in many respects. However, she has to take an examination in November around South African law and practice and she now has the textbooks to begin studying. Hopefully, once she has passed, we will be able to progress the mobile antenatal clinic in the local villages that so desperately need it.
Barbie's Back and Hip:
Barbie has developed a sore back and has difficulty walking long distances at present due to hip pain. She has had a scan and this has shown two damaged discs and a problem with the hip but the bones all seem fine. Barbie is going back to the specialist on the 31st July for an update and a decision on what to do next.
Church Planting and Leadership Training:
The National Church Planting Team that Keith heads up is on a hiatus due to our lockdown measures; we cannot travel into the areas we want to plant churches and, even if we could, there are lots of restrictions that mitigate against drawing large crowds to a new church plant. We will review the strategy when our infection rates drop.
Frustratingly, Keith was due to begin a leadership school in the Highveld District for Emmanuel Assemblies but we cannot travel there at present. In the meantime he has commenced a YouTube channel - Kandbinsa Training - where he is posting short taster sessions of the seminars for the local leaders and church planters to engage with. In time he hopes to have thirty or so talks online.
Preaching for Keith has diminished somewhat! Due to Keith being a diabetic the government advice here is to work at home and avoid going out. We have been in regular contact with Iain Hesketh, International Missions Director, about this and he too has recommended we remain in isolation as much as possible and not to attend mass gatherings. We review this with him monthly.
That said, Keith was privileged to preach for BE Church, Barking Elim, last month and for All Nations, Reading, this month. All recorded and emailed on of course. Live streaming is tricky for us as our internet is not reliable but we have applied to have an upgrade which might help.
Elim Missions Academy:
Elim Missions Academy is a great resource and is part of the process of becoming a full-fledged Elim Missionary. Elim Missions are updating the material and moving more modules online. Keith has been asked to produce a theology seminar entitled: "The Biblical Arc of Missions in the Old Testament." He will be recording it this week.
Both of Keith's books, Exquisite Jesus and Surrendered Warriors, are available on Amazon now. He has also set up a little online shop for his photos that you may like and can purchase as gifts or framed prints. You can follow this link for more information:
We were due to be in the UK in May and June for our annual furlough, however, this was delayed due to border closures. We are due back in the UK at the beginning of September, but this is dependent upon South Africa opening its borders. We will keep you all posted.
A little while ago, before lockdowns and life changed for us all, we asked if you might consider helping secure a water source for us by helping sink a borehole. Thank you to those who repsonded and sent extra gifts. We did not raise enough for a borehole but we did manage to install a 2500 litre water tank and pump. This acts as a reservoir and is on our side of the municipal water meter. When the municipal water is off, which it has been three times this week, we have enough water to keep the two of us going for up to a week, less if we have guests. That should cover us for most water interruptions if we are careful. Obviously we have to pay for any water we consume but after the first filling it evens out. It's a popular option and more and more of these green tanks are appearing across Phalaborwa. Thank you!
Pray for Barbie's hip and back and that the consultant will have good news for her.
Pray our protection as the Covid infection rates rise here.
Pray for continued opportunities to train leaders and plant churches.
Pray for Barbie as she studies towards her exams in November.
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 contact Veronika or Elspeth at Elim Missions.
Thank you so much.