Hope and Heartache
What a season we all find ourselves in! We are pleased to see that the Covid-19 vaccines have begun to roll out in the UK. We are still waiting here, although doses are now on order. However, it is unclear as to when we might get vaccinated ourselves.
Last December Keith was able to give an online seminar for Elim South America on church planting. We were joined by Elim leaders from across the region and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Just before Christmas, we received a personal gift and we brought 1.2 tonnes of food. This was supplemented by a local contact who gave us fresh vegetables. We were able to feed seventy-two families for the two weeks over Christmas as a result. To date, through Elim’s Relief Appeal and local assistance, we have been able to feed nearly 4000 people during our lockdowns.
We were sent a gift by family and so we decided to go away for four nights to a place called Sabie for Christmas. It was a lovely break and nice to be out of our town for a while. Whilst we were away we heard that there had been water and power supply issues back home. When we returned we found everything in our freezer had defrosted and had to be thrown away. We have had water supply issues and constant power cuts over and above the scheduled ones through January. Last week 75 metres of underground cable was dug and stolen! All this during curfews and tighter lockdown restrictions!
We both fell ill in January and were tested for Covid. Both of the tests came back negative but Keith experienced a severe tummy upset for three weeks and ended up on a drip in the doctor’s surgery. He is much better now but is to see a physician in March to ensure all is well. We are both still very tired and our doctor is not convinced that it was not Covid as he is seeing numerous cases daily. As a result, we have been ‘shielding’ although there’s no word for it here.
A week ago we found ourselves in the path of Cyclone Eloise. It hit Mozambique and caused havoc there. We are just a few kilometres from Mozambique. Just a kilometre from us there was flooding and road closures, but we seemed to get off lightly. We only had 100mm of rain in a few hours and the forecast aftermath never arrived. The roof that Keith had repaired in the winter sprung several new leaks and it looks like we will need to see if it can be replaced at some point.
Churches are still closed here and so ministry on Sundays cannot take place yet. Likewise, church planting is not possible as we cannot gather crowds. The deaths in our town due to Covid have tripled in the last month alone, although exact figures are unclear due to the way data is collated. Keith has busied himself with recording short leadership videos for the Emmanuel leaders and will be releasing them in phases on Youtube. Barbie has been knitting for the Baby Boxes, busying herself proof-reading Keith’s latest thriller and preparing vegetable packs for those with no food.
We are planning to be on furlough this year in the UK and catch up with as many of you as possible. We also hope to get vaccinated at the same time if we have not received the jabs here. Several churches have already asked us to forward short talks and news videos to use in their services just in case.
Here are our planned dates for the weekends. We are available mid-week too:
2nd: BE Church, Barking
16th: All Nations, Reading
30th: Church 180, Paignton
13th: Elim, Northern Ireland
20th: Elim, Northern Ireland
For the furlough plans this year. The need to be tested before we fly and then the quarantine rules the UK government are enforcing, means the costs of furlough have doubled for us!
For our health as we are both still quite tired from the bug we had.
For South Africa’s vaccination programme to roll out successfully without the besetting problems of corruption.
For fresh opportunities to share the gospel, even in our strict lockdown.
In His service,
Keith and Barbie
All gifts for ministry should be sent to us via Elim Missions. This can be done: 1) online via the Elim Missions website- www.elim.org.uk/missions, 2) by post to Elim International Missions, De Walden Road, West Malvern, WR14 4DF. Cheques should be made payable to Elim International Missions & marked (insert name of missionary and country) on the reverse. Or, 3) if you would like to set up a Direct Debit, Standing Order or make a ‘one off’ bank transfer donation, please contact the Elim Missions office firstname.lastname@example.org, to request further information. On the rare occasion that money is given to projects which become either over or under subscribed, or is continued to be given for a missionary after they have completed their missionary service, we will make every endeavour to contact donors before we divert funds to works of a similar nature. To cover the cost of administrating missionaries and overseas organisations, Elim Missions withholds a small percentage on gifts given. Registered Charity 251549 (England & Wales) / SC037754 (Scotland)