The Gloved Hand
Sometimes I (Keith) get stuck in a Bible book. It ruminates and keeps stirring around in my soul. Two books this year have been particularly impactful, Esther and Habakkuk. Both are books that are connected to the need for justice, but both outwork in different ways.
Habakkuk’s prayer, or complaint, a lament really, says: How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? (Hab. 1:2-3).
Have you ever felt God is taking his time? How long must you wait for an answer? How long must you see injustice and God seems to be silent? Now, the response from God was not what Habakkuk expected; God was going to send the Babylonians and take the people of God into exile! Sometimes the answer is not what we expected, but God is still at work, even if we don’t recognise it immediately.
This gives us hope in the midst of the cost of living crisis (which is not just a UK problem) when infrastructure issues mean our water supply is only on for twelve hours a day, and when rolling power blackouts mean we rely on our generator to keep the fridge cold. However, we are grateful for God’s provision and that we do have a 2500 litre water tank to store water and a generator too. Many others do not have these things and we find ourselves helping them with drinking water. Sometimes we pray, “How long will this continue Lord? The poor are suffering!” Ultimately, we know God is at work.
Someone once said if you cannot see the hand of God at work you can still see His fingerprints. Habakkuk reminds me that sometimes God seems to be wearing gloves! Nevertheless, He is good and continues to work, even if at the time you and I cannot see it.
Mamelodi House Project
Thank you to those who have given to support this project. Pastor Solomon writes (in his words): “Thank you for bringing back our dignity and taking away the shame of leaving in such unbearable conditions. May our God almighty richly bless you for asking donations on our behalf! You are indeed a gift sent to South Africa and our life. Please send our heartfelt gratitude’s and appreciation to Elim Pentecostal UK and all the Churches for donating the gift …”
They have wasted no time in demolishing the metal shack, buying materials and commencing construction. The aim is to get the structure finished before the rainy season so that the family can be safe and dry for the first time in years. There’s still a little way to go to have enough money to complete the house, so they plan to move in without electricity and water connections. If you feel led to help please send any gifts via Elim Missions, marked “Mamelodi House Project, South Africa.” In the meantime, work continues and they are at head height with the outer walls. Modimo o lokile - God is good.
Barbie continues to reach out to pregnant woman and young mums. We were really blessed by Liz Durham and the ladies from Ashingdon Elim who gathered for a cream tea to raise money for baby boxes. We are so grateful to see how this simple ministry has captured the hearts of people back in the UK. It makes a huge difference in the first few weeks of a baby’s life and gives an opportunity for Barbie to share the Good News of Jesus. In one of the churches we work with there’s been significant growth due to this ministry, with around 1 in 4 who received a baby box joining the church, being discipled and baptised.
Church Planting Conference
In the role of Chair of the national church planting team, Keith organised a national conference to train those interested in planting new churches. We had a special guest from Burkina Faso (name withheld for security reasons) come and train the delegates in the concept of discipleship communities. The rationale is to start small to grow big, planting churches in the homes of people in the villages, rather than having a big tent mission and the expense that brings. Our guest had overseen the planting of over a thousand such churches in fifteen years. The delegates were challenged with such a paradigm shift but they left enthused and eager to begin. The next steps will involve devolving the training to those in each of the four districts where Emmanuel currently operates with a view to sending out missionaries into the remaining provinces and surrounding nations. It was a small beginning but one that is sure to bear fruit.
We continue to minister at churches on Sundays. Recently we have been to Kgapane and Lulekani. Our schedule for the next two months is pretty booked up with preaching engagements. In the coming weeks, Keith will also be speaking at the Police Station’s weekly parade and the local High School’s assembly.
Northern District Conference
Recently we attended the Northern District Conference. The District Team have purchased land on which to build their own regional centre in a place called Ba-Banana (no, that’s not a typo!). It was great to meet together in a tent. It was a joy to share in their dedication of this land for the Lord’s work and to witness the joy and excitement.
Some of you would know that a number of years ago Barbie had an accident at church and, among other injuries, broke her foot. She had metal pins and screws inserted. Recently this same foot has been causing pain. She was referred to a specialist who diagnosed raging tendinitis. He administered three injections into the joint and ankle but wants up-to-date X-rays to see what is happening with the metalwork. She has also had to have orthopaedic insoles made up as her foot arch has collapsed, which she is still waiting for. She is due to see the specialist again next month. Thankfully the injections have brought some relief but we are praying there’s no need for surgery.
For the preaching opportunities.
For the continued baby box ministry.
For our water tank that has meant we have had water, and for our generator which means we can keep the lights on.
Please pray for Barbie’s foot.
Please pray for Ben, Emma and Izzy who have purchased their own house in Southampton and have just moved in, that they will be blessed there.
Please pray that Pastor Solomon’s house is watertight before the rainy season.
Thanks for standing with us.
Keith and Barbie
The Small Print
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 (Jacksons, South Africa) 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 email@example.com 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)