Rose of Sharon Update (05.2021) – by Gavin & Des Campbell

May 2021

To our dear Christian family,

We trust and pray that this update finds you well and blessed.  We have just returned from our Gospel/Missions outreach to the Cape Province and for those of you who are not aware that we were away on outreach, our reasons for going at this time, were many.  The main reasons being because of Covid 19 and the lockdown restrictions we have not been allowed to do any outreaches for the past year.  Despite our governments slow response in procuring vaccines for our nation, our infection rate over the past months has been low.  There is much talk of a 3rd wave coming with the cooler winter weather and so we thought it prudent to take this small window of opportunity to do an outreach while we could.  It certainly was providential as we have been told that the 3rd wave of Covid has already started in 3 of our provinces and the numbers of infections have risen rapidly over the last few days. The new mutation of the Indian virus has just been found on our shores as well. God’s timing is always perfect!

We left our home base in Pretoria 2 weeks ago, with a car laden full of tracts and sweet hampers for the many children we were hoping to meet on our journey as well as buckets of groceries and tracts for the old and destitute.  We did indeed meet many children and old folks on the long 1,000-mile journey down to Fish Hoek where we stayed with Des’s sister for the duration of the outreach.

We were blessed to be able to meet up with the desperately needy Koi San families that we have supported for many years, living in the Colesburg area in the Karoo.  They were thrilled to see us again and we were able to share the Gospel with them as well as giving them buckets of groceries, desperately needed monetary aid and sweeties to the children. 

Children with their hampers in Colesburg

We arrived in Fish Hoek exhausted after a difficult and stressful 2-day journey coping with horrendous traffic conditions.  Having to deal with many pantechnicons slowing us down making overtaking on single lane roads extremely dangerous. Nevertheless, we were exhilarated and blessed by all we had been able to do for the Lord.  It was a blessed reunion with Des’s sister, Heather, and her cousin Gaeleen.  After such a long time apart, there was much to catch up on! 

While in Fish Hoek, we were also able to minister to the kiddies at Tiny Tots Day Care Centre which we have been wanting to do since last year.  We have not been to the school since Ouma Klara passed away and were interested to see how the school was managing without her and to meet the new principal.  Ellis is a lovely Christian lady and Ouma Klara’s daughter in law, and she has taken over the school as its administrator.  Presently she is employed elsewhere because the school cannot pay her a salary.  There are 2 volunteer teachers, a cook and a general handyman at the school and we were extremely impressed at the way it is being run.  We found the school buildings in good repair and everything is neat and clean.  Ellis is desperately wanting to be at the school fulltime but because of financial constraints it is impossible at present. 

Ellis with Des

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the Day Care Centre and many parents have not brought their children back out of fear of Covid 19.  The 32 kiddies that are attending look well and happy and it was a delight to spend time with them and hear them singing Christian songs and reciting Christian poems to us. We were blessed to be able to deliver a car boot filled with groceries that will enable the children to eat well for at least a couple of months.  We also gave the children sweet hampers and have promised to increase the monthly support Rose of Sharon gives to the Day Care Centre.

While in the Cape, we received the news that Patricia from Paddevlei, who was collecting tin cans for recycling was knocked down by a drunk driver. She sustained 2 broken legs, a broken hand and concussion.  She was taken to Baragwaneth Hospital where she was admitted.  It has been a terribly stressful situation for Fikile (her daughter) who was left to look after Patricia’s 4 orphaned grand children as well as her own 5-year-old daughter, Precious. Added to the stress came the knowledge that the one orphaned grandson, Lesedi, who is 8 years old is HIV positive and has been hospitalized twice in the last few months. Patricia has since been discharged from hospital and is recovering at home.  With no access to proper toilet facilities, running water and no hope of having any form of physiotherapy or medical support, we do not know how long it will take her to recover.  Things have been exceedingly tough for this family.  We continue to support them monthly with groceries and finances, weekly deliveries of coal, transport for the children to get to school and have just bought new winter tracksuits for all 5 children for school. This amongst a host of other forms of aid were given over the past months.

Rose of Sharon has been supporting several families during the lockdown, who have lost their means of support.  One such family is Tembinkosi, (the Pastor of the Kwa Lubisi Baptist Church) who was attacked and beaten last year and then his home was burglarized and ransacked.  Because of cutbacks in the electricity department where he was employed, Tembinkosi’s work contract is due to expire next month. For this reason, his wife has had to seek employment and could only find work a 2-hour drive from where they live.  She is now commuting on a weekly basis returning home on the weekends and with 2 preschool children at home, this is proving to be extremely difficult.  Rose of Sharon is still supporting them monthly and in addition has paid off the substantial outstanding balance on the building of the Kwa Lubisi Church.

We have again aided 93 needy children and teenagers from the Bizana Baptist Church to go on a children’s camp in Kwa Zulu Natal with our associate, Pastor Richard Seku.  More and more children are going on the camp each year and it is a delight to hear of the increase in numbers.  This year for the first time, we supported widows and victims of gender-based violence to go on a retreat in the Eastern Cape with the Bizana Baptist Church. We are prayerfully intending for this to become an annual event that we can support.

Some of ladies on Retreat in the Eastern Camp

The work with the beggars around the suburb where the mission base is situated continues.  We have been giving tracts, financial aid and food hampers to many on the street corners.  The beggars have gotten to know us now and recognise the car.  When we approach, they come running which has made the work slightly easier, but more and more beggars are appearing on the streets and the needs keep growing.  The unemployment rate prior to lockdown was 29%, this has now rocketed to an unbelievable 43%.

After not travelling for over a year, it came as a shock to us both at how much harder the Cape outreach proved to be, and that age is catching up with us. We have realised that the time has come for a paradigm shift in the ministry.  This by no way means that the ministry will not function, just the way in which the ministry operates will have to change.  Prayerfully we are moving more into the realm of being facilitators for other younger folks to pickup the mantle of preaching and looking out for the vulnerable in our society. We are still supporting 6 Pastors in 8 needy churches.  We help to enable these 6 Pastors to preach the word and on the 8 congregations to look out for the needs of the destitute and vulnerable in their villages.  We continue to support various desperately poor families and continue with our work amongst the many beggars in our community.  The Lord’s work will not stop but may change in the way it is done.  We pray that you, our generous supporters, and friends will understand the necessity of change and will continue with your faithful support of the Lord’s work done here in South Africa.

Thank you once again for you love and continued prayers and support.

Every Blessing, from us both

Gavin and Des