October 2020 Update
Hello dear Christian family,
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of the Covid 19 pandemic we have not been in touch for quite awhile and thought it was time for an update on what has been happening here in South Africa and in the Rose of Sharon Ministries.
We would like to assure you, that you are constantly in our prayers and most certainly not forgotten. We appreciate every message of encouragement that we have received and are so grateful for your faithful prayers and ongoing financial support.
We are all going through tough times at present but the suffering of those who have so little has been exacerbated by the effects of Covid 19, especially with our economic situation.
Our last update video, was sent out in one of the coldest winters we have had in many years, we are now in late spring and temperatures are already in the high 30 degrees Celsius which causes terrible discomfort for those living in tin shacks, which become veritable ovens with trapped heat inside. So, going from one extreme to the other has not been easy.
Millions of people have lost their jobs with many businesses closing their doors permanently. Our government does not have the resources to support these folks nor are they able to stimulate the economy enough to create the huge shortfall of new jobs. The scale of corruption and theft is at an unprecedented high level and much of the funds that were allocated to help the starving has been pilfered and the majority of those living below the bread line have not received the little aid promised to them.
This has left us trying our utmost to help as many folks as we can. We are reminded of the scripture from Galatians 6:10 which reads:
“So then as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith”
We mentioned in the last update that we are supplying grocery vouchers and sending cash to ATM machines to those whom we support. We are also supporting the various pastors of the churches we have been called to service, as they too, do not earn salaries from their congregations who are too needy to support them. We have been providing the means for the 8 needy churches to buy in the sanitizers and temperature thermometers they need for the church services to be held and for deep cleaning after the services. We are also still supporting the 2 Day Care centres, “Little Angels” and “Tiny Tots” with cash funds as well as groceries. We also continue to help the many desperate beggars on the street corners especially in the surrounding area of our home in Centurion.
Besides these tasks we have been actively involved in the lives of many, mentoring, advising, and generally befriending them. We have recently paid for 6 members of one family to be DNA tested to prove their Father is a South African citizen, so that they can qualify for a small government grant. The Mother, who is from Lesotho was instructed to return to her homeland and get a new passport and other documentation. Once again, we had to pay the travelling expenses and the fees for the new passport and other documents. We are now praying that this destitute family will be allowed to become South African citizens, which will make a huge difference in their lives.
Many of you are also aware of our friend and Pastor of the Kwa Lubisi church, Tembinkosi who was abducted in his hometown of Newcastle, while doing his part time job of reading electricity meters. The folks in the area were rioting due to the high cost of electricity and the lack of service delivery. When they noticed Tembinkosi reading the meters, they knew he worked for the electricity department. He was surrounded, beaten, and then thrown into his car, which they were busy setting on fire when the police arrived and rescued him. He was traumatised by the incident but is back preaching and back at work.
All the churches we support are now open, but many folks have not returned yet due to fear of the pandemic. We too, have not returned to our home church as the leadership in our church has asked all those over 60 please not to return to church just yet.
Although we have had a wonderful decline in the number of infections to the extent that we are only in lockdown level 1, people are now starting to get complacent and the numbers of infections are starting to rise and there is a talk of a second wave and new lockdown regulations.
We started preparing for our Christmas outreaches and had every intention of travelling to Kwa Lubisi in Kwa Zulu Natal, Province at the beginning of December for the first outreach and then Dovho and Khakhala Village in Limpopo Province later in the month. Unfortunately, Gavin slipped in the bathroom 3 weeks ago and has severely injured his left leg but mostly his knee. Being afraid of Covid 19, he did not go to the hospital for X-rays but elected to try and let the injury heal by itself. He can only take a few steps hobbling on crutches and has been in excruciating pain. For this reason and the new spike in the infection rate, the Christmas outreach may have to be done differently this year. There is no talk of it being cancelled, we are just looking for different ways to do it.
One way that we are investigating is a “virtual bucket hamper”. Instead of physically driving around to the various areas and handing out the buckets, we are exploring ways of asking folks who would normally donate a bucket of groceries to rather donate funds or a grocery voucher; which we can give to the pastors of the various churches to distribute among the neediest folks in their church.
We are also investigating the best way to get Christmas sweet hampers to the kiddies. Please pray with us for wisdom to be able to still celebrate the wonderous birth of our Saviour and making Him known but at the same time staying safe and acting responsibly.
On a personal note, besides Gavin’s injury we are managing well and are busy in the ministry. We are thankful for modern technology which has allowed us to worship online as well as attend virtual prayer meetings.
So dear friends, thank you for not forgetting us or the work the Lord has called us to. Please continue to lift us up to the throne room of grace as we do you.
Much love in Christ Jesus, from us both
Gavin and Des
Rose of Sharon Ministries