Rose of Sharon Blog

Good morning dear Christian family,


Greetings in the precious name of Jesus.  We remember you all with great affection and regularly pray for the Lord’s blessing to be upon you.


We are at home in Centurion at present and enjoying the blessing and privilege of being here.  The last update was written while we were on outreach in Giyani in the Limpopo province on the northern border of our country. 


We had such a wonderful outreach and returned home filled with the blessed assurance that God is indeed working in and through His people.  The morning service held in the Khakhala church was a delight.  The love shown by the congregation for the Lord, for one another and for us was extraordinary and the they drank in God’s word with great enthusiasm.  The Sunday School is thriving and there were about 35 children in attendance. After the children’s address Pastor Klass asked the children questions regarding what had been said and the way in which they answered was most encouraging as they had obviously been listening and understood what they had been taught. During the service a little girl was brought forward to be prayed for by Gavin.  We were told that she is an orphan, who Pastor Klass had been supporting together with her family with the aid that Rose of Sharon has been donating.  One never knows the extent to which acts of kindness can have far reaching consequences.  This little orphan girl asked to attend Sunday School after Pastor Klass started helping her and her family.


After the service we gave Pastor Klass groceries to feed the children before Sunday School and bags of clothing for the needy.  Children’s Bibles were also left with Pastor Klass for distribution.  We gave all who attended the service a hamper of sweeties.  We left the church rejoicing at all we had seen and experienced there and started the long journey home.  We arrived back at our base in Pretoria late on Sunday night, tired but blessed with a sense of achievement at work completed for our Lord.


Since then we have continued to work locally.  We have seen several upheavals in our country this past week.  We have been down graded to Junk status by the 3rd and last rating agency, the other 2 agencies having degraded us awhile ago.  This will have an enormous negative impact on our struggling economy. 


Eskom, who supplies our electricity is in dire straits owing billions of Rand to investors and despite the enormous injections of aid by the government, it continues to totter on the brink of bankruptcy.  There is still a perception in our country that people are entitled to services without paying for them and this has added to Eskom’s woes.  We have been told that only 12% of the millions of residents in the huge township of Soweto pay for their electricity.  Added to this the many thousands of folks who steal electricity make it very difficult for the problems Eskom is facing to be resolved.  In certain informal settlements where Eskom has been forced to cut off the supply of electricity it has resulted in massive rioting and burning of infra structure.  Some elderly residents who were interviewed have been badly affected by this situation and complained bitterly about the freezing cold nights.  So at the moment it doesn’t look like a viable solution can be found.


There have been massive riots in central Pretoria this past week as well, which has made life very difficult.  The demonstrations revolve around the management level of our municipality receiving a massive 18% pay rise while the lower workers received virtually nothing.  This has caused outrage with the burning of cars and looting of shops.  Thankfully though, this has not affected us as we live in the suburbs and not in the central district of Pretoria.


On a personal note, it was our granddaughter, Mikayla’s 7th birthday yesterday.  It’s hard to believe how quickly time has gone by.  You may remember the absolute miracle her birth was, and we still rejoice with her parents at God’s miraculous intervention and answer to all our prayers for this little life.


Both Gavin and Des are doing relatively well, and the work continues to flourish and be blessed by the Lord.  Our Pastor, Jonathan, is on Sabbatical at the moment and our church has been left in the very capable hands of our assistant Pastor Shane and the elders.  We thank the Lord for our home church and all the love and teaching we receive there.


We are now prayerfully starting to prepare for an outreach to the big church in Dovho and surrounding villages on the border of Mozambique and Zimbabwe next month.  More details will follow as plans are made.

So folks once again many thanks for your love and support.

From us both

Gavin and Des

Good morning friends,


We are in Giyani on outreach at the moment.  We are staying in a guesthouse on the outskirts of the town and it’s very comfortable here.  We are now in the dead of winter and have been hit with another cold front which has left our country freezing, but where we are in the extreme northern parts, the temperatures are mild and are set to rise tomorrow to around 30 degrees Celsius.


Since the last update we have done outreaches in the slums of Paddevlei, Kliptown and Eldorado Park and in the district of Centurion.  We visited with Patricia, Fikile and the children.  All seems well there because of the support that has been forthcoming from our extended Christian family.  Little Zulu continues to have to use an African taxi to get to and from school each day and although there is a cost involved, there is no other way for him to get to school.  But at the tender age of six years old, he is managing remarkably well.  Although life for these children is extremely difficult, they are all coping and are attending either nursery school or primary school. 


The big news in the area of Paddevlei is that the government is planning to install electricity to the area. Many of the residents steal electricity by running illegal cables from nearby high-tension pylons or electrical substations which is extremely dangerous.  Patricia’s eldest son, Thabang was electrocuted after tripping over one of these cables.  After so many years of not having access to this amenity, there is great excitement among the residents.  It’s a double-edged sword though, because although it will make life so much easier for the residents, they unfortunately must pay for the privilege.  Living in a tin shack with so little resources and unemployment rife (27%), where are these folks going to come up with the means to afford this?


Where we are in Giyani in the Limpopo province of South Africa, is approximately 500 kilometres from where we live in Centurion, Pretoria.  It took us around 6 hours to drive here, so it’s a fair distance from us.  We will be doing some outreach in the surrounding area of Giyani before heading to the village of Khakhala tomorrow.  Gavin will be preaching and Des doing the children’s talk in the shanty church that is overseen by Pastor Klass Baloyi.  Gavin is preaching on Philippians 4:4-8.  What a timely reminder to us to rejoice in the Lord always and to be thankful for His many blessings. You may remember that we rebuilt this shanty church about 2 years ago when it became unsafe due to termites attacking the wooden uprights of the building.  We have brought up with us bags of clothing, grocery hampers, sweeties and children’s Bibles.  We have it on good authority that we are expected with great excitement!  It will be lovely to see the folks in Khakhala again and it is always a blessing to be reunited with brothers and sisters in Christ.


It will be a year tomorrow that we flew to the UK in 2018.  It feels odd to be on outreach at this time of the year and all our friends in far flung regions of the world are weighing heavily upon our hearts.  We remember especially currently, the Keswick in Buckie convention, that we have been a part of for the last 25 years.  For the faithful folks who run the convention behind the scenes, the ladies in the kitchen, those serving tea and coffee, the folks of the Lossiemouth Baptist church who provide the music, year by year.  We remember Reel Life Recording who make the sound recordings that have been a blessing to so many and of course the speakers who bring God’s word to the folks who attend the convention.  We are praying much for you all and pray that this year will be a blessed conference that will change many lives for the glory of the Lord.


Closer to home, it was with great disappointment that the suspect who had been arrested regarding the serial murders of the homeless in our area has been released.  Apparently, it is the wrong person, so once again our homeless people are at great risk.


On a personal level, both Gavin and Des are as well as can be expected.  We continue to ask you please to remember us and the Rose of Sharon in your prayers.  That we may continue to work for Him and bring honour to His glorious name.

Much love and blessing in Jesus

Gavin and Des

Good morning friends,


It’s another bitterly cold morning here in Centurion and Des is snuggled up to little Whisper under a lovely thick blanket.  Once again, we marvel at God’s faithfulness in His abundant providence for us.  Although the daytime temperatures have been remarkably warm for this time of the year, we are still concerned for the many folks who do not have the comfort of food and warmth that we have been blessed with.


We continue to help many of the homeless and destitute in our area, providing the critical resources they need just to survive. Thank you for your prayers regarding the murders of five of these vulnerable folks that has occurred in the Pretoria area.  A suspect has been arrested and will appear in court soon.  Since his arrest there have been no further murders of this nature committed in our area.


We had also planned to visit with Patricia, her daughter Fikile and the 5 grand children in the household, all living in a tiny tin shack in the shanty settlement of Paddelvlei last week. 


Unfortunately, Gavin had a TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack) last Sunday in church, which is not good news at all.  We took last week off to give him a break and time to recover.  He is feeling better and stronger after the break and we are now scheduled to visit with Patricia on Monday as well as doing outreach in the surrounding slum areas of Kliptown and Eldorado Park.  We will also be fetching a new order of Bibles, for distribution, from the Bible Society this week as well.


Preparations to go on outreach up North to Mooketsi, Giyani and Khakhala in the Limpopo Province are all but complete and we await final confirmation of all the arrangements.  We are also starting to prepare for a major outreach to the Cape Province, hopefully in September where we are aiming to visit Pastor Eddie Tom in Graaf Reinet and then travel to Jeffrey’s Bay for a period of evangelistic outreaches.  Thereafter we are hoping to travel to Fish Hoek from where we will be working with Tiny Tots Day care centre as well as doing outreaches in the surrounding areas.  More information will follow as these preparations are finalised.


So, friends with not much news this week, we do ask you to pray for Gavin’s health, that the Lord would keep him strong and that we may continue with all the Lord has called us to do.  Furthermore, we ask for prayer for our vehicle upon which we rely most heavily.  We are having some issues with the steering mechanism.   So folks, may the Lord richly bless you for your kindness.


Much love from us both

Gavin and Des

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