Good morning Folks,
A blog post has not been written since the lockdown in South Africa came into effect due to the Coronavirus. We thought it would be helpful to give you some feedback from here
and how the virus has impacted our country, the lives of those whom we serve and ourselves. A big thank you to all of you who have kept in contact and continue to faithfully support the Lord’s work through Rose of Sharon. You are a huge encouragement
to us. It is such a privilege to have Christian family all over the world. The prayers of God’s people are precious in His sight and we know that there are many prayers going up to the throne room of grace for the world that is in such a state
right now. We do indeed live in an age of uncertainty that that is unprecedented for our time. But we take comfort that our God is on His throne and His will is being accomplished. Sometimes though it is hard to hang onto that fact when we see such
incredible need all around us.
Due to the lock down restrictions which came into force on the 20th March, our outreach visits to the Kwa Lubisi Church and all other churches and
day care centres we support has had to be postponed for the foreseeable future because we are not allowed to travel.
We have some of the strictest lock down regulations
in the world, with army and police roadblocks and patrols. Within the first week of lockdown there were over 10,000 people arrested for disregarding lockdown regulations with that number increasing exponentially. Our infection rate is not nearly as high as
the UK and Ireland, but we are way behind as the virus only arrived in South Africa at the beginning of March. Also, only a fraction of our people has been tested, so who knows the true number of infections that are in our land. We have many problems
that are unique to South Africa. The sprawling shanty towns and slums, where people live on top of each other, usually around 10 or 12 people in a tiny corrugated iron shack, is cause for great concern. We are sitting on a powder keg.
The impact of the lock down has had a catastrophic effect on the poor, many of whom eke out a hand to mouth existence. People are now literally starving, and we have had incidents
of looting of grocery stores, out of shear desperation. We and most other PBO's (Public Benefit Organisations, that is, charities) have been ordered NOT TO DISTRIBUTE FOOD but to send donations to a central point for distribution. We are not comfortable
with this because there has been so much theft and embezzlement of the funds and or food. So the best we can do at the moment is to send, to as many of our folks as possible, who have a mobile phone, grocery vouchers to their phones, which can be
exchanged for food at the local grocery store. We are able to send financial aid via ATM cash machines to those who live near towns. We are also sending cash funding, to the various churches we support that have banking accounts and asking the Pastors to distribute
the funds to those in the congregation who are in desperate need. Extra funds have also been sent to those of our Pastors who do not receive salaries, to help them and their families survive during this difficult time. We are trying to be an encouragement
to them as well. The main problem with these needy churches, is that in the areas where they are, there is little or no Internet connection and people don’t have computers and access to the internet therefore the churches are not able to meet at
We are in regular contact with the Pastors of the various churches and they relay urgent needs and messages back to us. For now, the schools are all closed and learning
via the Internet in these areas is impossible, subsequently the children are falling behind in their studies. The feeding schemes that were set up in the schools are also no longer taking place, so children are going hungry.
Most of you are aware of Patricia, Fikile and the 5 grand children in the Paddevlei shanty town, whom we support. Lesedi, one of Patricia’s grandsons, just a little boy, has been extremely ill for
the past 2 weeks. We paid for him to see a doctor, but his recovery has been awfully slow. The police have stopped families from foraging for firewood to keep warm and cook food. We are now going into winter and temperatures are dropping at night
to around 5 degrees Celsius. One cannot even begin to imagine how cold it must be in a corrugated iron shack with no fire. (not to mention not being able to cook) Thankfully yesterday we found a way to get 50 kgs of coal delivered to Patricia and
have also sent more money for food. Hopefully with more to eat and a bit of warmth, Lesedi's health will start to improve. So, as you can see, we do have our hands full, despite our movements being strictly curtailed, we are managing to get quite a lot
The day before the lockdown was enforced, we purchased a load of Bibles, which are still at the Bible Society offices as we are not allowed to travel to collect them.
Personally, Gavin and I are doing well considering our health issues. We are so grateful to have the Lord and each other for company. We both laugh and say that if we had
to be locked in with someone, we are grateful its each other! We are so grateful for the Lord's provision for us personally and have enough to eat, warm clothes to wear and a home to live in. Please continue to pray for us, as we do for you.
We appreciate your prayers for our health and strength to be able to continue to do all that the Lord has called us to do.
We serve a faithful and awesome God! Once again,
a big thank you for your interest and care for the suffering and lost in our land. May the Lord richly bless you.
Much love in Christ from us both
Gavin and Des