The Mukhanyo library staff are being helpful. Fraser has two alternative methods to improve things before the system goes live. He starts the training when he goes in person on 26th June.
Thank God that Drakenstein Medium A Restorative Justice looks as if it’ll go ahead next week, Monday to Saturday. Pray there’ll be no last minute hitches. Many inmates and staff are unwell at Medium A. There will be over 20 lifers and about 16 others participating – it’s not about being eligible for parole but about changing lives.
Pray that the prison ministry leadership will not cause extra and avoidable stress through lack of forethought, inadequate communications and lack of consideration.
Akhona and Raymond from the Bible study are being released at the weekend. Pray that they will put into practice what they’ve learned, find a sound and supportive church, jobs and really start new lives.
So many people are struggling with poverty, crime and lack of education and opportunities in South Africa. Pray that those in positions of leadership will be honest and work for the good of society, not entitled and corrupt.
We had a lovely week with James and his friend who were able to come and stay with us but it’s always so hard when they go.
NetACT are exploring ways to work with other similar groups to avoid duplicating efforts and want Fraser to attend meetings in Kenya at the end of September.
Fraser’s test of the new Mukhanyo library system went well last week. He is still working towards a deadline of having the system live and running by Monday 3rd July.
Allandale Restorative Justice is complete. Men are confessing and taking responsibility for the first time. Thank God for the 3 women who spoke of the crimes they had experienced and for the men who apologised to them as proxies for their own victims – healing on both sides.
Pray for those who took part in the Restorative Justice course as they go back to ordinary prison life. Some of our team, former gang members themselves, hugely impacted the RJ men, showing it is possible to leave the gangs, turn to Christ and live a different, fulfilled life.
A man in Maximum, only eligible for parole if he admits his guilt and apologises to his victim, insists he is innocent and would be lying if he said he committed the crime. May he have the strength and faith, as a follower of Jesus, to tell the truth, even if it means that he forgoes any chance of parole.
The Restorative Justice process changes lives at a deep level. Many inmates are crying out for it; frontline prison officers see the difference it makes. Pray that the Medium A RJ will go ahead and that the person in a high position blocking this and other spiritually beneficial events will be moved aside and a godly person fill the place.
Fraser continues to work with data from the old Mukhanyo Library system. On testing a sample file of 100 records, he could only match 50 from external sources. Moving the day-to-day running of the NetACT journal to a different organisation is coming to a head, with an important meeting on Thursday.
Give thanks for answered prayer. Last week we asked you to pray for Llewelyn in Maximum as his Muslim children stopped visiting him after he showed them his Bible study certificates. His son visited at the weekend and told him he’d bought a house to give to his father upon his release. So he would have the necessary address to go to rather than live with the sister-in-law who keeps pursuing him. God honours those who flee temptation and live godly lives.
Pray that Howard can overcome his pride, start reading his Bible again and for the discipline, courage and awareness not to be sucked back into gang activities by roommates.
Restorative Justice starts on Monday at Allandale prison. Thank God for the way lives will be changed. The brother of Chantelle, who will be leading the main sessions, died in a car crash recently. Pray for her as her scattered family struggles to get together to mourn and support each other.
Quite a few of the Medium A regulars are due to be released on parole in the next few weeks. Please pray they would go to places which will not drag them back into crime, find jobs and, most of all, find a Bible-believing church to attend.
The government has extended the visa waiver until the end of 2023 though changed visa wording implies we can’t leave and enter the country with it. Our Wellington congregation were very pleased and the Drakenstein Maximum men burst into a round of applause!
Fraser made better than expected progress with the Mukhanyo library data and he heads to Pretoria late June for training before the system goes live at the start of July. Updating software on the NetACT servers did not start well but was sorted out 30 minutes after last week’s prayer notes were sent out.
There are dates in May for the Restorative Justice in Allandale and we hope to hold RJs at Drakenstein Medium A (adults) and B (juveniles) this year – but there is opposition. Pray.
Hylma, Dawn’s 79 year old Drakenstein prison ministry colleague, hopes to relocate to England by the end of June. Hylma has had a severe back problem recently but the men look upon her as a mother. Thank God for her 19 years of faithful service in the prison.
Dawn will most likely take over the Tuesday Bible studies, if her non-South African status doesn’t cause problems. If she has to lead, one-to-one counselling with the list of men who want to speak to her will be impossible.
Men in Maximum and Medium A say their lives are being changed by these Bible studies. Pray that whoever is blocking the RJ course in Medium A be removed and that the Drakenstein area manager change or be reassigned.
Thank God for music. We had three guitar players and an amazing session of heartfeltly sung simple worship songs before we started the actual class. Whatever our circumstances, music can make such a difference.
Fraser is still struggling with the difficulties of setting up a new library system for Mukhanyo Theological College. The amount of remedial work involved is now starting to impact some of his day-to-day work for other colleges. Pray he finds a way to manage everyone’s expectations and that he’d be able to communicate what he needs from Mukhanyo in a very clear way which they will understand and fulfil.
Pray for one of the men at the Medium A Bible study. He was sexually assaulted by a member of staff at a different prison and is being encouraged to make a case which he has reservations about. Pray for healing, courage and wisdom. Unless offences are challenged and brought into the light there will be no change, whether in the prison system or country at large, but it requires courage to do so.
Unless we hear from the Department of Home Affairs by this Friday (March 31st) we will have to leave the country the following week. The men at Drakenstein prison are praying and have faith that all will be sorted out. Thank God that he holds our future, even when we aren’t sure where we’ll be.
Fraser is grappling to extract usable data from Mukhanyo Theological College’s current system to transfer it to a new library catalogue. Pray for a workable way forward with their librarian, maybe having to persuade him to re-catalogue parts of their library from scratch!)
A man in Maximum with a very long sentence cares not if he’s released. He met Jesus in prison and nothing matters as much as his being changed from the man he was outside and far more imprisoned than he is now.
A Medium A Bible study regular was transferred to a different prison several months ago and when he returned was not the same as when he left. Pray for his physical, emotional and mental healing.
Dawn recently led Bible studies at Drakenstein Maximum and Medium A on forgiveness. The rightness of the subject was underlined when a man in Medium A said that the recent session reinforced what was said at their church service on Sunday. The men have much that needs to be forgiven. Several have experienced (and acted on) Holy Spirit-induced sleepless nights about those they need to apologise to, seeking to forgive others and understand why it is hard for victims to forgive them.
Pray for conversation guided by the Holy Spirit at the upcoming Elders’ meeting of our Wellington church when possible sources of disruption will be discussed.
Thank you for your prayers for Ruth’s health. Pray she’ll continue to regain her strength and avoid new viruses.
The government waiver for renewing our visas expires at the end of March. Pray for either a positive answer or a further, but not last moment, extension.
Fraser is continuing to make progress with the Mukhanyo college library catalogue. Pray that his work will help in their training of Christian leaders.
The NetACT journal might see its day-to-day running moved to a different organisation – less work for NetACT but also less control of the direction of the journal.
In Drakenstein Medium B, 5 inmates attacked 4 warders with homemade knives. Other warders retaliating with dogs and batons left a man dead. Pray for all concerned to experience the change that only God can bring.
Dawn hears that the new head of Drakenstein Correctional Services is hostile towards the Restorative Justice process, pursuing her grudges spitefully and divisively. May she be surprised by God’s power and overwhelmed by His love.
Ruth in Glasgow has been confined to bed again and has had to miss a lot of days at work and college.
Give thanks for an uplifting guitar group in Maximum. I only take in Christian songs to play and it feels as if I’m singing light into the darkness. Generous supporters have provided funds for more instruments.
Pray that Hope Prison Ministry leaders will have wisdom and a Christlike attitude.
We see clear signs of God at work in our church, but also some de-stabilising influences.
Ashley is a former drug dealer and gangster who used to be a great recruiter for evil but is now a recruiter for Christ. He works with Dawn in the prison ministry and also reaches out to those who live in his neighbourhood who still are chained to drugs and crime. He makes a sustained impact on those to whom others would have difficulty getting through. Please pray for his renewed relationship with his daughter and for his physical needs as he has no income apart from a small government allowance. Pray that he would trust in God to supply what he needs and keep him speaking the truth to the lost and ex-inmates.
The postponing of Restorative Justice dates has already started. Please pray that we will manage to run some RJs in the Boland area this year.
Fraser is setting up an action plan to assist Mukhanyo Theological College in South Africa to organise a new library catalogue. The college is not part of NetACT but has multiple campuses and local learning centres across South Africa. Anything that leads to better theological education helps increase understanding of the gospel in individuals and congregations.
Fraser has been working on some changes to the NetACT portal, to make things run more efficiently. The changes should make it easier to keep the information in the portal current. Pray that this would lead to more colleges throughout Africa using it in 2023.
Fraser and Dawn return to their work in South Africa on 18th January after spending time in the UK and sharing Christmas with their children James and Ruth in Glasgow.
They are planning an online session with their accountability team before they leave.
Two men in Maximum had asked Dawn for one-to-one chats. Michael, at 57, deeply feels the mistakes of his past. He has a desire to know Jesus more closely but lacks reassurance. Pray he’ll understand the hurt his actions caused his children and how that affects their attitudes now. He’s been a smoker for decades and longs to be able to give up as a testimony to others.
Pray for Howard to be able to control his tongue and learn to deal with conflict in a Jesus-way. He has a sentence of 65 years but thanks God he’s in prison as that’s where he met Jesus. Pray his wife Shannon will come to know the Lord and his two young daughters will be protected.
Pray for all incarcerated men over December and most of January as there will be little outside spiritual input. This is a time when darkness thrives in the prisons.
Dawn was able to host a small but profitable end of year gathering for the Boland Hope Prison Ministry team.
She flew to the UK on Monday. Thank God that her train journeys are falling in between strike days.
Fraser is enjoying his time in the UK and being able to reconnect with people.