The Restorative Justice course in Allandale prison should have already started but has been postponed until next week – it may be cancelled altogether because stricter lockdown levels for prisons would not allow certain intrinsic elements of the course. The ministry leadership prefer to wait until the course can be run fully. The RJ planned for November will involve men on parole and will not be subject to such strictures.
Some spiritual workers are now being allowed back into prison – the Covid-19 lockdown has brought home to the inmates how much they missed it. Pray that they will open up to God. Pray for Dawn’s discernment and stamina.
Fraser had received the full text of all the NetACT journal articles, in time to publish the first issue around the end of last month. But he is currently having an issue with the host server on which all NetACT platforms are sitting.
Give thanks that Fraser now has the full text of all the NetAct journal articles, hopefully in time to publish the first issue before the end of September.
Edward Stoffels has found a place to live in Cape Town and, unbeknownst to him, his name was suggested for a caretaker’s job. Please continue to pray for him.
A local prison has just asked for a Restorative Justice course for 12-17 October. So there is pressure to find volunteers to provide lunches. Pray for the inmates who can take part and for the Hope Prison Ministry team. Pray that Dawn’s stamina will be built up between now and then.
Wednesday, 30th September, we submit our application to renew our visas. Please pray for no complications.
Pray that a parcel from the UK with books for a vulnerable young woman will not be delayed at Customs or lost.
Fraser helped facilitate an online meeting last week for over 100 Principals of Bible colleges, theological colleges and seminaries to discuss collaboration, sustainability, and the practicalities of online education, and especially to listen to the African viewpoint.
Dawn attended the first general Hope Prison Ministry meeting since lockdown in Cape Town yesterday. The prisons are still closed to visitors; pray that a way for ministry teams to return would be found. The lockdown has imposed stresses on many relationships, including those of ex-inmates who now work for the ministry.
Edward Stoffels, the ex-Drakenstein inmate, is still trying to live faithfully in a God-honouring way but must find somewhere else to live by the end of the month.
It’s heart-breaking when people who really intend to live honest lives find themselves in situations where the temptation to fall back into criminal activities is too great for them.
Our South African visas expire at the end of October. We had planned to have the renewal process well advanced but covid19 put paid to that. Please pray there will be no hitches in the granting of visas for the next two years.
Ruth started her new degree course this week, James’ final year begins soon as well.
Last Friday, Fraser ‘electronically hosted’ an online Zoom meeting of all the NetACT College Principals from across Africa, live-streamed it on YouTube, and facilitated various text-based discussion forums. There were over 60 in ‘attendance’ and the afternoon went very well.
A second Zoom meeting for the Portuguese-speaking colleges, was quite a challenge for the translator who listened to the main Zoom meeting on one device and translated for the Portuguese group on a different device.
Fraser was delighted that all 50 NetACT partners sent in a response to a questionnaire regarding the post-Covid19 future of theological education in Africa.
The next stage is a joint meeting, planned for Wednesday 9th September, with as many other Bible colleges, theological colleges, and seminaries as possible.
Prisons are working at half-numbers and were short-staffed even before covid19 hit. Security could so easily be compromised through fatigue, burnout, temptation, and violence. The majority of wardens do their best with little appreciation under difficult circumstances. It is especially challenging for women wardens in male prisons.
The general impression here is that many people are too important to be held to account. Pray for courage, integrity, and protection for those in a position to stand for good leadership and honesty.
Both Dawn and Fraser are still experiencing some of the after-effects of their bouts with (suspected) covid19. Pray for their restoration to health, especially lungs and stamina.
NetACT hope to have the first issue of their African Theological Journal for Church and Society online by early September.
The NetACT office staff are discussing how to capitalise on the enthusiasm raised by the Barnabas Fund conference on Online Theological Education a couple of weeks ago. Pray that attendees will see how to creatively use what they learned. Fraser meets with the Hugenote College admin to discuss how to progress with their online learning platform.
Recently Boko Haram threats have greatly increased in severity and detail in Nigeria. Pray for the Nigerians who facilitate InReach: that Boko Haram would not find them, that their evil schemes would be thwarted and that they would encounter Jesus in a powerful and life-changing way.
As ministry inside the prisons is not permitted at the moment, Dawn has contacted a local initiative giving the unemployed opportunities and opening their eyes to the value they have in God’s sight. From first impressions it could be a good fit.
Our internet access has been very poor for a while but give thanks that the internet is working properly again.
There is much talk from politicians about tackling gender based violence but the courts are starved of money and staff and refuges are closed down. Pray for wisdom for Dawn as she thinks about the direction of her service in South Africa.
Fraser has been helping to run a 3-day course on Online Theological Education aimed at African Bible Colleges. More than 450 people signed up to attend online.
Unfortunately, many of the speakers appear to have little knowledge of actual life in Africa, advocating techniques and equipment either not available or unaffordable to most theological colleges. Pray that Fraser will be able to give sensitive and helpful feedback to the organisers
We may be unable to visit the prisons but have faith that His work goes on through his people (warders and inmates) whether publicised or not.
The knock-on effects of the lockdown restrictions become more apparent each day. Queues outside soup kitchens lengthen as people starve because their usual day by day work has been prohibited. Corruption in local and national government mean that money, supposedly for covid19 relief, disappears and food parcels are not distributed.
Pray that Dawn and Fraser would know how best to help.
The new NetACT journal has now received an International Standard Serial Number. Technical issues hindering Fraser helping Nehemiah Bible Institute with their online courses have now been resolved.
The students on this course all come from one of the poorest areas of Cape Town, and some will struggle with the level of internet access needed to download the course. Many townships rely on informal connections to power lines which are unsafe and illegal and often cause devastating fires in the crowded conditions.
The prison ministry team are meeting to discuss the possibility of running Restorative Justice courses to parolees and others outside prison as we are still not allowed in.
Running courses within prison brings many challenges; there are just as many for courses outside. There is a desire within the team to achieve quality of impact upon lives rather than quantity of people who attend courses.
The InReach team in Nigeria are under surveillance and at serious risk of kidnap and violence by people who are not happy with the way God has been using InReach to introduce Muslims to Jesus.
Fraser had a NetACT Executive Committee meeting on Friday, organising an online AGM, and looking at ways for NetACT to address Chinese economic colonisation of Africa. As NetACT grows, the staff team is having to develop new regional organisational structures.
Fraser has been asked to help develop online courses for Nehemiah Bible Institute which provides pre-degree theological education. Fraser is now in better health and able to be up all day.
Hugenote plans to allow some students to return next week with the challenges of enforcing social distancing within the student accommodation.
Pastor Fillies of Drakenstein Medium A retires at the end of June, has to move out of their prison bungalow and needs to find somewhere suitable in the area for himself and his wife to move to. Covid 19 is spreading through the staff and inmates in the prisons. Pray for the staff and inmates.
People in Nigeria still ask us for financial help. Pray for wisdom in knowing how to respond to particular requests.
Many NetACT partner colleges have been able to source funding to cover lack of tuition fees caused by lockdowns.
Drakenstein prison has seen its first cases of covid19. One section is now a quarantine area. Many of the men are immuno-compromised with HIV/AIDS, years of substance abuse and unhealthy living so are at greater risk of complications.
Hope Prison Ministry is delivering food parcels for released prisoners and the families of those still inside. Pray that donations will continue to help as many as possible.
The team running InReach in Nigeria is being pursued by people (presumably from Boko Haram) trying to find their locations and arrange meetings with no good aim in heart.
South Africa is gradually easing lockdown restrictions, although Covid-19 cases are still rising. Hugenote College is planning to open on 15th June. Pray for those working out the logistics. Churches have permission to re-open, though over-60s should still not come out.
Jacksons – May Update 2
InReach in Nigeria is being greatly used to help Muslims encounter Jesus. This is often not safe. A group of converts are still across Nigerian borders, being discipled and looked after in a safe place.
One of the men involved in their escape was captured by Boko Haram but recently managed to escape – he has been left extremely traumatised. Pray for his healing and continued safety. Pray for the InReach team – Boko Haram know who they are and are gathering information on them.
Please pray for wisdom for all those in authority who are having to make decisions that affect people’s lives, that their decisions will be made selflessly and with integrity, without regard to their personal aggrandisement.
Pray for the congregations that have no facilities for online services, that people will not drift into misinformation and conflict.
Dawn had many of the Covid 19 symptoms 4 weeks ago and Fraser took to bed with what looked like the same thing. But Dawn’s strength is holding up and Fraser is gradually progressing in the right direction.