Pray for a peaceful resolution to the standoff between ex-president Jacob Zuma and his supporters and the South African state.
Pray for prisoners who can have no visitors and are missing the spiritual input. Pray for prison officers as they have a dangerous and difficult job. Pray especially that those who know Jesus will be strengthened and able to minister to colleagues and inmates.
Dawn has delivered textbooks for men in Drakenstein Medium A to start a Bible study course. The chaplain has to work as an ordinary officer in the single cells section and no one is providing spiritual input for the inmates at all. His concern is that some men will slip back into the gangs. Pray for believing inmates to encourage and strengthen each other in God and volunteer spiritual workers will be allowed back in.
Fraser is waiting for Stellenbosch IT dept. to help him with a computer problem as the IT department has retained control over certain aspects of his laptop
Jacob Zuma’s supporters have incited rioting and violent protests, businesses are being looted, locals are resorting to “mob justice”, the covid19 vaccination rollout is being halted and the army deployed.
A lot of shootings are occurring among the taxi firms in Cape Town, making it hard for those from the townships with no other means of transport to hold down honest jobs. So much seems to be conspiring against ordinary families.
South Africa went back into lockdown level 4 on Monday and all gatherings, including churches, are prohibited. Pray for those who need the encouragement of a weekly meeting to keep them going but who are now denied even that. Prisoners haven’t had proper family visits for a long time and volunteer spiritual workers aren’t allowed in.
Pray for the men, warders and chaplains in Maximum and Medium A. Dawn was arranging the enrolment of some of the men onto a Bible course run by George Whitfield College but they will now have to wait for their textbooks. Pray they won’t lose heart.
Dawn and Chantelle from Hope Prison Ministry will visit Theswin’s daughter with some baby supplies. A couple in Scotland made a donation for “the spiritual encouragement of the prisoners” at just the time to show Theswin his prayers and reliance on God to provide were answered.
Fraser had been trying to limit his involvement to the online side of a conference which started last week, but he was sucked in to setting up the venue.
Fraser’s dental work went very smoothly. He had four teeth out, so feeling a bit battered today.
In a beacon of hope, former president, Jacob Zuma has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of the court which was trying him for corruption. Too many people in power think the rules don’t apply to them. Too many of the weakest in society pay the price of their arrogance and selfishness.
In Maximum this morning Howard stood before the class to express his thanks for the application study Bible he’d been given. He was in tears as he explained that four years of reading an unannotated Bible hadn’t brought him to the depth of understanding that a couple of weeks of using his study Bible had. An (ex) gangster does not shed tears in public easily. From a donation to use for “the spiritual encouragement” of the prisoners, Dawn has been able to buy more study Bibles. It’s not a good idea to splash cash around so pray for local Christian intermediaries who will identify specific needs that can be supplied.
In Medium, Theswin (another ex gangster) talked about his pregnant 16 year old daughter. She has no job and they are worried about how they will be able to buy things the baby needs. Theswin said he could easily call his old drug-dealer buddies and they would provide everything but he won’t because Jesus has changed his life.
Pray for Hersel, a committed follower of Jesus while in the juvenile section. He left the prison gang but, when moved to the adult section and asked by gang members, “Who were you?” he was afraid and has ended up returning to the gang.
Fraser has been contacted by Mukhanyo Theological College in South Africa to ask him to help them install a new library system. Give thanks for this new contact.
Tesfay Hadera, the principal of a Theological College in Ethiopia had attended the NetAct workshops in Stellenbosch and was then incarcerated by the Ethiopian government in troubled Tigray. He has just been released. Please keep him in your prayers.
NetAct want to translate their recently published book on African Public Theology into Portuguese and French. Please pray for funding. Fraser had a good meeting this afternoon with the editor of the NetACT journal. Pray that he would be more ready to include Fraser in the editorial process. Pray that NetACT partner colleges would realise the benefits NetAct offers and would use them.
Pray for wisdom as NetAct want to start a conversation about Chinese neo-colonialism in Africa and beyond without being accused of political motives or inciting threats against partner colleges across Africa.
Dawn’s self-discipline in not launching back into activity too soon after her illness seems to be paying dividends.
Edwin, a regular at Bible study in Drakenstein will be released on parole shortly. He sees his time in prison as God’s answer to his prayer, regretting the relationships affected and broken by his behaviour and incarceration. His priority is now to be a good father and grandfather in a way that honours God.
The ex-gang leader Theswin’s 16 year old daughter Luzaandrie is 8-9 months pregnant. Pray that she and the baby will escape the cycle of depravity and addiction to find new life and hope in Christ and that Theswin will have wisdom and patience in his relationship with her.
South Africa has increased lockdown levels this week in fear of a third wave of Covid.
Fraser is now in his new office but can’t work late as he usual (until 6pm) as the building’s alarm is faulty. The NetACT AGM was successful but he would love partner colleges to make more use of NetAct support.
Dawn finally got her new visa, granted until the expiry of her current passport in September 2022.
Zebulun Church wants to start “investing in the youth” by offering music lessons on Saturdays. Pray that youngsters will be led to God as well as music-making.
Edwin and Marius should be released soon, aware of how they intend to behave outside prison and how their desire to serve and live lives pleasing to God, will be greatly tested by the temptations and stresses of life outside. Pray that the men will learn from our current lessons on anger and take to heart and practise how to deal with it.
James leaves Glasgow this week having finished his degree in English literature. Dawn’s parents are helping him move and providing a bed until his Masters course begins. Ruth is continuing her degree course in Glasgow.
Fraser was able to format the latest book for the NetACT portal very easily. He is now setting up two conferences. The NetACT AGM will be online only on the 5th and 6th May. On 23rd to 25th June, there will be a hybrid conference (online and face-to-face) to improve online teaching practices. GIVE THANKS!!! He should have his new laptop tomorrow morning at the latest! Thank you for your prayers.
An inmate, in Drakenstein Medium A for about 20 years after a savage murder, has been different for years since he surrendered to Jesus. The Restorative Justice course caused many issues to resurface which he wants to make right and he dearly wants to video chat with his parents who have moved to England. Pray that a way would be found.
A man in Maximum for rape, has repented and turned to Jesus. His 16-year-old daughter was recently raped. His heart breaks with remorse for what he did, guilt for the lifestyle he abandoned her to, and frustration at not being there for her. Pray he will know how to reach out for her.
Dawn wasn’t able to go to the Bible study at Allandale prison on Friday as Covid19 had been discovered in one of the rooms. With 25-30 men in each room, it is unlikely that there will be only one case. Please pray for them.
A regular from the Drakenstein Bible studies, released on parole late last year, is back in prison after an angry incident with his girlfriend. Dawn and Hylma have started a new course on the root causes of anger for the men. Pray that it will go deep and be more than theory.
Another man, on parole, said one of his greatest sources of anger was immediately being told “No” when he applied for a job because of his criminal record. Even those really trying to live honestly wonder why they don’t return to crime when they meet such obstacles and can’t support their families with the basics of food and electricity.
Some people are concerned about Dawn’s safety in South African prisons when the aim of having a warden present is not always met. She feels secure with God as her protection.
that the Department of Home Affairs has extended the validity of all expired visas (including Dawn’s) until the end of July 2021; that Fraser’s making progress formatting the Portuguese version of the book made available for the NetACT e-library; that Jason came to the Bible study in Maximum today and that Dawn was able to have a good chat with him; for the spiritual maturity of Mbelelo in Medium A. who is hoping for parole in June after 8 years inside but doesn’t regret going to prison because it’s there that he met Jesus, and now determined to be a good father to his 13-year-old daughter and a good son to his alcoholic elderly parents.
Dawn and Ashley’s meeting with the Zebulun church, to discuss the best way forward together; for Dawn’s, wisdom, joy and good health; for Shaniece and Jeremy, a young couple with two small children, regulars on Fridays with a lot of pain in Shaniece’s past, struggling to forgive and rebuild relationships; Dawn working on her very basic ability in Afrikaans (most people are often more comfortable in Afrikaans); the Spirit’s leading as Dawn leads the Bible studies at Allandale prison for the next few weeks; patience and creativity for Fraser as he continues to struggle with his dilapidated laptop.
Jason asked for guidance about how to give his life to Jesus during the Bible study in Maximum this morning. Heavily involved in the prison gangs and the drugs that are readily available inside, he was transferred to a room with Christians (to his disgust), went through a time when he was technically dead in the hospital, and now has decided to hand himself back to God.
Pray for an increase in halfway houses for prisoners who are released but need somewhere to help them reintegrate into society. It was encouraging today that one of the inmates said that Dawn and Hylma bring life into the prisoners’ lives.
Like so many charities, Hope Prison Ministry’s finances have been badly impacted by the covid pandemic. Pray that there will be funds for the life-changing RJ courses.
Last Monday Fraser talked to colleagues in Nigeria who wanted to offer online courses in biblical languages if NetACT could find a provider. On Tuesday, quite separately, Fraser learned that Hugenote College had told NetACT colleagues they wanted to offer online courses in biblical languages if there was interest. There is no such thing as coincidence!
Today a prison officer beckoned Dawn out of the Bible study in Maximum. A prisoner was acutely suicidal; they’d tried psychologists to no avail, perhaps a spiritual worker could help. The man had attended the Bible study last week so Dawn wasn’t a complete stranger, but we are all inadequate in such a situation. Pray that he will be there next Tuesday to meet Dawn again and that the Holy Spirit will take over that encounter.
Theswin, a big man in stature and in the prison gang system, had always retaliated when provoked and made people regret messing with him. He has been a follower of Jesus for some years. In a recent disagreement, another inmate punched him in the face. Theswin thought about getting his padlock and punching back, about taking the kettle of boiling water and throwing it in the other man’s face. Instead he sat on his bed, feeling an incredible feeling of peace washing over him that could only have come from God, incredulous he hadn’t retaliated.
Dawn has been told that “due to lockdown the processing time (for visa renewals) cannot be estimated anymore.”
Castle Street Church had a very encouraging evening Zoom session with Fraser and Dawn on March 7th.
It’s a sign of real spiritual maturity when incarcerated people admit that they would rather be in prison and experience the relationship and life change which Jesus offers than be on the outside imprisoned by sin. Thank God that Dawn has been able to lead the Bible study in Drakenstein Medium A again and get into Maximum too.
Pray that prison officers would not take their Covid-fatigue out upon the inmates. Pray for freedom from fear, safety in their dangerous jobs and that their influence would help to show a better way of living.
An inmate in Medium A has identified as a satanist and is requesting a visit from his “spiritual worker”. Pray for wisdom for the overall prison chaplain, Mr Mouriss, and the medium A chaplain, Mr Pekeur. Pray that the man will listen to those who try to counsel him, that the power of God will sweep over him and he will see the truth.
A Covid-related shortage of electronic equipment in South Africa is holding up Fraser’s new laptop. Please pray it would come very soon before the old one gets so bad that he can no longer do his work and has to take a holiday.
Fraser asks for insight and wisdom for himself and the other church elders as they discuss how the church should be post-covid.
Dawn had a good meeting at Zebulun church – the meetings are going well.
A staff member from one of the NetACT partner colleges in Ethiopia has reported that the civil war/unrest in the Tigray region has left the region highly unstable. Hunger and rape are being used as weapons in the ongoing conflict.
28 articles have been submitted for the second issue of the NetACT journal. Based on the quality of the journal submissions, NetACT is trying to organise an online writers’ workshop later in the year.
On Tuesday Dawn had a meeting with Ashley, Heston and his wife Magdalena to discuss the discipleship groups connected with the church Heston pastors which draws its members from a Wellington area plagued by gangs. Dawn and Ashley will be attending the Zebulun church youth group on Friday night and then having a group for adults on Saturday afternoon.
Dawn got into prison today! At very short notice but it was good to see the men in Medium A. When asked for prayer requests, the consensus was for the ability to follow Jesus, be self-controlled and choose to love despite provocation (we had been looking at 1 Peter).