Jacksons, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Jacksons – December 13th – Update 2 (excerpts)

NetAct has no finance and hasn’t fulfilled its obligations to Hugenote College for months. Fraser met with the NetACT office manager and will have further meetings next month to discuss the future direction of NetACT. 

Much of his recent work has not been directly for NetAct. His library, online learning and IT experience are of great value to the theological colleges he’s been helping. This could continue with or without NetAct. Whether we could continue living where we are depends on Hugenote College and how much rent they would ask from us.  Unlike in Nigeria, we have no real feeling that our time in South Africa is coming to an end.

During Fraser’s time in Pretoria, he was training Lutheran Theological Seminary in a new library system which they had installed without fully understanding how to use it. 

After the theft of his phone last week, he is still struggling to get everything set up on his new phone, including connection to the church bank account for his responsibilities as church treasurer and re-connection to his UK bank account.  Dawn is scheduled to go to the UK so can get him a new UK SIM card there.

At Maximum Bible study, a man spoke of a very high ranking 28 gang member who was fasting because he wants “the Holy Spirit to touch him” – obviously some sort of spiritual awakening within him. Pray believers will reach out to the broken man behind the powerful gangster.

Pray for inmates for the very hot Christmas period to be a time of deepening of their faith, service and character-building and to be peacemakers as tempers fray in the heat and frustration of prison life.

Jacksons, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Jacksons – November 29th – Update 1 (excerpts)

Things have been going more smoothly for Fraser as he finalised manuals he needed for providing training for a Seminary in Pretoria this week.  He arrived there safely, and the training got off to a good start.  Pray the week will be beneficial for all, for the rest of his time there, especially delivering training on one part of the system for the first time and for safe travel home on Saturday.

He and the editor are working hard to produce the next issue of the NetACT journal by mid-December.  The British Library recently suffered a massive cyber-attack, and is still not available for other libraries to access its catalogue records online – a problem for several colleges Fraser supports which rely on the British Library to get good catalogue records for their books.

Thank God for the desire of Drakenstein inmates to draw closer to the Lord and have the courage to change, even if foregoing the “privileges” of criminal behaviour inside.  The Lord really is behind it all.

Dawn needs strength to do everything whilst Fraser is away and wisdom for us as we talk to those God puts in our paths.  Though Dawn got a puncture on the way home from the airport, it was just outside Wellington and close to someone who was able to help and change the tyre.

The Boland office of Dawn’s local area seems less provided for in finance and personnel than Cape Town and especially Pollsmoor, though we have many prisons here.  Since 2020, more staff and volunteers have left than have been recruited. A Pollsmoor stalwart (ex-gangster, a man who connects with the inmates) wants to move his family to Wellington to help here – an answer to prayer for a backup for Dawn in Drakenstein? The fields are ready but there are so few workers. 

Jacksons, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Jacksons – November 15th – Update 2 (excerpts)

The two colleges in Pretoria which Fraser is assisting with library cataloguing both need a lot of help.  Issues with hardware on the ground are causing headaches and Fraser is limited in how much he can do remotely. 

Another college in Potchefstroom reached out to Fraser for help but hasn’t responded to his initial response. Fraser must know if he needs to incorporate them in his scheduling.  He is frantically trying to balance his time between six different projects now.

The Head of Drakenstein Maximum has given the go-ahead to the new music initiative. Pray that the ocarinas will arrive safely from the USA – the best place to order them from.  May music touch the men and open feelings and abilities they didn’t realise they had.

Many more men in Maximum want to start the Explore the Bible course.  Pray they will learn to apply Jesus’ teaching to their own lives and continue thinking and questioning customs they take for granted.  After Dawn mentioned how some Nigerian churches turned women away for wearing trousers, even if they were genuine seekers, one man asked if more restrictions are put on women than on men (they all agreed such behaviour wasn’t right).

Alexander, an ex-gangster prison ministry colleague of Dawn’s, has written a short testimony about his life and of how God has changed him. Now he’s dedicated to serving God and to being as good a husband and father as he can be.

Pray for those who live in townships and areas where violence has become the norm and life is lived in a constant low-level warzone.

Jacksons, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Jacksons – November 1st – Update 1 (excerpts)

Give thanks for the excitement and joy when a college wants to do something advanced, gets a long list of complicated instructions from Fraser, follows them perfectly and can provide resources to their students. (Namibia Evangelical Theological Seminary in Windhoek)

Fraser has just started helping the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Pretoria. The librarian’s computer was stolen last week. 

Justo Mwale University in Zambia is going through hard times just now. 

Another small theology college in South Africa has reached out to Fraser for help. 

Dawn had 2 lively sessions at Drakenstein Maximum and Medium A on Self Control in Saving and what the Bible has to say.

A man in Maximum, when he was a juvenile and awaiting trial, prayed to Jesus Christ (whom he did not know) promising that if the case was dropped he would follow him. The case was dropped; the man forgot his promise. Next time, the same thing happened. Before the next trial, he heard the Lord say, “No. This time you go to prison so that you can truly repent and follow me.” The man got a long sentence but is now one of the most enthusiastic members of the Bible study.

A couple of the men in the Medium A Bible study are being released on parole very soon. Pray they find a good Christian community and not forget all they’ve been taught in prison. Pray they find jobs and make most of the new chance.

Jacksons, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Jacksons – October 18th – Update 2 (excerpts)

Fraser is developing good working relationships with the Lutheran Theological Seminary staff in Pretoria.  The staff need to do more groundwork on the physical stock before the system can be further developed.  He is also grateful for the quiet times when he can move forward with the work whose smooth running can make such a difference in the life of academic establishments.

He is also delighted that everything has gone smoothly with the tax authorities for the church’s returns.

At Drakenstein Bible studies, Dawn continues with God and money matters. 2 weeks ago, a man was given an extra phonecard at the shop. Often overcharged, he thought he’d say nothing and keep it. He thought again and returned to the prison shop to repay the money. The man was impressed by his honesty and let him keep it.

Another man asked if it was wrong to accept sugar stolen by someone else from the kitchen. Thank God they are wrestling with practical issues. May they have the insight to see the wrong path and the courage to change.

Dawn could join another marginalised community in town. Pray for wisdom as she tries to introduce community members to Jesus in a loving way.

Only 4 men came to Maximum Bible study today.  One said he wished it could be like that every week for more personal discussion about their issues.  It was only after incarceration that they truly met Jesus and learned about the importance of the Bible. Six men have applied for the George Whitfield Explore the Bible course.  Pray that they would be accepted and benefit from this sound course.

A prison ministry colleague longs to reach out to gang members in his area and do an RJ/reconciliation course with them before they’re incarcerated.  He would like Dawn to be involved.

Jacksons, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Jacksons – October 4th – Update 1 (excerpts)

A man in the Maximum Bible study who said he was a Jehovah’s Witness read the material Dawn gave him describing JW beliefs and what the Bible says, and he has concluded that the JWs are mistaken. Another man has requested a one-to-one with Dawn to discuss the material. Pray she will know how to answer his concerns.

Pray for inmates who lead prayers in the prison rooms. Many want to preach; not all of them are well equipped.

A new guitar learner at Maximum told Dawn he wants to turn away from the life that has led him to prison.

Fraser has high levels of cholesterol and has been put on low levels of medication – pray this will control it.  He is now helping the Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTS) in Pretoria with their library catalogue.  A good working relationship has been established and progress made.  The old system needs work to prepare it for the new system. Pray for him to find ways to do this systemically and thank God for opportunities to connect across denominations and show that we’re all one in in Christ.

Severe storms with heavy rain and strong winds have rocked the Western Cape. Pray for those in flimsy dwellings or sleeping on the streets, and for children electrocuted in Philippi township because of illegally connected cables which fell into storm water.  

A young man in the Maximum Bible study had a one to one with Dawn and wants gang and devil tattoos on his face removed as he’s now a whole-hearted and committed follower of Christ. He wants his face to reflect his inner cleansing. Sadly, he has been caught up in the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Pray for Philip van Dyck, chaplain in Maximum, as he considers how to respond to the JWs.

Jacksons, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Jacksons – September 20th – Update 2 (excerpts)

Fraser thankfully recovered all the old data after severe technical issues when upgrading some of the NetACT servers.  Pray for the systems to be up and running for staff and students throughout Africa without much delay.  He has now been invited to help another theological college in South Africa with their library set-up.

The NetACT theological journal may see changes in the near future – possibly joining forces with Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa’s new journal. 

Thank God that Dawn is developing good relationships with prison staff at Drakenstein and was able to give one warder a lift home today.

She has offered to provide one to one counselling for men at Medium A from the Restorative Justice course. Pray for a suitable time and for promises made during RJ to be kept.

At least 3 Jehovah’s Witnesses attend the Maximum Bible study every Saturday and their influence seems to be growing. Pray they will hear the truth, question what they learn from JWs and know Jesus for who he is.

Pray for the leaders, staff and volunteers of Hope Prison Ministry to be inspired, humbled and surrounded by God’s power and love.

Thank God for 2 good Bible classes at Drakenstein today. In Maximum we looked at Honesty in Earning – how much harder to be honest or trustworthy if everyone else is being dishonest. It was encouraging when one man gave an example from his cell cleaning rota. Some inmates don’t clean properly so it is tempting for him to do a shoddy job too. Then he remembers who he is and who he really is working for, so he cleans the room thoroughly, for God.

Jacksons, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Jacksons – August 30th – Update 1 (excerpts)

Simxolele, a young man with a face full of prison tattoos, sometimes comes to Bible study in Maximum. Most weeks he’s evangelising other inmates and can’t make it. He’d been in and out of prison many, many times, always visited by his parents and thinking he always would be, until his mother told him that if he was sent back again, she wouldn’t visit any more. She wanted him to change his life. The next time he was sentenced she was true to her word. She has neither visited nor answered his phone calls. He was sure she hated him and covered his face with bitter and dangerous symbols. Then he met Jesus.

Now he has left gang activity behind and is living out his faith humbly in the room, helping the older men, washing up for them and showing the change in his life.  Give thanks for the warders who care and try to help the men.

Pray that Dawn will have wisdom and understanding to interact with the men. There’s an opening for someone to do another Bible study at Allandale Prison. Pray that Dawn will know whether to volunteer for that gap.

The NetACT Journal Board meets soon to appoint a new editor.  Pray for wisdom.  Fraser is setting up the Mukhanyo Library system to automatically print spine labels and book plates.  It is painstaking finicky work to get everything matching the labels they already have..

Serina, a lovely lady in our Wellington church, holds a street Sunday school in the town, sometimes in a field where the gangsters gather at the edges and gang-related gunfire accompanies the lesson. Pray for her safety and that of the children.

Jacksons, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Jacksons – August 16th – Update 2 (excerpts)

Thank God that the taxi situation is quiet now and the taxi owners, Western Cape government and City of Cape Town authorities are talking to each other. Pray for a fair and lasting situation and no more violence or disruption. Pray that those caught up in the violence, looting and disruption and who are now suffering emotionally and physically will be given peace, healing and restoration.

A topic at Maximum today was sparked by a question from a young man who acknowledged he’d made many bad decisions in his life but is very keen that all his future decisions will be putting what God wants first. Pray that he will keep to this and that all who are eager to put God first will see clearly how to do this in their lives.

Pray that the men will not put on a well-behaved persona in the Bible study but be deeply involved in gangs or other ungodly activities/mindsets when back in the room.

Fraser is now moving to set up definite dates for upgrading some of Hugenote College’s systems. Please pray that this goes smoothly.  He is discovering more intricacies with getting the church’s tax status in order.

Ruth is coming to visit us. Pray for a smooth journey on Friday, no taxi disruption whilst she’s here and a good (if short) rest to recover from the Glasgow bugs.

Jacksons, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Jacksons – June 14th – Update 2  (excerpts)

Fraser finishes the Mukhanyo library catalogue this week and next and trains them the week after.  The NetACT journal editor wants another issue out at the same time.   Pray he can organise his time appropriately.

An amazing week of Restorative Justice at Drakenstein Medium A.  Many men have made a connection for the first time between events in their childhood and their propensity to violence, crime and bad choices.

Prison officials feared trouble as we had many lifers and high-ranking members of prison gangs attending.  Their fears came to nothing as 8 high rankers publicly, and others privately, renounced the gangs.  It’s not hyperbole to say they put their lives on the line, giving up the “benefits” of prison gang membership.

4 courageous women spoke about the effects of crime on their lives – rape, murder and domestic abuse.  All the men were affected.  One who has committed murders went to the front, acknowledged he had been a boy running around neighbourhoods committing crimes.  Previously his victims had been faceless but this woman’s testimony had given them a face and he never wanted to be part of causing such pain again.

A high ranking gang member gave it up on Friday after seeing the effects of his crimes, wanting to live a better life and be reconciled with his family.  They didn’t turn up on Saturday’s family restoration day and that shook him.  He attends Tuesday Bible studies and professes faith in Jesus.  He doesn’t want his nickname “Killer” any more.

Hugenote College where we are based has staff challenges.  Pray they would get the right person as the new Dean.