Published on: 15/09/2020

News from Keith and Barbie Jackson, September 2020

Keep Counting

Time is a fickle thing sometimes. We have been in South Africa now for two years. Because of the international lockdown, in some respects it feels longer, in other ways it feels shorter. Longer, because things slowed down this year. Shorter because we only spent a year being productive in what we came to do. We are reminded of a prophetic word given to us before we left that God was building flexibility into our new ministry. Thank goodness God did! Most Christian leaders we speak to in the UK are frustrated now, although embracing the new challenges, because finding equilibrium can be difficult. This is true for us too. Right now, as our lockdown conditions here are due to be revised, we just count our blessings. Like the old hymn says, when you count your blessings it will surprise you what the Lord had done.

Barbie Reflects on This Time:

Two years ago we landed in South Africa as missionaries. We had a house and a few contacts but not much else except a huge trust in God. And what an adventure it has been!

We bought a pickup truck in Centurion the week we arrived, filled it with essentials to live until our furniture arrived, and drove to Phalaborwa in Limpopo. We moved into a house with almost no furniture and lived like that for two months. We started learning one of the local languages and made contacts with people.

It took us about six months to really get settled and established. We had just started to get into our flow of ministry when Covid hit and we were reduced to sitting at home like the rest of the world. In an area where technology for the masses isn’t really a thing, much of what we could do was put on hold. But we trusted in God. We have managed to feed over 2000 people and given out 40 baby boxes due to generous donations from people in the UK. Keith has written books and done online teachings for UK and for leaders here. I’ve knitted furiously for the baby boxes and helped with the food parcels. I’ve not been able do much more than that due to a hip and back problem (hopefully being sorted this week). We’ve seen God’s provision and love throughout. We’ve seen His leading into places and things we would never have imagined.

The last six months have been the toughest, with so many personal, friends and family issues with health, loss and property difficulties. We’ve missed our family and friends back in UK like crazy too. But in it all we have moved closer to God. He is our reason for being. He is our source, our comfort, our deliverer and guide. And we will continue on this adventure in SA until He tells us it’s over.

Barbie’s Hip and Back.

We wrote last time about the pain Barbie has been in. Her specialist has said she needs surgery as there is a bursa, a fluid filled sack in the right hip, and a tear, both of which need repairing. She also has compressed and herniated discs in her lower back and will need cortisone injections into the discs, which hopefully they will do while she is in hospital. The hospital is in Nelspruit, a little over three hours away. Due to the restrictions in place, Keith will take Barbie, but have to leave her there and return home. She is due to stay in for up to four days. The operation is on Wednesday 16th September.

Mobile Clinic

Barbie has a date for her South African Midwifery law and ethics exam, 20th November. Once she passes then she can get her registration as a midwife and we can begin the mobile clinics into the villages. It’s been a long road, a process we started before we left the UK, and one that has been delayed further to due lockdown. However, we know the devil can delay a destiny not destroy it. So we are looking forward to next year.

Flexible Plans

With our annual visit to the UK being cancelled twice we have one more bite at the cherry! The airline has extended our ticket for the third and final time. We have a flight booked for 30th November. We will have to self-isolate for two weeks and then we hope to visit family and spend Christmas with one of our sons and his wife. We will then fly back early in the new year, when we will have to self-isolate again for another fourteen days. We are hoping that the President opens our borders soon to enable this!

We have planned a furlough for next year and aim to be home for church visits from 14th April 2021. Our provisional dates are as follows, but if you are a pastor and want us to visit, please let us know, as dates are limited. We are also available for midweek meetings:

April:
18th     Possible self isolating
25th     Possible self isolating
May:
2nd:     Available
9th:      Available
16th:    All Nations, Reading
23rd:    Available
30th:    Church 180, Paignton
June:
6th:      Available
13th:    Elim, Northern Ireland
20th:    Elim, Northern Ireland

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. It is good to know, in these difficult times for us all, that we are not alone.

For Prayer

  • Barbie’s operation and recovery
  • Travelling safety to and from the hospital
  • For Barbie’s exam in November and her midwifery process to be completed
  • For our borders to be opened so we can spend Christmas at home
  • For the plans next year

In His service,
Keith and Barbie

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