FROM THE TEAM LEADER
Greetings AE friends,
These are certainly unprecedented times that we are living in.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV) says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” and verse 5 reads, “a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing”.
My wife, Charlene, tested positive for covid-19 just over two weeks ago, so for our family it’s been tough having no hugs, but we praise God that her second test came back negative today!
As the lockdown restrictions are being relaxed, I trust we all have new appreciation for the general freedom that we enjoy here in South Africa, compared to some other parts of the world. But the lockdown may not have been all bad for you…I have been rather productive.
Ecclesiastes 3:6 says, “a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away”.
I did some searching and found an old Springbok top, and I have enjoyed watching re-runs of the Rugby World Cup final a few times! I also did some cleaning in my garage and found an Argus cycle tour photo of myself, which I haven’t seen in 25 years. It dates back to 1991, when I set a new under-13 record of sub-3 hours. So I’ll be keeping that one on the mantelpiece now! Less memorable, was a tube of toothpaste that I found and used, but it was not very tasty…only to discover afterwards that it had expired in 2014! So that got thrown away.
More importantly, I also spent more time in God’s Word every day, exercised more (at home), created more memories and some new traditions with the family, and our team is doing relief work around the clock (more of that in the newsletter below).
In Romans 13:11 (NIV), Paul writes, “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”
So, we need to understand the times, or try at least. There have been lots of people talking about 5G and the end of the world…my short response is that we must always remain prayerful and obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and we must always be ready to stand before God. I believe the Lord has worked this time for the good of those who love Him, giving the Church new opportunities to reach the lost and demonstrate the love of Christ, and to give each of us an opportunity to stand still, take stock and recalibrate where necessary. Most of us will not be able to go about our lives as we did before corona, for some time to come, so I want to encourage us to redeem the time and make the most of every day!
Friend, if today, you are not sure whether you are in right standing with God, then I urge you to pray, and surrender your life to Jesus. Now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation! The bible says that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved! (Rom 10:9)
Allow me to also thank you for your continued financial support towards AE during this critical time, especially since our conference centre has to remain closed until we reach lockdown level 1, and it is therefore unable to generate an income to cover its overheads.
May our Lord and God bless you and watch over you, each and every day.
Love in Christ,
CEO | AE South Africa
CORONAVIRUS – EMERGENCY RESPONSE
At first the world watched from a distance as China unveiled their COVID-19 Corona Virus epidemic to us all. No sooner had we begun to process this tragedy befallen the Chinese when, to our horror, the virus had taken flight and reached the shores of nations throughout the world.
And so it is that in the blink of an eye COVID-19 gained pandemic status, bringing the world’s activities to all but a grinding halt!
On the 05th March 2020 South Africa revealed that ‘Patient Zero’ had tested positive for COVID-19; the manifestation of this deadly ‘foreign’ disease on home soil had become real.
As the number of positive cases spiralled, the battle for containment loomed large and thus began the South African charge to fight this new enemy, and ultimately South Africa was thrown into full lockdown (Level 5) on the 27th March 2020.
With our Country, and indeed most others, plunged into a lifestyle of isolation, social distancing, imminent job loss etc., as never experienced before, it is to the plight of the poverty stricken that hearts have been moved. It is an undeniable and heart-warming fact that in times of greatest tragedy the best qualities of our humanity find expression.
Immediately upon entering into this unusual ‘season’ of our lives, AESA rallied its troops to map out a way in which we could reach out to those communities that are challenged to provide for their basic needs.
AESA set about servicing these needs as of 01st April 2020.
The most basic needs in these communities were identified to be food; awareness of the corona-virus and the precautions to be taken; and a message of comfort and hope.
The donation pack therefore comprises:
- a food parcel of staple foods such as maize, rice, soya, baby food, and vegetables (when available);
- a hygiene pack of home-made face masks, sanitiser, soap, toilet rolls and info on coronavirus hygiene;
- Gospel tracts with a message of the lasting hope that we have in Jesus (these include AE’s “Everyone wants answers” tract and gospels of John).
AESA is working in collaboration with CityHope (Hillcrest) who prepare and package the hampers which AESA funds. CityHope also provides the info on coronavirus awareness and hygiene.
The food pack is anticipated to provide three meals per day for a family of four over a period of three weeks; at a cost of R350 per pack.
Donors / Sponsorships
Financial support had to be mustered in order to purchase provisions, and so appeals were made to friends, donors and partners to help fund this initiative. We stand amazed that, as at 01 June 2020, almost R 330,000 was donated by our loyal donors and friends towards the relief effort, 100% of which went to the funding of the food hampers.
In addition to the financial support received to date, AESA has also received wonderful support from its chairperson Rob Langley, and his wife, Bridget, as well as from the students of the Ngezandla Zethu Sewing Project under the supervision of Mrs Ntombi Dladla; all of whom have made and donated face-masks.
Bridget Langley hard at work, sewing face masks to assist relief efforts.
The Ngezandla Zethu sewing project has joined the fight to curb the spread of the coronavirus as students shifted gear and quickly learned to sew protective masks for distribution to the community.
We are so grateful to all those who support us in this initiative.
AESA has been assisting all families in need, that have approached us for assistance, as well as those families which are not receiving an income during lockdown, whose plight has been brought to our attention.
The majority of the aid has been distributed to families living in the Pietermaritzburg suburbs of Imbali, Edendale, Ashdown, Sweetwaters, Northdale and Copesville, and to those in need in the central business district. We have also assisted many refugees and foreigners.
AESA’s faithful old Condor (serviced by McCarthy Toyota, Pmb) collects the food packs from CityHope, and makes the deliveries. Donation packs are stored in two offices on the AESA property prior to delivery.
Eight AESA staff members and two volunteers have made themselves available to assist in this relief campaign.
We also have other ‘volunteers’ assisting with packing at the base, like little Grace Almeida pictured here helping dad Gary.
As at 01 June 2020 AESA has distributed food aid to 990 families, translating to more than 215,000 meals.
Pascal (centre and looking at our gospel handout) is from Burundi and works for a local printing company.
He is unable to earn an income during the lockdown and is finding it a very difficult time.
As a father of six, he is most appreciative of the food assistance. A huge thank you to our AE supporters!
Two beneficiaries sporting their new home-made face masks and food parcels.
This muslim family was very happy to receive our aid (food, face masks, gospel handout) during this tough time.
The elderly Mthalane couple were so grateful to receive their aid, they could hardly stop thanking the Lord! We thank God along with them!
Shadrack used to work for a salon but the owner sold it and he is now unemployed.
He’s a foreigner and been in SA for 15 years now.
He accepted Christ today as his Lord and Saviour!
He had lost hope and was so excited to receive support, but even more grateful to hear about a hopeful life and accepting the Prince of Peace!
We at AE, and indeed every recipient of the food aid, would like to express our sincere and heartfelt gratitude to our friends and donors for your support in this time of crisis.
We still have a 3-week waiting list, and would like to make a final appeal for your support so that we can assist these desperate families. With the economy progressively opening up, we do trust that most people will be able to access some form of income or government assistance, as AE also returns its focus to its core ministries.
Contributions towards this campaign can be made into our bank account listed at the bottom of this newsletter. Please include the reference “C19” and your name.
You can also follow our relief stories on our facebook page.
AE encourages everyone to please stay safe, and observe the lockdown regulations and hygiene guidelines.
And remember, Jesus still has the whole world in His hands, and He still has you and me in His hands!
Communications | AE South Africa
Despite the many challenges, our Foxfire Youth Team is remaining positive and even grateful to God for this time, mainly because He is with us as He promised in his word in Joshua 1:5.
The team is still with their families, and doing well, but they are really yearning to come back to the program. It is unfortunate that even during Level 3 we are unable to resume our ministry work. The good news is that we were able to share life stories and devotional messages to a wide audience using social media platforms. Many have responded, and even shown interest to join the team for 2021! Others have been encouraged and restored as they had lost hope during the lockdown. This was a sure sign that God is not on lockdown, but He is at work in all of us! We are likewise encouraged to continue to seek ways of doing ministry in the midst of Covid-19.
Please email me if you would like to apply to be on next year’s team. We appreciate your continued support and prayers.
We are glad to report that we are making steady progress with the documentary project.
Michael has also taken up writing a new book called “Deep Waters of the Disciple,” where he speaks through the various forms of trials people experience and how to navigate through them. He started this project in 1976 when Carol and Michael faced the challenge of Carol being pregnant with their son Martin whilst contending with viral pneumonia and the threat of losing their son and /or Carol. The unfinished work has been buried in Michael’s study only to be rediscovered now during the international COVID 19 pandemic and lockdown, and Michael felt it is a good time to pick up on the project again since people globally are facing augmented trials in these unstable times.
It is also good if a Legacy such as Michael’s can gain a sense of momentum of its own so we were pleased when we got the news that Marquis Who’s Who in the World have nominated Michael for their 2020 edition. They specialise in promoting inspiring biographies to libraries and educational institutions and media houses across the world. We feel that this opportunity could be well utilised for Kingdom purposes.
During the COVID lockdown Michael has also braved new territory and has joined some of the AESA team in making short videos to edify and encourage friends and supporters. Please follow our AESA facebook page to stay up to date with these inserts (see the facebook link at the bottom of this newsletter).
Michael is also still getting letters regularly from people that have enjoyed reading his memoirs and have been inspired by them. If you have not got a copy you can buy one from your local bookstore, or you can order one from us by contacting email@example.com. The cost is R270 per book, plus R100 postage within South Africa.
We urge you to stay close to God and encouraged and strengthened in Him in this season.
Legacy | AE South Africa
The beautiful AE Centre closed its doors on the 21st of March 2020, and under government orders, we are unsure when we will be allowed to re-open. What started off as a welcome break from a very busy start to the year at the Centre, has long since become a concern for the future. We are blessed to have faith in the one true God, and even if we are unsure of what the future holds, we can be sure of Who holds the future. It will possibly take us months or years to recover, but we are grateful that we have managed to build up a strong base of churches and NGO’s who will come back to support us once we re-open.
Please pray for all our AE staff members, to remain strong in the faith and trusting our Lord to sustain us.
Centre Manager | AE South Africa
Dear friends, we would like to stand in faith with you for your prayer needs, so we invite you to send prayer requests to Biggie, our Prayer Co-ordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
BIG THANK YOU to all of our donors and partners!
None of this would be possible without you.
Your prayers, support, and encouragement help us keep the
Good News alive in South Africa and beyond!
May our Lord richly bless you.
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