June 2021

Dear Praying Friends,

We continue to rejoice in all that God is doing on the Garden Route, and we thank Him for the opportunity to serve here. Not only that, but we also thank God for the partnership we have with each of you who have been so faithful to us through your prayers and support. We say it often and we mean it every time – there is no way, humanly speaking, we could be ministering here with such joy and enthusiasm without your prayers and support. We continue to marvel at how God has blessed us with the partnerships we have with each of you!

The theme for this update is obstacles. Sometimes, obstacles are our own making. We needlessly disrupt our progress or construct worthless barriers and place them in our own way. Another word for these kinds of obstacles is sin. When confronted with sin, our proper response is to repent, seek forgiveness, and rest in God’s grace. However, at other times, the obstacles we face are not caused by us. They are simple facts of life in a fallen world. In what follows, we want to share two obstacles we are facing and how we are responding to each.

First, as is much of the rest of the world, we are facing the ongoing, seemingly-never-ending obstacle of Covid. As we write this, we are four days into a new level of restriction not seen since June/July of last year. All gatherings are prohibited for the next couple weeks (possibly more). These kinds of lockdowns kill our ministry momentum on so many levels! Church services now move online, which we deal with, but our people, like most, are tired of this. Amy’s computer training classes are on hold, and students are left hanging in the balance as they seek to finish their work. George’s theological classes are also discontinued until further notice, which throws the schedule for the remainder of the year into uncertainty. Would you please pray with us that God would guide our response to the new restrictions?

Second, we are facing an obstacle of “load-shedding.” This is when the power is turned off for the entire town at pre-set times to reduce the “load” on the national grid. Typically, during load-shedding, the power is off for 2-2.5 hours, once or twice per day. On the positive side, we almost always are notified at least a day or more in advance, so we can prepare accordingly. On the negative side, the power outages often fall in the middle of the workday, and our team’s computer training courses are most adversely affected. The load-shedding comes in fits and starts, significantly affecting us for a few weeks, and then stopping for several weeks or even a few months at a time.

For a while now, we have considered seeking funds to purchase a generator that could keep the Knysna Hope building fully functional during load-shedding. This would mean having enough power for 10-15 computers, a projector and/or TV monitor, lights (classrooms and restrooms), internet/printer facility, and even some kitchen appliances. The problem is, just when we decide to try to raise funds, the load-shedding stops just long enough to back us off our plans. Until now. We have had quite a bit of frustration during this past month with load-shedding. The computer training classes are reaching nearly 70 students per week. Those students, who come from highly disadvantaged situations, are making sacrifices to be in class and learn basic skills to enhance their employability. We are becoming increasingly convinced that we must serve our students better by having a generator backup that will enable us to keep classes going, even in the various waves of load-shedding. To that end, we are seeking somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000 to purchase a quality, high-capability generator for the Knysna Hope facility. Would you please pray with us that if God so desires, these funds might come in? If you are interested in helping, please let us know.

Obstacles! They are part of the frustrations of everyday life, but they are always intended to build our faith and trust in God, resting in His provision and powerful solutions. For some obstacles, we cannot do anything. We simply wait, and we pray. For other obstacles, we may have or envision possible solutions, but we also pray – we pray for wisdom to know what to do and when, when to wait and when to move. In light of the obstacles mentioned above, we humbly ask you to join us in prayer for God’s leading, intervention, and provision.

With much thanks,
The Coon family