November 2013 “Baby on the Way”
We are expecting our first child and we are beyond excited that a blessed child will be entering our lives soon. We are 3 months pregnant and are in awe of how the Lord is continuing to show His tremendous love in our lives. Thank you for celebrating and rejoicing with us!
Since sharing our good news, we have received a lot of questions about our lives and future ministry. Below is a fun compiled list of questions you may even have for your missionaries!
Q: Are you nervous moving to South Africa being pregnant?
A: Not at all!
Q: What language will your baby learn?
A: Our home and heart language will be bilingual of English and Spanish be-
cause that is what we speak. The baby will also learn Afrikaans, one of the heart
languages of Cape Town and the people group we physically resemble.
Q: Will you deliver your baby in South Africa?
A: Yes we will in June 2014! South Africa is a highly developed country with an
awesome medical system. Did you know the first open heart surgery was per formed in South Africa?
Q: If your baby is born in South Africa, will it be a South African citizen?
A: No. Since we are both American citizens the baby will be born as an American citizen as well.
Thank you for your prayers and giving of your resources so that we can prepare to minister in South Africa soon! You are a constant encouragement and great joy to us!
P.S. To read more detail about the night we found out we were pregnant, click on our blog post “An Expected Surprise.“
October 2013 “Jesus Through Her Eyes”
Over a hundred influential leaders gathered and witnessed a tool that could be used in impacting their community. Team members in Cape Town reported the events that followed the next night. “Eyes lit up as each person heard and saw the Gospel in their own language and several people indicated that they wanted to receive Jesus as their personal savior.”
Ever wonder how we can go into a nearby township that doesn’t speak English and still see people come to follow Christ? The Jesus Film is a short movie of the story of Jesus’ life and ministry according to the book of Luke. It has been translated into over 1000 languages and has expanded into the creation of other films for sharing the Gospel, including Magdalena (pictured above), a story portraying Jesus through the eyes of Mary Magdalene. It demonstrates how Jesus values women through how He interacted with them throughout the Bible.
In face of cultural pressures and hostile ideologies, God is still bringing an increasing number of individuals into a relationship with Himself! This is just one of many ways our ministry is touching hearts through local church partnerships and changing lives for Christ in South Africa. We look forward to returning to South Africa and thanks to your partnership, that will be soon enough!
September 2013 “In this Together”
“It’s OK, I got you! Just let go and lean back!”
One of my first lessons about rock climbing was trusting the person, who literally had my life in their hands, to hold me if I (Jerrah) fell off the rock wall. It’s scary at first, but once you lean back and let them hold you, you automatically feel peace – well at least I did. Thanks to a South African teammate’s recent post about the importance of partnership in the mission to see the lost come to follow Jesus and find life in him, we decided to do one ourselves. I once heard a pastor say, “If you aren’t the one going down into the well, then hold the rope that sends someone down.”
The picture above is the perfect representation of the relationship between us and our ministry partners, and it is beautiful! Beautiful, because it shows that we are in this together. It says that not only has God called us to the mission field, but he has equally called you, our partners, to be the conduit through which He sends us, and it’s beautiful. Now that’s a wonderful reminder to us of how blessed we are to have people like you partnering with us through your unceasing prayers and continual financial support. Team work is a beautiful thing.
July 2013 “A Life-Changing Summer”
Life changing is how we describe what God did this summer. For 6 weeks we were in a special Cru program in Colorado that trains their missionaries how to live overseas long-term. Here is our team God called for us to work side by side with in South Africa.
Surrounded by almost 70 missionaries being sent out to the world, this classroom (right) was our every day life. The theme of the training was “In the Potter’s Hands.” Everything we learned was built around developing an understanding of how God has shaped us– strengths, areas to develop, stress triggers, etc– and being aware of this is absolutely essential to ministering in another culture. We were blown away learning an individualized way in learning a foreign language, how we both individually connect/hear from the Lord, respond to stress, how to make the Gospel of Jesus relevant in a culture. Each day we were filled of awe and tears of how God, our Potter, shapes us.
We feel so prepared now to live in a long term context in Africa. Now that we are back in Indiana we will continue to raise the remaining 20% of our support. Thank you for sending us to this life-changing training! Pray with us as we continue these last 6 months until we report.
April 2013 “Doing the Impossible”
“You guys are doing the impossible.” The words of our team leader still resounds in our heads as we pursue our calling into the mission field. He continued to say, “That’s exactly why we do what we do, because we serve a God of impossibilities and only He can accomplish the task.” Recently, Tammi and I saw the impossible happen and achieved a goal that seemed too far away to grasp.
We recently received enough financial pledges to reach 80% of our monthly need and now we have been released to attend special training this summer that will prepare us for long-term ministry in an international setting. This is exciting news for us because we know that in South Africa, as in many places, the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Our current South African team member, Nicholas, recently stated:
“It has been a roller-coaster ride trying to balance 3 campuses, meeting with 15 students between the 3 campuses and learning about my new responsibilities as Provincial Student-Led Movement Team Leader for the Western Cape. That is a mouthful. I am currently without a team, but I am trusting God that I will have 2 team mates for the second half of the year. Jerrah & Tammi Jackson.”
What’s truly encouraging for us is that God is adding more people to our team! Leon and Melanie are a great couple who was a part of our team in 2010 and are already on board for returning this fall with us. Additionally, we have 3 new team members! Tyrone and Andrea, a couple married for ten years who have been working with Cru High for eight years ministering to high school students, and Charlotte, who has been working with The Impact Movement for seven years ministering to African American college students, have all felt God’s leading to serve in South Africa as well.
It’s very evident that God is doing something big in sending a team of 7 African American missionaries to South Africa. We look forward to seeing God do even greater impossible things right in front of our eyes for the glory of the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our return to Cape Town is coming soon.
Thanks for continuing to play a huge part in this story God is creating.
March 2013 “What’s South Africa Like?“
Whenever we are asked this question, we jump at the opportunity to paint a vibrant picture of this nation to share what God is doing there.Since living there for a few years, we learned first-hand that South Africa can be described as the “New York” of Africa.
Imagine living in a nation where people flock in and out finding opportunity, education, and jobs. This country has revolving doors to every African citizen where there are 11 official national languages and over 61 ethnicities! (Josuaproject.net)
You can literally stand at a train station and hear languages being spoken all around you. In fact, South Africa is a huge melting pot and focal point of the continent of Africa. It is also the most diverse African country holding the largest communities of European, Asian, and ancestor ethnic groups on the continent.
Besides this, the college campuses here are prestigious and African students come from all over the continent to study here. For example, one college has over 104 nations represented in the student body. That’s over half of the world on one college campus!
Since Jesus has clearly touched this particular nation to be tremendously diverse, our strategy as missionaries is clear. If half of the world is coming to South Africa to be future leaders we want to meet them there with the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Your partnership will impact beyond the borders of South Africa, it will affect nations across the globe. Thank you for being involved in this great vision!
February 2013 “Looking Back”
The camera does a great job at preserving the past. Sometimes its important to reflect on past successes, blessings, and those unbelievable nail-biting moments in life. Come with us as we take a look back to being missionaries in Africa 3 years ago. During this time God surrounded us with amazing things that not only blew our minds but also gave us hope for our the future…
The sun was shinning on a bright and beautiful February day in Cape Town. Classes on campus just began and our team was witnessing God faithfully bring students into a relationship with Himself and students attend bible studies.
In light of what God was doing, our team faced a harsh reality right out of the gate– the potential of seeing a teammate return home to the USA due to lack of funds and how that would affect us. Tammi was that individual. “It was so scary to have lost over 30% of my financial support while living overseas. Despite this reality, I was filled with tangible peace,” she says. What put us in awe was how in just 2 weeks God brought in $1,000 of needed monthly support which allowed her to stay for the rest of the year! We were ecstatic! The impossible had occurred and no one was left with doubts that God could do the same for them.
Now the time has come for us to see the Lord do something very similar. In just 8 weeks, we will need to see $2,000 of monthly support raised by May 1st. We are reminded that God’s hand is not short in fulfilling His promise to us. He is a faithful and loving God. We are well on our way to becoming fully funded missionaries who will serve in Africa. We are in need of your faithful prayers. Thank you for partnering with us in fulfilling this promise over our lives so that others may know Jesus.
January 2013 “Taking ‘Uncommon’ Steps”
“Is this really happening?” Tammi said as we sat in our hotel room in Denver, Colorado contemplating the decision we felt God clearly leading us to make. We both knew that this could have only been of God. We felt no hesitation when the idea was presented by our coach. One thing was for sure, our decision would alter our future plans for South Africa…
Prior to God leading us to this decision, we were surrounded around 1,000 college students from Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, Illinois and Missouri. We were at the Denver Christmas Conference where students spend a week listening to godly speakers. On the last day of the conference the students were challenged to participate in an Urban Insight Faith Experience. They took cardboard signs out to stand on the corners to experience what it might be like to be homeless. There were specific actions and prayers meant to open the eyes of the students and to interact with people in the city. “Uncommon,” fits well with how these students experienced their walks with God.
Besides the students, we were even prompted clearly by the Lord to take an “uncommon” step of faith by deciding to commit to living overseas in South Africa for a longer duration of years than we initially planned for. We felt a clear calling from the Lord to become International Campus Staff (ICS) which are for missionaries that live 3 or more years overseas. This status as ICS will enable us to live and minister overseas more effectively. This 2013 summer cultural training will equip us to leave this Fall for South Africa.
Since this leading from God, our excitement grows as He plans these upcoming months! Thank you for your partnership, God is truly moving because your hand is in our lives.