I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how he could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean.
Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, Isaiah had a front row seat to what would still happen in the future. He got to see how “the offspring” of the woman would “bruise the head of the serpent” (Genesis 3:15).
God would provide a Deliverer, just as he had promised in Genesis—a Deliverer who would save his people from their sin, and who would provide the sacrifice necessary to once for all cleanse his people from all guilt and pay the penalty for their sin. Isaiah got to see the glory of the love of God for wretched sinners.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all…. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt.
(Isaiah 53:3–6, 10)
How can we not stand amazed in the presence of such a wonderful Saviour? How can we not marvel at his love for us: sinners, condemned, unclean? For this Jesus, who died for our sins, was also raised again on the third day. He is indeed the one who conquered death, sin, and the devil. He is the promised deliverer of God’s people!
What a privilege we have to stand this side of the cross, with an even better and fuller view than that of Isaiah. We get to celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, having the witness of the Spirit of Christ inside of us!
We celebrate the cross in light of the resurrection. We glory in the sufferings of God’s Suffering Servant with greater revelation, and therefore greater joy, than that of the prophets of old, because the Spirit of the resurrected Christ quickens our mortal bodies (Romans 8:11).
The resurrection shines a spotlight on the effectiveness and invincible power and glory of the cross: that it is, indeed, the power of God unto salvation to those who believe. Beloved, we who have been given the privilege to live this side of the resurrection, “have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Let us live in such a way that the life of Christ might be made manifest to a dying world.
It has been a rollercoaster ride with one consistent, unwavering, undeniable fact: that God keeps us. When you sit in a rollercoaster and look around, everything moves at a fast and sporadic pace, yet the seat you sit in remains constant. You are fastened in your seat with your hands gripping the safety bar in front of you. That’s how I felt for the past couple of months with everything that has been going on around me. I have tried to be a husband and a father whose hands are gripping the safety bar while the weight of my life is resting in the sovereign God who keeps it all together. At times my hands are slipping, but the strong grasp of our Father in heaven keeps us.
Charlene and I celebrated seventeen years of marriage in the Lord. It has not been easy, but these seventeen years has been the best years of our lives, especially since we have had the privileged of seeing the Lord at work in ways that still blows our minds. One lesson we have learned is that the closer we grow to the Lord, the closer we will grow to each other.
Tyran has a wonderful opportunity to do a kind of internship/discipleship with pastor Japie’s son, Stephan, who is running the family business. Stephan is using it as an evangelistic tool, which I trust will bear lasting fruit in my son’s life. Tyran is loving this new adventure. As I write this, Chané is in an interview at a call centre for a job. Devin got a new job and seems to be loving it and Nathan is loving school, but struggling with school work. Noah, well, he wants to go to school with Nathan, because he is almost four years old and convinced that he is already big enough for high school. His mouth certainly is!
Please pray for the salvation of our children. Pray that the Lord will use his word and the circumstances that impacts their daily lives to draw them to repentance and faith.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY AND HAPPY BIRTDAY TO THE WIFE OF MY YOUTH!
The Church: Our First Family Fun Day
Recently, we had our first Family Fun Day on our church premises.
The intention was for the members of the church with their kids to invite their unsaved family members for a time of fun and games in order that they might meet with the believers who will use opportunities to build relationships with unsaved family members for future gospel engagements. Everything did not go as planned, but the day was a huge success. Even I got to connect with one of the kids that I had a concern for. It was encouraging to meet so many people for the first time and to hear the members sharing their Jesus stories with some of the visitors. We had a potjie competition that rendered some burned offerings but, in the end, it was the godly fellowship that won the day.
The Church: Corporate Prayer Meeting
Every Wednesday, we have our corporate prayer meeting. We come together as a church to pray for five categories: our families; the local church; our community; our government; and missions. This is a two-hour meeting. The first thirty minutes is an exposition on a portion of Scripture that will also serve as an outline for the next hour of prayer. After this, we use the last thirty minutes to pray for individual needs and prayer requests.
If there is one thing that is noteworthy about our church, then it must be the fact that it is normal for us to have our prayers answered. I mention this because it is always so strange that churches seem see it as an unusual thing for their prayers to be answered. So they ask God for things that they know they really can do “without God” (I know there is no such thing). But it seems like many have lost their desperation for God, because they are so self-sufficient. They live with no real dependency upon God. I think the problem is that they have too much of a high view of themselves and too low a view of God. If this is you, repent and do a study on the attributes of God and the true nature of man. Do it on your knees while seeking the Lord in desperate prayer for your coldness of heart.
The Church: Men’s Prayer Meeting
We started a monthly three-hour men’s prayer meeting because of our desire to see genuine revival in the life of our church that will spill over to our community and the rest of the world. If God would use one sermon to save three thousand souls at the preaching of Peter to antagonistic, self-righteous Jews, he can save fifty people who come to listen to our preaching at an open air. God can save every unbeliever who walks through our church doors to listen to his word being expounded every week. Our streets can be emptied of gangsters and drug dealers and prostitutes as God’s saving grace grabs them out of darkness.
I am convinced that revival tarries, because the church is not desperate enough for it. Revival tarries because the men who are called by his name are still busy playing with the selfish toys of little boys. It is time for us to man up and to grab hold of the horns of the altar until our hands bleed and God rends the heavens and come down! I praise God for men willing to heed the clarion call for prayer!
Month of Corporate Evangelism
As most of you know, for the past nine years we have dedicated one month in the year for corporate evangelism. Our church is known to have been graced by God with members who are full of evangelistic zeal. Evangelism is not a mere scheduled event or an outreach team. Evangelism is part of our church culture. The members of our church are always evangelising as matter of lifestyle, but we deem it as vital to have our entire local church spend one month evangelising the community that the Lord has planted us in.
We prepare our hearts through a week of fasting and corporate prayer before we engage in this privilege to share the gospel with people.
This year we did it a little different than previous years. Monday to Wednesday we had open air services, and Thursday to Friday was door-to-door and street evangelism. We had many good gospel conversation and many of our new members quickly gained confidence to share the gospel with strangers.
We are thankful to pastors Neil and Bongani from Northside Baptist Church who also preached at our open air services. While Neil was preaching one of the drug dealers with some of his “soldiers” came to listen to the sermon. They were there for the entire sermon. The only drawback was that they kept on dealing drugs while standing in the street. It was sad to see young and old coming to buy drugs from them while the gospel is being preached.
However, we are seeing many of those whom we’ve interacted with visiting our Sunday services. Pray with us for fruit that will remain.
The Devastating Effect of Rejecting Christ
We had the privilege of preaching the gospel again and again to a family who are always willing to have us enter their home to pray with them and challenge them with the reality of their sinful condition before a holy God. We’ve been coming to this house for the past seven years. It was in this house that a gang member who was high on drugs put a gun against my head when one of his buddies called out, “That’s Pastor Mario!” He looked at me and slowly put the gun away. I continued to challenge them with the gospel.
The first time I spoke to “Lionel” he was full of himself and wanted to show me how much Bible he knows. I warned him not to have the name of the Lord on his lips and that it is dangerous to quote Scriptures as a mockery. Year after year, I would talk to this man and command him to repent of his wicked ways.
Lionel is no longer as arrogant as he was five years back. He lost his job and has had several strokes and now cannot walk and speak properly. He is still stubbornly rejecting Christ but agrees that he needs the Lord. There are so many examples of this in our community. We see the devastation sin brings on those who continue to Christ after we have shared the gospel with them multiple times. Please keep praying for our Gospel efforts in our community.
Growth through Suffering
Two dramatic events that God is using to discipline and mature our church, besides the weekly preaching and Bible study that happens as the saints gather, must be the loss of an elder and the death and suffering of our beloved sister Kelebogile.
It has truly been a huge blessing to see how Quinton is honouring the Lord and leading as an example to the members of the church what it means to submit yourself under the discipline of the local church and to serve well from such humble position. He has helped the church through the mourning period and is consistently pointing members to holiness and the fear of God. His openness and transparency has made it easy for members to grow in holiness, rather than in resentment. We have a long way to go, but we thank God for the fruit we see.
As we met with the members individually (and as families) to talk about how this has affected them, we were only in awe of the Lord every time we concluded such meetings, without exception! We have not received any negative or antagonistic responses. The constant theme of responses was always something like this, “That could have been anyone of us.” “We need to put practical things in place that demonstrates that we are serious about living holy before the Lord.” “God is holy. We cannot play with sin.” “If that could happen to Pastor Q, it can happen to me as well.” “We love him and we are praying for him and his family.” “How can we be there for them?”
May the Lord continue to work Christ’s likeness in us.
Please continue to pray for Quinton and his wife as we continue to walk with them through this. Both have shown tremendous maturity and willingness to honour the Lord in all of this. Thank you to the many pastors and believers who has been such an encouragement to me and to so many who have reached out to him. I love the church!
Kelebogile Mercy Mphela was born on 19 March 1997 and was carried to glory to be with her Lord on 8 March 2022 not long after being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.
In 2021, she came to Cape Town from Johannesburg to spend a two-month break from her studies with her sister Massie (Thato’s wife) who, at that time, had recently given birth to our church’s adorable Lemo.
Like most young adults, Kele had dreams of finishing her studies, getting a good job, finding “Mr. Right” and getting married. Cape Town was not really part of the plan but, while visiting her sister, she attended our Sunday services and met the church and was quickly making new friends.
Around November last year, she started complaining about stomach aches, which had her go to clinic and see doctors several times until February, when she was finally diagnosed with cancer. By then, it was already at Stage 4.
The day she found out that she had Stage 4 cancer, I went to meet with her to encourage her and pray with her and the family. I expected a very anxious 24-year-old and was preparing myself for high emotions and a lot of weeping and “why me” questions. I will never forget that first conversation.
When I got to the house, I found a calm young lady full of confidence in her sovereign Lord. I even took a selfie to remember that moment.
After sharing with her from God’s words she told me,
Pastor, when I came here, I had no intention to stay. But then I started attending Sunday services and I met the church and the Lord saved me. I was taught that God is sovereign and that we should do everything for his glory and if he decided that I must get cancer than it is for his glory and I am okay with that. I know I’m still young, but why not me? God is in control of this.
I remember leaving there so encouraged, but also thinking that maybe she was telling me what she knew I would want to hear.
After a few days, her health started to decline rapidly and she was hospitalised. I was so encouraged by our church as members of our church were with her literally every day, giving of themselves sacrificially to support the family and our dear sister Kele.
Praying with her at the hospital and seeing in how much pain she was, was almost unbearable. She suffered so much!
As I held her hand she told me, “Pastor, I am suffering for Christ. I want to suffer well. I am suffering for his glory.”
My wife stayed with her that day and, as I left, I wept that she was in such pain, but more than that I was weeping at the wonder of our God. Kele was still a young believer, but her confidence in God and her devotion to Christ seemed to be way beyond her years. When God saves a person, he keeps them through the toughest of trials. I stood amazed at the presence of Jesus the Nazarene. I was weeping for the many out there in my community who are swept away by that false “gospel” that claims only health and prosperity and robs people from the glory that comes from suffering for Christ. Kele was committed to do everything to the glory of the Lord, even her suffering!
As the cancer progressed and she started getting weaker, she told one of our sisters, “I’m not afraid.” She knew that she was in God’s hands. I told her that the best place for a 24-year-old to be is face to face with Jesus. She smiled and nodded her head in agreement.
The day before she died—7 March—although she had much pain, she used all the strength she could muster to sit up and to tell the people in her ward that Jesus had saved her and that she hoped that he would save them as well. Until her last, she was a gospel witness to lost people. She did it with much pain and suffering. She did it to glorify her Lord! Oh, how precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
Women’s Ministry Report April 2022
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I am grateful for God’s grace that’s allowing me to write this report to all our partners in the ministry of our Lord.
We had quite an eventful first quarter of the year. I see it as our season of pruning. I have experienced the Lord in such an amazing way through the trials of members of our church, which has made Scriptures like Matthew 28:20—where Jesus says “and lo, I am with you always”—come alive. He was and is holding me fast. It is even amazing to me now, as I’m writing this report that there is such a sense of “resting in God.”
I have been challenged in my faith and walk with God when I saw how my dear late sister Kele, a 24-year-old young lady and a member of our church handled a cancer diagnosis, which doctors then staged it Stage 4 with months to live, then weeks, then hours, before the Lord took her home. All within a timespan of about two months.
I have seen sick people and dying people more than I would want to remember, but this was a bitter and rather overwhelmingly sweet and gracious blow. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). It is God’s word alone that brings healing and peace in our storms.
I have been privileged to meet once a month with Sharon Dickens from 20Schemes since February this year. She’s mentoring me and giving so much support to me personally. I am so blessed to have a likeminded woman from more-or-less the same context than ours come alongside us.
I am so grateful and humbled to be leading our women’s ministry. One thing that I’ve learned is that the gospel must continue to go forth through our ministries so that God’s name may be exalted amongst all peoples.
I have seen so much spiritual maturity and growth amongst our women and we have grown so much closer to one another.
Our focus for this year is holiness.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
(Titus 2:11–14, ESV)
Our current activities include:
- Bi-weekly meetings: We are still meeting every second Saturday, working through a book, Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes.
- Discipleship program: Discipleship still continues amongst different groups.
- Community engagements: We are still working on building relationships with the women in the community with the aim of engaging them with the gospel and to be the head, hands, heart and bring hope.
- Relationship-building with sister churches: We are grateful for the support from our sister churches. Some of the elders wives meets once a quarter for fellowship and encouragement.
- Seniors program: The aim of this program is to reach out to the senior citizens in Bellville South with the aim of sharing the gospel through relationship building and support in whatever way we are able to. We’ve started by collecting data in the community. This proofed to be not as straight forward as we thought due to the fact that our community is generally very suspicious. We have officially started our seniors program on 5 April. We had an information session and had seventeen seniors pitch up from over fifty who were brave enough to give their details. On the 12th and 19th, seven of the seventeen returned. Most of our community attends an Old Apostolic church and we have been told by former members that they are not allowed to attend any activities of other churches. We are thankful to the Lord that we can make a difference to those who show interest.
- Project Renovations: We started raising funds amongst ourselves in 2021 to help with restoration of certain areas in our church building and was so encouraged to see how our women united once again and we were able to start with the ladies’ toilets. It is still not done but we are super excited!
- Praise the Lord with us for all his goodness towards us (and for 17 years of marriage).
- Pray that the Lord will grant the leadership much wisdom and guidance as we continue to seek to serve him and shepherd his church for his glory.
- Pray that the Lord will continue to prune us and mould us in his image.
- Pray that the Lord will open up the hearts of our community to receive the gospel.
- Pray for false religion to be broken especially amongst our seniors.
- Pray for revival!
- Pray with us for more elders and deacons and that those who are currently serving will do so with discernment, wisdom, and humility.
Thank you for always indulging me in reading through my long reports.
We appreciate your prayers and your encouragements.
Mario F. Maneville (Pastor)
Reformed Faith Mission
Reformed Faith Mission Community Church
Mario has been serving as pastor-teacher at Reformed Faith Mission Community Church in Cape Town, South Africa, since 2013. RFMCC was initially planted by Mario’s brother Quinton in 2010 under the oversight of Sovereign Word Ministries, a church in Kimberley that Mario planted. Mario quit his job and moved his family closer to the church in 2015 in order to be more devoted to the ministry.