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Dearly beloved,

Thank you for your ongoing prayer support and encouragements. It is such a huge comfort to know that we are part of you.I have been so blessed and uplifted by God’s word through the fellowship of the saints.

Looking at what God is doing in our local church and seeing the growth of a Gospel culture amongst us has given me new appreciation for what it means to walk in the light.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1John 1: 7).

True fellowship happens when we walk in the light, as he is in the light. We have been transferred out of the darkness into his light. As believers we no longer have to hide in darkness. We can walk in the light together with our Lord.

Here’s the implications of that: It means we have to make ourselves vulnerable to each other. We need to live transparent lives. When we walk in the light our lives are exposed for what it really is. We don’t have to pretend that everything is okay with us. We can have fellowship with each other without masks (figuratively)!

We wear masks and pretend to be what we are not, because we are afraid to be judged by others. We pretend to be those with the best prayer lives or most intimate walk with God. We pretend that our depth of theological knowledge is equal to our pursuit of God. We pretend that we are holier and more spiritual than we truly are and that we walk in daily victory over sin. I think, for most of us, this is true and for many of us this is a tiresome way of life.

This is not what Jesus saved us for. He saved us in order that we might walk in the light as he is in the light and to have true fellowship with each other in the light.

There is such freedom when we walk in the light with each other. We realise that none of us deserves to be here, and that each of us is just frail, weak and desperately needy in the hands of an almighty Father who loves us and cares for us, despite our constant failures. That’s why the gospel is good news!

When we walk in the light our love for each is without hypocrisy and we are able to outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:9–10).

I’m grateful to see the fruits of this growing in our congregation. I pray the same for you as well.

Family Vibes

Our family is doing well and have been in birthday celebration mode for a while now. This is a welcomed distraction from the many struggles we are faced with. Tyran turned 19 in February; Nathan turned 14 in March; my darling wife turned big 50 on 9 April; Devin turned 21 on 13 April; Noah is turning 3 in May; and Chané will be 30 in July.

So yes, it’s a lot of birthday vibes! We are so amazed at the goodness of the Lord towards us as a family.

Please keep praying for the salvation of our kids. They are well mannered and very respectful. They love the church and at times even remind me of our family bible studies, but we don’t see any fruit of repentance. May the Lord grant them repentance that leads to life.

February Month of Corporate Evangelism

As you know, we have been conducting a full month of corporate evangelism since the inception of the church. This has become the main corporate event on the calendar of our church.

For those who know us you would know that this is not our only time that we do evangelism. We have a culture of evangelism where every believer is involved in evangelism. We do not have an outreach team, because every believer must be a witness for Jesus in their personal capacity. Evangelism happens throughout the year.

The month of corporate evangelism allows our entire church to impact our community with the gospel. Many relationships are developed during this time.

We are grateful to the Lord for saving souls at these campaigns. Last year, the Lord brought a lady to repentance who had been listening to the gospel preached for the whole week. She came to church the Sunday and that afternoon came weeping to Quinton’s house wanting the Lord to save her. And he did! She is still serving the Lord faithfully with us and is growing in grace.

This year a Muslim gang leader from one of the most dangerous towns in the Cape Flats (read Quinton’s report for details) was listening from the Monday of our last week to Thursday to the preaching of the gospel. He says that he always thought Christianity was a gimmick to get money out of people, but the Jesus that was talked about was someone He never heard of, and he needed that Jesus to save his dark soul. He thought of himself as a god who has life and death in his hands, but now he saw himself and could not bear it. Oh, what a great salvation!

The Lord has dramatically changed this man. We are walking closely with him and it is such a joy to see him break before the love of God and grow in his grace. This is a long journey. He cold turkeyed himself from his drug addiction and it was horrible to see, but by God’s grace he’s through the worst of it and has been clean ever since. Please keep him in prayer.

Baptisms

We praise God for adding to his local church. We were privileged to baptise four people of which one is the Marietta, the lady whom the Lord saved during last year’s month of evangelism.

A Bittersweet Providence

Two of our members got jobs in other towns and we are grateful that we could connect them with likeminded churches where we know they will be of service to the Lord and his church. Anthony has joined Strand Baptist Church whose pastor is part of our fraternal, and Lindo has joined Hope Bible Church, pastored by fellow HeartCry missionary, Tsholo.

Our First Church Planting Conference

We believe that every church should be committed to church planting in some capacity. There are also many who have jump into the church planting “band wagon” and who are doing so much damage due to their zeal without knowledge. It is churches who are mandated to plant churches not lone rangers!

This year we had our first church planting conference in partnership with Imprint led by Tommie van der Walt. It was held over two days: Friday night and the whole of Saturday. We had panel discussions and the sessions included, “What is the Gospel?”; “Biblical Evangelism”; “How to grow a Gospel Culture in Your Local Church”; “Biblical Church Membership”; and “Biblical Church Leadership.” You can find the videos on our Facebook page.

Official Meeting with Community

After receiving the title deed of our newly purchased building, we called an official meeting with our community on the premises of our building. We wanted to officially announce the new ownership of the building and address certain unacceptable activities that were happening on the premises. Since the fence around the building was stolen, gangs have used the premises to gamble, sell drugs and all sorts of criminal activities. We had a good turnout and were welcomed by the community with shouts of joy and clapping of hands. We also spoke to some of the gang leaders who promised to “look after” the property.

The community members were very excited to hear that they will also benefit from the fixing of the property. We could already create temporary jobs for eight people who helped clean up the premises outside and some ladies who helped clean inside the building. There is a lot that needs to be done. These temporary jobs allow us to engage with many of the community that we could never really pin down. What a wonderful opportunity for gospel conversations! Please pray for us as we seek opportunities to share the gospel with these men and women whom we employ.

Our First Service

Good Friday is always a special time for our church. Celebrating Christ’s redeeming love for us. This is also such a huge evangelistic opportunity as we celebrate the gospel!

This year it has been a much more emotional time for us as we moved into our new building. How awesome it was to look to the cross while hearing the echo of praises in a building that comes as an answer to prayer, made possible by the blood of Christ which gave us access to the throne of grace. What a faithful and merciful God we serve. He has not just blest us with a building, but has set his church on a hill to be a light shining forth the light of the gospel to all in Bellville South. Pray that we continue to be faithful servants who will sacrificially serve our church and our community.

Another Prayer Answered

I’m sure some of you can remember in previous reports that I mentioned that this building is in the middle of all gang and drug activity. Drug dealers and taverns and gangs are our next-door neighbours. That’s why we wanted this building. This is where the church is needed!

The implication of this is that, unless you have someone staying on the property, you are in for trouble. Drug addicts will keep vandalising the building seeking for something they can sell to sustain their drug habit. We have been praying for God to help us solve this problem and he did!

The gangster whom the Lord has saved was living on a property where drugs were readily available and parties are an every weekend thing. His prayer request at our prayer meeting was that the Lord provide him and his family with a place to stay. He said he does not want to raise his kids in that environment any longer and needed to have time with his wife away from that environment. His wife also used to deal drugs and he needed her away from there.

Here’s what is so amazing. The building the Lord gave us has a two-bedroom house attached to it. While the leadership discussed the possibility to put this family in the building, some of the members already asked why we can’t put them in the house since we are considering employing security for the building.

We agreed and they are currently in the building. We have a lot that needs to be fixed in the house but are committed to make it a home for them until the Lord opens another door.

Shootings and a Petrol Bomb

It was not long and already some of the gang members has threatened our brother who simply asked them not to do drugs on the property. We asked him not to engage them at 2:00 AM in the morning but to rather call the cops.

Over the weekend there were shootings on the property as one gangster ran through the property with more than R100,000 cash that he stole from one of the drug merchants. Eleven shots were fired. The gang who shot at him told one of our members the next day that the church saved that guy’s life. Not really the kind of testimony we are looking for.

Two days after that the premises was used as ground zero for a war between two rival gangs. Bricks and a petrol bomb were thrown. Thankfully not much damage was done to the building. All these are happening because we do not have a wall around the building yet. Please pray with us that this will be remedied soon.

Visitors and Empowering Grace

Since our first service in our new building, the church has been packed out with a lot of visitors. Probably out of curiosity. Many of the community told us that they would come to our services and they did.

The last Sunday when I went up to preach, I was suffering from a pounding headache and could not see my sermon notes properly. As I started preaching, I saw this man walking through the people to find a seat right in front of me. Seeing this well-known man felt like the Holy Spirit immediately energising me. This man was married to one of the oldest drug dealers in our town, if not the first. All his sons are involved in gangs and have been to prison, except for one. As I spoke about the power of the resurrection and what it meant for those stuck in the death grip of sin, he bowed his head as one praying. I wanted to talk to him after the service, but he was gone. Please pray for this man’s salvation.

Oh, would you rejoice with us for what the Lord is doing in our church and our community!

Thank you for taking time out to read my report and for praying for us.

Yours in his service.

Mario F. Maneville
Pastor-teacher
Reformed Faith Mission Community Church