It is with joy and much contentment that I write to you.
I have been so encouraged meditating on the Lord’s love and care for his church, in particular this local church in Bellville South. Amidst all the violence and chaos, God has planted for himself a “vineyard of wine.”
“A vineyard of wine, sing of it! I, the LORD, am its keeper; I water it every moment. So that no one will damage it, I guard it night and day.” (Isaiah 27:2–3)
During a time when God’s abiding wrath (John 3:36) on sinners can be seen; during a time of judgement, God rejoices over his vineyard. He is keeper of it. He cares for it and guards it all the time. Oh, what joy, what comfort, what rest, what confidence we can have as the vineyard of the Lord!
I am thankful that you will take the time to read this ministry update and trust you will be encouraged.
48 years of marriage
On 25 September 2019 my parents celebrated 48 years of marriage. It was their wish to have their vows renewed as a memorial celebrating God’s faithfulness in keeping them together. My dad was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and my mom wanted to do this before he loses all his memory. Both of them serve the Lord and have been an inspiration to us all. I had the privilege of presiding over the ceremony. This was yet another opportunity to share the gospel with lost family members.
God adding to his vineyard
We were privileged to introduce two new members to our congregation. Both of them are transfers from other Sola 5 churches. Maselaelo (Massie) was one of the founding members of Heritage Baptist Church. After speaking to Michael and his wife, I could sense the deep love they have for Massie, but I also could not help rejoicing that the Lord chose to move her to our church. Massie got married to Thato Mohapi early this year. She is already proving to be a blessing to our church. Anthony is from Cape Town, but has been living in Gauteng due to his studies. He used to visit our church during the holidays. He was a member of Antioch Bible Church and is a young man with a passion for Jesus that can be seen by all. He joins our church with high recommendations from Tim Cantrell. We have witnessed this young man’s growth in godliness and his zeal for the Lord throughout this year. Thank you, Antioch, for investing in this young man.
We are also busy with new member’s classes with four people who left the prosperity church in search of truth. When they visited our Sunday service for the first time, they immediately felt that this is where they belong. They’ve been attending all our services and midweek gatherings faithfully for the past three months now and have enrolled in our new member’s class. We are excited about what the Lord is doing in their lives.
I speak on behalf of our whole church when I say that, when we talk about Enrico, all of us are filled with awe and amazement at the work the Lord is doing in this brother. Enrico is an ex-gang leader whom the Lord has saved after visiting our church for several months. He attended our Bible study while we were discussing the importance of formal membership and what membership means. This man suddenly started confessing his sins and his need of Christ. He says that, for months, he just observed us and listened to what we were teaching and has discovered our genuine love for him and the Lord. He’s never seen people love each other and strangers like that. He’s not only heard the gospel, but he has seen it in the pastors and the members of the church. Since then we have seen him grown in the Lord with an insatiable desire for the word and a passion for the saints. Please keep this man in prayer as he shares his newfound faith with some of his ex-gang buddies.
Sunday was Enrico’s baptism. You can imagine the excitement of the church. This was really a celebration! What made it more special is that the Saturday, Enrico went out with his family for his sister’s fiftieth birthday. He did not want to go, because he knew that there would be drinking and chaos involved, but his sister begged him since he was the only surviving brother. His brother was shot dead about two months ago. As he expected, the party got out of hand and there was a fight between his family and another group. He tried to break up the fight and was assaulted. His teeth were kicked out and his foot badly hurt. I thought we should postpone the baptism, but he insisted that he must be baptised and he would not allow anything to prohibit him from being baptised the next day. This was indeed a special moment.
A new home
Our brother Enrico used to live in a shack of wood build around a makeshift bed. With the help of the saints, we were able to buy him a new home. What a joy it was to see the members of our church put their hands in their pockets to give toward this bungalow so our brother can have a decent home. Many of our members are poor with low income jobs, but it was these domestic workers and street sweepers that were the first to give. Praise God for a church that does not just speak about sacrificial giving—they live it out!
Another deacon added
We are also overjoyed with the appointment of Thato Mohapi as one of our deacons. I cannot begin to describe what a blessing this man has been to our church and to my soul personally. The Lord has used this brother in phenomenal ways to reach the hearts of Bellville South youth. These are all kids that comes from the toughest backgrounds imaginable and they are not an easy bunch. Yet, the Lord has enabled Thato to connect with these kids on a very personal level. These kids should be either involved in gangs, on drugs, in prostitution, pregnant, or school drop-outs, but the Lord has saved them from these things that are the norm in our community. They have lost friends because of their commitment to the youth group. We are grateful to the Lord for enabling Thato to care and love the “unlovable” in the way he does.
We are committed to training up men to be preachers of the word. Thato preached his first sermon two weeks ago—a ninety-minute exposition of 1 John 1. It was a joy to see the church glued to every word and giving him feedback afterwards. Everyone had patience, knowing it’s his first time preaching. Oh, how I love our church!
We are thankful to Goodwood Baptist ladies and Strand Baptist and some of our church members who regularly donate cloths to our church in support of the poor in our church and our community. We are particularly thankful that these clothing donations are not clothes that are so old that it must rather be thrown in the bin. (We’ve had those in the past!) Thank you for donating clothes that you yourself would still wear.
Sometimes it’s a real frustration when my house is full of bags and boxes, but joy soon comes when we have fun sorting through the clothes and when we see the smiles on the faces of those who receive it. I must admit, sometimes I’m the one smiling!
Our annual missions high tea fundraiser
This year’s missions high tea was probably the most impactful as our focus was upon local church plants. The purpose of these events is to raise funds for missionaries and church planters all over the world and to raise prayer support for the persecuted church and the missionaries we highlight.
We were able to have three local church planters share about what God was doing in their communities through their ministry. It was very encouraging to hear about the struggles they faced and the triumphs they celebrated as local church plants in hard places. We had 140 people supporting this event with prayer cards of the local church plants on the fourteen tables that seated ten people each. What a joy to hear the saints pray around these tables for these churches. Our theme for the event was “Multiplying Vineyards.” As usual, we had a short message with a gospel presentation geared towards those unbelievers who were invited by the saints to attend.
We also shared how the funds were used and how it benefitted the church planters that we highlighted in the past. Jandre is a South African missionary in Madagascar. He’s been a missionary to Madagascar for more than fifteen years. We were able to contribute to his air ticket back to South Africa so that he might visit his ailing mother. Gabriel is a church planter and pastor in rural Liberia. He has no electricity or running water and has to travel for hours just to charge his cell phone for thirty minutes (a paid for service that shops offer). He has a laptop that he cannot really use because it is just too difficult and expensive to charge it. Through the money raised from the Mission’s High Tea, we were able to send him funds to buy a solar panel which would allow him for the first time to have light in his home and to charge his phone and laptop. We praise God for the difference we could make through this fundraising event.
By God’s grace my family is doing well. I have been sick for about three weeks with some sort of virus I caught while in the US. My lungs were tight and I found it difficult to breathe at times, coughing and vomiting. For the first time I had to make use of an asthma pump. Praise God I’m doing much better now.
My wife was also sick and after the doctor’s diagnosis we decided it is time for her to resign from her work. This is a big decision with huge financial implications, but I’d rather suffer the loss of income than the loss of my wife. Please pray for us that the Lord will give us wisdom as we adjust our lifestyle to fit our new normal. Charlene is excited about being at home and getting more involved in women’s ministry, and a bit anxious about losing her medical aid. We trust that the Lord will help us raise the support to provide in our needs.
Little Noah is growing up quickly and is ever providing us with much joy and drama. Devin is preparing for final matric exams but is more excited about his upcoming matric ball. We keep praying for the salvation of the rest of our kids and remain encouraged about their interest in the things of the Lord. We thank the Lord for the members of our church who are very involved in the life of our kids.
Northside Baptist Church
Northside Baptist Church is a church plant in the Blue Downs / Kuils Rivier region of the Western Cape. Sandy Sonteya (married to Zimbini, with two children—Sanda and Buhle) planted Northside Baptist Church in February 2018. His desire is to establish a biblically faithful church where members will find their identity solely in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The church is especially passionate about reaching Muslim refugees in the area. Northside Baptist Church exists to proclaim a Christ-centred message to all peoples.
- Pray for a full recovery for Sandi, who suffered a stroke earlier this year.
- Pray for unity among the believers in the church and for deep spiritual growth.
- Ask the Lord to protect the Somali believers in the church as they prepared to share the gospel with their community.
- Pray for many Somalis who are threatened with death if they turn to Christ. Many are keeping their faith in Christ a secret, afraid for their and their families’ lives.
The Lord has allowed all those who were interested in buying the building to drop out. However, the owners still don’t want to drop the price, since the building’s evaluation from the city is R7.4 million. We were told that if we can give them a deposit of R1 million they will give us the building and we can pay the rest off in monthly instalments. Pray with us that the Lord will make provision. We currently only have R500,000.00.
Please DO SHARE our need with those who might want to contribute to this end.
South African Account Details
First National Bank
Account Name: Reformed Faith Mission
Cheque Account: 62505439663
Branch code: 200910
Reference: Building Project
US Account Details
We are grateful to God for Capitol Hill Baptist Church who made their Great Commission Partners account facility available for U.S. donors to contribute towards this building fund. Follow this link and simply put Reformed Faith Mission Community Church as reference or in the memo.
You can also contribute via PayPal here.
Please pray that our church will constantly be reminded that the Lord is our keeper and that we can have confidence in his providence.
- Please pray for the killings to stop in Bellville South and the Cape Flats as a whole.
- Praise God for adding to our church and for the joy and contentment we experience in the midst of chaos.
- Pray that those men who are labouring alongside us will see lasting fruit for their labour.
- Pray that the Lord will provide us with the outstanding funds to purchase the building.
- Pray that the Lord will work in your heart to financially support those trusted, struggling churches in townships around you.
- Pray with us that the Lord will give us wisdom as we adjust our lifestyle to fit our new normal.
May the Lord accomplish his will for us. We look to him!
Yours in his service,
Mario F. Maneville
Reformed Faith Mission Community Church