May it be our ambition to be pleasing to him (2 Corinthians 5:9).
“I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)
Every local church is to be a pillar and buttress of the truth. It is the duty of the elders to ensure that the local assemblies that the Lord has made us overseers of are holding the gospel up for everyone to see and firming the gospel up as trustworthy, dependable, reliable, and rock solid. To this end, we should spend ourselves to be a visible display of the gospel in our communities.
Thanks for taking time to read this brief update on what the Lord is doing through his local church here in Bellville South.
Bellville South has been a volatile place for the past few months with people being shot every weekend. This past weekend was the only weekend we have not had somebody wounded or killed. Two weeks ago, 42 people were killed in the Cape Flats over one weekend (Friday and Saturday), three of which were shot in our community.
Greenlands is about ten-minute walk from where I stay. It’s a small community that is also part of Bellville South. Quinton is meeting with a gang in this area, doing weekly Bible studies with them. This is one of the gangs that are terrorising that community. Last week, Quinton walked in on them preparing to psych themselves up, armed and ready to take revenge on one of their friends who was just shot dead by a rival gang. He tried to speak some sense into them, but they seemed to be possessed with murder in their eyes. He was not able to stop them. I thank God for his protection and that they did not turn on him while in that fanatical state of mind. People are afraid to have their kids play outside or go to the shop because of all the shootings.
We do frequent street preaching in this area. This area has no local church as people are afraid to evangelise the area or plant a church here. Pray with us as we trust the Lord to start a work here.
Another gang boss trying to “use” God
One of the biggest drug lords in our area has been baptised by another Pentecostal church. The man is not saved and is trying to use religion to somehow take the “heat” off him. There have been several attempts to assassinate him and a few of his men have been killed in brought daylight. He has not stopped any of his operations. However, it is our prayer that his frequent visit to the church on Sundays will be a means that God will use to open his heart for the gospel.
An open door
Morné is a drug addict that I’ve known for years. In fact, we grew up only a few houses from each other. We are about the same age. He has never worked a day in his life and has been on drugs since we were teenagers. He used to come to my house for food and our arrangement was that I would only give him food if he spent at least thirty minutes with me, talking about his life and the condition of his soul. For about a year we had this kind of relationship until one day he just told me he does not want to talk anymore and I haven’t seen him for almost a year. A week ago, he came to my door again, this time not for food, but to tell me he misses our conversations and that I was the only pastor that really cared. (The Lord be the judge of that.) I am trusting the Lord for his salvation before the drugs totally take his mind. Many in our community have some mental disorder because of drugs. For many, Morné is a hopeless case. Even some of his drug buddies told me I’m wasting my time. Then again, we have brothers in our church who were worse off than Morné and what the Lord did for them he can do for Morné.
Another funeral, another gospel opportunity!
Gretchen is an eighteen-year-old crippled girl in our church who made a profession of faith about two months ago. We have been asking the Lord to please save just one of our youth in our youth outreach program. This program runs every Friday and is an outreach to the youth in our area of which Gretchen is part. For the past two months, Gretchen has been showing a commitment and childlike love for Christ that’s undeniable. Her entire family is touched by this dramatic change in her. We praise God for what he is doing in and through her life.
Last week, Gretchen’s mother passed away. She was a drug addict and died in her sleep. Because of the love our church community has for Gretchen, her family asked that we do the funeral even though they belonged to another church. Thanks to the help of the saints, we were able to raise money to assist with the funeral. We praise God for the opportunity to preach the gospel with several drug dealers and people from all walks of life. Gretchen’s mom lived with a well-known family of dealers, who are known for killing anyone who gets in their way. One of her aunts is in prison for multiple murders that she has ordered, gun smuggling, prostitution, and a whole lot of evil things. Gretchen is a true light in a family where darkness is celebrated.
Acts 29 global gathering—Church in Hard Places
Before some of you get too excited. I am not a continuationist. I am a Reformed 1689 Baptist.
I have been afforded the opportunity to speak on three occasions at the Acts 29 Global Gathering as a representative of Church in Hard Places (CiHP). CiHP is an Acts 29 initiative under the leadership of Mez Mconnell (co-author with Mike McKinley on the 9Marks book, Church in Hard Places). It was a huge blessing and encouragement to my soul to meet so many people with a passion to see God’s kingdom advancing through the local church. Many of the pastors and planters I met shared a love for Reformed theology and sound ecclesiology with a death-defying attitude towards church planting in the toughest places.
May the platform that God is providing me serve for the benefit of churches in those poor areas that I am too familiar with. CiHP is starting with a two-year apprenticeship program designed to train and equip church planters or pastors who have no access to theological training, cannot afford theological training, and who need contextualised theological training. We are happy to be part of leading that program. Your prayers are appreciated.
The building and thank yous
We are still negotiating for the purchase of this building. Yet another potential buyer for the building has dropped out. We have another scheduled meeting with the financial team of the church that owns the property. Our initial offer to them was R500,000 deposit and R10,000 in monthly instalments to pay off the balance, while we continue to raise funds to settle the full amount. We do not want to be paying instalments for years.
We are still trusting the Lord to make a way where there seems to be no way. We were able to raise R500,000 thanks to our family of churches here and abroad. I know they would not want me to mention their names but I think it would serve as a good example to other churches that giving does not just require you to have overflow before you decide to give. Sacrificial giving hurts!
Thanks to Goodwood Baptist Church and Brackenhurst Baptist Church who gave sacrificially, cheerfully, and generously. Thanks to Grace Church Napa who put the word out and through their prayer for our church one of their members gave a substantial amount. Thanks to Capitol Hill Baptist Church who opened an account under our name for US based donors to donate in. Thanks to Bill from the International Baptist Church in Dresden, Germany for their sacrificial giving, knowing that they themselves are missionaries in Germany who depend on the cheerful giving of local churches. Thanks to Sean Reece for getting the word out and trusting God with us for this building. We are still trusting and looking to God for whatever his will is for us. In the meantime we keep on knocking with confidence that our God will supply all our needs.
Thanks for the individual members of Sola 5 churches who gave what they could towards our building fund. All these gifts were given without strings attached. We are humbled by the Lord’s care for us through local churches and their members.
- Please pray that our church will be a pillar and buttress of the truth as we seek to be a visible display of the gospel in our community.
- Please pray for the killings to stop in Bellville South and the Cape Flats as a whole.
- Pray for the safety of our members and our kids who grow up amidst gun violence and drug abuse.
- Pray that Gretchen will grow in the Lord and that, through her, the Lord will open a door for the gospel to the rest of her family.
- Pray that the Lord will use the Church in Hard Places apprenticeship program to equip many planters and pastors in our poor areas.
- Pray that the Lord will provide us with the outstanding R2M to purchase the building.
- Pray that the Lord will work in your heart to financially support those trusted struggling churches in townships around you.
- Thank God for those who so generously gave towards our building fund.
May the Lord accomplice his will for us. We look to him!
Please DO SHARE our need with those who might want to contribute to this end.
South African Account: First National Bank | Account Name: Reformed Faith Mission | Cheque Account: 62505439663 | Branch code: 200910 | Reference: Building Project
USA Account: We are grateful to God for Capital Hill Baptist Church (Mark Dever & 9Marks) who made their Great Commission Partners account facility available for U.S. donors to contribute towards this building fund. Simply put Reformed Faith Mission Community Church as reference or in the memo. Here is the link.
Thank you for taking time to read this report. I trust you were encouraged and moved towards greater endeavours for our Lord.
Yours in his service.
Mario F. Maneville
Reformed Faith Mission Community Church