Ministry Update: Reformed Faith Mission Community Church (Mario) (Belville South, South Africa) (January 2020)

Dear brethren,

We remain grateful that you take the time to read our ministry updates and thankful to the Lord for those who continue to mention our names before him in prayer. Your labour in Christ does not go unnoticed. So do not grow weary of doing good, for in due season you will reap, if you do not faint.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15–17)

Indeed, the days are evil! And at times it seems as if the night has already overtaken the little light that is left in these evil days. It is for this reason that I praise our merciful God who has planted his church in the midst of darkness to be the light that points those who sit in darkness to the only light that can transform them from darkness to light (Ephesians 5:8).

Maneville Family

I am grateful to the Lord for the gift of family and especially for blessing me with a God-fearing wife who always strives to make my life easier. She is such an example of godliness in the way she deals with our kids and the patience she has towards me. I pray the Lord help me to honour him in the way I love her.

We have opened our home as a safe house for children at risk. This will allow us to reach more kids with the gospel and to have them experience love and care from a Christian family, albeit for just a short while. We had our first child about two weeks ago and already it broke our hearts to see her go when the social worker came to fetch her. Please pray that the Lord will use this ministry to reach as many of these broken lives with the gospel of our Lord.

The Wife Speaks

(I thought it would be good to have a spot for my wife. This is it!)

I am thankful for this “spot” but more grateful that I am able to serve my family and the church in a more fulltime capacity. It’s such a huge blessing to be home and worth every bit of financial sacrifice we will endure. These past few months have made us more dependent upon the Lord and drew us closer as a family and that is so worth the sacrifice.

Besides leading the women ministry in our church, I have built relationships with women in the community. I currently have deliberate relationships with two women in the community whom I specifically targeted with the aim of sharing and living the gospel. “Jane” is an alcoholic who has health problems. “Maggie” is a homeless lady, caught up deeply in TIK (a very addictive and dangerous drug), prostitution, etc. She has been coming to our home and we have built a friendship. I am trusting the Lord for their salvation. Please pray for these ladies that the Lord will break their addictions by saving them.

I thank the lord for freeing me so that I can be available for the countless ministry opportunities not just amongst women, but with children and the elderly. Please pray for me for much wisdom in discerning what I can take on and what not.

The Loss of a Dear Brother

We are all saddened by the death of our dear brother Sandi Sonteya. He was a gentle soul full of zeal for the Lord and unmovable in his commitment to plant a healthy reformed church who would reach out to Somalis. We mourn his passing with his family, the Somali brothers, and the rest of the saints in the church.

When I first met Sandi, I immediately loved his heart for the Lord and the lost. He was not afraid to ask the tough questions and to pursue a dream that would outlive him. One of those dreams was for the church to become the community that the Somali believers can grow in and find safety and security in—a place where Somalis will not feel like refugees or second grade citizens, but as family who are supported and loved. I praise God that, by his grace, he allowed Sandi to raise up leaders with the same burden, zeal, and determination to reach the unreached on our doorstep. He was described by his wife Zimbini as an affectionate husband and father to her and their kids, Sanda (9) and Buhle (5).

Please keep this family and church in prayer as they navigate their lives through this period of grief, while facing a future without their beloved husband and dad.

Missionaries are Always Welcome

We started this year with our feet running before they even hit the ground. In the second week in January we had about sixteen missionaries from all over South Africa, and a few from America, join us for street evangelism and open-air preaching. As usual, some of the guys were astounded by the condition of people they met in the streets and would have never even come across people who live lifestyles that are sometimes only seen on the news. It is always a joy when missionaries go out with us to share the gospel on our streets, but it also gives me great joy when I see how the lives of those who came to share the gospel are transformed as they realise and experience first-hand the urgency and necessity for the church to be zealous for God’s glory in the hard places.

Growth in Sunday Services

Since November last year, we have seen a consistent growth in people visiting our Sunday services. We used to average about 30–40 people on a Sunday, but for the past month we have an average of 50 people on a Sunday.

Our church membership has grown from 15–20 members in the last year and we have nine people applying for membership. The Lord is adding to his church.

Every week we see new students visiting our Sunday services and some even join our evening Bible studies. We are trusting the Lord for a minibus to provide transport for the students and to be able to reach more kids. Please pray with us for this need.

Month of Evangelism

We have started with our month of corporate evangelism. As a church, we have dedicated the month of February as our annual month of corporate evangelism. We go out from Monday to Friday every week. Every member of the church is encouraged to participate and for the past five years of doing this we have not had any member of our church not participating. This is such a good opportunity for members to learn from their pastors how to share the gospel one on one with members of our community. What a blessing it is to see the growth and zeal of our members as they share with lost sinners the amazing grace that’s offered in the gospel. Our members are encouraged to take details of those who are willing for them to visit them and to build lasting relationships with them.

I have asked my wife to stay at home to look after our Baby (1.8 years) while I go out with the church only to hear from one of our members who were passing our house that my wife is standing on our street corner alone with baby on her arm, stopping the women that’s passing by to share the gospel with them. She is such an encouragement to me and our ladies. I agree wholeheartedly with some who told me that I married “up.”

Prayer Items

  • Please pray that the Lord will increase the gospel zeal that has been burning in our members and that we will model what we want to see God do in them.
  • Pray for the ladies that my wife is currently reaching out to.
  • Pray that the Lord will make provision for a minibus to further our gospel aims.
  • Pray that the Lord will grant us wisdom as the church is growing.
  • Pray for the Sonteya family as they grief the loss of a husband and father and for the church who lost their pastor. Pray that the Lord will grant wisdom to the elders as they lead the church through this time of mourning.
  • Continue to pray for the building we desire to buy or for the Lord to provide us with a piece of land to build a permanent place of worship on.
  • Praise the Lord for the evangelistic gospel culture that our church enjoys.

I am grateful for all the opportunities the Lord is granting our church and for the good witness we are for Christ’s sake. Thank you for your consistent prayer and support. We love you!

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Yours in his service,

Mario F. Maneville
Reformed Faith Mission Community Church

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