During these strange and trying times of COVID-19 pandemic, our questions and concerns are valid and not always sinful. But it is during such trying times that the Christian is called upon to be anxious for nothing.
We are not without hope, because the one who has ushered in this strange and trying time is our sovereign Father who is working it all out for our good and for his glory.
The apostle Paul, writing from a jail cell, wrote to encourage the Philippian believers who were facing persecution: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).
I like this quote from MacArthur: “The worst thing that can happen to the believer is the best thing that can happen.” Absent from the body, present with the Lord!
Thank you for taking the time to read this very brief update.
It was good to have our daughter, Chané, with us. She came a week before the lockdown was announced and had to stay with us for longer than she anticipated, but it was a joy and such a huge help to have her with us. Charlene’s mom was also stuck here, but the Lord worked it all out for our good.
Please keep my aunt in prayer who is currently in ICU, because of COVID-19 infection. She is an elderly woman with underlining respiratory health issues. She is religious, but I don’t think she is genuinely saved. Please pray that she will call out to the Lord during this time. She is not allowed any visitors.
My household is healthy and in good spirits. I guess there is a little concern about me going out every Friday to deliver food parcels to church members and others in our community, but so far the Lord has kept us from contracting this virus.
Noah is having the time of his life with the whole family at home. He is getting attention from all his siblings and at times driving them all mad. We praise the Lord for adding another year to his short little existence. He turned two years old on 13 May.
The church is doing well by the grace of God.
Three families in our church had to self-isolate, due to being in contact with people infected with COVID19. Their results came back and we praise God that all of them tested negative.
We have been preparing mostly family Bible studies for Sundays which would be led by the head of the household. For those who are the only believer in their household we have prepared evangelistic messages to share with their families on Sunday. I was a bit concerned about doing “virtual preaching” due to my conviction that “social services” are not worship services, because the church is not gathering. However, I thank God for associations such as Spurgeon’s Fraternal and Sola 5 that has been a huge help to me. So much so that I find myself alone, preaching into a camera with the church being blessed to see their pastor preaching God’s word to them again. I was helped by Peter Sammons words:
I have a growing uneasiness with all our attempts to “do church” online and be as “normal” as possible. This is not church, these are not “church worship services”. In our context, I want our congregation to know we are simply providing them with various worship items, (songs sung by Steven, prayers prayed by an elder, scripture readings by designated readers and sermons from the pastor) to facilitate their own personal or family worship based on a shared diet with the rest of the church.
Thank you, Peter!
Loving, Caring and Evangelism
We have been able to provide thirty families and seven pastors with food parcels on a weekly basis. Five of these pastors no longer have an income due to COVID-19, but we were able to assist three of them. These were made possible by Sola 5 churches and church members from both Baptist and Presbyterian congregations. Thank you so much for your tangible love and care. Your love and care makes all the effort that goes into buying, packing and delivering pale in comparison.
We appreciate the opportunity such generosity affords us. Our priority is the household of God, but even though 90% of the food parcels goes toward suffering believers we are not lacking the evangelistic thrust this have. The believer’s homes we enter to drop off food parcels are filled with unbelieving family members who not only hear the gospel when we get there, but they also see it in action. Every Friday Quinton and I get home well after 8:00 PM from our delivery route, because we have to take time to pray for the sick and share the gospel with unbelieving families or just encourage struggling saints. This is a joy that we wish you could experience with us.
As you know we continue to have open air services. Quinton has been preaching at least three times a week from the gate of his yard over large loudspeakers. What is so encouraging is that we have seen more people come out with their chairs to listen to God’s word being preached. Last week as we were packing up the equipment someone who lived on the far end of the street came to ask whether we could turn the volume up next time so he can also listen to the sermon. Now that’s encouraging!
Sometimes, we think that our sins of the past (before Christ saved us) has done irreparable damage that can never be reversed. Allow me to share with you a short testimony of God’s redemptive reversal in the life of one of our members. There are many such stories in our church.
I have mentioned Ricky in many of my reports, but allow me just another testimony from his life.
Ricky was a notorious gangster who brought much harm to our community. He had a child with a woman who got a restraining order against him and who had to move out of town because of his violent nature. He was not allowed to see his child and was deemed a threat to them. Now, 25 years have passed and he has never seen his son. The Lord has saved him and completely changed his life. He told us that he would probably never see his son again and that we should pray with him for the Lord to restore his relationship with his son whom he has not seen for more than twenty years. It was not long ago that God stirred up a longing in Ricky’s son’s heart to search for his dad and to build a relationship with him. The only thing his son knew about him was that he was a bad man and in prison. His son finally got a number of Ricky’s daughter from another woman and was able to get hold of his father. I don’t know if you can even begin to imagine the joy of a father whose only hope was that God would allow him to see his son again. He did not think that God would have his son long for him and be excited about him. That’s God’s redemptive reversal and it is marvellous!
Please pray for Ricky’s youngest son who will be released from prison soon. He told Ricky that he wants his life to be changed just like his father’s life was changed.
- Please pray that the Lord will grow his church during this period of lockdown.
- Pray that this lockdown will come to an end and that the Lord will provide a vaccine for this virus.
- Pray that we will not waste the opportunity we have to be urgent about the gospel.
- Pray that our church will be a blessing to our community during this time so they can see our good deeds and glorify God.
- Pray for those in our community who are suffering, because they are unable to work and for most no work means no food on the table.
Thank you for taking time out to read this report and for joining us in prayer.
Yours in his service,
Mario F. Maneville (Pastor-teacher)
Reformed Faith Mission Community Church