Theo is a dear brother in Mario and Quinton’s church in Cape Town, South Africa. When I spent time with this warm, loving brother, I could not even imagine his dark past as a gangster and criminal. Such is the transforming power of Jesus Christ! Theo completed a theological degree, and has become a passionate and fruitful leader in Reformed Faith Mission Community Church. In his recent report, Mario updates us on the effects of the pandemic on his family and church, and then highlights two of the most recent examples of God’s work through Theo.
“Several of my extended family members has been infected with the coronavirus. Unfortunately, my aunt passed on after suffering with the virus for three weeks. Several of my friends have also lost family members due to the virus. Yes, the threat is real and very close to home. I thank God for His grace that has kept my household safe so far. This is so undeserved and such a motivation to work while it is still day!
For the past few weeks we have been gathering separately in our homes, preaching our sermons via Facebook livestream. The three Maneville families (my parents, my brother Quinton’s family, and mine) have been gathering at our house on Sundays, but our longing is to once again gather with the whole church.
Loss of Our Meeting Hall
We wanted to start with worship services immediately after the president announced that churches may resume gathering if they meet government requirements, but we had to make application again to the school for their hall. We’ve been meeting at the school for the past 5 years, but due to the COVID-19 crisis, the school has decided not to rent their hall to us. They have converted it into a staff room to accommodate the government’s social distancing criteria. We are therefore without a venue to meet. We covet your prayers as we look into options for a new venue.
Theo Teaching a Pastor
Recently one of the Pentecostal pastors, who used to be very critical of our church, asked Brother Theo to help him understand the Scriptures better. He has been reading the Bible and found that many of the things that he held to are not what the Bible teaches. He also wanted Theo to help him with preaching more biblically. For the past few weeks they have been working through “Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.” This is remarkable!
This pastor has been coming to Theo faithfully with excitement to learn more about what the Bible really teaches. It’s like the man got saved! I am so proud of how Theo has grown and how the Lord is using him. This pastor is looking for more resources to study God’s word. I am busy putting a small library together which includes commentaries, the 9Marks series, and Bible dictionaries. I am meeting with him and some other pastors in a week’s time for a ‘crash course’ on hermeneutics and exposition. We will be meeting every week, which will restart our Thursday preaching class that I ran with the men of our church before COVID-19. Please pray for us. Reaching these pastors means we are reaching their church members, which means more Gospel in our community.
Theo’s Attractive Witness
We have been delivering food parcels to Theo’s house, which he and his wife deliver to some needy people near their home. This was to help struggling believers they knew, and as a Gospel opportunity to others. A married couple, who are members of a prominent syncretistic cult, shared with Theo and his wife their desire to ‘join’ our church. They said that, since the lockdown, their ‘priests’ have not once showed any care for their welfare. But people from our church came and shared the word of God with them and cared for them by giving them food parcels, even though they don’t even belong to our church. Theo took the time to better explain to them what it means to ‘join’ the church and challenged them again with the Gospel. This has resulted in several visits with this couple, who can’t wait for the whole church to gather again so they can come and ‘join’.”