Monday morning began with a WhatsApp update from Pastor Mario in Bellville South, Cape Town, South Africa. The update followed an all too common theme – another gang shooting, another young man murdered. This has become a weekly, and sometimes daily, occurrence in their community. This is from Mario’s July report:
“Just a few weeks back a hit was put on a man in Hell’s Kitchen and was carried out in broad daylight. Three days ago another man was killed just a few streets from where I live, shot in the face in full view of bystanders. Three weeks ago my cousin’s husband was shot 6 times in the head while his 11 year old son sat behind him in the school transport. They fired 3 shots at his wife (my cousin) but missed, and also killed a neighbor who was pulling out to take his kids to school and could have identified the shooters. We buried him last Saturday.
That same week we invited a gang to church, but they were unable to attend because the Saturday evening and Sunday morning their place got shot up by a rival gang that we are supposed to be meeting with soon. For the past couple of months there have been shootings almost every day. Just yesterday on my way to my mother’s place I saw a large group of people gathering on the street corner. When I asked my mom ‘Why the commotion on the corner?’ she told me that they just shot someone again.”
Please pray for Pastor Quinton as he goes on Friday to talk to the gang whose friend was killed. He will try to persuade them against seeking vengeance and preach the Gospel to them. Meeting with a gang can potentially put Mario and Quinton in harm’s way from that gang’s enemies. Please pray for the Lord’s protection and power upon their bold witness.
However, the news from Mario is not always about gangs. In July’s report he also shared this delightful testimony:
“We’ve known Mrs Shamrock as a staunch Roman Catholic – a stubborn old lady that could kill you with her eyes. We used to be very scared of her growing up. She lived opposite my mom then and I’ve never known her to be young… she’s always been old to us, but very active and strong for her age (78).
The first time she visited our church was about 5 years back. She came a few times and made a profession of faith. We challenged her about all the idols in her house – small statues of Mary and other saints that she would bow down to. She didn’t want to get rid of these idols, because they’ve been in her family for years and she really still considered herself as Roman Catholic, so she left us.
At the beginning of this year, she started coming to our church again. Again she said she wants to serve the Lord. This time she faithfully came to every service and even asked if we can have our Wednesday night prayer meetings at her home, because she had to go for surgery and would not be able to leave her house so easily. We’ve seen some significant changes in this once stubborn, angry lady. She told me that she wanted to learn how to pray because the Catholics never taught them how to really pray. She wanted to be able to talk to the Lord the way we do. She has a growing love for the Bible and the saints.
Again we mentioned the idols and she was quick to say that she doesn’t pray to those things anymore, but she wants to give them to her daughter as they have been in her family for years. Last week Quinton came to me with exciting news. He told me that Mrs Shamrock asked him to come over to her place. At his arrival, she told him with a sense of great disgust that the Roman Catholics have been lying to her all her life. She pointed to Exodus 20,
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God.”Exodus
She said that she needed to get rid of these idols and that she can never pass them on to her daughter. She also needs to make right with her brother who told her that she was in the devil’s church and she had cut him off from her family. They have not spoken in years.
This 78 year old lady is a joy to our church and she is already telling her friends about this Jesus that has made her life new at such an old age. Hallelujah! The Light has finally dawned upon her.”
S.R. previously served as Africa Coordinator in 2008. He and his brother, and their families served for almost three years as missionaries to the Lozi people of Western Zambia. Upon returning to the States, S.R. joined a church-planting work in West Virginia. S.R. and his family now live in Christiansburg, VA.More By S.R.