Pastor Sandi Sonteya is planting a church an area of Cape Town not far from Mario and Quinton Maneville. One unique aspect of Sandi’s church is their ministry among Somali immigrants. In July, I shared the sad news that Sandi had suffered a stroke due to high blood pressure. We recently received an encouraging update from Sandi on his recovery, and sobering news regarding Somali ministry:
A Thorn in the Flesh, but His Grace is Sufficient
“I am grateful for many things. I have started dialysis treatment. (Sandi’s high blood pressure also damaged his kidney function.) I must say it was quite hard at first but now I think I am getting used to it. Dialysis is like a thorn in my flesh, reminding me that creation groans, awaiting our full restoration. I am also grateful that this type of dialysis does not make me too tired or prevent me from ministry work.
Every day I see improvement in my speech. The doctor said it is important that I do the things I used to do so the brain can remember, and the more I do, the more improvement we see in my speech. In September I began leading Bible studies in the church again and saw improvement every week. At the end of October I will resume preaching in the church.
Encouraged by a New Member
We have been so encouraged by a young lady that lives close to us who joined our church. She comes from a Pentecostal background but was introduced to Reformed doctrine online. When she came across Paul Washer’s preaching, that really changed her life. She tried to stay in her Pentecostal church but in the end she could not.
Her search for a church led her to Goodwood Baptist Church, but after several months the long distance to reach church was quite difficult. She wanted a church closer to home and Goodwood Baptist introduced her to us. She could not believe that we are actually connected to HeartCry Missionary Society.
Marsha is such an encouragement. She loves the Gospel and is a strong evangelist in her family. She is busy catechizing her sister’s children! Please pray for her spiritual growth and witness to her family.
Somali Ministry Challenges
Making disciples among Somalis requires lots of love and patience. I went to see ‘Moussa,’ who stays near our house, in the afternoon. That night I received a call from a church member that ‘Moussa’ had been arrested. Having just been with him, I could not believe it. What happened?
‘Moussa’ was arrested for eating kat (a plant with narcotic effects). Kat is legal in Somalia and many Somalis are addicted to this plant, but it is regarded as an illegal drug in South Africa. ‘Moussa’ had confessed before that he was struggling with stopping that habit. We visited him in jail and it was so sad to see him behind bars and see the shame on his face. He was so sorry, but also felt that God was helping him to see the destructiveness of this habit.
He was arrested on Friday and released on Monday. He told us that on Saturday some people came to distribute Gideon Bibles. He took when and was reading it when another Somali joined him and started asking many questions. ‘Moussa’ was surprised by the boldness he suddenly felt in openly sharing his faith.
The next Sunday, ‘Moussa’ brought a boy with him to church that we’ll call ‘Ahmed.’ The smiling face of this boy beamed with joy. He was so excited because this was his first time in a church. He heard that we were having a membership class on Saturday and asked if he could come to that, just because he enjoyed being with us. The concerning thing, though, is that we have not seen or heard from ‘Ahmed’ since he attended our church that Sunday. His phone is switched off and no one has seen him. It is not safe for a Somali to convert to Christianity, even though they live in South Africa. Please pray with us that nothing bad has happened to him.
‘Moussa’ has been bold to share his faith with fellow Somalis. We know there are other men who are interested in the gospel, but fear of persecution is a big problem. Please pray that we will have more opportunity to build friendship and trust with them, and that they will be persuaded by the truth of the gospel. Thank you.”