Africa is gripped by conflict and political unrest. As secular forces grapple for power, South Africa experiences the rise of the devastation of sin.
As the Bible promises, the results of sin are devastation, and this can be seen clearly in South Africa in the common occurrence of racism, abortion, abandonment of children, devaluation of life, ruined lives, broken families and HIV/AIDS to name a few.
It is into this context that God's people were called to lead lives that demonstrate and declare the Good News.
But believers must be equipped to do so, and have a place where they can do so in community.
Durbanville Community Church
Mark Parris is the pastor of Durbanville Community Church in South Africa. Durbanville Community Church is in an affluent neighbourhood where most people are self-sufficient.
As a church, they have been working hard to connect with those in the community. Each month we have a bring and share lunch which includes pizza.
The building where Durbanville Community Church meets.
Mark Parris serves Pizza from the pizza oven on the porch of Durbanville Community Church's facility.
"We find it is always easier to get to know people over a meal, " Mark notes.
Mark and Cindi are leading and discipling the church to live out their faith, showing that they are richer when they share their lives with the poor in their midst.
Mark says, "For many years under the system of Apartheid, churches in South Africa have lived in isolation and in denial regarding the dire needs of our land. We are working in poorer areas, but also desire to see our church experience more integration as we welcome all people to experience the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Under Mark and Cindi's leadership, a movement has arisen out of Durbanville Community Church to reach and serve the impoverished and informal township of Stone Hill.
Stone Hill is a grouping of make-shift housing.
The Stone Hill ministry facility.
ITMI's Mark Parris and Charl van Wyk lead a Bible study for young men in Stone Hill.
Mark and Cindi have both had feet on the ground, serving in this community. They've built relationships through youth activities and tutoring. Mark is also discipling a local believer to be a leader and shepherd.
Mark and Cindi Parris have a passion to see black churches reaching the poor with the real gospel, not a prosperity message or a confused Christianity which includes worshipping the ancestors through the aid of sangomas (witchdoctors). As Mark meets with leaders in the township, he is encouraging them to learn how the gospel culture teaches all of us who desire to follow Christ.
Education for Underserved Communities Project
Durbanville Community Church and the volunteers serving in Stone Hill have identified -. Cindi has started a tutoring ministry in Stone Hill. She and other volunteers help students with their studies every Saturday morning.
ITMI's Cindi Parris tutoring a young lady in Stone Hill.
There is a huge need for this: 50% of young adults in South Africa are unemployed. One of the largest factors is their lack of education.
60% of students who start in grade 1 will drop out before completing high school.
The government has totally dropped the ball with educating the poor.
As we take volunteers into the township to help with Maths, English, Geography, and Science, friendships are forged, trust is built and we are able to share our faith with those who have no hope.
Cindi is hoping to raise funds to purchase a school-in-a-box system which would include grades 1-12 curriculum and 25 tablets, making a better quality of education available for students in Stone Hill as well as another impoverished township in the area, Morning Star.
School-in-a-box allows youth in impoverished communities to obtain an education regardless of what their government can offer.
Khayelitsha Life Skills Center
Khayelitsha is another informal township where Mark has served for 15 years, offering spiritual oversight and training.
Mark has discipled the local project manager, Sipho, who is now serving his township in Jesus' name.
Mark Parris with leaders from the Life Skills Center, including Sipho (2nd from the right).
- Monthly supporters to allow Mark and Cindi to focus on ministry full-time.
- Prayer for Mark and Cindi as they lead and disciple.
- See unbelievers come to faith and be discipled to live lives that demonstrate and declare the gospel through being a body of people that is a blessing to their community.
- Disciple and equip believers to use the capacities God has created them with to build and further Jesus' Kingdom.
- Demonstrate and declare the Gospel to the poor and marginalized.
- Prayer support as they attack strongholds of the enemy in the lives of the multi-generational and multi-racial South Africans of the Western Cape.
- Wisdom and guidance as Mark and Cindi empower their congregation to serve the poor among them.
- Support for the Education for Underserved Communities Project that seeks to improve education for those in poor communities.
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If you would prefer to read Jumping into Salvation – May 2011 Update, please click on the link. You will need Adobe Reader.