Pastor Onica always had a passion for reaching out to the marginalized. Her late husband pastored a church in Zeerust, South Africa’s Northwest Province. The couple had a particular ministry focus on abused women, widows, and street children.
Unfortunately, their church suffered some significant setbacks. First, Onica’s husband passed away, and then, severe COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were imposed. When the churches reopened, Pastor Onica found her congregation reduced to 20 members. To revitalize her church, she joined Bible League’s Church Planter Training. The outcome was surprising.
“The training helped me to focus outside the church and into the community,” she recalls. “I decided to shift my ministry from the pulpit to the streets.”
Pastor Onica began to minister to members of a street gang in her neighborhood. “I realized these marginalized boys needed Jesus Christ more than anything else,” she explains. “My burning passion for street boys hooked on drugs intensified as Bible League taught me how to make new contacts.” With a team from her church, Pastor Onica initiated Project Philip Bible study groups on Wednesdays. “We sing worship songs and study God’s Word with them,” she points out. “We also give them food.”
Some weeks ago, the town’s mayor visited one of the Bible study groups. “He told us that the Police Station Commander indicated that since I started this program, the crime rate has been going down dramatically,” Onica says with gratitude.
Pastor Onica goes to great lengths to stand with her boys. She intervenes when they are accused of petty crimes, connects them to social workers, and tries to find work for them. It’s a challenging ministry to run, she admits. “Businesspeople hate to hear me asking for food for these boys, who are considered the scum of the town,” she says. “But I stand on Christ’s promise from Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me.’”
Pastor Onica highly values the help and direction she receives from Bible League’s programs. “I thank the Lord for Bible League International’s sponsors who provided us with such powerful training. Please, continue to pray as I envision these boys becoming future Philips, partnering with me in reaching out to others. Above all, pray for their salvation!”