Los Fresnos News

Church Fire Update

Iris Garcia
Special to LFN

It was a black Friday for a local church in Los Fresnos, as they received the news early Friday, November 25th that their church was intentionally set on fire. Elizabeth Marie Manuel, a 24-year-old woman, is said to have broken into the C.F.C. Nueva Vida church on Thanksgiving night. Although there were no injuries reported, the damage done was extensive.

Manuel vandalized and set multiple items inside the building on fire, destroying music equipment, tables, and kitchen appliances. Some of the items lost include speakers, sound mixers, musical instruments, refrigerators, ac units, and a stove. According to the Cameron County Fire Marshall, the fire compromised the building’s structure, making it structurally unsafe and a total loss.

Authorities were notified of the fire after receiving a tip that Manuel was posting these heinous acts on her social media. These videos led investigators to make the arrest. Manuel is not a member of the church and had no association with it. She has now been charged with arson and her bond has been set at $50K.
The church building was used for various community outreach events, such as food distribution, free health fairs, vaccination clinics, and hosted migrant girls once a month for a time of fellowship. It also had classrooms where discipleship classes for the youth, children, and adults were held.

One of the church leaders of Nueva Vida, Darcy Cummings, shared, “we have had to make arrangements and accommodations to continue to provide classes for our youth and children ministries. We distributed food to our community off of our trucks,” and held one of the Sunday services at the Los Fresnos Memorial Park.

Mr. Cummings added, “even though the congregation is deeply saddened by what happened, we have seen the unity amongst our church members. We have come together to start the cleaning process as well as planning fundraising events. We have also felt in our hearts to pray for the individual who caused this horrible incident.”

Moving forward, C.F.C. Nueva Vida, stands in faith believing God’s promises—that new things are coming for their church. “We also know that with God’s help, we will continue to help our community in any and every way possible, and we will rise up and built!”

The congregation asks the community to keep them in your prayers as they move forward. You can also donate to the cause through CashApp ($CFCNV) or the GoFundMe page (Help Rebuild Nueva Vida).
Lastly the church would like to “thank all the first responders who were quick to arrive at the scene and for all they do for our community.” And for those who have donated or made any contributions, “may God bless you and multiply your help.”