Since the age of four, Mary journeyed across the country singing the praises of God with her sister Marvelyne and twin sister Martha (Martha Munizzi is also an acclaimed singer) and parents, who were travelling evangelists.
“That’s how we grew up,” shares Mary. “I learned to wait on the Lord and not be in a hurry. I believe that’s impacted how I do things today.” It was her upbringing and times on the road where she fell in love with Gospel music and believed eventually she would be ministering as a career. “From the time I was thirteen or fourteen, I knew I was going to sing for the Lord. I wasn’t sure how it was all going to work out, but I had the drive to sing Gospel music.” Mary and her sisters formed a group called Testament and sang at churches and conferences state-wide, honing their skills. There was one sermon that changed her life forever.
A desire to worship, not just sing
“Years ago, my husband and I went to a conference and heard TD Jakes speak. Back then, no one knew who he was. He got up and preached and I remember the hairs on my arm stood up. As I drove home, I started to talk with the Lord. I didn’t just want to sing anymore. I wanted people to feel the presence of the Lord like I had just sensed. I knew that was the anointing and I wanted it. I knew after that moment that either I was going to be a singer or I was going to be a worship leader.”
Pressing on despite challenges
As a busy wife, mom and recording artist, Mary shifts from role to role with ease – or so it seems. She says she has learned from each stage of her life to trust in God through everything and rely on His mercy every day.
For Mary it’s all about worship. The gifted and anointed musician from Miami is focused on one thing alone: giving all glory and honour to the King of Kings. For the Dove and Stellar Award Nominee, it’s a privilege to be chosen as a vessel to lead others to God. Her skill in bringing people into the throne room of God is evidenced on her new release called ‘Pressing On’. Debuting at number 11 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums Chart and at number 23 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart, ‘Pressing On’ was produced by Mary herself.
Fighting the good fight of faith
Pressing On, the title of the new CD, was not casually chosen. Not only does the moniker represent the challenges life can throw our way, but even more, it’s symbolic of God’s deliverance, if we persevere.
“Anytime you start declaring what God’s going to do and He does it, it’s almost always followed by a valley experience,” says Mary. It’s a declaration to the enemy that no matter what comes her way; Mary will indeed ‘press on’. Prior to the live recording, she and husband Steve experienced a number of major obstacles. Under an inordinate amount of stress from the trials, they decided to get away and vacationed.
God is in control
On the first day of their getaway, Steve suffered a massive heart attack. Thankfully, it happened right in front of paramedics, who were able to save Steve’s life.
“There was a moment where fear tried to tell me that my husband was dying in front of me,” recalls Mary. “But all those years of trusting God, all the times I had to lean on Him to receive my peace just flashed before my eyes. I knew (despite the fear and uncertainty) that no matter what it looked like, I had to keep going.” Mary documented the entire riveting story in a book released last year.
“Those painful experiences are precious to me…Having been so broken, I have a huge capacity to appreciate the wonder of God and all the provision He has for us! I wouldn’t trade a moment of what I’ve learned!”
Working on the album
The CD’s title song is a wonderful acoustic number that’s got a catchy, little hook. Originally, she wasn’t certain about including it on the album, but after mentioning it and singing it to Martha during a song-writing session, they fleshed it out, added lyrics and within ten minutes, the song was done. It wasn’t just the sisters that fell in love with the song. Even during the live recording at Mary’s home church, it was clear that the congregation adored it as well.
Stepping into this project, Mary wanted to make sure that the songs were easy for people to learn and simple musically and lyrically. Songs like the praise and worship anthem, “I Will Bless the Lord”, fit perfectly into that criteria. It’s beautiful to hear how the audience chimes in singing even before Mary has a chance to sing the chorus.
Songs worth repeating
‘Hero’ is another powerful worship tune speaking of how Jesus is the only true hero. Many fans will also love the edgy and vibrant ‘All of the Doors’. This one finds the Christian proclaiming victory.
A passionate existence
As much as Mary appreciates the accolades and enjoys travelling, her heart is never far from home - that is Metro Life Church. Started in 1997 by the couple, the church has grown tremendously since its humble beginnings in a hotel room.
Both she and Steve love to be active in their members’ lives. “I love being in someone’s life, living life out together and seeing what God does. It’s a great experience,” she says.
But the best experience for Mary comes during her times of worship. It’s what she’s passionate about. “To me, worship is all there is,” she says.
It’s all about worship
“When we understand that worship is what we were created to do, bowing our knees to Him and surrendering our lives to Him, everything in our life follows.
When God is on our list of priorities and we give everything to God – that is the life of worship.”
By: Frank Naude'