Greetings to all that love the Lord,
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” (Romans 12:9–13)
The above text is so practical that it hurts. If the believer or the local church corporately would only apply these things to everyday life, the Christian, the church, and the world would be revolutionised! This section is so easily understood, but so difficult to apply. These exhortations can simply never be accomplished in our own natural strength. They can only be accomplished by the Father’s grace working upon us, by the Son’s life being manifested in us, and by the Holy Spirit’s power working in us. It takes supernatural power to accomplish these things because they are contrary to our human flesh.
It is with great excitement, that I bring news of answered prayer, in that our brother Matthew has agreed to walk with me over this next period with a view to being called as an elder. Both he and sister Steffi have proven faithful to the Lord, in the church, and in their witness. Both are progressing well in their studies at BI. Brother Matthew has a heart to teach God’s word and, as a couple, he and Steffi have, in the Lord’s will and timing, expressed a heart to plant a biblical church in Indonesia, which is Steffi’s homeland and where Matthew lived for three years. Please continue to pray for this family, and particularly Matthew as he grows in leadership skills.
We have completed Peter’s second letter to the church in Asia Minor and will now begin with Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. The spiritual growth in the church has been very encouraging. It is wonderful to see the word of God being applied to our Christian daily lives. Please pray that this growth will continue.
Our Bible studies have started to grow in number and the fact of the matter is that I have been having to field many doctrinal questions at the end of each study. Visitors are asking many questions. One lady was told by her church that, if she doesn’t speak in tongues, she isn’t saved. Another was to be sent on a course to learn to speak in tongues. Still another, from a Roman Catholic background, was told that there is no such thing as being saved, born again etc. Please pray for me and these dear people as we study the Scriptures together.
Our night gospel patrols in the area have been both eventful and encouraging—eventful in that we have had a number of shaves with the unsavoury population of our city; and encouraging in that our more timid brethren have started developing a measure of boldness in presenting the gospel to strangers. The radiance on the faces of some of the brethren after ministering the gospel is quite astonishing. We have had some encouraging results which have opened doors. Continue to pray for fruit from our outreach endeavours.
I continue to walk the streets and beach area in our community but being winter most are indoors. A number of homeless folk that I ministered to at the Living Hope shelter many years ago have returned to Muizenberg, still in the very same lost state as before. The positive is that I need no introduction, I pick up where I left off! Please pray for the Lord to minister saving grace in the lives of those with whom I share the gospel.
I mentioned the many new “ministries” in the area in my last report. This has continued to grow steadily. There are also some alternate spirituality groups that keep people in subtle bondage. I was told by a newcomer, professing Christianity, that “all roads lead to heaven and Jesus is only one of them.” Muizenberg is dark. Please pray for the Lord to bring revival.
Ministry Opportunities and Involvement
Please continue to pray for my work with the Bible Institute. We have completed the New Testament 1 (Gospels) course and, after a short break, have commenced with the Old Testament 1 (Pentateuch) course. Our students are proving to be diligent and are applying themselves well, which has reflected in assignments and witness. The Christian Leadership Programme, which is the course that I teach, is a course for church leaders that do not meet the criteria for full time study through circumstance—whether historically, educationally, or economically—yet are called by God to lead his church. The course aims at assisting these students to be better prepared theologically in their ministry context. We have eight seminars and two conferences per year, which cover specific areas of ministry and stimulates good relations and networking between leaders. Please pray that the CLP, which has over the years grown exponentially, will continue to provide training to more pastors and church leaders, particularly from many poverty-stricken areas of our city and surrounds. The CLP has now also extended the programme beyond Cape Town by being online. Please pray that the CLP will continue to be sustainable. Although the teaching faculty are volunteers, the costs of materials and good resources continue to be burdensome. There is a cost for the students account but, as many are in financial distress, the gathering thereof is difficult. In saying this, the Lord has always been gracious.
Please continue to pray for the Drakenstein Prison. Pray that the Lord will continue to save men, despite heinous pasts and that the brothers continue to be faithful in the harvest.
The Cramer Family
Little Rae continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Her parents—Shelby and André—are well. Tristan and Natalia, Sven, Angelique and Freddie are all fine. Please continue to pray for them. We miss them all. Our heart is that we see them all together with us soon. Above all, please pray that our children are gospel focused.
Please pray for Michelle, who is seeking a second opinion about her osteoarthritis, as to the way forward. I see her in soldiering on bravely even though I know that she is in pain.
- that we will stand firm and grow in our boldness to the truth;
- that Matthew will grow in biblical knowledge and wisdom;
- that we will have the privilege of witnessing gospel fruit;
- that the right venue for gathering will become available, since it is becoming more difficult at our present place of worship;
- that God will keep us safe during our outreaches;
- that the gospel message will saturate our area and many will come to know Christ;
- that the unemployed will be given work;
- that marriages will be God-honouring; and
- that the foreign African brethren in our midst will be given reprieve, as the government has intention of starting a process of deportation of all foreign refugees, closing bank accounts, etc. in December.
Thank you for taking time to read my report and for praying for us.
Yours in Christ,
Des Cramer (pastor)
Coastal Bible Church
Muizenberg, South Africa