Greetings in Jesus’ name,
I trust that my report finds you all well in our Lord and that you are continuing to fight the good fight for him. Thank you for your prayer, support, and encouragement. I surely recognise the effects, not only in my and my family’s life, but also the churches.
Since our last communication, I have been receiving messages of increasing pressure toward the saints in areas of the world that have been cautiously tolerant of Christians in the past. I add my voice to the many that ask for prayer for the persecuted church, but extend this need to all true Christians as the clouds grow darker upon the horizon. Even in our own surroundings, we experience the subtleties of resistance to our cause, which is growing daily. Please pray.
Perhaps we have been too nice to our lost friends in trying to “win” them to Christ. It is just possible that, unwittingly, we have propagated a “cheap grace” in attempting to appeal to people primarily based on “felt needs” and presenting a “respectable” gospel rather than simply communicating the message. What those outside of Christ need to understand is that they are hopelessly lost! They must repent of their rebellion against a holy God and receive Christ as their only hope of salvation. Otherwise, they will surely perish! But because we don’t want to offend people and because we don’t want to be rejected, we often attempt to make the gospel more savoury. Yet Paul spoke of the “offence of the cross” and the fact that the “preaching of the cross is foolishness” to those who are perishing. We also run the risk of weakening the Gospel in defending it rather than simply declaring it. The gospel needs no defence! What it needs is declaration!
Therefore, let’s love our lost friends enough to be willing to suffer rejection. Let’s love them enough to be willing to offend them, if that is what it takes to get them into the kingdom. And then leave the mysterious work of conversion to God!
I will preach our last message in Hebrews 11 this Sunday. Do pray that the Lord use this chapter to reshape any misconceptions of “faith” that was the case prior to this exposition. As we head toward Easter, toward the time when most nominals attend, please pray that the Lord use this time to bring many to conversion.
It is with much sadness that I report that there are still some that, despite plea, promise to attend, but are still missed. Please pray that this apathy will come to a head. I am, however, grateful and encouraged that there has been new increase, and these that the Lord has brought are willing participants in the harvest. For this I give thanks.
I am very encouraged by our two Bible studies that we currently have. The spiritual growth is phenomenal. Please pray that these groups continue to grow spiritually and in number. Our ladies meet once a month under Michelle’s leadership, where the ladies are taking specific topics and learning to apply them to their lives. Please pray that there is growth and that friends that are invited are convicted toward the gospel.
Please continue to pray for our outreach efforts, that we pursue every opportunity that the Lord present to us, not missing any. Last month, I asked that you pray for open doors. I am pleased to report that this has become literal. We have had doors open in two security complexes in our area, which now enables us to gain access to the other residents in the complex. I’m not sure of the protocol abroad, but in South Africa it is almost impossible to enter these complexes, except by residents’ permission, which we now have. This enables us to also use the common areas to reach others. Please pray for fruit.
I continue to frequent the beachfront and many other areas in our community. Many of those that we speak with, particularly in a troubled area known as Capricorn, are very open to the gospel but are very hesitant to leave their homes for fear of interference by local thugs, even to attend our church, which is slightly out of the immediate area. We are wanting to address the problem by starting a third Bible study in the area. Please pray toward this. Lovemore, Orbed, and Blessing are still meeting with me periodically and Lovemore even attended the church last week. I mentioned in my last report that I have added several cell numbers from their relatives in Zimbabwe to our WhatsApp sermon group, where we post the Sunday messages and encouragements. The result has been a barrage of questions about the sermons and requests for literature on many gospel subjects, which I might add, brother Paul Washer’s material has been a great help. Please continue to pray for fruit!
The two Muslim Malawian men have stopped meeting with me physically, but I still have contact by WhatsApp. They have, it seems been found out and have decided to lay low for a while. Please continue to pray for the many Muslims that are open to the gospel. Pray that they will be delivered from the fear that holds them in bondage.
It seems that when one obstacle is cleared another appears. Please to pray that Steffi’s South African paperwork be approved speedily, as she cannot leave the country without this.
I am happy to report that the Lord has been gracious to the sister in the abusive marriage and is rapidly bringing closure to four years of suffering. For this we give thanks.
Ministry Opportunities and Involvement
I have completed teaching our first online term at the Bible institute and am happy to report that the students have been diligent and faithful. I say faithful, because it is the case that some students are living in single room shacks with the rest of the family and are doing their assignments while sitting on their bed with the covers over themselves, blocking the noise and penning the assignment under the light of their cell phone. Please pray that our students persevere.
Our brothers at the Drakenstein Prison continue to grow in their studies. I am told that one of the new students in the class has been excluded by the authorities, because of reacting negatively to a physical attack. Please continue to pray for all these men.
The Cramer Family
I know that my wife Michelle is under tremendous pressure at work to meet deadlines, with extra work that became her responsibility during the hight of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that her usual responsibilities have returned, these added responsibilities have not ceased and as a result have caused her to sometimes be busy until midnight. Despite this situation, she continues to devote herself to the ministry at my side. Please pray that she remains healthy and that somehow the Lord will ease the pressure at work.
Please continue to pray for our children: Sven (who has COVID-19 in the UK), Angelique, Freddie, Tristan, Natalia, Shelby, and André. Above all, please pray that our children are gospel-focussed. Shelby will give birth to our little Rae, God willing, toward the end of April, although the signs appear to prove otherwise. Nonetheless, the Lord’s will be done.
- Pray that the Lord will bless us with more men to lead.
- Pray for wisdom, faithfulness and boldness in our gospel endeavours.
- Pray for wisdom in dealing with apathy in attendance.
- Pray for individual spiritual growth.
- Pray for wisdom in exploring new gospel frontiers in the community.
- Pray for physical safety for our saints in our daily lives.
Thank you for taking time to read my report and for praying for us.
Yours in Christ,
Coastal Bible Church
Des Cramer is the pastor of Coastal Bible Church in scenic Muizenberg, a well-known beach area in Cape Town, South Africa. The people Des is pursuing with the Gospel range from highly affluent on the mountainside to deep poverty in the flats. The area is also very multi-cultural due to many immigrants from several African nations.