Some years ago I heard a South African missionary lament that so many coming to minister would just “blow in, blow up, and blow out.” That kind of ministry usually looks exciting on the front end–like the approaching of a majestic storm, but it leaves behind a swath of broken and disillusioned people.
Africa is a place not usually known for its snow, let alone glaciers. But this week I read the following:
“An avalanche is full of power and fury. It looks impressive. But ten years later, you’d never know it happened. Glaciers, on the other hand, are boring. They look like nothing is happening. But a thousand years later they leave behind a Yosemite. Avalanches make a ruckus. Glaciers change the world.” ~ Larry Osborne in Sticky Teams, p. 136
God’s church and His people are a powerful force that sometimes cause a ruckus, but not for ruckus’ sake! In Acts 17:6 enemies of the gospel said of the missionaries, “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” This disturbance was not because of a loud ruckus, but the result of faithful gospel ministry.
I know of a man in South Africa who went out not as a church planter, but simply wanted to impact his world for Christ. So he taught little children under an African tree. To many his efforts seemed meaningless, inefficient, and certainly not promoted by church planting manuals. But after twenty years those children are grown, and the missionary is gone, and there are churches in several rural African villages. That is a glacier mentality.
Africa needs more glaciers. We need men and women who will give their lives for the gospel of Jesus Christ; who will faithfully press against this world. And we look not for the great impressive storms to bring sweeping change. We long for fishermen and lawyers and farmers and politicians and statesmen and dyers of purple and makers of tents. We long for those who will be a force with God to turn this world upside down.
Grace and peace.
David N McCrum
p.s. Is God moving you to Africa?
We have entered into a real training phase of the ministry, with several being trained as teachers and many of our young people beginning to serve (Karabo pictured helping Nic at sound booth, Triphene and Lerato pictured as greeters).
Please pray for our health. Because we are surrounded by six power plants and open cast coal mines, Witbank is nationally known for its horrible air quality. Also, the dry winters here compound the pollution problem. Our family is chronically unwell, and Jacob (5) and Katherine (2) are both being teated for Asthma. At the time of this writing, however, we are all well, and we thank God for this.
A big thanks to BIMI for publishing an article I wrote last summer. Click the image to read, or access the online magazine here.
“John, Jacob and Katherine were born in Emalahleni, South Africa. To my little South Africans, America is a foreign country. While traveling the furlough miles, our beloved America continually fascinates us. Taco Bell and Pizza Hut delight our simple tastes. Warm, soft doughnuts are just marvelous. But for the missionary living in two worlds, the culture shock of returning to America involves more than relishing forgotten foods…”
“Children are many times a nuisance. They are in the way. They make messes. They make noise. They demand our time, our money, our energy, our sleep. Yet, while many just want them to go away, Jesus says, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Children are God’s heritage for our families and our churches…”
This November 28th we return to South Africa. The 28th is also Thanksgiving Day, and Katherine’s second birthday! But Julie’s family is able to celebrate Thanksgiving the weekend before, and Katherine will surely have two parties, one on each side of the ocean. We look forward to reuniting with our South African church family before they all scatter for their summer holidays (December is summer in the Southern hemisphere). Then we’ll take a deep breath, celebrate the Lord’s birth, and jump into a new year of ministry in the place He’s called us to.
Last week Julie and I saw a shirt that read, “If you want to be happy for a day, drink a beer. If you want to be happy for a year, get a wife. If you want to be happy for life, ride a BMW.” It seems the elusive box of happiness gets more expensive.
Half-way through our 38 scheduled meetings, we have been continually surprised by individual kindness and God’s provision. We have travelled 16,966 miles and eaten almost as many hamburgers! And we are still happy. We are happy to serve the Lord. We are happy to encourage so many who have supported our family. We are happy to return to our home in Emalahleni, South Africa this November 28.
Hoping you are happy too,
The McCrum Family
I used to be both brilliant and humble. While some prize ignorance and others worship knowledge, wisdom regularly walks alone.
Sometimes knowledge does nothing more then fill a head with hot air. First Corinthians 8:1 observes, “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” The words “puffeth up” vividly explain the meaning of “blowing, to inflate.” Nobody wants that for themselves, and yet I am trying to gain more knowledge. In January I began a second masters degree through Virginia Baptist College (which I am thoroughly enjoying).
Please pray two things for me. First, that I would love God and people. Knowledge alone does puff up, but love builds people. Secondly, that I would use this education to influence others for Jesus Christ. If the proof is in the pudding, then the value of knowledge is known only by its application.
Ignorance is not bliss. Arrogance is foolish. Please pray that I will be wise.
Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?
let him shew out of a good conversation his works
with meekness of wisdom.
It was with great gladness that yesterday we witnessed the baptism of our oldest child, John McCrum. He was so excited!
Last November John believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and was saved. He is still very much a boy, but it has been so reassuring to see the fruits of eternal life in his young life.
Before his baptism yesterday, John informed Pastor Baughman (pictured) that he had been practicing in the bathtub. No fear here. He was just so glad. And I thought of Acts 2:41: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized.”
Thank you for your prayers not only for our ministry, but also for the spiritual well-being of our family.
David has continued to record weekly radio messages while we’ve been in the States. He posts these to the SA church’s website (www.faith.org.za), and the radio station plays it from there. Recently a new couple, Binnie and Maryanne, began attending the church after hearing the broadcast, and David’s father was able to lead Maryanne to Christ! We make new contacts almost weekly because of the radio ministry. Please pray with us that the Lord would keep on giving fruit from this outreach opportunity…
We are so thankful for the use of our home church’s (Stanley Heights Baptist Church/www.stanleyheights.org) “Bethany House” missions apartment for the rest of our furlough. After living out of suitcases for over three months, it is a great blessing to have some personal space! Routine and “sameness” really helps us to function better as a family…