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new family photos

Carminda swanepoel photography

Carminda swanepoel photography

Carminda swanepoel photography

Photos were taken in an open field one mile from our our home at Emalahleni, South Africa.

Click on any of the images to open in full resolution.

giving away God’s Word

Prayer Letter 2015-03

Prayer Letter 2015-03

Giving away God’s Word is never a waste. I laid down my last tract on an empty counter wondering who would pick it up…

Our church plant in Emalahleni wants to produce more gospel literature. Under the name Literature of Faith we are printing bi-lingual gospel tracts in English/Afrikaans (front and back), languages understood in most of South Africa. But we are hoping to expand the bi-lingual tracts to English/Zulu for certain parts of SA and English/Chichewa for Malawi and Northern Mozambique.

Click on the image to view in PDF.

ordination of Sthembiso Mahlangu


Prayer Letter 2014-10

Faith Baptist Church held its first ordination for Sthembiso Mahlangu! Eight South African ministers and two American missionaries were on the counsel, and it was such a great time of solidarity for our church at we commissioned him to full time ministry…

Click the image to view the PDF letter.

glaciers for africa

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?

labourers together


Prayer Letter 2014-06

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.

what we leave behind

BIMI World 1 14 Proof McCrumA 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…”

let the children come

2014-01-21_PrayerLetter“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…”

November 28

prlet_2013-08This 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.

the pursuit of happiness

IMG_1625Our world has a funny sense of happiness. McDonalds says you can find “happiness in a box.” My children agree (Thanks, Pastor Arp, for the gift cards!).

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
Psalm 32:10-11

ignorant. arrogant. wise.

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.
James 3:13


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