Dear Friends,

This past week I returned from a week of ministry in Cape Town, South Africa. Cape Town is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Situated at the southernmost tip of the African Continent, the city boasts stunning views from its mountaintops of both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

This was my third trip to Cape Town since 2008, where we have long partnered with the ministry of Cape Missions International headed by our friends, John and Barbara Doyle. I not only spoke in various churches across the city, but also, along with Keith Doyle, conducted a seminar and workshop for pastors on, “Preaching With Clarity and Relevance.”

Meet Raymond Katts. Raymond actually works as an officer in the Cape Town Fire Department, but he also serves as the Pastor of “House of Praise” in Ocean Side Township. Situated in a poorer area of the city, the church is only three years old and is having a deep impact on the residents of Ocean Side through its various ministries—especially those trapped in drugs, alcohol and gang violence.

Raymond understands this population, having come from such a background himself. One day I asked Raymond to tell me his personal story. He quickly pointed to the scars on his right wrist, indicating his drunken and drug-induced attempt to take his own life. When his plan failed, he downed a poisonous substance hoping that would do the trick. Unsuccessful again, it was then he cried out to Jesus to rescue and save him. Raymond told me, “God heard a drunken drug addict’s cry!” He eventually passed out from blood loss, collapsed half dead, until someone found him in a bathroom stall and called 911 and his life was saved literally and spiritually that day.

The experience marked Raymond for life!  God eventually called him to start a new church in Ocean Side with the specific aim of reaching people in his drug-infested community with the love of Christ. This burgeoning church boasts countless ministries focused on his community and those trapped by substance abuse, gang violence, unemployment, prostitution and the like. Scores of people poured into the Ocean Side community center on a Sunday morning where I was invited to speak. Later in the week we visited and fed countless youngsters who come each week to the church’s feeding program. I witnessed firsthand the power of the local church impacting its community in life-changing ways.

When Pastor Raymond was not fighting the wildfires that occupied firefighters for days while we were there, he managed to show up at the seminar on preaching, bone-tired and weary. Afterwards he wrote me this note:

A special thank you for the ministry of BrookLink with Dr. Lee Heyward and Keith Doyle who came out to bless the pastors at the recent seminar. The teaching really blessed us and brought a fresh hunger to preach God’s Word with greater depth and zeal. We learned a lot from the teaching and will now endeavor to put it into practice. The church in Ocean View will not be same. Thank you!

I am deeply grateful for the impact BrookLink is able to have in the lives of men and women in places like Cape Town. When we equip and empower pastors like this, their churches are impacted. As churches are impacted, communities begin to change too!

Thank you for your prayers and your investment in the lives of people like Pastor Raymond. Your financial generosity is making a difference.

With deepest gratitude,