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J. Charles Cramer

Teaching on the Texas/Mexico borer
"But I am happy to be a teacher, extending the kingdom of God"
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer, 2008

 “I am not an apostle or a prophet or an evangelist or a pastor. But I am happy to be a teacher, extending the kingdom of God,” wrote Charles Cramer in a 1982 article in World Gospel Mission’s magazine, Call to Prayer.

Charles and his wife, Chasalea, served as missionaries with WGM for 33 years on the Texas/ Mexico border and in Honduras, Central America. Born on August 28, 1921, in the small town of Bradner, Ohio, Charles grew up in a deeply spiritual home. His father was a Methodist minister, and the church, camp meetings, and missionaries were major influences throughout his childhood. After sensing that God was calling him to be a teacher, Charles pursued his education degree from Wittenburg University (Ohio), and later studied school administration at Ohio State University.

Before he was able to start teaching, Charles served in the army for three years in Europe during WWII. After returning to the U.S., Charles met Chasalea Morrow and the two were married in 1947. He taught in public schools for eight years, but he gradually began to feel God pulling him toward using his gifts on the mission field. He and Chasalea applied with WGM, and they were assigned to the Texas/ Mexico border in 1954.

Just days after their appointment was finalized, tragedy struck the family. Their four-year-old daughter, Rachel, died suddenly after a brief illness following a tonsillectomy. Although they grieved the loss of their child, Charles and Chasalea stayed on course and arrived in McAllen, Texas, in the fall, just in time for school to start at Taylor Institute, now called Taylor Christian School. Their remaining children, Florence and Charles Jr, were joined a year later by a baby brother, David.

During his years in McAllen, Charles served as the principal, teacher of the seventh and eighth grades, and the field director. He had a deep interest in helping students grow into mature Christians.

In 1971, Charles and Chasalea responded to a need in Honduras for Spanish-speaking missionaries. While in Honduras, Charles taught at the Tegucigalpa Bible Institute, eventually becoming the director. Charles was instrumental in developing the Theological Education by Extension (TEE) program, which enabled individuals who weren’t able to go to Tegucigalpa to study to be trained as pastors and lay leaders. He and Chasalea regularly traveled to remote villages, often on horseback, to teach TEE.

“Charles was a great man and a hero of the faith for me. I count it as a privilege to have served with him in Honduras. Charles and Chasalea were both people of prayer and very spiritually mature Christians,” said Tim Rickel, Vice President of Communication and former missionary in Honduras.

Charles and Chasalea retired from WGM in 1987, but instead of settling down to a muchdeserved life of leisure, Charles accepted a full-time pastorate at a small church in Mount Victory, Ohio. In 1995, they retired once more and moved to Avon Park, Florida. Chasalea passed away in 2006, and Charles moved back to Ohio to be closer to his daughter, Florence. Charles passed away on October 21, 2008. He was 87.

With deep appreciation, World Gospel Mission honors the memory of J. Charles Cramer for selflessly giving his gifts and talents to the Lord’s service. His witness and testimony have touched countless lives around the world for Jesus Christ.

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