What’s going on with the Crawfords these days...

Part I of II

Winter Project trip (Uganda) update
Interns Phil and Alex have been working hard at finalizing the project report from our trip to Uganda in February. Our goal is to finish by mid May, but we are well ahead of schedule and should be done by the end of April. The volunteers did a great job of getting the majority of the design work done in country, so we’ve just been working on putting together all the drawing sheets, writing the written report, printing out the colored renderings and making sure all the different components are in place and consistent with each other. As we’ve been working on it, the ministry has been forging ahead with the work on site, so we’ve been feeding them individual documents such as the site grading plan to ensure that they can move forward while they are waiting for our final design report. It’s great to be involved with such a proactive ministry who has already started implementing our design!

Disaster Relief
EMI’s Disaster Response (DR) program is currently standing by to hear from some of our partners about the potential areas where an EMI DR team might be needed in Japan. At this time, there has been no formal request for help made to EMI. However, we have been in close communication with our relief partners and there is the potential for a future EMI DR team to be needed once the unique obstacles of this disaster are overcome. Some of these obstacles include: difficulty with access due to the limited number of Christian organizations operating on the ground prior to the disaster, a fuel shortage that is limiting movement around the country, the rapidly evolving threat of radiation exposure, the Japanese government’s control of the relief effort, as well as the difficulties with access due to the extreme infrastructural damage in the north.

The spiritual situation in Japan is quite unique. Though it is one of the most developed nations in the world, less than 1% of the Japanese people consider themselves Christians. It has historically been a very difficult place for the gospel to take root for a number of cultural and systemic reasons. The triple catastrophe (9.0 earthquake, 33 ft. tsunami wave and damage to multiple nuclear power plants) that is still unfolding in this nation of nearly 128 million citizens, though unthinkably tragic, is an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate the love of the gospel with the Japanese people in their greatest hour of need.

Our ministry with EMI
These first months in Colorado Springs, Alisha and I have been really seeking God’s will for our future with EMI, wanting to remain open to his leading in this ministry. As the months have gone on, we have really felt like God has given us a peace about being here for this time, and has given me some specific passions about my involvement with EMI. First and foremost, I feel like God is using my experience in the East Africa office to help improve the project work we do around the world. In a nutshell, amongst other things, that means phasing and refining our project designs so they become more applicable, efficient, get out faster, and encourage the ministries to involve us in the full life of their project so the designs we provide are most useful.

Also, with the new directions EMI is headed with our strategic initiatives, this will give us more capacity to explore and implement some of the exciting ideas now being researched. In short, a number of things have confirmed in my heart that EMI is where I should be for this time in life. Whether that means I’m here for 3 years or 25 years, I don’t (and really shouldn’t know) for sure. I am very excited about my developing involvement with our Projects department (more on that in future posts) as well as our HR department (more on that later too). I have felt that my involvement with our disaster response department is something I should pull back a bit on, so we are currently looking for a disaster response director who would largely take over my duties there (though I certainly could be involved in a DR trip at some point in the future).

Anyway, thank you so much for standing with us in this ministry. As an office, we have been going through a book called ‘When Helping Hurts’, meeting weekly to discuss what implications the book has for our ministry. It is a very insightful book which provides a good assessment of some ways missions-work needs to change going forward. I would highly recommend anyone involved with missions work to read the book. But as we’ve discussed this book in detail, I have become more and more convinced that the mission of EMI is uniquely situated to have a big impact on the greater mission effort of our time. I am constantly evaluating the work we do in light of what we experienced in Uganda as well as what we’re learning about missions work in general, and the more I learn the more I am excited about what EMI does and the double impact it’s ultimately having: 1) the spread of the gospel and discipleship amongst the nations; and 2) the global humanitarian effort aimed at relieving and reducing poverty.

Next project trip: Haiti, in June
My next project trip will be a first for me – the trip is not to Africa! In early June, I’ll be leading a team of approximately 10 design professionals to Limbe, Haiti, about 40 minutes west of Cap Haitian, on the northern end of the island. The Haitian-run ministry is called CEDAN (http://www.cedanmission.org/), Centre for Evangelism and Development of Acul du Nord. CEDAN operates several schools in the area and has a variety of different ministries in operation, including medical clinics, food programs for the hungry, and bible teaching. We will be designing a new multi-use building on their ministry base site. The site is small, about 1-acre, with several existing buildings on it. One building has been condemned (unrelated to the earthquake down in Port au Prince), so we will be designing a replacement building that will house a medical clinic, school classroom, ministry offices and other ministry functions. I am really looking forward to finally going to Haiti and helping this wonderful local ministry. (Sorry no pictures this time - we'll add some soon!)


Amram said…
Great job getting those projects done in one semester. Sure is a radical idea! :)

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