What's going on with the Crawfords...

Part II of II

The Thorn

Every year around Easter, New Life Church here in Colorado Springs puts on a production called ‘The Thorn’. It’s the story of Jesus in theatrical form, and covers a brief synopsis of the history of the bible with the focus on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Last week, I went to see it while Alisha took the boys to a similar but rated-G version of the production called ‘The Crown’.
I have to say, it was one of the most powerful things I’ve experienced. The quality of the production was on par with Broadway – I couldn’t believe how well done it was, with a cast of nearly 400 and professional dance-fighters, pyrotechnics, and other special effects.
Seeing the reenactment of Jesus’ flogging and crucifixion in person was something I’ll never forget. In the production, Jesus wore a lead vest to protect him from the whipping, but apparently, it doesn’t protect him from 100% of the blows. Anyway, it was very graphic and violent so it was certainly not for kids, but the overall message of hope in the production was very moving. It really brought the story of the gospels alive for me and for that reason I am very glad I went. Alisha and I actually returned the next night so she could see it too.
For some reason, seeing Jesus depicted as a normal guy, with excitement, anger, a sense of humor and passion had an impact on how I view him. I think too often we see Jesus portrayed as a meek and ‘holy’ person, but an honest reading of the bible shows much more of an everyday guy, with sarcasm and wit often mixed into the stories he told. I guess I’ve always pictured him to be kind of like a young pope, but I think that’s not at all how we was and seeing him portrayed as a normal guy in ‘The Thorn’ was a good visual reminder for me that Jesus was fully God and fully 'man' - not fully pope! I’m even convinced if he were living on earth today he’d be a Manchester United fan, and possibly even an Oregon Ducks fan too! ...Ok, I sense that I may be getting a little carried away.

We’ve decided to make New Life Church our regular church here in Colorado Springs. It’s a giant church (around 10,000 members), but both Alisha and I feel that the teaching of the pastor Brady Boyd is a good fit for what God is doing in each of our lives at this time. If you’ll remember, this church has gone through two major ‘death blows’ in the past 5 years – first with the widely publicized moral fall of its founder and head pastor Ted Haggard, and then with the shooting one Sunday where two people were killed (three including the young gunman).
But Pastor Brady (though he asks to be just called Brady) came in about 3 years ago, up from Gateway church in Texas, and has really done a great job of bringing humble leadership and a very down to earth preaching style that we both really appreciate. Our boys really like the children’s program too, which was of utmost importance to us coming back from Uganda. Finally, looking ahead, they have a very active and impressive junior high and high school student ministry, so we are happy to have landed there. Actually, it's the first church we tried and we really didn't feel compelled to look around much (we attended one other church for a Sunday, which was also good but not the 'fit' we were looking for).
We weren’t necessarily looking to be in a mega-church, but with intention we have started to meet people and are excited to get involved with serving. Last week was our first time at a couple’s bible study at the church, so we’re excited to finally be meeting some people our age with kids of similar age.

All three boys have started soccer practices with games on Saturdays. Alisha and I are playing as well, together in an indoor league on Saturday nights, and me on an outdoor mens’ team Sunday afternoons. We can’t complain too much as we do all love soccer, but the past couple of weeks have started a new phase of craziness in our lives as this is the first time that we have all three boys signed up for different teams. Brodie and Jonah each practice twice during the week and Graysen practices once, and on Saturday’s all three boys have games. I had to make up a spreadsheet for the game schedule to figure out how we get all three to the right fields at the right times! We’re not too excited about the sudden busyness of our schedule though, and we are ever mindful of our intention upon returning to the U.S. to not get caught up in the hecticness that plagues so many families in our culture. We thought that limiting each boy to one activity at a time would be a good strategy, but this soccer schedule has shown even that to make for a challenging schedule.
Beyond soccer, Alisha and I have each been mentoring an EMI intern this semester. Alisha’s intern is a young, engaged civil engineering intern so they’ve been able to connect a lot about her upcoming marriage.

Strategic Development
I am a part of a team of 6 or 7 EMI staff who are working on a 15-page document that will outline EMI’s new strategic development program. Initiatives that we are researching include: providing professional development for developing world design professionals; implementing sustainable/renewable technologies in the developing world; poverty reduction projects; emphasizing working with asset-based mission organizations; and expanding our roles in both relief and development projects, to name a few. The EMI board of director’s has requested us to produce this strategic plan for the next 10 years of EMI as we look to improve and significantly broaden our involvement in ministering to the poor around the world.
Specifically, I have been tasked with researching the state of design professionals in the developing world and reporting to the committee on what trends exist in that realm. We’re looking at that to determine what further areas EMI might be able to assist and what some appropriate steps might be that we could take to implement some of the initiatives we’re considering.
I know this sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, so a way of summarizing all of this is: EMI is looking at two things - how we can do what we do more effectively, and how we can do even more to help bring both the gospel and physical relief and development to the developing world.


Jerri Malone said…
I applaud your convictions and hard work to God, your family and your work. You have become all I thought you were destined to become. Terry and I are very proud of the man you are. My best to all of you. You are in our prayers.
Jerri Malone

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