The next chapter - EMI United Kingdom!

UK - here come the Crawfords!
It's our last night in the USA - 19 bags/bins (4 more than our free allowance - yikes!), 5 carry-ons and 5 "personal items" (i.e. backpacks) are all packed and in the car waiting for the trip to the airport. It's hard to imagine the amount of energy, planning and work it's taken to get to where we are here on this final night.  We have thoroughly enjoyed our time of seeing family and many friends! It's impossible to sum up all the emotions of the last 3 months of first moving out of our house in Colorado Springs after packing all our things into storage, then driving out to the West coast for visiting and saying goodbye while planning my next trip to Guinea, and then finally packing our necessities into all these bins and bags.  Just listing it out here makes me tired! :)
We have definitely been feeling a bit of deja vu from 4 1/2 years ago when we left for Uganda. The mixed emotions of being sad to leave family and friends and life in the USA while being excited for the next adventure is hard to explain in words. It's actually even hard to experience and make sense of the many conflicting feelings we're going through from moment to moment. However, this past Sunday, we got a bit of a gift at church.

We got to spend a lot of time with my sister Traci and her husband KC this summer - two of our most favorite people on the planet! KC is joining me on the trip to Guinea in September!

We were attending a supporting church of ours here in the Bay Area - the church Alisha grew up in during her junior high and high school years. We had found out that morning after the first service that the main service was primarily about one of the pastors announcing he was leaving, so we even considered not going. In the end, we decided to go mostly because we felt it would help us feel more connected to the church to be there when something significant was happening. Little did we know, we couldn't have asked for a better theme and message.

At the beach in Southern Cal with our cousins Bradley and Joey and our good friends the Reynolds who were visiting from Colorado Springs.

As the assistant pastor spoke about how he had come to feel that God was calling him away from his church home for the past 15 years, a church home that he absolutely loved and where he thought he'd finish his career, we couldn't help but relate to what he was going through. At first, he resisted God in it because it just didn't make sense. But, when he finally gave in and sought out what he felt God wanted him to do, it became very clear that this is what he was supposed to do. So through tears, he spoke of how hard it was for him to be leaving the church and senior pastor he so enjoyed working under, but in the end, he knew that following God's leading was far more important than any plans he'd made for himself.

Spelunking with the Crawford cousins at Lava Beds Nat'l Park

The whole time, Alisha and I just kept looking at each other and feeling that we could have been up there saying the very words he was saying! The last thing he said, in particular, really struck us. He said (paraphrasing), "Even though it's sad to be torn away from something that you love and will dearly miss, in the end, how exciting is it to see what God might do next when we are called to step out and follow Him." For us, it was exactly what we needed to hear, and our attitudes and perspectives on leaving for the UK have been different since.

Camping with the Berry cousins in the California Redwoods 

We really do feel confident that this is what God wanted us to do in this situation. We don't really have all the answers to the why's and what's, but we do feel confident that it's the right decision. We are very excited to be joining an office that really needs help and encouragement, and we are excited to once again be facing a challenge that seems beyond us and our capabilities. God has provided for us abundantly in this and we are very thankful for this opportunity.
So we fly out of SFO tomorrow, Tuesday, at 4:55pm PST. Both of our parents are taking us to the airport, so that will be nice but hard to say our goodbye's to them there. They are always the hardest to leave, but we are hoping that we might get visits out of them (and others!) in the coming year, so that is definitely softening the blow this time around.
Thank you all once again for being a part of our work with EMI. We look forward to keeping you involved through this blog, Facebook and even Twitter now. If you are on either of those, please do 'friend' us and follow me (Brad) on Twitter at bradcrawford_ - don't miss the underscore at the end, and please do remember that I am a complete rookie at Twitter!
United Kingdom, here we come...


Anonymous said…
Love and prayers to my favorite Crawfords :). Thinking of you! Xoxo love Jeff and kristi.

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