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Showing posts from 2015

Fall update

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Some recent highlights from the world of EMI and the Crawfords...

* This Fall, we led project teams to help ministries in the following countries: Benin, Kenya, Nigeria, 4 trips to Uganda, Cameroon, Madagascar and India. Most of those trips went out in September, with the project work being completed now in time for the current project semester to end in about a month's time.

* This morning during our Friday morning sharing time, EMI staffer Rex Barber shared about the trip he led to Tenwek Hospital in Western Kenya back in September. EMI has a long history with Tenwek Hospital, having sent many teams to their campus in rural Kenya to help with the various stages of that hospital's ongoing expansion. Franklin Graham once said of Tenwek, "Tenwek Hospital is one of the greatest evangelical outreaches I know of anywhere in the world today." After EMI's design work on this project is complete, Tenwek will begin construction on a new surgery building that will result…

The here and now

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Yesterday, we learned of the tragic and heartbreaking news that an 8th grade schoolmate from Brodie and Jonah’s middle school took his own life. Looking at pictures of this kid we found online after hearing the news, he looks like a very typical young boy with no apparent signs of the ‘pain’ that ultimately was too much for him to bear.
For some reason, we expected to see a kid dressed in black, or with a ‘punk’ style haircut, or with a scowl on his face – something that would make such a desperate act seem at least a little more more foreshadowed, even if still extremely tragic. But instead, we saw pictures of a smiling kid who looked 3 years younger than his 14 years, dressed in a football uniform at practice or smiling with his 5 siblings and parents in the family portrait that served as his Facebook profile.
Of course no suicide, especially by a juvenile, will ever make sense. But still, we sought to ease our horror and shock, or perhaps our fear that it could happen to one of ou…

Kenya - Post 4: Alisha's point of view

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I've been wanting to go on a project trip with Brad since we joined EMI in 2007. So when the talk of a trip to Kenya surfaced around the office, I was really excited but didn't know how it could possibly work for our family. My excitement grew when both sets of grandparents gladly agreed to have the boys visit for a week each during the trip. Watching the boys board their plane in Denver was a little unnerving, but knowing they were headed to the West Coast for some family fun brought peace.
We owe a huge thank you to our parents who turned this trip into a great memory for Brodie, Jonah and Graysen.  The boys were so excited for their first plane trek by themselves and getting to see grandparents thwarted any complaints of Mom and Dad traveling back to Africa without them. ;) As we boarded each of our three flights I was definitely aware of the distance growing between us and the boys - I think I had forgotten how long it takes to get to Africa! It made me feel for Brad who ma…

Kenya Trip - Post 3: The Ministry (June 4-5)

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The ministry we’re working with is an Orphanage called ‘Into Abbas Arms’. The founder, Jane Gravis, came on a medical missions trip in 1997 as a dental hygienist, but ended up serving as the dentist due to the needs encountered. She was struck by the number of children without families/homes, so she came back and started an orphanage in 1999, intending to get things started before leaving it to others to continue forward. Sixteen years later and still serving as the ministry director, she lives in Texas full-time, traveling back to Kenya several each year.
Currently, they have 43 children (the 43rd, a 5 year old girl, arrived while we were on site). The stories of how the children come to the orphanage are as varied as the kids themselves, but many were dramatic, ranging from being left for dead on the street at birth, to the newest little girl’s story of having a mentally ill mother who would lock her in a dark closet for hours at a time for no reason. Consequently, her 21 year old …

Kenya Trip - Post 2: Early days (June 1-3)

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We actually had two EMI teams arriving on the same flights, and to my knowledge, this is the first time that’s happened. Another team led by Gary and Kevin from our office in Colorado are working at another orphanage starting up in Western Kenya. So, in the arrival hall at Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi, we had 21 EMI’ers in all.
Fortunately for our team, the orphanage we’re working with (‘Into Abbas Arms’) is located only about 1-1/2 hours from Nairobi, unlike the other team’s site, which is around 7-8 hours drive from the capital. Nairobi sits up at just over 5000 ft elevation, so it was a steady climb on the drive out to reach our site, which is at an elevation of nearly 8800 ft. As I’ve done on many projects, I’m doing the survey for this trip. Alisha and a couple others from the team helped, as did a small group of 5 Kenyan university engineering students. One of the boys from the orphanage, Nelson, is now at university and is studying civil engineering. We asked the ministry …

Kenya Trip - Post 1: Something new (May 30-31)

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This trip had a different feel from the outset. Having Alisha join me isn’t just a nice perk, but rather, more of a realization of a long desire to do this work together. It’s not that I can’t do these trips without her – I’ve proved that 19 other times! But I really don’t *want* to do them without her. Of course we don’t always get the things we want, but oftentimes if we’re patient, God does give us a few of those perks eventually.
So the normal pre-trip depression and anxiety that has become a very predictable part of our lives (i.e. dad starts getting very irritable leading up to project trips!) didn’t happen. In fact, it was almost the opposite feeling this time, as I seemed more and more calm as the trip approached.
Dropping the boys off at their gate at the Denver airport was another ‘new’ feeling. Brodie is 14 now, and though we still see a lot of the ‘little boy’ in him, we know that he (like every other little boy that’s ever lived) is not going to move towards manhood with…