Looking back and looking forward

Even before we had finished our last home assignment, we were asked to figure out the dates for Home Assignment 2020! Well, we now have those dates all cleared.

Before we get too far into that though…

When we were preparing to go on Home Assignment 2018, I cleared off all the horizontal surfaces. I was thinking that when we returned a quick wipe and I could put everything back. That’s not what happened. Instead, some new things were added.

I want to say thank you …

These three pictures (devotional art book – Metro NY, vase – Indianapolis, and prayer reminder bracelet for human trafficking victims – now a candle decoration – VA) are representative of the many thoughtful gifts we received as we traveled around.

Prayer requests:

Wisdom in setting up Home Assignment 2020. We need it to be full, but not such that there is no relaxation. We need to have those God-ordained meetings with unknown people and reunions with others.

Good utilization of our time as we get ready for the next trimester here at Africa Nazarene University. It’s going to be grand!

Amy as she works on her Ed.D. studies through Trevecca.

Greg as he leads the Ph.D. program here at ANU.

Bonus picture: It’s good to see the variable sunbirds again.DSCN8203

A visit to the Kenyan produce shop

When in high school, I (Greg) worked in the produce department at Wegmans. It was surprising to discover the variety of fruits and veggies available, things I’d never heard of before: Bok Choi, Romaine lettuce, anise, kiwi, and persimmons.

Now Amy and I live in Kenya, and there is also a variety of fruits and veggies here. We tend to be pretty traditional in our tastes. Here’s a photo of what we bought over the weekend:

DSCN8169

Some of what you see is imported, such as pink lady apples, seedless grapes, and tangerines. But the red onions, green peppers, bananas, limes, garlic cloves, lemons, squash, and cucumbers were all grown on Kenyan farms and shipped to Nairobi.

Prayer requests

Ask the Lord to give us resolve as we care for ourselves not only spiritually but also physically, through renewed good eating habits.

We’re busy preparing for our September 2018 trimester classes. Pray that the Lord will help us make a positive impact for Christ upon students in the classroom.

 

Back to the routine?

We are almost over jet lag! This seems to get harder each time. Maybe we just don’t bounce back as quickly these days.

Some things are just the same. Universtiy Church is still the welcoming, loving place we remembered in our hearts. ANU continues to be a great place to work. We still have baboons, blooms, butterflies, birds, and lizards.

Some things are different. Since when does the local store carry Pop Tarts – brown sugar cinnamon even?! When did Mugg & Bean – on the Go (a South African chain) come to Kenya? How does the road to ANU rate a gas station (it’s coming!)? Changes happen even in three months.

Thanks to all who hosted us during our home assignment. We appreciate you!

Looking forward – Prayer requests/praise

We need to get our passport stamps to show we are residents. This should be straightforward, we will be heading to the offices early next week. Pray this goes smoothly, because…

Greg is heading to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to teach a class. He needs to get a visa which requires about 10 days to process. Literally, he should get his passport back the afternoon before he flies. — Praise, when Greg and Khulani went to the embassy yesterday, they were not given much hope until the woman saw that he had been invited by the Church of the Nazarene. Her daughter attends ANU. She went out of her way to help – including keeping the office open 30 minutes after closing – so the initial paperwork could be filed.

I (Amy) will be super busy this fall. I have been assigned three classes to teach in addition to the Writing Lab and my Ed. D. studies. Pray for stamina for me.

Miles…and smiles

FocusThis missionary home assignment has been one of miles…and smiles, too.

Miles

From April 20 through July 29, we’ll have clocked just under 11,000 miles in our faithful 2007 Ford Focus. Here are some more tidbits:

  • spoke in 13 states at 48 venues, including 2 family camps and 1 District NMI Convention
  • slept in 42 different beds
  • ate lots of good food prepared with love by Nazarene brothers and sisters
  • met young people with a call to cross-cultural service
  • found individuals in many churches who have been on a Work & Witness trip to Africa Nazarene University (ANU)

People everywhere have been so gracious and interested in our missionary work at ANU. We owe a huge debt of gratitude for their hospitality, encouragement, and support through prayer and giving. We’ve been treated like royalty. Thanks for being part of our team!

Smiles

 

Rose Handloser
Left to Right: Rose Handloser, Vangie Hannah, and Greg (photo by Amy)

 

In Milford, Deleware, the NMI President (Vangie Hannah) took us to a nearby rest home where we met Miss Rose Handloser. Rose served for 30 years as a missionary in Africa, with time in the Transvaal and at our Regional Office in South Africa. She worked closely for many years with Dr Richard Zanner (former Regional Director) and developed Christian education curriculum for all ages. We walk in the footprints of those like Rose who invested decades of their lives to advance the cause of Christ.

 

Clay
Greg with his nephew, Clay

We’ve said our goodbyes to most of our family as we head back to Kenya next week. I’m especially proud of my nephew, Clay Crofford. He’s getting better all the time at playing the guitar, singing, and leading worship music. In mid-August, he reports as a first year student to Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) where he’ll study for pastoral ministry. Keep up the good work, Clay! 

 

Prayer requests

Ask God to give us strength and grace as we wrap things up back here in the U.S., pack suitcases, say our final goodbyes to John and Brad/Em (our sons and daughter-in-law), then transit for 48 hours.

Ask the Lord to help us plug back in quickly to our Kenya assignments, Greg continuing as Dean of the School of Religion and Christian Ministry (SRCM) and Amy lecturing in English, overseeing the Language Lab, and pushing ahead on the Ed.D. online through Trevecca Nazarene University.

Virginia is for (missions) lovers.

We had the privilege of speaking at the Virginia District NMI convention. It was a joy to see so many passionate people – young and old – speaking and singing about the need to be involved wholeheartedly in the work of God locally, nationally, and globally. The difference made by this generous group of Nazarenes lead by District NMI President Dr. Charlette Holter and District Superintendent Phil Fuller may not be calculated before we are all in heaven, but I am confident it will be enormous..

  • Please pray for the Virginia District, and your own district, as they and you strategize to reach your neighbors for Christ locally, nationally, and globally.
  • Please pray for us as we finish our time in the United States and head back to Kenya in less than two weeks.

We are profoundly grateful for the new friends we have made and the support we have been given in this home assignment. Thank you!

Together

As missionaries, one of the harder aspects is living far from family. Up until late February when John returned to the U.S., our Sunday Skypes involved us being on three different continents (North America, Africa, and Asia). Now we’re only on two continents (North America and Africa), but the distances are still challenging.

We’re grateful, though, that the five of us got to spend this past weekend together, our “reunion within the reunion” during a larger biennial Crofford family get-together in Maryland. Greg’s parents celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary and all six sons and most of their children (and grandkids and great-grandkids) were on-hand to celebrate – What a blessing!

TODD REUNION-18
Left to Right: Front row – Greg & Amy. Back row – Brad and Em, John

Prayer requests

Pray that we’ll finish our deputation strong. We have five or six engagements left as we tell the story of Africa Nazarene University, visit the dentist and eye doctor, and pack-up our things to meet the baggage weight requirements for the airline.

Pray for safe travel as we shortly journey back to Kenya.

Pray a blessing upon those who have been standing in the gap on some of the face-to-face duties at ANU while we’ve been doing itinerant missionary PR work in the U.S.

The 4th of July

I love spending the 4th of July at the Upstate New York Family Camp in Brooktondale New York. The merry-go-round has been rebuilt a few times since I was a child. The tree-people decorations are new, but the day of fun hasn’t changed one bit. Camp ended today, as always, memories will continue.

It was great to be with Rev. Norman Moore – camp speaker – (see the last picture), the ENC team, and the entire Upstate New York family.

Please keep us in your prayers as we head to Pittsburgh District for a mini-tour of our LINKS district, a week of vacation, an NMI convention in Virginia, and a tour of the Mid-Atlantic District before heading back to Nairobi on August 1.

Please also pray as we continue our work and studies as we travel.

Thanks for keeping in touch!

P.S. The adults won the ballgame in the 12th inning. Youth, better luck next year.