Monday, December 9, 2013

Nearly there

I am borrowing Esther's most recent blog to give an update of our status here - she did a lot of excellent work recruiting the appropriate pictures to include so I've just modified the content a little!


"We're still here?!"

As Christmas approaches, we ask ourselves this question.  The answer, obviously, is 'yes' - and it's one that gives us mixed feelings. Back in the spring, when we tentatively put together a time frame for leaving for Papua New Guinea, we planned to celebrate Levi's second birthday (which falls in the last week of November) in PNG. Honestly, this was a somewhat arbitrary date, since we made the decision in part because we celebrated Anna's second birthday while we were visiting the hospital back in 2001 and thought it would be fun to do the same for Levi - but it gave us something to aim for.

As we raised our support during the summer and fall, we realised that from a financial standpoint we were still on track to move by the end of November. God has truly amazed us during the fundraising process, and it's been both humbling and encouraging to see the group of people He has drawn around us to support us through funding, prayer or both. We are fully funded!

However, our visa paperwork has been a somewhat different story. And based on previous missions experience (both our own and that of friends and family living in developing countries), this hasn't come as a huge surprise to us ... but certainly brings us days of frustration! After initial hold-ups surrounding my medical license were cleared, it looked as though adjusting our plans to move in the first two weeks of December may be realistic. As I write this on December 4th, without visas and therefore also without plane tickets, we are sensing this departure timeframe, too, sliding by us unmet...

It is a mixed blessing, though, and there are things we're very thankful for even in the delay. We had some really precious time with family and friends over Thanksgiving - some of our family doesn't live in Tulsa so the holidays gave us some extra time with them that we might not have had otherwise.  Celebrating with family on Friday enabled us to also invite good friends over on the Thursday and get the chance to connect with them before leaving.

Esther has been able to get a few more weeks of OB care in with our doctor here, which has allowed us to see a reassuring formal ultrasound and gestational diabetes test while we still have access to those kinds of care.

The packing is able to happen in a more relaxed and methodical way with more time to spend on it, which we know will make unpacking much easier on the other end and hopefully reduces the chances that we leave any 'necessaries' behind!

And it looks like we have a winter storm headed our way, which is so far promising the kids an atypical couple inches of pre-Christmas snow before we move to a climate that definitely won't be affording us any snow days!

As we are in this final stage of waiting before we leave, we are trying to be patient and just enjoy this time of stillness that God has given us before all of the travel and uprooting begin (although stillness may not actually be a very accurate descriptor, as I think about all the 'last' things we are trying to do and people we want to see, ha!).

We would love for you to join us in praying that there aren't any unnecessary delays and that all of our paperwork would be processed in God's timing for us - thank you so much for standing with us in this time.  We'll keep sending out updates as things change!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Across the pond

Thank you to those who were praying diligently about our visas.  The first hurdle has been officially cleared.  There are a couple more, but within a week of bringing our need before our church and supporters we saw a breakthrough.  We still await paperwork processing in PNG before having the go-ahead to submit our passports and final applications to the embassy in Washington.  We are still praying and hoping for a Fall departure!

Now the secret is out!  We are in the UK until November 1st giving our children a chance to reconnect with their grandparents here before moving to Papua New Guinea.  We have not seen Esther's family since June 2012 when they visited Tulsa for my graduation from Residency, so this time together is somewhat overdue. We surprised Esther's mother, Mathilda (pictured above with the kids at the River Thames in Marlow), who knew nothing of our trip until we rang the doorbell.  We are staying in a missions home in Thame for this month and express great thanks and appreciation to Long Crendon Baptist Church, Esther's church growing up in England, and the Shunem trust for this.

While here, Esther continues teaching Anna's homeschool and we look for ways to enjoy the time with family.  We spent a day last week in Marlow on the River Thames with the whole family, and plan a week near the Welsh countryside as a family for Mathilda's birthday later this month.  Several of Esther's friends plan to visit during the month and we look forward to each of them.

I'll update again later this week or next with the most recent happenings here.  Thank you for supporting our family in your time, finances and especially in your prayers.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

On the move

In the past three days we have made our first move of this next season.  The home in west Tulsa that we enjoyed for the past four years is now empty, save a few items that remain behind awaiting a Salvation Army truck's acceptance.  We're temporarily living in a missionary home in Tulsa while preparing to move overseas.

The move was difficult for me.  I grew up in Tulsa and certainly think of it as home.  Though we're only a few miles from our previous house, the reality of leaving this place hits me in a more certain way now.  Many of our items we simply discarded, others we donated.  I believe the Goodwill donation center staff have grown concerned about our frequent visits.  Some things are still waiting to be picked up as I mentioned.  But this move feels different than others because for the first time we had to take down hand-made decorations hung by our children, give away some of their belongings or throw them away, and bid farewell to the four walls that have sheltered and shaped our young family.

As I took nails out of the walls at the old house yesterday, tears came while memories of Christmases, Thanksgivings, Birthday parties or just the daily fun and games of life replayed in my head.  We have known for a while that God called us overseas, but the actual parting is more challenging than I anticipated.

I've recently started reading David Platt's book Radical.  I'm only through the first chapter or so, but I'm realizing that when Jesus calls to us, it is exactly a complete abandonment that he expects.  In Mark chapter 10 a successful, affluent and influential young man approaches Jesus and asks him what he should do to inherit eternal life.  At first, Jesus replies with a simple list of "do this" or "don't do this".  But the young man already follows that.  So why did he come to Jesus in the first place?  If doing the right things were enough, shouldn't he have already felt fulfilled?  Why would he seek him out?  Jesus sees that this young man has followed the right "rules" but still isn't fulfilled or secure ... and verse 21 says that Jesus looked at him, loved him, and told him to give away his things, take up a cross and follow Him.

That cost pushed many people away from him.  When he called fishermen from their boats or a tax collector, did they come to Him skipping and singing a merry tune whilst leaving their lives and their families?  There's nothing that I see in scripture that says they didn't lay awake at night, tears in their eyes, missing their old familiar things and places.  But in John chapter six, when Jesus challenges them severely and asks if they wouldn't rather go back to their comfort zones, Peter replies, "Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life."  Something about Him made their sacrifice worthwhile.

I pray that as my family leaves our familiar places, familiar things and friends and loved ones we would anticipate receiving a new kind of fulfillment. 

We need your prayers more now.  Our visa applications (a process we began in May) is being hampered and is threatening to delay our departure.  We made our move in faith that God will provide for us to go to the field this Fall and trust that He is working in His timing.  However, we need a miracle to avoid ending up in a difficult situation if we are delayed.  Pray for favor with authorities, efficiency in processing paperwork and for granted visas so that we can buy our tickets to PNG.

We are grateful to those who have joined us in this process.  Your gifts toward our ministry are preparing our home in Papua New Guinea, paying some processing fees and have reassured both us and our receiving mission that this is for real!  Soon, those funds will buy plane tickets for four passengers to Kudjip hospital and provide for healing and our ministry there.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


We are making progress!  A big thank you to those that have been giving toward our mission.  We have surpassed the amount needed to purchase our tickets to move to Papua New Guinea this Fall.  Any funds we receive between now and when we move to PNG will offset our start-up expenses, with the remainder applied to our monthly stipend while we are in the country.  Our pledged support amount covers the $2000 monthly living expenses we were quoted and we have all but a couple hundred of this coming in now.  However, some pertinent changes have occurred since our initial estimates - more to follow on this development. 

The process of moving to Papua New Guinea is complex and a large part of it entails getting licensing, work permits and visas to enter the country for an extended stay.  In May I sent a packet of information with everything from my driver's license to medical license and board certifications to Papua to apply for a medical license there.  I now have a valid PNG medical license and we await approval of my work permit and then visas from the embassy in D.C.  Our contacts in PNG have suggested that this should be able to happen by the end of November, we are praying this is the case and for favor with authorities.  This is about a month later than our projected departure, but I have felt God's divine provision in some of our delay.  (Romans 1:9-13)

Recently we consolidated many of our belongings in preparation for our move, including a thorough excavation of our garage and attic as well as one of our closets.  This is a tricky endeavor as we will not only be moving but needing to trim down the majority of our belongings in preparation for living overseas.  Pray that we would be able to part with our belongings in a responsible way.  (Matthew 10:10)

The most exciting information to share though is that we will be making an addition to our family around March of next year!  This little one will be delivered at Kudjip.  While I felt privileged to deliver Levi, although inadvertently, we plan for this one to be delivered by one of our colleagues. 

This is our most recent ultrasound courtesy of Dr. Ashley Hildebrand at Family Medical Care.  After a challenging pregnancy with Levi and a history of an early miscarriage, these little pictures and heartbeats encourage us.

Do we still need support?  Yes - for those giving now, your gifts are preparing our home in PNG, our departure costs including airfare, visa fees and some basic medical supplies for my work in the hospital.  For those who have pledged, thank you for your gifts to come.  For those who want to support us, we will now have additional expenses with our little one coming while in PNG. 

While MissionCorps has slightly adjusted our monthly expenses to cover insurance for an additional family member ($70-100 premium), there will be some supplies we need on a regular basis once we are there that will adjust our monthly budget to include diapering, additional clothes, etc.  While we can't give exact estimates on these needs, supplies in PNG are typically slightly more expensive due to how remote our location is.

As of this writing I have cut down my hours at the Urgent Care centers to just 10-20 hours per week to focus on packing up our home and enable us to travel some to reconnect with family and friends before moving this Fall.  We can manage this situation for a few months, but if our departure is delayed any further, it will likely be unsustainable.  My work arrangement will last through the Fall and we have lodging through November in the States but are eager to settle into our new home at Kudjip.  For this reason, please pray that the rest of our paperwork gets processed smoothly / efficiently.

Thank you for your support of our family!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Missionaries in Waiting

Waiting Game

As you may see on the right, we have passed our initial startup funds needed to move to Papua New Guinea!  We have also heard from our agency's field coordinator that our funding has reached a level sufficient that we can purchase our tickets.  I have felt a strong affirmation in this regard as our financial need was personally weighing on me.  But God has been faithful.  We are still lacking some of our monthly support required to maintain our ministry on the field.  I trust that situation to the Lord wholeheartedly - thank you to those who have begun sowing into our ministry so far and for those who will begin your gifts soon!

The other side of this coin is all of the logistical requirements for moving our family to Kudjip.  In order to work there, I will need a PNG medical license and permission to work approved.  Once these are granted, our family can obtain visas to serve as aid workers from the embassy in Washington D.C.  Although I applied in May, it is something of a waiting game and I have heard from one of our friends and an administrative coordinator in the field that it could be a six month process.  Our target for moving to PNG is this Fall, and our housing and my employment in the states has been built around this timeframe.

Please pray that licensing, work permits and visas will be processed quickly and smoothly.  Also that our situation in terms of housing and working to pay bills in the States would be sufficient while we wait for our departure.  And finally that the during next two months, while I am working part-time, our family could start to pack, bundle, ship, and transition our lives as we make the move overseas.

We will be in Tulsa through the end of September with a few excursions to some nearby cities.  If you would like to get together before our departure let me know!

Friday, July 12, 2013


Two days ago we had the final of our scheduled open houses for this summer with my parents.  A huge thank you to them for hosting, and for the many that attended to hear more about our hearts for our mission to PNG.

During the past month we have spoken in two churches and have been hosted in the homes of four of our donors.  We've shared about our heart for this season in our lives at Kudjip and have been deeply encouraged by the prayers that have been spoken over us.

During that process we also developed the following mission statement for our time in PNG:

"To open the doors of physical healing to bring the peace of Christ to the people of Papua New Guinea, while living resilient lives that reflect and glorify God."

This comes from John chapter five.  A lame man sits at the healing pools of Bethesda for years.  An angel stirs the water and those that are placed in the pool are healed.  Jesus asks him why he doesn't go into the water to receive his healing.  His reply?  "Sir, I have no man to put me in the water, but while I am coming another steps in before me"  Healing waters are stirred daily right next to him, but nobody will put him in.  We know that we won't ultimately decide who receives healing through our ministry, although I have seen some incredible physical recoveries at Kudjip.  God will provide the healing.  Our call is to be obedient, serve and place people in the water who otherwise have nobody to do it for them.

We are excited, and nervous, about the real and practical steps we are taking now for our planned departure at the end of September.  We are still waiting on entry permits and visas and would appreciate prayers for those things now.

Thank you to Gail Dooley for pictures of our new home in PNG nearing completion!

As we prepare to leave, the theme I'm reminded of again and again is bittersweet.  For 11 years Esther and I have been preparing to serve overseas as missionaries.  It seemed like a pipe dream for so long that being this close to traveling is a very sweet relief.  At the same time, we notice the things around us that we have loved and cherished for the past 8 years of our marriage together.  Family, friends and familiar places and routines that our children appreciate.  Leaving those things behind stretches our comfort - but we trust and believe that God arranges our new home for the needs of our family.

Another challenge for us comes from our financial needs.  We have seen amazing generosity and are so grateful and humbled at those who have given financially toward our mission.  It is more difficult for me to see the remaining gaps in our needs and not be anxious.  Esther has been involved in a missionary family throughout her childhood and has a more serious exposure to God's faithfulness in those area than I have.  But we each trust that God will supply the needs for our journey.

Along those lines, we are awaiting some of the final initial funds to be processed but we should have passed our $12,000 start-up funds.  This is a testament to those who have given to us and have already started their monthly support.  As of this writing, we have received pledged amounts for $1,380 of our needed $2,000 monthly support.  This is almost 70% of our need.  Of this, about $900 is already coming in.  Thank you for committing your finances as well as prayers to us already.
For those who have pledged to support and haven't begun to do so yet, remember to visit our donation page at to establish a recurring gift or to receive directions on how to mail in a recurring gift, and thank you for your pledge!

We still have $620 in monthly need that we will be raising in the next couple months while also preparing to depart.  MissionCorps, our sending agency, will expect us to be receiving this recurring support prior to placement to maintain our ministry in the field.  I trust that God will provide this, though it stretches me at times to make preparations without seeing all of our "numbers" add up.  Please pray for our financial support, but also that beyond that we would have trusting hearts.

Thank you for coming to hear us these past weeks and for encouraging us with your presence and prayers.  If you weren't able to attend one of our open-houses but would like to hear about our mission to PNG in more details, remember to check our Prezi.  We will update again in a couple weeks with our funding progress as well as how our preparations are going.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Final Summer Open House

A huge thank you to Kris & Nicole Crawford for hosting us last night and for those who came to hear more about our mission.  It was a blessing to see each of you there and how much your kids are growing up!  Our final open house for the summer is this week!

Crouch Open House

This Wednesday, July 10th
6:00 - 7:30p
Dinner at 6:00, presentation to follow
Childcare provided!

We will share about our upcoming mission to Kudjip in PNG at my parents house.  Many of you have expressed an interest.  Dinner and childcare will be provided at this event, but we ask that you please RSVP to let us know how many to expect to make sure we have adequate arrangements for everyone.  Please RSVP to Esther or I by email ASAP.  We will provide address information once we hear from you.


Monday, July 1, 2013

July 6th Open House

Crawford Open House

This Saturday, July 6th
5:30p - 7:00p
Dinner at 5:30, presentation to follow
Childcare provided!

We will share about our upcoming mission to Kudjip in PNG at the home of Kris & Nicole Crawford this weekend.  Many of you have expressed an interest.  Dinner and childcare will be provided at this event, but we ask that you please RSVP to let us know how many to expect to make sure we have adequate arrangements for everyone.  Please RSVP to Esther or I by email ASAP.  We will provide address information once we hear from you.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Lout Open House This Wednesday

We had a very encouraging time tonight with the Tramonte's Open House.  A big thank you to Val & Katie for hosting us!

Our next Open House to hear from us and hear about our mission to PNG is this Wendesday evening June 26th for dessert at 7pm with Jerry & Ann Lout, elders at Believers Church.  Please RSVP to or if you would like to join us.

If you aren't able to come this Wednesday, we have two additional Open Houses - look to come for one of those and let us know if you will attend!

Thank you for checking in periodically here and remembering us as we prepare to move to Kudjip this Fall.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


First Meet & Greet

A huge thank you to Central Church of the Nazarene and Believers Church for letting us share our mission today - a privilege and a blessing.

Our first Supporters Night will be next week on June 23rd at the home of Val & Katie Tramonte at 7:30 PM.  Please come hear our heart and mission for our time in Papua New Guinea.  We will also allow plenty of time for questions and answers.  Dessert and coffee will be provided.  

Childcare will not be provided this time and you are encouraged to make arrangements for childcare on your own.

Please RSVP by Thursday via email to or for address and directions.

As you can see we will also have an opportunity to hear from and meet with us on the 26th with Jerry and Ann Lout.  Let us know by Sunday the 23rd if you will plan to come that Wednesday night!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Back in the Fray

Back in the Fray

In the spring of 2002, my wife Esther and I met while working aboard the Africa Mercy.  At that time, we both received a call to pursue long-term medical mission work after completing our training.

Fast forward eleven years: we have been married eight years, have two children, have seen and been a part of medical work in four continents, completed medical, nursing school and residency and, thanks to the CMDA Steury Scholarship, we have also been able to pay off our debts a single year after graduation.

Now our family of four prepares to leave Tulsa, Oklahoma and move 7,000 miles across the world to labor at Kudjip Mission Hospital.

Kudjip is run by the International Church of the Nazarene.  Though not Nazarene, we are able to serve in this hospital through a Nazarene agency called MissionCorps, which places volunteer missionaries in various locations around the world.  Our initial term through MissionCorps will be between one and two years.  Beyond our initial term ... we would appreciate your prayers about our next steps.

I have blogged previously about our experiences in PNG in the Spring of 2011.  The challenges to this nation are many.  The culture is particularly violent, marked by tribalism, feuds and warfare of the past.  The geography is tropical jungle without a road connection between the capital and the bulk of the population in the mountains.  The people are Christian, but congregants and even pastors participate in domestic violence and theft.  The church needs to experience the transformational effects of the Gospel in many areas.  Most of the people live their entire lives without visiting a doctor and diseases like Malaria, Tuberculosis and Malnutrition claim many lives.

Kudjip hospital makes a difference in all of these areas of need.  Through medical ministry, a nursing college, and community health programs the lives of those in the highlands of this island nation are improving.

I will join the medical staff at Kudjip in the Fall of this year, serving as a family physician alongside other missionary doctors.  While the medical work at Kudjip will stretch and challenge me, I anticipate contributing to the hospital's goal of improving the health of their community and the overall mission to make Christ-like disciples in this nation.

Esther will continue her calling to bring up our children Anna (4) and Levi (18 months) in a Godly home.  While the transitions of moving our family will be taxing, we pray and trust that the Lord will direct their hearts as we serve in this setting overseas.  There may also be an opportunity for Esther to contribute at the Nursing college in the future.

We plan to leave Tulsa at the end of September 2013, just four months away.  While we prepare ourselves spiritually for this mission, we are also responsible to raise funds that will offset our initial expenses and monthly cost-of-living while serving as volunteers with Kudjip.

Our initial expense will be $12,000 to fly four individuals into the highlands of Mount Hagen, as well as covering visa costs and other start-up expenses.  Once in the field, our living expenses are estimated at $2,000 per month which covers some basic insurance and our housing, lodging, basic internet fees, etc.  Praise the Lord, we will not have to raise any additional funds to pay off student loans!  That means that for one year of service we will need $36,000 or $60,000 for two years.

As of this writing, we are 55% of the way into covering our $12,000 startup expenses.  However, we have received only about 25% of our required monthly donations in pledges.  Our biggest need at present is for donors who will begin supporting us on a monthly basis.  Any recurring donations processed before we depart go toward offsetting our start-up expenses.  However, one-time donations are a great way to support our mission as they will be applied to our future needs once our initial costs have been met.

We are very grateful to our home church, Believers Church, in Tulsa for providing a large portion of our monthly needs.

Please consider joining us in this endeavor through prayer and financial support.  You may contribute tax-deductible donations, which will be reserved in our ministry fund and not used by us personally, at this address:

Those of you who would prefer to contribute by mail may do so by sending a check payable to
"General Treasurer Church of the Nazarene" with "Crouch - Kudjip PNG - Mission Corps" written on it and mail to:

Church of the Nazarene
PO Box 843116
Kansas City, MO  64184

We also want you to have an idea of the roots, ministry and fruit that we expect from this mission and have created a 12-minute audio / visual presentation that can be viewed online below.

For those of you in the Tulsa area, several of our supporters have agreed to host "Open House" events.  We will be present to share a little about our mission, reconnect with you and answer any questions you have.  We will also provide the information you would need to give toward our ministry financially.  

Please RSVP to us by email ( if you would like to attend one of these events. 


Thank you for your support, friendship and prayers.