Crowl's Retirement

crowls 400

January 29, 2019

It is with a sense of awe that I want to announce the official retirement of Howard, June, and Chris Crowl. There are many reasons why it is time, but the most important is June’s words, “I am ready to retire, I’ve worked long enough.” This comes on the heels of the three of them having health concerns that prevent them from continuing in their work. It was for their sake that all of this needed to happen quickly, which made it difficult to keep everyone of you informed, but we weren’t sure what God was going to do. In November we met with the Crowls’ children to begin the discussion about what to do, but little did we know, God was already working in several areas. Along with this, June’s statement and the agreement of their children, a joint decision was made that it was time for them to retire. Once we moved forward, oldest son, Dave Crowl started working on a plan and within two months and with support from all of the Crowls’ supporting churches, a nursing home was located in Nairobi Kenya and funds became available for them to be able to move in on January 1, 2019.
I have recently been reading about the Crowls’ 66 years of missionary history and it is awesome what God did through them. Howard and June actually met while in Bible college in Cincinnati but got to know each other better once they both were on the mission field in the Congo. June Taylor arrived in the Congo in July of 1952 and Howard in August of 1953. June was working as the secretary and book keeper and Howard came for a special one-year project to set up the printing ministry. His intention, since he had attended Seminary and pre-med, was to return and get his medical degree and come back to the Congo as the doctor for ACM. When his short term trip was nearing its end, it was announced that he and June were engaged and would marry in August of 1954. After their wedding, June began to work in translation and Howard began to work in all phases of the mission and in 1955 he became the Legal Representative to the Congo government for ACM. Besides the hardships that missionaries go through, they managed to continue their work through civil wars and government change. After 43 years of service in the Congo (then called Zaire) a decision was made that all ACMI missionaries would leave the country. The Crowl’s chose to move to Nairobi Kenya and spent another 23 years involved in teaching, church planting and orphan care.
The Crowl’s would want to give credit where credit is due, so we first thank God for the Gospel being proclaimed. Through their leadership and the other groups of missionaries, as of the last count, there were over 600 churches and several small chapels in the Eastern Congo. Also, we want to say “Thank You” to all of the churches and individuals that have partnered with them, as well as to those who will continue to support them through their retirement. What a wonderful way to honor the Crowl’s for their many years of service.
As mentioned, the Crowls’ moved into the nursing home January 1, 2019. Their official retirement date will be March 31, 2019.
Larry J. Renfro
Executive Director for ACM International


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ACMI has both a rich heritage and a bright future. As we celebrate 70+ years of ministry, we hope our missions experience and diversity of ministries can help equip you to live out God's calling in your life!

Brothers & Sisters

Meet Aliif.

At about three years old, he is the youngest of four—the long-awaited, highly-prized little boy in family that had already birthed three older sisters. It took about six minutes of observation to deduce that he was the apple of his mother’s eye, the pride and joy of his grandfather’s heart. Their playful interactions endeared them to my heart. I have often found that the love and affection we feel for our children, serves as its own form of universal language.

Although definitely developmentally-capable, he seemed not to be speaking yet. This was less surprising as time progressed and it became obvious that Aliif’s screams and tantrums produced much more expedient results than any intelligible words he might attempt to produce. My initial observations led me to the quick conclusion that parenting styles and expectations in the West differed dramatically from those of parents in this country. I watched in my “forward-thinking,” Dr-Phil-philosophy-influenced horror, as little Aliif spent the noon meal throwing chicken bones at his grandfather, with no negative consequences. Instead, his bad behavior was often placated with a glass of soda. I found myself quite indignant, when Aliif, not satisfied with his own tea time snack, scarfed up his sisters’ as well, with no intervention from any of the adults. And my heart broke for his five-year-old sister, Hana, when little Aliif’s playful banter took a sudden turn for the worst and he slammed her head into the tile wall, with no form of apology or any sign of remorse.

two north african kids sitting with a lady in a living room

I wondered what it would be like to grow up in a house, subject to the terrible reign of my little brother, doubting my own worth when my parents never came to my defense—what kind of woman would I become if from my childhood I was made to believe that I was less valuable because of my gender? How would that impact me? What kind of love would be necessary to break thru the protective walls I would have to erect around my heart?

Or conversely, what of the tragedy of growing up in a home where I truly believed I was the center of universe; where my understanding and sympathy for the emotions and well-being of others only extending as far my own self-centered humanity? One where I could treat people as badly as I pleased, never being taught what it means to express guilt or remorse, and consequently to never receive forgiveness and with it the security of non-conditional love?

I left their small living room, littered with discarded chicken bones, and tea time crumbs asking myself, who is the bigger victim? What dramatically different forms the depravity of sin can take, and how explicitly manifested is it in the behaviors of small children!

As I carefully picked my way down the dark alley outside their home, making my way back to the house I was struck with a new, even more convicting thought: How far removed am I from either of them, really? Have I not been guilty of erecting walls around my heart to safeguard it in the name of self-protection, when in reality it’s a distrust of a Holy Father to care enough to protect me? And how many times have I been guilty of believing my own needs or whims or impulses were the fuel on which the world turned? Tears slipped down my cheeks as the amorphous “lost” of North Africa took on the form and precious faces of a little boy and his sweet sister with whom I found I had so much in common. How much more should that make me grateful for the redeeming work of Christ in my life! As I walked the streets of my new city, I no longer prayed for the generic Muslim neighbor I might encounter. Instead I whispered up a prayer for Aliif, and for Hana—that they may know the gentle, corrective hand of a Gracious Father, and the validating love of their Creator.

Prayer Calendar

The Sinner's Pew

They call it the “Sinner’s Pew” and it’s common to find one, all the way at the very back, of many of the local churches in Tanzania. It’s used as a social stigma—a type of “holding place” for people that the church doesn’t quite believe have made a full conversion from the Islamic faith yet. New converts to Christianity from Islam are often expected to sit in this pew for at least seven years—proving their commitment to Christ—before the church will baptize them, or marry them, or disciple them in any way. It’s a test of shame: how much are you willing to endure in order to “prove” your true heart for Christ.

view of empty pews in an African church
Because Ali was one of these converts, he was well-acquainted with the Sinner’s Pew. He, like many others, had been born into his Islamic faith and raised in its precepts. He was a genuine seeker, believing his attempts at good works would win him favor with God. He began working for Billy and Leah, and began to dialogue, with another young man, Prosper, who also worked for Delaughters and was being trained in discipleship & evangelism principles. Prosper’s burden for young Ali’s salvation led him to engage often in conversations about the life-giving freedom of relationship with God, that can only be found in Jesus’s life-saving work on the cross. He found Ali a willing and accessible place to apply much of what he was learning from the discipleship training. God also pursued Ali through other mediums. Billy’s parents bought him a Swahili Bible during one of their visits. Ali read it six times, cover to cover, in one year. Eventually, God won his heart, and Ali left his Muslim faith to profess belief in this Christ that brings freedom and access to God. He excitedly approached the local church about his decision, desiring to be baptized, but instead of being welcomed into his new family, found himself relegated to the Sinner’s Pew. Ali clung to his new faith in Christ despite many other setbacks. He changed his name to Stanley, but the found his new life to be full of challenges. Immediately following his conversion, his parents demanded he marry, in an attempt to bring him back to the Muslim faith. They found him a Muslim wife, and he took her with him to the church to be married, but the church refused to marry them. The couple was soon married elsewhere. Soon after, they discovered they were pregnant, but within a few months, the new bride miscarried. Because she was a Muslim, she was within her rights to leave him, believing him to be cursed. Because of the shame of his divorce, his parents disowned him--sold all of his belongings, as if he had died, telling him “You are no longer our son.” A month later he found out he was HIV+, a result of his time in the Tanzanian military.

The church continued to reject him, at his lowest point in life, and despite all he had given up for the sake of his faith. Through his discouragement and shame, a penalty worse than losing his family, Stanley clung to his Christ. Prosper continued to encourage and disciple him, and the bond between the two men became stronger, as only brotherhood in Christ can do. Stanley began meeting with Prosper regularly and eventually left the Sinner’s Pew to join Prosper in his house church. As the house church grew and developed they decided to launch their own church plant, and Stanley became one of the original establishing members of the Moshono Christian Church. Now, Stanley no longer sits at the back of the church, shamed in the Sinner’s Pew. Instead, redeemed by the blood of Christ, he oversees the youth group, discipling teenagers in the same way Prosper discipled him.