On April 21,2009, one of our local papers printed the following headline: " Crawford slams his 13th Homerun."
Brad Crawford is one of our 2009 Ambassadors and is a junior at Prague High School. He is having an incredible year and actually last night added one more"BOMB" to bring that homerun total to 14.
We are so excited for Brad to play for the Ambassadors this year because he will bring alot to our team both on and off the field. Though we are excited about Brad's baseball ability, our connection with Brad and his family goes much deeper than baseball and today I wanted to share with you about this newAmbassador family.
The Scripture is very clear that God is always at work around us. I think it was Henry Blackaby who said in "Experiencing God": "When you see the Father at work around you, that is your invitation to adjust your life to Him and join Him in that work."
I will never forget almost seven years ago, leaving the graveside of Justin's funeral. I hugged the Sullivans' for the last time that day and said, "Juliann,something needs to be written about Justin." When the words,"Why don't you do it!", came out of her mouth, the Lord never allowed that challenge to leave my heart. After that experience, the Holy Spirit continued to speak and I knew the Lord was leading me to adjust my life and join Him in a supernatural work He was planning. Now, here we are in 2009, continuing to send journals across the country and about to launch the second summer of the Ambassadors made up of two teams full of outstanding young men like Brad Crawford. We truly are right in the middle of a genuine work of the Holy Spirit.
Over the past year and a half, as the word has spread about "A Life Worth Following" and the Ambassadors, the Lord has helped us make connections with other people who had also experienced tragedy in their own lives. At first, I did not realize that the Lord was going to use our story to connect with other hurting families because we were in the middle of our own pain and loss. However, more and more emails and calls began coming and it was obvious that God was doing a work. I think it was New Year's Eve 2007 when I first received an email from Anna Crawford, Brad's mom.
As I read her email, I was captivated by her story and had to give her a call. On the phone, she told me about all three of her boys but then she went into detail about her oldest son Brian, his love for the Lord and his passion for baseball. Through tears, she also told me about her son's tragic car accident on a spring morning in 2005.
Brian, a handsome young man with a great smile, a great attitude and passion to do things right was on his way to school, driving near Meeker when he came face to face with an on-coming car which carried a mother and her children. In an instant, Brian swerved to miss this family, veered off the road, into an embankment and into the hands of Jesus. His courageous act that morning and his quick reactions, took his own life but helped save all the lives that were in the on-coming vehicle. The following letter was left for the Crawford's at the funeral home shortly after the accident occurred.
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Crawford,
I watched the news last night & I wanted to let you know that it was my family that your son saved. My baby girl & 2 boys were in the car when the accident occurred. It is God’s miracle that we are here today. I was by Brian within seconds. I held his hand for what seemed to be eternity before help arrived. He was so calm & so BRAVE. I just kept telling him he’d be alright & I truly thought he was going to be fine. I prayed for Brian every second. Another lady arrived & held Brian’s other hand & just kept telling Brian to talk to Jesus. She was an angel to me. My hope comes from God’s promise of eternal life. (1 John 2:25) Cast your burden upon him & he will just carry you. (Psalm 55:22).
My heart is torn as I do not know why the Lord placed me there at that time, or why he sparred my life & my children. I know only time will help less the pain. I am a mother & teacher & I know our children mean the world to us. Please rely on God to carry you through each day. Brian will always be in my thoughts. You will have my prayers for years to come. I hope this letter does not cause you more pain. I was touched by the positive story on the news & I wanted to let you know that Brian was not alone. He is my hero & my angel. Stay close to God & stay in church. If you need someone to talk or cry with, please call.
I have never really understood why we all have to face bad times. The reality is that life is occasionally very tough and just unexplainable at times. For some reason, tragedy will touch all of us. Life will throw every person a curveball or two that will be hard to hit.
Throughout my journey with the Lord, I have come to find out that even though I don't always understand the Lord's will or the Lord's way, He can always be trusted, regardless of the circumstance. I have not always been able to understand God's hand, but I am continually learning that I can always trust His heart. When it comes to difficult times, Jesus was no stranger to them. He actually told us that tough times will definitely come our way. Jesus said,
"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world." John 16:33
This passage teaches us all an incredible reality. God does not keep us from chaotic times, but He faithfully walks us through all the chaos in our lives. Because Jesus has overcome this world, you and I can have real hope in our lives even in the midst of tragedy. This real hope begins with a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Today, I want to leave you with a simple question; "if you were to stand before God today, face to face, do you know that you would go to heaven?"
The good news is that the Bible was written so that we could know that we have eternal life. Death is going to be something that not only touches all of us, but it will come to all of us. What we do with Jesus on this side of eternity makes all the difference. If you don't know Jesus, we would love to help you. Or just maybe, you have a "Justin" or a "Brian" in your life that could help you connect with God. Please don't wait another day before you turn your heart to Christ and experience real salvation from your sin. This could be one of those moments in your life when you join God in His work in your own life. Don't miss His voice and His plan for your life.
Today, we are grateful that Brad Crawford and the Crawford family are joining the Ambassadors. Brad is an Ambassador you need to watch both on and off the baseball field. Thank you Brad for sharing your life and becoming an Ambassador.
This coming Monday marks the 4th anniversary of the tragic death of Brad's big brother Brian. We wanted to take the time to remember Brian and the Crawford family. Brian's legacy continues to make a difference and his memorial website is something you should see. The address is www.briancrawfordmemorial.com.
Fri, April 24, 2009
by Chris Wall