Five years. Healing. Hurt. Love. Faith.

Five years ago today I lost my only sibling and someone I loved and admired very much. During those first weeks and months the tears flowed endlessly and still today, the pain is just as intense, but it comes less frequently (although still too frequently). I once read someone’s account of losing a loved one and it was spot on. Grief is like a tsunami that pours over you with enormous pain. In the beginning, the waves come regularly and frequently. Over time, the waves come less often but the intensity of pain when they hit is still as strong as those first hours and days.

Much has happened since that awful day. I wonder what Greg’s life would be like if he had lived, and as much as I would wish him back in my life, I wrestle with knowing he is healed and where he ultimately  intended to be—with our Lord in Heaven.

Recently a friend from my small group in church passed away. She was a mighty athlete competing in iron man challenges, but unfortunately was diagnosed with a somewhat rare and terminal disease that took away her abilities to live in the manner she was used to. We prayed for several years for a cure so she could be healed but in the end she went to the Lord too soon. Later, my wise small group leader said our prayers were answered because when she went to Heaven she was healed. She now has a glorious new body and feels no pain.

I remember many prayers I asked God for concerning my brother.  I wanted his relationships to heal, his body to heal, and for him to find peace and happiness. And while he left us too soon, God healed him. He now feels no pain, he is with our Savior, and is awaiting us all in the Kingdom.

My parents, his children, and I miss him every single day. He was a glue and stable force in our lives. He was an amazing role model and I really wish he was still around to be an example of God’s love in his children’s lives. The way he lived his life and accepted me for who I was and his love led me to seek Jesus as an adult. God was in my heart but I was wandering lost for many years until my adult relationship with Greg took off and I saw how God could bring peace, a feeling of content, fun, and love in my life.

He affected many people in a positive way through his mission trips, work with Campus Crusade for Christ, volunteering at church, and being a solid base of support for friends, family, and others who just happened to cross his path.

Greg’s kids and our family and his close friends meant the world to him. He struggled those last years of his life, but was giving his all for his family regardless of how life was hitting him. I will never forget God giving us that last day. Greg called to ask me to come up to visit for no reason—just hey let’s get together. That was a week before he died. I really felt like God gave me that last day to see him and have fun before we would be separated for the decades I would have to live without him before God called me home.

I still spend nights crying because he is gone and because of the fall out of being separated from some of my family members, and for the kids and my parents missing their father and son. But, I will always be grateful to God for giving me the best big brother a girl could ask for.

In Greg’s memory, our family created a charity called the Masterpiece Fund. We are honoring the character and principles my brother stood for by giving funds to people throughtout the world who need love and support. Greg’s last bible study included a scripture reading from Ephesians 2:10 which inspired the charity.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for long ago.”

The pain of loss we feel when loved ones die is why we must remember to respect all life. Whether friends or strangers. If death of loved ones didn’t hurt so much we would not respect life at all. I think we need to remember that the death of strangers is as much of a pain to someone else as our loved one’s passing means to us. In honor of Greg, let’s remember what Jesus asked us to do.

“I give you a new command. Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you.”

John 13:34

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Happy campers and happy wanderers.

We love God for sure. And we also love camping. Camping has been a favorite pastime for the Crowe family. When my brother Greg and I were little, our parents took us camping in one of those pop up campers. And throughout our childhood, we both attended various camps—bible camp, sports camps, YMCA camp, girl scout and boy scout camps, and more.

Camps can instill excellent values and feelings in children and adults alike. Campers learn new skills and gain confidence, how to share, and how to live with groups of people. And the beautiful nature that normally surrounds camps—lakes, woods, green fields, birds, and animals—all create a space that allows for peaceful meditation and great exercise to boot.

The New Life Bible Camp in Buffalo Mills, PA, is a special place that my nieces and nephews have enjoyed for years. My brother Greg also loved this place. He saw what the camp did for his children and made good friends with the camp directors. The camp’s mission is “to establish, maintain, operate and conduct a Christ centered camp to the glory of God; to proclaim the Word of God in its entirety, that sinners may come to repentance and be born again through faith in Christ; that Christians may be edified through the teaching of God’s Word and made useful for His service; to promote Christian activity in harmony with God’s Word.”

And of course the kids love the waterslides, hikes, rope swings, and the beautiful surroundings. Once when I was talking to Greg about New Life, he mentioned how he liked to go up for visits when the kids were there. He said his daughter was a different person there. I asked him, “In what way is she different?” Greg replied after a moment, “Well, she’s nice.” Okay, I guess for a teenage girl that’s a pretty good thing!

The Masterpiece Fund was established to provide funds for organizations that help people and who spread the good news of the Kingdom. As a place close to our hearts, the Masterpiece Fund is happy to announce the New Life Bible Camp is the most recent recipient of our support. We pray that children in need of funds to go to camp will have the opportunity to enjoy nature and get love and encouragement along with the message of Christ this summer through the staff and directors of New Life Bible Camp.

We encourage all of you with children to consider sending them to this amazing place and see how “nice” they are when they return to you!

Mathew 18: 3-5

“Then he said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me.”

This is a fun song my mom taught us (and sung on more than one occasion) as we wandered through the woods on vacations and trips.

In memory of Greg Crowe.

The Masterpiece Fund was created to honor Greg Crowe, wonderful father, son, brother, and friend, who passed away on March 12, 2012. The purpose of the Fund is to help people in dire need and spread the good news of the Kingdom. Please visit www.masterpiecefund.org for more information or to make a donation. Please also pray for the fund to succeed and to be used for God’s will. Finally, I ask you to “share” with all of your friends. Post the link on your accounts (facebook, twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, websites, etc.) and send emails to your friends so that others can be blessed by the resources offered. If you have suggestions for resources (books, websites, etc.) please share them with us.

Greg had a powerful impact on a lot of people. And he surrounded himself with some pretty awesome friends who have been incredibly kind to our family, especially his children. We are grateful for the men and women who are acting as Christ-like role models for the kids so that Greg’s lessons and dreams for them will remain at the forefront of their thoughts. It was very important to Greg that his children know the love and grace of God.

On this second anniversary of Greg’s homeward journey, the family composed their thoughts about Greg. If you have stories, or want to share something about Greg, please make a comment below so his memory will continue in our hearts.

Carol (Greg’s Mom)
Greg was always ready for adventure. From his childhood throughout his life, his adventurous spirit took him to places such as the wilderness of Wyoming with some high school friends on a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) trip to the mountains of New York with his kids to missions near and far. He learned some serious survival skills that helped him when he lived in poor conditions during Campus Crusade missions in Communist-ruled Moldova, Romania, and Yugoslavia, where he helped people come to Christ and encouraged the Christians there.greg and H on the boat

I remember when Greg was just a young boy, we were climbing a skinny path to base of the Matterhorn in Switzerland, and he ran out to the end of a jetting escarpment overlooking a drop of a thousand feet or more. In my semi- terrorized state he says to me, “Hey mom, take my picture!” Later on, he dropped the camera full of pictures into the hole of a rustic privy high up on the mountain, then came out and said, “I think I can retrieve the camera, do you have a flashlight?” I remember hearing the bouncing camera fall down for quite awhile before thinking, “So much for those pictures.”

He loved playing sports with friends and with his kids, coaching their teams in soccer. He loved driving boats and pulling the kids on tubes and taking them to the sandbar in Walloon Lake, Michigan with the dog to play. And at night when he built a bonfire, it was always big and we feasted on s’mores.

His spirit showed in his humbleness and gentleness more often than not and his nature matured in his solid foundation of Christ abiding with him. His adventurous spirit lives on in his family and our memories.

Zenia (Greg’s daughter)
In movies, it seems like the dad is always telling the daughter to put something appropriate on. My dad did in fact tell Julia, Harmon, and Tyler to change on numerous occasions, like telling Harmon it was okay to wear different clothes after three days. Well my dad let me wear anything—sweat pants to church, flip flops in the winter—pretty much anything. Except the swishy coat. One time, when we went to a meeting and I had that coat on, you could tell it annoyed him. Before we went to the next meeting he looked me straight in the eye and said, “You need to change.” Sweat pants, okay. Ripped jeans, okay. Swishy coat, not okay. And then the only other time I happened to be wearing it, was when I went to his church. I had to get up in the middle of the service and while I was in the bathroom, he texted me and said I was never to wear that coat again. Those movie dads were lucky they didn’t have kids with loud swishy coats.

I want others to remember my dad by the fact that he often put others first.greg-and-kids-beach

Tyler (Greg’s son)
Tyler’s favorite memory of papa was driving with him to Michigan and the beach because he always made boring things fun. Tyler says, “Papa was not a selfish man and always put others first.”

Julia (Greg’s’ daughter)
Julia’s favorite memory of papa was when he would do funny imitations of mom and Tyler at the dinner table. “Papa cared more about his kids than himself,” she says.

Author’s note: As a side note to Tyler’s and Julia’s comments, I can agree that those trips in the car and dinner conversations were super fun. There was a lot of laughing and singing and quoting of movie lines. 

Dawn (Greg’s sister)
For many years I followed my big brother in everything he did. Why, I don’t know. He used to wrestle me to the ground and pick on me and leave me to catch the heat for “all the noise that was going on.” When Greg moved away to college I was thrilled to have the house to myself and even semi-moved into his room and enjoyed sleeping on his water bed. Yes, Greg had one of those cool, 80’s water beds. My peaceful domain was shattered when he returned for the holidays and ate all the food in the house, making me count the minutes until his departure. Years later I regret wasting those moments.

But God gave us some wonderful years together as adults. Time to become close friends and time for me to see the light in Greg shine through. His character was such that he accepted and loved others regardless of their relationship with God. I saw that kindness and how much he loved his family and loved playing with his kids and I knew I wanted that, too. So I followed him again. This time becoming a fan and follower of Jesus. One of the things I miss about Greg is his giggle. It’s contagious. I’ve embeded two videos Greg took of Julia and Zenia as kids and at the end you can hear Greg’s giggle. Glad to have that forever to listen to until we meet again in heaven.


John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”