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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why I am thankful to be barefooted in the cold.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of listening to Quinton Williams teach at The Beautiful Mess on the subject of generosity. Now when you hear church and the subject of generosity you probably immediately conjure up the image a a preacher begging for money and passing the plate around the church a couple times during his sermon. I am a little twisted so yes I imagine that as well, but in my mind there is that old guy who is making change in the plate.....makes me laugh. 

The thing I enjoyed about Q's teaching is he brought out the point
that our generosity is not solely tied to money. He brought out the point that the Gospel calls us to be generous in every part of our life, with our time, talents, and treasures.  Really you see all that we have is a function of the Grace that God has shown us, and if all we have is a function of that Grace then we should in turn be willing to share it with God's people. We should be quick to give of our time, of our talents, and of our treasures to not only the saints but to the people who have not yet experienced God's Grace. What better way to show someone who has not yet found that Grace than to selflessly give freely of yourself. To take time to help someone down on their luck, to volunteer at a shelter, to use your unique abilities to help someone who you do not know and does not deserve your help. And yes, to give freely of your treasures to causes that tug on your heart.

I was stoked that Q called me up at the end to talk about what generosity meant in my life and how we as a church could actively practice generosity in our community. That was the point Q and I got to each tell a story about giving out shoes in Mexico.
Mine involved a little 6 year old boy who had never had shoes and getting to place them on his brings tears to my eyes still today. Q's involved getting to give shoes to a man down and out in Mexico that he passed driving down the road on the way to an orphanage. I spoke about how broken I was by the fact every time I had given to a cause like that it was ALWAYS my left overs, ALWAYS the shoes or clothes that I did not want anymore, ALWAYS the stuff that was not good enough for me. How dare I give my leftovers to God who gave me His best, His Son. Q concluded by tell everyone he was convicted to give his best. He told us he was wearing a pair of Nike shoes our friend Casey Martin had given him, a nice pair of kicks! He felt he was being lead to take the shoes from his feet and give them away!

The band began to play, we prayed, and Q slipped off his really nice shoes and placed them on the stage. I knelt at the stage and began to ask for forgiveness of my selfish heart, I reached down and slipped off my shoes, as I raised my head to place them on the stage I saw it..........the shoes from well over half our church laid out to give to someone else. I was broken by the heart of generosity our church had just shown. Our church is not wealthy by anyway in which wealth is measured in America. Yet, they gave! Not there leftovers, not what was worn out, not what they did not want anymore. They gave what they had worn that night, thier best! This was not the culmination of a month long series where our people had came prepared to give something away, this was spontainoius and genuine, this was a heart of generosity in action. To watch over half our church walk out into the cold wet night barefooted was AMAZING!

So, that night as I walked around the church locking up the gates it was rainy, it was cold, it was wet. Everytime my foot with a soaking wet sock landed splashing in a cold puddle in that parking lot I smiled. Everytime my bare cold foot stepped on a rock or a stick my heart was broken and my soul was overjoyed! You see, that night my cold barefeet made me thankful to serve a group of people who were willing to not only be generous.......but were willing to give of thier best. My wet barefeet broke my heart about the condtion of my soul, but they also filled my body with hope and love. My wet cold barefeet made me so THANKFUL. May I always give my best to God who gave me His best. Happy Thanksgiving ALL!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

So I have a daughter, OH BOY DO I HAVE A DAUGHTER!

So let me introduce to Mallory Isabelle Emanuel, aka Mallie. We sometimes wonder if she is two different little girls trapped inside one 8 year old body. Mallie is kind, caring, sweet, giving, pleasant......oh yea......devious, cunning, calculating, and yes squirrely. Please let me explain.

As my family made our jaunt from Alabama to Eugene, we were able to see many of the amazing sites and places across our great country. We made memories that will last forever, but the place that has stuck with Mallie the most would be........Las Vegas. Yes, I am Baptist but give me a break it was on the me! While at the time Mir and I noticed the glitter in her eye, the overreaching and exuberant questions about gambling, and the fascination with the neon and fountains timed to music, we let it pass as a young girl’s curiosity. We would however; find out it went a little deeper. 

This would not come to light until a few weeks latter when we hung out with our fellow elders
at our NEW church plant in Eugene, The Beautiful Mess. As I cooked hot dogs in the park and played football with our team members I smiled as Mallie played bocce ball with Ethan, one of our Elders, and several other people. I could not help but notice Ethan laughing as he interacted with Mallie, no doubt he was getting to know the sweet, kind, and funny little girl I loved so much. As the night and fun came to an end I asked Ethan if he had fun with Mallie, he smiled and then it came. "Well, it was interesting!?" Ethan then began to tell me how the game of bocce ball consisted of Mallie try to hit him in the, eh......stomach with the bocce balls. Thats not all, when not trying to inflect pain upon him she was telling him her life's goal.......which to my surprise consisted of playing videos games and gambling 7 days a week! Yes, my daughter the church planter's daughter had a life goal of playing video games and gambling....7 DAYS A WEEK! After the obligatory nervous laughter and 15 minutes of explaining what she really meant I was not only dumbfounded but exhausted. Mallie pulled back the curtain and burnt right through the grace period with a guy sold in to helping us plant a church in Eugene. The cat was out of the bag; let me introduce to you The Emanuel's! Living on grace, laughing out loud and questioning our sanity

This was Mallie, well one part of Mallie. Let me introduce you to the other part. Less than a year into our plant we teamed up with a radical dude, Aaron Box who was a local pastor, and a non-profit Generosity Feeds, our goal was to provide 10,000 meals to local school children who were going hungry outside of school. 10,000 meals $1 each, $10,000 dollars to try and feed the hungry, it was a beautiful idea dreamed up by a great dude. As we neared the deadline we were about $1,500 short of our goal. So, during church I announced how close we were to our goal in hopes it would generate a little dinero to push us the rest of the way. Now our plant consist of a few families, a lot of college kids and quite a few homeless people living at The Mission, so I was not overly optimistic. Then after the service I was reintroduced to the other Mallie.

Once we got home she asked me if it would be ok for her to give her money she had saved, with a smile on my face I said yes! She then told me she had counted her money and she had saved $150 and she would like to give it ALL. Let me break that down a little, $150, which was saved in quarters, dimes and one dollar bills, is enough in an eight year old mind to almost buy Disneyland! In fact I am pretty sure her goal was to get to $200 and then try a hostile takeover against Mickey with Donald on her side. As tears began to form in my eyes, with a voice that was cracking I said, "absolutely dear." So, the next Sunday she brought in a bag full of change and dollars bill equaling a little over $150, with a smile on her face she gave her life savings over to help hungry children. I was happy, proud, excited, and convicted......all by Mallie.

She taught me a few things that day. We are all two people. There is that dude inside me that is bent and broken, twisted toward my dark thoughts. That dude that scares me, and I fight like crazy to not let anybody know about, that dude I try my best to suppress. That dude that fights and rails against the light Christ gave me. Then there is the other dude who has been adopted by Christ, whose life has been justified by God becoming man, by perfection crucified and raised. That dude that through the process of sanctification battles the other dude, sustains body blows but looks to his Savoir and then fights back!
While as followers of Christ we are justified, sanctification is a process, a painful process. Mallie taught me we are not bound by our bentness; we are freed by our adoption. And while we might at times succumb to that dude we don't like to talk about, Christ is pulling for the other dude and He affords us grace that allows that dude to do great things through Him!

So, oh boy do I have a daughter and thank God she is Mallie!

BTW, big props to Aaron Box, Generosity Feeds, and all the other pastors and people that helped to feed the hungry. We ended up with a little over $11,000 dollars! That is 11,000 meals to the children of Eugene.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


So, sorry for the lengthy post here, but below is a copy of our 1st The Crash Mission news letter. Please check it out below, let me know what you think. There are places in our news letter if you would like to sign up for the future news letters.


Welcome to The Crash Mission
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Where The Crash is headed.

Here we are 2 years into an amazing experiment that is turning into a life long dream and pursuit over the Gospel coming alive in missionary’s hearts and churches birthing forth in communities where Christ is less known.  This is amazing.  Here are the two problems.

1.  People feel like there are too many obstacles between them and being a missionary.
2.  Church planters need people supporting them in there mission.

We connect the dots.  What we will exist to accomplish is training everyday followers of Christ in how to engage a foreign culture for the Gospel and how to be an asset to a church planter as he leads a new church plant.  We’ve been practicing the last year with a church called The Beautiful Mess, which has been a blast and experienced some great growth.  I’ll let Erik fill you in more on that.  My real job is to tell you where we are headed.

We will begin to partner with churches from around the country and one day the world.  We will offer to provide a missionary outlet for individuals and families feeling called to short and long term missions.  Pastors and leaders can encourage people to join teams doing church planting in different cultures, states, and countries. 

We also provide support for church planters being birthed out of church families.  Many churches are raising up church planters with big dreams and we want to send teams with training and experience with them.  It is known that the success rate of a church plant improves drastically when a team is part of the plant.  The larger the team, the higher rate of success.  These teams bring their gifting, talents, resources, support, and prayer to the church planting endeavor.

We have a couple of years to invest in the community here yet, but are even now talking with partner churches about potential Crash sites.  Already we are praying for Ashland, OR as we are looking at a future partnership with a church planter there.

Other big things this year.  We have our own account and mailing address.  This means you guys supporting the work here can write the checks straight to The Crash.  This month we should also have the website up and running,  Here you can keep up with all of our missionary’s stories and find out information about joining up with us on the mission field.  And we will have online giving for all the checkless folk out there.  
It’s going to be an amazing year as we add missionaries to the field and partner with more churches in church planting.  Following Jesus is always an amazing adventure.  I’ll leave you with a Mother Teresa quote, “we are all just pencils in the hand of God.”  What an honor to be used to write the story.

Much love,

The Crash in Action

As Q said we have been putting the Crash into motion with, The Beautiful Mess. TBM is The Crash’s first church plant in the Whitaker district of Eugene. The Whitaker district is the darkest corner of a city that proudly boasts to have more pet dogs than Christians. The Whit is an area of town were prostitution, drugs, homelessness, sex trafficking, and just plain darkness and despair have not only taken hold but are thriving.

TBM has opened its door right in the middle of this dark abyss. More importantly TBM has opened its heart to this ominous nook of Eugene. From pot luck dinners, open mic nights, cleaning up yards, basketball tourneys under the bridge, clothing give away, even simple things like free coffee, we have tried to show this community the love and grace we have all experienced through Christ. Most importantly we have tried to love this community like Christ has loved us. As our missional communities begin to spread throughout the city, slowly but surely we have begun to see the fruit begin to grow and lives beginning to change.

From the perspective of The Crash it has been amazing to see our missionaries not only grow in their faith, but to begin to fulfill their calling. I have gotten to see regular everyday people answer a call to live the gospel as a missionary in their everyday life. From social worker to graphic artist, from mechanic to stay at home mother, I see people living their life as a missionary daily! Their mission field is their life, their co-workers, their community! Where traditionally people might see Christians living their life, I see Missionaries affecting the lives of others! I see people proving that a missionary is a very simple thing……
People willing to say yes to God before He asks the question……..People willing to GO and DO whenever, wherever!  That is the most beautiful part about The Crash Mission……. all it takes to be a missionary is a calling to say too, and the willingness to say YES. That is why we want to use The Crash to give people an avenue to say yes. If you are called to live a life as a missionary and you say, but I am a teacher,  a mechanic,  a nurse………..guess what, if you are willing to say yes…..God wants teachers, mechanics and nurses to be missionaries all over His world. If He has changed you, if He has called you, then He can work through you, you can be a missionary!

We thank everyone for their support and most importantly for their prayers. We truly believe God is going to use The Crash to help give everyday people a chance to say yes to their calling, a chance to say yes I will go, a chance to say I am not worthy but Christ is worth it! Please go check out our website: and please continue to pray for our team. THANK YOU!

“All missionaries fall into two categories: 1) Unworthy 2) Dead.”


Holliegh Woodard

If given an opportunity to travel to Eugene, chances are the visit will include a tour of the Whitaker or "Whit" District. This eclectic community is full of gardens, local restaurants, an organic grocery store, vintage arcade, coffee shop and full of friendly neighbors.  The interesting element of this area is that it is also home to the Eugene Mission, where close to 600 homeless utilize its resources daily. It may seem strange that one of the most hip areas in Eugene is also among the poorest of populations.
The Eugene Mission (EM) sits at the dead-end of 1st Avenue and it's buildings span over several acres of land. On the outside, the EM appears to be just another set of old buildings, composed of masses of people. However, working among this population, the EM is much more than it seems from the outside.  Staff at the EM often joke that writing fictitious stories would be less entertaining than the actual events that occur daily.
Since I started working at the Women's Center of the EM in July 2012, everyday has been unpredictable and intense. To be honest, if it were only as easy as working with the homeless, the job would be much less chaotic. But unfortunately, homelessness is often the least of many problems. EM guests are struggling with addictions, mental illness, various diseases; they've been abused, broken, and wounded. Each guest has a story, and as staff, the most difficult responsibility is to have time to hear each story.
God is working in the Women's Center. The reality of our work is that the EM is understaffed compared to the numbers that are served daily.  It is easy to become anxious, feeling completely overwhelmed by needs versus the lack of resources. However, it never fails that the days I grow weary I am given grace. Grace for being human and making mistakes, grace for feeling tired and needing a just "normal day," and the grace that is extended when I just need to be transparent before my Almighty God.  It because of this grace that I truly feel cherished in my weakest moments.
And it is because of this grace that I want to love the women that I come in contact with everyday. Not that I love perfectly, but this has become the desire of my heart.  It's amazing how God's love has done a transformation in my heart and the heart of the staff at the Women's Center. Beyond the internal workings, God is blessing the Women's Center with a brand new building! That's right, May 11, 2013, will be the open house for a building that will be mold less and have the ability to double our occupancy. The EM is rare because, unlike other shelters, the women are not asked to leave throughout the day. However, the current dayroom is overcrowded, which makes for some grumpy guests.
Also, the campus is connected with other agencies in the community and we are now able to assist guests with employment, housing, VA, medical, drug and alcohol assessments, and other social services through the community resource HUB. Furthermore, God is designing a program for guests that want to find freedom from their bondage. It is such a delight to converse with those who truly want to make changes in their life. Last week I was speaking with a WC guest and I had the opportunity to share with her some positive feedback after making some simple observations. I was truly humbled when she responded with "it's because I am equipped with the Armor of God." She is right and she gets it. She refused to take any glory and recognizes the source of her strength. God has me here "for such a time as this," to learn from these guests. It is such a blessing to watch transformation take place. While this guest has so little, she taught me so much. Our neighbors in the “Whit” see these people and are also moved with love.
God is blessing the EM and expanding hearts and minds beyond what was ever thought possible. Continue to pray for the EM. For more information about the EM, visit us on the web at


Please check out:


Jeff Tenant

When I first started my job as a taxi driver, I was meeting all sorts of awesome and crazy people.  From the bus driver of a ton of bands including Boston (back in the day), to a man who was on a two hour drive with me stared me in the eye and said to me “You have no idea how many people I’ve killed.”  One night nearing the end of my shift I get a call for a lady that is at a local nursing home and that I needed to take her shopping at Wal-mart.  We got to talking, she was a tad crass but very funny and sweet.

She is in her mid 50’s and wheelchair bound due to an accident she had.  While walking her dog one morning she collapsed on the pavement, a man found her and took her to her room.  Apparently she stayed there completely blacked out for four days and in that happening developed a form of neuropathy.  Her balance is off and the feeling in her feet and fingers is very slight.

After hearing this, I gave her a bit of encouragement, and we joked around a bit until I took her back.   She had my number and I started giving her rides in the taxi every week and taking her to lunch over the weekend. Each time more and more finding out about her past in the catholic religion, and just asked her to continue to ask why things are the way they are with traditions and other things.  Conversations get deeper with discussions of God and religion, and it’s beautiful to see a friend start to visualize what God really is instead of the things that we think He is.

I ask for prayer for my friend, that she’ll come to know Him, and that he will heal her of her health issues.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

3 Reasons My wife is BETTER than yours!


While I am not big on sappy post and blogs I did want to not only say Happy ANNIVERSARY to my wife, but tell you my wife is better than yours!

I am sure you say, "oh here we go a husband doing the whole sappy kiss up on his anniversary.......yea yea we've heard it all before!" Well, I say no sir! Here are 3 real word reasons why my wife is better than yours.

1) She prays for me without ceasing:
I know this because on multiple occasions she has looked me longingly in the eyes and said, "right now the best thing for me to do is stop talking to you, walk away and pray for you!"

2) She is the MOST supportive wife EVER:
Simple math word problem here,
U Haul trailer + 3000 miles + 3 kids  + Eugene, OR = Most Supportive wife ever

* to make this an algebra problem and add an X factor.....she did all that and NEVER saw our new house until we pulled up in the driveway that day!

3) She sacrifices herself for her family:
It would be much easier for Mir if she would start teaching again, but she feels called to stay at home with her do I know it is a calling? Oh the times I walk in the door after work and she throws me the baby like a halfback toss as she is walking out the door. As the door is closing I hear her proclaim, " the two big ones argued ALL day about what shade of blue the sky is, the little one pooped in the floor and then tracked it EVERYWHERE.......I QUIT!!" Of course, a couple hours later like The Lone Ranger rolling in on her stallion she returns with van full of groceries with a smile....albeit.....a forced smile. THAT'S NOT EASY, THAT'S A CALLING, THAT'S SACRIFICE!

So, you see 3 real life reasons my wife way better than yours! I love my wife and I love our journey. I feel like we are in one of those terrible chick flicks where this elderly couple is on a dock at a lake and they keep flashing back to this crazy wild life they had, where their love grew through adventure and adversity. My love for her grows stronger and stronger, even when I think there is no way it could grow anymore. I can't wait to be on some dock in some crazy foreign country watching the flashbacks with Mir. OH YEA....that reminds me #4!

4) Not only does my wife not drag me to those terrible chick flicks.....she doesn't even like them.....BOOM.....SCOREBOARD FELLAS.......MY WIFE WINS!!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Trying to get Home.

 As I sit in Eugene, OR I am amazed at the twist and turns my life has taken. It seems like as people we are always trying to find home, even trying to define what "home" is for our situation. I think we all desire home to be a place of rest, a sanctuary, a respet from the outside world, a place we can let our hair down and relax. I have always struggled with that. I am from the South and I know in the South home is defined by family and familiarity. Knowing everyone at the grocery store, seeing old schoolmates at the football game on Friday nights, and Sunday afternoon at the grandparents' home. That just never felt "right" to me, I always felt out of place, I always felt like there was more.....whatever that meant. Don't get me wrong, I love my family and my old friends. Some of the best moments of my life, some the hardest laughs I have laughed, involved my friends and family. They have created memories and shaped my life more than they will ever realize, but......there is always a "but' right. It never felt like home, and that always made me feel weird, out of place. Miranda and I have both struggled with this for years. The desire to do more and see more, but the obligation to be "normal" and happy at "home." Miranda felt called to missions as a teenager, and I felt called to live a life for the Gospel. These callings seemed to be pulling us away from "home", and that created tension and even guilt on our behalf. Leaving friends and family, even for the sake of the Gospel, is hard, scary, and yes even weird in some people's eyes. We always got the old line, "There are plenty of people that need the Lord right here." And we tried for years to quench our calling by serving back home, the desire was never quenched. We always felt weird and out of place, always felt as if there was something lacking. We found out through many years of struggling and heart-ache there was something lacking, trusting in God and being prepared to say, "Yes!" matter how scary. Enter The Crash and Eugene, OR.

A little over two years ago, Quinton Williams, "Q", told about an idea he had to plant churches in a different way. Send groups of people to a town to act a missionaries and plant a church from the organic nature of those people, ministering to those around them on a daily basis. Instead of a husband and wife going at it alone, what if they had help from other like minded people called to a city. Instead of bringing your church from back home to a city what if you CRASHED into the city looked for the heart beat of the city, and found out what the real needs are, and then try to serve those needs. I was in! Well, two years later I was standing in my front yard in Boaz, AL looking at everything I owned packed in to a Uhaul trailer and a minivan.....reality hit like a punch in the face. I was was leaving home, all that I had ever known, everyone that I had built close relationships with, everything that was familiar, everything was in the rear view mirror.

Fear and trembling gripped my entire body, panic overwhelmed me.......I was leaving home!

As I sit 3000 miles away from people that understand my accent, the true importance of Bear Bryant, understand what a grit taste like, the pleasure of REALLY good cornbread, and know why it is life or death and you HAVE to choose Alabama or Auburn, I realize something. I am home.....but yet Eugene is not home. You see I have realized that home is not a place it is a state....a state of living. I have realized that my home involves a bent and broken guy following God no matter where He leads. Screwing up along the way, but saying "yes, I will go", before I know where........."where" is. I have never felt more at home than I do now, WITH my family trying to go and do what God would have us to do. I don't want to paint a Utopian picture, it is hard and we struggle greatly, we screw up all the time. But, even in our failures, even in moments of tears and doubt, something feels right about this. I am not sure how long we will be in Eugene and I am not sure where God will call us next,but I know for my family we will be at home following that call. Do I sometimes long not be asked if I am from Texas, or hear "hey can you say that one more time for my friend" or even not to be asked if we really eat every part of the pig in Alabama.....YES! But, do I feel at home living an adventure chasing after God, YES! So, don't let your fears hold you back from chasing God. Are you worthy enough to chase God and tell others about Him....NO! But here is a secret I heard one time, "All pastors fall into one of two categories, 1) Unworthy, 2) Dead."