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GRANDPRIZE WINNER ($250 Visa® Gift Card for nominee and nominator)
As submitted by Jen Self (GA)

Most people I know live their lives with a purpose of some kind. Some of these intentions are superficial or self-serving, others quite noble and well-intentioned, but no one stands out more as living LIFE with a truly inspirational calling and passion than my friend, Alysia Crawford. It’s one thing to see needs, feel compassion, maybe donate a little money or time, but Alysia and her family have taken it to another level by getting into the trenches and rearranging their lives to meet those needs and bring hope to the helpless. While I could go on for pages about the ways she has shined light into people’s lives over the years, I want to focus on what she has dedicated her life to during the last several years.

Alysia excels at being a mother. After her daughter Ana was born, she was anxious to continue with God’s calling to motherhood and expand her family. Suffering many miscarriages after the birth of her daughter could have led her to feel hopeless. But Alysia and her husband went on to seek adoption of a child who needed a home and a family. Not just a particular child who would fit most aesthetically into their family, but they were open to any mother who was giving their child up for adoption and chose them to be the parents. They adopted boy of a different race, knowing little about his background, to be a part of their family and have loved them completely as their own.

Shortly after that adoption, the Crawfords continued to follow God’s leading and started to become more involved in their ministry to refugees by moving their family to Clarkston, Ga. Yes. They sold their comfortable home in the suburbs and purchased a small home near to a refugee community where they could be available to some of those who are most physically, financially and emotionally needy.  Many of these families have been torn apart due to the violent, oppressive and unsettled situations they leave behind in their home countries. They are complete strangers to our country and culture, knowing no one, not able to communicate with anyone, and having very little resources to meet their basic needs.

So Alysia and her family began by forging friendships with these families and offering to help them meet their basic needs and become more independent. Taking them to paperwork or medical appointments, collecting clothing for them, and helping they find employment, are just the beginning. As they have built relationships with these families and individuals, Alysia has become a beacon of hope to the women in the community. Understanding that the greatest needs of these women included both communication and care for their children; she began English classes with the ladies. She even organized volunteers to provide childcare so the women with young children could learn. She also provides participation incentives such as diapers and other basic supplies to help meet their needs. These classes have breathed life into this community and serve at a gateway for these women from helplessness to hopefulness.

After learning this you may wonder what is her motivation? Why is she called so strongly to this purpose. It centers on the value of each and every LIFE and her desire to bring an end to the ills of poverty, disease, and poor race relations. To quote Alysia, her ultimate end is to “bring glory to the work of the Cross in people’s lives and the amazing restorative and redemptive power of God’s work and the Gospel.” And I believe she is doing that each day, one day at a time, one life at a time, one act of love at a time.


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