My name is Cierra Crowe, and I was born and raised in Bulloch County and graduated from Southeast Bulloch High School in 2015. My parents are Barry and Lisa Crowe, and I have one sister, Ashley. My grandparents are Lynn Nevil and the late Tony Nevil. My family is very close-knit. My family reminds me from time to time of the infamous pre-school debacle where I informed everyone that I did not need pre-school because my grandma could teach me everything I needed to know. What a spunky child I was… Well that’s what I’m told. :)
Well, while my grandma did teach me everything I needed to know during my pre-school years, Kindergarten came, and whether I liked it or not, I had to go to elementary school! It was in elementary school that God began planting the seed for missions. You see, when I learned about the Native Americans living on the reservations, I just knew God was calling me to live in a teepee. Not too long after that, I learned about Africa and how people would live in huts in remote villages, and I just KNEW that God really wanted me to go to Africa and live in a hut.
Once that spark was lit, I knew God was leading me to take mission trips. My first mission trip was to West Virginia in 2007 with the church I grew up in, Trinity Baptist Church in Nevils, GA. My second trip was to the Dominican Republic in 2010 with my current home church, Statesboro First Baptist Church. I heard about the family mission trip that the church took to the Dominican Republic the year before, and I knew after their return that I wanted to be a part of that mission trip the next summer. I couldn’t go alone as I was only 13 years old, so my mom decided to save her money and join me because she saw the desire and passion I had to follow God’s calling and go on that mission trip.
I loved it so much that the next year, the summer of 2011, I went back to the Dominican Republic to stay with that same missionary family we met the year before on the church mission trip. I was very eager to find out more about missionary life, and I told my family that I would never know if this was God’s calling if I didn’t go and try!
In 2012, I fell into a serious depression. This depression was not caused by any one particular event or trauma but the chemical imbalance in my brain. There were several areas of my brain that were overactive causing mood disorders. We found this information out by going to the Amen Clinic in Atlanta, GA as we (me especially) were desperate for help. God showed us three separate times that the Amen Clinic was where I needed to be. The most profound time He pointed us to the Amen Clinic was when an advertisement for the clinic appeared on TV during a commercial break. Up until that point, I had never seen this commercial before. God is awesome. Someone say amen! He led us there and provided the help I so desperately needed and wanted. God is good all the time.
During that time of depression including suicidal thoughts and not wanting to live (which was so not like the ‘Cierra’ everyone knew), nothing seemed interesting or exciting or worth living for. My mom even asked God to change my heart’s desires for fear that the mood disorders would prevent me from doing international missions and I would find little joy in life. I prayed many times asking God to take my life and take me to be with Him, but obviously He had other plans.
While I was on the uphill of the depression but not completely well, my desire for missions did return. I went to Honduras the summer of 2013. That same summer, I spent a couple of weeks in Haiti visiting my sister, Ashley, who was volunteering with an organization there for 2 months. My entire family even took a mission trip to Haiti during the Christmas of 2013 to spend the holidays with the Haitian people that we had met that summer.
Two years after the onset of the depression, I finally began to feel “normal” again. I am so thankful for the medications that have allowed me to overcome these mental disorders. I probably will never know the reason I went through the depression, but I can definitely look back and see God’s hand on it all and His faithfulness.
In the fall of 2014, when I was 18 years old, I finished high school early and moved to Rome, GA where Ashley was living and attending Shorter University. I worked in a local college bookstore and saved all my money to go to Uganda the next summer. All of the mission trips I have taken were paid for with my birthday and Christmas money that I had saved over the years, donations from others, money raised by making crocheted hand towels (Shout out to those who still have them hanging on your ovens - thank you for believing in my calling then!), or money from working. God has provided so much for me!
In the summer of 2015, I visited Uganda for 3 months volunteering with an organization there. I loved the culture and people and felt God calling me back to Uganda. The desire to start my own non-profit organization began in 2013. So, when I returned from Uganda that summer, God allowed that desire to come true, but it was not without much research and reaching out to so many people who provided help. In November of 2015, God allowed Delight in the Lord Ministries to become a registered 501(c)(3) organization.