Honoring a Quiet Hero

“. . . your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:4b).

Last month our dear neighbor, colleague, and friend, Mary Crowgey, died in her sleep in Bobo-Dioulasso, just three months shy of her 65th birthday. Burkina Faso was her home for nearly 37 years.

Missionary to Burkina Faso Mary Crowgey
“Mary gave all her strength and time to the cause of the gospel—she believed He is worthy!” said Bobo teammate Karen Poppe Conkle.

“Quiet, self-effacing, unpretentious, and frail toward the end of her journey, Mary passed away among the people she most loved and among those in whom she had most invested,” my wife, Esther, observed.

Mary began her service in Burkina Faso, then called Upper Volta, with The Alliance in 1979. Gifted linguistically, she quickly learned Jula, the trade language of that country. She helped to typeset Genesis to Revelation in her work with the Jula Bible translation committee.

The Jula Bible was dedicated on November 15, 2008, before a large crowd in downtown Bobo-Dioulasso. A humble servant who never sought recognition, Mary was barely seen that day.

“I am inspired by how faithful Aunt Mary was,” our son David said. “Rather than bringing attention to herself, she stored up her treasure in heaven . . . That’s how I want to live, and that’s how I want to die.”

“I Will Never Forget You”

During the past 10 years, Mary served at Lycée Maranatha, a Christian secondary school in Bobo-Dioulasso. She taught English classes, secured financing for buildings and books, assisted the administration, encouraged teachers, and provided many students with scholarships.

Thanks to Mary’s generosity, students who were orphans also received free lunches. “I will never forget you,” posted one of the students recently on Mary’s Facebook page—a sentiment shared by many whose lives she touched.

“Mary was an example of faithfulness, simplicity, and self-sacrifice,” recalled two of Mary’s Bobo team mates. “Her influence in the lives of hundreds of students will continue for generations.”

At a service commemorating Mary’s life, a tribute was read from Tim Crouch, U.S. Alliance vice president for International Ministries. “We were blessed to have her on our team. Africa was blessed to have her love and service. I’m sure she was received with great honor by Jesus Himself, [who said] ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”

Based on an update by Alliance international worker Andrew Schaeffer, serving in Burkina Faso

Learn More

Watch a video Esther Schaeffer produced for Mary’s funeral and memorial services:



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