Linda Crandall

November 11, 1939 – December 31, 2012

Crandall LindaLinda M. Crandall, age 73, departed to a new eternal home on Monday, December 31, 2012. Her funeral service was held on January 5 at the Greenville, IL, Free Methodist Church.

Linda Mountz was born into a Christian home. She met David Crandall at Greenville College where she studied music. During their college years, both Linda and David made a public commitment that they would follow the Lord wherever He would lead them.

Just as David finished his medical internship, he was drafted by the United States Army and sent to Vietnam. Linda, meantime, taught high school French. Following David’s army duty, the couple agreed to a short term assignment under Volunteers In Service Abroad at Kibogora Hospital in Rwanda, Africa, to explore if missions was God’s will for them. They arrived in 1974 and were easily persuaded to extend their stay by one year while the missionary doctor went home on furlough.

During this time, God clearly impressed on David and Linda that He wanted them to serve in Africa longer. Even the fall and death of their two-year-old son, Jeffrey, did not keep them from choosing to return to Africa; perhaps it made them love Africa more.

Family photoWhile awaiting career appointment to missions, David rejoined the army for two years (1976-78). On May 7, 1978, Dr. and Mrs. Crandall were commissioned as missionaries to Burundi. Following French language study, they arrived in Burundi in late 1979. Linda, very supportive of David’s medical ministries, taught their three children at that time: Julie, Jennifer and David. (Jonathan was born later.) Linda also served as station hostess and assisted with bookkeeping and miscellaneous tasks at Kibuye Hospital.

In May 1982, David again returned to the Army, but they found time to visit Free Methodist churches and speak of their work in Africa periodically. The Crandall family returned to Free Methodist ministries in Burundi in the fall of 1984.

In 1985, the Burundi government began refusing visas for many missionaries. While the Crandalls visas were renewed, they felt it was time for their family to leave Africa. They wrote, “… we leave with mixed emotions. We leave a growing church. … We leave a hospital which has built up a reputation as the best in the country. … We leave friends, a beautiful country with ideal climate, and in a sense, a home. We buried one son in Africa, and our youngest son was born in Africa. … But we also leave with a certain excitement about the future. … Many changes are in store for us, but we have been aware of the Lord’s presence and we know He will continue to guide, as we obey and put our trust in Him.”

While they returned to an Army post, the Crandalls remained active in ministry and with the Free Methodist missions family even as David’s service took them to Germany, Texas and Hawaii.

Linda’s Colleagues Write

“Linda was a warm, caring, intelligent woman,” writes fellow missionary Connie Kratzer, “who was devoted to her Lord, her husband, Dave, and her beautiful children. She also had a great sense of humor. We shared many experiences as we were new missionaries raising our children on ‘The Hill’ known as Kibogora during the mid-1970s.

“My favorite ‘Linda story’ concerns the time when she came to me and said, ‘Connie, I think I am allergic to Dave.’ I asked her why she thought that, and she replied that each time she shared the same bed with him, she would break out in welts all over, but when she moved to the guest room it would stop. ‘I really think that I might be allergic to him,’ she repeated. We talked over some possibilities, and she then went home and began to tear their bedroom apart to see if she could find the cause of her reactions. Finally, she removed the bed skirt, one that had been stapled onto the bed frame by the previous occupants of the house, only to find it was infested with bed bugs. After burning the offending bed skirt and much washing, cleaning and disinfecting, the room was ready for her to occupy once again. There were no more bites, and we were all relieved to know that Linda really wasn’t allergic to Dave after all.”

Gary and Jann Allen, former missionaries to Burundi and now serving with FM World Missions in the Central Mexico Mission District have fond memories of Linda. Jann says she could share anything with Linda knowing two things: she would not talk to others and she always maintained a non-judgmental attitude. “She was a super hostess for the Kibuye mission station. And perhaps most importantly, she was a wonderful helpmate for her husband Dave, encouraging and even blessing him in many ways.”

Gary describes Linda with two words: “kind and gracious. She, at the time we knew her, was fluent in French, Spanish, German, and also did well with Kirundi. Linda was a great encourager for those of us who did not demonstrate the same excellence in the language arts.”

Fellow missionary Martha Kirkpatrick writes, “I think Linda and I identified with each other in a way that few missionaries can and that is in the loss of a child on the mission field. I’ll never forget how I grieved for Linda when their little son died. Then when our Beth died, I knew there was someone who understood how grief-stricken I felt. But we both pursued the path of obedience to God, even when we could not understand His ways. Our God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living; we shall meet again in a little while.”