Tom grew up in Houston, Texas and was raised in a home that taught him God’s truth and the message of the Gospel. As a youth, he went on a few mission trips and travelled with family quite extensively. This exposure and the conviction of the Holy Spirit led him to have a strong desire to serve the physically poor and oppressed. God directed his path towards civil engineering as a junior in college, and it was then that he began to see how engineering and mission could be tied together. The heart of civil engineering is to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the public. During his last summer as a college student, he served as an intern for EMI in the Colorado Springs office. He also went on his first project trip to Guatemala. He left that summer knowing one day God would call him back to EMI.
During the season after undergrad, he developed both civil and structural engineering professional skills and experience in Houston. He and his wife Kelsey continued to hold the long term goal of working for EMI in their hands with every next step and life-stage, such as buying a home, attending grad school, and starting a family. He is thankful that God was both kind and gracious while his family dug down their roots in Texas, yet also kept their vision of missions loosely in their hands. God has now called the Gruen family into full-time ministry through the work of EMI in the East Africa office in Kampala, Uganda. Tom is working as a structural engineer and civil engineer, project manager, short term volunteer trip leader, serving the developing ministries in the region. He enjoys partnering with the incredible ministries and helping to develop the young local design professionals and interns.