On November 20, 1982, I met a couple that would inspire and bless me for many years to come, but I had no idea just how much they would come to mean to me at that time. That was the day of my wedding at Nedville.
November 21, 1982, the next day, was the first ‘official’ day for Bro. Thomas Brown to be the pastor of Nedville Missionary Baptist Church. I don’t remember what he preached about that day, but I remember thinking about how powerful his words were and how he really seemed to know what he was talking about. He made me want to hear more.
You see, I didn’t grow up in church, didn’t know much about God or Jesus, heaven or hell. I was baptized at 16 at the urging of a friend during a revival at her church, but I couldn’t have answered any questions for anyone about how to be saved, or even what it meant, other than that I was going to get to go to heaven because I was saved. I remember because I didn’t know any better, that I really hoped I hadn’t done anything too bad that would keep me from getting through those pearly gates!
Many services I sat and listened to Bro. Brown preach and teach about God, Jesus, heaven, and hell, and what being a Christian was all about. I learned so much from listening to him over the years, and I can only hope that he knows now, just how much of a blessing he has been to my family.
Bro. Brown baptized each of my children. I remember when Crystal was baptized, she was so scared he was going to let her fall under the water and not help her up! She thought he was just going to drop her or something! But he didn’t, of course, and when he raised her from that water the smile on her face could have been seen for miles! I know it was a huge smile because I could see it through my tears. And when Justin was baptized, he was such a big boy and Bro. Brown was such a small man, there were several, including myself, that were concerned that he might not be able to lift Justin back up and would indeed drop him! But he didn’t. It just amazes me how God gives strength to those in need, when they need it.
I can practically hear Bro. Brown right now telling all of us that he really wishes we wouldn’t make such a fuss over him, “I’m just an old preacher”. “Awe now, y’all don’t have to do that.” “Don’t go to all that trouble”, “Don’t be shedding those tears over me. If you have Jesus as your savior, we will see each other again soon.” I can plainly hear him saying all of those things.
I don’t think he, or Ms. Jean, realize just how much they mean to so many, or how many lives they have touched in a positive way, how many lives they have had a hand in turning around. I do believe though, that just because he is no longer with us here on this earth physically, does not mean that Bro. Brown is finished blessing our hearts, or asking the Lord to help us. He had two things he always said during a prayer that will forever stand out in my mind and I will always hear these words when someone is praying out loud. “Lord help” and “Lord bless”. Right now it is my prayer that the “Lord help” the Brown family and all of us who are mourning our loss, and that the “Lord bless” each and every one of the lives that Brother Brown has touched. I pray for peace and comfort for Ms. Jean, Vicki, Liz, and Paul, and all of his family and friends. I pray that we all rejoice in the fact that he is never, ever going to hurt again, never, ever going to have any pain, never again will he have to have any needles stuck into him, or tests of any sort. But he will always, each and every day, be singing and praising our Lord, and so should we. Bro. Brown, we love you and we miss you so very much, but we are so grateful to have the assurance of where you are right now. We are indeed blessed in knowing that you are right there with Jesus right now. Rest well my friend. You have worked hard and earned a good rest.