You could always tell where Bill Brown was – by his wonderful laughter. He would come into a room and within 60 seconds, he and those around were laughing or poking fun about something. His big smile immediately warmed your heart and always made me wonder “what’s he up to?”
Inevitably, I would ask the question, he would always say, “I’m glad you asked – because, let me tell you. . .” For the last five years, he always talked about something new and exciting; or someone who was in critical need and how ABCCM was helping.
Bill drew volunteers and churches into what was essential and important. When the needs exploded in 2008, I remember him saying, “Scott, these folks just gave me four truckloads of food and I don’t have enough room to store them. What are we going to do about getting that bigger building?” Bill worked tirelessly to help the churches to extend their arms through a bigger building that could handle more food and clothes and furniture. God answered Bill’s prayers through two incredible gifts. Allen and Louise Holden donated his mother’s home for sale in honor of their nephew, Army Pfc. William Christopher Johnson, a hero who gave his life in Operation Iraqi Freedom. This gift through Holden Family Fund was in honor of their mother. Joe and Jane Reynolds were the sparkplug that gave the first $10,000 toward Bill’s idea. We had the grand opening
I also remember telling Bill after having his pacemaker replaced last fall, “Don’t you dare die before this project is done.” With that familiar laugh, he assured me that he would see it through, but if I don’t, you tell everybody my last wish was to finish the building.
You can tell a lot about a man in how he “goes out.” What I found on his desk the morning that he passed was the file of a woman whose lights were going to be cut off that day. Bill had made notes along the corners of the file how this church was going to do so much; and another group so much; and ABCCM was going to fill the gap with the final amount. I was immediately concerned that we needed to take action right then so this woman’s power would be kept on. I called Sheryl Olsen, the head of our Crisis Ministry and asked her to check on the account. She called back to say that Bill had gone in after 7:00 the night before and filed the paperwork with Duke/Progress Energy to commit the funds so that it was already taken care of.
At Bill’s home-going celebration, we shared a lot of wonderful stories. At the close, we could have said how he went the extra mile, how committed a friend and servant he was. Instead, we said what we think he heard from the Lord Jesus Himself, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Amen.
PS – At the request of the family, all memorial contributions in memory of Bill Brown will go to the ABCCM South Building fund. So far $9,000 has been raised toward the goal of $30,000.