My Friend Lamar Died Today
Just a few minutes ago I received a phone call from the daughter of my friend Lamar Brownlow. This morning he suffered a heart attack and died, leaving a wife struggling with breast cancer, children and grandchildren...in fact, one of his sons was just made a Major in the Air Force and will be leaving for Japan soon. Three weeks ago Lamar sat in my living room delivering a check to my wife for her upcoming trip to Kenya...This was Julie's money...Not Neil's he said...Neil's already been, he knows how to get there!
Lamar and Waneda Brownlow were missionaries for the Church of God for 24 years, serving in Central America, Italy, and Russia. Natives of Alabama, they practically raised their children in Central America, are fluent in Spanish and do quite well in other languages as well.
I never intended to know them, it happened quite by accident. While pastoring in Glasgow, KY, one of my members asked if we could have a missionary, not one who came once a year to raise money, just a missionary to come share with our church. The Brownlow's were on furlough getting ready to go to Russia, I invited them to come for the weekend and they did. They stayed in our home, ate at our table, and became family. I have never met a man more consumed with his ministry and the winning of the lost than this man, it was all he wanted to talk about. On Sunday they both taught Sunday School classes, he preached, she testified, and that night she preached and he testified...He came again and spoke on a Sunday, I bought him a set of commentaries...he bought me a book of the history of famous hymns. They later went to be the overseers of Italy, came to our home and church in Champaign, IL...such honorable people.
When we moved to Florida we found that they live 20 minutes from us, Lamar was pastoring in Tampa, Waneda teaching school...Lamar left pastoring and was working a secular job, Waneda had breast cancer and needed him...In November we ate with them, I was at her surgery when they removed her breast, she came to visit with me in my office, we get emails and calls, these are our friends, our family. I cannot tell you what hit me when their daughter Mary called today, I fight tears as I type...he was in my home three weeks ago...he listened to some things I needed to talk about...laughed and loved on us as he left. In just a few weeks they were having a huge anniversary celebration, we were invited.
I honor my friend Lamar today, his life and commitment to God and the work of the Kingdom. I loved this friend and continue to love his family...please pray for the Brownlow family, I will not post again until after the funeral as a memorial to this awesome man of God!