Friday, May 19, 2006

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!

8 comments:

Darrell said...

I'm praying for this family, as well as for you and yours during this time my friend. Even though we know we will see them again, parting is always so difficult.

Love ya man!

Exqsme said...

praying for all those who loved him.

Neil said...

Visitation will be this Monday from 6-8 at the Hopewell Funeral Home in Plant City, FL, and the Funeral will be Tuesday at the Plant City Church of God at 2:00 PM. Thank you for your comments and prayers!

Amy said...

praying for thier strength and comfort and for yours also, GBU

Barbara said...

Neil, I know this is tough for you and your wife, losing such a close friend. Will be praying for you and you wife, as well as the family who has lost brother, husband, and Dad.

Deborha's Palm Tree said...

Neil...
Praying that God's peace will be upon this family and you and yours at this difficult time.

Clay said...

wow... praying for all of you...

Neil said...

Today was the funeral of Lamar Brownlow...it was a moving service. What amazed me was his children, each of the three of them spoke concerning their father...all had wonderful things to say...I was blessed to know this man and remain blessed with the relationship we share with his family. Thanks for all of your thoughts, comments, and prayers. I ask that when you think of them to remember the Brownlow's...when all of the crowd leaves they will need strength. One of the sons is a Major in the Air Force, he and his family are scheduled to leave for Tokyo in July, I'm sure this will make it a bit harder, but these are tough people!