One of our missionaries, Mary Lou Brownell, went to be with the Lord last week. Dave Boehm and I flew out to attend the funeral in Warsaw, IN. This post is for those of you who may have known Mary Lou. I wanted to share just a little bit of our experience on Thursday night
Mary Lou trusted Christ at Northridge Church and was influenced to missions by other missionaries from our church (the Kohlers, who went to the Philippines). Mary Lou left for East Pakistan in 1958 by boat. It took two months to cross the ocean and arrive in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). On Thursday night, I spoke to others who had been among the last to become missionaries and travel by boat rather than airplane. They say that is one of the reasons that fewer missionaries make a full career of it these days. Access back to the states is too easy. I'm sure there are many reasons, but I'm also sure that is one of them.
Mary Lou was the type of missionary that is worth viewing as a hero. She went to a new field, in a dangerous place – risking her life (literally) for the sake of the Gospel. I grew up in my church hearing stories of this group of missionaries in Bangladesh. To meet many of them Thursday night was an honor for me. There were about 16 fellow missionaries from Bangladesh – either retired or home on furlough – at the memorial service.
Mary Lou's sister, who had been a missionary in Africa, was also at the memorial service too. Ed Sawyer, who spends a lot of time working in Fort Wayne, IN, drove over too. So the three of us represented Northridge in rejoicing in Mary Lou's life – lived for the Gospel and the glory of God!
I was able to share some thoughts and I absolutely loved visiting after with all the team from Bangladesh. They obviously loved being together and I felt like a guest as I heard their stories and they shared some memories with me. It was an honor to be in the presence of these missionary heroes.
I shared a few thoughts with all of them from 2 Timothy 4. Mary Lou has fought the good fight, she has kept the faith, and the crown of righteousness is now her's!
Here are a couple of photos:
These were people who knew Mary Lou well and worked with her in Bangladesh:
Here is Dave visiting with Mary Lou's sister:
46 people were able to attend the memorial service at the funeral home.