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Donna Brown

Retired Missionaries to Bolivia
"An Everlasting Love"

By Kateland Vernon, Staff Writer, January 2022

If Donna Brown could go back thirty years, to before she began serving as a missionary in Bolivia, she would tell herself, “When times get tough, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for support.”

Donna didn’t grow up with a Christian background, so she didn’t know anything about missions before she accepted Christ and attended Circleville Bible College (now Ohio Christian University). During her first semester she learned more about God’s love for a lost world, and knew she wanted to spend her life sharing His love with others. While attending her first missions conference, she met Mary Hermiz, who was serving with WGM as a missionary nurse in Papua New Guinea. Mary’s life and testimony so inspired Donna, that she decided to become a missionary nurse.

Donna first served in Bolivia as a missionary nurse with the Salvation Army, beginning in 1992. She and Mike, a WGM missionary in Bolivia, were married in 1994, and Donna began her service with WGM. Besides serving as a nurse, she filled many different roles, including children’s brass music teacher, kids’ street ministry and rehabilitation worker, flood relief coordinator, field treasurer, and medical missions' translator. However, no matter in what area of ministry she served, Donna’s heart for reaching people didn’t change. She had become a missionary because of God’s love, which was evident to her in Jeremiah 31:3, where God says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (NIV).

Donna leaned heavily on God’s everlasting love in Bolivia. On September 28, 1998, WGM’s Wings of Peace airplane disappeared. John and Masako Trojan, friends of Donna and Mike, along with the Trojans’ two young children and three young Bolivian adults, were on that flight, and they were never found. Just twelve days before they disappeared, the Trojans had thrown a baby shower for the Browns. While Mike was on an aerial search team to find the missing plane and its precious cargo, Donna found herself at home, learning to trust God more as she and all of WGM waited for news of their friends.

God continued to prove Himself faithful to Donna. She became grateful that His faithfulness wasn’t dependent on her own faithfulness, and she was deeply aware that even in the most challenging times, He would never leave her or her family. When their two-year-old son became deathly ill with the chicken pox and the medicine he needed wasn’t readily available, Donna went to a Catholic hospital for help. They just happened to have one donated sample of the medication, which was enough to help their young son recover! God had shown up through community, reminding Donna that when our faith is deeply challenged, God can meet our need in the most unexpected ways.

During her time in Bolivia, Donna has clung to Hebrews 10:35–36, which says, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” These verses encourage her to trust God in all things, and to keep persevering in the calling He has for her life. In July 2021, Donna retired, but she continues to serve as a volunteer missionary in Bolivia. She is eager to continue sharing God’s everlasting love with others, just as it has been shared with her.

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