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Martha Brown

Teaching the Children
"He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer, 2015

Martha was born in Bordeaux, Wyoming, and grew up on a farm near Pandora, Ohio, in a loving Christian home. The family faithfully attended church, and at the age of 14, she dedicated her life to Christ at a four-church revival meeting. Martha knew she needed to go to Bible school and graduated from Moody Bible Institute (Illinois). She later went on to Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, for more education. While there, she met O. Carl Brown, and they were involved in the Student Holiness League together. The missions-active culture of Taylor made a considerable impact on them. Carl and Martha married in 1942, and they were very open to a career in missions. As preparation, Carl attended seminary in New York City and then earned a diploma in missions at the Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College) in Nyack, New York.

For Martha, the call was simple. After having said “yes” to the Lord throughout her life, there was no reservation when she felt the Lord calling her to serve Him in Haiti.

Their son, David, was born in 1945, and medical complications necessitated a delay in going to the mission field. Carl taught Bible and Missions at Fort Wayne Bible College (Indiana), and Martha was active in the children’s ministry at church. In 1956, Carl and Martha became missionaries to Haiti under the Missionary Church, serving in evangelism and education. Martha’s first experience in teaching was teaching the parables of Jesus in Creole at the Girl’s Bible School. After one term, Carl decided to complete his doctorate in cultural anthropology, which he earned from Indiana University. In 1961, the couple welcomed another son, Darryl, who was born 15 years after David.

In 1965, they returned to Haiti to continue the ministry of a missionary co-worker who had died suddenly. Martha was involved in children’s ministries, women’s ministries, prison outreach, Vacation Bible School, playing piano and singing in churches, and hosting new missionaries. She also wrote inspirational poetry and drew illustrations for teaching materials. With few materials on hand, she wrote Bible lessons from scratch, straight from the Scriptures, and trained Haitian workers to teach them. She and O. Carl were a strong team, committed to creating materials that clearly communicated the message of the gospel in Creole.

Carl and Martha retired in 1984, but they immediately became very active in their church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 1994, they moved to Martha’s hometown in Ohio to be closer to her sister, who was a retired missionary herself. Again, they were involved in ministry at their church, which happened to be the one they had been married in. In December 2008, their son David invited them to move in with him and his wife in Birmingham, Alabama. Carl passed away on November 12, 2010, after a brief illness.

With deep love and appreciation, World Gospel Mission joins with Martha’s friends and family in rejoicing that she is now in the presence of her Savior. Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV) testifies of her life, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

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